Music Monday: Round Up

And we’ve reached the final Music Monday for Cambiante and a chance to wrap up the few pieces that either didn’t need a whole post or where a whole post would have provided way more spoilers than I’d like.

  • The AC: Black Flag theme – Brian Tyler
    I just love this piece of music. It’s a playful waltz. It’s a prelude. It’s a sea shanty without actually being a sea shanty. It’s swashbuckling fun and it’s definitely The Ghost’s theme.
  • Waving At Stars – Fish
    This is an odd little track from the Raingods with Zippos album. It’s got a trance backing track that wouldn’t have been out of place in Ayia Napa or Ibiza when the album was originally released, but the lyrics are more of Fish’s sharp observation. It builds into Raingods Dancing (see the first Music Monday post for Cambiante for details on that) and, as such, I listened to it almost as much as that track and it was almost as important for ironing out the details as that track became!
  • Sonic Boom Boy – Westworld
    A quirky track that I’ve loved since I was a wee small thing and a new addition to my walking playlist.

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

So that’s the Cambiante part of the Elsehere soundtrack complete. By comparison to Valkyrie and Sekhmet it’s quite a short section, but that’s mainly because I actually listened to way more things than for either of the first too books, but far fewer tracks became important to the writing. (I had a lot of fun listening to some of the music from Cuba – there’s a lot of really awesome dance and jazz music that’s either originated or developed out of Cuba – but none of it really ‘stuck’, as such, partly because there was so much I don’t think I heard any of it twice!)

Music Monday now goes on hiatus until August, when I’m going to do a special summer fun selection. Five weeks to share my five favourite ‘summer’ music and, like my Christmas selection, I’m aiming for roads less travelled – though more on that in August!

The Elsehere soundtrack will return in the autumn (all things being well) with part 4, which is going to be very, VERY different. Until then, happy reading and listening 🙂

Music Monday: The British Empire

This is the penultimate Music Monday for Cambiante and it’s another piece of music from the AC: Black Flag soundtrack by Brian Tyler.

This is one of my absolute favourite tracks on the Black Flag soundtrack. It’s a sparce composition with an absolutely haunting melody that’s played, first, on the violin and then echoed with percussion, and I just love the sense of feeling it brings me, of being lost and alone.

That’s an emotional beat that crops up in all of the Elsehere books, but nowhere moreso than in Cambiante. This track helped enormously to keep me in the right mood to write some of the more emotionally charged sequences without tipping over into melodrama. It was also a fabulous piece of music to listen to while I was thinking through some of the issues and plot holes.

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

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

Music Monday: United

This week’s Music Monday is a little different with Olivier Derivière’s United.

Olivier Derivière is a French composer whose works have mainly been video game sountracks. I will confess I don’t know his work terribly well – that’s something I plan on rectifying in the very near future! United comes from the AC: Black Flag expansion/extension Freedom Cry.

So what’s so different? It represents a road not taken.

As I mentioned in the first post for part 3, I did most of the plotting for Cambiante on one single 3.7km walk, but one thing I didn’t nail down at that point was exactly where I was going to base Emilio. I was leaning towards Cuba and Havana, but I didn’t have any particularly strong reasons for that location and there were plenty of other options open to me. I knew a (very rough) timeline of what happened between 1500 and the present through that region, but I dug into it a bit more, putting a bit more detail onto that timeline.

Some locations were definitely out as a home base – Jamaica and Barbados were both too obvious and also too British, given the background I was giving Emilio. Others I thought about a bit harder – having him remain on the mainland (Mexico or further south in to Belize) was a strong candidate – but ultimately discarded as not quite fitting right. In the end, it came down to two locations. Cuba and Haiti. Haiti’s major plus point is its history as having been home to a successful slave rebellion and, though Emilio’s background is Spanish and the Haitian colony was French, Hispaniola is where Columbus landed so it did tie together quite nicely.

On the other hand, I was wary about setting a story in Haiti. It’s not a country I know and I didn’t want to end up either exagerating the social and political situation or underplaying it. Which is not to say Cuba was particularly easy to use as a location – again, the politics and social situation are an interesting proposition. Either one was going to need a lot of research. What finally tipped me to use Cuba was the underwater geology off the western end of the island which directly led me to the major subplot in Cambiante.

So Haiti is the road not taken and United, a song sung in Haitian Creole, is added to the soundtrack as a reminder that for every point that ends up in a book, there’s usually ten or fifteen points been considered and discarded!

(Though nothing’s ever forgotten: as much as I haven’t used Haiti as the main location for Cambiante, there’s bits of history there that I’ve logged away for use in future short stories, so it’s probably safe to say, you haven’t heard the last of the Saint-Domingue slave rebellion…)

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

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

June? How’d That Happen…

Time flies when you spend most of it in conference calls – or at least that’s how the last couple of weeks have felt, at least! The day job is still doing its best to consume my brain and this month (and next) are offically Show Month for my dancing school (while I’m not a performer, I am part of the gang of volunteers who help make it happen) so things aren’t really likely to improve on the sanity front any time soon.

However, despite all that, I’m still making good progress on book 4. Although the first half still isn’t really finished, I have started making inroads into the second half now (believe it or not, I have a chunk of the final climax written!), so my goal this month is the same as last month’s: finish the first half! In an ideal and perfect world, not only would I finish the first half but get it over to my editor (*waves to J*) – but I think that’s severely optimistic, given the RL stuff.

I’ve also continued to work on Sage to get that book into shape. I did mention last month that there was a possibility that I could swap book 4 and Sage over, but the more I’ve worked on Sage and book 4 the more I think it would be better to retain the order as-planned. What this, potentially, means is book 4 may get pushed into next year (I am not trying to do another December release!), depending on how well writing and editing go over the next couple of months. Watch this space.

One thing that did fall quite severely by the wayside last month was the Friday Fiction post. I thought I had a story all ready to go and then I did a final reread of it and spotted about thirty places that needed work, so that ended up being shelved. However, I will have some time later in the month (I actually have a holiday planned!) where I can give it a proper edit, so it will appear later in the month and, in the meantime, I’m working on a brand new short story that I’m hoping will emerge next week. So this month should be a two-fer on the Friday Fiction front.

On the Music Monday front, there’s two posts remaining, plus a round up post. (Gosh, that one’s gone by quick!) Once that’s done there’ll be another haitus until book 4 comes out, although I may do a special music feature through August.

And in other news, Sekhmet has been entered into the SPFBO. This is an ‘awards’/competition for self-published fantasy novels, run by the novelist Mark Lawrence (who writes extremely compelling fantasy, though most tends to land on the GrimDark end of the spectrum). For more information (and to see how Sekhmet is doing), go here . And while you’re there, do check out the other books – there are some seriously awesome books involved. There are also links to past SPFBO editions as well, if you’re seeking more summer reading!

And I think that’s all.

Happy reading 🙂

Music Monday: Saba Island

Welcome to another Music Monday and another piece by Joe Henson and Alexis Smith, Saba Island.

This is another track from the extended AC: Black Flag soundtrack and it’s possibly my favourite out of all of the ‘extra’ bits. It’s reminiscent of a track from part one of the Elsehere Soundtrack, Lorne Balfe’s Fightclub, through the use of fiddle music as the central refrain, but there’s still a Spanish flavour to the melody and a hint of the jungle too. It fits with the general aesthetic of Cambiante without being specifically attached to any one part.

It’s not a complex piece with lots of layers, but it is still a piece of music I can listen to it on repeat and not get bored. At the same time there’s enough repetition to the music that it helps my brain to focus which made it an excellent thinking track if not necessarily so good for the actual writing process!

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

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