Wednesday, July 18, 2007

RW: Heart and Soul Songs

I'm suffering from a severe case of cover art envy this week. Yes, this means that Marjorie M. Liu's latest novel is out.

Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu

He's like Adonis of the Waves, right? Yeah. I thought so too.

Having a new installment of Marjorie's Dirk and Steele series to read does take most of the salt out of the wounds, though. In addition to beautiful covers, Marjorie has gorgeous titles for her novels, and I really like this one. Soul Song fits the novel perfectly. It's also a great analogy for the way Marjorie writes; her prose sings to you from the page and her heart. From what she's just posted over on her LJ about her novel soundtracks, it sounds like music is as much a writing partner as an inspiration.

Having spent the afternoon writing Valentin's book with Bach constantly playing in my head, I can definitely relate.

What performer, musician, band or composer plays your soul songs? Let us know in comments to this post by midnight EST on Friday, July 20th, 2007. I'll draw five names from everyone who participates and send the winners an unsigned copy of Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.


  1. Anonymous3:39 AM

    At the moment, my soul song seems to be Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. Cheesy or what? Its calling me for some insane reason. Perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

    Usually, its Spring 1st Movement (llegro) by Vivaldi. Please don't ask me to remember the performer....

  2. When I write about the Scottish Highlands, I love to write to the sound of bagpipes- loud bagpipes!
    Otherwise, it depends on the type of hero as to the song that fits. I've written to Whitesnake, and The Who.

    But like you, I love the cover of Marjorie's new book!

  3. Albinoni's Adagio in G minor is the sound of my life.

  4. I play Evanescence when I need "moody" and "atmospheric" and Nine Inch Nails when I need "kickass."

    We're hearing a lot of NIN around here lately.

  5. This one's easy. Dar Williams. I own all her albums and probably 90% of her songs speak to me on a level that no other artist has ever done. She's amazing! Many pages have been written with her on in the background.

  6. Anonymous8:19 AM

    It really depends on the story. Yuki Kajiura and Yoko Kanno are two composers that seem to span a few stories. Instrumentals seem to work better than songs with lyrics for imagining scenes. Unless the song manages to speak to me in some way- Nickelback have quite a few songs that do that.

  7. Anonymous8:27 AM

    As a trained singer and former orchestra violist, I pretty much can't listen to music while I work. I get too into it.

    While I do prestory stuff I'll put on mood music, preferably without words, if I can find any that really hit the book right.

    There is one recent exception: my book that I just set aside had the theme song of "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum, which I heard on the radio about four times before I finally conceded fit the book. The lyrics are in a blog post from a couple weeks ago.

  8. Anonymous8:55 AM

    My soul must have multiple personalities. I love good movie soundtracks and I love music ranging from classical to southern rock to mainstream rock. Apparently, my mood decides what speaks to my soul at any given moment.

    The soundtrack from 'Lord of the Rings' is a favorite. 'Dances with wolves' and 'Gladiator' gives me chills. Can't beat 'Heard It in a Love Song' and 'Fire on the Mountain' by The Marshall Tucker Band. The Allman Brothers' 'Eat a Peach' album is still a peach. These guys all take me back to my youth. Elton John's early work takes me back too. Eric Clapton. The Band. I could go on, each artist having grabbed me by the soul at various times.

    I see a trend emerging here. My soul is stuck in the seventies.

    However, I don't listen to music when I write. I'm an active listener. I stop writing and sing along or drift off in the music. I wish I could listen and stay focused, but no, I can't.

    BTW, I wasn't able to keep up with your posts last week, but they're there, and I'm working my way through them. Thank you. Every single one is a gem.

    Karen, the lurker

  9. Oh, I saw this book at Borders this weekend and just had to pick it up if just for the cover. Man, how come I never find a sexy merman like that coming out of the water when I go to the beach? *lol*

  10. She's as beautiful in person as her covers :) Can't wait to read it.

  11. I love to listen to a-ha. There's a lot more than Take On Me. A lot of their lyrics are very descriptive and are often inspiration for scenes, characters, or entire stories. Other things as well, of course, but if I have to pick...

