Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Mondays: Poolside Edition

Years ago, before my move to Arizona, the idea of living in a house with a pool was right up there with such fantasies as owning the floor piano from Big and getting a 1959 Mustang when I turned 16.

Of course, in Phoenix heat, a pool is a prime selling point. And since we arrived during one of the worst heat waves in some years, that was extra incentive for my parents to comb the listings for affordable pool side living space.

Which they found within the space of six months. So my first full summer in Arizona consisted of early mornings spent bikini clad, paddling around on a float, soaking up the light and the heat, with the radio playing in the background - mid 90s techno and R&B, mostly.

And though I'm not much for lounging by or in the pool anymore, here's some of what I'm listening to this week.

What's your favorite music to beat the heat?

1. Missing (Remix) - Everything But the Girl
2. Mouth - Merril Bainbridge
3. Children (Dream Version) - Robert Miles
4. The Crossroads - Bone Thugs N Harmony
5. 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Writing Romp: Haints and Talismans

For the last Wed. Romp, Snigdha, at her blog Carpe Diem, wrote a gorgeous poem: One Day, Some Day.

For this Wednesday's Romp, I went diving into some of my pictorial vacation history.....

If you're traveling around the deep South in the U.S., one of the colors you'll see decorating old and new homes, and even places of business, is a blue-green shade called "Haint Blue."

"Haint," of course, means spirit or ghost. And we're not talking about the sweet Casper kind, but angry, trapped shades.

Lore says that these wicked spirits can't cross water. Thus, people chose a shade reminiscent of rivers and pools to paint their porches, doors, and shutters in order to keep the wayward spirits from invading their homes.

A protective talisman in the form of paint.

"Haint Blue" doors and shutters in Savannah, Georgia

And that's your prompt for this week: Talisman. Write about the above building with its "Haint Blue" protection. Write about a ring that grants its wearer special protections. Write about whatever you want, so long as some kind of talisman makes an appearance and you meet the 50, 250, or 500 word limit options.

Come back here by midnight, Sunday, June 24 and leave a comment with a link to your response. I'll share them in the next Romp post.

Spread the word. Spread the love. Happy writing. (Grab the button on your way out.)

Chaotically Yours

Monday, June 18, 2012

100 Words: Another Day on the Job

Raen’s spent days shadowing her mark, watching him, blending into the background—another hunter come south for the game—waiting for this moment.

Pre-dawn. The mark leaves the tavern, weaving his way toward the inn.

Kneeling in shadow, Raen nocks one of her specially treated arrows, watches the mark until her focus narrows to a single point on his body.

When the arrow pierces his neck, the world rushes back. She pulls air into her lungs; it’s cool, fresh. And despite the tremor in her muscles, she thinks she could run the miles back to Vale to collect her payment.

For Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge: Invigorating

Music Mondays: Summertime

The Summer Solstice is almost upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. The first day of summer. The longest day of the year. (Which would be beneficial if you had vampires after you. More time to run and hide.)

Like spring, summer no longer means quite what it once did, namely: long days with nothing to do but sleep late into the day, spend the evening reading and stay up all night watching horror movies and assorted bad television.

But it's still a season of freedom. The long days give me a sense of boundless time. Weekend nights are still spent staying up late, enjoying the warmth and depth of the darkness. And sometimes all it takes is a certain slant of light or a whiff of freshly shorn grass to make me feel free.

Of course, a certain song works too.

What are your summertime songs?

1. Summertime - Janis Joplin
2. Under the Milky Way - The Church
3. Witches' Song - Juliana Hatfield
4. Waterfalls - TLC
5. Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind






Monday, June 11, 2012

Music Mondays: Write to the Music

Years ago, I stumbled across a writing exercise/prompt in the fandom world that works well whether you're playing with other people's characters or trying to better get to know your own.

Pick a character or a set of characters to write about. (Technically, this is optional, but I find it easier to limit myself to specific characters.) Put the music player of your choice on shuffle. For each song that plays, write something with the characters you've chosen. When a new song begins, switch to a new story/scene. Do this for a minimum of five songs.

I find this to be an excellent way of spurring ideas. Sometimes I end up writing the beginnings of a scene that may wind up in a longer work. Other times, it's just a brief character sketch that provides me some insight. And sometimes the song doesn't speak to me and I wind up staring at the blinking cursor until the next one begins. 

So here's my randomized playlist and a few of the pieces I wrote. If you try the exercise, I'd love to see what comes of it. Share them (or a link to them) in the comments.

Stephenville, Texas - Jewel

The road unfolds in front of her, black ribbon of asphalt shimmering with heat, bordered by flat rolling land as far as the horizon’s edge.

