Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Music that breathes life into my stories…

I took one of those silly online quizzes to determine the age of my soul. Those tests are always fun and comical, and sometimes they even ring true. I was given the age of more than 500 years for my soul, and was told that it birthed during the Renaissance. The analysis went on to say that I am often deeply touched by art, music, poetry, etc to the point of tears, and that is the result of my soul aching for the days of its birth.

Well, I know one thing for certain. The first part of that sentence is absolutely true. I have often been moved to tears by the beauty of art. I can’t listen to an orchestra without goosebumps pimpling my skin and water tugging at the backs of my eyes. Certain passages of writing, paintings, sculptures, photographs will have the same effect, but the strongest artistic area to incite an emotional response from me is, by far, music. Such a beautiful language!

It should come as no surprise, then, that I often plot and write to music. I use music all the time for inspiration on pacing, scenes, and just overall vibe of a story. While I’m immersed in writing a story, I tend to find a small sampling of music that encapsulate the text for me and I’ll listen to them repeatedly. The cool thing about that is when the book is published and I’m moved onto another project, I can still go back to my other stories with a simple press on my iPod.

Everyone imagines things differently. So, I’ve no idea if my readers see my characters and stories the way I do, but in case any of you are wondering what kind of music or songs I think have encapsulated the “feel” of my stories, I’ve provided the answer for you! If our imaginations  have synced up, cool. If not, at least you get to enjoy some cool music in the process!

Silver Nights With You – For this one, I went to the soundtrack of my favorite western (in fact, favorite “movie”) of all time. Lonesome Dove. I listened to that entire soundtrack a ton, imagining all of the tender moments between Lila and Morgan, envisioning the danger and the comedy, imagining the awe of the first view of the Washoe Valley. Here is a small sampling of the greatness that is the Lonesome Dove soundtrack, and if you haven’t seen the mini-series, you are seriously missing out.

Desert Sunrise – For the sequel to Silver Nights, I went with the father of American folk music. Due to the musical themes and influence of the characters in the story, I mentioned several songs by name. If you happen to be a geek like me, you will have noticed that all of the songs and lyrics in the story are all from Stephen Foster songs (with the exception of Ave Maria at the end). So, here are a few that I listened to quite frequently while writing Desert Sunrise, imagining how the powerful lyrics would have affected Jess as she thought about her cares and worries.

And, appropriately, for the scene of the hide races, I listened to this gem (not Stephen Foster):

Love of a Lioness – A few different styles of music went into thinking about/writing this medieval romance “adventure.” I had slower, more celtic sounding songs for the intense dramatic moments, but I listened to some up tempo and modern music to inspire the battle scenes. The first song I’m going to offer you is one that I must have spent a month’s worth of hours listening to. I envisioned the finale mapped out to this music, beginning with Isabeau standing on the railing of a ship, eyeing the coast of France just before diving off to swim ashore and rescue her knight. I know it doesn’t sound medieval, but you gotta admit – it still sounds pretty bad ass. 🙂

This was another one I went to for inspiration on other battle scenes:

This was another I listened to in order to imagine more sedate scenes, those during training, on calmer seas, more intimate moments.

Big Sky Eyes – for this contemporary cowboy tale, I went with Blake Shelton all the way. I love that guy, and I think his song, Mine Would Be You, captures the entire tale of Brent and Mackenna. I listened to it repeatedly, picturing scenes from their years together.

For quieter, more internal thoughts and moments, I liked these:

NOW, for a treat! I am in the middle of working on two manuscripts. One, many of you may know as Ruby’s Song, which is the third installment of the Love in the Sierras Series. The other is a contemporary that takes place in the Caribbean. I haven’t named that one yet, though it is 70% written. For Ruby’s Song, I am really heavily into Catrin Finch and the soft lyrical sound of her harp playing. So, the current inspiration for Ruby’s Song scenes are these:

When I’m working on my contemporary, I hit up A&B Acoustic, Above and Beyond:

Whew!! That’s a lot of music…and I love it all!! 🙂

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Is there an AWARD in my future?

