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url 2017-03-21 15:14
The Soundtrack of a Novel

 

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music” 


Walter Pater’s said that. It’s a famous quote of his, more famous than he is. When I first heard it, I checked him out, to find he was a nineteenth-century art critic and literary theorist who was born in the East End of London.

 

Some think that this quote is bunkum, and that art doesn’t move towards being music, but the idea resonates with me. Why else would Leonard Cohen have moved his writing sideways from prose and poetry to lyrics (oh! the money, maybe…).  Music often enhances reading; I played Bob Marley all the time when I was consumed by A Brief History of Seven Killings 

 

When I write, I’m always aware that certain scenes make a sort of music in my head. My characters, right from before I had anything published, always listened to music, often (this is possibly why these stories weren't published!) for long, closely-described scenes.

 

Then I read the critically acclaimed Teddy Wayne, and heard about how he created a ‘soundtrack’ to his most recent novel Loneran unsettling story of obsessive desire. In his article, Wayne says…A great deal of pop songs are also about romantic obsession and loneliness (often in the same breath), and many ostensible love songs, when you examine the lyrics, are really avowals of stalker-like pursuit or thoughts of the object of desire; the British seem to have a particular fondness for this kind of ballad

 

Wayne chose ten tracks that informed his portrayal of his protagonist. I’m writing book four of the Shaman Mysteries, Flood Gate, and I'm doing the same thing. My chosen tracks each represent a character, and I’m finding wonderful inspiration from listening to these songs. Follow the links to hear the music.

 

In order of appearance:

 

Larry Waish is a small-time poultry farmer who recently lost all his hens in one of the many floods that plague the Somerset Levels. What he’s discovered, is that his neighbour is to blame for his loss, and he’s hopping mad. Larry really loves Country and Western and plays The Eagles Heartache Tonight  a lot, while he’s trying to cope with what happened between him and Jack Spicer at Harper’s Coombe 

 

Jack Spicer, who’s real name is John, farms 200 acres of Somerset land, as his family has for generations. He's recently lost his daughter, and is helping bring up her daughter, baby Olivia. He knows he's been driven to do wrong, and t’s tormenting him. He's a bit of a classical buff, and listening to the slightly sinister tones of Shostakovich’s first piano concerto helped me build his character. By the end of chapter one, Jack is dead.

 

Sabbie Dare is a young shamanic practitioner and therapist who knows it is her destiny to be of service to people on the very edge of life. The victims of evil…the perpetrators of it.  Sabbie’s mad about Pet Shop Boys and pagan music which can vary from folksy to rocking, and includes groups like IncubuSucubus, Dahm the Bard and The Dolmen 

 

Kelly King was 28 when she threw herself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge. She’d never really recovered from her life in The Willows, a local authority children’s home where Kelly, Sabbie and Debs Hitchings all lived when they were children. Kelly was depressed, directionless, and addicted to chocolate cookies. In her last days, she plugged into the music of her childhood, such as Pink’s There you go.

 

Debs Hitchings is a beautician who wanders from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Debs turned up at the very end of In the Moors, (Book One) where she cuts Sabbie’s tortured hair, and has a small part in Unraveled Visions. In this book Debs, and the story of her past, takes centre stage. She’s known for cracking out Beyoncés Crazy in Love 

at the top of her voice as her heels skittered across nighttime pavements.

 

https://www.milesdavis.com

 

Quentin Lachapelle is a thirty-five year old photographer with a nice studio, a pretty wife, and a flourishing career. He meets Sabbie and Debs at Kelly King's funeral, where he offers to take some glamour shots of Debs, although he finds Sabbie’s dark skin tones and angled face interesting. There is more to Quentin that meets the eye…or the lens of his cameras. Quentin is a Miles Davis fan, of course. 

 

DI Reynard Buckely. Fans of the Shaman Mysteries will be delighted to hear that and Rey and Sabbie are still an item. In fact, things hot up between them considerably! Rey made his musical preferences clear in In the Moors, so there’s only one group I could play, and that’s the Stones

 

Fenella Waish is Larry’s sister. Now in her forties, but still living in their childhood home, Fen seeks help from Sabbie for longterm Ornithophobia, her paralysing fear of birds which prevents her going anywhere near Larry’s poultry shed. Fenella loves her laptop, which is her window on the world. Scared to be Lonely might bring tears to her eyes, but she plays it again and again.

 

Tara Yorkman. Before she died, Kelly was fruitlessly searching for her friend Tara, who lived at The Willows from when she was little. Kelly, in need of someone to care for, always looked out for Tara, until she was a teenager. Then she disappeared. When Kelly’s spirit comes to Sabbie in a dream, she feels indebted to continue the quest for the missing girl. I listen to Taylor Swift and other noughties music to get in touch with Tara.

