Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Do you listen to music when you read or write? Do you like to have something going on in “the background”, or is it something particular to set a mood?

Personally, I am very particular about music when I read or write. When I read? Well, there is almost nothing suitable. Any music at all proves distracting, and I’ll soon realize I’ve gone through several pages and have no idea what I just read! When I was in college, I tried playing music when I’d study to hopefully make study more entertaining. Nope. I had to turn off the tunes.

I know some people enjoy having background music when they read, whether or not it fits the mood of what they’re reading. Some have told me that without the music they can’t concentrate. I am amazed by this. More power to you.

Reading to Music

When it comes to writing, I also generally choose silence over music. I have a similar dilemma where the music distracts me rather than helping. There are times, though, when I really want to set that mood, and the music can be inspiring.

Firstly, it has to have no lyrics or be on a very low volume. I wrote an early novel to a particular album that helped to inspire it. There were, of course, lyrics. In order to make it work, I had it set on such a low volume you might wonder if I heard it. I did. I needed it to bleed into my consciousness, sneak in and find a comfortable place.

I’ve also used instrumentals. If the music contains no lyrics, it works much better for me. I have written to the scores from the Hannibal t.v. series and even some select tracks from video game soundtracks I found that worked.

Hannibal OST

In the end, it seems that the use of music when reading and writing is as varied as we are. It reflects not only our personalities but our methods. I might use some music as writing background that I’d otherwise not ever listen to outside its original presentation. It’s carefully chosen to craft the feel. Isn’t that what music is? Something of a reflection?

What do you listen to when you read and write, if you listen to anything at all?


Please feel free to find me on Amazon and partake of my published works. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.


I am not much into ebooks (as I have blogged on here before). I know they are the wave of the future, and it is very cool to think of being able to carry around a virtual library with you wherever you go. I will not deny how neat that is nor resist this continuing change.

I also see a better future for writers with greater ease in publishing and greater ease for readers to access that output. It is not as costly to electronically publish, but it does still cost. Life still continues to cost, too. Authors gotta eat, yo!

This trend from the general public for artistic endeavors (writing, painting, photography, music, etc.) to be free or almost free needs to stop. This whole thing with ‘do it for the exposure’ is a load of crap.

Ebooks are not expensive. The vast majority of them are less than $10, many of those less than $5, some of those less than one dollar! Yet, there still seems some uproar about why they should be distributed freely. Please consider my earlier sentence about the costs of living and artists needing to eat. As lovely and rewarding as creating may be, it still doesn’t fill the belly.

I have ebooks in my collection I will likely never read. I just bought them to show support, because they are so affordable. Let’s all show support. That’s much more satisfying than complaining.

Thank you.

My Amazon Author Page

Well, we’re almost done with October. Let’s see what we have as we draw toward a close.

22: Publishing Tales – aside from some very rudimentary self-publishing and the occasional feature on a webpage, I did not get published until recently. I submitted queries to a handful of publishers, and before I could even figure out who would be in round two, I was lucky enough to find someone to publish my first novel. Thank you, Optimus Maximus.

23: TBW – To Be Written – I have several irons in the fire, as it were, which is usually the case. Once I complete the third (& likely final) book in my Butterfly series, I have two other novels to work on, probably three, maybe more. The two are vampire related, though they are not connected. Both deal with different ideas of how vampires began. I am looking forward to working on both. The third deals with wizards and dragons, but it is not a typical fantasy tale.

24: RP:Rejection stories – I made a lengthy post on this. You can read it here.

25: Horror Story – I grew up with asthma, horrible asthma. It nearly killed me once. I was in a hospital emergency room, and they were losing me, so they life-flighted me from that hospital to another one more suited to handle such trauma.

26: Scary-Awesome Bloggers – Nicolajayne Taylor, Meghan at  The Gal in the Blue Mask, and Patricia Statham at Books to Curl Up With.

27: Best Writing Candy – if I am going to eat candy while I write, it needs to be some kind of dark chocolate, maybe with ginger or chili in it, but definitely dark chocolate.

