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Category: Music Inspiring Writing

Music Inspiring Writing: Selah Janel

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Selah Janel a writer and music lover.

If Music be the Food of Love, Play On

By Selah Janel

“If music be the food of love, play on,” says the bard, but I think sometimes we forget how much music influences our daily lives, and our personal art. As a writer, it cocoons my workspace, puts me in that ‘ready to enter my inner universe’ mode, gets me comfortable feeling the emotions I need to feel to write whatever I’m working on. It validates, encourages, in a uniquely personal way that not much else can.

My personal tastes are all over the map. Growing up, I studied classical voice, and I still like to listen to Benjamin Britten, Purcell, Samuel Barber, Mozart, and on and on from time to time. I love musical theatre and did my time in that world, too, so soundtracks aren’t out of the question. I’m a die-hard classic rock fan, so that’s always going to happen. Still, writing music doesn’t necessarily pull directly from those catalogues. It’s obviously music I write, but I want things that will transport my mind to where it needs to go.

I love instrumental albums. David Lanz, Brian Eno, David Garrett, David Bowie’s instrumental work – I’ve had them all on repeat at different times, because they let my thoughts take the foreground while keeping my emotions on a steady simmer. I love moody artists like Delerium, Tina Malia’s Shores of Avalon, and Emily Autumn for similar reasons. If I need to just sit down and go, I’ll tap one of those, or sometimes pull up artists I’m super familiar with, like Led Zeppelin or Bowie’s massive catalogue, because it’s like having a friend sitting with me, egging me on, but not distracting me. I’ll edit to things like this or to big band, stuff that’s more background and not likely to have me falling too into the story or wanting to rehash things unless they objectively need it.

I don’t know how other people work, but I also have albums and artists that I don’t necessarily write to, but I character build or zone out to. G Tom Mac is my go to example – I love the emotions and textures in his music, and the narratives are open enough that I can apply them to a lot of my manuscripts and characters. If I’m having a problem with a sequence, I’ll play certain songs that remind me of those characters on repeat and let my mind go. Sixx: AM is another great group for this. I may not write with them playing, but their three albums give me loads of ammunition for my characters to work out their issues.

Sometimes it depends on the book. For an urban fantasy rock themed book, I wrote mainly to Zeppelin, Motley Crue, and AC/DC. The name of a short story collection I co-authored, Lost in the Shadows, is from a song title. While none of my pieces were written around songs, to me and S.H. Roddey, the title embodied our philosophy for the book and for ideas and genre in general, that it’s okay to go off the beaten path and delve into a place that others may not get or view as mysterious or apprehensive. That was in definite tribute to the sheer amount of time I’ve at least spent blasting that song during study sessions in college and later during late-night show builds for different places I’ve worked.  For other manuscripts, I name file titles/sequences by the song titles that either inspired them or that remind me of them. I just never know when a lyric or a bit of melody or something is going to catch fire and keep driving a scene into something more. I love that. I love having that support, that momentum, that inspiration from other artists, whether they know they’re giving it or not.

Music is a gateway for me, a spell to the lands that are in my head but not accessible in the real world. I find it fascinating that songs that may have been written with one intent can mean something entirely different when they’re in my ears, and inspire something that I make that is also totally different. That’s magical to me. It’s amazing that a few pitches and sounds and lyrics can mean so much to people as it is, but in a closed room when I’m focused on a manuscript or scratching at a notebook, it means so much more. It’s not always easy to keep working on manuscripts that feel endless, and although people mean well and try to be encouraging, there’s something about writing to music that screams ‘you are not alone, you have all these others with you, just get it out.’ I don’t know if it’s some semblance of permission or just the fact that I like the insulation and don’t want to be bothered when I write, but if I’m having trouble, music is definitely a huge step in overcoming block and getting words on paper.

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0908_Selah_Hedshots_60CSelah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. The many people around her that supported her love of reading and curiosity probably made it worse. Her e-books The Other Man, Holly and Ivy, and Mooner are published through Mocha Memoirs Press. Lost in the Shadows, a collection of short stories celebrating the edges of ideas and the spaces between genres was co-written with S.H. Roddey. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, The Big Bad 2, The Grotesquerie, and Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery. Olde School is the first book in her series, The Kingdom City Chronicles, published through Seventh Star Press. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own. Catch up with Selah at http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com/authorSJ, or @SelahJanel on Twitter.

Thank you Selah for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

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Music Inspiring Writing: Suzanne Madron

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Suzanne Madron, a writer and music lover.

Inspiring Music

by Suzanne Madron

When I started writing it was a diary, which was boring in comparison to some journal entries I’ve made since those first small books with small locks and tiny keys, hidden from the prying eyes of younger siblings. By high school my writing had evolved into a series of very artistic notes to friends passed in the hallways. We had a kind of daily newspaper with reports from each of our small group and they included artwork, the ever-popular ‘mood-O-meter’, and technicolor passages if we happened to be bored in art class. In true teenage fashion, we had lists of music we had discovered, and our favorite songs of the day. There was a lot of Nine Inch Nails, Fugazi, The Cure, the Ramones, The Damned, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Misfits, Alice Cooper, Ministry, Danzig, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Killing Joke, KMFDM, Dead Can Dance, Sisters of Mercy, Nick Cave, Shriekback, and then this new band called Nirvana. I know, I know, spot the goths.

