Until 22nd February guests will be joining me to share their thoughts on love in many of its different forms: family love, friendship, passionate and contented love, compassionate love and love of food, music, animals, language and writing. What makes each post unique is that the feelings expressed are individual to every author. What brings these posts together is the underlying theme that love is one of the most powerful forces on earth.
Today’s guests have music in their souls and who can blame them? Music evokes so many memories, feelings and responses in people. The rap track that gets one listener excited can be another listener’s nightmare. A well chosen piece of music at a public event such as a wedding can stay with people for months, or even years. Today I’m welcoming David M. Brown, Katrina Renee Byrd, Alison DeLuca, R.S. Guthrie, Sean Keefer and Pete Morin to share their “Love of Music”.
Don’t forget to register your vote on the posts – just scroll down to the end of the post to leave your vote once you’ve finished reading. You can vote daily and one winning voter will get a character named after them in my next book, a signed copy of the new paperback edition, plus a $50 Amazon gift card. Two runners up will receive signed copies of the new paperback edition of In Leah’s Wake, plus a $25 gift card each.
And the guest authors can win too! The author who receives the most votes in one day during the event will receive an Orangeberry Social Butterfly package and a 5-day ‘Tweet Me a Storm’ package from Orangeberry Book Tours.
Love of Music in In Leah’s Wake
Justine giggled and Leah got up, slipped a disc by the artist 50 Cent into her CD player. ‘The song’s called ‘Candy Shop.’ Like it?’
Justine detested rap. The repulsive chauvinistic lyrics and violent downbeat made her feel small. On the other hand, if Leah thought rap was good, then it probably was.
Leah slid her hands through her hair, her body pulsing.
Leah was talented enough to dance professionally. Music flowed through her like waves of electricity or heat. Justine had no sense for music, no timing, no rhythm, no feel. She was all arms and feet. She stood in the center of the room, her sister dancing circles around her.
‘Come on, Jus,’ Leah said. ‘Move your shoulders.’
Justine’s shoulders twitched.
Her sister laughed. ‘That’s the idea. Let’s try to time your moves with the music.’ She stopped dancing. ‘Listen for the boom. The first boom starts the phrase. Hear it now? One, two, three, four,’ she said, snapping her fingers, her arms and shoulders and hips moving as one.
She took Justine by the hand and twirled her around.
‘One, two, three, four,’ Leah sang. ‘One, two, three, four.’
When the CD ended, Leah said, ‘Could you do me a favor?’
‘Sure,’ Justine said. Anything.
A newly edited edition of In Leah’s Wake has recently been released with a paperback version due for release next week. The newly edited novel features a new chapter and several new scenes, adding new connections and insights, and tightens the book, cutting 60 pages – all while maintaining the integrity of the original edition.
LOVE OF MUSIC
David M. Brown: Love of Music
Emotive and evocative, music is the most beautiful of all art forms. I have a wide range of tastes from sixties gods The Beatles to wacky music from the eighties and the more obscure demigods of the modern era such as Porcupine Tree. Like poetry, music relies on a concise but meticulous grouping of lyrics to convey any message the artist chooses. It’s easy to lose yourself in a song, some easy to decipher, others less so but intricacy doesn’t taint a song’s impact for me.
I find that I write best when I’m listening to music. Working on my laptop, I’ll have the earphones in, YouTube open, and my own jukebox of masterpieces. The Decemberists are my favourite group, their songs made up of a rich arrangement of instruments as well as lyrics that tell compelling stories from the government employee that falls for a spy in The Bagman’s Gambit to the heartrending recreation of a Japanese folktale in The Crane Wife 1, 2 and 3. Songs inspire, sadden, cheer and amuse. They can take us instantly to a nostalgic moment in our lives, they leave a permanent mark on us and they have the power to affect millions.
While lyrics draw me in I find music alone to be just as wonderful. Those opening two minutes to The Cure’s Trust is purely music but is among the most beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard. The RPG series Final Fantasy is as notable for its soundtrack as its game play. Segments from those games provide a seamless backdrop to my writing sessions, no singing, just sumptuous music that is ecstasy to the ears.
Music encompasses many genres. I don’t like all of them but the ones I do often become imprinted forever on my soul.
David M. Brown is a short story writer and author of the fantasy novel Fezariu’s Epiphany. He lives in the UK with his wife, Donna, and their six rescue cats. He is currently working on his second novel, A World Apart.
Katrina Renee Byrd: A Sound Love Affair
I didn’t know real freedom until I fell in love. Sweet rhythms, soulful harmonies weaving through luminous melodies touching me, caressing me, soothing me, being right with me through every situation. Diverse styles, with sundry pitches, whisper expressive stories in my ear. No wonder I turn him on so much. I have always loved music. But it was a private love. One that consisted of me turning up the radio and singing into a spoon. I fell in love with music the day I traded my spoon for a microphone. When I started performing I fell deeper into my love’s arms exploring a multiplicity of genres, gaining a deeper understanding of each genre’s unique structure. Music gives me freedom to tell my story, strength to stand up, freedom to cry, freedom to celebrate, and the confidence to flounce my boa, strut my strut, swing my hips and whip my hair.
Katrina Byrd, a Millsaps graduate and Jackson, Ms Native, is a writer/playwright, actor and performer. She’s the recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Minigrant, a member of the Indie Exchange and the author of three books – One HOT Minute, Byrds of a Feather and Justice is Blind.