28: Book Babies – I don’t know what is meant by this prompt, soooo, I am going to skip it.

And there we are! I’ll wrap up Oct next week and bring us into November. Thank you all for being here, and if you are interested in my writing, please visit my Amazon Author Page for my books.


The City is plagued by sex-trafficking, victims kidnapped and used against their will.  The ages of these women vary, but it is clear the criminals are not concerned with using those who are very young.  They use drugs and violence to gain compliance, even offering some of them back to their families for exorbitant ransoms.

A masked vigilante decides to do something about this, but is one person enough?

Unaware of the deeper, darker energies manifesting, this crusader unwittingly engages far worse than ever imagined. Will they be able to help, or will this consume them?

Find out in Dance of the Butterfly, the first book in my urban fantasy series. For 18+ readers –

Dance of the Butterfly – print version
Dance of the Butterfly – electronic editions


I was in elementary school when Reagan and Carter were running for President.  I recall an interesting assignment where we were asked for volunteers to act as the respective candidates and then engage in a mock debate based on one of the actual debates.  In retrospect, that seems like pretty heavy stuff for elementary school kids, but I thought it was great.  I volunteered, of course, and I got Reagan.  I spent that evening watching the debate, having little clue and even less context as to what all of this was, but I took notes, furiously.

The next day was a blowout.  The poor girl who was standing in for Carter had not really taken the assignment seriously.  This, of course, did not prove to be a reasonable representation of the debate (though some may argue otherwise), and I won because of my preparedness.  I do not recall the reason for the exercise, but the way it was conducted does provide a good lesson.  Had we both come prepared, it would have been much more exciting.

Flash forward to another debate I had.  This time, it was in High School, and it was a legitimate debate in Speech class.  This was the time when Texas was finally giving in and raising the drinking age from nineteen to twenty-one.  We decided to have a debate on it, and I was on the team that was against the raise.

Being the type to like to be prepared, I did a lot of research.  I will admit, I even found some “evidence” that I knew was a bit manipulative, but I planned to pitch it a certain way so as to advance my team’s agenda.  If pushed, I even had spins and escape plans.  (Maybe I should have gone into politics, but I digress).

It was another blowout.  I did most of the talking, as my teammates lacked the confidence and preparedness to step up.  The other team fumbled and kept getting backed into corners.  When it was all done, the judges (our teacher and two other students) gave their verdicts … and we lost.

The teacher voted for us, but the two students voted for the other team.  The teacher got up and talked it all out, basically saying that our team had destroyed the other.  When pressed, both kids said they voted as they did because they supported raising the drinking age.  My teacher managed to not facepalm and explained that the judges were to vote purely based on the evidence presented, which she had instructed prior to the whole thing starting.

Still, another lesson.  You can be prepared and present all the evidence you want, and sometimes opinion and belief will outweigh anything else, no matter what.  With humans, dogma sometimes has more value than verified facts.

Personally, I believe dogma ‘won’ both of those debates.

As always, thank you for visiting and reading.  Please feel free to weigh in with any comments you have.  My second novel was recently released, so if you enjoy my writings, please consider buying, reading, and leaving a review.  It would be much appreciated.  Thank you!

Sword of the Butterfly – print edition
Sword of the Butterfly – Kindle edition

And here we are at the end of Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth).  It has been interesting, and I hope you all have found it the same.

Fan Love
That seems strange to me, to even think that anyone out there is a fan of me.  If you are following me, reading my work, giving feedback and especially reviews, then I thank you, dearly.  Without all of you, this is just a solo exercise.  I crave the audience.  Thank you.

Your Last 5-Star Read
I just finished rereading The original Hitchhiker’s Trilogy by Douglas Adams.  That makes probably the third time I have read it (maybe fourth).  It is definitely a 5-star read.

A Challenge Overcome
Anytime I finish a work, it is a challenge overcome.  I have hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of half-formulated, incomplete ideas.  I have written hundreds of pages into a novel only to decide it is not great and give up on it.  I like the blank page, so starting is the easiest and most exciting for me.  I love brainstorming.  My second book just came out, and I am working on more.  Each of those is a challenge.

A Self-Reward
I suppose I am not huge on these.  I did not really do anything specific to reward myself when I signed a publication contract or when I saw my book in print for the first time.  I think of those acts themselves as the reward.  I do sometimes ‘reward’ myself when writing and editing by taking a day without doing any of that.

A Bookish Gift
I am not entirely sure what this means.  I sure do like bookmarks.  Does that count?  I used to have this wonderful red leather bookmark my mother got me from England.  I lost it …

An Author I Admire
China Miéville.  His imagination amazes me to no end.  I will say that I have not liked everything by him that I have read, but I do like the majority of it, and it blows my mind.  His ability to reach into creativity and pull out things that are just stupefying in their scope never ceases to impress me.

I will thank my family, my readers, those who helped me with my writing, and my publisher.  I deeply and dearly thank you all.

As always, please feel free to like, comment, and/or share.


Oops!  I missed posting yesterday for the third week of #authorlifemonth.  I better catch up.

Pub Sib’s Book
So many to choose from, but I will just put this one here since I am about to dive into it. The Haunter of the Moor by Jeffrey Kosh.  Give it a read.

Dream Writers’ Retreat
I honestly have never put that much thought into this, but since my book largely takes place in Central Europe, it would be nice to visit the cities I drew from for inspiration – Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.

This has fluctuated, but one person who has read my books from the beginning and seen them go through many changes, offering feedback throughout, is my dear friend Jericho.  If you have read my book, then you may recognize a character with that name.

I did quite a bit of research for my book.  As I mentioned above, its locale is inspired by several major Central European cities.  I did some digging into these to give little hints as to the location (since I never outright state in which it takes place).  I also did research into a lot of other things, like how to mitigate the sound of a motorcycle, firearms, martial arts, self-defense, and the list goes on.  Even little things like which vehicles are popular in various places and smoking laws.  I feel it all helps to add that touch of realism to the overall fantasy tale.

Bookish Bucket List
I am not sure what to put on here, but I would like to visit Tangier. This originated because of its infamy as a place where William Burroughs went to do a lot of drugs and ostensibly write,  but as I learned more of its history and cultural melting pot, I became even more interested.

A Dream Achieved
Well, this one is easy.  I achieved a near lifelong dream when my novel was published.  How apropos that the initial inspiration was from a dream.

A non-Author Photo
None of my photos are professional or intended to have been official “author” photos, so really, any of them qualify.


And there it is.  Thank you, as always for stopping by and reading.


Continuing Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth), it is time for another post.

Awesome Moment
Well, I suppose there are many awesome moments, but the one that stands out to me was when I first held the print version of my debut novel in my hands.  That was amazing.

Killed Darlings
Now come on, I can’t say that.  Read my series to find out who this happens to … I mean if it even happens at all.  I’d never kill off a beloved character.  Nope.  I have never experienced a decisive moment when I almost talked myself out of a bold move, because I didn’t want to kill off a character.  Never.

Reviewer Love
I will throw love at all those who have taken the time to review my book.  I love hearing feedback, and I thank all of those of you who have provided it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Here is some swag.  A nice draw-string bag with the name of my publisher, along with some post cards, magnets, and a neat journal.  I use the journal for writing music.

Character Inspiration
Well, the characters in Dance of the Butterfly are somewhat obviously based on people I know, including myself.  As I discuss in the post Seeds, it all began innocently enough as my son and I had a fun discussions of how easy it would be to dress up for a con if there were characters based on us.  Though this began as something silly and off the cuff, the seeds were planted.

Dedication Page
No one gave me more inspiration, desire, and discipline than Jane.  Had I not met her, I don’t think the books would have ever been written.  Thank you.