 

Victor Doyle is a successful Bristol business man, a builder of local housing. Now 55, he's loaded, charming and still handsome in a chiselled way, although he’s put on a bit of weight. In the community, he’s a well-loved philanthropist, but underneath, the man is pure, unadulterated evil. I think he’d be rivitted by Pretty Women from Sweeny Todd.

 

If you're writing a novel, or a series of short stories, try finding and playing the soundtrack that perfectly accompanies the story and the characters. It can make a tremendous difference to the outcome. 

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url 2016-09-14 12:14
Man booker prize short list
The Sellout by Paul Beatty (3-Mar-2015) Hardcover - Paul Beatty
Hot Milk - Deborah Levy
His Bloody Project - Graeme Macrae Burnet
Eileen: A Novel by Ottessa Moshfegh (2015-08-18) - Ottessa Moshfegh
All That Man Is: A Novel - David Szalay
Do Not Say We Have Nothing - Madeleine Thien

Read them. Rthe list is out.

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url 2016-04-17 10:38
Best of 2015 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Package Giveaway!!

Giveaway Books

 

Norma Hinkens is giving away an awesome Sci-Fi & Fantasy package!

If you win, you get to select 5 of your favorite ebooks from the books shown above,

plus you'll get the care package shown below for your bunker!

Just click link url at top of page to enter!

Good luck!

 

Settlers Prize

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url 2016-03-31 03:24
Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 Recap

Wow, it's been a really long time since I did a recap post. In October, I wrote a book talk, but I didn't even mention my blog posts. The last time I did a recap, then, was in September! So much has happened here on the blog, I've read so many books and gone to some great book launches, and I've received and purchased quite a few books as well!

 

Ah, well. This post was supposed to go up two weeks ago, along with a video that I had recorded in the usual recap way. :/ But basically I'm still trying to catch up with the posts that were scheduled for my time off but didn't go up.

 

On the blog, I have been maintaining my bookish rounds posts, which are round-ups of the latest MG/YA/NA book news in terms of book deals, cover reveals, discussions in the book community, tv and movie adaptations, and new YA releases. Since September, you'll findedition 88, edition 89, edition 90, edition 91, edition 92, edition 93, edition 94, edition 95,edition 96, edition 97, edition 98, edition 99, and edition 100. And, in fact, in terms of the book news, I gathered half of last year's adaptation news for a round-up post, and I made a calendar with 2016 Adaptations relevant to the YA community, so we could keep track of them. I discussed Mockingjay Part II, my New Year's Bookolutions for 2016, 2016 YA Debuts on my TBR list, 2016 YA Books (Non Debuts) on my TBR list, blogging and booktubing, the effect of awards in the YA community, my reading profile, reader loyalty, and 5 fantasy authors who I fangirl over. I reviewed Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith, the Eon duology by Alison Goodman, the Mapmaker's trilogy by S.E. Grove, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows, and gushed about my Epic Reads Book Shimmy Award Nominations and the best books that I'd read in 2015. I also asked for read-along buddies, and answered 15 weird questions about myself so that y'all could get to know me better.

Fall 2015 & Winter 2016, I didn't blog or booktube more frequently because in the fall, I’d been applying to graduate schools, and then there were the holiday breaks (aka laziness at home), and throughout February, I had a bunch a few graduate school interviews to attend (aka why you didn't hear from me much on social media then either). Maybe one day soon, I'll have actual big news to celebrate on that account. (Pray for me! Cross your fingers! Whatever you do.). In January, I attended the book launches for Truthwitch by Susan Dennard/Passenger by Alex Bracken and This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. I appreciated Marieke’s discussion on how the story was inspired, in part, by a yellow school bus, and the discussion of American gun culture vs. in the Netherlands. I appreciated the easy banter between Susan and Alex, and their personable approach to describing their writing styles and their experiences (e.g. researching ships in the eighteenth century). I loved how both events were moderated by other YA authors as well (Sona Charaipotra (Dhonielle Clayton was supposed to be there but I forget what happened) and Erin Bowman). And I ended up purchasing all three books for the book launches, as well as books by the author hosts. Here's to hoping grad school fares well too, so that I can say the season was an all around success :D.

 
In terms of what I've read this past fall and winter.... oh, what a varied list. I’m going to just list them out, and say a few things at the end!