In fact, it was because of Shriekback that I got the inspiration for my first novel, Nemesis. They have a song titled “Nemesis” (if interested in seeing the video,you can view it here – caveat, it was the ‘80’s and it is very much an ‘80’s video), and while listening to it in my room as an angsty teen, I drew a picture of what would later become the main character of my Immortal War Series. In my senior year, I wrote the first draft of Nemesis after being tricked into using the new ‘laptop’ computer (read: a giant unwieldy beast of a thing that had word perfect and solitaire installed) in AP English. I spent nine months glued to the screen and listening to music, the words flowing into the keyboard and onto the screen. My English teacher loved it. My theater teacher loved it. The select few friends who got to read the original draft loved it. I kept rewriting it. I created a small soundtrack for it a la mix tape, and the songs were mostly Sisters of Mercy songs at first. The Some Girls Wander by Mistake boxed set took over for the backdrop to my rewriting of Nemesis and the subsequent books, but I needed more. The mix tape made way for the burned mix CD, which was replaced by iTunes.

By then I had been rewriting all of my novels for over a decade. Fields of the Nephilim bumped Sisters of Mercy on the new NEMESIS playlist, and “Darkcell AD” and “One More Nightmare” were on repeat until the Mourning Sun album came out. The playlist evolved and grew as my iTunes library grew, and included all the bands above and absorbed VNV Nation, Covenant, Combichrist (which I used as a soundtrack when writing the short stories that eventually got included in the Cover Stories Euphictional Anthology), Rammstein, KMFDM, Sister Machine Gun, Rosetta Stone, SKOLD, Carfax Abbey, Rome, and Deathstars.

The playlists for the other books are even more varied and include Skruncha-roo, Fever Ray, Paradise Lost, Dethklok, Eivor, Arcana, and Gorillaz, to name but a few. It’s hard to nail my taste down to just one style of music, even, because my pseudonyms all have different tastes. For example, Xircon prefers loud and fast. Punk rock and metal populate that playlist. James Glass prefers Big Band, Dixieland, and old Jazz and Blues, though he’s been known to wander into Nick Cave territory. The lists can go on and on, but this is a decent primer of what soundtrack is playing in my head and outside of it half the time when I’m not plagued by the themesong from Bubble Guppies.

~ Suzanne Madron

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Photo on 12-31-15 at 5.47 PMSuzanne Madron is the latest incarnation of Suzi M. She has written several novels, many short stories, and created multiple pseudonyms under which to write. Her more popular pseudonyms include James Glass (The Metatron Mysteries) and Xircon (The Lazarus Stone [Conspiracy Edit]). All of her work can be found on Amazon, and select editions can be found on Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Suzanne lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and House Panther. In her spare time she likes to turn the step tracker app on in her phone while she’s in the car and let it think she’s a cheetah.

Suzanne Madron Amazon Author Page

Suzanne Madron Facebook Page: Suzanne on Facebook

Thank you Suzanne for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Leigh M. Lane

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Leigh M. Lane, a writer and music lover.

Choosing the Right Playlist

by Leigh M. Lane

Jane RevivalI’m not sure how common this is, but I seem to change with the wind when it comes to using music as inspiration for my writing. I discovered the benefits of matching music with writing when I was in my early teens. I remember my sister and I would have various tapes (yes, we played tapes back then) at the ready, with a boom box (it was the ’80s) to the right of the computer.

We had different selections for different types of scenes—mood music, if you will. Vampires killing a roomful of people? Put on a little Metallica or maybe some early Queensrÿche. Building up tension or working on a chapter with a little drama? INXS, U2, or R.E.M. were usually good choices. Writing a scene that’s a little more lighthearted? Fleetwood Mac or Def Leppard. Provocative or fantastical? Pink Floyd, of course.

Over the years, my musical palette has expanded quite a bit, but my use of music to enhance my writing process has become much more limited. Strangely, there are times when I require near silence in order to write. Sometimes, I’ll turn the music on in the next room over to make it more ambient. There are still times, however, when I engulf myself in an album in order to set the right mood for a scene or story.

A good example is the music I chose to inspire a short story for a clown-themed horror anthology set for release later this year. No, “To the Shock of Miss Louise” didn’t help me along (sorry, you’ll only get that reference if you’ve ever listened to The Lost Boys soundtrack—great selection of songs, until you get to the end, and then *bam* carousel music). While some of the songs on that soundtrack might have served me well, I was looking for something a little more … violent. You see, I’d opted to include a little torture porn in this story, and not just anything would do. The perfect choice? Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals. I think it did the trick. You can let me know once the anthology, Painted Mayhem, is released.

Most of my writing tends to be much more cerebral, however, for which I’ve found David Bowie, Tori Amos, Joe Satriani, or a classical composition by Mozart or Dvořák fits the bill. And, if all else fails, I’ll turn on the classic rock station through my local cable provider … and take my chances that the Bob Dylan selections will be sparse (sorry, Dylan fans). Classic rock almost always lightens my mood, and the words always come more freely when I’m in a good mood.

My most recent venture has been more difficult; finding the right music to write by has, for the most part, eluded me. I started writing a cyberpunk novel a couple weeks ago, and I’m still not sure what music is best to enhance that genre. It’s dark, with some dystopian elements, but also very lighthearted in places. Obviously, whatever music I choose needs to spur my creativity; the sci-fi aspects demand complex world-building. Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party is a good start, I think, but I need a wider selection to cover the darker aspects. Have any ideas as to what might fit? I’d love some suggestions.

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Corset4Lisa (Leigh M.) Lane has been writing dark speculative fiction for over twenty years. She has ten published novels and dozens of published short stories. She is married to editor and educator Thomas B. Lane Jr. and currently resides in the outskirts of Sin City.

Her published works include the traditional Gothic horror novel, Finding Poe; the World-Mart trilogy, a dystopian tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut; the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods; urban fantasy trilogy Revelations; and the dramatic horror novella series, Jane the Hippie Vampire.

