Romance Writer’s Weekly: What’s in Your Spotify?

Hello to everyone in the audio radiance! Welcome to my spot on the web. Now, if you’ve never been here before and are jumping in from Brenda Margriet’s blog,  just go on and make yourself comfortable while I introduce myself.

Hi, I’m Liz. I write Erotic Romance science fiction and fantasy, and I write New Adult fantasy romance. I’m probably best known for my Steampunk BDSM novel House of Sable Locks. 

Here on my blog, I tend talk a lot about writing and my works-in-progress. Accountability helps keep me on target. I’m currently working on two pieces. The first is book three of my ongoing Patreon serial Heir to the Firstborn (a new adult fantasy romance. Forged in Fire, book two of Heir to the Firstborn was published just two weeks ago). The other work in progress is the first in an Erotic Paranormal Romance series that I’m tentatively calling Flesh and Blood. Book one is Blood Bound,  and you can find excerpts in my previous blog posts. It’s what I fondly call my BDSM Vampire series.

Now, I tend to listen to a lot of music when I’m writing, because it distracts the toddler part of my brain that wants to go play with new pens and coloring books and eat all the chocolate. If I turn on Spotify, I can focus more easily on words. I used to do this in grade school, and it drove my mother wild — she couldn’t understand how I could work with background noise. To me, though, it’s essential.

Now, what I listen to depends on what I’m writing. Ninety-five percent of the time, I’m listening to instrumentals. Words can be a distraction, because I like to sing along. Singing = not writing, at least for me. So instrumentals.  My current playlist of choice for instrumentals isn’t one that I made. It’s the house music from Eat Your Science, one of Alton Brown’s live shows. It’s all theme songs from classic science fiction TV and movies. My only complaint? There are only nineteen songs on the playlist, so it is over too soon!

Another playlist that I enjoy, and that is also too short, is courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda. His Write Your Way Out playlist is fun, and includes some artists that I hadn’t been familiar with before. I don’t listen to it as often as Eat Your Science, because lyrics. (Also, here’s a warning — this playlist has some explicit lyrics.)

Now, I do have my own playlists, and I’m playing with them a bit. When I wrote my BDSM Paranormal Romance Heart’s Master, I included a playlist in the endmatter of the book, made up of songs that were referred to during the course of the story. Music was fairly important in Heart’s Master — Stephen, the main character, was a triple threat (singer, dancer and actor) who lost his career  and his sight in a car accident. That accident also woke his magical abilities, and he discovers that he is a bard. And that there’s a mage in the Elvenlands who wants him dead.

I’m doing something similar in Blood Bound. There’s a playlist, but not because either main character is a performer. Well, one of them is a pole dancer, but that’s not his main job — Daniel is a bartender at night and a yoga teacher during the day.

In this book, each chapter title is the title of a song that matches the mood or the theme of the chapter. I set up a playlist in Spotify for the book, and the list and the link to this playlist will be included in the endmatter of the book.

Now, this is not the final version of the playlist, simply because I haven’t finished writing the book yet.  There are a couple of choices for chapters near the end that might change, if I find something that suits the mood better.  (Specifically? Chapter 19. I love Van Canto, but I’m not sure that particular song is what I want. However, I haven’t written chapter 19 yet. I know what’s going to happen in there, but until I have the words on the page, I won’t know for sure if that song is a good fit, or if the other song I’m thinking of will be better.)

And, because I am a masochist, I’ll be doing similar playlists for every book in this series (right now, I think there will be five books, with a possibility of seven. We’ll see.) So I have a master playlist where I’m collecting songs that I might use or that just put me in the right mood for writing this particular series.  There are several songs on the list that I’ve already earmarked for book three. (Yeah, I haven’t finished book one yet and am already planning book three. No, I won’t be jumping right to book three. Books happen in specific order — besides, if I write book three first, then I’ll just have to change it when I write book two and things happen that impact book three.)

Hopefully, your stop here has given you some new music to listen to, and some new books to enjoy while listening to that music. Your next stop on the merry webring is Jenna Da Sie’s blog. Let’s go see what she’s listening to today…

Posted by EASchechter in inspiration, music, Playlist, public displays of geekery, 0 comments

The Opposite of War isn’t Peace. It’s Creation.

I can’t say I’ve never written a creation myth before. I’ve done it once or twice, for projects that never really got off the ground and that I might someday go back and revisit. So I know basically what I’m doing. And yet…

I homeschool my son, and one of the things that we discovered and incorporated into our homeschool day was Crash Course.  There are Crash Course series for just about anything — the History of Games was very popular in our house.

