Saturday, June 23, 2012

Music Makes the Book

I write to music. Ninety percent of the time, I have to have some music going on in the background in order to get a good flow going. I don’t know why, but it helps me write. Maybe it’s because I was a musician for most of my life (I played the flute! I was a total band nerd.) and so my brain just craves music when it’s being creative. I don’t know. But when I write to music, it’s not just any old song. For instance, I like “I’m Sexy and I Know it” as much as anyone, but when I’m writing a love scene, it’s just doesn’t set the right mood if you know what I’m saying.
The music has to match the tone of what I’m writing. If it’s an action scene I put on something heavy metal or fast (Anberlin and Paramore are my personal favs). If it’s a peaceful scene some Jack Johnson does the trick. Something sad? I go with Coldplay. Actually, Coldplay is my go-to band when I write. Beautiful. Peaceful. Unobtrusive. They’re perfect for background music (and foreground music, they’re AWESEOME).
Recently, a reader sent me an email. The simplest email I’ve ever received. Straight. To the point.  No fancy flattery or introductions. Just: “Hey Jen you should totally make a playlist for blood on the moon.”
And yes. Yes I should. In fact, I have! I just never shared it with anyone. As I said, the music gets my writerly juices flowing and I often make VERY long playlists for my books so that I don’t have to constantly change/choose songs. Since BOTM’s playlist is practically endless, I’ll just choose my favorites.
(Also, I’ve been reading that I’m not allowed to link the actual song on here, so I’ll just post the names and if you’re interested, you can listen to them on iTunes or something. Sorry! Music industry is LAME).
The beginning of the book was written to the tune of Mumford & Sons. Faith’s entry into college starts out pretty creepily what with the camping trip into the woods and Lucas being a weirdo, so Mumford & Son’s worked for me. Plus Lucas is Scottish, so the whole Celtic thing M &S has going on really called to me. Some favs:
The Cave
Thistle and Weeds (Really liked this one for the camping scene with the kissing.)
Awake my Soul
Towards the middle when things get steamy between Faith and Lucas, I went for some Joshua Radin. During the more quiet, intimate scenes, this guy got the job done.
Any given kissing/love scene was written to these babies:
Sky
Lovely Tonight
Star Mile
Paperweight (On repeat throughout the entire scene where Faith and Lucas are in his bedroom in Gould)
Now, the Derek love scenes were a little different. More of a dark, sad theme, since their relationship was so tortured. Snow Patrol and Fink were some good bands. During the scene where she and Derek are hiding from Vincent in the dilapidated cabin, I had Snow Patrol on repeat:
The Golden Floor
Set the Fire to the Third Bar
Run
And lastly, the action scenes. The ones where Lucas is attacking crap and Vincent is trying to eat people, you know. The fun scenes. I usually went for Paramore, but sometimes it was Anberlin or Nickleback, sometimes Shinedown. Any scene with Lucas being Lucas was written to Shinedown’s, The Crow & the Butterfly.
For the action scenes, I liked Paramore’s whole first album. Just put it on repeat. I also liked Anberlin’s . . .
Dismantle. Repair.
Godspeed
A Whisper and a Clamor
And while we’re talking about Anberlin, can I just say how totally underrated they are???? They are probably the ONLY band (other than maybe Coldplay) that I can literally listen to the entire album without skipping a single song. And I almost never hear them on the radio. It's completely unfair. They are amazing. The Haunting? My favorite song. Like, ever. It’s also another of my favorites for writing love scenes. I wrote a lot of the BLOOD CRAVE love scenes to The Haunting. And Breathe. And An Unwinding Cable Car. OMG An Unwinding Cable Car is so wonderful. Seriously, everyone go download all their albums and enjoy. Every one of them is utter perfection.
So that’s about it. I hope everyone has fun matching the music to the scenes. I always like when authors post their playlists because then I get to do a little scavenger hunt through their book, re-reading scenes as I listen to the songs on iTunes. So have fun!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flash Fiction: Sages

Flash fiction, anyone? This is a scene I wrote a while ago, but I still really love it. I actually got about 25K words of this story done when I pooped out on it. I didn't properly plot or outline, so the story kind of got away from me.

It was about this group of powerful witches and their male counterparts, called sages. When a witch and a sage teamed up they were superpowerful, capable of doing amazing things. But the sage has no power of his own until he matches up with a witch. So the woman has all the power (tee hee). The catch is that once you team up with a sage, it's for life. The only way out of the bond is death. So if you pick a jerk, you're stuck with him. He gets to use all your power and can even kill you himself using your own power against you. Lots of trust involved, and I had a great story to go with it. I just never planned it out right.

Anyway, if I ever go back to it, I'll have to do an overhaul. But, I thought this would be a nice little snippet to share for FF. Enjoy!

Sages

One more second and he would finally kiss me. Our lips were centimeters apart, breath mingling in wisps of fog. I could smell Cole’s skin, a mix of the cologne I got him last Christmas and the ever present scent of incense from his mom’s crazy house. It was a perfect smell, one I associated with comfort and friendship.

But tonight, it was finally going to mean more. His skin was an aphrodisiac. The fingers I’d played cards with, shared popcorn with at the movies, traded text messages with for five years, were tracing slowly along my jaw line in a way he’d never touched me before.

I closed my eyes, shivering. I’d been hoping for this moment since I could remember. The first kiss. The first of many, with any luck.

“Genie,” he whispered, lips so close I could feel them moving. “You’re incredible.”

I smiled. “So what are you waiting for?” I peeked at him through half-closed eyes. His expression wasn’t eager or dreamy as mine probably was, but morose and even a little . . . pained. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

He blinked his dark eyes. “Nothing. Just nervous.”

“Me too,” I admitted, feeling a flutter of anticipation tickle my stomach.

His lips crooked into a small, joyless smile. This was supposed to be the best moment of our lives. Why was he ruining it with his weirdness?

I leaned back. The mood was tarnished now. I couldn’t get a perfect first kiss out of a screwed-up mood. But Cole caught my cheek with his warm hand and something electric shot through my body. It was so strong it almost hurt. It made me jump away.

“What was that?” I asked, rubbing my arms through my parka. My bones felt achy, and not from the cold. Though it was close to snowing, I’d yet to feel even an inkling of discomfort—how could I when Cole was finally about to make a move? Now everything hurt. “Maybe we should go in the car.”

“I’m sorry,” Cole said. He was still so sad. His voice was like a man dying of thirst. Hoarse, desperate.

“Don’t be sorry,” I said, gathering my parka around my midsection. “We’ll just get in the car and crank the heater.”

I stood, casting the frozen lake—my perfect setting for my perfect first kiss—a wistful look. A full moon reflected dully off the surface like the sun through a foggy window pane, a rim of dark trees surrounding the opposite bank in a collar of ink. Dew sparkled on the sheer sheet of ice and coated the gray grass beneath us, tiny mirrors reflecting miniature moons within each droplet. It truly was perfect. But, I’d just have to try again some other time.

But Cole snatched up my hand with hard fingers. I looked down at him, wondering if maybe he’d changed his mind and finally gotten some balls after all. But his eyes were still funny—not sad anymore, though that was still in there, but oddly . . . focused. His face was tight; the curve in his dark brows was rigid; determined.

He stood, looking down at me with his hand still clamped possessively on mine. I didn’t make him remove it. Perfect kiss, perfect kiss, perfect kiss . . .

“I don’t want to do this,” he said.

I felt my insides deflate. What? Why? Why did he even bring me out here if he didn’t want to kiss me? And what wasn’t to want? I wasn’t a supermodel or anything, but I was pretty. And I had excellent oral hygiene. Furthermore, I’d been told by several guys—two of whom were fairly attractive—that my lips were Angelina-Jolie-kissable. So what was Cole’s problem? I started to tug my hand away, thinking that I wanted to jump into the frigid lake and drown myself. I don’t want to do this . . .

“But I have to,” Cole said and his hand became viselike on mine. It was actually painful. Not romantic.

“Cole,” I said, wincing. “That hurts.”

“It’ll be over in a minute.”

I blinked at him, still trying to wrench my crushed fingers from his. “Let go,” I said. “You’re freaking me out.”

“Just stay calm. I promise once it’s done, it won’t change anything. You might not even remember.”

What was he talking about? Why was he acting this way? Like I wouldn’t remember my first kiss. Sure, I was prone to leaving my car keys in the ignition or forgetting to feed Cucumber every once in a while but I could certainly remember that. Not that I wanted to kiss him now. He was acting like a serial killer!

I pushed against his chest, trying to get out of his grasp, but he snatched that hand up too and without warning, the electricity welled inside me again.

Cole flinched, cursing. “Don’t panic. Stay calm.”

But I was about to scream. The electric current inside my stomach was spreading throughout my entire body, making me shake. Crackling purple lines that looked suspiciously like lightning exploded in the corners of my vision. I couldn’t even see Cole’s face anymore.

“What’s happening?” I gasped. The current intensified, sapping the strength in my knees. I fell against Cole and the current jolted me hard.

“Stop it!” he yelled. “I can’t concentrate!”

I began to writhe, still hopelessly caught by Cole’s fingers. Flames and lightning consumed every inch of me, turning my body to shaking jelly, my mind to an overextended light-bulb. I was going to burst.

“Imogene!”

Was that my mother’s voice? What was she doing here?

I felt something grab me around the middle and a surge of sickness punched my stomach. I heaved, and went limp as the electricity stopped. I crashed into the frozen ground, panting. Numb.

My mother stood above me, screaming at Cole.

“I knew it!” she screeched.

Cole said something, but I couldn’t hear it over the blood pounding in my ears. I looked up at them; the spider web effect was still attacking my vision. Except now it was bright turquoise and it was emanating from . . . Cole. His eyes shone with it, his hands emitting something that looked like neon lightning.

My head swam. I fell into the grass.

“Don’t even think about it,” my mother’s deep voice warned. “Paul will be here any moment. Get out of here while you still can.”

“If it’s not me, it’ll be someone else,” Cole said, strong and powerful. I’d never heard him talk like that before. “You can’t hide her forever.”

“You have no idea what I can do,” my mother hissed. “But you can stick around to find out.” Suddenly, a blast of orange shot through my fading vision. Fire? Was that fire?

I heard a hoarse cry and then Cole panting.

“I would have been . . . easy on her. The others won’t be so kind.”

“Get the hell away from my daughter,” my mother growled. “And never come back.” Another shriek of fiery orange behind my now-closed eyelids. The sound of feet pounding the hard ground.

My mother’s cold hand on my head. “I’m here sweetie,” she said. “I’m here.”

“Mom,” I croaked. The world swirled around me like water flowing down a drain and the last thing I remember thinking was . . . It would have been an epic first kiss . . .
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