Music Monday: Fight Club

Welcome to another Music Monday. Next up is a short piece from the Assassin’s Creed III soundtrack by Lorne Balfe.

This one is a small but perfectly formed piece of fiddle music that’s reminiscent of traditional Irish music. Its speed always makes me feel like I’m listening to the musical equivalent of a tongue twister, but it has a fabulous rhythm and flow to it that helps when I’m working on more physical sequences…though, ironically, not the one actual fight scene in Sekhmet!

It’s also a good piece to get your blood pumping if you’ve been staring at the same half-finished sentence for a little while.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to include this.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: Opening Titles Including Underground

It’s another Music Monday and it’s more soundtrack music this week, this time from Labyrinth by David Bowie and Trevor Jones.

This is a rare piece for the Elsehere soundtrack, in that it needs very little further introduction. It’s from a classic 80s film that’s still eminently watchable now (that’s no mean feat) and I think it might be the most famous piece of music I include. (Might!)

It also goes against what I said about not writing to pieces of music with a strong image attached, because the moment the opening chords play I immediately get the image of the owl and its flight through the film’s opening credits and into the park where Sara’s playing but it still works as part of my writing playlist. My thought process is incredibly visual – each scene plays out like a mini movie (which did lead me to issues with describing things when I started, because surely EVERYONE could see the picture in my head, right?! Well, no, as it turns out – and that’s probably for the best!) and often that involves sweeping me through the scenery, like the owl in those opening credits.

The main reason it works, though, are the lyrics. As I’ve mentioned before, for me to write to music with lyrics I have to be very familiar with them, and you don’t get much more familiar than a song you’ve known for *gulp* approaching forty years! What edges this song into the soundtrack over some others, though, is the connection the lyrics have to the overall Elsehere saga. I didn’t start plotting the Elsehere saga with this song directly in mind, but it does beautifully line up with the major themes of the series.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in (hopefully – Spotify and the Labyrinth soundtrack are occasionally uneasy allies!)

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

A Spot of Catch Up

It’s almost the end of August (how? seriously, just how?!) so it’s time for a bit of a round up of things that have happened (that you might have missed!), so without further ado…

  • Sekhmet, book 1 of the Elsehere series is out and in the wild! Thank you to those of you who’ve bought it – I hope you’re enjoying it, and please do consider giving it a review. If you haven’t already bought a copy, click here for details of where you can purchase one. (Please note: the paperback’s being updated but should be available again soon.)
  • There’ve been three Music Monday posts with a fourth one scheduled for tomorrow and additional posts scheduled through to the end of September. Catch up with any you’ve missed, here.
  • The first Free Fiction Friday story went up last week. Called The Pact, you can read a bit more about it, here, and read the full story, here. Expect the next one of these sometime in September!

Meanwhile in writing news, book 2 in the Elsehere series, Valkyrie, is making progress and the series itself has spawned a sixth book, which I’m in the process of plotting out. I’m a little tentative on where it’s going to slot in (it could be book 3, it could be book 4!) but once I have the details tetrised into place I’ll add it to the releases page.

And I think that’s everything. For now, at least! I hope you’re keeping well and staying safe. Happy reading!

Music Monday: Winds of Cyrene

Welcome to another Music Monday. This week, another instrumental track, taken from the soundtrack of Assassin’s Creed: Origins by Sarah Schachner.

I listen to music from assorted scores quite a bit when I’m writing. It’s music that, for the most part, is designed to be easy to listen to and to generate a mood and it generally helps me to get down to work. (I say ‘for the most part’ because there’s always an exception or two, where the music and the scene it’s attached to are too interlinked, or when the music is a particular character’s theme – trying to write to any of John Williams’ Star Wars scores is a complete non-starter, for example!)

