Music to Write By – The Foll Stones

I’ve been working on The Foll Stones for over 10 years. I started it before my daughter was born, took a long hiatus until after the birth of my son, and finished the first draft during my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. So you can imagine that the playlist for this work is long and varied!

Before I share my favorite pieces from the playlist, here is a bit about The Foll Stones:

When 19-year-old Cleona Willow and her childhood friend Brian are magically pulled from their sleepy Vermont town and thrust into the ancient land of Terratalam, they must join the quest to unite the mythical Foll Stones, or risk being trapped in the strange world forever.

The Music

One of the first scenes that I envisioned is quite dramatic. There’s a swamp, a challenge, and a life-threatening drop. The music that plays is Injection by Hans Zimmer. It’s from Mission Impossible II, of all things. It doesn’t really get good until minute 1:30 (sorry Hans).

The next of many favorites is “Ron Leaves” by Alexandre Desplat. It’s from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, although I’ve forgotten which one. It’s so beautiful and sad and simply perfect for The Foll Stones. There’s a fair amount of bittersweet moments in this novel, and this music is perfection.

Okay more bittersweet coming at you. This piece is called “Remembering Jenny” by Christophe Beck. It’s from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack. It’s sooo good. It’s short, but man the feels it evokes. Incidentally, Christophe Beck composed the score for Frozen. Not the songs or anything, but the beautiful music that plays when the parents are lost at sea? Christophe. Also, when the animated Christophe is running across the ice? Christophe. Okay, enough. On to the beauty.

There are many more songs on my list for this novel. As it comes closer to completion, I’ll be sharing more. I hope you enjoyed this peek inside my musical inspiration!

Thanksgiving

It’s complicated…

Let’s face it – Thanksgiving is a complicated holiday. The relationship between white colonists and the native peoples of North America was complex and fraught with violence. Thinking too hard about the subject can leave you less than thrilled to carve up a turkey and celebrate the first Thanksgiving.

Then there’s the shopping. Let’s all leave our holiday parties early so we can shop and get good deals on Christmas presents. Don’t get me wrong, I love good deals. But I dislike the smash and grab atmosphere that seems to accompany Black Friday.

…but it’s my favorite.

Yes, Thanksgiving comes with plenty of complications. However, I have to be honest with you all. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love it because it celebrates gratitude, family, and being home. Thanksgiving for me is warmth, pie, and parades watched on TV. I think that if we try to interpret the holiday in modern ways, we can preserve the tradition that so many love.

Wait, what? Modern and traditional? Yup. Here’s my vision for how we do that. We honor the pain of the Native Americans. We honor the spirit of those first colonist who made it through the winter. We focus on gratitude above all else. Because for me, being grateful creates warm, fuzzy feelings. And the last bit? We explore ways to be more tolerant and inclusive in our daily lives.

So much gratitude

I feel so very grateful for the amazing things that have happened this year. Becoming a published author has been a dream of mine since I was very small. So I would like to extend a very warm thank you to everyone that helped me edit and polish my novella. And a very special thank you to my readers. I am grateful for each and every one of you!

Please consider donating to RAICES

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing a fundraiser with you all. It’s part of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text’s Don’t Be A Dursley campaign. We are raising money for RAICES, an organization that helps refugees. According to their website, RAICES works to “provide lawyers for children, reunite families, provide social services to immigrants in need, resettle refugees, and more.”  They are based in Texas, but helps families all throughout the United States. To learn more about RAICES, visit www.raicestexas.org

If you want to join the campaign, click here to donate! And thank you!

50,000 Words

Another pseudo-version of me – typing.

It’s November, which means it’s NaNoWriMo! What is NaNoWriMo you ask? It’s National Novel Writing Month, when a bunch of writers the world over try to write 50,000 words in one month. Check out their official website here.

I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year, because, life. But I love keeping up with other writers’ progress all the same. It gives me a creative boost just to think about all my fellow writers out there, working so hard this month to realize their dreams.