Thank you Leigh for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Michele Roger

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Michele Roger, a writer, music lover, and musician.

♫ Notes and Storytelling ♫

Michele Roger

michele2As a published author of two novels, (The Conservatory and Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Novel) as well as a musician and composer (Finalist for Best Classical Composer at the 2015 Detroit Music Awards), most people ask me about how music and writing go together in my world.  While other successful authors will tell you that they listen to certain music while they write, I have a confession to make.  I can’t do it.  I can’t listen to any music,with words or without, while writing.  I feel very flawed to admit this.

There is a class musicians are required to take in school where they have to write down (in note form) the music that they hear played by the teacher.  I have become so good at it, that even a student humming will throw me off, if I am making notes in their music or writing something musically.  The same goes for writing stories.  My page starts out as a plot and turns into song lyrics from the CD or radio, if I have it playing.

So what is an auditory musician with a story to tell supposed to do?  Well, over the years I have developed a strategy.  Honestly, I am very jealous of the writers who can play music while they write.  Meanwhile, I must write in silence for the “magic” to happen.  But here is my routine for deriving inspiration from music.

In my last book, Eternal Kingdom, there were a ton of hand to hand combat scenes.  I wanted some music that could inspire me, as well as help me, figure the speed of the fight.  Music tends to give me meter.  It prevents me from rushing the story.  When I have an idea of how I want to write the scene, I begin by leaving my tablet behind.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  To write well, walk away from the work.

micheleInstead, I pop in my ear buds and take a walk.  As the music plays ( I chose a lot of heavy metal and vampire rock to inspire my fight scenes.  Think ‘Concrete Blond’s’ album, “Blood Letting.” ) As I walk, the music blares, the scene roughly plays out in my head.  As I head back home, I replay the same music and the scene comes in to focus, with finer detail.  By the time I return home, my nervous energy is expelled, my scene is hashed out in detail in my mind and I sit down to my tablet to write.  In silence.

Music can also help clear a block in writing.  If I can’t think of what a character might order at a bar while waiting to meet someone, I tend to play smokey jazz music and turn the lights down in my office.  Nora Jones often helps in this kind of ‘aching heart, longing to meet someone’ kind of scenario.  I sit in my recliner and imagine the scene playing out in the club or bar.  The music moves the story bar tender from my character, to the liquor lined up behind the bar, to the concoction she pours into a shaker with ice and eventually into a glass.  The character tags a sip.  The story moves.  What my imagination could not produce for the character alone, the music draws it out and colors it in.  Again, when the scene is fresh in my head, off goes the music and on goes the tablet where I recreate the images with words.

The reverse is also true.  Let’s say I’ve been asked to write a short love song to play for a bride as she walks down the aisle.  I need to put my head in hers, if I can.  I will often turn to books and authors who cover romantic, young love.  Depending on the bride, I may read certain chapters of Jane Austen, or some of the Love Sonnets, or the steamy works of Veronica Franco.   I might ask her what her favorite book is, and read parts of it to capture a bit of her spirit in the song written specifically for her.

The process is entirely different when a book inspires music composition.  Often, I have the chosen book in one hand and my lap top with the Muse Note music composing software open in the other hand.  I’m humming and reading the chapters and writing the music and referring to the chapter in what must look like a jumbled up cha cha dance between paper and glowing screens across my desk.  Never the less, the song is finished and printed.  I take it down to my harp and practice it, tweak it and prepare to perform it. Later the piece of music is wrapped and prepared to give to the bride on the day of her wedding, after she has walked down the aisle to it.

I’ve read that music begins for very young children in the same place in the brain where language develops.  While many schools of thought consider music to be mathematical, I tend to lean towards the language/music pairing as more true.  Both are vehicles to tell a story and both words and melody have been doing so since humans first felt words tumble from their lips.

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Michele’s work can be found:

The Conservatory

Eternal Kingdom

SEARCH Magazine Food and Travel Articles: www.searchmagazine.net

 

Thank you Michele for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Dahlia DeWinters

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Dahlia DeWinters, a writer and music lover.

Music as Ins

by Dahlia DeWinters

Ah, music.  The melodies that soothe the savage beasts, inspire poems by moonlight and raise babies’ IQs, right? But really, how powerful is a song?  Being a woman of a certain age, I was raised on seventies and eighties music. When they play those songs on the oldies’ station, I can remember sitting by the radio, fingers poised over the “record and play” buttons, waiting for Casey Kasem to stop talking over the introduction of the song I wanted to record.

From the American Songbook to Elvis to The Beatles to Public Enemy and beyond, I will listen to it all.  In my head, there are only two kinds of music…good and bad.  I don’t pigeonhole my musical tastes by genre, by age or by whatever, because you never know when you’ll find the piece that inspired.

As a writer, I’ve found that music helps push you in writing.  If I’ve been working on a scene and feel that I’m not getting it just right, I click over to my playlists, which I’ve had the wherewithal to label “Love”, “Angst” and “Anger” among other emotive descriptors.  One click, a glance at my scribbled notes, and soon I’m on my way, typing away on the scene on which I was stuck.

Or at least, that’s the way it works in my head….that is not always the reality.

DD_ATD2_OneMoreForTheRoad_coverinNevertheless, music does pave the way for ideas, inspiration and the odd thought that pops into one’s head at odd times.  Thank goodness for the notes app on my phone.

So, let me share with you a little of my magical, musical process.


Starry-eyed romance, whew.
  With these songs, it’s the lyrics that grab me the most.  Just that one perfect line can make the song.  For example:

Hey, Soul Sister –  Train. “The smell of you in every single dream I dream…”

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol. “All that I ever was/Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see..”

The One –  Elton John.  “When stars collide, like you and I….no shadow blocks the sun…”

Waiting for You –  Seal. “There has been no one brighter than you/I can’t deny these things that I do/Feels like the world’s at stake, yeah/I have been waiting/I have been waiting for you….”

And from the American Songbook:  All the Things You Are (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II). “You are the promised kiss of springtime that makes the lonely winter seem long…..You are the angel glow that lights a star…..the dearest things that I know are what you are….” I prefer the Sinatra version.

Combine those words with the powerful music, and how can you not get all gooey inside?

Angst.  Oh, the visions of teenagers clutching pillows and crying until their chest aches.  I don’t usually have angst…but when I need it, here are my go-to groups/songs.

Sounds of Silence- Disturbed

So Lonely – The Police

Love is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar (also, Promises in the Dark)

Separate Ways – Journey

All by Myself – Eric Carmen

All Cried Out – Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

Wicked Game – HIM

Twilight Zone – Golden Earring

Fight/High Energy Scenes?  I got you.

Mama Said Knock  You Out – LL Cool J

Land of Confusion – Genesis and/or Disturbed

We’re Not Gonna Take it – Twisted Sister

Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 – Pink Floyd

Rebel Yell – Billy Idol

Fight the Power  – Public Enemy

DahliaDeWintersHeadshotOf course, I’ve got tons more, but this post is to give you just a taste of what inspires me, moves me, motivates me.  Like what you read and want to read more?  Certainly you do!  Check me out at bohowriterchick.com!

~Dahlia

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Thank you Dahlia for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Loren Rhoads

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Loren Rhoads, a writer and music lover.

How Music Inspires My Writing

by Loren Rhoads

lost-angels-frontWhen I start a new project, I usually search for an album that summarizes the feeling of the writing.  If I’m lucky, I find audio inspiration that can put my brain right back into the same channels time after time, something that primes my imagination whenever I sit down to work.

Some albums I’ve listened to so often that I can no longer stand to hear them when the work is done.  That can be helpful, if I ever need to go back and revise – or pick up the thread to write more work in that universe. Some albums, like Dead Can Dance’s Within the Realm of A Dying Sun, I’ve listened to so often that I’ve sucked all the juice out of them.  They’ve lost their power.

One album that never lost its magic for me is SPK’s Zamia Lehmanni (Songs for Byzantine Flowers).  SPK was an Australian industrial band from 1978-1988 formed by Graeme Revell.  Revell played keyboards and the percussion that propels their sound.  He eventually moved to Hollywood, where he’s written soundtracks for The Crow, The Craft (also great to write to), the Riddick movies, and much, much more.

Zamia Lehmanni’s music is a dense layering of anthropological tapes, industrial noise, keyboards, and percussion.  I like that each piece from the “Invocation” to “The Doctrine of Eternal Ice” has its own personality, although the tone throughout remains nice and dark.  In fact, the music dances over the border into ominous territory.  The underlying drone raises my hackles, which is exactly the mood I needed to work on the story I had published earlier this month, “Sakura Time.”

When my husband Mason and I went to Japan in 1999, we focused our trip on meeting Japanese doll-makers.  Sinister one-of-a-kind art dolls were pioneered by Katan Amano, who created dolls like a demonic blond with silver eyes and corpse-colored skin, who wore a kimono the color of spilled blood.  After Katan’s early death, Ryo Yoshida continued to teach her style of ball-jointed china dolls.

Two things stuck in my head after our trip. Yoshida told us that he had been investigated by the police years before, while a serial killer terrorized Japan.  Horrified and inspired, Yoshida had recreated one of the crime scenes with his dolls.  The resultant photograph was a little too realistic for the police.

Following that conversation, one of the china dolls we met in Japan was a hyper-realistic toddler-sized beauty who – her owner revealed – was anatomically correct.  The way the collector behaved when he undressed her for us creeped me right out.

I wanted to write a Japanese ghost story, like The Ring or Dark Water or the old Lafcadio Hearn tales.  I wanted the ghost to be perverse and dangerous, truly evil.  Murderous.  And I wanted to use what I’d learned about Japanese art dolls.

To get myself into the mood, I put on Zamia Lehmanni again.  I’ve used it as a soundtrack to several other stories about Alondra DeCourval, my young witch who is too angry to be afraid of much of anything.

I’m not sure I got more than a minute into “Invocation” before the words started to flow.

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loren-rhoads-photoLoren’s website: http://lorenrhoads.com/

Fright Mare: Women Write Horror on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1oquATY

Thank you Loren for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Snakeappletree

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is an old friend, Snakeappletree.

ESCAPISM

Snakeappletree

 

“It’s the one thing I have got; and even that is an illusion.”

snake2I am a musician myself so the creation of an experience, a landscape, a world, a soundscape, through multi-sensory is a huge part of what it is all about. I am inspired by a lot of different and diverse musical genres. Taking elements of one and weaving it into another is a natural progressive part of being an experimental musician; I apply the same ethos to literature.

As I saw the post requesting writers to come forward and describe what music inspires them, I happened to be reading this: David Bowie, Outside an album which came out very shortly before I was sent to Art School an event which split up my band and added to the trauma for which many writers and other creatives are famous. Those formative experiences are a large factor in developing the need to express feelings through whatever form.

The references in the wiki about Bowies albums Outside and Diamond Dogs, two albums which have greatly inspired my approach toward both writing and music. Unintentionally I suppose this is a tribute to his recent death from cancer. Bowies ability to pick up something immediately and re-work it is inspirational, an ability which Mozart was also famed. That level of genius is inevitably going to affect people.

