Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Playlist for Darker Dreams - Songs for The Moonlight Market

I often put together playlists of music after I finish writing a story. It helps me re-experience the story in a more rhythmic way, the melodies and lyrics catching on memories of my prose.

For THE MOONLIGHT MARKET, the playlist is both dark and dreamy as well as hopeful in all the right places. You can listen to it on YouTube or on Spotify.

  1. Nine Inch Nails – Closer
    This song is definitely dark, animalistic, and reminiscent of a random hookup which is where THE MOONLIGHT MARKET starts. Cory and Sanderson are both using sex and lust as substitutes for what they really crave.
  2. Linkin Park – Numb
    This song is full of the frustration that Cory, Sanderson, and even Cory’s sister, Poe, feel at the beginning of the story. They are tired of living up to the expectations of others and want to break out of their numbness to find their own way.
  3. The Police – Every Breath You Take
    The claustrophobic nature of this song embodies not only the restrictions that Cory and his sister Poe live under, but also the debt hanging over Sanderson being controlled by the sinister Weaver of Dreams.
  4. X Ambassadors – Renegades
    The Moonlight Market looms large in this song. All three characters escape to the weird and wonderful uncertainty of the Market. They break out of their routine and enter a world of magic and dark fantasy.
  5. Candyman – Theme Song
    I always thought the piano at the beginning of this theme was a gateway to the strange. In the scene where Cory stands beside a steam calliope belting out a demented tune – this is the tune.
  6. Hadouken! – Levitate
    This is the acrobatic act that Sanderson’s family performs. Their flips and feats of strength are almost levitation. This song would be the one that Cory heard as he watched the performance. 
  7. Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
    Cory may have come to the Moonlight Market to find his missing sister, but it is Sanderson and the magic of the Market that awaken the long dormant wants and desires inside of Cory.
  8. Fiona Apple – Hot Knife
    This is another awesome song depicting the relationship between Cory and Sanderson. They melt for each other but the knife’s edge is always between them in the form of Sanderson’s debt and Cory’s single-minded mission to find his sister.
  9. Madonna – Frozen
    Another song about Cory. Before meeting Sanderson, he’s frozen. It’s only when he comes to the Moonlight Market and views Sanderson in the magical world he comes from that Cory starts to thaw to him.
  10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
    This song with its tolling bell reminded me of Sanderson and the ill-advised debt that he made with the Weaver. Similar to the character in the song, his action of handing Cory over to her makes him guilty, and brands him with his betrayal.
  11. The Cure – Lullaby
    This song definitely reminds me of the villain of THE MOONLIGHT MARKET. She even sings a lullaby to Cory as she begins to weave his memories into her tapestry, taking his soul along with it.
  12. One Republic – I Lived
    This song is the bittersweet prayer Cory has for his sister as he realizes that she needs to live her life. And it’s also Cory’s song. Broken out of his rut of privation and survivor’s guilt, he has tasted freedom and wonder at the Moonlight Market and he’s not going to give up the sparkle and magic it has brought to his life. The weekend at the Market has changed him too much. He is ready to transform.
  13. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
    This is the feelgood ending of the story. Both Cory and Sanderson have survived the nighttime and the dangers of the Moonlight Market. They have come out better on the other side. Their life awaits. 
What about you? Have you read The Moonlight Market? Do these songs fit or do you have some you’d like to add?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Secrets Our Characters Keep

This post was previously published on the Romance Magicians blog:
Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides
—AndrĂ© Malraux

This is a statement that resonates with me.

One of the key elements to creating a three-dimensional character that leaps off the page is to give them a secret. It becomes instant conflict--what if someone finds out? What if they are confronted about it? What if it derails their life as they know it?

A secret affects a character's growth. It separates your character from those around them and stalls their relationships. Their secret will brand them as "other" both in their mind and in the minds of those around them.

Secrets are hard to keep. People are naturally curious and they know when you have something to hide. Because a secret, even a well hidden secret, will make itself known. It will change the way a character reacts to certain circumstances. It will encourage superficial conversation because what is most important cannot be spoken. Your character will run instead of facing the problem, thereby making relationships impossible.

If two characters hold a secret, they are tethered by the secret in an static relationship. Neither can go forward without revealing the secret--and as long as they keep their knowledge, there is no going back.

There is also the possibility that a character may not be able to tell a secret because they don't know it themselves. Unknown scars from previous relationships lead to treating current love interests poorly. Was it something the love interest did that caused that argument, that separation? Or was it that thing that happened the last time the hero or heroine was in love? And if your character discovers the secret, will they tell it and reveal that they have a vulnerability?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the character is actively keeping the secret, he or she is expending energy to do it. It's on their mind, in their heart, coloring everything they say and do. They cannot stop thinking about it and what kind of consequences it will bring if it's revealed.

So what are your feelings on secrets in books? Do you like a mysterious character or one that is open and has nothing to hide?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trouble On the Doorstep at #MySexySaturday

I love participating in #MySexySaturday. It's fun to play the 7 game and keep people guessing on what's happening in my newest release.

So here they are, seven paragraphs from my novella THE APPLICANT, just released from Dreamspinner Press. It takes place during an intimate moment between Forbes and Oliver, one that is a little more intimate than Forbes realizes:

“Why do you have a tattoo of Newton’s gravity equation?”

Oliver knew the

seemed out of place on his hip. Forbes flexed his fingers, and Oliver chuckled.

“You can touch it, Forbes. It won’t hurt.”

And then Forbes’s long sensitive fingers ran up his leg to his hip, a tickling caress that ended with him drawing the pad of one along the tattoo, tracing the formula with his touch.

“Is it a secret?” Forbes turned wide, inquisitive eyes to him, his palm covering the black lines. The warmth of his hand seeped into Oliver, making his cock jump and strain.

Oliver, still propped on his elbows, let his head fall back to stare at the ceiling. He was afraid to look Forbes in the eye for fear he’d see the scared kid Oliver used to be. The one who’d found the gravity formula in a torn children’s book about Sir Isaac Newton. The one who’d been sure he’d never have anyone, certain no one would love him.

“I got it when I was young, younger than you. Before I fell in love the first time.”

Buy Your Copy Today at 

Check out the other Sexy Saturday posts: