Tag Archives: Music

#SATurdate: Star Wars, Novel Aesthetics, Antlers, and Florence

26 Dec

First things first, I hope everyone had a great holiday! This girl celebrated with Christmas candies and hours of reading. (I seriously cannot believe it’s almost 2016.)

What I’m Writing:

I actually fixed some scenes in Take Me Yesterday this week, and I attempted to keep moving forward in it, but it has to take a pause while I focus on the Bad Bloods edits.

What I’m Publishing:

I received the first sets of edits for Bad Bloods, both November Rain and November Snow, I managed to finish them over the holidays. As many of you know, Clean Teen Publishing did finish the covers for both books, and we’ll be having a cover reveal on January 6. I’ll be sending out a newsletter this Tuesday, asking for help, and three lucky helpers will win an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain. (Sign up here.) In regards to this week’s sneak peek, I actually didn’t participate in #1lineWed, but I was invited to post a #novelaesthetics on Twitter. Basically, we had to choose three photos that represented the aesthetics of the novel, so here are those photos for November Snow.

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

novela

What I’m Reading:

 10900066_956293941084454_5982930522247100530_oI began The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and I’ve barely put it down. I LOVE it. It’s a mix of romantic cheese and heart-pounding betrayal in a world of royalty and assassins.

I began and finished Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. It received 5 shiny stars from me. I thought it was action-packed, absolutely epic, and a delight to read. I loved Kyra, the orphan who joins the Assassins Guild only to figure out that loyalties might not be so simple. Add magical beast-cats and knights to the mix, and I was in love. Recommended to fantasy and paranormal YA fans. Read my full review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Florence-And-The-Machine-How-Big-How-Blue-How-BeautifulFor Christmas, I received the new Florence + The Machine album, How Big. How Blue. How Beautiful. And I love it.

What I’m Watching:

Yes. Yes. I finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens. (No spoilers, I promise.) I definitely LOVED it. I thought it was much funnier than the original ones and the ones I grew up watching. I loved the protagonists a lot, and I definitely did not see some of those twists coming. (I saw one coming, but other than that, I sat there like, WHHHHHAAAAAT?) I never thought they could make a cuter robot than R2D2, so that was awesome. The girl is a badass. Loved her. A great movie to go see this holiday season.

For Christmas, I received Dark City (1998)mainly because I professed my love for Rufus Sewell on here. AND I loved it. That is an awesome flick. Just purely twisted sci-fi.

I also watched Dune (1984) for the first time (please don’t kill me), and I have to say, not a fan. (Please don’t kill me again.) I simply think the director was ahead of his time. They just tried to tackle a too high sci-fi for the time period and the technology that was available to them. But, I will say this, I can tell that the book is probably awesome from the movie. It just seemed too complicated and imaginative for the screen to sum up in an hour and a half.

movies

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

You might be sad to hear that Shannon is going on a bit of a diet. Not that I’m trying to lose weight, but I have been eating WAY too much sugar, so you probably won’t see as many desserts on here as before…Even then, I totally failed this week’s goal, and I made breakfast cookies. (So not as sweet, but cookies nonetheless.)

What I’m Wearing:

Ugly X-Mas sweaters. This one has a dog on it and antlers.

What I’m Wanting:

This was me cheating at Barnes & Noble.

This was me cheating at Barnes & Noble.

Cookies. Because I’m on a diet. (Even though I cheated and bought myself one.)

What I’m Dreaming Of:

This is a story on how Shannon learns she is dreaming and forces herself to wake up.

In real life I had to make it to a family event at 6 p.m. That doesn’t sound bad for many of you, but I work a night shift, so I don’t wake up until 3 p.m….and this was technically my weekend, so I don’t get up til 5 p.m. sometimes…and this event was over an hour away, so basically, I was having anxiety about my alarm not going off on time, which is what caused this dream.

My alarm doesn’t go off. I see the time. 5:40 p.m.

I leap out of bed, rush up the stairs, and start pounding on the wall to wake up my roommate. “The alarm didn’t go off!”

For some reason, he screams, “Noon is not good enough.”

This was my first clue something was weird.

So, we run into the closet to pick out clothes, and he’s singing. (Another weird clue.) So, I stop to take out my cell phone. (I find electronics help me figure out if I’m dreaming or not.) And sure enough, this phone has a grocery list on it. There’s no such app like this one. It automatically knows we need certain things in our fridge based on previous purchase records.

It says we need two things of tuna.

I never get tuna.

