It’s been a while, Musical Monday fans. 

I finished “Sea Strand.”  It’s a work that I am very proud of.  That said, I no longer have the happy gleeful view of, “Whoopee!  I finished the book– let’s publish!”  I now have the, “It’s going to be a long, long, long process– no matter how good the work is.”  I see things published, best sellers, that I know the writing isn’t good and I realize:  it’s pretty damn subjective.  I have at present four agents who have requested “Sea Strand.”  Here’s hoping this time, subjectivity runs in my favor.  In the mean time I keep writing and I keep pushing.

I have this fortune cookie fortune taped to my computer, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”

This week’s Musical Monday is dedicated to my fellow author and critique partner, Amy Moellering.  Amy has a fabulous middle grade novel Tunnels and Traitors that she has completed, polished and is ready for publication.  She, like me, is searching for that perfect partner, an agent to champion her work and share the journey (and the success) with.  Amy recently was chosen as a first alternate in the prestigious online writing contest, Pitch Wars.  I am incredibly proud of her. (Don’t worry, Kimberly– you are next week’s blog.  Taking your victories in chronological order.  I have the perfect song for you.)

Pitch Wars

Pitch Wars

Each novel of mine has a kind of soundtrack that is playing as I write.  In the case of Spells of a Mortal’s Weaving, this was actually on a type writer, remember those?  I wrote that book with Queensryche’s epic Operation Mindcrime screaming in the background. (Hey, battle scenes, believe me– it was a good fit.) Next came The Dragon in The Garden and words came to life with Yes’ Fly From Here.  Hello, people, these are dragons- we had to fly!

Last year I wrote Sea Strand and it wasn’t one album that moved me; it was elements of one group.  That group was Nightwish.  They were experimenting with the pipes and rhythms of the North Atlantic.  What could be more perfect for a story whose mythology came from Iceland, the Shetlands and Ireland?  So I listened to songs like The Islander, The Siren, and Turn Loose the Mermaids (great song- you’ll want to reel).  All melodies that evoked sea shanties and Irish dancing.  Given my ethnic make up and the color of my story-telling voice, it was a good fit.

Now, as I hunt for a home for Sea Strand, I am taking the number one piece advice of agents, authors and editors: keep writing.  I am a planner.  I need to thoroughly research a lore before I start making random stuff up about it ;-).  I like to have character sketches done, an outline, and, preferably, a map and family trees done before I commit.  Sorry, it’s a thing.  If there is an author OCD group- I might need to join, but then, I love groups of all forms!

So now, I begin the next voyage.  I just have elements: a few characters, a premise and many legends to research.  I have a survivor named Martin, a protagonist named Klara, the legend of the Harlequin (no, not the publishing house), and a haunting question– where did our world’s magic go?  There’s even a more troubling question– what happens if it comes back???

At the moment it has a working title of: Jester’s Tear.

"Misplaced Childhood" by Marillion- possibly the greatest concept album ever.

“Misplaced Childhood” by Marillion- possibly the greatest concept album ever.

My oldest friends immediately sat up straight.  Yep- I totally stole that from Script From A Jester’s Tear.  You aren’t wrong.  And the music haunting my dreams, my runs, every moment that would normally be my own, but has been commandeered by my creative subconscious??? You guessed it… early, and to those who know and love this music, the greatest and truest version of… Marillion.

Amy, this is my long way of introducing you to one of the greatest gifts I can give any friend.  This is Marillion. Their name is derived from Tolkien’s Silmarillion– so, there, the coolness factor is HUGE.  Once you listen to them, you’ll see why I drive Jennifer Fosberry crazy, where my grandiose descriptions come from, the wordiness and romanticism of my narrative.  One writes what one knows, what one loves.

And, oh, how do I love the lyricism of their storytelling, the pictures that they paint, and the stories that are evoked, never to be forgotten.  The thieving magpie, the lost love affair, the chalk hearts melting on a play ground wall, cherry blossoms like confetti in the air, and the fool escaped from paradise… all infect my consciousness and color this newest work.  (The other lyrics come from Script For A Jester’s Tear)

See the jester?

See the jester?

Back to Kayleigh… for every yearning love affair, for every romantic’s dream, and for every might have been, there’s your Kayleigh, your “dancing in stilettos in the snow.”  We played it at my wedding- and it was one of the best instants of my life, because, unlike the song’s writer, I had proven that we were right.  Try to ignore the mullets and hear the dream:

And of course, look for the new story dawning… beta readers so wanted!!!  Please let me know if you want in!!!

Amy, next, listen to the following song, Lavender.  The whole album is a concept work.  One song blends into the next- it’s actually one song– one gorgeous song. It’s the story of a man who thought his life, his genius, his spark, in short, his childhood was gone.  He travels terrible emotional straits, searching for a lost love affair, questioning his roots, and his decisions, only to realize that our childhood never leaves us.  That child, that sprite, the inspiration– they are all still there, waiting to be seized.  It is NEVER too late.

Meet my once, forever, and, once again, muse.

Lyrics to Kayleigh:

Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall
Do you remember dawn escapes from moon washed college halls
Do you remember the cherry blossom in the market square
Do you remember I thought it was confetti in our hair
By the way didn’t I break your heart?
Please excuse me, I never meant to break your heart
So sorry, I never meant to break your heart
But you broke mine
Kayleigh is it too late to say I’m sorry?
And Kayleigh could we get it together again?
I just can’t go on pretending that it came to a natural end
Kayleigh, oh I never thought I’d miss you
And Kayleigh I thought that we’d always be friends
We said our love would last forever
So how did it come to this bitter end?

Do you remember barefoot on the lawn with shooting stars
Do you remember loving on the floor in Belsize Park
Do you remember dancing in stilettos in the snow
Do you remember you never understood I had to go
By the way, didn’t I break your heart
Please excuse me, I never meant to break your heart
So sorry, I never meant to break your heart
But you broke mine

Kayleigh, I just wanna say I’m sorry
But Kayleigh I’m too scared to pick up the phone
To hear you’ve found another lover to patch up our broken home
Kayleigh I’m still trying to write that love song
Kayleigh it’s more important to me now you’re gone
Maybe it will prove that we were right
Or ever prove that I was wrong