Occasionally, though, particular pieces will just absolutely nail a character, and Winds of Cyrene does with Nick. It’s a very sparce, moody arrangement that (for me) always brings to mind a sense of melancholy and loss, which is very much where he starts in Sekhmet. It very quickly became my go-to for finding my way through when I was finding writing his scenes tough.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Friday Fiction – The Pact

Welcome to the first Friday Fiction. August’s story is a historical inspired by the stories of Lady Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Tudor history’s not my ‘normal’ period but these three women are fascinating and not a little tragic and in reading about them I couldn’t help but wonder…what if?

Read The Pact

Happy reading!

Music Monday: Drowsy Magpie

Today’s playlist entry is the wonderful Drowsy Magpie by The Snake Charmer.

I got introduced to The Snake Sharmer by J (hi J!) via some incredible YouTube videos and equally impressive tunes. She’s an Indian bagpiper who plays everything from traditional Celtic and folk to Punjabi and wider Indian melodies to covers of AC/DC and popular film and TV themes (her version of the Game of Thrones theme is fabulous)

Drowsy Magpie is a mashup of Punjabi and Celtic melodies, done to a dance beat. It’s loud and vibrant and utterly joyful, which I absolutely adore. A little like Silent Lucidity, this is another piece of music that allows my mind to wander off, though more often than not, that’s while my body is literally wandering off: this one is part of my walking playlist.

As a writer I do spend an impressive amount of time sitting at my desk – it’s an occupational hazard, you might say! – so I do aim to get outside at least once a day and go for a good brisk walk and music like Drowsy Magpie makes sure that it is brisk.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to include this.

That’s all for now. Happy reading – and listening!

Music Mondays: Silent Lucidity

I use music a lot in writing. I’m not someone who can sit in monastic silence: I need there to be a background track to what I’m doing to help me concentrate or to set the mood (or on rare occasions, to drown out external irritations [like my neighbour’s alarm clock…]), but what that backing track needs to be varies tremendously.

First up on the playlist, then, is Silent Lucidity by Queensrÿche.

If you’ve never come across Queensrÿche, they’re an American progressive metal band who probably hit their commercial peak in the late 80s/early 90s just prior to Grunge. Silent Lucidity is from that period of their career and it’s a beautiful, symphonic-style piece of progressive metal with Michael Kamen conducting the orchestral parts.

Part of what I love about the track is the instrumental parts. I’ve always been a sucker for layered production (see also Queen and Pink Floyd!) and this song has plenty of that, but (appropriately enough) there’s a dreamlike quality to it that lets my mind wander off down plot holes and come back up with a solution.

And speaking of appropriate, that brings me on to the lyrics and vocals (yes, when the mood strikes me, I write to stuff with lyrics – although I do make sure what I’m listening to is something I’m familiar with!), which I love as much as the instrumental parts. They’re almost as dreamlike as the music surrounding them and there’s something very soothing. It’s not actually a lullaby (the song is about lucid dreaming) but it definitely has that feel.

All in all, as the first piece of the Elsehere soundtrack, we’re off to a good start.

And by the way, as I compile it, the Elsehere Soundtrack will be available as a Spotify playlist.

That’s all for now. Happy reading!

Out Now!

Release day for Sekhmet. It’s now availble in both eBook (across all good eReaders) and paperback edition (Amazon only).

For the eBook Click here to order via your preferred supplier.

For the paperback go here for UK orders or here for US orders.

And if you do buy (thank you!), please remember to leave a review!

Other News

  • The project notes page is up, with details of other things I’m likely to be working on in the not too distant future
  • Work on Valkyrie (book 2 in the Elsehere series) continues apace – the first draft should be finished this month, and probably the first round of editing as well.
  • Free Fiction Friday (starting this week) is going to be a once-a-month feature for short fiction
  • Starting tomorrow, I’m going to do a feature on some of the music that I’ve been listening to while I write – I’m not sure if it’s going to be monthly or weekly, but it will be on some kind of regular schedule

And that’s it for today. Happy Sunday 🙂