A playlist for you to rock out to while shopping

Or baking. Or dancing. Or whatever you’re doing…

Hi, kids!

As some of you know, I’m super-swamped over at the Women and Words Hootenanny. A couple days ago we gave away 31 books. Every day for 12 days, we give away, on average, 20 books. Why, yes. That is quite a lot. And this year, we’ve included a concurrent Rafflecopter drawing in which we’re giving away two Kindle Fires as well as other cool stuff. For realz. You should go over there and check it out. Because it is happy fun time. HERE’S THE LINK to Women and Words.

Anyway.

I write to music. And for some of my work, I do playlists. I did one for my most recent novel, The Bureau of Holiday Affairs, my reboot of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, which was published on December 19th, actually. FUN FACT!

I post my playlists at Spotify, so if you have an account there, you can find me: andimarquette. Cryptic, I know.

The playlist for The Bureau isn’t Christmasy in the Christmas music sense. That’s because I listen to all kinds of music all the time, and the character of Robin Preston (who is the main character of my novel) isn’t much for Christmas music, either. Rather, she has kind of an alternative/indie/college rock soul that the Bureau is trying to tap into so she can hopefully be redeemed.

My playlists for my novels and novellas also tend to follow the plot arc, and also evoke some of the secondary characters.

See if you can figure out which characters are tied to which songs in the playlist. 😀 Leave a comment with your guesses and I just might send you an ebook copy of The Bureau. WOOOO!

At any rate, here’s the playlist on Spotify:

Happy weekend!

Another Far Seek playlist

Hi, all!

I just posted another playlist at Spotify for the second book in my Far Seek Chronicles, A Matter of Blood. 25 songs. Scroll on the embedded-ness to check it out or just start listening.

I really dig making playlists, especially when they coincide with the projects I’ve written. I write to music, and depending on the genre, I listen to certain kinds of music. As some of you may have noticed with the playlist to the first Far Seek book, Friends in High Places, I listen to a lot of ambient, world, trance, and chill when I’m working on this series.

I’ve almost finished the playlist for the third, The Edge of Rebellion, so stay tuned for that.

And yes, I am working on a fourth installment to this series, and I’ve already mapped out a playlist for it. The fourth is a bit different than the first three, and the soundtrack I’ve been using for it really demonstrates that, even to me. But the music that I had been listening to for the other two didn’t quite fit the mood or character arcs, so I was kind of surprised to see that some other music made its way into my listening habits for this series as I’ve been working on this.

As an aside, the playlists I construct are generally songs I listened to while I was working on the projects, and/or songs that evoke particular scenes in the books. Some of you may have noticed that my playlists correlate loosely to the overarching plot arc of the corresponding work. I tend to put playlists together like that, so that you take a trip through the music while you’re thinking about/reading the book. If you’re not familiar with my written work, that’s fine! Have fun with the tunes.

And if you’re a newbie here, and you’d like to know more about my work, I have excerpts here on my website for my Far Seek Chronicles, my New Mexico mystery series, my novella From the Boots Up and my novel (the follow-up to Boots), From the Hat Down. And I have a bunch of freebie short stories posted here, too.

At any rate, here are links to my other playlists on Spotify:
Land of Entrapment
From the Boots Up
From the Hat Down

Should be enough music up in there to keep you busy for a bit…heh.

Happy Monday and happy listening!

Playlist, Land of Entrapment

Hi, all!

OMG I’ve totally been going nutso over in Spotify with playlists. I just did one for the first in my mystery series, Land of Entrapment. It’s 30 songs (OMG WTF SHE WENT CRAY CRAY OVER THERE)/artists that served as a soundtrack for this particular book.

As I noted over on Women and Words, each one of my projects tends to have its own soundtrack, though some songs/artists have crossover with more than one project. Speaking of Women and Words, I posted the playlist for my novella, From the Boots Up, over there. Here’s the linkie dinkie.

Anyhoo, here’s the playlist for Land of Entrapment.

