While waiting for my last few beta readers to send me their feedback, I dove into a few more creative endeavors outside of writing...in this case, music. But more on that later. First off, the reason you are likely here, as this is my blog devoted to my author/artist persona: I have finally received that last beta reader feedback, so I can finally devote my time to the last round of edits for Hidden. This puts me a little behind where I wanted to be by now--there's only about two months left before it needs to be ready to grace your bookshelves (digital or physical)--but I'll still get it done and off to the copy-editor in time, promise! So a big thank you to my fearless beta readers who pointed out all the remaining plot holes and confusing bits (as well as the bits they liked) so that Hidden can be the best possible version of itself.
So that's my writing related update for the day. On to the music! Which will eventually explain why there's a skull with a bird sitting on top it in the attached pic.
In the past six months or so I've been really getting back into guitar and music in general: digging through musical theory, writing songs again, learning covers, developing a whole new appreciation for Dio and Iron Maiden and Meat Loaf. I've played the guitar since I was 10, but I put it aside for over a decade to focus on West Point and then the Army, so it felt good to reconnect with that side of myself. A few months back I even snagged a lesson with Jacky Vincent, guitar god, and second (in my opinion) only to Jon Petrucci, so that was a whole new level of awesome, and I learned soooooo so much. If you haven't checked out his solo stuff, you definitely should, and if you are interested in improving your skills (shredding or otherwise), he's an amazing teacher as well. Super patient and ridiculously nice. Highly recommend.
And with that, onto the news: I have officially started a metal band. Well, more like melodic metalcore, but yeah. Now I know, you may be thinking, "But Melissa! You write fantasy adventure novels, make obnoxiously bright-colored illustrations and paintings of fairies and elves and folkloric figures, you are a sad grad student, you dress like a hippie...the heck are you doing in a metal band?" Well, those of you who know me in person, know that I have many proverbial irons in many proverbial fires. My interests (and hobbies) have always been eclectic, to say the least (which, to be fair, is definitely reflected in my writing and my art as well), so this likely comes as less of a surprise. To those of you only familiar with my online presence, you probably noticed that much of my creative work revolves around Slavic mythology and folklore...and those themes tend to be pretty metal. Google Baba-Yaga or Koschei the Deathless and tell me there's not metal potential there, and that's not even getting into the actual history. Or, incidentally, Olga of Kiev. The story of her revenge is where we took our name: Olga's Burning Sparrows.
Don't feel bad for the sparrows...they're the ones who did the burning, not the other way around.
We're auditioning a few drummers and an additional guitarist at the moment, so the permanent lineup currently only consists of myself (lead vocals and guitar) and my fellow grumpy vet Awbrey (bass and vocals)...but we shall see where the music ultimately takes us. Songs are already happening :) but those aren't available publicly yet, of course, since we don't officially have a permanent drummer.
And finally, as promised, the explanation of the chosen graphic for today's blog post: "Rock or Something" is 100% a military pun. The weird thing leaning against the skull is an MRE heating system, and the bird, obviously, is a sparrow. Art by yours truly.