Oh, hello 2022. I was too busy getting over Covid to notice your entrance. I was very lucky and had a mild breakthrough case that did no worse than rob me of my sense of smell and confine me to bed for a day or two.
I’m on the mend now, but I just had to share a lovely discovery I made while convalescing. In Love and War is a Hallmark movie (stay with me) that follows the story of a young Brit in Italy near the end of World War II.
There is adventure, intrigue, and of course romance. It’s a fairly realistic depiction of Italy towards the end of the war without being unbelievably depressing. Callum Blue is adorable and the Italian countryside is gorgeous. Plus, it’s based on a true story!
So, if you need a sweet romantic movie to watch, I highly recommend In Love and War. Go Hallmark, go.
You might remember me writing about Guardians sometime last year. It’s my latest WIP, and so far I’ve really enjoyed crafting the story. It’s got guardian angel-like beings, magical overlords, and romance. Or at least, I thought it had romance.
My two main characters were supposed to fall in love and save each other. But they’re just not cooperating. Their romance is so…meh. I can’t seem to make their attraction believable or rewarding to read about. It’s a mess.
Meanwhile, two sets of other characters are hellbent on making their romances the center of the story. This is a new problem for me. Usually, I dream up an interaction between two characters and the rest comes from there.
So I’m more than 30,000 words into a story that I’m starting to not care about. It’s a roadblock, to say the least. I think my creative juices have just stalled a bit. Can juices stall? It’s January in the middle of a pandemic and some people just mobbed the Capital Building (yep, I went there), so maybe creative mind is just feeling a bit stifled.
For now, I’m putting it aside. Just like that wonderful scene in Kiki’s Delivery Service when Ursula says, “Stop trying. Take long walks. Look at the scenery. Doze off at noon. Don’t even think about [writing].”
And so, I’ll practice yoga and martial arts, take my kids to the park when the sun comes out, use my new watercolor pens, and stop trying to make Ella and Robbie work things out.
The acting was superb, the costuming and sets were lovely, and the lighting added to the show. There are only six actors in this production, so several of them play multiple parts. I was unsure of this at first, but it really works! The production is funny, playing up the natural humor found in Jane Austen’s classic work. It also highlights Austen’s own satirical observations about the world around her. For more on that, check out the Director’s Note here.
It was a different interpretation of my favorite book of all time, with some artistic license taken. Some plot lines were condensed and some characters were left out, but I was okay with all of it. I mean, the BBC masterpiece from 1995 took six hours to tell the story so fully.
What I didn’t love
Um…I wish the show started at 7:00 instead of 7:30? Seriously, it’s wonderful. Go see it.
I have a secret love: YouTube fan vids. A good fan video can transport you. I have so many favorite videos in various lists now, I realize I needed to share them! I find these videos incredibly inspirational as far as writing goes. They get my creative juices flowing.
So this here post is the first in a series. YouTube Gems that must be shared. First up, Sherlock. If you have not seen Sherlock and want to, please do not view these! Many spoilers are contained within 🙂
This firsts video is by Nyah86Production and is called “The Woman That Counted.” The music is by The Cinematic Orchestra. Enjoy!
The next video is by nolaespoir and is called “A Magic Trick.” Oh my goodness, this one is so very good! The music is “Song for Bob” by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. All. The. Feels.
Okay, now that we’re all feeling pangs in our heart, let’s go write that initial breakup scene. Stay tuned for more YouTube Gems. Next up: Doctor Who.
Meet Fred and George, my newest distraction from writing. No, just kidding. I’m sure they’ll be inspirational. Fred is the very bright green budgie in the back, and George is the slightly duller green budgie in the front. George is struggling. We’re feeding him vitamin water and trying to pull him through. He was like this at the pet shop, and my daughter and I did the thing you are not supposed to do and rescued him.
Well, we couldn’t just leave him there.
I think budgies need to feature in a story of mine. They’re from Australia, you know. Perhaps a Hugh Jackman type with budgies. It could work.
Birds are my spirit animal. I used to think it was bunnies, since they are very skittish too. Nope. It’s birds. Birds fly high and free, yet they are constantly aware of the reality of impending attack by predators. They often risk their lives just to nurture they’re young. And some wonderful birds, like the albatross, mate for life.
Over the past year I’ve read some really great books about birds. For those that are interested in a quality non-fiction read:
I highly recommend the audiobook for Life on Earth. It’s read by David Attenborough, so it is brilliantly interesting and soothing at the same time.
Have you all seen The Decoy Bride? I bet if you have you’re a David Tennant fan, because it’s really not a well known movie. It’s my kind of movie. A bit of comedy, a bit of romance, some silly decisions that are easily rectified to lead us all to…a happy ending!