Diamond Dogs is based on Orwells 1984 which so many people have said, was intended as a warning and not as a guide. We are facing a near-future where these feelings of impending totalitarianism being engineered around us make us feel insignificant in our ability to do anything about it, to prevent such eventuality. As creative people we remember how the last time Fascism swept through Europe, it was the creatives and intelligensia who were rounded up and shot because they posed a threat to the new rulers.

We can all see that things are going the same way. No amount of writing, no amount of music and singing about it, is going to help change things. That is a sad lesson from history; the only effectual method is as Che Guevara proved, a short bloody coup and instigation of something different, which in some ways is more human while in others is less humane.

These are real issues we need to be facing, instead of wasting our time living in ignorant bliss, making ‘goods to the value; with our highly trained skills and natural talents. The stress of facing reality has an impact on the arts, on our productivity. We are not yet machines. We face the so-called transhumanism evolution which is an enslavement system. We read releases by the military confessing that ufo and alien visitors to this world are actually a reality after all, but nobody cares because we have bills to pay and cannot afford them. We have islamic migration demanding Sharia law to replace Common Law of our Ancestors which itself is ignored by a fascist government. It is a dark time in many ways, and we can see that the hedonistic era during which musicians and writers were able to warn us of the near-future, is gone now.

What can we do, but focus on getting ourselves out of the mess. The strange thing is that this sentiment is felt all across the globe, by the 99% of people who are not the wealthy caste. Were all the notes to be played at the same moment, we would have discord. Were all the words to be written on top of one another, we would have discord. Were all our bodies cells to grow in the same place at the same time, we would have cancer. Were all the money to be placed into the same bank account, we would have starvation everywhere.

The imbalance is extreme now, and as such this awareness is directly feeding both literary works of art and musical masterpieces. For the real artists, those who can see what is happening and permit it to affect their works as inspiration, becoming a time-piece speaking for Our generation. For everyone else there are corporate house styles the same now as they ever were. Kids are discovering this stuff for the first time and experiencing the same elation as the elders did back in the day. I see my own maturing role in all of this and how little an impact one person can actually make on changing the world for the better. We all feel like that because this is a generation of manufactured, socially-engineered apathy.

The typical social response is to blame the victim and sweep it under the carpet. And that is not what we need. We need new socialist leaders to rise and get the message across. We need writers to have an impact on the readers, to energize us to prevent dictatorship. People who have voice and are recognized and not afraid to die for the cause of freedom, or face imprisonment for it; yes, here in the western, civilized world. As a teenager I thought this would be possible through music, through selling image, through writing which would outlive me.

So I listen to music which resonates with how I feel and I create music and words which are the same. I listen to Mazzy Star after a relationship break-up and Solfreggio tones because they are much more impressive than any ego-vibes, no matter how skilled. Healing sounds which clear the mind and allow me to rise up, say what I need to say and feel good about it. Energetically re-programming myself with sacred soundwaves because it serves me better than to buy into some other persons for-profit enterprise.

It does not change the world, but it changes my world. Is that selfish? Perhaps. I do not have the spare income to fund projects and other peoples hedonism, I barely have sufficient of that to fund my own. This is the result of a staged economic recession. Resonant frequencies help me to get through it and they do bring clarity to my writing, a more focused headspace from which I can construct better stories.

And that is what it is all about.

****************

Snakeappletree is published in SL Goth magazine February edition.
Other sci-fi stories are published in Bright Metallic magazine.
blog site:
www.snakeappletree.blogspot.co.uk

website:
www.snakeappletree.co.uk
Cyberpunk community soundtrack 2015 features 2 of his tracks
http://cyberpunkcommunitysoundtrack.tumblr.com/post/137943275310/cyberpunk-community-soundtrack-no5-2015-free
Bright Metallic magazine:
http://brightmetallic.com
SL Goth magazine: http://slgoth.net/ and https://issuu.com/slgoth
soundclouds:
https://soundcloud.com/snakeappletree-white-lightning-gate
https://soundcloud.com/sat2014
https://soundcloud.com/snakeappletree

Thank you Snakeappletree for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Sumiko Saulson

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Sumiko Saulson, a writer and music lover. She has taken this opportunity to let one of her character speak for her in a very amusing and entertaining post. Enjoy!

Why my favorite band isn’t the same as my author’s

By Flynn Keahi

(With apologies to my writer, Sumiko Saulson)

My name is Flynn Keahi.  I am thirty-two years old today, but I was twenty-six years old when I was born two years ago in 2014. I’m not a time traveler, not exactly. I’m a fictional character. My biological mother’s name is Samantha Keahi, but my literary mother is Sumiko Saulson. I’m the central protagonist in her novel Happiness and Other Diseases, the first book in a dark fantasy trilogy called Somnalia.

While I am not Sumiko herself, I am influenced by her choices, thoughts, preferences and actions. For example, she’s looking over my shoulder while I write this article, editing my sentences, making sure I don’t issue any spoiler alerts.

Love and Rockets “Mirror People”

Sumiko’s favorite bands have varied over the years. Depending on which decade you asked her, she might have told you Joy Division, Public Image Limited, Love and Rockets, or… nothing, really. She tells me she was so upset when Love and Rockets broke up that she stopped having favorite bands. Her loss, if you ask me.

I asked her what her favorite Love and Rockets song was, and although she couldn’t give me a definitive answer, she did tell me that she though Mirror People would be appropriate for this article.

