S is for Songs that Inspire

“I remember, I remember everything – all the tracks that shaped and changed me.” – Kill Hannah, “Songs that Saved My Life”

Some of you may have noticed I have a playlist section on this site, even for books I haven’t written yet. When a song truly inspires me, it goes on there. Most of the songs listed have specific scenes or sections of their respective book that go with them. I’ll reveal those once you can read the books. But for now, here are a few of my favorites and a bit about why I chose them (or rather, they chose me).

Sting – A Thousand Years – I couldn’t find an official video for this song, so this a beautiful fan video.

This song has been the theme for the Guinevere trilogy pretty much from the beginning. The lyrics remind me of the hundreds of incarnations the story has had over the last 1500 years. But despite all of the changes, the love between Guinevere/Arthur and Guinevere/Lancelot remains at its core. There’s something haunting about the circular rhythm of the music that reminds me of the enduring power of legend.


Hana Pestle – Need – Official video

Hana got a lot of attention for this video when she was considered for the New Moon soundtrack. She didn’t make it there but she made it to my playlist. I can’t tell you which two characters this is about, but for me, this was the perfect soundtrack to first heartbreak, when you just know you are supposed to be with someone and then your whole world is ripped apart. How do you live without the one who makes you breathe?


Florence and the Machine – Heavy in Your Arms – Official video (sorry for the ad at the beginning)

Can you tell I was a Twilight fan? This song made the Eclipse soundtrack, but for me it’s Elaine’s theme. She’s not a sane girl. Her mind is fragile and she craves love, but is burdened with crushing amounts of guilt, even before she does anything to feel guilty about. I will tell you that her mind slowly unravels throughout the series, until finally she makes her dying confession, which is inspired by this song.


Kill Hannah – Promise Me – Official video

Kill Hannah is my all time favorite band, so it was only a matter of time before one of their songs made it into my books. This a rare ballad for the band, but it grabbed my heart from the opening chords and never let go. Again, I can’t say which two characters have interplay with this song (it’s not who you would think), but I can tell you it’s a scene of intense pain, resignation and regret, tinged with the knowledge that love will live on in the heart, even if the relationship does not.


Katharine McPhee – Run – No video, just audio

I’d heard this song about a million times before in its original version by Snow Patrol and it never affected me. But when I saw Katharine McPhee sing it on Smash, I literally saw the scene of Arthur’s death in y mind. All I can say at this point is that it is the culmination of so much of what builds in the first two books – in more ways than you can know. It will, of course, be very emotional, but it is more than just the sadness of tragic death, it’s also the loss of a dream, the end of an era. I’m a long way from writing it, but I can promise you I see it the exact same way every time I hear this song, so I won’t forget it.

What music inspires you? Do certain songs fit with certain books for you? If you’re a writer, what do you listen to when you write? Have you ever had the experience of hearing a song and seeing a scene from your story materialize in your head?

Six Blogs to Check Out in 2012

I know, I know. I said I wouldn’t do any more posts before the new year. So consider this one a bonus.

As you all know, I’m still fairly new to this whole blogging thing and even newer to following other people’s blogs. But I wanted to take a minute to share the ones I really like and say thanks to all my fellow bloggers out there for their insight. If you’re not on this list, please don’t be upset. I wanted to limit it to six and purposefully kept it to ones I’m really familiar with. If I’m new to following you, chances are good you’ll be on a future list!

General Topics

  1. CrazyBeautiful – Dianne Sylvan is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, but I mainly read her blog because she’s funny. Witty and poignant (sometimes in the same breath), she explores life with gusto and says things the rest of us only think (and sometimes, exactly what we need to hear).
  2. The Raccoon Society – Maintained by Kill Hannah lead singer Mat Devine (and named for the band’s fans), this blog is part musings on life, part tour diary, and part Breakfast Club Q&A. I’ve been reading Mat’s blogs (in various incarnations) for many years, and his intelligent writing, poetic sensibility and out and out compassion give me hope that there are more men out there like him. I tend to skip the Q&A because of all the teenage drama (that’s his fan base), but I laud Mat for being a role model and taking the time to give honest advice I wish had been around when I was a teen.
  3. Lee Safar’s blog – In case you haven’t noticed, Miss Lee is a sort of mentor of mine. She’s a musician, dreamer and seeker of happiness who blogs about all three. Some of her blogs are only for members of the Red Feather community (details on her site), but she shares most with everyone. The thing I love most about her writing is the positive energy, genuine warmth and frank advice. Plus, it’s neat to get an inside look into her burgeoning music career.

History/Arthurian Legend

  1. A Corner of Tenth Century Europe –  This blog, written by Oxford Professor Jonathan Jarrett, is one of the best out there for early medieval history. I don’t always understand everything he writes about, but when I do, he’s brilliant.
  2. Senchus – The subtitle says it all: “notes on early medieval Scotland.” If you’re history buff or wannabe historian, you’ll love Dr. Tim Clark’s well researched posts.
  3. Badonicus – I’m still making my way through the incredibly detailed six-part series on King Arthur that’s part of this blog, but I can say this: if you’re an Anglophile who’s at home dancing the line where history and legend meet, this blog is for you.

What are some of your favorite blogs? Or if you have one, don’t be afraid to mention it here (I’m all for shameless self-promotion). I’m always looking for new ones, so please post links in the comments below.