There is a scene in this movie where a character says, “A wedding is like a sunset: the romance of a moment. Marriage is the sea into which that sun sets.” I just love that. My husband and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. And by celebrated, I mean we took care of our two kids that had the flu. Classic good times.
After fifteen years, I can say that I agree with the lovely Scottish gentleman who said that marriage is like the sea. It’s beautiful and infinite. Turbulent and calm. As a romance novelist, I could ask for no better inspiration.
I couldn’t find the clip of that exact quote, so I give you a clip of the ending scene. Obviously, SPOILERS.
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.
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!
For my third installment of Music to Write by I’ll be highlighting a few of the pieces I have listened to while writing my latest work. I’m calling it Fidelity right now.
Let’s set the scene
In order to appreciate the music, here is the blurb for the novel. You know, the back of the book copy that draws you in and makes you buy the book (well, hopefully).
When computer programmer Sora Leroux intercepts secret plans to destroy the upcoming peace accords with an alien nation, she doesn’t know whom to trust. One thing she does know, however, is that she’s in danger. She decides to run, but the Special Ops captain sent to track her down has other plans.
Captain Graham Smith has been sent bring in Sora Leroux, a woman implicated in a terrorist threat. When new information reveals a greater conspiracy, Graham must decide who is telling the truth as he races to save London from a hidden threat.
Piece the first
Okay, I must start with the piece of music that started it all. Biplane by Andrew Lockington. This piece is from the movie The Space Between Us (worth a look, if you’ve never seen it). A pivotal scene of the novel came to me while I was listening to this track. It gets amazing at minute 1:50. Wait for it.
It’s sweeping, it’s adventurous, it’s romantic. I love it. I was sitting in my son’s room, helping him fall asleep by just being there, listening to this piece. And I pictured Sora and Graham. So thanks Andrew Lockington.
Piece the second
The second piece that was super inspiring is “I Feel You” by Alan Silvestri from Avengers: Endgame. If you’ve seen this movie, you might remember this part. I love it. But I love the music even more.
Is that not just wonderful? Okay, I’ll admit it — I love dramatic, sweeping pieces. Throw in some strings and I’m done for. I Feel You is the score behind a very important scene in the novel. There may be explosions. There may be declarations. I love it.
There you have it. My two major pieces for Fidelity. The ones I have listened to on a loop. Other works on my playlist include the soundtrack to The Martian by Harry Gregson-Williams, Man of Steel by Hans Zimmer, and The Host by Antonio Pinto.
If you’re interested in the first two posts of this series, check them out here and here.
I’ve worked to music for as long as I can remember. I got my very own boom box (yep, I said boom box) when I graduated from eighth grade. It had a tape deck, a cd player, and a remote control. It was glorious. I used it whenever I was in my room, and often played music all night to help me sleep.
When I went to college I got my first ipod, and was never without my ear buds while studying. Often studying would turn into writing as some piece struck my fancy and imaginative ideas bubbled through my mind.
Now whenever I am working on a story I develop a soundtrack. A score, if you will, to the piece I am trying to create. Inspiration on repeat.
A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods
While working on my first every published novella (!!!), I listened to a combination of soundtrack music and classical pieces that might have been popular in Jane Austen’s day. I thought it might be fun to share a few.
I was taken by this music the first time I heard it. It elevated the scene in the movie to something that pulled at my very heart. When I found out it was composed by Dario Marianelli, my intense reaction made sense. Many pieces in my music library are by Dario Marianelli.
I almost feel as if anything I say will seem pretentious. It’s Mozart. It’s brilliant. And I love to imagine Georgiana playing this piece!
There are others of course. The entire soundtrack to the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (Dario Marianelli, again). The music from the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Patrick Doyle is amazing!
As the slightly scary Berlioz said, “So many musical ideas…!” I look forward to sharing more of mine.
Today I share with you an idea that struck me some weeks ago. I have not been able to let it go, and so I believe it will develop into a full-fledged story. I love fairy tales. I love Jane Austen. In fact, my senior thesis paper was about fairy tales in the works of Jane Austen. Ah, college.
Inspiration, ideas, and knights
I shared the idea of somehow turning Pride and Prejudice into a more straightforward Cinderella story. And my idea-man knight said, “You could do all the fairy tales.”
He’s a man of few words. But what fun! All my favorite Jane Austen works and all of my favorite fairy tales? Yes, please. Alas, that is as far as I’ve gotten. Well, that’s not quite true. A lovely scene involving Elizabeth, Jane, Darcy, and Bingley at a ball has been swirling around my head. I hope to put fingers to keys soon and hash it out.