jana_denardo: (kept tears)
I love writing to music and if I can get some that go with the story and/or characters the more the better.

I came up with a little soundtrack for Soldiers of the Sun and wanted to share it.

Yes I wanted it to be on 8tracks but since I don't actually have a computer full of music from the 1930s, youtube it is.



I could have made this entirely Bing Crosby to be honest and still have the same feel. I did try to branch out a bit. The first song was from a group that helped to inspire this series, Big Bang Voo Doo Daddy. They were part of the swing revival in the 90s and I just love them so they kick off the sound track to give you a feel for the time period.

Just a Gigolo gets whistled by Temple in the novel for the obvious reasons and Bing's I Found Million Dollar Baby (in a five and ten store) is also in the novel. The next few songs were some of the top songs in 1931 (though Ella's version is a little later but I thought we could use a break from Bing!) Snowbound was set in 31 and Soldiers opens there so it gives you a great idea of what Temple would be playing on his prized radio and stereo system.

From there the sound track goes modern day with more from Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy and Brian Setzer. Big Bad's 'Big and Bad' is the theme song for the Soldiers because they are. The Maddest Kind of Love could easily describe a three-way relationship, especially in 1930.

And when researching music while writing Soldiers I came across a newish musical genre, electro-swing and fell in love with Parov Stelar. This has something of the sound that would have been in the dance halls of the day and Temple so love having the chance to dance. He's excellent at things like the Charleston. The one nice thing about the youtubes is that I could include Takes Some Crime and Just Some Motion, two young men who dance in a modified take of dance moves like the Charleston. Temple would approve

The soundtrack concludes with a new to me Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy song, Spooky Madness. Now if that's not the novel's theme, I don't know what is.

Hope you enjoy!

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jana_denardo: (kept tears)
As many of you already know, my grandma passed yesterday. She was in her 100th year so it was a long and eventful life. I appreciate all the sympathy notes everyone has left for me.

Here is a picture of me and her from her 99th birthday party last year.

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I can't say she was particularly supportive of my writing, more like indifferent though she would ask about it from time to time. However, she was tickled this summer when she learned I wrote her into a scene with two of her high school friends (She did graduate high school, one of the few in generation who did, in my family that is. I have her class ring which brings up more questions than it answers. It has 3 pyramids on it as Midway PA used to be called Little Egypt. Why and when/why it was changed are things I need to research). Now, she had no idea what I write exactly. I figured she wouldn't ever read it (she was not a reader) and it made her happy to think she was in the story. And she is. By Name.

It all started with this picture (this is not my grandma. I have no idea who they are. It's from the Phipps historical timeline). I was researching the Phipps Conservatory for my 1930s demon hunter novel Soldiers of the Sun.

 photo timeline-1928_zps2994d9e8.jpg

It was then that I realized that my grandmother (who would have been 100 this year) could have been in Pittsburgh to see my demon hunters, Caleb, Agni & Temple. The Phipps would have been something they could have taken the train in to see and when I asked her she said she had but she couldn't remember how old she was at the time.

So I wrote her in. I had planned to read her the few paragraphs when the book came out (it's due out around her 100th birthday) but that is not to be. So later this year if you see an Assunta in the story, that's my grandmother and Guiseppina, who'll be a major character, is the name of Assunta's mother, my great grandmother.

Have a little music from the story's setting, 1932. My grandmother would have been seventeen and probably would have been dancing to this sort of thing.




jana_denardo: (kept tears)
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I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with time to just relax and be at peace. Here's a picture of something that makes me feel at peace, the wilderness in snow.

 photo Christmas-HD-Background_zpsa0514dde.jpg


And my friend ES sent this one along. How could I resist? I love Groot (and I want Quill's jacket, just saying).

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And here are a few steampunk Christmas Carols


jana_denardo: (kept tears)
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WHAT I'M READING Just finished Firelight by Kristen Callihan. It’s a paranormal romance that I thought was a paranormal mystery with a side of romance. Oopps. I’m so not into romances. This one actually is well written but in many places it didn’t work for me. Part of that was me and my disinterest in romance and part of it was some of the scenes like him getting mad, tossing her against the wall and fingering her to climax as ‘punishment’. Um…(also it’s 1890-1900)
I’m still working on Chuck Wendig’s (the author of the Terrible Minds blog) Blackbirds. I love his blog. However, this book isn’t for me and I like dark fiction. This, however is so unrelentingly dark it’s a struggle to finish.

WHAT I'M WRITING I’m STILL editing Soldiers of the Sun my 1930s demon hunter story. I swear to you I will get this done some day and you can stop hearing about it! But that day is not today. I ended up finding errors in it that need addressing but I’m hoping by next week it’s out the door.