  12. I usually write without any music at all, but when while I was writing my first book, I listened to two things - Rachmaninov and a tape I made of alternative music. Rach's my soul music, and the alternative is harsh enough to set my soul on edge. The harsh music was for the tense scenes, and the Rach was for everything else. I still use the alternative tape for the tense scenes.

  13. My favorite music is classical, and I don't really know if I have a favorite, but Bach rates right up there.

    But I am also a BIG Moody Blues fan, and have been to many of their concerts.

    I like almost all kinds of music. It's not uncommon to hear me go from classical, to rock, to swing, to opera, all in several minutes.

    Just play and enjoy what you like!

  14. I don't tend to listen to a specific composer or artist when I write, but I do tend toward lots of movie scores. I usually can't listen to stuff with words because I go off and start singing and...yeah don't pay attention to what I am writing. But movie scores are great because you can often find one that has sections capturing the emotion you're going for in your scene, and I find that very helpful.

  15. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Lately I've been listening to Keali'i Reichel. Another favourite is IZ. Though I wouldn't recommend them if you're writing a scene that is dark or sad, because I find it impossible to feel sad when listening to their CDs... the lyrics and music do transport me into a world apart which is a good thing because my WIP is a mystical fantasy.

  16. Gordon Lightfoot. I think I inherited it from my Dad, because he listened to Lightfoot all the time. His voice is so soulful. Anything I write while listening to Gord's Gold ends up flowing with a easeful grace that I can't seem to mimic when listening to anything else. Poetry in prose.

  17. Honestly, I listen to just about everything when I write. I often compose playlists on iTunes. Sometimes I'll just listen to instrumental music - quite often scores from movies rather than classical - but when I'm focused, even songs with words work fine. I just don't like writing to silence. It's distracting.

    For one project, though, I listened mostly to Sinead Lohan.

  18. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Doesn’t Marjorie Liu get the most beautiful covers? And she deserves them too. This is an incredible book.

    I honestly don’t know about soul songs. The music that gets to me depends on what I’m feeling or doing at the moment. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Linkin Park; there’s some very deep stuff on their latest CD. Makes me think which is a good thing.

    I’m trying to write an Urban Fantasy take on Little Red Riding hood that demands I play Open Door by Evanescence. And on the back burner somewhere is a post-apocalyptic short story that is being written to the soundtrack from the Halo video games. I’m not sure why, it just feels right.

    Oh, and since I already have a copy of Soul Song, don’t enter me in the drawing.

  19. Right now it's Kelly Clarkson, and Evanescence. When I write it's a mix of different songs.

  20. Right now for me, it's The Fray. Every song on their latest album speaks to me.

  21. There are a lot of new artists, but I always seem to be drawn to great contemporary artists like Paul Simon and Eric Clapton.

  22. right now i cannot get Amy Winehouse out of my head...her amazing album "Back to Black" is just phenomenal...i highly recommmend it to anyone looking for a muse...that girl has got SOUL. my fave tracks are 2 and 5...she's just...i cannot possibly say enough to recommend her!

    oh, and the new cover is awesome, as usual...i love whoever the artist is that does her covers...good stuff.


  23. Everything by Buckcherry. I'm also on a Korn & Evanescence kick. Awesome groups.

  24. My favorites are Sandy Bull (Inventions for Guitar; Reinventions) and Loreena McKennitt (an Ancient Muse).

  25. Right now I can't get The Heart of the Matter by India Arie out of my head.

  26. Anonymous2:24 PM

    My soul songs are usually anything by Evanescence...particulary Lithium and Everybody's Fool. The lyrics speak to me in ways no other songs seem to and when the guitars get going...that makes my soul wanna party! I actually wrote an entire short story based on My it's evident how much this band inspire me!

  27. Can I just have the guy on the cover??? To look at, of course, and maybe have him bring me breakfast in bed.

    I like Sting, James Morrison, Corinne Bailey Rae.

    I've been mostly lurking, but want to say thanks for the virtual workshop. Your posts are great.

