Let’s Talk About the Blog… and Backlog

Let’s Talk About the Blog… and Backlog

Hey, everyone! It’s really nice to finally be back on the blog and back to cooking up new recipes for you! I took a bit of a break (obviously), starting with the holidays, but January has been a bit introspective for me. I sat down at the beginning of January, talked to some amazing bloggers about their “New Year Resolutions” and tried to come up with a few goals for this blog. But instead of discovering new, exciting changes to try to implement, coming up with some unattainable numbers goal, or even settling down for a mediocre goal, it turned into some deep thinking about what I even want out of this experience.

I started this blog as a way to talk about the things I love in a space and community that felt the same. I was feeling really lonely, really unfulfilled, and ready for a new project. This became that new project. And with that came a host of exciting new adventures! I met new people who loved cooking, baking, and especially gaming. I’ve been able to participate in some amazing community events and become friends with some really great, intelligent people. And I’ve been able to push myself creatively in both baking/cooking and writing.

And as I realized where I started, what I thought I wanted, and where I thought this blog was going, I realized I had my priorities wrong. I thought this blog was my “in” to making a cookbook. And, quite frankly, I haven’t given up on that. It’d be really nice to, down the road, get some kind of deal going with Nintendo to make an official BotW cookbook. But when I delved into the roots of what I love about this blog it wasn’t that hanging dread of numbers, influence, and what it would take to become a cookbook writer. It was interacting with all of you – the readers, the other bloggers, the new chefs and the old bakers alike – that made this blog such a good experience for me.

So I’m going to stop having this mental background of “how do I make this a career” and start focusing on the reasons I love blogging. I have some pretty smart people, people who write amazing blogs and who have been so supportive of me through thick and thin, to thank for this epiphany. If lightening couldn’t strike my brain at least it struck theirs (well that must have hurt). So let’s just forget about the dread of not posting and the dread of not meeting some imaginary numbers game that shouldn’t exist anyway and get back to blogging, interacting, and making myself and others happy. Because that’s what this is really all about, right?

And now for the changes that’ll come with that. Guys, I’m switching days on you. Thursdays will now be my Breath of the Wild posts. I’ve realized that cooking new recipes over the weekend doesn’t always work out. I make plans, go out of town, get busy, and then it’s Tuesday and I have nothing to show. I do most of my big cooking during the week, leaving weekends to pizza, eating out, or macaroni and cheese in an attempt to squeeze everything in. So expect Thursdays to become Breath of the Wild posts and, hopefully, that’ll mean a new post every week – with very few excuses (other than illness) to mess it all up!

But that means my Thursday posts need somewhere to go. Why not simply switch them, right? Tuesdays will now be my Gaming and Thankful posts. I’ll try to post one BotW post every week, one Gaming post every month, and one Thankful post every month. I want to participate in at least one community event every quarter, to make sure I get to help other amazing bloggers with their blogs. And I’m also going to run (sort of) a community event twice a year. Instead of doing gaming or thankful posts one month of spring and one month of autumn I want you, my friends and followers, to help me pick a fandom, and then pick 3 foods from that fandom to create recipes for. I’ll post each one and then round it all off with a reason why I love that fandom. What do you think? Sound like a good plan?!

But Teri, you say, there’s only 2 Tuesdays left this month. When will you do your posts? Ah, never fear. Today’s post will be my gaming post and, trust me, it’s a short one. So many wonderful bloggers and gamers talk about backlog. The complex ways they deal with it, the struggle of finding time to work on and finish games they want to play. So let me tell you my incredibly simple way to deal with backlog. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until a conversation with a friend pointed it out to me. You want to know my secret?

I don’t have a backlog.

That’s right – I don’t have a backlog. Oh, I have games I want to play, and games I haven’t started yet, but the way I keep my backlog non-existent is by not purchasing a game until I’m ready to play it. That means that I don’t buy new games until I finish the one I’m currently playing. It means that when the time comes to purchase a new game, my priority already exists, because it’s the game I want to play most. Yeah, it means I get really far behind in playing games, but I don’t ever feel the stress of those titles I’ve never gotten around to staring me down from their shelf (or menu, if you purchase digital games).

So how do you deal with backlog? How do you keep your priorities straight when it comes to choosing a game or picking what to purchase?

Top 5 Spooky Games

Top 5 Spooky Games

Now, I need to preface this with a little confession: I don’t play scary video games.  And there’s a reason for that.  While I love scary movies, scary books, and scary podcasts I can’t seem to play a scary video game.  I have a pretty vivid imagination and that leads to some pretty horrific nightmares and night terrors, even as an adult.  It’s easier to separate myself from movies, books, and podcasts because, while I’m hearing the story, they aren’t quite as immersive as a video game.  I tried a horror video game once… Until Dawn… and it gave me nightmares for a week.  And I barely made it through the first hour or so of gameplay.  So the games I play at Halloween/all year long because who doesn’t love a good scare, are mostly tabletop.  I do list one video game – it isn’t horror but it’s definitely suspenseful!