She says that in a way, I am her mirror. I’m a reflection of how she feels about her existence in her world as a person with bipolar disorder. She also says that I’m the person she sees when she looks in the mirror who isn’t exactly herself. She tells me I’m an aspect of her personality, but to be completely honest, I refuse to believe her. I think I’ve taken on a life of my own, and I refuse to be reabsorbed into the Sumiko borg mind complex.

Red Hot Chili Peppers “Otherside”

As for me, my favorite band is The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I like other bands, don’t get me wrong. I’m into System of a Down and Slipknot, and I know what you’re thinking, RHCP is kind of old school. But I love me some Flea and that funky slap bass. Besides, my author kept playing “Blood Sugar Sex Magic” while she was driving up and down I-80 writing me. It reminds her of her hometown, Los Angeles. It also reminds her of her family. Her brother Scott loves the Chili Peppers, and he sings Chili Pepper songs with his daughter Franchesca at karaoke.

My preferences help her remember who I am as an individual character. They keep me distinct from other characters she has written in the past. They help her remember ways in which I am a separate entity even though I stem from the same source. They keep me real for her.

“Otherside” isn’t my favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers song… that’s “Snow (Hey Oh),” which Sumiko says is annoying as hell. She refuses to let me link it to this article. She’s such a snob. So I picked my second favorite song, “Otherside,” which is very portentous, if you’ve read Happiness and Other Diseases. I can’t tell you exactly why without spoilers, but it does have something to do with the dream world and the world outside of dreams where we materially exist. You’ll find out when you read my story.

The Cure “Charlotte Sometimes”

Today, I told Sumiko that my favorite song is “Charlotte Sometimes” by The Cure. That might seem odd to you, given that I just said RCHP is my favorite band. It doesn’t seem that strange to Sumiko because she knows my love interest in Happiness and Other Diseases is Charlotte Metaxas.  The song reminds Sumiko of us, and not just because Charlotte was named after the song. The lyrics of the song also remind her of our love story.

In Happiness and Other Diseases, I’m in a lot of trouble because I’m under attack by Greco-Roman dream spirits called oneiroi and somnalia, respectively. They are the sons and grandchildren of Somnus, the god of sleep. Not content to remain in their dream world, they try to enter the waking world in corporeal form through nefarious means, such as human and animal blood sacrifice. I’m one of the few human beings aware that they are real, but no one believes me because I’m bipolar.

The reason I love “Charlotte Sometimes” is that I know that Sumiko used to play it on the jukebox at Sparky’s 24 Hour Diner in San Francisco over and over again when she was sick after 9/11.  Like many songs Sumiko loves, “Charlotte Sometimes” was written about a novel by another writer.  The book, by Penelope Farmer, is about a girl named Charlotte who communicates with another girl named Clare from another time through a diary. After a while, she starts to have trouble remembering who she actually is.

The struggle to maintain one’s own identity while living in a dream world is one I can both literally and figuratively relate to. In my life, I’m under attack by real supernatural entities, but I also deal with a psychological disorder. Both of those things make it difficult for me to assert who I am and maintain my identity.  As a character, I have a single identity, but as the product of an author, I experience a certain duality. Sumiko is and is not my Charlotte. She isn’t me, but I’m not in the position to tell my own story without her. She’s my author and I can only communicate through her. It’s confusing for both of us, and Charlotte, sometimes.

Siouxsie and the Banshees  “Melt”

“Melt” is a song my author listened to over and over again when she was writing me. “Melting man” was actually a nickname that one of the other characters in the book gave me at one point.  I’m reluctant to get into it, since she wrote me as a somewhat shy and closeted sexually submissive man, but the song has some connection to my romantic relationship with Charlotte. It also has something to do with how I got into trouble with the Greco-Roman pantheon in the first place. Come to think of it, I’m too embarrassed to talk about it. Let’s change the subject to another Siouxsie and the Banshees song instead.

Generally speaking, Sumiko listened to more Siouxsie than anything else when she wrote me. One other song of particular significance was “Sick Child,” which discusses melancholia.  That’s what they used to call depressive disorders, especially bipolar disorder. My author was never able to determine a specific historical or literary reference for the subject matter. However, it is notable that the song’s lyrics are consistent with 17th Century views of the disorder, its causes and treatments. They are particularly evocative of Robert Burton’s “The Anatomy of Melancholy.” References to music, touch, and snuff use as treatments are specific examples of this. John Keats said “The Anatomy of Melancholy” was his favorite book.

I didn’t really like these songs when Sumiko first started playing them for me, but she keeps singing them to me and Charlotte. I have to admit, that’s pretty romantic. I bet you wish you had an author to sing love songs to you.

Slipknot “Duality”

By the time Sumiko got around to writing the sequels to Happiness and Other Diseases, she and I were both feeling a little more agro, for reasons. I’m not allowed to get into the “reasons” because spoilers or some such nonsense.  Let me just say, my girl Charlotte’s family is half Greco-Roman gods, and they’re nasty business. Once you get on their radar, all kinds of bad starts to happen in your life. I could blame it all on them, but Sumiko’s my author. I’ve been giving her a lot of attitude lately. Can you blame me?

She keeps telling me to tone it down. She says, “It could have been worse. How would you have liked being written by George RR Martin, or Stephen King?”

I’m like, “Woman, you’ve got to be kidding me. Not every author is a serial killer. I could have been written by Jane Austen, or Charlotte Bronte, or Anne Rice.”

But Sumiko insists that I’m developing pretentions, and none of those writers are the least bit interested in me. These writers have a lot of attitude. They’re very difficult to deal with.

