Soundtrack Monday: Perry, in Love

Yesterday, the iTunes algorithm kept trying to force Pink Martini’s Amado Mio on me until I broke down and listened to it. Now, I love Pink Martini with the flame of a thousand suns… but so did Perry from the Kismet series.

The first bars of Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love send a chill up my spine, because I could reliably play it and Perry would lift his head in the Monde, smiling his bland, appreciative smile. It’s what’s playing inside his hellbreed head when he’s strapped into the metal frame and Jill’s at work with the knives.

I suppose it doesn’t help that in my head Perry looks a lot like a young Max Raabe, especially in the short story where he meets Jack Karma. Raabe in a tuxedo with his hair slicked back is exactly what Perry looks like when he’s wanting to impress, look harmless to, or seduce someone. Of course I know Mr Raabe is a nice fellow and Perry only chose that particular form to send s shiver through me…

…but it worked. It worked really well.

Enjoy the music, my friends. I know Hyperion-Pericles-Perry does.

Doctor Sleep, Meet Siouxsie

I’ve completed a website redesign! How do you guys like the new look? Also, there’s a new giveaway; I should just do a dedicated giveaways page, shouldn’t I.

I spent a restless night, falling into the deep well of sleep late. Maybe it was watching Doctor Sleep that did it–I bounced off the book pretty hard, but the movie has some good visuals and I always like Ewan MacGregor. The biggest draws in the movie are Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose the Hat and Cliff Curtis’s Billy, both of whom are much better than the movie deserves. Especially Ferguson; without her the entire edifice collapses.

I could also have been too warm; after a couple nights hovering near freezing and days of raw high-30s (Fahrenheit, of course, America is Still Imperial) it’s a relatively balmy 50F and the dogs are eager for their morning walk.

And the dogs. Boxnoggin isn’t too bad, he picks a single spot and stays there, moving only glacially all night–always towards the back of my knees, the dog has a magnet for them, apparently. But Miss B is an elderly statesdog, and the bed gets too warm and too soft, so she hops down and pads for the tile floor of the loo regularly, then comes back and settles next to me when she’s chilled enough. I don’t mind, but every time she hops down I wake up, thinking she might need to visit the yard.

So I have coffee, and Siouxsie and the Banshees playing. It feels like my early twenties all over again–the good parts, when I could find CDs I liked at work instead of just playing radio roulette. When I began to realize I could live in places where my books wouldn’t be shredded, my journals stolen, my body battered.

I had terrible experiences after I left home, sure. But none of them were bad enough to drive me back, and none were as bad as home even on the worst days. So all in all, that was when I began to live.

Maybe it was the child endangerment in Doctor Sleep that disturbed me. It’s one of the few things I have trouble watching in any movie; I’ll fast-forward through scenes of mounting dread even if I know the child is fine. King’s IT is one of my formative books, despite being nothing but child endangerment, but somehow it’s easier for me to process while reading. Seeing it on a hyper-detailed screen instead of on the screen inside my head, where I can fuzz details and move characters to my heart’s content, might be the problem.

Anyway, today is for me to be gentle with myself and get some more work done. I want the first scene in HOODs Season Three done and dusted today, since so much in the later stream of the book depends on where I start the cataract. And I need a car accident in Sons of Ymre, not to mention more whispering insanity.

The good thing about the sudden warmth is that I’ll be able to get a few things done in the garden when I break from the scenery in my head. It would be nice to get the large beds down the hill weeded and some seeds scattered, since we’re past the danger of freezing. Or so my nose says, and Miss B agrees.

Her nose is much better, after all.

It’s also subscription day, which means around 2pm free fiction will be flying to inboxes–always pleasant. I wish you a happy and productive Thursday, friends. We’ve almost, almost made it through the week.

Still, “weeks” are largely a concept beyond the dogs. They are concerned with the daily, like the walk they want now and are prancing with impatience to get to. I suppose I’d best get started, then.

Over and out.

Soundtrack Monday: Chrysalis Heart

There were a lot of songs on the Incorruptible playlist. (I am now hearing Pete Puma say “a whoooooole lotta lumps.”) But pride of place for that particular book has got to be taken by Delerium’s Chrysalis Heart.

I listen to a lot of Delerium while writing. Sometimes it’s just background, but other times a song will slide through my ears and pierce the throbbing heart of a story, and this was one of those times. I had Michael Gabon first, of course, Jenna had to hang back and see if she could trust me before she’d consent to let a few scenes be told from her point of view.

Reliably, though, I could pop some Delerium on, wait for this particular track, and Jenna would come creeping softly like a stray cat from her hiding place. Patience was rewarded, for once–give her time, Michael kept saying, but dammit, I had a book to write.

In any case, I’m trying to shoehorn another Legion book in this year’s schedule. There’s a certain sassy EMT who knows to keep her mouth shut when strange things happen, and I think a certain Decurion’s going to stumble across her. Those two just need to marinate a little longer before I can find their through-line, I think.

In the meantime, enjoy the tunes.

Soundtrack Monday: Wondering Where the Lions Are

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Monday! We’re doing this song again, because last time was just a short skim.

Plus, I was looking at old book soundtracks this morning, and came across Carcajou, which is what I wanted Weasel Boy to be titled. (Even I understood Weasel Boy wouldn’t be quite be, uh, romantic.) It eventually ended up as Taken, which was all right… but in my heart, it will always be Weasel Boy.