It may take a little bit to load fully on your device, so don’t panic. Here’s a URL for it, too, in case you just can’t stand it and you have to go to Spotify RIGHT NOW, dang it. If you don’t have a Spotify account, you can log in with Facebook.

And now, here’s some MOAR INFO about Land of Entrapment:

K.C. Fontero left New Mexico in the wake of a bitter breakup to take an academic fellowship in Texas. With a doctorate in sociology and expertise in white supremacist groups, she’s well on her way to an academic career. But a plea for help from her ex, Melissa, brings K.C. back to Albuquerque to find Melissa’s troubled younger sister. Megan has disappeared with her white supremacist boyfriend and K.C. knows she has the expertise to track the mysterious group, and she knows she’ll be doing a public service to uncover it. What she doesn’t know is how far into her past she’ll have to go to find both Megan and herself and the deeper she digs into the group, the greater the danger she faces.

Winner, 2009, Golden Crown Literary Society award, best lesfic mystery
Winner, 2009, Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice award, lesfic mystery

Here’s an excerpt.

MOAR FUN STUFF!

Interview with K.C. Fontero, the main character
Interview with photographer Sage Crandall, K.C.’s love interest

And there you go. Happy reading, happy writing, happy listening, happy Friday!

Questions Answered: Music and Writing

Hiya, peeps.

Whew. Another busy week. Got through the edits to Day of the Dead (you can read more about the upcoming Book 4 in my New Mexico series on my “Books” page — cover image and excerpt to come!) and now the manuscript is going through a second edit to make it all sexy-time (one hopes).

So I thought I’d do another quick Q&A. Every once in a while a reader asks me if I listen to music when I write and if so, what kind?

Yes, dear readers, I do. Every book and story have their own soundtracks in particular genres. I listen to a lot of chill and trance when I write the Far Seek Chronicles (as an aside, www.di.fm has some great internet channels in those categories). Some of the artists that I listen to quite a bit when I’m working through particular scenes in that series are Chicane, Blank and Jones, ATB, Hammock, and Psh Project, and JES.

I’ve also got chill channels on Pandora internet radio, and yes, I do pay for the premium services on both Pandora and di.fm because it’s better sound and no commercials.

Each book in my New Mexico mystery series also has its own soundtrack. The Ties that Bind (Book 3) involved a lot of Robbie Robertson and Primeaux and Mike. Book 4, Day of the Dead (forthcoming this fall), involved some chill (for some reason, the character of Chris Gutierrez digs chill), some Robbie Robertson, but also a lot of Jewel, Tristan Prettyman, Rachael Yamagata, Mumford and Sons, Matt Nathanson and, yes, some ranchera and mariachi. If you read it (and here’s hoping you will. . .heh), you’ll see why.

And, yes. My novella From the Boots Up has a soundtrack, as well. Lots of Jewel, Dixie Chicks (if you read it, you’ll see why), and a few different songs from different artists in the folk/pop/Americana genres. The follow-up novel I’m writing to that story has a soundtrack, too. But I’m keeping that under wraps until it’s done. 😀

Anyway. Not all writers write to music. Those of us who do have certain genres/artists we dig. I’m one of those who uses music to evoke a particular mood as I’m working on particular projects, so I do actually put some songs on “repeat” while I’m writing certain scenes. Music has always been part of my writing process.

How about yours?

Happy Friday!

In Memoriam: Donna Summer

Some of you may know that I am a huge music fan. All kinds, across genres, across nations and eras. Like our sense of smell, music evokes all kinds of emotions in us. Certain songs can take us back to situations in our lives that were happy, sad, painful, or joyful. They may remind us of people we used to know or perhaps people we’ve lost. Music is evocative, and we imbue it with significance based on our own experiences and contexts, which we often shared with others.