This must be a dream.

I actually have a moment where I want to stay so I can do whatever I want, (because that’s a thing at this point,) but I’m super paranoid the beginning of my dream was trying to tell me that my alarm actually didn’t go off, so I wake myself up.

It’s 1:47 p.m.

I have two hours left to sleep.

What Else Is Going On:

I’m just really, really, REALLY excited for the cover reveal on January 6. I practically can’t sit still. It’s painful to keep them a secret, but it will be well worth it! I’m looking forward to starting 2016 off right.

~SAT

#SATurdate: The White Rose, Man in the High Castle, Burt’s Bees, and Sweets.

5 Dec

As you all know, we didn’t have a SATurdate last week due to the monthly Website Wonders piece, so this one might be a bit longer than usual. (I think I say that every week for one reason or another…but oh well!)

What I’m Writing:

I realized I need to go over Take Me Tomorrow before I can move forward in Take Me Yesterday, so I’m officially working on Take Me Tomorrow. There are a few things I wanted to add, just with a sentence or two. Example, one thing that was hinted but went basically unnoticed (by my fault, not readers’) was the fact that boys and girls are encouraged to separate themselves, which was one of the reasons there were more boys than girls. I actually addressed this directly after a high demand in my article Why Most of my Characters are Male. I mistakenly thought I hinted to it enough, but this time around, I’m going to blatantly say it. There are a few things like that I’m looking forward to adding as I go through it. For original readers, I’m about 60 pages in, in the chapter It’s Too Late.

What I’m Publishing:

We’re working on the cover for Bad Bloods! The ideas were fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the cover ends up being. Bless my cover artist’s heart for dealing with my input. (Seriously. She deserves a huge shoutout.) So, thank you, Marya! Check her out at Strong Image Editing!

Now, I’m sharing the winning #1lineWed from the previous two weeks. The first one’s theme was home.

This was home to me. Just the thought of Catelyn’s suffocating hugs made my heart lurch.

A little background, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend and practical sister. They both live in the Southern Flock, and they nearly look like twins, aside from a scar on Catelyn’s face. Here is a link to the Pinterest Pin of Catelyn. In the original version, she had a moon/star tattoo (something that got cut out) and her name was spelled Caitlin.

Since it was two weeks—of course—here was the second #1lineWed preview. The theme was humor/laughter.

“He told me to stay away from you.”

I laughed. “How unoriginal.”

I would give extra information about this line…but I have to leave some parts up for mystery. ;)

Visit the PinterestFacebook, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

Winterspell by Claire Legrand: This is a darker retelling of The Nutcracker, so I thought it’d be the perfect book to start December off with. So far, so good.

The White Rose, book 2 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing: UGH. I love Amy Ewing so much. I cannot wait for book 3. I, of course, gave this wonderful novel 5 stars, and you can read my entire review here. But, again, not for everyone. As a flat-out, upfront warning, this series revolves around a lot of sexual abuse, including but not limited to forced surrogacy, prostitution, and castration. If you can handle reading about controversial issues, you’ll love this series. Amy handles everything delicately and brilliantly. Seriously. I have an author crush.

booksPretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 8 by Naoko Takeuchi: Again, no secret I love this manga, but I’m currently re-reading it and reviewing the new prints. Here is the link to my five-star review. This one covers the ending of The Infinity Arc and the beginning of The Dead Moon Circus.

What I’m Listening To:

I went to a concert! What? Yes! Little ol’ me went to a concert for the first time in…well…years. I went to the Puscifer concert, and it was pretty badass.

11892102_10153226813724495_1332051071786822277_n

I’ve also been obsessed with I’m Good, I’m Gone by Lykke Li. Literally, it’s probably the only song I’ve listened to in two weeks.

What I’m Watching:

 I binge-watched the full first season of The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon original. WATCH IT. It’s phenomenal…and I want a season two.

Basically, it’s alternative history where Germany and Japan won WWII…and Rufus Sewell is in it. For my readers out there, it’s based on a Phillip K Dick novel. Gooooo. Go watch it. GOOOOOO.

12219338_1648762565383129_4515995760293992879_n

On a side note, I also watched Brother Bear. I freakin’ love that movie.