betrayal at house on the hill

Betrayal At House on the Hill

Easily my favorite game to play at Halloween.  In this tabletop coop you and your group are explorers within a haunted house – but you don’t know it’s haunted.  Based on a series of cards drawn and dice rolled you eventually discover why the house is haunted.  When the haunt begins the combination of cards drawn dictate you toward one of 50 scenarios in which one of the players becomes a “traitor” and the game becomes all against one.  This game is incredible, especially when played with the right ambiance of dim lights, spooky music (I highly recommend Midnight Syndicate – especially the album listed in my Top Spooky Music post), and people who are willing to get into the atmosphere!

arkham horror

Arkham Horror

I love this game so much.  We have a set of friends that we play long, complex games with and they introduced us to this one.  Again, it’s a cooperative tabletop game but this one takes place in the mythical world of H.P. Lovecraft.  There are several scenarios, each involving a new Arkham “boss” monster, including (obiously) one with Cthulhu.  Each of the scenarios brings new challenges to what is already a fairly complex game.  Add in some luck of the dice rolls and an increasing sense of panic to complete the game and you have the perfect creepy horror game for any Halloween night.

the last of us

The Last of Us

Ah, here it is, the one lone, intense video game.  Now, I know this isn’t a “horror” game, but there are moments in this zombie thriller that will get your heart racing.  I’m not the biggest fan of zombie games, or the whole zombie genre, but this one is special.  With epic storytelling and a realistic zombie plague – there is actually a fungus that behaves eerily similar in real life, called the Cordyceps fungus – this game starts out with a creepy overtone.  But add in a few truly frightening moments (anyone remember the hotel basement?) and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect spooky Halloween game.

luigi's mansion

Luigi’s Mansion

Now, this one isn’t scary, but how could I possibly leave out a Mario game about a haunted house!?  This game is wonderful, in the vein of other classic Mario games, but with a few Luigi twists that really make that character stand out.  Add in a few ghosts and some tricky puzzles and you’ve got a great Halloween game you can play to get you or your kids in the spirit of the holiday!



Yet another tabletop game based in a haunted house but this one feels a lot more like a version of Clue.  Instead of discovering the murderer of the recently deceased, however, you’re a set of mediums receiving visions through one of the players, acting as the ghost.  Through a series of rounds the ghost must covey their clues to the mediums through basic visions to help them discover the location, weapon, and suspect of their murder.  While this game is a little less creepy and a lot more fun, it’s still a fantastic Halloween game, particularly for those who prefer a their games a little less frightening.  Trust me, you’ll enjoy this one.  Especially if you like a good who-done-it!

Bonus Game

ten candles

Ten Candles

This little gem was introduced to me by our dear friend over at Adventure Rules, Ian.  I’ve just started to get into tabletop RPG and Ian very kindly suggested this as a good introduction.  Now, I haven’t actually played this game.  I keep trying to make it happen but I can’t find people to play with me/haven’t been able to find the time to prep for it.  I’m hopeful it’ll happen before the end of the month.  But from the descriptions, from the way Ian explained it, and the photos, it looks like a truly terrifying game!  Played using candlelight and character sheets that you literally burn, it has all the hallmarks of a good, solid scare.  Just be careful – if you have a good game master you may not sleep that night.

Top 5 Spooky Books

Top 5 Spooky Books

In my Spooky Podcasts post I discussed the type of scary stuff I enjoy.  Because of my pretty picky preferences, I’m actually not the biggest fan of horror novels.  While I enjoy, thoroughly, being scared, most horror novels include one of the things I don’t like.  And while there is really good horror out there and even some that I do enjoy my version of being scared by books tends to be centered in paranormal suspense/thrillers.  But this list doesn’t just include my favorite frightening novels.  It also includes my favorite Halloween book of all time, something I read multiple times throughout the year, and even daily now that I have my own kid!  So without further ado, let’s get listing!

It's halloween

It’s Halloween: Jack Prelutsky

When I was a kid we owned a copy of this book and my dad made up tunes to go along with the catchy poems written by Prelutsky.  The poems are spooky and fun, just perfect for your little trick-or-treaters.  And if you feel inclined to make up your own tunes you’ll have the best Halloween carols to get you and your kids in the Halloween spirit!  And who knows, if I get enough people asking for my songs, maybe I’ll put a few of them on Instagram for you to hear!


Thunderhead: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

This is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read in my life, including the handful of Stephen King I’ve picked through.  Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are my favorite authors, hands down, and they have an incredible talent for writing suspenseful, slightly paranormal, murder mysteries that I can’t get enough of.  The entire Pendergast series is worth reading, but if you only choose one make sure it’s this one.  It’s more of a stand-alone novel very early in the series, so there’s no need to truly know the characters beforehand.  And the subject matter, skinwalkers, hits me right in the backyard (being from the state it’s set in) and in the goosebumps.  If you get jumpy, I don’t recommend reading this one at night…


Relic: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Ah, Relic.  My first foray into the world of supernatural thrillers.  I will never forget the first time I read this book and will never forget how it altered my taste in novels forever.  This is the first of the Pendergast series by Preston and Child, and it is the perfect first novel.  Terrifying, thrilling, and with one of the best epilogues ever written, I cannot recommend this book enough.  If you accidentally saw the movie don’t let that sour your opinion of this book.  Just pretend, like I do, that the movie was never made, and fall in love with one of the best book series of all time.  Maybe, like me, you’ll eventually have an entire bookshelf dedicated to just these two authors.

