Tag Archives: Two-Steps-From-Hell

Booktrack – Music for ebooks

It’s almost midnight but I just had to share this with you. It’s a demo of a new whiz bang innovation called ‘Booktrack’.

The idea is to provide a soundtrack, or sound effects, that will be synced to the ebook you read.

I’m not sure whether the sound in the demo would  enthrall me, or annoy the hell out of me, but suddenly the wild idea I had about including my Two Steps From Hell writing music with my story doesn’t seem so wild any more. In five years time this technology may well be common place. Yay, technology!


Sadly I’ll never be able to afford the music I’d like so… -sigh- 

Good night world!


Meeka’s Maintenance

This post is going to be full of bits and pieces. I thought of calling it ‘housekeeping’, but that had negative connotations coming from someone who hates housework, so I opted for the more blokey ‘maintenance’. Imagine me with an oil can instead of a feather duster. 🙂

At the very top of my to-do-list are some thank yous. They go to my blogger friends who have taken me under their wing on Twitter. While I’ve been fluffing around learning how to use Twitter, they’ve been out there, including Vokhtah in their tweeting schedules. They are all brilliant writers in their own right and have more than enough to do promoting their own books, so that’s friendship above and beyond. Candy, David, Laurie, Carol, Ilil – you guys truly are the best!

While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank the nice people at Novelspot who have given Vokhtah an extra home and a bit more visibility!

Next on my list is Hootsuite. For those who’ve never heard of it, Hootsuite is like a social media organizer. It allows you to access all your social media applications from one place. It also filters tweets into sensible categories that make Twitter so much easier to use. I’ve only been on Hootsuite for one day but I’m already loving it. If, like me, you find Twitter rather chaotic, give Hootsuite a try. [You were so right Candy!]

And now for a weather report. Big chunks of northeastern Australia are once again under water. Many of the people affected have barely recovered from the last flooding. In southeastern Australia [where I am], we are still living with the threat of bushfires because down here, the bloody rain just won’t fall. We’ve had a few, welcome days of cooler temperatures and overcast skies, but no rain.

The two pictures below provide a sharp contrast.

warrandyte view

This was what my block was like in late December 2011. Not lush by any means but okay. Thanks to the terracing I put in over the years, the rain that did fall stayed in place and kept the grass alive.

dead grass

This is roughly the same view today. The narrow band of green in the foreground is from grey water. The band of green in the distance is from the septic line providing some moisture. Most of the blocks around me have no green at all.

In Australia, the grasses always go brown over summer but spring back as soon as we get some rain. At the moment the grass is so dry it crumbles to dust when you walk over it. It’s a bit grim.

All is not gloom and doom however because I have just bought the latest Two Steps From Hell album called Skyworld!

Whatever kind of day you’re having, I hope this track gives you a lift. 🙂



Writing to music

I’ve mentioned before that I always write to music, but I always assumed my choice of music was a random thing based on whatever I was feeling at the time. Today however, I realised that my subconscious always prods me for a specific kind of music, depending on what I am writing.

When I was madly typing Innerscape, my Nanowrimo 2012 project,  my music of choice was Elysium, by Jo Blankenburg. Elysium is epic and passionate but contains undertones of the romantic [at least to me]. However for Vokhtah, the music had to be by Two Steps From Hell. Now that I’ve started working on book 2 of Vokhtah, I automatically went back to Invincible and Archangel, the two public albums released by Two Steps From Hell.

Both Invincible and Archangel feature big, epic, passionate music but most of the tracks are very martial. Those tracks evoke the Vokh – powerful, violent, calculating, deadly. The softer tracks conjure the iVokh, who can be just as calculating and deadly as the Vokh, but there is a softer side to their nature as well. This softness is considered to be a weakness, and so it is hidden, controlled, sublimated, but  it is there. Showing it is the problem.

In writing the iVokh, I had to hint at this hidden softness without turning them into human analogs. The solution was to write their emotions in the negative,  a bit like the negative image of a photograph. For those young things who only know about digital photography, old fashioned film uses a negative which reverses the colours so black becomes white and so on. If you look at a negative, even familiar faces look very different. And that was what I tried to do with the iVokh, juxtaposing the callous things they could do against the callous things they chose not do.

Writing inside out is rather hard to do, and it was not until I discovered Two Steps From Hell that I could do it without constantly second guessing myself. The music allows me to feel the controlled passions my characters are not allowed to express, while, by some strange alchemy, the words that end up on the page evoke their conflicting duality. At least I think they do. 🙂

So, having put that small insight into words, I will now make another cup of coffee and sink back into the music of Two Steps From Hell – my version of heaven.




Two Steps from Hell and Final Fantasy XIII

I was feeling a bit out of sorts today so I went looking for a quick pick-me-up. Music always lifts my mood so I went looking for something from Two Steps from Hell and found two of my favourite things all rolled up into one amazing package!

I’ve been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy video game series for a very long time and The Daughter and I have played Final Fantasy XIII, although we have not finished it because we were both distracted by various mmo’s. Having seen this video clip, with CG sequences we have not yet reached I now know we MUST get back to it and finish it off.

For the non-gamers out there CG stands for computer generated and every single moment of footage you see in the video clip is an animation. Looks real though doesn’t it?

That’s one of the many reasons I love Final Fantasy. Square-Enix, the developer, is always pushing the envelope in terms of graphics and their video movie, Advent Children, is the very best of its kind I’ve seen todate. Gameplay has become less exciting though, which is a shame. I hope the pendulum swings back towards the middle soon with Square-Enix rediscovering innovative gameplay as well as innovative and beautiful graphics.

Anyway, I’m all cheered up now so I wish you all a long and enjoyable weekend!

Archangel – wild, wonderful music

I am having a truly wonderful day so I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before – share a piece of music :

I discovered Archangel yesterday while voting on a book trailer at Indies Unlimited. The background music to the trailer was Archangel and I fell in love with it on the spot, so much so that I had to find out who wrote it. I was astounded to learn that ‘Two Steps From Hell’ is not a band, it is the name of a production company started by two guys who found a way to fuse their love of music with a brilliant business model. Basically Thomas Bergersen [the one who does most of the composing] and Nick Phoenix make music for trailers, games and even movies. People loved their music so much that the company recently released two albums for the public. I’ve already bought one and it is so good I’m going to buy everything they release from here on in.

Music has always been important in my life but since I started writing fiction it has become as necessary as breathing. I’ve discovered that certain kinds of music break the link between my straitlaced technical writer mind and the dreamy, creative, anything goes person hiding inside. I started listening to Andrea Bocelli [who sings in Italian, a language I can’t speak] but as the years rolled by I literally went through all my CDs looking for music that stirred me in that special way. I’ve written to the sound of opera, orchestral, movie soundtracks and the soundtracks to games. The only music I can’t write to is English vocals. If I can understand it I can’t use it 😦

Now, thanks to TSFH I have amazing music to listen to again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Turn it up and set your mind free 🙂

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