I also watched Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows—Part 1 and Part 2, because you have to watch both if you’re going to watch one of them. This is a rule. You must not break it.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

It was Thanksgiving, so naturally, I baked a lot of Thanksgiving-themed treats. I actually made my very first turkey all by myself this year too. Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of myself. I stuffed it with fruit and covered it in a white wine butter sauce. I also made candied yams for my father’s job party and pecan tarts for my little self. (Those pecan tarts, though. I ate all of them.) As if I haven’t made enough sweets, I also made Rice Krispies Treats with butterscotch. Freakin’ delicious.

food

What I’m Wearing:

Blueberry-Chocolate Burt’s Bees lip balm. It’s a treasure. 

What I’m Wanting:

Book 3 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing. It doesn’t even have a title yet, and I’m DYING.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I dyed my hair white as the world went to war with one another. It was rather strange, because my hair looked normal until I could flip it over and put it up, and then it looked like an elongated white halo, almost like a melted halo, down to the ending of my back. I believe a bomb went off near me, and I thought I lost Bogart. But someone I knew found him and brought him to the safe house I was staying in.

I was a mouse, and my boat went down with three other mice, so we found another GIANT boat, and we got on. It was full of monk-related items, but no one seemed to be on board. There was also a story about Lykke Li on there and how she pretended to be a priest once, so we decided to pretend to be priests. The owners of the boat turned out to be cats, but when we told them we were priests, they decided to keep us on board.

What Else Is Going On:

The dorm hall I lived in while attending the University of Kansas was demolished this past week or so. It’s rather strange to see, considering it’s the oldest dorm on campus, a dorm my father AND my uncle lived in when they attended KU. I spent a year of life calling that place home. It was an awkward time of my life—definitely not the happiest—but now those memories are there, despite the location being turned to dust. I feel old, really. So, here’s a photo of my old dorm room.

college

~SAT

October’s Ketchup

31 Oct

October’s Ketchup

First of all, Happy Halloween! Second of all, have a piece of candy for me today. And finally, thanks for being part of my life this October. Between the paperback of Death Before Daylight releasing and the KC book signing, it’s safe to say that this month was wonderful, but as usual, the best part was talking to you all!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this October!

Big Moments:

As I stated above, the paperback of Death Before Daylight finally arrived! I’m beyond thrilled that The Timely Death Trilogy is out in full. You can even purchase the entire trilogy all at once. (Pretty awesome!) To celebrate, Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri hosted a Halloween-themed book signing, and it was wonderful! We talked about the folklore in the trilogy as well as other spooky topics. I even sold out of my Halloween-themed box sets this month! I’m so glad you all are enjoying the paranormal tale, and I hope to bring you new stories in the future. In fact, I sent off my next manuscript to my publisher this month for review. Keep your fingers crossed for me please.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

Top Three Blog Posts: 

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

1. How To Be The Perfect Writer: After listening to an inspiring TED Talk, I wrote this piece on the perception of perfection and the destruction of fearing to fail.

2. Bullies and Their Writers: October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and my publisher participates by having authors tell their stories and host giveaways. This was my story.

3. KC Event and Character Interviews: I had a book signing, but since many of you couldn’t make it—due to, you know, living all around the world—I posted two never-before-seen character interviews, one with Eric Welborn and one with Jessica Taylor, from The Timely Death Trilogy.

 

Other Blog Posts:

Saturday Update: The Intern, Salman Rushdie, Crimson Peak, and More: I saw a few movies, read a few books, and talked about more entertainment.

Replenishing Your Reserves by Journaling by B. Lynn Goodwin: Writing is fun, but it can also be good for your health!

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Changes: What I’m Doing: My life has gotten a bit crazier, so I explain why I changed Saturdays to fun days and how guest blogging will be affected it the near future.

Saturday Update: Crimson Peak, Submissions, Adele, M&Ms, and More: I’m enjoying these Saturday Updates. In this one, I talked about my latest submission to CTP, movies, and desserts.

Finding Your Author’s Voice by Ryan Attard: Finding your voice can be difficult, but this article explains just how you can do it.

Biggest Benefits of Reading by Dissertation Planet: Reading is more than just reading. This article explains how it also helps your life.

Saturday Update: Hannibal, The Jewel, Penny Dreadful, Chocolate, and More: I went on a trip to the hometown of Mark Twain, I read a few books, and I ate wonderful desserts.

Music as Writing Inspiration by Audrey Leaman: We could all use a little more music in our writing lives.