the woman in black

The Woman in Black: Susan Hill

I always take 4-5 books on vacation with me.  There’s always so much downtime when you travel and I want to make sure I have enough material – especially when I travel alone.  For one of my last work trips I took The Woman in Black, thinking it would be scary, but ultimately fine (I don’t read a lot of ghost stories that genuinely frighten me).  But I was dead wrong.  I read this the first night, all in one night, and was so scared I ordered room service just to have someone else come to my room for a moment.  I couldn’t even leave my bed to go to the bathroom.  Now, this book could be considered non-frightening because there aren’t any visions of the actual ghost, any jump scenes or violence.  But the mastery of this novel is similar to The Haunting (my favorite scary movie).  It doesn’t ever show you the ghost, what’s haunting the house.  It leaves nearly everything up to your imagination.  And if you’re willing to let your imagination run wild you’ll be terrified.


Amazonia: James Rollins

This was the first James Rollins book I read and it terrified me.  His complex, well-developed plots are enthralling, and always center on some supernatural, unexpected terror.  I remember my mom getting a bunch of Rollins for Christmas from my dad and, within days, I had borrowed most and them and read them.  But this is the one that scared me the most – it was so gripping I literally couldn’t put it down and read deep into the night to finish it in one day.  If you prefer thrillers to true horror I can’t recommend this book enough!

Bonus Guest Posts!

I have two in-laws who share with me my love for reading scary books.  My sister’s brother, Spencer, reads all the horror I’m too chicken to pick up, and my husband’s sister, Teri, reads all the bewitching novels that I’ve never even heard of.  So I asked both of these amazing readers to contribute guest paragraphs on their favorite scary novel and why it’s so good!

First, Spencer, is the first person I ever met who reads actual horror.  He has recommended all of the Stephen King novels I’ve attempted and loves scary movies more than almost anyone I’ve ever met.  He’s not intimidated by long, intense novels, so be warned about his favorite book!  If you pick it up you’ll be in for 1000 pages of pure terror.

And second, Teri Harman, is a voracious reader who finishes as many books in a year as I dream of finishing.  But she’s not just a reader, but also an author herself, and has published a trilogy about witches, The Moonlight Trilogy, and a stand-alone novel about dealing with grief, love, and loss, called A Thousand Sleepless Nights.  Her website, including all her information and where to purchase her books, is here.  Definitely go check her out!


Spencer’s Pick – It: Stephen King

When I was asked what the scariest book I have ever read was, “It” by Stephen King instantly came to mind. You’re reading about a monster whose main form of choice is a clown, has a way of figuring out your deepest fears and secrets, and then uses those to scare the main characters senseless. You find out that he does this as a way to survive and “feed” off of their fears. Clowns are unsettling to begin with but now everyone can experience a little coulrophobia. The character development is so amazing in “It”, you feel a personal connection and feel such horror when you see how It chooses to present itself to them. The book kind of makes you evaluate your own fears and you start to become very aware of every phobia you feel. “It” really got into my head and stuck with me long after the back cover was closed.

the winter people

Teri’s Pick – The Winter People: Jennifer McMahon

Set in a small town in Vermont, this physiological thriller brings the mysteries of the past roaring into the present.  In 1908, Sara Shae is found dead behind her farmhouse shortly after her daughter disappeared.  In the present day, seventeen year old Ruthie lives in Sara’s house with her mom, Alice, and younger sister.  When her mom goes missing, Ruthie finds Sara’s diaries hidden under the floor in Alice’s room.  But can the secrets inside help Ruthie stop the past from repeating itself and save her mom?

This book is beautifully written, with rich emotions and deep characters.  The mystery is impossible to turn away and the atmosphere thrilling.  The supernatural elements are mystical and perfectly creepy.  So, so good!


Top 10 Spooky Movies

Top 10 Spooky Movies

I love spooky, haunted movies so much that I tend to only watch them during October.  That way, I get my fix, watch as many as I want as often as I want, and then can move on to other genres when the season is over.  Otherwise I’m afraid I’ll get far too bored of them and not be in the mood when the festive time of year comes around!  And every year, no matter how many new movies I may want to explore, I always find time for my Top 10 Spooky Movies.  I tried to keep it to 5, guys, I really did.  But I just couldn’t!  Now, this list may surprise you, since there’s only two truly scary movies on it.  But, really, I love these movies so much that no matter what other horror film I watch I always make time for these!  And since most of them are family-friendly they’ll go perfectly with whatever Halloween fright level you’re at!

ghost and mr chicken

The Ghost and Mr Chicken

This movie is, by far, my favorite Halloween movie.  When I was a kid it used to scare me to death!  Combine that with the fact that this movie probably, in conjunction with the Haunted Mansion, fueled my obsession with haunted houses and ghosts and how could it be anything other than my favorite!  With hilarious Don Knotts antics, witty banter you don’t quite catch as a kid, and a perfect ending, this movie is one of the greatest Halloween movies ever.  If you haven’t seen it, please watch it this year!  You won’t regret it!

the haunting

The Haunting

No!  I’m not talking about the new  The Haunting with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta Jones and director’s stupid choices to show a dumb monster at the end.  I’m talking about the original 1963 version with Julie Harris that’ll, if you have the right mind for it, scare the living daylights out of you.  If you’re looking for jump scares and slasher villains, this isn’t the movie for you.  But if you’re looking for a classic horror film that leaves your mind prickling with fear every time you hear the creak as your house settles, this is definitely one you’ll love!  And my favorite part – the ending is almost completely unresolved, making it just that much more unsettling.

nightmare before christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Yeah, yeah, it’s a little cliche, but I love The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I love the claymation and the incredible music.  But, most especially, I love the story of a Halloween Town where all the things I loved as a kid live until it’s time to come creeping back into our lives the next year.  With catchy songs bordering creepy and fun and a style that’s suited for children and adults alike, Nightmare is a movie that’s hard to beat on a Halloween night.