Then we discovered Crash Course Mythology. My son is already very interested in mythology (thank you, Rick Riordan!) so this seemed a logical choice of next series to watch. Hosted by Mike Rugnetta, it’s a fantastic overview of a variety of myths from a wide range of cultures.

Why is this a problem?

It isn’t, really. It’s just that I’ve heard so many myths told by Mike Rugnetta that now I’m hearing his voice narrating the creation myth I’m in the process of writing!

After the initial “Why do I have your voice in my head?” reaction, I decided that this was a good thing. If I’m writing a creation myth on par with the ones that were presented in Crash Course, I’m clearly doing something right.


So… wanna see this creation myth?

Come join me on Patreon.

Posted by EASchechter in easily amused writer, Elemental Project, inspiration, inspiration-strikes-OW, Patreon, public displays of geekery, research is fun, summer, Worldbuilding, 0 comments

Transgender superheroes

The things you think of while making breakfast…

1. Huh… transgender superheroes. Are there any? I can’t think of any, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t. I just don’t know any.

2. That would be a cool story-line. Big, famous male superhero, beloved by millions around the world, announces that they’re transitioning. They’ll still be a superhero, but now they’ll be doing it as the woman they’ve always been inside.

3. The first big battle between her and her arch-enemy, the arch-enemy realizes that while pre-transition Hero was good-looking, post-transition Heroine is absolutely stunning. He stops fighting in the middle of the battle and asks her out. Just coffee, mind. Not a date. Just… I’d like to get to know you better. You know, we’ve known each other professionally for years, but we never *talk*. Can we fix that?

I just don’t think I’m competent to WRITE this. I don’t know enough.

Posted by EASchechter in deep thoughts, inspiration, inspiration-strikes-OW, random thoughts, 0 comments

>I don't listen to Disney music like other people do….

>Inspiration can strike in the strangest places. For example, yesterday, I was in the car with my toddler, and I had Disney music playing on the IPod. Here comes Dick Van Dyke singing “Chim Chim Cheree” from Mary Poppins. There’s a section of that song that is done in an almost melancholy air, in a minor key, and the lyrics talk about the chimney sweep’s world:

“Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
‘Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When there’s ‘ardly no day nor ‘ardly no night
There’s things ‘alf in shadow and ‘alfway in light
On the rooftops of London coo, what a sight!”

And my mind seized on that second to last line… things half in shadows and half in the light. WHAT things half in shadows?

Now, I have this gaslight erotic fantasy series in planning mode, with the outline for first book percolating, waiting for the right time (and for me to be able to do the research. Won’t take much, I have all the books already.) So this little idea has been files as something for that particular series, with a working title of Ashes and Light.

My Genius is a little perverse. And if this is news to you, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Posted by EASchechter in inspiration, writing, 0 comments

Sorry, I can't write. My genius is having a coffee break…

>Rehashing something older. Last August I had the opportunity to host an author chat over at the Circlet Press Livejournal community. This was one of the talks I gave. The idea of having a genius and not being a genius is, as I say below, one that resonated very strongly with me. And it describes how I write almost to a tee. (The steampunk on the high seas book that I talk about in there is The Sea Prince, and one of these days, the Genius will give me the REST of the outline….)

And no, I’ve never said that my genius was out for a coffee break. At least, not until today.


Let’s talk about creativity this morning.

I like TED talks. I download them to my Ipod and listen to them at the gym, or in the car when I’m driving alone (rarely).  I find the site addictive, and most of the talks interesting.

This one talk sparked some interesting idea. The speaker is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. Go ahead and listen, I’ll wait… (there’s a transcript available here if you can’t watch it at work)

What caught me was the idea of Genius being something external. As someone who gets most of her ideas when they walk up and BITE her, this resonated with me. This really does seem to describe the way I think, I like the idea of having a Genius (or a Daemon, if you want the Greek – and yes, this concept is where Phillip Pullman got the idea for the daemons in his Dark Materials series.)

The more I thought about it, the more my personal genius turned into that little guy in my icon. He’s a prickly fellow, cantankerous to an extreme, but when he’s on, he’s ON! He’s the one who kept me awake all night, yelling at me until I changed the ending to To Market, my erotic retelling of Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market, which will appear in the upcoming Like a Prince.  As an apology, he also trotted out the main character for that steampunk-on-the-high-seas book (which went from interesting character with no name at roughly 6AM to full blown novel idea in under 12 hours. He kept THROWING things at me – here’s a nation, here’s their government, here’s their history, here’s the love interest, here’s the conflict, here’s…. hey, why aren’t you writing this down!)

So what do you think? Where does inspiration lie? Where do YOUR ideas come from?

Posted by EASchechter in genius, inspiration, writing, 0 comments