Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Symbolon Series: Totally Awesome Playlist (Side A)


It's no secret one of the questions we get asked the most as writers is, "Where do you get your inspiration?" If you've been with me long enough, you know I'm a music girl, and music plays a BIG part in my writing process. Funnily enough, last week, I received two messages from readers, asking if I had playlists for The Symbolon Series. Yes, I do, and you can snag the details here: Playlists. You'll find a little bit of everything, some of which are repeats from book to book.

However, amongst the hundreds and hundreds of tracks, there are a few gems that are scene-specific, and if I had to make a mix-tape, a la Guardians of the Galaxy, with limited space, these are the ones that would make Side A:

1. Shake the Disease by Depeche Mode | This song is Nyle and, when I hear it, he's immediately who jumps to mind, front and center. One of my go-to methods for plotting is to lie down with my earbuds and allow my brain to formulate scenes. In one such instance, while I was still in the middle of writing book one, I had Shake the Disease on loop and saw Scylla leaving a room in a beautiful gown. She was running, breathless, looking over her shoulder every few seconds as if she was being followed. And there was Nyle in determined pursuit.  From his point of view, he never could catch up, almost like he was trapped in a dream. He'd see a glimpse of her dress as she rounded a corner, catch the flash of her eyes as she twisted her neck to look behind. I finally got to write this scene in The Second Curse (Book 2).

2. Bound to You by Christina Aguilera | This one is Athen and Scylla. In fact, it's so Athen and Scylla that the last time I watched Burlesque (Hubs and I love this movie, ok? Tell anyone, we'll deny it...), when the scene came up where Christina sings this song, not only did my eyes fill with tears, but suddenly I felt like I was reliving Athen's and Scylla's love story all over again.

3. Better Love by Hozier | A surprise, this song. Not that I don't like Hozier, but once upon a time, Take Me to Church was so overplayed, I almost fell out of love with the man. Not his fault, of course; he's a talented artist. But this song...THIS song. Better Love makes the list because I wrote the first small battle Athen and Scylla tackled all by themselves to it on loop, and, whenever I hear it, I still see Scylla in a formal gown and perfect hair playing warrior-princess like a pro. Readers, you'll see this scene in Book 3 (squee!).

4. Phoenix Rises by John Powell | Finally, an instrumental, right? You'd be surprised by how many different movie scores and classical music compilations I listen to while writing. This little diamond is from X-Men: The Last Stand, and it personifies the scene from The Other Half (Book 1) wherein the companions (Athen, Scylla, Ryder, Gen, Landar & Meav) are running from the frost giants. When the music climaxes at 2:27, that's Athen creating the pillar of fire at the mouth of the mountain pass, barring the frost giants from further advancement. I can see the awe on everyone's faces, the shock of witnessing such unparalleled power. At 3:33, he brings down the mountain, killing the giants, and finally falls to his knees, the magic having robbed his body of strength.

5. Run Boy Run by Woodkid | One of the last scenes in The Other Half (Book 1) is when the cast is running from a mob of insurgents (I just realized they seem to be running a lot. Hmm.), toward the wall that separates the frozen lands from Creden's celestial domain. Run Boy Run was on loop when I wrote that scene. It's the perfect combination of modern and orchestral.

6. Fortress Around Your Heart by Sting | I saved this one for last, because it's been with me the longest. Fortress is one of a handful of songs I wrote to at fourteen, when writing books was something I did for fun and only, like, two people knew about it (best friend, boyfriend). It makes the cut, because there's a fantasy-feel to this track that reminds me of riding horses through open fields with castles rising in the distance. When I need to be reminded why I write and, most specifically, why I continue to write stories with romantic elements, I can always count on this one to do the job.

Thanks for reading! If you've read the series and a song jumped to your mind during a specific scene or for a particular character, tell me about it! I'd love to add more songs to my playlists. Cheers!

Peace, Love and Junior Mints,

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Teams, Hurricanes & Coffee Shops


Past couple of weeks have been a little crazy in our household. The weather's been gorgeous, sure, but the love bugs--oh my goodness, when did these things become a bona fide Old Testament plague? Back in high school, we had to practice with white flags during marching season (using show stuff any other time other than Friday nights and competition was a BIG no-no...), and the darn things would attach themselves to the fabric. By the time our band director finished lecture number fifty-two for that practice, each color guard chick would have a flag full of bugs gettin' it on. Glad somebody was during those days, but I digress...

Aside from serious bug infestation issues, I had a stomach bug. Apparently bugs are the theme of the month of September--who knew? Details are unnecessary; we've all had an intestinal virus, I'm sure. However, I did receive my first bound copy of Book #3 in the Symbolon Series, the name of which will be revealed in a near-future post (woo hoo!). So that, at least, was a big bonus.

Bugs...take that.

Visited a gorgeous coffee shop in Minden, Louisiana called The Broken Bean. Has that Rhino Coffee feel, but better. More...genuine, maybe? Point is I could live out my days in this place. Writing at one of the little round tables near a window, bottomless coffee...ahh. I have a feeling The Broken Bean will be added to my list of daydreaming go-to's.

But speaking of (and back to) books: now, I've known since the second novel there would be a "Team" thing I'd have to battle with for the duration of these novels. How? My editor told me so. And if you don't know what a "Team" is, as far as books go, I'm talking about two people wanting the same thing (or usually a person) and readers taking sides. Think Team Peeta or Team Gale in the Hunger Games or, I don't know, Team Rhett or Team Ashley in Gone with the Wind. That explained, my own little "Team" play-out has proved more than inspirational--it's been outright fun. So, please, readers...continue to message me with "Team Athen!" or "Team Nyle!" Who knows? Maybe we'll do a giveaway...

And, so, now there's hurricanes. Yikes. Lots of people have faced unspeakable devastation in the wake of these forces of nature. Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia...now, they're talking about the Carolinas. You may be thinking to yourself, "What can I do? How can I help?" One of the easiest ways is to text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Likewise, you can text IRMA to 90999 to make a $10 donation to Hurricane Irma relief efforts. You can also call your local state representatives and senators, and ask whether they are rounding up donations to send to disaster relief locations. You'd be surprised how quickly unaffected states are working to help those in desperate need.

Love you guys. Have a great week!

Peace, Love and Junior Mints,

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