“Duality” is a much more angry sounding song I relate to as a person with a mental illness. That’s just for starters, because I don’t want to even get started talking about the Flynn Keahi/Sumiko Saulson identity crisis. At first, Sumiko was happy that I was helping her to write a well-received series. I helped this woman to develop a following, but does she appreciate me? Oh no! She says that Sera, the protagonist of “Warmth” was popular before I was ever born. She says I’m too demanding, always pestering her for sequels. She says I’m giving her a headache.

For one thing, she told me that Somnalia was going to be a trilogy. I don’t think it should be a trilogy. I think she should just keep writing sequels. She gets pissed off at me, and insists I’m taking up valuable real estate in her brain. She argues with me a lot, and I’m not trying to say anything, but since she’s the only one people can see, everyone assumes she’s insane. They’re prescribing her antipsychotics to get rid of me. I’m a little ticked off about that.

Luckily, I have some good music to listen to while Sumiko tries to get rid of me.

I’m hoping that you can do me a solid, and write her an email or leave a blog comment protesting her nefarious attempts to write about other characters. She’s really pissing me off.

**************

Flynn_004Flynn Keahi biography: Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in San Mateo, California, Flynn a fictional character who is half Chinese and half Hawaiian. He attended UC Davis before symptoms of bipolar disorder forced him to drop out. He went on to work in a series of computer graphics temp jobs before being attacked by hostile Greco-Roman dream spirits that wanted to drain all of his psychic energy and leave him a lifeless hulk.

**************

sumiko armbandSumiko Saulson is the author of three sci-fi/horror novels, Solitude, Warmth, and The Moon Cried Blood, and short story anthology Things That Go Bump in My Head. Born to African-American and Russian-Jewish parents, she is a native Californian, and has spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area.

Thank you Flynn (and Sumiko!) for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Elliot Thorpe

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Elliot Thorpe, a writer and music lover.

The Strength of Sound
How Music Inspires Me to Write

Elliot Thorpe

Music has always been a large part of my life. Growing up, it was something the family was acutely aware of (the family business was music-based) and a friend of the family was a singer of some renown.

When my own career ventured towards writing, it wasn’t a surprise that music still had its part to play.

cold runsThanks to the family business, I‘ve been given opportunities I never thought I get and that, in turn, has led to other non-music influenced writing. But music is still there and still resonates quite literally.

As well as being influential, music has also turned into something inspirational, mainly when it comes to my fiction writing. And that isn’t something I’m alone in.

I spoke to a couple of fellow writers recently about this and we all came to the conclusion that we more or less tend to compile specific playlists to set the tone or find a rhythm, or even create flash fiction because a particular piece of music inspires a story to be written. Quite often, I’ll put a CD or two on of a full scorer or put together a compilation of a specific artist. On occasion I have been known to do something about-face by making up a mock ‘soundtrack’ once the work has been completed (sequencing different tracks from different composers to create something new).

And it’s the genre of music that is important to me, that draws inspiration onto the page before me.

Y’see, I’m something of a film score aficionado and I’m fortunate to have a wealth of soundtracks I can tap into: anything from Rosza to Hermann to Morricone to Elfman to Giacchino to Desplat – and lots inbetween.  Those names there alone conjur up such a range of styles and subjects that it is easy to find a piece, or even a complete score, that can easily emulate the feel of a scene I want to write.

Steven Spielberg has often said of his long-time collaborator John Williams that the music his composer produces is a character in its own right (Indiana Jones’ melodies are a perfect example of that, as is Monty Norman’s James Bond theme). That stance is something I can understand and appreciate.

Take for example, a scene I was writing for my medieval horror novel ‘Cold Runs the Blood’. There’s a night sequence in a snow-laden forest, with my protagonists on the run from soldiers wielding burning torches, rabid dogs on chains leading the chase. There are also vampires in the air, ready to add to the impending slaughter. It was one of the first chapters I wrote for the novel (and very much out of continuity at the time).

When I plotted the scene, I could hear a pounding, heart-in-mouth soundtrack, possibly something from James Horner, most likely from his terrific score for Aliens. It gave me the pace I was after and the rhythm it needed to add dimension and suspense. When I finished writing, happy with what I had created, the music that then fitted was a subtle, brooding piece from Mark Snow (taken from his composition for the first X-Files movie) coupled with Riz Ortolani’s surprisingly wonderful music to Cannibal Holocaust. The unexpected change in tone actually guided the remainder of the novel and it meant I could find inspiration from unusual sources. Same book, different scene involving a drunken brawl in an inn: leit motifs to the romantic period movie Total Eclipse composed by Jan A P Kazcmarek. See? It’s funny how a writer’s mind works! It works, it would appear, much the same as a film director’s.

One such creative who is well-known for his love of music is Quentin Tarantino. The soundtracks he complies sometimes contrast wildly with the visuals. Look at the opening scene to Inglorious Basterds. It’s a World War II movie but we hear music that implies we’re watching a spaghetti western. Then there’s J J Abrams and his take on Star Trek, telling us that James T Kirk is a fan of the Beastie Boys by pounding out ‘Sabotage’ both in the opening young-Kirk car chase sequence and the trailer for third outing Star Trek Beyond.

It’s that contrast I like. It allows me to not be so conservative when I write. It pushes me to (or at least attempt to) write in a style or voice that I would not normally do. It also allows me to find that creativity – designing and executing plots and tangible threads.

I can’t easily write to music that has lyrics (vocals yes, lyrics no). There’s a distraction simply because a song has a story of its own – unless that song is a springboard itself! (In an older work, I wrote a complete scene triggered by a song by the Cure and I’ve been long-time planning a contemporary novel inspired by a hit single from the UK-based 70s progressive rock band Electric Light Orchestra.)

It makes sense, of course, that film music is an inspiration for writing but I do also find myself turning to the classics. I’m not that well-versed but I know what I like!

Wagner is incredibly emotive. Rumbling along, offering bleak murmurings and soaring operas, his music spills into the dark fiction that I adore writing. Conversely, classical works from modern composers such as Michael Daugherty or Karl Jenkins offer diverse instrumentation and eclectic melodies – and my writing has sometimes gone off on tangents as a result.

I don’t always write with music playing in the background, though. It’s not a requisite to get the words out. But writers’ block, that old enemy of the author, can often be swept away by a choice track or two.

This writing thing isn’t easy. It’s sometimes agonising and it’s sometimes poetic and it’s sometimes heart-breaking and so there’s nothing to say we shouldn’t find comfort in listening to something that thrills us and moves us.

And in the end, what appears on the page should be a wondrous creation, calling on multiple inspirations, differing channels and rousing foundations but be, ultimately, unique.

****************

Elliot Thorpe 4566a-1024x683Elliot Thorpe (Twitter: @Elliot1701) is a freelance writer, having worked with the sites Den of Geek, Shadowlocked and Doctor Who TV. In 2005, he scripted ‘Doctor Who – Cryptobiosis’ starring Colin Baker and his first horror novel ‘Cold Runs the Blood’ was released in 2013. Some of his short stories have been published in the anthologies ‘Grave Matters’ and ‘The Extraordinary Lives of People Who Never Existed’. He has also contributed to and co-edited ‘Seasons of War –Tales From A Time War’. As well as his own blog (elliotthorpe.wordpress.com), he contributes regularly to the San Francisco-based magazine SEARCH, and is currently writing a biography of Dean Martin.

Thank you Elliot for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.

Music Inspiring Writing: Jeremiah Donaldson

Welcome to my blog series all about how ♫ Music Inspires Writing ♫

Today my guest is Jeremiah Donaldson, a writer and music lover. All of you readers have Jeremiah to thank for being able to read me in print. He was the one who inspired me to try out Create Space and publish my first novel, Night’s Knights. After getting my feet wet with that, the anthology offers from publishers started rolling in. So thank you Jeremiah!

A Word On Music

Jeremiah Donaldson

jldonplagueArt in all forms can be inspiring. From paintings, to sculpture, to architecture, to writing of all types. However, many of those artists have another art in common: music. I’ll only mention that music possibly started off as a practical tool for communication with origins in prehistory, it’s a powerful mood altering tool, and that it can be broken down into mathematical/geometrical equations and studied, with discoveries reaching across both fields. This isn’t a science lesson. Even if so, the body of musical analysis could only be touched on here since it’s spread across many fields of study.

Why do movies have background music? Because it sets the tone. A story is nothing more than a movie in words, and the content at time of creation is highly dependent upon outside factors that get filtered through the writer. Much the same way a movie uses music to set a tone, I use music to normalize the tone of my writing by having something consistent to filter while working. However, loud music can be distracting, and I find it best for myself to set the volume so that I can only hear it clearly once I stop typing. But all music isn’t created equal for this purpose. My musical tastes are eclectic, ranging across many decades and most genres. I have many songs I could pull up for any given tone or mood, but there are genres I prefer for specific work because of the energy and themes behind them.

Rap rock: This is my favorite general category, but the music within it ranges greatly, such as: Rehab, Hed Pe, Tech Nine, Linkin Park, Hollywood Undead, and many more. The overall themes are upbeat, sometimes tongue in cheek, and cover a wide range of subjects. The energy level varies from medium to very high, and I can listen to it while writing and doing about anything.

Metal/punk: I’ve got to the point that I’m not sure if I could write an action scene without these two music genres and bands such as Slipknot, Mushroom Head, Rise Against, System of a Down, Clutch, and Offspring. The high to very high energy and defiance themes are nice for a fight scene or just when generally not motivated. This is also what I prefer to listen to when doing any type of housework, yard work, mechanical repairs, or other physical labor.

Soft: I call anything with a low to medium energy level ‘soft’. In comparison to the other types above, that is, and pays no heed to genre or decade. This covers the widest range of genres and includes such as Waylon Jennings, Louis Armstrong, Tom Petty, Kid Cudi, Atmosphere, The Sweatshop Union, Nappy Roots, and The Who. This is generally the type of stuff I listen to while editing. The lower energy level still provides background noise, but doesn’t pervade the writing so much, allowing more focus on the actual words than the energy behind them. On a seemingly unrelated subject, the TV show Dilbert is another of my favorite background noises for editing. However, it’s the intro music that sets the weird tone for it overall.

Humor: One of the many ongoing projects I have is The Stoned Poet FB page. This grew from some poem/songs I wrote 15-16 years ago that’d also resulted in the creation of the word ‘ephiroll’ that has turned into a lot more since. The music that fuels the oddball limericks and memes on the page, all of which are based on personal experiences, observations, and conversations, are the likes of The Bloodhound Gang, Stephen Lynch, Adam Sandler, and a few other such artists.

Music is a powerful thing to have in your personal toolbox. Depending on what you need, it can be inspiration, motivation, or therapy from a stressful day. I can’t imagine the depressing darkness that would exist without the soothing, energizing power of music. All types of music gets blamed for people going nuts, but where’s the stories about people going nuts without it?

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profilepic.donaldsonJeremiah Donaldson is a SF/horror writer, editor, and game designer working from London, Ky. Visit him at his home on the web at: www.ephiroll.com.

Thank you Jeremiah for sharing your thoughts!

So what music inspires you to write? Share yours in the comments below and tune in here next time when one of my friends shares their music inspirations.