I’m not sure if this counts as a “Halloween” movie, but it gives me an excuse to rewatch it every year, so I make it one.  I really love 80s films and this is one of the quintessential 80s films.  With 80s superstars, outrageous acting, and subtle quips this is one of the best Halloween movies of all time.  Tie that in to some pretty amazing effects (for the time) and a soundtrack to withstand the ages and you have an absolute winner.



Again, this could technically not be a Halloween movie, but I watch it every year and had to include it on this list.  This movie is hilarious, with extremely stark, witty banter, and the kind of situational humor that leaves you in stitches.  It has a star-studded cast who are all at their best when they’re able to play off each other.  And, with 4 different ways to watch the movie (the traditional, pick-one-of-three at random theatrical endings or the all-inclusive ending) this movie is the best (and one of the only) film adaptations of a board game.

woman in black

The Woman in Black

As my husband so lovingly calls it, Harry Potter and the Woman in Black is a true masterpiece in haunted house movies.  The book itself is scary enough, but this movie takes all the parts that leave your spine tingling and turns it up to 10.  The suspense and tension, combined with one of the best ghost stories written, will convince you that this is one of the scariest ghost stories ever.

corpse bride

Corpse Bride

Here it is – the second Burton movie on the list.  But I don’t care because I. Love. Corpse Bride.  This movie is incredible, with the use of color and black and white to show the stuffy lives of Victorian England.  The music is an incredible mix to classic Danny Elfman and the jazz version of Elfman, which makes for some pretty catchy songs as well as that feeling we all love to get from a Burton film.  The story is witty and clever, with a heart-warming twist and, as always, a beautiful ending.  Even if you’re not a Burton fan give this one a try.  It may just surprise you.

hocus pocus

Hocus Pocus

Especially this year, the 25th anniversary, what Halloween movie list would be complete without Hocus Pocus?  This movie includes some pretty incredible acting by Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler, and possibly your very first crush on a voice with Thackery Binks.  The Sanderson sisters are meant to steal your hearts with their hilarious attempts to stay young forever, while you’ll laugh at the absurdity of the older brother as he navigates new love and babysitting.  This movie, set in the 90s, will bring up all the nostalgia you could ever imagine or want.

practical magic

Practical Magic

My wonderful sister-in-law, who loves witches as much as I love Haunted Houses, introduced me to this one.  This wonderful love story, set among the witch-crazed northeastern US, is the perfect watch for anyone who loves romance.  The love and friendship between the two sisters is inspiring when you see how tightly they’re bound to each other, in spite of their polar opposite lives.  The brilliantly funny aunts make a nice comic relief while the creepy-crawly boyfriend adds a bit of Halloween horror.  Definitely give this one a go, but maybe not with the kids as it gets pretty dark right before the end.



What?! you say.  Three Tim Burton films on your list?  Why, yes.  I absolutely and with no shame admit that I love Burton.  And this movie is, again, another Burton masterpiece.  The humor is outrageous, the parents completely relatable, and, as a scientist, Mr Rzykruski tickles my fancy.  The choice to air this movie in black and white, an homage to the traditional Frankenstein/all monster movies, is brilliant, and Winona Rider’s character just kills me every time.  Ultimately, this movie is a great story about a boy and his dog, and is something even my 2 year old loves.

Top 10 Spooky Songs

Top 10 Spooky Songs

Yes, I know, this list is much longer than the last ones.  But honestly, how could it not be!?  I feel the same way about scary music as I do about Christmas music – I listen to it only around Halloween so I don’t get sick of it year round, and I listen to almost nothing else from October 1 till November 1.  I have a rather large playlist of creepy songs, fun Halloween jams, and even a few I sneak in year round because hey, they could be regular songs, too…  But listed here are my top 10 favorites, in order from favoritest, to 10th favoritest!

haunted mansion

The Haunted Mansion: Disneyland

I am a HUGE fan of the haunted mansion.  As a kid I was always a fan of the macabre, particularly ghosts and haunted houses, and even as a kid the Haunted Mansion was my favorite Disney ride.  I love the minor chords, the organ melody, and even love listening to the Ghost Host when I’m not on the ride.  All 14 minutes of this song get played to death during October… and sometimes the rest of the year, too!

nightmare before christmas

This is Halloween: Danny Elfman

I know, but I really do love The Nightmare Before Christmas.  And this song, with it’s haunting minor chords and creepy lyrics, is usually the first Halloween song I listen to October 1st.

