Tag Archives: Music

Guest Post: The Passion – she is contagious

12 Mar

Shannon, here, for an introduction:

As many of you know, I don’t normally accept volunteers for guest posts. Instead, I go out and find writers that I ask to post on my blog. I also sometimes ask those who participate on my author Facebook page or on here to contribute to a guest post as a way to thank those readers and writers for contributing to my websites. That’s what today is: a big thank you to author Sorin Suciu for writing the lovely post you are about to read below. (Fun fact: I asked him to be a guest blogger after he solved a riddle I posted.)

Passion can be a journey that develops and grows overtime, often blurring the edges in between interests. This is a story of a writer who fell for music.

I grew up with a black and white TV set that only received two channels. On the one hand, there was the Romanian television – a government controlled enterprise that broadcasted for a few hours a day, and which was largely a communist propaganda machine. On the other hand, there was the Bulgarian television – which had better movies and cartoons, and a more forgiving schedule. By the time I was eight years old, I could get by in Bulgarian, mostly thanks to said cartoons.

But I digress. For all their faults, every once in a while, the Romanian television would allow a true gem to get past the merciless eyes of censorship. Amongst them, some of Sergiu Celibidache’s performances.

As a child, I remember regarding this brilliant conductor (whose last name is a tongue twister even by Romanian standards) as a sort of clown who monkeyed around while the orchestra played beautiful music. It might sound frivolous, but to my young self an adult acting like a child was the best thing that the world had to offer. I was absolutely enthralled by his performances, and I would often try to mimic them, much to the delight of my parents.

It would put me in a good light to claim that I was responding to the beautiful mathematics of classical music. In hindsight, however, I guess what I was really reacting to was the passion. A passion so pure and intense that it caused transcendence. The music was there, of course, but passion was without a doubt the main vehicle. Without this vehicle, I doubt my love affair with music would have been anything more than superficial.

Let’s watch together Celibidache’s rendition of Ravel’s Bolero. This is a rare video, where the entire footage is dedicated to the conductor, and with very good cause too, as you will see. Watch him as he undergoes the transformation from stolid Professor Severus Snape, to exuberant Liberace.

Join him in this journey and, once we meet on the other side, tell me how you like classical music now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5Ve3338-E

In the end, here is a tip for readers and writers alike.

Next time you read a book by your favourite author, try to change your focus from the action to the one who is doing the writing. Imagine the author conducting the performance, going through mood swings, getting a glint in the eye as something unexpected is about to happen, smiling as a subtle joke is being crafted, and lying back on the chair as another great chapter is finished.

Writing, I learn more and more every day, is about delivery just as much as it is about creativity. And what better delivery mechanism than passion? Nurture your passion as much as you nurture your creativity.

And don’t forget, passion is contagious. It’s the reason you became an artist in the first place, is it not?

Sorin Suciu is the author of The Scriptlings. Click the image below for more information. After that, share your passions below. Do you have more than one? Do they often grow from one another? Cover_+_Label~SAT

January’s Entertainment Reviews

31 Jan

I first want to thank Paul O. Williams of Halo Companies, Inc. - awarded C.F.O. of the Year by the Dallas Business Journal - for quoting my first published novel: “Sometimes battles are unavoidable.” - November Snow. Thank you, Mr. Williams! Read more about that here.

Last time, I shared my interview with The Modest Verge – now, you can read their review of Minutes Before Sunset. After doing that, you can also enter to win Minutes Before Sunset in Feeling Beachie’s Valentine’s giveaway by clicking here. (Love holidays = romance novels. There are 21 to choose from.)

My Facebook page is one click away.

My Facebook page is one click away.

My Author Facebook Page hit 2,000 likes – thank you very much. :D I love connecting with everyone here as well as on my other pages. On that page, I asked you all if you wanted to see a monthly entertainment review in which I review movies, books, music, and more at the end of every month. So this is my first time, and I would love it if you let me know if you want me to continue to do this at the end of every month. (I promise to never do it more than once a month.) Since I come across so much entertainment, I will only mention so many per topic, but I’ll try to mention the most relevant – normally positive – entertaining moments.

Movies – I won’t normally start with these, but I have more of these than anything – mainly because the Oscars are coming up, and the Oscars is the one awards show that I love watching.

  • The Book Thief – Beautifully done. I’ve read the book – loved it – and my friend that watched it with me – who hasn’t read the novel – loved it, too. It’s visually stunning and respectfully done.
  • Frozen – This film deserves to win animation of the year. It’s amazing. It had more music – kind of like the 90’s Disney movies I grew up with – and the lessons weren’t revolving around boys but around sisters. I liked that a lot. Plus, as many of you know, winter is my favorite season, so I liked seeing a film that showed the beauty of snow and ice while allowing it to be symbolic to a sister’s love.
  • August: Osage County – If you can handle watching another movie about a messed up (but realistic) family, then I highly recommend this. I loved it, but yes, it’s sad and difficult to watch at times. Meryl Streep is a genius – as usual – but the rest of the cast brilliantly bring the plot together in the aftermath of all of their twisted relationships.

I’ve also seen a few others that don’t really have to do with the Oscars, but I thought I would mention them:

  • 47 Ronin – if you like the cheesy-ness of old Kung-Fu and the (classy?) damsel in distress, not to mention the infamous Keanu Reeves, then you’ll like this flick. Just don’t expect anything too deep.
  • Stand Up Guys – This came out in 2012, so I’m a little late on this one, but – Christopher Walken. Need I say more? I love anything gangster. It’s my guilty pleasure. Add a little comedic relief and a couple of great guys, I’m sold. It was awesome.

Novels

  • The Impossible Knife of MemoryLaurie Halse Anderson has been one of my favorite authors since I read “Speak.” It’s no surprise that this novel was something I couldn’t put down. Probably my favorite of hers since “Speak.” It’s brilliantly dark and quirky while somehow facing real-life challenges without making them seem petty.
  • Humans of New York -  the bookstore suggested I read this since I follow PostSecret. They also have a free Facebook page if you want to check that out first. I follow it.
  • Ryan Attard – okay. okay. He’s an author, not a book, but I’m lucky enough to read his upcoming novel before it’s released (book 2 of The Legacy Series) and I seriously had to turn on epic music to feel worthy enough to read his epic battle scenes. Check out his first novel, Firstborn, before the second book releases.
  • The 5th Wave - so my friend recommended this to me, and now I’m recommending it to you!

T.V.

  • King of the NerdsI wrote about the first season last year, and I’m definitely following the second season this year. It’s more or less the television show my father and I watch together. So far, I like the group aside from Nicole and Zachary. My favorite is Katie. (How could I not love someone who makes puppets for a living?)
  • American Horror Story [Coven] – It ended this week, but I have to mention it. I’ve been an American Horror Story fan since the beginning. I can confess that I have yet to miss an episode. This is – well – my favorite show, and I loved this season, too. However, I will say that the two episodes really made up for a few episodes that I felt like nothing really happened, but, of course, lots happened when it all came together in the end. I am so glad that they are doing a season 4, and I can’t wait to see Jessica Lange in action again (although I’m sad that she has come out and said she probably won’t return for season 5.) Nevertheless, season 4!

Music – I mainly listen to music on 8tracks, because it’s free, and I like mixing up what I’m listening to, so here were some of the lists I came across that I loved. (Minutes Before Sunset actually has a soundtrack on this website. Check it out.)

~SAT

Get your copy today!

Get your copy today!

Guest Post: Ky Grabowski: How Music Influences my Writing

23 Oct

Shannon again (only for a second…again) Many of you know Ky Grabowski, author of The Demon Inside, which is officially available on Amazon and Goodreads. (I hope you check them out.) But she’s talking about music influencing her writing today. So without further ado:

How Music Influences my Writing

 

I first off want to thank Shannon for allowing me to guest blog! I adore her, and am so happy to call her a friend. I’m a huge fan of hers and it took me so long to muster up the courage to finally comment on her site. I’m thankful I did – she’s helped me grow as a writer with her experiences and tips.

I’m Ky by the way! I always forget to tell people who I am, though most of the time you can find me dancing in grocery stores and speaking with a British accent. I’m often called a free spirit and am always saying the weirdest things, I love life and often wind up broadcasting it to everyone I met.

However today, I’ll be a professional and share something that I’ve wanted too for a while. I never could find the right time and for some unknown reason when I tried to write how music influences writing before it ended up in the trash.

It seems this post was waiting for the talented Shannon to share, and I couldn’t be happier to share this with her. I have the utter most respect for Shannon; she’s a mentor to me in my writing. I guess I should shut up now… Man, I ramble a lot – pardon me!

Music has always been a part of my life even before I was born. My mother sung when I was a child and my father played in a band that travelled around Canada. My father was a very talented man, along with his brothers.

Music was in the blood.

I however didn’t inherit the natural talent for the drums, guitar or even bass as much as I wanted to. I found love with the piano but was never able to continue learning. Though I know how to play Twinkle Little Star – I’ve never forgotten how, needless to say I feel secretly badass because of it.

Where did I fit in with my musical family? Not in the front row that’s for sure. Instead I collected music over the years and found where I belonged among the music. I was meant to enjoy the sounds people created and no matter where I go even today – I think about what music might be playing in my current situation.

Music has influenced my writing because 99% of the time I have to hear the sounds of the scene I’m writing. Music allows me to fully emerge myself in my writing. I feel what I hear and transport those feelings into words.

It’s very therapeutic. I always feel so emotionally involved in writing when I have music at my side. Music has given me the ability to create stories and complete them. It has a way of bringing forth a new way to write for me, and breaks down walls that might prevent me from writing certain topics.

If I’m struggling with a romantic scene I have to put myself in the shoes of my character. I’ve never been in love but I’ve felt love, and when I listen to romantic songs I try to believe in what the character is supposed to believe in. It’s a strange, fun and interesting experience to go through.

There’s this trust between the music and I.

Writing with music has also allowed me to learn new techniques. What could I possibly learn from music to help me in writing? Songs have a neat way of putting you into certain moods. Have you ever listened to a sad song and felt kind of gloom? Or a happy – upbeat song that makes you want to dance?

That’s what I use to help the flow of my writing continue. I listen to songs that will help me understand a scene I’m trying to write. I close my eyes and picture the scene through the lyrics, the sounds, and take it all in.

It’s almost as if I’m being thrown into a movie that my minds created with a song. It also gives me the chance to see how the scene might play out by following the song.

Something else that music has helped me learn is how to create a scene. If I know that the story is heading into a certain direction I’ll create a playlist based on the emotions. If the character is supposed to rise above failure, fall in love or lose hope etc I listen to songs and put together the playlist to help me achieve what I need too.912169_239210579569211_1265159785_n

In The Demons Inside, a short story I wrote that AEC Stellar Publishing is featuring in an upcoming anthology; music was heavily apart of the story. This experience was a bit different than the other times I wrote because of the character and their story.

I had to create different worlds that the main character would find herself in, and it all happens so quickly. In my mind the music had to make me feel lost, confused and rushed. It was a very Alice in Wonderland kind of experience, where the deeper I went – the farther I was from normality.

It turned out very well and through that I learned some great things about changing how I write, especially when writing in first person. I couldn’t write from an outsider’s point of view and explain the feelings. I truly had to believe what the character was going through and become that character.

Music is a great tool in writing. It’s simple to use and a great way to unlock those creative doors.

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrabowskiKy

Website / Blog: http://kygrabowski.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KyGrabowski

Why Do You Read?

30 Sep

Win over 20 novels in this Giveaway (U.S. Residents Only)

Or maybe you might want to listen to some music while you read this post? Minutes Before Sunset now has a soundtrack on 8tracks radio. Click here or the picture to listen away. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 1.32.33 PM

So onto today’s topic:

I was going through my blog last week when I realized something: I always write about why I write, but I’ve never wrote about why I read, even though I read as much as I write. I’m passionate about both, so I knew I had to talk about why I read and discuss it with other readers.

At first, the answer seems simple. I read, because I like to; it’s entertainment. But then it gets more complicated. Why reading? Why do I prefer to be entertained by reading words over listening to music, watching movies, or something else entirely?

When I really started thinking about it, I realized I started seriously reading at a very young age, and it was generally on the road. My family moved around a lot, especially when I was a kid. As of now, I’ve already moved eleven times, including five states. Between moving, we traveled a lot–mainly because my family was spread across the country, and we drove to make visits. This meant hours–sometimes days–spent in the car with nothing to do…until I started bringing books with me.

To this day, I’m pretty blessed to be able to say I don’t get nauseous when I read in cars or airplanes, and I believe I fell in love with books somewhere along those roads. I was traveling in novels while I was traveling the country, and the new characters became my friends as I did so. After that, I would say my reasoning for reading changed, but it depended on what I was picking up. If it were fiction, it might have been to visit a new world. If it were a memoir, it was to understand the psyche of another, to learn about another’s life. If it were poetry, it might be to challenge myself or even to learn about my own life.

So why do you read? Has your reasoning changed from when you first started to now?

Here are some anwsers from my Facebook Author Page:

Author, Rissa Blakeley: I became an avid reader later in life. I picked up books that everyone was talking about, and finally, I understood the beckon of a book. I read now to dive into worlds. A happy escape essentially. From fitting in to pure joy.

Anette Abernathy: At my elementary school from 4th to 6th grade we had to read 500 pages a month, so I made myself love doing it. Fast forward to my freshman and sophomore years in college and I lost a taste for fiction because the characters became stale. Everyone wrote the same kinds of people depending on the genre, so I started writing. Now I read(mostly non-fiction and articles and blogs) to build characters(psyches, back stories, personalities) for my stories.

Karen Peacock: I read to escape for a while from everyday life. I love getting lost in someone else’s story

One last update:

Click here to go to Amazon

Click here to go to Amazon

With careful consideration, I’ve decided that November Snow will no longer be available as an ebook. But it is available as a paperback through Amazon. I did this for many reasons, but I mainly did this, because I wrote November Snow when I was 13 and self-published it when I was 16. Because of this, today’s version might not be what my current readers are looking for; however, I do plan on rewriting November Snow one day, so I can republish it in a more professional manner. Thank you for understanding.

~SAT

The Oscars: Who I Want to Win

24 Feb

11 p.m. Update: I’ve entirely bolded the ones from my list that won in the categories I chose them in. I hope everyone had a great night! 

Okay. So I’m not normally into award shows, but I LOVEEEEE the Oscars, so I’m super excited for tonight.

Today I’m posting the 85th Academy Award Nominees that I want to win, along with why. I’d love to hear what you think! Click here to look at the list yourself.

Best Picture: Lincoln: I have to admit I haven’t seen all the movies on the list, but I found this one to be well-done and historical, which can be difficult when you have so much to cover. (P.S. This is NOT the vampire Lincoln movie. Haha.)

Actor in Leading Role: Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables: I think this competition will come down between Jackman and Washington, but Jackman, in my opinion, had a more difficult role due to the singing, acting, and costumes. (But mainly his singing.)

Actress in Leading Role: Quvenzhane Wellis in Beasts of the Southern Wind: I really respect such a young girl taking on such an important role in a very interesting and challenging movie. However, I have to admit she probably won’t win, because the acting in this particular movie is different compared to the others. I want to show my support for her bravery.

Acting in Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained: I still cannot get over how brilliant Waltz was in this movie. If I can be bold, I think he made the entire movie. I loved him, and, as a writer, I envy the brilliant work done to create such an amazing character come to life.

Actress in Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables: I, personally, don’t like Les Miserables. (I know. I know. I’m a horrible person.) But I haven’t liked it ever since I read it, so it was really hard for me to enjoy the movie (since it is, ultimately, the reading.) However, I can still appreciate the wonderful work they put behind it, and Hathaway deserves an award for her short-lived life in Les Miserables.

Animated Feature Film: Brave: How could I not love this movie??? I do love ParaNorman (I did a review on it here) but I think Brave ultimately blows it away.

CinematographyDjango Unchained: I think it’s going to be between this movie and Anna Karenina, but I have to pick Django Unchained. In the end, I’d think Anna Karenina would win, because Django Unchained is controversial, but I saw both, and I think Django Unchained had more unique camera work.

Costume Design: Anna Karenina: The dress was beautiful, striking, and elegant. I loved it all.

Directing: Beasts of the Southern Wild: If you’ve seen the movie, you know it has a documentary feel to it. I thought this was unique and effective in the ultimate piece, so I want to support this flick.

Documentary Feature: I’m not familiar enough to pick.

Is it egotistical to drink a bottle of wine with your name on it??? Oh, well. I need something to accompany me to The Oscars

Is it egotistical to drink a bottle of wine with your name on it??? Oh, well. I need something to accompany me to The Oscars

Documentary Short: I’m not familiar enough to pick.

Film Editing: Zero Dark Thirty: I think this is hard to judge as viewers, because we don’t know everything that goes behind the scenes, but I really think this movie deserves an award in this instance.

Foreign Language Film: Amour: Honestly, it’s the only one I’m familiar with, but it’s lovely.

Makeup and Hairstyling: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: I think it’s between this and Les Miserables, but I think The Hobbit should get this based on how much harder (I think) it must be to do makeup and hair on fantasy characters.

Music: Original Score: Skyfall: I love Adele. End of story.

Music: Original Song: Skyfall: …I…love…Adele…

Production Design: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: I really enjoyed the overall look of this movie, but I also liked Anna Karenina in this particular topic.

Short Film: Animated: I’m not familiar with these.

Short Film: Live Action: I’m not familiar with these.

Sound Editing: Argo: Again, this is a hard topic to choose, because we don’t know everything that went down behind the scenes, but I’m going with Argo, because it deserves an award too.

Sound Mixing: Les Miserables.

Visual EffectsThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: There was some magnificent visuals in this film.

Writing: Adapted Screenplay: Argo: What a story to share. Seriously. It’s historical, and it’s shocking.

Writing: Original Screenplay: Moonrise Kingdom: I think something else will probably win in this category, but I LOVEEE Moonrise Kingdom, and I’d love it even more to see it succeed in The Oscars.

So who do you want to win?? I’d love to hear, and I can’t wait to find out who does tonight :D

~SAT

Inspirational Meet: Danny Maloney

23 Dec

As many of you know, I spend most of my writing time at IceFire Hookah Lounge, because I love the friendly atmosphere and music. For my post today, I wanted to show how wonderful my experience at IceFire has been by introducing my friend, Danny Maloney, who DJs there.

At 19 years old, Danny Maloney DJs at IceFire Hookah Lounge and Llwellyn’s Bar. His mixes are involved in the Flohawke Label, an up-and-coming label from downtown Kansas City, and, most recently, he won a DJ competition at DanceFestopia in 2012.

His music and his passion is an inspiration to me, showing young adults can succeed at their dreams, so I interviewed him to encourage all of you to follow yours as well.

Enjoy! And listen to his mixes (which are fantastic.) I linked them below the interview, and I hope you hear his passion as much I as witness it every day.

Tell me about yourself. What’s your passion, how old are you, and at what age did you find your passion or decide to stick with it?
 Was there a turning point where you knew this was your passion?


