“Sacrifice” Playlist – Just for Fun

First off, I have been extremely pleased with the reception of Sacrifice. Sales of both the sequel and the first book have been way better than ever, and folks seem to be enjoying it. 🙂 It is absolutely thrilling to have the story out in the hands of readers. Go-go 21st century freedom of information!

Seriously, it’s awesome. I’m downright stoked.

As with the previous novel, I’m doing a brief post about the music which inspired Sacrifice. I will never cease to marvel at the interconnectedness of creative people – painters inspired by writers, musicians inspired by story, writers inspired by music – it’s a phenomenon of cosmic proportions, if you ask me. We all have so much to share with one another, and that is the beauty of all that is art.

For me, no words reach the page without music. I cannot write in silence. Some of my work has been inspired directly by songs – Fathers and Sons came to me while listening to Say When by The Fray (specifically the lyrics, “you’re coming to but you’re slow in waking/you start to shake/you still haven’t spoken, what happened?” “maybe god can be on both sides of a gun,” and “my own two hands will comfort you tonight/say when/my own two arms will carry you tonight”). I can’t tell you how powerfully I’ve felt those lyrics through Garren’s story.

Thus I give you the following songs that inspired Sacrifice (among others I listened to along the way). As I pulled them from my playlist I realized that I don’t listen to many female artists. Huh.

End Chapters (most characters)

You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid by The Offspring

Teveres Songs

Through Glass by Stone Sour

What I’ve Done by Linkin Park

This is Gospel by Panic! At the Disco

Les Songs

Get Out Alive by Three Days Grace

Oh Glory by Panic! At the Disco

Elden Songs

Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace

Pain by Three Days Grace

Aia Songs

Take Me to Church by Hozier

How You Remind Me cover by Avril Lavigne

All In by Lifehouse

Cover Release: An Elden Novella Called “Broken”

Well my friends, interesting things have been happening over here. While working on Forsaken Lands 2 I had a conversation with my sister, and at some point I asked the question, “Hey, who do you think deserves the next short story?”

As soon as she said “Elden” my mind got spinning, and in 12 days I had about 18,000 words on paper – enough to qualify as a novella. Mind you, I had planned to work on a short story after the novel draft was finished, but Elden’s tale was so juicy that it simply took off with my better senses, and here we are. Fortunately I’m pretty sure that I can still make my goal of a June 23rd first draft of FL2 despite my 12 day novella diversion. What’s even better is I will now be releasing a new title in the next 1-3 months, prior to the release of FL2! Check out the cover –

broken

I’ll be working up a formal blurb in the next few days. In short, it is another first-person origin story of sorts, giving you a window into Elden’s life at age sixteen. Several points about his past are revealed, including the beginning of his dangerous relationship with the Kaldari fire drug. After my beta readers give me their feedback on the draft I will make necessary changes, consult with my editing folks, and then bam – it will be out on the net. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll do three months of Kindle Select or go straight to wider distribution. More on the intricacies of that decision to come.

I’m on break between the end of my training and the beginning of my new job, so there will be lots of writing happening in the next few weeks as well as a (much less arduous) move to a neighboring city. I’ll see about getting some blog posts out in that amount of time. Who knows… perhaps I’ll release some snippets from Broken while I’m at it. Interested? Shout out!

What does it mean to be a writer, anyway?

I’ve a mind to talk about something more philosophical today, so I’d like to discuss with you a little bit about writing as an activity. I’ve had enough of talking just about myself and my work. Shameless self-promotion, while necessary, is not actually something I’m very comfortable with. For as much as I write, I’m not actually very comfortable writing about me. As a writer of fiction, I habitually create a comfortable shield around myself in the form of my characters. They do the talking for me. They show emotion, some of it mine and some of it not – they express opinions, a hodgepodge of things I do believe, once believed, or have observed others to believe. When you read my fiction, you’re seeing a broken glass reflection of me. There are pieces there which are whole, some of which fit together. There are jagged edges and deception in what you see. It’s an illusion, really, but it’s based on something quite real.

When I said I wanted to discuss writing, this is the kind of thing I was talking about.

Every person who writes, even if it’s just a page of prose or a verse of poetry now and then, writes for a different reason. While many people find writing to be a chore, I think most of us who write do so to start with because it is fun. Before this most recent move I had a roomate who would occasionally run into me in the halls, pale-faced and sleep deprived from spending my limited free time on Tragedy. Our conversations typically went something like…

Roomate: “So, how’s it going?”

Me: “I just wrote 2,000 words… I’m out of words…”

Roomate: “Wow, that’s rough.”

Me: “Rough? No, it’s… it’s great.”

My roomate, of course, was not a writer. To him the idea of spending hours in front of computer screen with a word document and music blaring might be some kind of torture. For me, though… for me that time spent in another world so far from the hospital was my escape (still is my escape, I should add). The adventure of writing and the challenge of marrying the right characters with the right story is as enjoyable if not more so than sitting down to play a videogame. Lord knows I only have so much patience for The Sims.

Beyond the recreational aspect, writing can take on a more profound meaning. Naturally I can only speak for myself (is that not the point of a blog, anyway?), but my writing has most always been about communicating the stories of the characters in a way which evokes sympathy from the reader. I’ve always enjoyed reading stories that are character-driven, the kind of work that explores the motivations of people in a provocative fashion. I enjoy writing the same kind of stories I enjoy reading – I can’t say with certainty that I am always successful, but I do know that writing has opened my own mind in many ways, helped me test the boundaries of my own biases. In my humble opinion, a great story is one which helps the reader learn something about themselves or about the world that they didn’t know before.

Really, the same can be said for any form of art. Creative endeavors can be tremendous tools for personal betterment and even social change. It communicates with us, normalizes behaviors, and gives us the chance to expand beyond our sometimes-limited perspectives. Exposing ones self to creativity is just as important as playing the role of creator, as we humans learn the most from those around us.

I do apologize for the rambling nature of this post, but nonetheless hope you found it entertaining. To close, I’d like to leave you with a few artists who have expanded my mind over the years, odd as they may seem on first glance: Richard Bach, author of Illusions; Anne Bishop, author of The Black Jewels Trilogy; The Barenaked Ladies, the band which kept me sane through my adolescence; and Lindsey Stirling, whose music played in the background during most of the draft of Tragedy.

What artists have inspired and enlightened you?