13th hour

The Entire “The Thirteenth Hour” Album: Midnight Syndicate

It’s hard to find creepy music that isn’t tied to a film score.  And when it is a film score, all I can think about is the movie it came from and the scene related to it.  That makes it incredibly difficult to, say, play games while listening to it.  And then a good friend of mine, the people who introduced me to my top Halloween game coincidentally, introduced me to Midnight Syndicate.  This band is outrageously good, creating new, chilling content for, well, itself.  And while they have a long list of awesome albums, The Thirteenth Hour is by far my favorite, since the theme is a haunted house.  Definitely worth a listen to, and definitely worth adding to your playlists as you tabletop RPG this season!

monster mash

Monster Mash: Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers

No Halloween playlist would be complete without Monster Mash, an iconic song that includes 50’s doo wop with classic monsters!  And the best part – not scary, so little kids can participate, as well.

ghost and mr chicken

The Haunted Organ from Ghost and Mr Chicken: The Ghost and Mr Chicken Soundtrack

Easily my favorite scary theme, this haunting organ piece is designed to chill and, combined with the image of a haunted house, is likely to leave you shuddering and turning up the lights.

toccata and fugue

Toccata and Fugue in D minor: Johann Sebastian Bach

This thrilling organ piece, while not meant to be creepy at all, is one of the classic Halloween pieces.  The piercing beginning trills and runs, ending in a heavy minor chord that utilizes the depths of the base notes is the perfect song to get your mind in the Halloween spirit.

corpse bride

The Ball and Socket Lounge Music: Corpse Bride Soundtrack

If you like jazz these fun, simple, and spooky combo pieces really bring the Halloween spirit, even ending in a particularly memorable twist you’re bound to recognize.


Theme from Halloween: John Carpenter

The repeated minor piano notes, subtly and constantly playing in the background is the perfect way to set your teeth on edge and let you know that something, like those notes, may just be creeping up behind you.


The Psycho – a Suite for Strings: Bernard Herrmann

Again, this is more of a collection than a single song, because how could I possibly leave out some of the most iconic scary movie music of all time?  Even when you know you’re alone and are definitely not in the shower, this music is bound to make you check over your shoulder for an unwanted intruder.

dead man's party

Dead Man’s Party: Oingo Boingo

This song, in perfect Danny Elfman style, combines classic 80’s new wave with the almost mythical songwriting of a true creepy genius.  This particular song is a catchy, hilarious take on a funeral and the afterlife.

And a Bonus Song! ( because I couldn’t, in good conscience, leave this one off):

funeral march

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Minor: Frederic Chopin

While you may not know this song by the correct title I guarantee all of you will recognize the melody as the classic “Funeral March”.  And this song, in it’s original format, has nearly 10 minutes of variations on that theme to augment any Halloween playlist.

This is Halloween & Top 5 Spooky Podcasts!

This is Halloween & Top 5 Spooky Podcasts!

Hey, everyone!  Thanks for putting up with my short hiatus.  Guys, I’m really hoping that time was enough to get things back on track for this blog.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start posting weekly again, as well as include more “thoughts” posts about gaming and myself!

But first, I promised you all some very special stuff for October.  And that starts with this post right here.  You see, I may seem like a cute little food blogger with a nerdy twist and an extremely geeky lifestyle.  And you would be right.  But I also have a pretty strong dark side.  I love to be afraid.  I’m addicted (in a good, non-harmful way) to the thrill and adrenaline rush that comes with being scared.  I love reading, watching, and listening to horror.  I love haunted houses, both real and the ones created for entertainment.  I enjoy dark, slightly twisted tabletop games and have even dabbled slightly in horror video games.

This is halloween

But, in tandem with my very eclectic tastes in desserts (for example, I don’t like frosting… or cake, really), I’m pretty picky about what I like to scare me.  I’m not a fan of slasher films or games.  Not a huge fan of violence for violence’s sake or sexual violence as a medium for horror.  And definitely don’t enjoy things that play around with demons and demonic possession.  So, you ask, what does a girl who doesn’t enjoy half the horror genre actually like?  That’s easy.  It’s ghosts, paranormal activity, unexplained disappearances in mysterious circumstances, haunted houses, graveyards and crypts, the dark, monsters, and just about everything else.

As a lover of Halloween and this spooky time of year, I’m going to release a Top Spooky Things list each week until Halloween!  Each week will have a theme: movies, books, podcasts, songs, and games. I’ll also be posting one of the 5 Monster recipes from Breath of the Wild each week.  There may also be, thanks to some encouragement from Kim over at Later Levels, be a special fiction short story released on Halloween!  I’ve never tried a short story before, but I’m genuinely curious if I can do it.  Guys, this October is going to be amazing!

And now, without further ado, let’s talk about my Top 5 Spooky Podcasts.

I’m actually kinda picky about my podcasts, and particularly from the horror genre.  Those “call in” podcasts where people tell their own stories don’t always seem believable to me and usually have a hodge-podge format I struggle to pay attention to.  And, as a bit of a skeptic, I don’t always enjoy “tell your own paranormal encounter” stories.  I’m also pretty picky about the quality of the story.  Even Lore nearly didn’t make the cut because I’ve started to hate shows that sound too fabricated; puns that feel too forced, writing that seems too obvious, and podcasts that don’t understand how to tell a story without being overly descriptive, a quality that diminishes my immersion in the horror.