My “To-Write” List
I have many of these.  I am working on the third (and likely final) book in my urban fantasy series.  I have another novel that is about 95% finished and yet another that is about 5% done.  And yes, still another that is fairly well along.  These are all fantasy-related, some dealing with vampires, some with other dimensions, some with wizards, maybe some dragons.  My hope is they will all pull from standard tropes but come forth in a non-standard way.

And there we go.  I do hope you have enjoyed this further glimpse into my life.  As always, please feel free to like, share, or comment.  Thank you all.


So, there is this Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth) thing happening on Instagram.  I don’t have an Instagram account, but I won’t let that stop me.  Instead of making a post a day, though, I think I will do them weekly and just lump everything together.

My Books
I have one book published, the second in the series is coming very soon, and a short story in a just released anthology.  My series is in the urban fantasy genre, but it is grounded in quasi-realism.  It is very much a mystery and slow burn to the reveal, though things will be much more open in the second installment.  You can see (and buy) all three from my Amazon Author Page.

Here is a photo of me.

Fan Art
I have had the pleasure of some art being done of characters and events in my book.  You can view these in the Artwork category here.

My current work in progress (well, officially, as I am working on several things) is the third book in my urban fantasy series.  Allow me to share a little teaser –

One is of a woman, wearing a dark gray, nondescript dress that covers from wrists to ankle, but her face hides behind a mid-twentieth century gas mask.  Close examination shows the mask to actually be part of her face, giving forth a meld that is quite out of the ordinary.  Her hair is stringy in some places but others seem of ridged rubber.  The combination is so well done as to somewhat trick the eye.

“Look at her fingernails,” Zoe mentions, giving further personification to the statue.

Lilja notes the cracks and chips, the detail again as she had seen it in the smaller works.

“It’s like she tried to get free.”

Where I Write
I have a little media room, I call it, in my house.  It is not fully enclosed, which makes it wonderful for me.  It is where my desk and computer reside along with another desk on which I have set up my keyboard and amplifier.  I do most all of my creating in this space.  I have used an old typewriter and even done handwritten manuscripts, but I prefer using a word processor.

Writing Music
I do not often have music playing when I write.  I can find it distracting.  If I do listen to music, it is instrumental.  Music with lyrics is far too distracting for me to work to.  Some music I have listened to when writing my series has been the soundtracks to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Hannibal, the television series.

Cover Inspiration
I always had an idea for the cover of Dance of the Butterfly.  I am not sure what inspired me, but the basic aesthetic always seemed to be there, lingering in my mind.  I want to thank Tomi Rautanen for the sketch of my idea which eventually became the visual basis for the cover.

That is the first week.  I do hope you have enjoyed these insights.  Feel free to leave any comments or questions.  Thank you.


There are things out there we don’t understand.  There are things in the darkness that hiss and whisper and gnaw at us.  We have our doubts and our fears.  There are behaviors we don’t understand.  Why are some people so horrible to others?  Why are some people convinced of living by hate and greed?  Mysteries abound within this existence.  We’d be arrogant to think we know everything.

There are those who have experienced things, and through the frailty of their own imperfect interpretation, they have attempted to relate these things.  There are books of strange knowledge, and there are those who would search through these for what kernel of truth may lie within.  There are those who protect such treasures, for even if they are not fully aware of the contents, they shall not let them be abused by others.

Three such rare and valuable books of power are out there.  Two have been found, but one still eludes.  There are two powerful families, one ruled by arrogance, the other tempered by responsibility.  Both could be very wrong in everything they do, and we might be headed to disaster no matter the efforts.  We might be headed to disaster if one or both succeed.

How does one stop the demons of men, even when those demons threaten to take on a life of their own?

Find out in my book, Dance of the Butterfly, the first in a series.

“This story has, action, romance and sex, …, intrigue, crime, and the occult, literally something for everyone. Give it a read. You’ll find it well worth the time.”

“The characters are rich and fully developed and the story reads like a great mystery film. Each piece of information is a puzzle piece – all leading down a dark road that the reader must travel to get to the revealing end.”

Click to buy the print version.
Click to buy the digital version.