I wrote more on my [livejournal.com profile] spook_me’s Halloween challenge. It’s set in the world of my novel Kept Tears. I finally introduced the prompt character who refuses to be spooky and in fact wants to be the one in danger.

And I'm giving away a copy of my novel here

What Works for Me This question is going around a lot lately with Nanowrimo looming. Music. I have to say I cannot write to silence and having lyrics doesn’t bother me in the least. I love writing to music. I know not everyone can do it or others need instrumental only but for me, what works best is to have music that fits the story.
I admit it, I make sound tracks for my stories and often play them again and again. For Soldiers of the Sun I do listen to period music (or at least modern imitations like Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy). Here’s a little sample sound track



(this one is actually in the story)

Rudy Vallee was mentioned in the novella The Darkest Midnight in December You can find the novella here.

Temple, one of the Soldiers of the Sun, whistles this in the novel.

As for the Spook Me story, Rhys and Aaron are steampunk cosplayers and its set at a Steampunk Halloween party. For them, I’d listen to things like Abney Park and Steam Powered Giraffee







WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
I had my family here for the Bob Evans Farm Festival. We had a pretty good time in spite of the fact it had rained for a week and was muddier than was reasonable. I didn’t take any photos but I did get myself a huge amethyst pendant that I love. And yes for those familiar with the Bob Evans restaurants, the university I teach at is butted up against that farm. It’s an enormous craftshow.

And now I’m making exam after exam. I’d rather be writing

You can find the rest of the WUW blog hop here
jana_denardo: (kept tears)
I do like coming up with sound tracks for my novels, even if never share them. Some times I really find songs that just seem to click and really fit the story. Other times, I just find songs that make me feel like writing.

A friend posted this one and I thought that would be very good for Temple, Agni and Caleb. It won't let me embed but here it is. The good thing that hurts

Now to finish my edits. ALMOST there.


Kaleo and Aneurin's story is very easy to find music, almost sinfully so. It helps I think that Kaleo would like to be a musician. I could and probably will make a sound track to share some day.

Until then have this. It works for Kaleo (he's the easy one to find music for. Being raised in a slum and scooped up for sexual slavery, there's plenty of angst to work with. Aneurin is harder. There is much I've found that screams super nerdy scientist workaholic).

jana_denardo: (kept tears)
For my upcoming Love's Landscape story, I have a mini-sound track for the boys, either music they love (all three are music enthusiasts) or shows a side of their personality.

Faolan, the Druid/mage and de jure leader of the monster-fighting group and he does have a geek streak like so many of my characters.

Ed Sheeran's song would be something he'd listen to and for that matter could apply to him, Jason and Derrek.




Faolan is also a drummer and I shamelessly based his style (and pretty much the whole group) on Albannach's long-haired drummer. I've had the chance to hear this group in person and they're great.





Derrek is the wildcard in the relationship (Faolan and Jason have been together a while). He's the youngest in his late twenties, fresh from the Marines and the Middle East, but unsure of his homecoming in his somewhat redneck Appalachian wolf pack. He also tried to break my brain when he said, 'I love bluegrass.' I often write to these mini-soundtracks to get in/keep in the mood of the story. I do not like bluegrass much. He was allowed some bluegrass and country.

I think he would relate to this Garth Brooks song (have a listen and you'll see why). It was a controversial song for the singer since he was *gasp* espousing the ideas of freedom of religion, freedom from prejudice be it race, gender and whoever it is you choose to love.





Derrek surprised me by being rather religious. That is very unusual for my characters. I've only ever had one who was really Christian before. Derrek is the second and it plays only a small role in the story (He is more or less quiet about his faith but it is rather strong and he's not sure what to do with two pagan lovers). Alison Krauss was the bluegrass he could listen to because she is one talented lady.




Jason is the music maven of the group and yet he is the hardest to pin down as far as finding something to represent him. He is an ancient vampire who has lived through so much of the music we know today it was hard to find something that said, 'This is Jason.' A friend reminded me of what another friend always claimed about Sting so this would be Jason when he's thinking on the mortality of his lovers.




Jason gets three songs because well he just does. I can totally see him dancing to this back in the day.




And this song shows Jason's original mortal life (okay not really, he is about 100 years older give or take). When I decided he'd be ancient, I went for it.



I hope you enjoyed the music.


And how about a little excerpt from when the three of them meet (keep in mind, I'm still waiting on edits)

Mages, vampires and werewolves, oh my )
jana_denardo: (kept tears)
I'm obviously already very excited about the release of my urban fantasy novel, Kept Tears and nervous. Well today a friend drew a little piece of fan art for Aaron and Rhys. I can't express my gratitude and joy loudly enough. Thank you so much [livejournal.com profile] seta_suzume. This is wonderful.