The magnus archives

The Magnus Archives: Rusty Quill

This is easily the best horror podcast on the market.  And, in my opinion, one of the best podcasts ever!  Writer Jonny Simms and producer Alexander Newell, are a dynamic duo who understand writing for an audio audience, allowing the listening to fully immerse without falling into so many of the mistakes other podcasts don’t even understand they’re making.  Combine that with an intriguing overarching story and genuinely frightening episodes, The Magnus Archives is my favorite podcast to date and well worth listening to, even if you don’t love horror.  Definitely start from the beginning on this one, as the story unfolds over the course of the 3 seasons currently available!

unexplainedUnexplained: Richard MacLean Smith

Unexplained is, by far, my favorite non-fiction horror podcast.  Delving not only into scary stories, this podcast explores any event without any final explanation, including treasure hunting and reincarnation.  Richard MacLean Smith has thoroughly researched each story he tells, with a wealth of information and un-embellished details that help you understand the truth of what really happened and what we really don’t know.  Some of his episodes are interesting and some just downright frightening.  Go ahead and listen to this one out of order, but some stories are broken up over several episodes, so make sure to hear those in order!

spookedSpooked: Snap Judgment and WNYC

Spooked is my favorite of the “real life” horror podcasts.  The stories aren’t simply “call in”, with terrible quality and no editing to ensure they make sense.  They are people sharing real stories in a documentary format, which means the stories are rounded and coherent, putting this podcast number one in this genre.  Some of the stories aren’t frightening, merely interesting.  Some are downright unbelievable.  But then you get the few that are genuinely terrifying.  Definitely worth a listen to if you’re into that kind of thing!  The biggest downside is the long, overly-dramatic introduction.  The host, though possessing a nice, smooth voice, is a bit over-the-top for me.  It definitely detracts from the podcast for me, so I usually just skip forward to the stories.

loreLore: Aaron Mahnke

As the podcast that introduced me to audio horror, Lore will always be on my list, and I’ll probably always listen to it.  The stories are interesting, most of them stories I’ve never heard before.  Some are funny, others interesting, and the rare episode a bit frightening.  This podcast focuses on legends, even the legends surrounding true historical events.  And while this gives him an enormous amount of creative license, which enhances some aspects of the stories, it can be a bit distracting when he’s telling a story you actually know and gets some of the facts wrong… His way of storytelling can also be a bit off-putting, with seriously forced puns that he pretends aren’t and a stilted way of speaking that can, on occasion, grate on your nerves.  In general, however, I’ve listened to every single one of Lore’s episodes, and I do enjoy them.  So if terrifying isn’t your thing, gives this podcast a listen to!  It’s spooky without being frightening.

the horrorThe Horror: Relic Radio

This podcast makes the list, but it’s definitely last on it.  In The Horror, host Jim Paul releases actual radio show epsidoes from the 1920s-1960s, the golden age of radio.  Each episode is, essentially, a rebroadcast of a stand-alone radio show episode.  The quality, because these are digital copies of recorded radio, can sometimes make it difficult to understand the show, and the content can sometimes be more funny than scary, and the episodes are definitely hit and miss.  Some are well worth your time, others are just… not.  So while I enjoy this one, it’s hard to say definitively that I recommend it.  But, if you’re ever in the mood for some “old-fashioned horror”, it’s worth a shot!




Blogger Blitz Finale: One Thousand Strong

Blogger Blitz Finale: One Thousand Strong

Okay, folks.  This is it – the Blogger Blitz Finale.  And after some intense writing, researching, and last-minute editing, I actually have a story I’m really proud of.  Is that weird to say?  I’m not sure I’ve ever truly been proud of something I’ve written, but this time I really am!  I can’t believe that this challenge is almost over.  I’ve learned so much through this.  Ian, as always, blows me away with his creativity and his ability to push boundaries, and, with the help of the other guest bloggers, of course, really brought out my creativity.  These last challenges have been harder than I thought I was capable of accomplishing and yet, I’ve been able to do it.  So thanks to Ian and his magnificent competition for helping me stretch myself a little bit and open up to a world I wasn’t sure I was capable of being a part of!

And, with that emotional introspection, let’s get on with the show!  As always, I want to acknowledge my challenger, Michael over at Git Gud at Life.  His submission to this post can be found here.  And if you haven’t read his past submissions, go do it.  They’ll blow you away with their unique writing!

And then a HUGE thank you to Ian at Adventure Rules, where the results of this competition can be found on Friday!

Here is the prompt for the final:

Anyone can take on a single enemy. Taking on a dozen or so enemies isn’t really that tough either. But fighting an army of 1000 monsters born of the darkness left behind when a human body is deprived of its heart – now THAT’s scary! But that’s exactly what our lovely antagonists will have to do in this event if they plan to make it somewhere very important – the venue for their best friend’s wedding.

Villains keep strange company, so really it’s only natural that they would hang out with someone who thought a monster-infested canyon would be a cool place to tie the knot. As the best friend, your chosen bad guy (or gal, or gender-non-binary person) is obviously expected to be in the wedding. But to get to the front of the crowd, you’ll have to fight your way through one thousand Heartless, beings that feed on the darkness inside of hearts – and there’s a whole lot of dark hearts at this wedding!