Donna Summer’s music does that for me, and it always will. Upon hearing of her death May 17th, I immediately got out her “Bad Girls” album and listened to it, and went right back to the late 1970s, when I was a young teenager trying to find ways to cope with being different in the rural area where I grew up. Music became a conduit for me to an outside world. The internet wasn’t around yet. Neither were cell phones. I got my music info from pop magazines, TV, the radio, and snail mail penpals. Through music, I could access whole cultures and scenes without leaving my own community.

Source: Bossip (re-sized here)

Please continue…

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Music Break, people! Get funky!

Hi, peeps (ha ha! Get it? Peeps! It’s Easter!)

Anyway, after a brunch today, I went to do errands and was in a Celia Cruz kinda mood. I think you all need some of the late, great Celia Cruz to get you moving, get you shaking off the winter, and get you ready for spring. So here she is, in a fab dance mix of “Guantanamera”, by D’Menace:

No, this is not a video. It’s the song on YouTube, though. So just turn up your speakers and SHAKE IT!


link

Whew. If that doesn’t get you up and about, well, I can’t help you. Perhaps you’re a zombie.

Happy five minute dance party!

In Memoriam: Whitney Houston

Hi, all–

I’ve been putting this one off, too, because, again, there are never just the right words when someone leaves this mortal coil.

I watched part of Whitney Houston’s funeral yesterday, which was live-streamed. I decided I appreciated that, and it was comforting, to hear all the music because that’s really how I’ll remember Whitney — through music, and through the legacy in it that she left.

Yes, I know. She battled many demons, just as so many of us do. She waged her battles in ways that weren’t always the best, and that may have ended up causing her more harm than the demons themselves, but that could be anybody’s story. Any one of us could have lived those aspects of her life, and many of us, I’m sure, have. Some of us beat our demons. Others come to an uneasy peace with them. And still others can’t do either.

The thing I will remember most about Whitney is the sheer, unadulterated, soaring beauty of her voice. Her three-octave range. The technical virtuosity of her sound, with the soulful gospel underpinnings. The exquisite clarity. A voice like that appears once a generation, if we’re lucky, and even when I was in high school and then college, I knew there was something special about Whitney Houston’s voice. Any time a Whitney song came on the radio throughout the 80s or 90s, you knew exactly who it was. Nobody else sounded like Whitney. Nobody else came close. Even now, listening to all the tributes to her through various media, you will not ever mistake Whitney Houston’s voice for anyone else’s.

We’ll never know what demons she battled. And in the end, it doesn’t matter, because she left a legacy through her voice, and through the smooth but somehow approachable elegance of the persona we were allowed to see in the initial years of her career. Whitney Houston’s voice and performances blazed a trail for voices behind hers, in women like Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Christina Aguilera, who unabashedly acknowledge it.

Houston was the first African American woman to receive heavy rotation on MTV, and every single one of her albums has diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold certification. She is also the most awarded female musical artist in history, with over 400. The 1992 movie The Bodyguard introduced her as an actress, and she’d appear in a few other movies after that. Her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Superbowl hit the top of the charts, a salve for a nation entering military action in the Gulf War. After 9/11, that 1991 version of the anthem again hit the top of the charts, as a nation struggled through the horrifying after-effects of the largest terrorist attack on US soil.

Understandably so. Her voice — THE Voice — could both uplift and soothe, provide succor and respite. That voice could also make you dance, smile, and just feel good about your day. Whitney Houston and her voice could make you feel all of these things. That was the magic of The Voice. That was the magic of Whitney Houston.


link, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (1987)


link, “Savin’ all My Love for You” (1985; sorry about the ad before the song)


link, “I’m Every Woman” (1992)

And the song I consider her signature tune (written by Dolly Parton), in terms of the pinnacle of her vocal athleticism and soulfulness (and one that now tears me up every time I hear it):


link, “I Will Always Love You” (1992)

In Memoriam: Etta James

I’ve put this post off for a couple of days because I just couldn’t find the words to express how I feel about the passing of an American legend.

Etta James died this past Friday. Her music has been part of my musical landscape for years. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t know who she was because my parents listened to her music, as well. I finally had the good fortune to catch her live in Nashville in 2007 or thereabouts, and she could still put on a heck of a show.