Alison DeLuca: Sweat and the Blues
My dad singing me to sleep with ‘All Through the Night,’ a piano in an open-air concert in Spain, my daughter’s made-up song ‘I Got Some Love For You’ (played on paper and comb.) These are musical moments I love. Some I won’t hear again, ever.
But my favorite music experience happened in a blues hall. An unknown group played one dance song after another. The crowd was completely into them and the music.
The band members were, to a man, on top of their game. They seemed to feed off the energy from the audience, and the listeners in turn responded to that excitement, and there was a kind of musical whirlwind going on between the dance floor and the stage.
After about an hour, the singer turned to the other guys on the stage. ‘Band!’ he yelled. ‘Y’all want a break?’
‘NO!’ they yelled back, and the singer broke into Little Red Rooster. The crowd went wild.
I danced with some guy. We both laughed, just from sheer joy at the beauty of the music as the sax wailed and the singer found new rifs on the old song.
The band never did take that break. I never stopped dancing until we all got kicked out. That night was sweaty, musical joy.
Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk adventures for young adults, including The Night Watchman Express, Devil’s Kitchen, and The Lamplighter’s Special. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
She now wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.
R.S. Guthrie: Love of Music
Love strikes us in so many different ways and when it hooks us, we are forever touched. We can feel love for people, places, things-even moments. The longest love of my life, other than that for my parents, is my love of music. I cannot remember a moment when music did not surround me, speak to me, coddle me, inspire me, or talk to me.
That’s what love does-opens up even vessel, every pore, so that we can take it all in, every molecule of the object we adore.
My father was a musician. When he was young he learned to play the guitar. He played in a folk trio in college. Yet as much as he loved music, he never became a professional. I was born while he was still playing in small dives around campus and the responsibility of a steady paycheck quickly outweighed his love for music.
That’s another thing about love.
We have to choose against it sometimes.
But love never really dies. We may have to ignore it for a while, put it aside for a time, but when it’s such a part of us, we can’t deny it or make it go away.
And so my father continued to play. In our home, sometimes every night. He would bring the music alive, just him and a guitar, or maybe a harmonica, too. He would sing and often my mother would join in. Sometimes we kids sang, but mostly we watched, spellbound, wrapped deliciously in the creations of Simon and Garfunkel, Peter, Paul, and Mary, The Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, Bob Dillon-the list went on.
It is one of the only things my father passed along to me.
And loving it connects me to him still.
Rob Guthrie is a writer who has published two novels under the name R.S. Guthrie: Black Beast (A Clan of MacAulay Novel) and LOST. Guthrie lives in Colorado with his music-loving wife, Amy, three young Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who believes beyond a doubt she’s a 40-lb Aussie.
Sean Keefer: Love of Music
The post you’re about to read will use less than 26 different letters. If you can read my words, you’ll know what I’m saying.
Music, however, is a different story, which is why people love music. While there are different steps and octaves, any music you will hear goes back to one of the original 12 root notes.
The beauty of music, be it piano, guitar or any other instrument, the native tongue of the musician doesn’t matter. I remember once in Costa Rica hearing a hauntingly beautiful solo guitar piece. As the guitarist finished I approached him to comment.
He didn’t speak a word of English. I pointed to the guitar and gave him two thumbs up and retreated to enjoy more music. It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak the language.
If you can hear you can appreciate the music.
Think to the opening tones of Beethoven’s 5th. Or the introduction to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”
No translation required.
But the beauty of music and the love affair only starts here.
Music has the ability to instantly recreate a moment from the past. Think of the times when you’ve passed the hours listening to music from a day gone by with a smile on your face. Reality of it is, the human brain is an amazing piece of engineering. We draw on our memories with cues and music is one of the best going.
When I hear a song it takes me back, back to the day I first started college, the day I first played on stage, the day I walked into my first house – and the list goes on.
Take a moment next time you’re at an event you want to remember. Chances are there’s a song playing somewhere. Give it a listen, a close listen. I’ll be surprised if the next time you hear it you aren’t right back in the moment.
Or better yet, turn on the radio (yes, the radio) and see where the music takes you.
Sean Keefer lives, works, writes and plays music in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. The Trust is his debut novel. Presently he is hard at work on a follow up. For more information visit SeanKeefer.com.
Pete Morin: I Love Music
It is no exaggeration to say that music has changed my life.
For 25 years, I had suffered back pain.
I used to live with a motto: The difference between pain and discomfort is attitude. Well, it’s all relative. I was pretty much a miserable sonofabitch a lot of the time, regardless of my attitude.
My desperation to escape pain sent me to every type of healer you could imagine. In 2005, I visited an ‘energy healer.’ After assaying my body, she told me there were two things missing in my life that I had to get back to if I wanted to heal.
One of them was music.
The other was writing.
That week, I bought a Fender Stratocaster and began to relearn the music I’d played long ago. And I realized that I’d had it in my head all along. Blues classics. A little jazz. Soon enough, I was going to open mike jams by myself. Now, I participate every single week in some sort of event, and am a ‘regular’ part of the local blues scene.
I haven’t had any back trouble since. My family thinks I’m a lot more tolerable.
Of course, the writing also played a role in this transformation, too. But that’s another post.
Pete Morin has been a trial attorney, a politician, a bureaucrat, a lobbyist, and now, a fiction writer. He’s still deciding what to do for a living.