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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 02:10
The Idea Of You
The Idea of You - Amanda Prowse


Title: The Idea Of You
Author: Amanda Prowse
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"The Idea Of You" by Amanda Prowse

My View:

A good read that covered 'parenthood and family.' The author gives the reader quite a story that dealt with Lucy, Jonah[newly married] and Camille who was her step-daughter[coming to live with them]. But for some reason or another Camille took a instant dislike toward Lucy. Now, why was that? I found this read very tear grabbing with all that came out of this very intriguing emotional read. The characters were developed but also complex and complicated with human needs and wants. The author brings all of this out in such a unique way giving the reader such a heartbreaking read that you could feel as you are drawn into this emotional story. Will this marriage be able to stand against all of the trauma that they were going through especially with Lucy wanted most of all to become a mom? From the letters from Lucy's POV being full of emotions and then finding out what was the reason for them being presented was so very important and the up and down of feelings were so very important in this read. How was Lucy's relationship with her mom and sister? Were these insecurities and conflicts normal for Lucy and Camille? Yes, there was heartbreak with devastating effects of the ultimate loss, but also there was 'love, hope, courage and family.' I found that this author delivers to the reader not only the right characters to deliver such a important story but also does a wonderful job at giving the readers the right words that could only help one truly understand just what one goes through at a time like this. What will happen as this family has problems with 'anger, guilt, pain, and past secrets that will come out ['is what they don't have worth risking losing what they do have?']
and threaten all that this marriage as been built on? This is where I say you will have to pick up this emotional and challenging "The Idea Of You" to see how well this author presents it all out to the reader to see what Lucy gets as the end. This author really works this story so well with covering the subjects: 'miscarriage, [suffered a loss or infertility], teen pregnancy and relationship breakups.'

By the end the reader will gets a 'poignant love story that carries hope, love and forgiveness for all if it can only be accepted' as this love grows ever so stronger as it is given and received so freely. This is definitely a wonderful story of the ray of hope, happiness and love that needs to be heard every single day!

Thank you to Netgalley, lake union publishing and Amanda Prowse for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review. This novel was well done by this author!

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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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url 2017-03-19 16:23
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations Book
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit

"Our soul whispers to us constantly. When we understand the power of conscious and subconscious mind and the way the soul communicates with us, we can help ourselves enter the creative flow. Developing both Left and Right Brain could be essential for Creative Thinkers of our Future. To purify mind we start with the consciousness that the energy follows thoughts. It is important that we free ourselves of negative beliefs and thoughts, stop gossiping, judging or criticizing and that we work on developing the creative force within us." Nuit

Source: artof4elements.com/entry/189/conscious-creativity-book
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url 2017-03-16 09:28
Joyce Interviews Nataša Pantović Nuit about Ama Alchemy of Love Book launch
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit

The Eastern and Western approaches to God and spirituality developed in different directions. The western thrived exploring science, music, sports while the eastern focused on the interconnectedness of all, with a greater emphasis on myths, occult, micro-macro relationships. There are Yin and Yang approaches to life. Within my novel A-MA: ALCHEMY OF LOVE, I explore these in greater details

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