  28. For me it would have to be Depeche Mode. Their music just sings to my soul.

  29. Usually Sarah Mclachlan has those songs that really strike a chord. Sometimes, it's just random music phrases put together. It's times like those where I wish I knew how to piece it all together.

    Soul Song was such a GREAT read. I loved it! And, yes, Marjorie has a cover fairy on her side, because they rock.

  30. I listen to Celtic music particularly Loreena McKinett, Enya and Clannad when I am working on documentation. Also love KennyG. But if its house cleaning then its 60s - 70s rock such as Janis and Hendrix. Although been listening to the B52s :)

  31. Thus far every manuscript I've written seems to have it's own personal theme song. They can vary wildly in artist, flavor, and everything else. Sometimes I don't even like the song!

    That said, my current novel's theme song is "Drive" by the Cars.

  32. Anonymous5:04 PM

    linkin park - what i've done


  33. The song Only Lonely by Hootie and the Blowfish, Crazy by Dave Matthews, and Everything by Alanis Morrisette really get to me every time I hear them.

  34. I don't listen to anything when I'm writing. Then again, I don't listen to anything - ever. Kind of comes with the territory when you're Deaf, y'know.

    Mental and internal rhythms are different. I sometimes write to how I imagine the music would sound for that scene.

  35. Anonymous6:05 PM

    He just looks absolutely YUMMY

  36. Metallica. I describe them as the soundtrack to my life.

  37. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Please enter me in the drawing. I am drawn to mostly current pop songs, but Sting's Desert Rose" always gets me.

  38. At the moment I'm listening to The Beatles Here Comes the Sun but I'd say my soul song is Clair de Lune (the Van Cliburn recording). I seem to be on a piano kick.

  39. Would I be too offensive if I say the first thing of I thought of when I saw that cover was Afterburn? (And knowing your feelings for that cover, I don't mean that as a disparaging comment.)

    As for who plays my soul songs? I'd have to say Kathy Mattea.

  40. When I need to write an erotic scene, I like to listen to loud rock music. For some reason The Pretenders always features. Good guitars and Chrissie Hynd's voice.

  41. I love rough and raw emotion in music. It's what always speaks to me. So the artists I turn back to again and again are Everclear and Matchbox Twenty's first album, "Yourself or Someone Like You," Puddle of Mudd and Buckcherry.

  42. Blogger is being bad, so I hope this isn't a double post. Matchbox Twenty's first album, "Yourself or Someone Like You", Puddle of Mudd, Buckcherry and Everclear. I love rough and raw emotion. Keeps me coming back every time.

  43. Sam Cooke's voice...pure heaven. I love to listen to his music when I read as my white noise. Always puts me in a good mood.

  44. I love Loreena McKennitt. I could listen to "The Highwayman" over and over again.

    Then again, for the down n' dirty side, there's always Guns n'Roses.


  45. Intellectually and musically, I've been grooving on very old blues songs and folk ballads that became blues songs. I don't think I've met a version of "The House of the Rising Sun" that I don't like.

    Writing about heat and sorrow and old, old wrongs...I've got Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone looping through my headphones.

    I second whoever said Amy Winehouse. I adore her boozy, bluesy self-destructive persona, with her falling down hair, her too short skirts, her collection of twitches and itches. And it's not just performance art, neither. That girl can sing.

  46. Anonymous11:54 PM

    I love to listen to Nickelback or Brian Adams. I love their voices. It relaxes me when I need relaxing.

  47. Anonymous11:55 PM

    I love listening to Brian Adams and Nickelback.

  48. There are several that put me in the mood. When writing I listen to Middle Eastern music, Highland music, and then I love Evanescence as well as Cold, my knew one is Fingers Eleven's Paralyze if you haven't heard it and you like it hard, you got to check it out.

  49. Love that cover art. Yummy! Anyway, my soul song has to be Beethoven's Piano Concerto #5. Okay I know I'm weird, but the classics call to me. I am also an aficionado of all things Celtic. My favorite cd of all time is "Celtic Nights".