And one of the first songs on the soundtrack is Bruce Cockburn’s Wondering Where the Lions Are. Cockburn excels at finding warmth and gentleness even in the worst of situations. (He also did the fantastic If I Had a Rocket Launcher, which is not gentle but is very understandable.)

Much of Zach’s tension and growth in Weasel Boy comes from him finding out where his particular lions are, so to speak. He knows what he has to do, he’s just… afraid. When you know that your anger literally will not let you stop until you’re dead or victorious, you learn a healthy respect for that anger–and an unwillingness to let it rule you. This is at the heart of many (though not all, by any means) modern werewolf or shifter stories, a lesson quite unlike their “original” meanings.1

I’ve often held that werewolf and vampire stories, like many myths, are somewhat blank screens for us to project our own cultural anxieties onto, and they survive in direct proportion to how well they adapt to that projection.

Which is why they’re so much fun to work with, frankly.

Anyway, Wondering Where the Lions Are is a beautiful song, and even though Cockburn probably wouldn’t like the use I put it to, it’s fabulous material. I suspect he might think it’s a serious song meant for serious things instead of for a romance novel, but there are plenty of serious themes in romance novels, even this one.2

Zach knew he was strong enough, that wasn’t the problem. He suspected he wasn’t gentle enough, and the tension in the song between living in a war zone (polished and precise like the mind behind the gun should be…) and finding a moment of beauty and clarity (But some kind of ecstasy’s got a hold on me…) resonated with both me and the imaginary hero inside my head.

Anyway, I could natter on forever about the mythological, psychological, and musical underpinnings of Weasel Boy, but there’s work to be done and more stories to tell. Enjoy the tune, and have a lovely holiday Monday.

Soundtrack Monday: Take Me Out

The Society

It’s a brand-new year, and time for another Soundtrack Monday! Today we’re visiting the Society series–in particular, Hunter, Healer.

I did a fair amount of research on Vegas casinos for the scene where Rowan and Delgado finally see each other again. And while writing their reunion (bullets flying, adrenaline roaring, homemade Molotov cocktails) I listened, over and over again, to Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out.

I know I won’t be leaving here… with you.

Delgado is an interesting case; he and Preston (from The Marked) center on the human hunger for touch. Delgado can’t touch anyone mentally without excruciating pain, Press can’t touch anyone at all without draining them. When you find someone who can give that most important, basic thing–sheer simple contact–all of a sudden the world reforms and priorities reshuffle.

It’s probably my massage-therapy training that makes me focus so much on touch. (That, and the fact that human contact was perilous at best for most of my own life.) Anyway, this is the tune that particular shootout in Vegas is set to in my head. The ability to mentally set a casino on fire was, I’m not going to lie, extremely satisfying while I was writing it.


Edging In With the Lake

I’m edging back into piano practice again, and it feels good. Of course, every time I play this I expect to see a red-eyed Natalie Portman, but that’s a price one pays.

I want to finish this book of exercises and go back to doing Bach. Next year I’ve got to start working seriously on my Goldberg Variations Before I’m 50 bucket-list item, so it would be good to practice before then. And a session after dinner starts the evening most agreeably; it forces my brain into a different mode that makes it easier to not-work before bed.

Bonus bit: Long-time readers will know I put a Swan Lake reference in the Valentine series; it was super fun. I did have thoughts of doing a short story with a psion bounty hunter who also dances, but it died on the vine. Probably for the best, the last thing Danny needs in her life is to shoot someone in a tutu.

It’s almost the weekend, my dears, and the holidays are almost over. We can do this.

Over and out.

Soundtrack Monday: If I Ever Lose My Faith in You

The Demon's Librarian

If The Demon’s Librarian were ever to be turned into a movie, Sting’s If I Ever Lose My Faith in You would be playing over the credits. It’s largely Ryan’s song.

Who am I kidding? It’s only Ryan’s song. Chess is a very musical creature, though, and her tastes are pretty eclectic. She might even turn this up on the radio while the two of them are on vacation. (That’s what happens in The Lawyer and the Demon, Chess and Ryan are heading off for vacay in Hawaii, leaving Charlie to keep the city together.)

I’m sure that if Ryan heard this particular song he’d freeze, trying to figure out what that feeling in his chest is. You know the one–when a song is speaking directly to you, when an artist has managed to pierce the last veil between two human beings and articulates secrets you’ve kept even from yourself.

Anyway, Ryan’s found the battle he doesn’t mind fighting for the rest of his life. The Order and the Malik have lost him for good; his division-of-one has its banners flying for only one thing, and that’s Chess. Of course, he’s been around a while, and seen some history go bad. Never seen no miracle of science/ That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse…

Which reminds me, I should dust off the quarter-draft of The Lawyer and the Demon and perhaps do some kind of halfass outline. I might have a space on next year’s working calendar to stick that, and it would be nice to work on something I enjoy right down to the ground. Ryan thinks that if Charlie starts showing signs of Phoenicis talent, the two sisters might well turn the city into a smoking crater, and Ash agrees.

You haven’t met Ash yet, but if I get that damn book done, you will. I think you’ll like him. Anyway, though, his song is different, and we’re talking about Ryan.

Enjoy your week, my dears. I hope you have something to have faith in.