Kora thinks she’s never seen anything so boring.

In the passenger seat, the sorry sack of a shade she’d picked up in the last hole-in-the-wall town (where he’d apparently kicked off from a heart attack in a stall at the truck stop restroom) stared out the window, drumming translucent fingers on his leg, weaving his head along to the music coming from the stereo.

“We’re close now,” he says, voice a hiss of air. “Almost home.”

Kora tore around the corner, came skidding to a halt and one synaptic spark later, wedged herself into a crowd of people, who had just come from the coat closet, pulling rain coats around their shoulders, unwrapping umbrellas.

She let them carry her out the door, glanced back over her shoulder once to see her feckless dinner companion waving his arms at a harried looking host.

It hadn’t taken him long to realize his wallet was missing.

And, along with it, his date.

“People aren’t to be trusted.”

“Do I look like people?” Nikolaus asked.

Kora’s full mouth dwindled to a thin line and she arched a brow.

“Okay. Let me rephrase. Do I feel like people? And don’t give me that look, Spatzi. You know what I mean.”

“N-no,” she said and leaned carefully back in her chair, as though her shoulders might break under reprieve from the weight she’d been carrying. “You….feel like home.”

To Be Free - Emiliana Torrini

The first time Zoe wakes up and finds Nikolaus gone, she shrugs, slips into last night’s clothes crumpled on the floor and steps onto her balcony, lighting a cigarette and inhaling the crisp morning air.

Days later, she sees him again. Spies him across the colorful array of vegetables and herbs at the market. He takes her packages from her arms, follows her back to her flat and they eat warm brie and tomato slices on fresh baguettes, while sitting on the floor of her living room. And then they devour one another.

When she wakes, he’s gone again.

And this is the pattern they keep through the years of their relationship, whenever he comes to the city for whatever business he conducts.

She’s not sure when she started to feel the ache in her belly on the mornings she wakes up and he's not there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Writing Romp #7

I'm still getting back in the swing of things, so today's is going to be a simple prompt. Remember, you can choose to write 50, 250, or 500 words in any style or genre.

Come back before midnight on Sunday, the 10th, and leave a comment in this post with a link to what you've written. I'll share the responses in the next Wed. Romp post.

Here is your prompt:

(Image via Stock Xchng.
You can right-click and open the image in a new window to view a larger size.)

Need some extra oomph to get going? Okay.

Something happened in this room; tell me what it was. Or tell me: what do you see from that window? Or: what's in those books, so carefully arranged on the shelf?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Music Mondays: Elissa's Playlist

A while back I posted Gabriel's Playlist, discussing my use of (and need for) music as a character development tool and featuring songs that said character would likely have on his mp3 player.

Today, I'll be sharing some of Elissa's favorite music.

Elissa is a character from my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel. (Which is still gathering more dust than not – maybe I need to do a post about finding the motivation to edit older works?)

She’s the protagonist (or perhaps the main protagonist, as Gabriel seems to be making a major play for that role as well) of the novel. Her background is unremarkable – working class parents who separated when she was a young teenager. Before the circumstances of her parents’ divorce separated them, she and Gabriel were the closest of confidantes, looking out for each other in a world that seemed to have no place for either of them.

By the time the novel starts, that will have all changed. Elissa—with her unique gift—will have learned to make a place for herself. Gabriel…well…that would be telling.  (And I have enough trouble editing/rewriting as it is without giving the game away.)

(You can get a taste of their relationship by checking out Without Words and its follow up Settling Scores. As well as in the exercise "Sweet" on Deviantart.)

Instead of posing a question, as I usually, do, let me give you a challenge: Make a playlist for one of your characters. Sit down with them, have a conversation, and see what you come up with. And please, feel free to share them in the comments section. I love seeing the musical taste of other people's characters.
Here's what Elissa's listening to:

1. Breathe Me - Sia (Elissa's theme)
2. Haunted - Poe
3. Bury Me Alive - We Are the Fallen
4. We Are the Music Makers - Scarling
5. Fairytale - Sara Bareilles 

Ouch I have lost myself again / Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found / Yeah I think that I might break / I've lost myself again and I feel unsafe


And I'm haunted / By the lives that I have loved / And actions I have hated / I'm haunted /By the promises I've made / And others I have broken


"Free me from your sorrow / I can't grieve you again"


I wake up every morning and feel like a statistic / You say go go stop no go / It's your prickly aggression / That makes me optimistic / You say go go stop no go


Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom / Man made up a story said that I should believe him Go and tell your white knight that he's handsome in hindsight / But I don't want the next best thing

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