  50. Anonymous1:35 AM

    Everything is fair game (although Rap and Opera are definitely the bottom of the pile.) Instrumentals are my favorites - I love the LOTR soundtracks (especially the theme for the Rohan.)

    Although, my best "cleaning house" music is techno or hard rock. I end up feeling like the wife in "The Emperor's New Groove" though. (I'm mad = I need to clean.)

    Marjorie Liu has got to have the cover art muse on retainer. That's a beautiful piece of art.

  51. Anonymous1:57 AM

    Dead silence. I can write while the kids are yelling at each other (if they're doing it in another room) but any music at all (even something I hear playing next door) pulls me out of my muse and completely nixes the writing. However, I am completely interruptible. Anyone can come up to me and start talking and, 95% of the time, I can get into a conversation and it doesn't break the flow at all.

  52. It depends on the mood I'm trying to set, but Fall Out Boy for the normal scenes, Taylor Hicks for the more emotional scenes, Breaking Benjamin for the Badass scenes, and one of my favorite japanese bands--Asian Kung-Fu Generation--for the action scenes. God, I could listen to those guys all day.

  53. Anonymous2:43 AM

    For me it's Depeche Mode because it's written from the heart.

    Also "Human" by Human League and "Lovesong" by The Cure also touches my soul.

    When I'm in a mellow mood I like listening to Enrique Iglesias sing in Spanish (it's a beautiful language).

    Terri W.

  54. Lately, Snow Patrol's been calling me... But Nickelback always calls to me :)

  55. Korn
    Melissa Ferrick

    Yes, I have divergent tastes :)

  56. My soul song at the moment is Home, by Michael Buble. It's beautiful but sad, and every time I hear it I just miss my home country.

  57. Anonymous8:27 AM

    For me, it's Within Temptation and other bands out of northern Europe. They combine classical with rock. And it works.

  58. Anonymous10:40 AM

    The singer of the band "Hem" has a beautiful haunting voice that just gets to me the sond "Half an Acre" is just fabulous (even though its been used on some insurance commercial lately)

  59. Nothing specific, although my old late '70s, early '80s albums still inspire me. Especially Journey.

  60. For me, Breaking Benjamin songs speak to me like no other, whether I'm reading or writing. There's something about them that is both hard and soulful at the same time.

  61. Anonymous3:31 PM

    I could never pick just one artist who writes my soul songs. I have so many.

    I'd have to say the one that has helped me the most, though, is "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World.

  62. If I want to relax I love listening to Nora Roberts

  63. Anonymous5:26 PM

    I'd have to say Ani DiFranco. Untouchable Face, 32 Flavors, Both Hands -- she's a poet. Both Hands has some of the most beautiful lyrics about a break up that I've ever heard. Sample:

    I am watching your chest rise and fall
    Like the tides of my life,
    And the rest of it all
    And your bones have been my bedframe
    And your flesh has been my pillow
    I am waiting for sleep
    To offer up the deep
    With both hands

    In each other's shadows we grew less and less tall
    And eventually our theories couldn't explain it all
    And I'm recording our history now on the bedroom wall
    And eventually the landlord will come
    And paint over it all

    And I am walking
    Out in the rain
    And I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again
    And I am getting nowhere with you
    And I can't let it go
    And I can't get through...

    And her voice is lovely, too. :)

  64. As of right now, Million Faces by Paulo Nutini. The song is great. From Yesterday by 30 Seconds to Mars is awesome too.

  65. Sheesh, I'm falling in love with the man already.

    Seriously, I saw one of your books for the first time in a small local store. Grats.

  66. Anonymous7:44 PM

    Right now it's Savage Garden and Daughtry, but I always find myself coming back to The Fay. Oh oh ohhhh. *happy sigh*

    Thanks for doing this giveaway, PBW. I've been searching for SOUL SONG for a while now, but it's been sold out everywhere (no surprise there!).


  67. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Right now, the song Empty, by Anathema.

  68. Right now I'm really loving the Celtic Woman cd I just bought. I love Celtic music. And of course, there is my old favorite--Aerosmith. Hee.

  69. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. So, now I have a lot of unwritten ideas. LOL


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