Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse Review: Point Valid w/Catherine Asaro–Diamond Star

Diamond Star is a music CD based off the novel by the same title written by Catherine Asaro. I usually don’t care for Pop/Rock (I’m a Metalhead through and through), but from time to time I run across songs and even singers/bands in that genre that does appeal to me. Point valid is one of those bands. That their CD is based off an SF book and features the very songs that the main character, Del, sings in the story, is a much added bonus.

My personal favorites are “Carnelians” and “Carnelians Finale” because of the emotional power in the lyrics, and if any two songs on the CD could be redone as Metal songs, those two could. But all the songs have a relevancy to them befitting modern day while they can also be timeless.

But the thing I liked most about the Diamond Star CD is its realness. The songs sound exactly like how you would hear them at a concert without all the technology that’s used today to enhance sounds and voices with. It’s almost raw, and the songs are much better for it. And Asaro’s vocals go perfectly with the Point Valid’s vocals and music.

Definitely a must get, especially with a certain book.

Best to listen to while reading: Diamond Star by Catherine Asaro. Duh.

October 30, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fem-Fangs & Dark Things II

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the special Halloween sale for Fem-Fangs from Pill Hill Press, then hurry up and do so! and while you’re at it, don’t forget to also pick up Dark Things II. Why? Because:

A) They’re both edited by the awesome Ty Schwamberger


B) They both feature a macabre little tale by Yours Truly.

And do you really need any better a reason than that? 😉

Also, keep a lookout for Dark Things V, the fifth and final installment of the Dark Things anthology series, for yet another horrific tale that can only be conceived of by my naturally demented mind. MWAHAHAHA!!!!!

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Diamond Star—Catherine Asaro

Diamond Star is Rock N’ Roll, SF style. Del Valdoria, heir of the Ruby Dynasty, the rulers of the interstellar Skolian Imperialate, is on Earth.

And he wants to be a holo-rock singer. Del has to deal with all the usual struggles of a rock star—sex and drugs, a horde of fans (some of which are insanely obsessive), a hot relationship with his sexy producer, Rikki, and a family that don’t understand his passions. And to top it all off, he’s followed by Earth’s military and still has to deal with the Skolian’s sadist enemies, the Eubian Concord.

Asaro packs a lot of story into this 600+ page novel and keeps your interest from page 1 to the end. She excels at characterization and ain’t too shabby with the dialogue and action, either. It did drag somewhat near the middle but not too much, for the occasional surprises kept me reading. Things are certainly not predictable in this story. Overall, it’s a great read and a worthwhile addition to her series of books about the Skolian Empire.

Also, Asaro giving a few plugs to some of my favorite bands in the novel was an added bonus.

Best to read while listening to: well, we’ll get to that next week. 😉

October 22, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SpecMusicMuse: Interview With Elizabeth Massie

I ran into Horror author Elizabeth Massie at Context back in August, and being the polite and genteel Virginian that she is, she agreed to an interview:


What made you decide to become a writer?

I don’t know if there was ever a time I didn’t want to be a writer. I always loved stories…telling them, hearing them, watching them. Even as a kid I often wondered what it was like to be another person, to live in his/her skin, in his/her house, and have experiences different from my own. 


You also teach writing classes. Has teaching it helped your own
writing in any way?

I think to teach anything you have to not only know what you’re teaching but be willing to keep learning. When people in a class or workshop ask very specific questions, it makes me think through aspects of the craft that I might not have thought about very deeply. Something I might have been doing but hadn’t analyzed, or something that made me think – hmmm, how could that be accomplished in a more creative, effective way?


In what direction do you see Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Horror going in the near future?

It’s hard to speculate on the direction of speculative fiction (!) I’ll just have to wait and find out. Honestly, anything I’ve ever predicted in the business has gone off in another direction.


Do you find fiction easier to write or nonfiction? And with fiction,
is short fiction easier than longer works, or do they each have their own unique challenges?