I’m 19. My passion is being a DJ and music in general. I found my passion when I was 16, but I decided to stick with it at 18, because I was DJ-ing for a rapper at the time. We did two concerts, opening for Vanilla Ice, and another show for Mac Miller. The concerts allowed me to realize I could truly follow my passion.

Photo by @TaylorLamb (twitter credit)

Photo by @TheTaylorLamb (twitter credit)

What are daily things in your life that you do in order to bring your passion out and inspire yourself?


 I spend about an hour to two hours a day “digging,” which is searching through the internet for new tracks that I believe with become popular from artists on-the-rise. I also network as much as I can, especially for local DJs to help support the scene, and their passion as well as my own.

What inspires you?


I’m inspired by the love for the music. Whether it’s a crazy bass-line or a harmonically beautiful melody, every day I’m inspired by any type of genre and decade of music. If I could have my way as a DJ, I would spin the 90′s, because I believe it’s the most passionate genre, such as Third Eye Blind, Everclear, and Blink-182 (etc.)

Finally, what would you say to someone else that would encourage them to follow their dreams, especially at a young age?





You can do it. If you have the drive, wants, need, and motivation, you can do it. If you don’t have all of those, then you certainly don’t want to pursue it for the rest of your life. This is what defines passion. If you don’t think, breathe, and dream your passion, then it’s obviously not something you want to make a living out of and do for the rest of your life.

Listen to Danny’s music, streamed via SoundCloud here.

He’s also on Bandcamp.com here, and, of course, you can join him on twitter here.

~SAT

Music Muse: Florence And The Machine

19 Dec

So I was gifted the Florence And The Machine album, “Ceremonials,” and I haven’t stopped playing it.

Mary Leontine Welch’s vocal spectrum is astounding, and her sound stretches over emotional boundaries, eloquent sounds, and subtle rhythms. The album is quite beautiful, and I recommend it for anyone who liked “The Dog Days Are Over” or bands like Mumford and Sons or Gotye. 220px-Ceremonials

Personally, I loved “Seven Devils” and “Lover to Lover” the most.

Official Website here.

Check out “Ceremonials” here.

~SAT

Music Muse: My December

3 Dec

I haven’t mentioned music which inspires my writing in a while, so I thought this song, considering December’s arrival, would be a great one to mention.

“My December” by Linkin Park is a lovely and mellow song, unlike some of their rocker songs. I love this song. I used to love it so much, I would listen to it on repeat (which I’ll admit I still do every once in a while.) It could be the mellow sound or the piano accompaniment. I’m not completely sure. Maybe it’s just one of those songs that I can personally connect with which I hope I can share with you in a positive manner.

So listen to it here.

And let me know if you know artists or songs like this, because I’m always up for suggestions!

~SAT

Music Muse: The xx

27 Sep

Okay. So every writer (and any kind of artist) gets inspiration from somewhere, and I’ve found that an array of music causes a positive flow to the story creation. Think of listening to music while writing like a movie soundtrack. Songs can add brilliance to emotional perceptions, but they can also be wickedly entertaining (and they’re on-the-go with an iPod!). Basically, I’ll be on here every once in a while, sharing some of my favorite bands I’ve come across that I love to use for writing, and here’s my first!

The xx. They first debuted back in 2009, but their new album, Coexist, was recently released, and I’ve been listening to it nonstop since it was gifted to me (See? Even my circle knows I’m crazy about this stuff).

I definitely suggest them. The xx is enchantingly mellow and deliciously personal. Coexist, an album generally described as experimental or indie pop, subtlety submerges the listener into the passionate desire of love and heartbreak. Even their first song, “Angel,” seems to melt the world away as the duet reconvenes time and time again, sending us through the dark, but beautiful, moments of coexisting with another person.

Songs like “Angel” and “Sunset” can truly encourage inspiration (if writing hasn’t done that to you already), and I think I may just start listening to them right now…

::starts dancing while typing:: (It’s like playing the piano).

Click here for more info and/or to buy it!

~SAT

“Coexist” album cover

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