So you can read my books

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Some things are universal and eternal:

Hate, terror, and love.

They are the subconscious melodies in the background of humanity's thoughts.

It sounds surreal but it isn't:

Mankind shares a soundtrack.

Music is the breath of humanity as a species. Anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, neurosurgeons, and psychologists attest to it.

They belive the area in the brain which processes music actually gave birth to human nature.

Music predates agriculture.

It existed before language. Its melodies promoted the cognitive development necessary for speech.

Americans spend more money on music than they do on prescription drugs or sex.

On the average, they listen to music at least six hours a day. For many it is the breath of their daily lives.

In Sanskrit breath is called prana, the very breath of life.

That breath is filled with vibrations:

The cry of a lost child, the wail of a bereaved mother, the shattering of a store window.

So many sounds in a single night of terror, creating a haunting melody ...

French Quarter nocturne for a mortally wounded city. Its name?

I was one of its notes.

Though I have a Master's degree in Psychology and a Bachelor's degree in English education,

I, like so many others, survived as best I could.

And so I found myself working as a blood courier to New Orleans in order to support myself.

I used that experience to aid me in writing the Noir Fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.

With a name like that, it involves music.

How could it not? Its actions centers in the French Quarter, the birth place of jazz.

It is important to the lead character, Samuel McCord, too.

It is no coincidence that he owns a jazz club. A jazz club he named after his wife, Meilori.

Music to him has become a remembrance of shadows, an echo of times spent with friends, and a glimpse back into a time when he was loved.

He is a monster who mourns the loss of his humanity.

So much so that he nutures it in the souls of those who pass his club, lost and hungry.

McCord sees life in terms of music.

When he first views the flooded streets of New Orleans, he hears Bette Midler singing, "I think It's Going To Rain Today" ...

... especially the refrain "human kindness is overflowing."

He championed the tragic jazz legend, Billie Holiday. His wife's favorite song was Billie's "You Go To My Head."

He hears it throughout the novel.

And when he is facing his death before overwhelming odds, he once again hears that song before murmuring the one name he promised himself would be the last on his lips:


And why is all this important to you as a writer?

What is the musical score to your novel?

Every good book has one : stirring, haunting, light with laughter, or heavy with sorrow --

or all of the above.

The music of your novel is the heart of your novel. And the heart of your novel is your pitch to the agent.

Think of the image on the posters for the past five movies you saw.

It evoked a sense of the story to the movie. If you could look into the past, it would have been the essence of the pitch to the studio heads for the movie itself.

Like every good melody, the structure of your novel is comprised of two intertwining themes:

A) The physical goal of your hero ... what she/he wants.
B) The spiritual goal of your hero ... what she/he needs.

The A theme is what attracts the agent/reader to your story.
The B theme is what keeps them there, what brings them back to re-read it again and again, making your novel a classic ...

and a bestseller. Why not work to make your novel one of the great ones?

Music is all about transformation.

You are not quite the same after hearing a good song.

A good novel is about the same thing:

Your hero has emerged transformed at the end of your novel, taking your reader into the process.

It all comes down to that one moment of faith:

when your hero takes that leap into the darkness, not knowing if he will survive --

only knowing he would not be able to live with himself if he did not make the attempt.*****************


  1. Diana Krall does that song very well.

    Thinking of my novels with a soundtrack is an interesting way of trying to discern theme. I'll have to consider this for a while.

    Thanks for the tips!

  2. D.G.:
    Thinking of my novels with a soundtrack certainly helps me write them. Thanks for dropping by. Your photographs on your blog make me feel as if I'm walking the streets with you as you take them. :-)

  3. I hadn't thought about a soundtrack for my characters. I mean, I listen to certain songs while writing but as for the characters and what music would be playing in their background - I'll have to think about that for a while. As for me, I wish I could carry around a boombox to play my soundtrack to my life. One of the songs I hear most often in my activities and actions is Footloose

  4. I definitely have that leap of faith at the end of my next book.
    And it also has a soundtrack.
    I think I blow the average for listening to music...

  5. my life is a soundtrack... so my work is inspired to music, though it's a score piece that fits the mood. i have over 4,000 scores to choose from as i find myself down those dark corners of my mind.

  6. J Keith:
    Like you I hear tunes in my head as I live each day. I would like a soundtrack to warn me when things were about to get tense like the music does in those suspense films!

    As a musician, you most certainly have more music in your days than a lot of us! I believe every great work of art has that last leap of faith at the end of it. I wish you high sales on your 3rd book!

    Bring the flashlight of hope with you for those dark corners of your mind. Great music makes for bright torches in the night. Thanks for visiting and staying to comment!

  7. i forgot to mention, i wrote an entire book... listening to one song for six months. it inspired me..

    lightening crashes - live.

    i am not sure really why, either...

  8. Music is one thing I couldn't live without, that and books. Yes, my novel has a soundtrack. It doesn't have an agent but it does have a soundtrack!

  9. Great post! Music effects us all. The majority of my stories have a soundtrack, a particular song, or a line from a song for each character. And they definitely set the tone of the story. All the best!

  10. That's one of my favorite Bette songs. Music is so powerful-it transcends the everyday. Excellent post :)