So, I just learned yesterday that (much to my surprise and delight) Silver Nights With You is up for an award with InD’Tale Magazine!! It’s the RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Award for American Historical Romance. The first round of judging opens today, which consists of public voting for the first week. Five finalists will move on to the next round, which will then be read by a group of industry professionals consisting of editors, writers, professors etc. and be judged on a one to five scale from a specific list of requirements such as characterization, overall arc, editing etc.   Those scores will then be tallied by a professional company unrelated to InD’tale or its employees to determine the winner of the coveted RONE award, along with the honorable mentions. SO, I really need your support this week to go here and vote for my book:

Voting requires an account to be set up on the magazine’s website for free. I’d appreciate any and all support I can get!

Thanks, all!

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Scenes That Make Me Blush…

I was rummaging through my walk-in closet, which has somehow lost its floor space over the years (imagine!), and I found a box of old papers and photos from the first 18 years of my life. I always love impromptu trips down memory lane, but one thing that had me laughing until tears poured over my cheeks was a certain unfinished manuscript my best friend and I wrote during our senior year in high school and freshman college year.

Like any other good high school girls, we spent our class time writing notes to each other, which we would exchange as we passed each other in the halls on the way to our next class. The notes started off as silly one-liners about the idiocy of our teachers, the hairstyle of some girl or the hotness of some guy. They progressed to full-page rants and weekend plan-making, and somehow morphed into stories. The stories were funny at first, then became serious, and longer. We began writing love stories featuring our friends and classmates, all in good fun, but then we began a story that featured no one we knew and was set in the old wild west.

We bought a notebook to keep this story and just passed the notebook in the halls on the way to class. Soon, we were each writing a chapter and exchanging. As we went our separate ways for college, we saved the story on a floppy disk (yes, I said floppy!) and would mail it back and forth. From Reno to Vegas that little story went back and forth until it was printed out and found a place, unfinished, in the bottom of a box in my closet.

Now…why didn’t that story ever get finished? Because neither of us would write THAT scene. We got a kick out of writing a lead up to the first kiss, the first glimpse of nakedness, but when it came to writing THAT scene, we would divert the story and end the chapter, passing off the manuscript for the other to “go there.” We would laugh at each other and couldn’t even discuss “going there” without burning, scarlet cheeks.

The naivete and embarrassment is funny and makes me chuckle….but I still blush writing sex scenes all these years later, and me and my friends still blush when we talk about the sex scenes in my published books, or rather the fact that I wrote those sex scenes.

I’m a modest gal, and maybe a bit old-fashioned, I guess. I’m the kind of gal who wouldn’t wear a bikini, regardless of my body shape or size, because I can’t imagine walking around in my underwear, which is basically the same thing. When I was at my smallest (a meager 122 pounds) I wore a bikini on a beach in Hawaii and I was miserably uncomfortable. It didn’t last long (long enough for my best friend to get one picture) before I covered up.

So, writing sex scenes can be a very challenging thing for me, even though I don’t see anything wrong with them. I have no problem with sex, and I enjoy it very much, but it’s such a private thing that writing about it makes me blush, and so does reading about it. When I beta read an erotica piece for a good friend of mine, I think I turned purple for a whole month, especially when giving the feedback “come should be c*m.” If I hear certain words, I feel the need to cover my ears and avert my eyes. Don’t worry – I do all of this stuff chuckling to and at myself.

I’m still that teenage girl inside who gets embarrassed about private things and that’s probably why there aren’t a ton of sex scenes in my stories. I had a huge laugh when I read a review of my western, Silver Nights With You, where the lady called my sex graphic and unnecessary. I laughed out loud and thought, “Really?! My sex scenes are too graphic?”

Ha ha – maybe I’ve come farther than I thought!


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Desert Sunrise is LIVE!!

Yay! It took Amazon 48 hours to do it (shaking my head), but that’s all right. Desert Sunrise is now live and available for immediate download to your Kindle! Here is the link:

If you do a search on Amazon, the paperback and the Kindle version come up separately, but they should be joined in a few days. Anyway, I really hope you all enjoy this story. I’m so thoroughly in love with it right now!

And don’t forget – Silver Nights With You is still FREE for the next four days! (Tell your friends -he he he).

And don’t forget to leave reviews!! Happy reading!


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It’s a Celebration!

To celebrate the coming release of Desert Sunrise (Book 2 in the Love in the Sierras Series), I’m offering Silver Nights With You for FREE for the next five days!!

Get it now! Read it fast! Grab the sequel!

(oh yeah, and please leave a review!)

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