Luckily, you’re not alone. One of the most iconic parts of the Battle of the 1000 Heartless in Kingdom Hearts II is the series of cameos from previous allies who show up to kick some tail and help you make your way through the Heartless army. In the Blogger Blitz championship, these partners are the characters you’ve defeated in battle! You can include in your post cameos from the two opponents you defeated directly, as well as the character your semifinal opponent defeated, giving you a total of three characters to partner with when taking on the Heartless menace.

And, without further ado, let’s get on with the show…

Ugh.  If he weren’t my most faithful servant, the actualization of my precious sword, I wouldn’t bother with this stupid wedding.  I need to focus on the death of the boy called Link.  Even now, years after my last setback, I feel my hatred and malice for him growing, becoming more refined.  That boy, who has overthrown my plans again and again!  HOW?!  He, the holder of the most worthless piece of the Triforce?  Power and Wisdom, and then “Courage”.  That simple brat continues to best me with courage…

I need a new strategy.  I need to focus, not gallivant off into the sunset to watch Ghirahim marry himself.  The invitation was ridiculous. 

Please, my Master, attend this precious moment, where pure beauty and finesse shall marry the only possible match – itself.  I, Ghirahim, request the presence of Ganon, the reincarnation of Demise, at this joyful union of me to myself, at the Breach of Demise Canyon at sunset.


How could anyone possibly take seriously the sharing of power in some kind of “union”.


And yet… he is my most faithful of servants, the very blade I wield in the fight against the goddess.  I must attend.  His deference for me, even the place he has chosen, in homage to me.  I suppose I can give him a few moments of my time.  Especially if it means he will be better focused in the future.

I stand, stretching to relieve the cramping in my muscles that remain from a night of plotting.

It feels like a few weeks only have passed since I reveled in the Forbidden Fortress, enjoying an evening of my triumph.  And yet, years have passed.  Enough time to have been defeated again and again by that brat.  No… never defeated.  Merely slowed down.  He is simply putting off the inevitable.

I quickly dress in my best robes and, as I pass the dresser, hesitate slightly, my eyes passing over the cards of all the previous villains I’ve recently been in contact with.  I quickly pocket all three, knowing that, if any problems arose, I could easily call on those pathetic weaklings to take the brunt of the issues.

After all, there’s no one better at manipulation than Ganondorf, wielder of the Triforce of Power.

I release a shrieking call and a gargantuan black stallion comes whipping up the trail to my hiding place.  I mount, and with another shriek, send the stallion along the way to the canyon known as the Breach of Demise.

breach of demise

Mere hours later I slow to a trot, suddenly wary of the unnatural darkness settling in.  The canyon is within sight, but, with an hour left till sunset, the shadows playing across the land are unsettling.  I know that my own creatures, the Bokoblins, Moblins, even Lynels, wouldn’t dare harm their King.  So what is making that soft scratching noise where the shadows are deepest?

I dismount, creeping closer to the nearest rocky shadow, and am surprised.  A creature unlike any I’ve ever seen crouches, half-hidden in shadow.  His yellow eyes shine bright and the antennae which are just visible wave slightly as it shudders.


Is this some new being I can harness to my will?  Something that will give me an edge in the fight against Link?

The creature shifts its weight, making a soft padding sound.  I stiffen and quickly glance around as I hear that same noise echoed countless times.  Peering into the darkness settling around me I see hundreds… no, at least one thousand of these creatures, their strange yellow eyes glinting in the shadows they’re hiding in.  I throw my hands to my side, calling my purple ball lightening and ready to attack when I pause.

Yes, I could defeat this swam myself.  I am Ganondorf, the most powerful being to ever live.  But when have I ever been the first to take the brunt of an attack?

I slowly back into the light, hand slipping into a small pocket, and bring out the cards I so brilliantly brought along.  Each card bears a single name: Sigma, Marjolaine, and Xehanort.  Selecting the first of the cards I use my considerable skill to summon the first of my opponents to my side.

Let’s see how these creatures of darkness handle a man of metal and code.

As an arc of purple lightning flashes across the sky Sigma, the enemy of Mega Man, appears at my side.


“Ah, Sigma.  Delighted you could join me” I say, a slight smirk on my lips

“Ganondorf.” Sigma says dispassionately, “Why have you brought me here?”

“You see, Sigma, knowing how… desperately you enjoy researching new, insidious ways to bring down your robot friends I thought I’d invite you to share with me the discovery of a new species.  And look,” I gesture around the landscape, “there’s plenty for the both of us.”

I fold my arms and watch as Sigma stares me down, wary of any help.

“What could possibly be in this for me?”

“Oh, Sigma, I thought you were more intelligent than that” I see his eyes narrow at the insult.  “You see, I don’t know these creatures.  They are completely new to this land.  And you, Sigma, you can interface… compute… even understand animals.  If you do this for me I’ll ensure that, when you share your knowledge, I send you back home with a few of these monsters.  You can utilize them in your next fight against your nemesis.  If they’re new to him, won’t they be more difficult to defeat?”

