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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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review 2017-03-21 01:07
Always
Always: A Novel - Sarah Jio


Title: Always
Author: Sarah Jio
Publisher: Ballantine
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four
Review:

"Always" by Sarah Jio

My Thoughts...

What a interesting read that seemed to have blended the past and the present together into one good read about Kailey Crain, Cade McAllister, once the love of her life and now her fiancee, Ryan.
For ten years Cade had been missing but Kailey finds him by giving a meal outside a restaurant to the homeless person only to find out that was Cade who had disappeared. The story will go back and forth until Kailey decides to look for him and again finds him and with a friend helps get him into a program discovering he had traumatic head injuries. Now, will this present problems with her fiancee? There will be a lots of things going on in this story with Kailey that seems like a lots of dishonesty in how she really felt about Cade but did she tell Ryan how she really felt? Was she really being truthful with Ryan or keeping a secret? Was Kailey really in love with Ryan...her fiancee or her ex boyfriend...Cade? Well, to find out all the answers to these and many more questions you will have to pick "Always" and see how it comes out. Be prepared for a good love story with lots of 'twist and turns, mystery, forgiveness, turmoils, loss, and drug abuse' with a some predictability, but still a good read. This author did a good job at looking at the homeless and mentally ill who many find themselves on the streets. I will say that ending was a little strange but I know anything can happen as it will for Kailey as 'no one forgets their first love, good or bad' and especially second chance romances.

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review 2017-03-08 23:13
The Maverick Cowboy
The Maverick Cowboy - Kate Pearce


Title: The Maverick Cowboy
Author: Kate Pearce
Series: Morgan Ranch # 2
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"The Maverick Cowboy" by Kate Pearce

My Reasoning:

This is the second in this series...Morgan Ranch # 2 that features Blue Morgan and Jenna McDonald and a few other wonderful characters that will keep you turning the pages. Yes, this will definitely be on of those reads that will have plenty of romance along with some real steamy hot sex scenes. Even though this is a series this novel can be read as a standalone but I do recommend that you read the first series too for even a better understanding of this series.

The author gives us a good story with Blue Morgan returning home from the Marines[of twelve years] who was trying to find his way back as a civilian and working together with his brother Chase and grandmother Ruth. Blue's his job was to care for the horses which put him into close situations with Jenna the local vet. How will this closeness affect them?

Jenna is a veterinarian in her uncle's practice where she spends a lots of time at the Morgan Ranch taking care of there livestock. We find Jenna having had a hard life being adopted and was fighting with her family[who were over achievers] due to her career choice. Even many of the locals [old schoolers] who thought that she couldn't perform her job due to the fact she was a woman. But will things chance as Jenna began to see Blue in a different light? What will happen as Blue become protective of Jenna? Well, before these two can get to an HEA [military guy & veterinarian] will they be able to make it through "[the gray areas of their life], survive Jenna's family, with her secrets and surprises from Blue's past and that crazy drunk rancher who didn't know when to stop." Now, how will this story all plan out as this family history that is so loaded with drama, mystery, suspense, secrets, hope, humor, friendship, redemption and love seems to continue that started in the first series. There is so much going on in this story line with all of its twist and turns that you will just have to pick this novel up and read it for yourself to see how well this author presents this entertaining and thought provoking story to the readers.

I found all the characters [Blue, Jenna, Chase, Ruth,Roy, January, Maria] to name a few who were all all well developed, portrayed, likable, believable that will definitely keep your attention to the end. The author gives this series a wonderful writing style that will definitely get you ready for the next series with involves another brother...Ry who is a twin.

 

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review 2017-03-08 22:59
Strawberry Wine
Strawberry Wine - Darly Jamison

Title: Strawberry Wine
Author: Darly Jamison
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"Strawberry Wine" by Darly Jamison

My Viewpoint...

Looking for a novel with a romance with lots of twist and turns that will definitely keep you wondering what will happen next...then you are at the right place for "Strawberry Wine" will give it all to you. I liked how this author was able to give us a emotional story that was told using 'flashbacks' of a first love and heartache. So, what will happen as Addy and Jake meet again in this small town and rediscover that their is still a bond between them?

The main characters...Addison [Addy] and Jake gives the readers one sweet love story. Getting these two together was simply a work of art. I liked how this author gives the reader a witty banter which gives us a delightful read that felt so real and how this story deals with the prologue, then the past, the present and then on to the epilogue. Yes, this story will skip around so be aware of that and in the end you get these two peoples story being told so well that you can even 'smell the intoxicating strawberry wine.' This is one read that you may find yourself tearing up, smiling and also laughing!

Many of the other characters were all well developed and relatable but one of my favorite people was Addy's grandmother, Mags who was a 'serious matchmaker, cook extraordinaire and a advice dispenser all rolled up into one' giving the reader a intriguing read that you will keep turning the pages until the end. Oops, I don't want to leave out another character I liked and that brought a lots to the read and that was Ruby.

"Strawberry Wine" will give the reader a sweet and spicy love story of how Addy and Jake 'navigate through tender moments and heartbreaks of their romantic love' all tied together in one well written read.

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