NoSleep Live 2019 Halloween Tour

NoSleep Live Stage Set Up

At my day job, I occasionally need to compile reports that take a fair amount of time but not as much brainpower. When I got Spotify a few years back, I started using this time to listen to podcasts. I’d always liked the idea of podcasts, but I’d never had time or a good way to listen to them. After working my way through most of H.P. Lovecraft’s work in audio form, I was searching for more horror to fill my time. That’s when I discovered the NoSleep Podcast. Originally, this podcast told horror stories pulled from Reddit’s NoSleep Forum, but the podcast evolved into creating original horror stories over time. I listened to every episode available, about seven seasons worth at that point, and then started listening to new episodes every week.

In 2018, I drove two hours east to Philadelphia to see the NoSleep Podcast’s Escape the Black Farm live tour. The experience was fantastic, except for the random person who clipped my mirror and sped off as I was driving home, so much for the so-called “city of brotherly love.” Naturally, I had to see the 2019 NoSleep Live Halloween tour too. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately considering my mirror fiasco, the show wasn’t stopping in Philadelphia, but, thanks to my central location, I was able to drive three hours south to the Miracle Theater, in Washington D.C.

The venue was a historic locale, a cozy one-screen theater that hosted vaudeville acts in the days before movies. I arrived early and got a great seat near the front. You can probably find me, my wife, and my aunt if you zoom in on the third row of the NoSleep Podcast’s Instagram picture from the event. We all had a great time, and the neat place only added to the event’s ambiance.

This show contained four “spine-tingling” stories that were all spooky in unique ways. The first was about a hilariously entertaining dinner party gone wrong. The voice actors, David Cummings, Jessica McEvoy, David Ault, and Nichole Goodnight, did a fabulous job throughout the night, but I was extremely impressed with how well they worked together and bounced off each other in the opening tale. The second story concerned a potentially paranormal fog. Finally, there was the classic tale of a daughter attempting to resurrect her dead dad. Each story was masterfully scored by music maestro Brandon Boone.

If you haven’t listened to the NoSleep Podcast yet, you need to give them a listen during this Halloween season. There are a countless number of great horror stories to enjoy that span all the different horror subgenres. I can’t recommend the podcast enough, and I especially encourage trying to see the show live, if the tour is coming to a town near you. They put on a great performance, and they are all extremely friendly. Due to my long drive home, I wasn’t able to do the meet and greet after in D.C., but I enjoyed meeting several NoSleep actors in Philadelphia last year. I thanked them for being a great source of horror and taking submissions. I’m hopeful that one day down the line, I will hear one of my stories brought to life by NoSleep. I just wrote an audio script about a lost John Carpenter film that I plan to submit for the NoSleep Podcast’s Halloween episode in 2020, and I am currently thinking about working on a horror story set in space for the Christmas episode this year. If any other horror writers are interested in sending them a story, be sure to check out their submissions page.

Until My Next Post,

Stay Froggy,

Jeremiah

P.S. Here’s me and my wife doing scared faces after the show.

Scared Faces

Choose Your Own Ending – Shower Scenario

Hi Everyone,

I’d like you to write an ending for the flash fiction below in three sentences or less. Drop your conclusion in the comments. Feel free to do anything you can imagine in those three sentences.

I was inspired to create this post because I recently finished Paul Tremblay’s Growing Things and Other Stories. In that collection, he has a choose your own adventure narrative called A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken. I’ve also been itching to try writing a tale in the second person, and this seemed like a good opportunity to give it a go.

The Story So Far…

Work was hell. Heaven is returning to an empty apartment to dwell in solitude for the evening. You shower to remove the filth of the day. There were too many mistakes to count. You shower to enjoy the heat and steam. A little pleasure makes the day’s missteps easier to accept. You shower to forget. Not that anyone else will. The water pressure doubles as a massage. It’s one of the few good things about your apartment complex. As you close your eyes and lather up your face with liquid soap, you hear the squeak of the bathroom door opening. No one else has a key to the apartment. A footstep echoes off the tile floor outside the shower. Your heart pounds so hard you worry it might burst from your chest. Leaning forward, you let the stream of water rinse your eyes of soap. You open them to see your black shower curtain blocking your view of the potential intruder. There’s only one option left. You…

Black Shower Curtain

Here are two awesome responses I got on Twitter.