I see Sigma processing this information.  After a moment he nods once and begins to tread softly toward the darkness.  I continue to watch, but as I do so I notice something slightly disconcerting.  As the shadows lengthen the creatures move from their hiding places, keeping to the darkness, moving slowly toward Sigma and myself.

I see Sigma pause, just slightly out of reach of the nearest creature, then see his hands whip out, attaching long metal cords to the creature.

“They are searching for… hearts.  They consume hearts, breeding from the darkness found within them.  I cannot see where they originate from.  Some land full of anthropomorphic animals dressed in ridiculous clothes.  But I… I cannot… I…”

Sigma’s voice slowly fades away and he begins convulsing slightly.

“Sigma?” I shout.  “Sigma, what’s going on?”

There’s no response.  He slowly turns to looks at me, eyes changing to a luminescent yellow.

“I have no heart” he dispassionately intones.  “But I do have a body.  Easier… to… possess”

I quickly summon a ball of lightning as Sigma throws himself at me and blast him to the ground.  He shakes and sputters, the electricity frying his circuits.


With a simple incantation and another flash of purple lightning I send him home.  Quickly removing the next card, noticing that the shadows are deepening, I summon Marjolaine.


“Yes?” her sultry tones echo slightly as she materializes.

“Marjolaine, I bested you in the last competition.  You know what I’m capable of.  Together we can destroy these monsters, keeping just one or two for ourselves.  Apparently they consume hearts.  I’m sure you’ve got plenty of hearts in your world just itching to be destroyed for the… well, the fun of it.”

“I do enjoy games” she croons, finally turning to face the swarm of monsters straining to reach us.

I hear her gasp.

“So many…”

“I would have thought someone like you would be itching for a fair fight?”

“I can only destroy so many with a bow” she spits at me.  She pauses.  “There may be a way.  I can stun them.  Every one of the enemies within the sound of my voice, for a short period of time.”

“So what are you waiting for?”

She glares at me, venom in her eyes.  Then she opens her mouth and begins to sing.  The song is haunting and as the shadows finally reach where we stand the creatures, running at us, are frozen.  I laugh.  It’s so much easier to defeat an enemy when someone else does all the difficult work.  I begin blasting the creatures with my ball lightning, turning and spinning to reach all I can see.  After several seconds I pause, looking back, waiting for the woman to spring into action and join me.  But she merely continues to stand, singing her song.

Wait…  In performing her best ability against a swarm of monsters she’s… completely useless herself?  What a worthless companion.  Do I have to do everything myself?

I let out an angry roar, lightning arcing from my fingers, stretching out and destroying the remaining creatures within my vision, their bodies vanishing into puffs of smoke.  I hear the padding of hundreds of feet as more creatures attempt to take their places.

Turning swiftly to Majorlaine I snap my fingers.  Her voice cuts off and she vanishes back into the useless world I stole her from.  Chest heaving with frustrated breaths I pull out the last card.  With an angry bellow and one last arc of lightning I summon the man to my side.


He appears, looks calmly around him, and his face cracks into an evil grin.


“I see my plan worked… This world, so full of people with so many hearts and so much light, was just itching for a cleansing.  A balance, if you will…”

My eyes narrow as the realization hits me.  This man planned this attack.  He wanted me to invite him here… to MY realm?!

“Do you truly think you can take over my kingdom?  Steal from me what I’ve earned, what I deserve!?  DO YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE A FOOL OUT OF ME?” I shout, my rage building inside.

“Of course.  Sending one thousand of my Heartless to your kingdom, on the eve of your pathetic puppet’s wedding?  Why, this worked out better than I could have imagined.  You fell for my plan.  Like the simpleton I always thought you were.”

I scream in rage, malice building inside me as he lets out a cold, mirthless laugh and his minions begin to surround me.  As I glance around me, preparing for battle, I notice that several have stopped stalking me and have, instead, merely sat upon the ground.  Odd…

“I am Ganondorf, the most powerful, the most evil of all beings.  I, the reincarnation of Demise the Demon himself, can NOT be overruled by a worthless, pathetic master of a simple sword.  I cannot be defeated!”

As my echoes die out the creatures, Heartless, Xehanort called them, all stop and slowly turn away from me and toward their master.

“Enough of this!  Attack!”  Xehanort cries, pointing the tip of a long key at me.  I brace myself but the attack never comes.  I see my enemy glance around, a look of fear replacing the triumph.

“NO!” he cries “I am most evil.  You bow down to me!  I am your master!”

“Most evil, you say?”  I chuckle.  It has finally dawned on me that these Heartless, born from darkness, must gravitate toward true evil.  And I know exactly whose heart contains the most evil.  “It seems that your gamble was… mistaken.  You should have known better than to mess with a Demon King.”  I lift a finger and point at the trembling form of my adversary.  The Heartless begin padding toward him at a run, rushing to consume the man they once served.  Xehanort lets out a shriek of terror before raising his Keyblade and vanishing, like a coward.

I chuckle again, triumphant in the knowledge that I have a new monster to let loose on the world.  What is the goddesses chosen hero to a swarm of creatures born from darkness?  I call my noble steed and set off toward the canyon and my servant’s wedding, my horde of Heartless trailing behind me, confident that I, Ganondorf, will soon conquer this world.