The quintessential scrappy bad girl, James crossed myriad musical genres. She could sing like a raunchy low-down blues empress one minute, then like an angel with a backing celestial chorus the next. Her personal life was filled with travails, and she did nearly destroy her voice through her addiction to heroine and then cocaine, but battled back so that by the late 1970s and early 1980s, she was opening for the Rolling Stones. She talked candidly about her addiction and rehab issues in her 1995 biography, Rage To Survive.

Etta James isn’t the kind of woman easy to talk about. Instead, you get a sense of who she was through the music she left us. She herself said that

“You can’t fake this music. You might be a great singer or a great musician but, in the need, that’s got nothing to do with it. It’s how you connect to the songs and to the history behind them.”

Indeed. I leave you now with a few of my favorites.

“The Sky Is Crying”


link

“Love and Happiness”


link

“The Wallflower” (Roll With Me Henry)


link

“At Last” (probably the best-known James song)


link

Don’t stop for baby carriages

Hi, all!

Or, if you’re not in the US, don’t stop for prams. Happy New Year’s Eve y’all, and Foster the People will demonstrate precisely why, in a post-apocalyptic situation, do NOT stop driving until you’re dang sure it’s a reasonably safe place. Do not stop. Even if there’s a pram in the road. In this case, ESPECIALLY if there’s a pram in the road. (sorry–this is Vevo, so there’s an ad before the vid)


link

This is one of Spotify’s top 100 listened-to tunes of 2011 in the US. Here’s the link to see the others. Because everything is just better with music, including post-apocalyptic driving and hostage-taking. And let’s all thank Foster the People for the Road Warrior shout-out!


link

Hope your New Year’s Eve rocks! Be safe out there.

Music soothes the savage beast

Hi, all–

Hope the weekend treated you well. I wanted to talk about music, because I’m a huge music fan, and I listen across genres and time periods. And yes, I do play a couple of instruments, but I’m way out of practice; I’ve also been a radio DJ and a sometime dance DJ. Anyway, music is one of those things that, as a writer, sets the mood for things that I’m working on. Plus, there’s a soundtrack to your life, no matter what generation you are. There are certain songs and certain genres that can instantly take you back to parts of your past and you’re right there, remembering something that happened like it was freakin’ yesterday. Like smells, music triggers memories, both bittersweet and good.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share this great piece from a recent issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. I’ve been a subscriber to RS for…oh, geez. Too long to talk about without tipping my age. 😀 A while, now.

Anyway, RS does these “playlist” features (and sometimes whole issues) that features various artists who list a few of their fave songs/artists in a particular genre. This recent piece featured Mick Jagger listing his fave reggae tunes; Norah Jones and her Neil Young playlist; John Mellencamp on protest songs; Dave Guetta on dance-floor classics; Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and his fave Stevie Wonder tunes; Merle Haggard and the songs he wish he’d written; Lou Reed on jukebox awesome-ness; Tom Petty on his fave Elvis tunes; Miranda Lambert’s fave revenge songs; Patti Scialfa and girl groups; Billy Gibbs and his fave blues guitar tunes; Cee-Lo on southern hip-hop…basically, a seriously super groovy funkalicious major-ass playlist that will open your brain, dredge up some memories, and maybe even introduce you to some folks and songs you didn’t realize were out there.

I had a blast looking these up on YouTube (easier than doing the iPod thing in this case) and remembering the first time I’d ever heard these tunes. Almost all of the songs you can find easily, and, if you’re like me, you’ll go dig some of your old albums/CDs out, turn on the ol’ stereo (“SHUT UP! You still have one of those???” Um, yes. I do.), sit back with a tumbler of Jack Daniel’s and your beat-up guitar that you haven’t messed with in a while, and have yourself a solitary jam session.

So here you go. The link to the awesome-sauce playlist in the recent issue of RS.

Rock on, peeps.