It’s also got me thinking about 50,000 words. I am not sure I have ever reached that goal. A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods is a novella, around 35,000 words. The current draft of Fidelity is 49,500 words. The Foll Stones is stalling out at 49,000. It seems I have trouble hitting that magical number – 50,000.

Why 50,000? Because that’s the average novel length. And to be honest, that’s pretty short. I’ll give you an example. One of my all time favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, is about 50,000 words. I would not consider that to be a long book.

It’s really got me thinking. Maybe my style is just succinct. In fact, this is not a new thing for me. In college, my papers would rarely reach the requested number of pages. I would fall short by half a page or so, almost every time! I remember worrying about it, and speaking to my professor and advisor, Dr. Germaine Murray. She reassured me that I said what I needed to say and supported my ideas with fewer words, which was perfectly fine.

Now, a novel is not the same as a research paper. However, I’ve started to think about the possibility that I may not write long novels. Maybe shorter work is just my style. As a new writer, it’s hard to know when something is my style, and when something is happening because I’m a novice. For now, I’ll keep working on my 45,000 average. Perhaps I’ll hit that magic number this month, during the amazing creative juju of NaNoWriMo.

Book Signing

I will be having a book signing at the White Oak Coffee House on November 22! I’ll be there from 4-7 signing books and feeling very shy. I will have a limited amount of books to purchase, so bring your copy if you have one!

Planning a book signing has felt so surreal. It’s almost as if I’m planning this for someone else. I have been writing since I was a kid, so this next step into the author world is particularly gratifying. I hope to see you there!

Music to Write By – Roswell New & Old

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Yes, that says Roswell. The original Roswell was on the WB (remember that??) when I was in high school. I never watched it actually. I didn’t discover it until I had my son. I would be up in the middle of the night nursing him and needed a way to stay awake. Enter Netflix. I found and devoured all three cheesy seasons. And through it, I discovered I Shall Believe by Sheryl Crow. This song is romance dreaming gold. Have a listen and just try not to imagine a romantic moment.

Recently, I was out sick with some nasty upper respiratory thing. I had heard about the Roswell reboot, but again hadn’t watched it. Basically, the people at the CW updated Roswell and made it again. Why try something knew? So there I was, stuck in bed. I binge watched the entire season available on Netflix. And yes, I enjoyed it. I also discovered two lovely songs. The first is called Can’t Love Me by Novi. It features Tyler Blackburn, who happens to star on Roswell. Again, romance dreaming gold. I love it.

And the last new favorite is Carry You by Novo Amor. This song is just beautiful. I love the guitar and the chill vibe. Don’t worry though, this song also sweeps. Because it’s me, and I love sweeping dramatic music.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these songs. The kids can tell you I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. I love discovering new inspiration. Are there any songs that you’ve been loving lately? Please share them in the comments below!

A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods – Now on Kindle Unlimited!

My book is now available through Kindle Unlimited 🙂

I am super excited to let you all know that A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods is now available through Kindle Unlimited. If you don’t know, Kindle Unlimited is a program through Amazon in which you pay one monthly price and can read as many KU books as you want.

I’m excited for this next stage for my little book!

Beta Reading Is Amazing

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I recently sent two different works to complete strangers for a beta read. For those of you who don’t know, beta readers are fellow writers who volunteer to read through your work. They offer constructive criticism and feedback. I had never participated in either end of the process, so I decided it was high time.

The result has been truly worthwhile. I have received incredibly helpful notes and ideas. Throughout the many years that I have been writing, I have followed the same process. I write and revise, write and revise. It is always me looking at each successive draft. Not only did it keep me from moving forward with my writing, but it kept me from seeing new possibilities within my own work.

I also decided to take on some work as a beta reader. It has been more fun and informative than I thought it would be! I find it really interesting to read other author’s works in progress. To see what people are working on, before an editor gets to it, has been great. And the whole process has given me a stronger sense of community.

And you know what? The writing community is amazing, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.