Website Wonders: A montly classic

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Death Before Daylight: Black Words, White Pages

Calculated on October 28 at 19,878 followers

Calculated on October 28 at 19,878 followers

 

#MondayBlogs Music as Writing Inspiration

26 Oct

Intro:

I never used to write with music. The lyrics would distract me or it simply wouldn’t work. Many years later, I found music I actually enjoyed using, and I’ve used it since while brainstorming. Today, our guest writer is talking about just that. Using music to inspire her, here is Audrey Leaman.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Music as Writing Inspiration by Aubrey Leaman

Ah, yes, that terrifying word: inspiration.  How do we find it? And if we find it, how do we turn it into something worthwhile?

For those of you like me who bump (or crash) into writer’s block, perhaps the muse may speak to you through music.  Here are some specific ways to help get those creative juices flowing:

1) Pop/Rock: Listen to your favorite song, shuffle a playlist, or find new music…there is always a story behind the song.

For example: “Someone Like You” by Adele: who is Adele’s character? Why did she and her lover separate? What prompted her to show up at his door in the first place?

For example: “Mr. Roboto” by Styx: Is the character an actual robot/cyborg? Or is this symbolism for something else? Why does he need to hide, and why is his life in danger?

Music as Writing Inspiration photo

Photo provided by Audrey

2) Classical: Reverse-engineer the story as though it were a movie soundtrack.  Who are the characters? What are they doing? What’s the genre (romantic comedy, drama, action/adventure, thriller)?

For example: To me, Maurice Ravel’s “Valley of the Bells” sounds like a man standing above a valley at the brink of a terrible fate.  ( Here’s the full story )

3) A song you don’t understand: I don’t know about you, but sometimes I will love a song at the same time that I have no idea what it’s actually about.  When you start stringing a bunch of obscure phrases together, while it may sound awesome, I’m not quite sure what the artist is trying to say anymore.  So challenge yourself to take those seemingly random phrases and imagine possible meanings for them.

For example: “Hypnotic” by Zella Day: I understand the chorus, but the verses are less clear: “white threads on my laces / stuck on the hinges, swinging the door to the backyard” could represent all kinds of things.  Maybe the character is a young girl at the time of being in love, or maybe she is just remembering past childhood days.  It could even be representative of how pure and fresh her lover makes her feel.

3) Playlist: shuffle your music library.  Each song is the next action or character in the story.

For example: A love song (One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful) followed by an angry song (Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name) could inspire the story of a relationship that starts out strong but then bitterly falls apart when the girl changes her mind.

Have you tried something like this before? Can you think of other ways music might inspire a story?

Bio: What if mermaids wore suspenders? What if the White Rabbit played an Olympic sport? What if music could take you on an adventure?  Aubrey Leaman loves pushing boundaries by mixing and matching both between and within genres because she believes that the resulting fresh perspective can be both fun and illuminating.  So she uses books and music (and more) as diving boards to plunge into the cosmic pool that encompasses anything and everything that can be imagined.  You know, in a light-hearted, casual way.

You can follow her blog here and on  tumblr.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

Saturday Update: The Intern, Salman Rushdie, Crimson Peak, and more.

10 Oct

I need a name for these posts. If you have an idea, shoot me one. You know, I’m really enjoying this whole Saturday update thing, even though this is only the second one. It’s rather fun discussing movies and books and everything else in the world with everyone. This one also might be a little longer. I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to in the last one, so I snuck them in this one. Feel free to tell me what you’re doing!

What I’m Writing:

Honestly, I haven’t had any time to write this week. I’m transitioning to a night shift, and it’s killing me. Any time I tried to write, it was a mess, but I did figure out a section in chapter six that was bothering me, so I am going to go back and rewrite it, and then I will move forward in Take Me Yesterday.

What I’m Publishing:

This is also on the not-so-productive side. As much as I want to publish November Snow next, I’m starting to believe it won’t happen. It’s difficult to explain, but basically, November Snow is a standalone, and my publisher specializes in series, so I might just skip on ahead to submitting The Tomo Trilogy. It’s rather a tough thing to accept, especially since I’ve spent so much time rewriting November Snow (and I know many of you have been looking forward to it), but these things happen. I was rather looking forward to going with a standalone for a bit before jumping into another trilogy, but alas, we don’t always get to choose how our paths are affected. We will see.

What I’m Reading:

12118652_920253871355128_3384895627690842872_nTwo Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie: I actually won this novel from Random House during a Goodreads Giveaway, so yeah, those work! The first 50 pages were rather painful, but definitely worth the whole set up for all of the satire and philosophy involved later. Loving it so far!

What I’m Listening To:

Lana Del Ray’s Honeymoon album. I like it more than her Ultraviolence album but not quite as much as her Born to Die album, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it enough to make a call yet. And getting caught singing “all I wanna do is get high on beach” can be quite the compromising position…so I listened to London Grammar, who then took me to Agnes Odel, and I enjoyed both of them a lot, but I’m honestly searching REALLY hard for the PERFECT music for this extremely delicate scene in Take Me Yesterday I need major help with, and I’m just not finding it. All suggestions are helpful.

What I’m Watching:

The_Intern_Poster-512x512I went to the movies and saw The Intern because A) my friend wanted me to, B) I needed to get out of the house/office, and C) I love Robert De Niro. It was humorous, adorable, definitely charming, and a fun, sometimes cringe-worthy depiction of modern relationships.

I also got really sick this week, so I watched A LOT of movies. Scream was a new one for me. (Don’t judge.) I loved it. I also had to watch one of my all-time favorites, Domino. Spanglish fit itself somewhere in there too, and the only other new movie I saw was The Tailor of Panama. Not my favorite, even though it had a lot of Casablanca references. I do love Geoffrey Rush though, and I was surprised to see Jamie Lee Curtis do a naked scene. Pierce Brosnan was probably the main James Bond I grew up seeing, so it was kind of weird to see him playing someone else.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

One-Pot Cajun Pasta: This is an awesome recipe from Tasty and super easy to make. That being said, I always alter recipes. I used 4 parts chicken broth, 1 part beef broth. (Beef broth always adds a richer flavor.) I added one yellow pepper as well. At the end, I used aged gouda instead of parmesan.

Another dinner recipe I tried out was stuffed French bread. It’s pretty simple to make, especially if you’re not making the bread yourself, but I think it would’ve paired well with onion soup. Speaking of which, I also made crock-pot potato, broccoli, and cheese soup…which was awesome, but it was accidentally left in the crockpot, so burnt cheese everywhere! Took forever to clean up. I’d probably make it in just a pot next time instead of the slow cooker.

For drinks, I made Portuguese Mazagran, which is a lemon/coffee drink. Here is the recipe from Cooking with Alia. I used WAY less lemon though, and I can’t imagine using more than the one lemon I did use. It’s very refreshing!
goofd

What I’m Wearing:

My giant fur blanket. I know it’s not clothes. But I’ve been living in it. It’s not even that cold right now, but, but, but, but…I’M SO COMFY.

What I’m Wanting:

12011126_1507618169531657_5803116650381798154_nGuillermo del Toro’s new movie, Crimson Peak, to be out right MEOW. In other movie news, I would like to hear more about the movie adaptation of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, my personal favorite book when it comes to zombies. Plus, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams is playing the protagonist. (I mean, COME ON. That should’ve been made into a movie a decade ago.)

Sailor Moon Crystal is also going up for a third season! I mean, this might be the best news ever. Everyone kept saying they were never coming back, and I had only a little hope left when I saw the announcement. Because of this, everyone is sending me awesome Sailor Moon stuff. I WANT IT ALL. I cannot wait to see Hotaru come to life again.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I was in a plane. It started to crash. It crashed. I died. I came back to life—in the same plane—and it crashed, again, but in a different way, and this repeated about six times before someone was trying to shoot me, and then, it jolted me awake. (Yes. I am one of those people who can actually die in their dreams and not wake up. No idea why.) It’s been a particularly violent week of dreams.

I also had a dream I was a Sailor Scout, probably because I’m obsessing over Sailor Moon Crystal returning. But unlike my favorite manga, there were three/four male sailors (as well as fellow female sailors), and all of us lived in this giant castle in the sky. (Not on the moon, but in the sky—where no one could see us for some reason.) The dream took a turn when I found myself alone in this castle. Home alone, right? That’s means I threw a dance party for myself. It was pretty cool. Not going to lie. (And before anyone mentions the Sailor Starlights are men…go read the manga. Anime is definitely not the same.)

What Else Is Going On:

My home life is going back to a night shift, so expect me to be online in the afternoon and in the middle of the night a lot more. I know I used to be this way, and I basically disappeared since January for a 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. Now, I’ll probably be online between noon and 3 a.m. So…yeah! If things work out, I’m off to travel to Hannibal, Missouri soon. I’m really looking forward to it. If I do, I’ll be sure to share some photos.

~SAT

Announcements:

changedIf you follow me on Twitter, take note that my handle changed to @AuthorSAT this week. 

The paperback of Death Before Daylight releases on October 19! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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 Nerds – I 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

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