She graciously allowed me to share it all with you as well. Here they are. Aren't they adorable?  photo aaronrhysbyseta_zpsbebc60f2.jpg

Thank you.

And while I'm here, let me share a little more music for Aaron and Rhys's universe just because.

I thought this was a good song for Aaron in some ways even before I saw the video and how her arm turns robotic.



I can see Rhys and Corinne dedicating this one to Aaron. It's one I need to remember for myself.



I had another one in mind but I am Dorrie the Fish some days so have this one. It might have been the one I wanted and if not, it's still excellent.
jana_denardo: (kept tears)
Aaron and Rhys meet at a steampunk party. Rhys is a noob but Aaron is pretty well into it, along with his friend, Corinne and her boyfriend. He finds the cosplay anxiety-relieving. His self image has been in the dumps since he was injured in Afghanistan but when he gets dressed up in his steam punk garb he feels a little better about himself.

I picture his outfit a little like this something along these lines though the jacket is probably less tails and more more like this Edwardian one

A little excerpt from the beginning to illustrate my point.

Easing his topcoat over his prosthetic arm, decked out to look like it ran on steam and gears, Aaron glanced into his mirror and felt handsome again. Ever since the war had taken his arm, he felt ugly until he got into character. He went to his favorite club, where they had monthly steampunk events. In his steampunk garb, he was like a wildly colored creature emerging from its chrysalis.

Even the miasma of fog rolling off the river didn’t dampen Aaron’s spirits as he went into Steel Spirits, a club that hosted a steampunk evening once a week. It was a step back into a time that had never existed. Scanning the bar with its low light levels, Aaron spotted men in topcoats and Victorian adventuring gear. Women swept by in bustles and ruffles, hats decorated with flowers, birds and gears perched merrily on their curls.

Aaron checked his pocket watch and sighed when he realized he was early. It would be a while before his friends arrived. By some karmic synchronicity, Aaron spotted one of the hottest men he’d seen in, well, ever. Shoulder-length honey-gold hair framed his pale face. The graceful bow of his lips drew Aaron’s gaze. The man’s costume was simple: some sort of mad scientist. The stranger might not be gay. That didn’t mean they couldn’t be friends. For that matter, there hadn’t been any lovers since he returned to the States. He barely had any friends left in his life. Either they had moved since college, or they didn’t know how to handle everything he’d had to deal with since the war.


And I always love sharing the music for my books and while music plays a bit of a lesser role in Kept Tears it is in the first scene, especially Abney Park so here are a few of my favorites

This is the one I imagine for the opening scene. Airship Pirates


I am Stretched on Your Grave is poignant


She Last Exile is interesting and I can see Aaron enjoying it.


And Lacuna Coil was being played as Aaron enters the club. This one works on several levels, Trip the Darknes


find the ebook here
jana_denardo: (darkest midnight)
Here's one now. I'm working on a story I would like to send to the Not Shakespeare anthology and it's giving me something of a fit. In an attempt to not have it be ridiculously long or make it feel like it's part of something larger as SO many of my fantasy/SF short stories are accused of being, this attempt is as close to contemporary fiction as I can make it. This is new and uncertain ground for me. I've never believed in 'write what you know' (research will fix that) but rather 'write what you love.'

I love fantasy, SF, mystery and urban fantasy. I do not love contemporary. My usual readers do not love contemporary. I know it's one of the better sellers or so they say. I've never bought one, so what do I know? I have nothing against it or those who read/write it. It's just not for me. Mystery is as close to contemporary as I get.

As my horrified first reader pointed out, this story is fluffy contemporary romance. Okay it has Druids in it, but real Druids based as best I can off the Angelesey Druid Order as I can make it. Maybe it'll have a whiff of the otherworldly but that's all. I'm not sure I can pull this off but I'm almost to the first kiss so that's something.

Gwion (the Druid naturally) has an idol that he'd like to be like, Damh the Bard and the man's music is definitely mentioned in the story. As I'm writing this, trying to capture the awen of my chosen backdrop, I've been listening to a lot of Damh's work so here are a few that will be or have been mentioned in the story so far. I hope you enjoy. I find it very inspirational (and more than a little in line with some of my own beliefs)

The first song Gwion will share



And this one which illustrates the myth Gwion's name comes from



And this one which might be the first. debating
jana_denardo: (darkest midnight)
Mostly for my own use while writing but I thought others might enjoy hearing music that could be playing at any time during my novella The Darkest Midnight in December or the sequel I'm working on Soldiers of the Sun. Most of it is from 1925-1931

music this way )

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