2019 Giants: Exactly as Advertised

Barkley running.

From 2011 to 2015, I wrote a blog for just about every Giants game on Bigbluebullfrog.com. After several losing seasons it started to feel pointless as every game looked about the same. This year is interesting though, and I thought I’d try to restart the NY Giants blog here.

Over the offseason, I thought the Giants improved their offense by trading Beckham, whose distractions had outweighed his contributions for two seasons, and by picking up additional offensive pieces such as guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Golden Tate. Unfortunately, the Giants did little to address their defense. So, going into this season, I thought the G-men would have a good offense and a bad a defense. It’s only been one game, but so far, my assumption looks dead on.

The Giants should win more games than last year, but they continue to struggle against division rivals, so the gates to the playoffs will remain closed to them. I do worry that the Shurmur Giants rarely seem to surprise me. His G-Men usually perform exactly as expected, and I miss the days of the Coughlin Giants.

His teams would often pull off stunning upsets, which made the losses easier to swallow. I think the biggest mistake Big Blue made since their last Super Bowl was firing Coughlin before Reese. Coughlin gave the Giants their attitude and their underdog mentality. Since he left the Giants, I haven’t seen any true character to the team, except blustering diva wide receivers and rookie coaches who couldn’t control their locker rooms.

Unfortunately, nothing can be done to fix the mistakes of the past. I do like the things Gettleman has done with the team, and I think we are heading in the right direction, but another losing season will probably result in defense coordinator James Bettcher being shown the door along with Eli Manning. Unlike many fans, I don’t think Eli has ever been a major reason why the Giants have lost so many games since the last Super Bowl. Jerry Reese badly mismanaged the team, and I think the organization is still trying to undo the damage he did. Sadly, the Giants won’t be able to fix things fast enough to send Eli off into the sunset like he deserves. It will be a depressing end for a franchise icon.

Music is My Muse

Father John Misty doing Bored in the USA

One of the earliest projects I remember envisioning was a story written using Rush album tracks as chapter titles. I eventually focused this idea into a short story inspired by the song The Necromancer off Rush’s Caress of Steel album. Music has never stopped influencing and inspiring my writing projects.

After my freshmen year of college, I was hurting from my first major breakup. Like every young artist before me, I channeled my feelings into a project, The Village Green Preservation Society. This evolved into my first novel, and I completed it over the course of my last teenage summer. Music aficionados will recognize the title as belonging to a classic album of the same name by The Kinks. I listened to the album on repeat as I harnessed its themes and characters to contribute to my growing world.

Years later, I’d find myself in graduate school pursuing my writing popular fiction degree, and I’d return to using music to help my writing. This time I didn’t use the music to help me create though. Instead, I created a Spotify playlist of fantasy songs that evoked my love for the genre. I pulled in music from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack, the Game of Thrones soundtrack, Harry Potter’s score, some Led Zeppelin, and of course, a little Rush. This helped me get into the right headspace while finishing my first draft of The Swords of Fellowship and editing its subsequent drafts. I’ve been using that playlist to help me write every fantasy story I’ve penned since.

This past weekend, I started a new novel. This one is horror, and it concerns my hometown. So, my playlist is filled with songs that remind me of that location. You can check out the, tentatively titled, Homeless Problem Mix here. Growing up, I’d hear The Pennsylvania Polka almost every night as I flipped past the local channels, so I had to include that. Then there were bands I was into while I lived in Hazleton, and I had to include them. Finally, I pulled in some songs that speak to my antagonist and to the mood I’m trying to achieve with this project. That’s where Father John Misty (pictured above) comes in. I got to see him live in Philadelphia a few years ago, and the experience helped kickstart my ideas on this project. Overall, my new playlist is an eclectic and strange mix that perfectly orients me to write about the world I’ve already dreamed up.

