And Then There Was Mud….and Music

Mondays are rotten. Right? Imagine waking up, blowing your nose, and receiving a tissue wad full of mud. Pretty glamorous. Like most things in life, no fun time goes unpunished. And my muddy Monday (ah, alliteration) was a direct result of my music infused weekend.

Lollapalooza.

Read any author’s blog and they will go on and on about the connection between music and writing. The reason behind this is because the best musicians are brilliant writers. I’m not just talking about composing lyrics either. Artists like Muse have become known in the lit world for inspiring YA lit (um, Twilight anyone?), but what about composers? Composers are able to tell a story in ways so subtly complex that it boggles the mind.

Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like a good television or movie score. 90 percent of my Ipod is filled with the likes of James Horner and Hans Zimmer. The great thing about scores are their lack of lyrics. Scores create a mood. Driving in my car, I can add my own story to the music. This was how I came up with the idea for my soon to be published trilogy. Granted, the story has long since changed since I first came up with it driving from Roanoke to Virginia Beach, but it was the open road and brilliant composers who inspired me.

I suggest to my fellow writers a trip down the lyric-less music road. Whether you’re brainstorming a new WIP or entering the editing cave (my new home starting this weekend…send coffee), download the narratives of some of today’s greatest writers. My current favorite?

Michael Giacchino (Known for LOST, Star Trek, UP)

I have never listened to music so quick to elicit a response. Much like the great John Williams, any fan of Giacchino’s can listen to his music and note the similar over-arching themes presented in his music. BUT unlike most movie and television composers, Giacchino constantly surprises me by taking his musical narratives in new directions. If I ever need inspiration…or even just space to think…I listen to his stuff.

Don’t all of us authors hope to achieve what Giacchino has acomplished? Yes, we all want to be known for exhibiting a certain literary style, but we always want to try new techniques, change, grow as writers. Just because his narratives are musical and not expressed by the written word doesn’t mean we can’t learn from him. Here’s another example of his work:

So writers…embrace the music. Get a little dirty. Writing is not glamorous, but if you love the art of story-telling you are willing to get a little dirty. Most of us will never be rock stars…but like musicians….whether you are rocking out in front of thousands or quietly composing, there is more than one way to tell a story.  It’s just important you tell it.

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I Climbed the Great Wall and Then….I Got a Book Deal

  Last summer while attending an educators’ conference, I heard of an opportunity to travel to China. Yes. China. You ask most people where in the world they’d want to go, and I’m pretty sure China would not make most people’s lists.

But go I did. 10 days in a communist country. 10 wonderful, amazing, soul-searching days (Not quite Eat. Pray. Love…. maybe the straight to DVD version). Without going into too much, my mental state prior to this expedition was fragile at best. Life has a way of coming at you and trying to tear you down, and I began to wonder if it was possible to have a mid-life crisis at 28.

When I approached the Great Wall, I saw it for its symbolic worth. Anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t put much stock in symbolism. I don’t like to tell my readers what to think and feel, and don’t like it when authors do the same to me. If I want to read and see Piggy’s darn glasses as meaning something completely different from some archaic critic or my 9th grade Honors English teacher, so be it.

But there was the darn Great Wall and it suddenly meant something to me. It was conflict and struggle personified. It was life not turning out how I planned. It was a symbol that things were going to be really hard, darn right impossible at times in the coming months. But I could climb it. There in the sweltering heat, I climbed and climbed. Out of the group of 30 educators who went about 6 of us climbed. The rest took a cable car up. As I climbed and climbed the steep, jagged steps I stopped many times. This journey wasn’t easy. I would have to acknowledge my limits. Even when I reached the top, so damn proud of what my boney, out of shape, high blood pressure, never does anything athletic body could do, the fight wasn’t over. Every 50 feet of flat-ish walkway is followed by more crazy stairs.

Even when the fight seems over more obstacles will come. And you just got to keep going.

Climbing the Great Wall was my favorite moment in China. That’s saying a lot because I had 10 brilliant days. And then I got back. Reality hit. Delta made me miss my flight. I cried in the airport bathroom. And things got rough again. I haven’t made it back to the top of the Great Wall, but I’m climbing.

With some help this time…

I have been offered and accepted a three book deal with Entangled Publishing.  Entangled Publishing is a small, indie publisher. In their own words:

“Entangled Publishing utilizes a bold new business model to bridge the gap between traditional and indie publishing, giving our authors the best of both worlds. We implement the agency model across all departments at Entangled, which means everyone from the copy editor to the marketing director has a financial stake in your book.”

The publishing business isn’t what it used to be. It’s changing. In a dream world: writer creates book, gets agent, and lands crazy super deal with major publishing house.  But in a HIGHLY competitive market where traditional publishing is changing, and we are slowly moving into an e-book world, it is exciting to be working with a publisher who is on the cutting edge.

Will my book be in every bookstore? No. Will it be available to anyone who has access to a computer? Heck yes. Entangled offers both ebook and print copies of their clients’ books on websites such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.

This is it. I will be a published author. I’ll do blog interviews and signings. I’ll get to talk about writing and experience the process that so many before me have gone through. My first time out will no doubt miss that best-seller list, but I WILL BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

and who knows where I go from here.

I’ll keep climbing that Great Wall.

Wish me luck 🙂

…and buy my book…in March!!!!! (wink!)