Middle Grade:

1. The Golden Specific - S.E. Grove (review here).

Young Adult:

1. Passenger - Alexandra Bracken (review here)
2. Dreamstrider - Lindsay Smith (review here)
3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
4. Eon - Alison Goodman (review here)
5. Eona - Alison Goodman
6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Newt Scamander
7. All of Rosamund Hodge's listed short stories.
8. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
9. Vengeance Road - Erin Bowman
10. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - A.S. King, audio
11. A Creature of Moonlight - Rebecca Hahn
12. Wink Poppy Midnight - April Genevieve Tucholke (review to come!)
13. The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi (review to come!)

Adult Romance:

1. Wallbanger - Alice Clayton
2. Rusty Nailed - Alice Clayton
3. Screwdrivered - Alice Clayton
4. Mai Tai'd Up - Alice Clayton
5. A Lady of Persuasion - Tessa Dare
6. Goddess of the Hunt - Tessa Dare
7. Surrender of a Siren - Tessa Dare
8. The Rogue Not Taken - Sarah MacLean
9. A Gentleman in the Street - Alisha Rai
10. Once Upon a Marquess - Courtney Milan

Adult Fantasy

1. Feverborn - Karen Marie Moning
2. Captive Prince - C.S. Pacat
3. Prince's Gambit - C.S. Pacat
4. Kings Rising - C.S. Pacat

Nonfiction:

1. The Silk Road: A Short Introduction - James A. Millward.
2. The Madame Curie Complex - Julie Des Jardins
3. Bossypants - Tina Fey, audio
4. Yes Please - Amy Poehler, audio

What’s the deal with all the romance novels? Well, I’ve mentioned this before, but I share my Kindle account with my mother. You’d think this means she’d be more willing to read YA novels—alas, those are all just mine. Anyway, she loves contemporary and historical romance. The majority of the romance novels I read this past fall/winter, I read when I was at home with her. Usually when we’re together I remember that oh shit, I’m supposed to buy more romance novels for her to read. But it doesn’t feel right to just buy her anything out there – in some ways, I get caught too because then I want to make sure I’ve gotten her books that she’ll like. Like Alice Clayton. I read Alice Clayton’s book because I’d posted her cover reveal sometime ago, and I remembered writing that this was a new NA series for her, or she was continuing on Wallbanger, and it was pretty popular. So I tried the books out – I liked them, and my mom loved them. My mom also loves Tessa Dare, and Sarah MacLean and Courtney Milan are automatic pre-orders for her as well.

The young adult and middle grade books went pretty well, and I looooooove the Captive Prince trilogy, so yaaaaaas. And hey, look, I read about 32 books from late November to the end of February. Not too shabby, eh? And now interviews are over… :D :D

In terms of the books I received:

1. The Voyage to the Magical North by Claire Fayers
2. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun by Michelle Chafoun
3. The Wrong Side of Magic by Jannette Rallison
4. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, which was in my 2016 YA Books on My TBR List (and which I now read -- expect a review soon!)

The Voyage to the Magical North is about a girl and her friend who join a pirate’s quest to find the Magical North, which sounds like a place of secrets and myths and lots of fun. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun is an island adventure about a girl from the Bronx on a journey of mystery and discovery. The Wrong Side of Magic is a modern-day retelling of The Phantom Tollbooth, and all three are Middle Grade titles. I haven’t requested many ARCs as of late, and well, I’ve been more in the mood to read MG, as if it’s easier to review MG because I’ve read so much YA at this point, I almost feel saturated. Have you ever gotten that feeling? Do you think that that’s just a part of a reading slump or something more lasting? I was excited for Wink Poppy Midnight, and it was great – the book was also my first ARC from Penguin Random House. I’m a kind of a passive blogger uninterested in emailing publishers for ARCs, but if I’m sent the request form, I do look through the catalog. It’s always unexpected for me when any of that turns out, and I was doubly excited for Wink Poppy Midnight since it was in my 2016 YA Books on My TBR List. Did not disappoint!

That’s what I read, received, and blogged about in fall 2015 / winter 2016. How were these past couple of months for you? Did you read a lot or find a lot of new favorites? Have you been on your blogging/booktubing game?
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url 2016-01-06 01:59
The Highlights, The Favourites and The Flops of 2015

 

My year in books - The Highlights, The Favourites and The Flops of 2015.

 

I want to say thank you to all my fellow bibliophiles, you have introduced me to many great new authors and books that I wouldn't have found without you. I've had lots of fun talking books and getting to know you all. Here's to another year filled with lots more of the same!

 

I hope you all have a year full of wonderful reads ahead of you.

 

May the books be with you,
Scarlet.
x

 

 

http://scarletaingeal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/highlights-of-2015.html

 

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