I find fiction easier in that it is a story and my imagination can run. Not saying writing fiction is easy; it requires you to use both sides of your brain – the right/creative side, which helps you come up with something fresh and intriguing and interesting and the left/analytical side which helps you put all that creativity into some sort of organized fashion so others can understand it. With nonfiction, while I enjoy the researching, analyzing, and presenting information or opinions, you can’t make much up! 😉


Like me, you’re not afraid to let people know your political opinions. How important do you feel it is for artists, musicians, and writers to speak out on issues they’re passionate about, and what would you like to tell those who advise us to keep those opinions to ourselves?

 I think everyone – artists, writers, actors, musicians, waitresses, teachers, doctors, etc. – should speak out on issues on which they feel strongly. Too many people fuss and fume behind closed doors but either think their views aren’t important or think their voices can’t make a difference. Granted, sometimes actors and writers and artists have a larger platform for getting their views to the public, but really, everyone can find a way to share their opinions. Facebook is definitely one venue that has leveled the playing field when it comes to sharing opinions. You got a FB page? You can share your thoughts! However, I do want to go on the record here and say that just spouting angry criticism with little to back it up other than a “YOU SUCK!” or “YOU’RE HITLER!” is wasted time, wasted space, wasted breath. If you are passionate about politics or a particular social issue or injustice, care enough to learn enough about it to speak without the childish jibes or barbs. They get us nowhere. Discussions end when the insults begin.


And speaking of artists and musicians, has art and music ever provided inspiration to your writing?

I often listen to music while I write. Nothing with words or I end up singing along. However, instrumental music can set a mood, inspire a scene, or even give me an idea for a brand new novel or story altogether. I adore movie scores, in particular those by Goldsmith, Bernstein, Rosa, and Morricone. And I love music by Jim Brickman, Secret Garden, James Galway, and many others. Art has been an inspiration at times, too. There are some classical and more traditional paintings that have really moved me or disturbed me or poked at my brain, causing me to ask “What if…?” (That question is a very common writer’s tool!)

What do you have currently out and what’s coming down the proverbial pipeline?

 I have several new stories out now – “Something You Ought to Know” in Specters in Coal Dust and “Someone Came and Took Them Away” in Legends of the Mountain State 4, both published by Woodland Press. I have another new story, “Sink or Swim,” published by the on-line magazine, Horror Drive-In My Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Sineater, is just now out in e-book and audio book from Crossroad Press. I also have a brand new, never-before-published mainstream novel, Homegrown, which will be released in the next month or so from Crossroad Press. Quite different from my historical and horror novels, but a story I love. I have two new Moon Man comics coming out from Moonstone within the next six months. My wacky and fun super hero short story “Silver Slut: And So It Begins” will be included in the Moonstone anthology Chicks in Capes this December.

And where can people learn more about you and your work?

 My website is . I try to keep it updated regularly.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SpecMusicMuse: Literature-Inspired Music – “Hand of Sorrow”

“Hand of Sorrow” by Within Temptation is a prime example of music being inspired by F/SF books. In this case by Robin Hobbs’ The Farseer Trilogy.



It shouldn’t be too surprising since Symphonic and Gothic Metal is heavily influenced by SF/F/H literature and film. Indeed, Metal has had a long relationship with speculative fiction from the very beginning.

October 9, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse Review: Embers by Laura Bickle

Embers is a story about Anya Kalinczyk, an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, a rare psychic medium known as a lantern (e.g. she basically can “eat” ghosts), who helps out a paranormal investigating team, and has a salamander familiar named Sparky. She and her friends must track down and stop a supernatural arsonist who is setting fires all over Detroit as part of an ancient ritual (which will be completed by Devil’s Night) to summon Sirrush, an ancient and extremely powerful fire elemental, to leave all of Detroit in ashes.

This book has it all: action, mystery, romance, tragedy—all wrapped up in an urban fantasy package with a meaningful plot twist. Characterization is deep and powerful. But as hot as Anya is (in more ways than one), I have to admit that Sparky’s little antics stole the show. He’s one of the most independent, headstrong, and entertaining sidekicks I’ve ever read.

All-in-all, Embers is a well written tale.

Best to read while listening to: anything from Midnight Syndicate, or underground rap, punk, and metal. Not the popular stuff, the underground stuff.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments