Tag Archive: music


Call me crazy, but I seriously love the piano music featured on recent iPhone commercials. Just the other day, I found the tune wafting through my brain over and over again. There’s nothing quite as lovely as piano music that seems ignite the feeling of hope and joy. They may be trying to sell me a phone, but those little notes inspire me more than a smartphone ever could.

There are two ads circulating with one focusing on the iPhone’s camera and the other showcasing the iPhone’s music application.

My favorite of the two is the first. When I initially heard the music, I wished it could last longer than a minute.

The second ad offers a slight alteration in the melody, giving it a little more energy.  While I love the song, the first is still my favorite!

After doing a little digging, I learned that both pieces were composed by Rob Simonsen, a noted soundtrack composer. His most recent work can be heard on the indie film The Way Way Back. I sampled some of his music on tumblr and was very impressed with the emotional range of his work. Give him a listen at http://robsimonsen.tumblr.com

As it turns out, youtube is full of musicians who love Simonsen’s iPhone ad music as much as I do. A very talented pianist recorded Simonsen’s piece for Photos Every Day, giving listeners a chance to enjoy the music without the background noise of the commercial.

Is this a stupid thing to favorite this week? Probably, but I try to find beauty wherever I can. Even if this is just a commercial jingle, close your eyes and let it in. It will inspire you.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013

Give That Novel A Soundtrack!

As a writer who relies on music to kickstart my muse, I am rather fascinated by a trend in Young Adult fiction whereby authors share a playlist for their novel.  This is absolutely brilliant as the audience for YA fiction is addicted to earbuds and personal music players.

I count myself among this pool of earbud addicts, mainly because when I read a book it plays like a movie inside my head. When I was younger, I would imagine music or pick songs to listen to while I read a book, all in an attempt to further immerse myself into a character’s mind or within the setting of a story.

Naturally, I relied on the same practice of turning to music when I began writing. Just like the books I read as a kid, both of my novels play like movies in my head. And yes, there is specifically chosen music for certain scenes. This process is nothing new in the writing world, but it is interesting to see writers making their playlists public.

The first time I came across an official novel soundtrack was when I read Twilight. Stephenie Meyer didn’t necessarily list the songs in the book itself, but she thanked specific bands in her acknowledgments and often spoke of specific songs that inspired scenes between Edward and Bella, (particularly the band Muse). Later, when The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide was published, Meyer released her playlists for every book in the series. Both the reader and writer in me devoured the music that pumped life into Twilight.

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A small portion of Stephenie Meyer’s playlist for Twilight.

For each song listed, Meyer went as far as quoting specific scenes from her novels. For those of us who have read Twilight more than once, this playlist gives us yet another reason to pick it up again.

More recently, I read Divergent by Veronica Roth. In the back of the book, she provides a playlist of songs and connects them to details in the story. After listening to a few of the songs, I gained a much deeper sense of the atmosphere and mood. Even though the writing was fantastic, an official playlist added a new dimension and gave me another way to enjoy the book.

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A peek at Veronica Roth’s playlist.

Some YA writers publish their playlists via the internet. For example, Becca Fitzpatrick created public playlists for all four books in her Hush, Hush series. She linked them through Spotify and will soon expand to iTunes. Her website even encourages readers to listen to fan-created playlists as they read.

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Click to visit Becca Fitzpatrick’s website.

Fitzpatrick’s strategy not only enhances the novel, but it builds a community among fans. More importantly she creates a strong connection between author and reader.

On the flip side, it can be argued that good writing shouldn’t need any “bells and whistles” to connect with readers. To this I say, the YA market is all about knowing your audience. This is a generation who can carry music with them wherever they go and they do. They listen to it at home, while walking to class, out in public, on the bus, etc. In a sense, the music gives them a world of their own.

For the YA reader, adding music to a book makes complete and total sense. A novel soundtrack gives them the ability to connect and relate to the characters and story on a personal level. Not only can they fully immerse themselves into the book, but it becomes part of their world. The music is what ties real life and fiction together.

From a fangirl perspective, having an official playlist for beloved characters allows the magic of the story to play over and over again. When it’s not possible to sit down with the book, a reader can revisit the characters and story whenever and wherever she pleases. It falls along the same lines as Twilight t-shirts or Hunger Games posters in that the young adult audience thrives on connections wherever they can find them. When writing a series, creating this kind of fanaticism is pure gold.

YA writers have a massive opportunity to create intense fervor for their books by offering another level of emotional investment. As I put the finishing touches on my YA novel, I’m leaving a little room on the last few pages to create a playlist that will give my readers the ultimate experience.

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c.b.w. 2013

NaNoWriMo: I Did It!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, November Status Report: 2012 Goals, it was a rough month, but I am still jumping up and down in excitement.  With two days to spare, I reached my goal of revising 15,000 words!!!

Don't ask me to describe what happened to my eye. It's gross.

Don’t ask me to describe what happened to my eye. It’s gross.

The more I work on this story the more excited I get about Amanda and Ian’s journey. As I revisit the beginning, it makes me realize just how much they’ve grown as characters and how their story has really turned into something special. While under the heading of urban fantasy, Amanda and Ian’s story is steeped in the spirit of humanity and the inner workings of compassion and love.

As I mentioned in my November Status Report, I plan on sharing more tidbits and teasers for Novel #2 as I continue to work through revisions. I won’t spoil anything, but I will give clues to who these characters are and some insight into the narrative they inhabit.

To get things started, I though I’d share a new band that is now on my playlist for Novel #2. Of Monsters and Men has that indie vibe that Amanda loves, while also encompassing a very spiritual (almost tribal feel) that digs into the mythical elements of the novel. Click on the link below to hear samples from their most recent album:

My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters and Men

I’m working on a condensed soundtrack that includes songs for Amanda, Ian, and the novel as a whole. I hope to post it within the next month, so stay tuned!

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Congratulations to all NaNoWriMo participants who survived the challenge!  You are all amazing and should be so proud of your accomplishment!

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c.b.w. 2012

Kreativ Blogger Love

Hugs to Melissa Maygrove for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger Award.  Her blog is fantastic and a must-read for any writer!  Melissa is so encouraging and supportive of her fellow writers.  I’m so glad to have connected with her!

Here are the rules:
1) Thank and link back to the awarding blog.
2) Answer the following 7 questions.
3) Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.
4) Pass it on to 7 deserving blogs.

For once, I’m going to follow the rules.

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Random Q&A:

1) What’s your favorite song?

At the moment, my favorite song is “Sooner or Later” by Mat Kearney.  I find the lyrics to be incredibly motivating as I work on my 2012 goals.

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2) What is your favorite dessert?

Chocolate

3) What do you do when you’re upset?

I always cry.  It doesn’t matter if I’m mad or sad, I cry when any emotion gets too strong.

4) Which is your favorite pet?

The animals no one else wants.  My two dogs and two cats were all rescued from shelters.

5) Black or white?

Both.  Old movies are the best.

6) What is your biggest fear?

Snakes.  It’s incredibly irrational, but I am utterly paralyzed when I see one.

7) What is your attitude, mostly?

Ridiculously positive and bubbly.

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10 Random Facts

1) I have a green thumb.

2) I know how to cross stitch

3) I am a Star Wars fanatic.  I quote Yoda on a daily basis.

4) I know every line to the movie “What About Bob?”

5) When I eat Hershey’s kisses or miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, I make a little tin foil ball with all the wrappers.

6) I’m a comic book geek.  Spider-man was my childhood hero and he remains so to this day. I can’t wait for the “The Amazing Spider-man” movie this summer!

7) I can still fit into my prom dress (which I wore 16 years ago and still own).

8) I am fascinated by street art and graffiti, especially in foreign places.

9) I have a collection of coins from all over the world and different time periods.  Some I picked up in my travels and others I bought from a dealer or traded with other collectors.  Its like collecting pieces of history!

10) I like to paint my toenails with crazy colors.  Inside my Converse sneakers there’s a burst of bright purple or a funky shade of orange.

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7 Amazingly Kreativ Blogs:

This Handcrafted Life - Great posts that cover everything from beautiful paper to instructions on how to paint faux marble (that actually looks real!).

My Photography Expedition - Amazing photographs on every topic imaginable.  This week, a post on colorful jellyfish at an aquarium brightened my day.

Five Reflections - I am in awe of the haikus posted on this blog. Every post inspires me to go out there and write three magical lines.

Rustic Recluse - Filled with fantastic travel photographs and informative posts about various places.  In particular, posts about Russia keep me coming back for more.

Robin Coyle - A series about strong words vs. weak words makes this blog a writer’s delight!

Quirkster - Travel around the world through the eyes of one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.  Beautiful photographs meet a unique point of view in every post.

First Fifty Words - Need some inspiration to get out of that writing rut?  This blog posts a new prompt every day!

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c.b. 2012

As an Autograph Ninja, it’s important to have a pen and something to sign on my person at all times, (see The Autograph Ninja).  So, when I went to see two of my favorite singer/songwriters in concert last week, I took extra care to pack a good marker and a special item to sign.

Marcus Foster has an incredibly soulful voice that soars with his blues infused brand of folk. When I went to London last summer I was hoping to catch him live, but instead had to settle for an EP album that isn’t available in the States.  Imagine my excitement when I found out he was going on a U.S. tour that included a stop in Arizona!

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Foster’s opening act turned out to be an artist I’ve had on my iPod for the last year, (and just love!).  Sam Bradley croons with a crystal clear voice, giving his lyrics incredible emotional depth. I only have a few of his songs, but I’m looking forward to many more.

Both Bradley and Foster put an a great show!  Sometimes the best concerts are those where its just a guy and his guitar.  The voice takes center stage and reaches right into the soul.

Sam Bradley (c.b.w. 2012)

Marcus Foster, (c.b.w. 2012)

One of the best things about a small venue is that the artists are often milling about before and after a show.  The Autograph Ninja takes full advantage of these situations by keeping watch on the bar.  I spotted Marcus Foster before his set and managed to get a little one on one time with him.  Before heading backstage, he was kind enough to sign the CD I bought in London.

After the concert, both Marcus and Sam manned the merchandise table.   In between selling CDs and t-shirts, they signed autographs, posed for pictures, and gave hugs. I was one of the first in line to buy new music and get my CDs signed by both.  Marcus took my ninja marker, but I figured he needed it more than I did!  I got my picture with both and received a couple hugs as well.   These guys are so friendly, genuine, and gracious to their fans.  Before I walked away, both were adamant about saying, “thank you.”  I wish them so much luck for future success.

Top Left: Marcus Foster, Right: Sam Bradley, Poster: Marcus Foster

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If you’d like to hear why I love these guys so much click on each name above for direct links to their official sites. In addition, you can visit these links to listen to samples of their music on amazon.com.

Marcus Foster

Sam Bradely

For the record, Foster’s “The Room” and “Movement” are among my favorite of his songs.

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c.b. 2012

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