I know many people have already thought about using, or already used, music to help their writing, but I wanted to share my experiences on the subject. My father is a musician, and my family members are all deeply into music, so using it for my artistic endeavors has always been second nature to me. For those writers or artists out there who are new or just haven’t thought about this idea much, I hope this post gives you some ideas of your own. If you have a different type of muse, don’t be afraid to tell me about it in the comments below.

Stay Froggy,
Jeremiah

Farewell Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Original Cover Art

I first discovered A Song of Ice and Fire when I was twelve. My father and I used to go to Barnes and Noble almost every Friday. On one of these trips, I found George R.R. Martin’s work. I was drawn to the cool cover art (pictured above), and the excellent back cover blurb. Sadly, I only made it a few chapters in before I put the book aside. My young mind couldn’t keep up with all the different characters introduced in the first chunk of the tome. I made it roughly as far as half of the first episode but what I’d read stuck with me.

When Game of Thrones made its way to television years later, I found myself loving the story I’d been too young for on first exposure. I identified heavily with the show’s honorable protagonists defeated by their good nature in the face of morally flexible foes. I lived a watered-down version of Game of Thrones while serving on the executive board of my college fraternity. You wouldn’t think the power of a fraternity’s rule would drive men to madness, but in a few cases, it did. That’s fodder for a future novel though; this post is about a fantastic fantasy story.

*Minor Spoilers Below*

Sadly, my love of Game of Thrones was impeded in the last three seasons by its diversion from the books, and its occasionally sloppy execution of plot points (I mean…are we really supposed to buy Sansa not telling Jon she had an entire army coming in Battle of the Bastards? How many lives could she have saved!? And don’t get me started on my issues with Beyond the Wall). But I’m not here to complain. I’m here to celebrate and prognosticate.

After completely reading all the books and diving into Martin’s lore in the middle of the show, I, like many, discovered the total delight of A Song of Ice and Fire Theories. My favorites tend to revolve around Stannis Baratheon’s fool, Patchface. He’s basically cut from the show, but you should read up on him if you aren’t aware of the character. So, before the final season, I wanted to lay out a few of my own predictions, cobbled together from years of drinking too deeply of Game of Thrones and its lore.

Predictions

1. The Night King will skip Winterfell and fly to King’s Landing.
In Season Two, Dany saw a vision of a destroyed Red Keep covered in snow. Why show that if it’s not going to happen? Having the Night King save Winterfell for a later death would be a perfect surprise for early in the season. It would also be great to see Cersei go down unexpectedly amid all her schemes because she didn’t take the White Walker’s seriously.

2. Dany and all the dragons will die.
Unless the show leaves the White Walkers alive at the end of the series, I fully expect the forces of ice and fire to die out in their clashing. Jon is the balance between the two. There’s also the Azor Ahai legend that says the great hero who previously beat the Walkers needed to sacrifice his love to vanquish them in the Long Night. Jon’s current love is Dany.

3. Jon will be the final ruler left standing.
For the record, I actually like Dany more than Jon (at least in the show), but Jon is the namesake of the series (the song of ice and fire) so I think it’s all leading up to him being the great hero and final ruler left standing, but I don’t think he’ll choose to be king. See my next point.

4. The Iron Throne will be destroyed.
I think it’s obvious that the ultimate irony of the show will be having watched people fight for the right to sit there for years only for the final winner to discard the thing. It’s a chair for a conqueror, not a righteous ruler. If Jon wins out in the end, I expect him to move on from monarchy along with its greatest symbol in favor of a new form of government.

5. History is repeating itself. The protagonists have done all this before.
Okay, this is just my crackpot theory that I wanted to mention, but it feels like too many things that were discussed in Westeros’ history are coming back up. The mythical last hero’s story lines up with Bran Starks. Dany came to Westeros with three dragons and started her conquest from Dragonstone, like her ancestor. There are a bunch of other ones, but I’ll leave it there. I hope that this one remains a crackpot theory because it would make things weird if we found out in the last season that the characters are just stuck repeating an already established history, like Groundhog’s Day.