Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pied Piping the Muse Songlist

This is for the wonderful writers at the Tucson Chapter of RWA! The rest of you might enjoy this songlist, too. I presented my "Pied Piping the Muse" music brainstorm workshop to the chapter yesterday, and I promised I'd post additional song suggestions here on my blog. You can see the mood tags in parentheses next to the titles. I've included the selections I used during the workshop, as well.

Thank you, Tucson. You guys were really fabulous and you blew me away with your ideas {and your hospitality)! Good luck to everyone...and have fun. ;)

Pied-Piping the Muse: An Interactive Workshop
by Chris Marie Green (aka Crystal Green)

Examples used during presentation:


Story creation
“Main Title” by Jerry Goldsmith from the Basic Instinct soundtrack (classy, mystery, suspense)

“Requiem, K. 626: Confutatis” by Mozart found on the Amadeus soundtrack (sublime melancholy, dark forces, aftermath of a mentor’s death)


Setting

“You’re So Cool” by Hans Zimmer from the True Romance soundtrack (whimsical romance, innocence)


A character emerges…

“The Yearning/Sirens Suite” (whimsical romance, heroine) from the Sirens soundtrack by Rachel Portman


Other Suggested Songs/Albums

1492: Conquest of Paradise soundtrack by Vangelis (dreamy, inspirational, seafaring)

“Main Theme” from A Dangerous Mind soundtrack (inspirational, Ivy-league setting, a bit eerie)

“Main Title” by Danny Elfman from the Sleepy Hollow soundtrack (horror, menace, scary chase)

“Main Title” by Hans Zimmer from the Rain Main soundtrack (sexy, exotic, urbane)

“Requiem, K. 626: Introitus, Dies Irae, Rex Tremendae Majestatis, Confuctatis, Lacrymosa” by Mozart found on the Amadeus soundtrack (sublime melancholy, dark forces, aftermath of a mentor’s death)

“Early 18th Century Gypsy Music” by Bubak and Hungaricus found on the Amadeus soundtrack (wild bohemian celebration)

“March Past of the Kitchen Utensils” by Rachel Portman from the Sirens soundtrack (whimsy)

“Cursum Perficio” by Enya from Watermark (action/battle, fantasy)

“La Resa Dei Conti” by Ennio Morricone from the For a Fistful of Dollars soundtrack (western epic, action)

Batman soundtrack by Danny Elfman (dark hero, action)

“Carmina Burana” by Orff (epic action/battle, victory)

“Charging Fort Wagner” (epic action/battle) and “An Epitaph to War” (melancholy, epic hero) by James Horner from the Glory soundtrack

“The Raiders’ March” (epic hero) and “Truck Chase”? (action/chase, adventure) by John Williams from the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack

“Anakin’s Theme” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack

“Main Theme” by John Williams from the Schindler’s List soundtrack (major heartstring plucking)

“Hoedown” by Aaron Copeland (western imagery)

“Main Theme” from the How the West Was Won soundtrack (epic western, cowboy hero)

“Main Theme” from the Silverado soundtrack (western imagery)

“Main Theme” from The Natural soundtrack (mid-western imagery, Americana)

“Main Theme” by Hans Zimmer from the Crimson Tide soundtrack (meltingly gorgeous hero, action/adventure)

“Introduction (Titles)” by Danny Elfman from the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack

“The Imperial March” (epic black moment, menace) from The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack by John Williams

“Flight to Neverland” by John Williams from the Hook soundtrack (whimsy, innocence, adventure)

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King by Howard Shore (epic action/battles, fantasy)

“Han Solo and the Princess” (epic romance) from The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack by John Williams

“Main Theme” by John Williams from the Born on the Fourth of July soundtrack (tragic hero, sadness, heartbreaking reflections)

“Libra Me” by Elliot Goldenthal from the Interview with the Vampire soundtrack (melancholy, horror, vampire, gothic)

“Dracula – The Beginning” and “Vampire Hunters” (menace, horror, vampire) and “The Brides” (dark seduction, romantic horror, vampire) by Wojciech Kilar from the Bram Stoker’s Dracula soundtrack

“Main Title” (epic hero, romance, adventure) and “Promentory” (romance, adventure) by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman from The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack

“Harvest” (melancholy mid-west) and “Days of Heaven” (melancholy mid-west) by Ennio Morricone from the Days of Heaven soundtrack

“Aquarium” by Saint-Saens (dreamy, flowing, gorgeous)

“Duel of the Fates” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack (epic action/battle)

“Love Theme” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones soundtrack (epic romance)

“Progeny/The Wheat” (exotic epic setting), “The Battle” (epic action/battle, epic hero), “Barbarian Horde” (epic action/battle, epic hero) by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard from the Gladiator soundtrack

“Humming Chorus” by Puccini from Madama Butterfly (romance, melancholy)

“Main Title” by Ennio Morricone from TheGood, the Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack (mysterious/dark hero, western setting)

“Forrest Gump Suite” by Alan Silvestri from the Forrest Gump soundtrack (mid-western setting, innocence)

“Main Title” (gentle Irish pluck, sweeping romance, inspirational) and “Tryouts” (inspirational action) by Jerry Goldsmith from the Rudy soundtrack

“Main Theme” by Maurice Jarre from the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack (epic exotic setting, sweeping romance, epic hero, sheik stories)

“Main Title” by James Horner from the Willow soundtrack (swashbuckling action/chase, fantasy, romance)

“Main Theme” by Jerry Goldsmith from the Patton soundtrack (epic military hero)

Black Hawk Down soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (intense action/ battle, exotic setting, mournful, soulful farewell)

The Last Samurai soundtrack by Lost Summer (hero, epic battles, eastern influence)

The Passion of the Christ soundtrack by John Debney and Mel Gibson (hero, inspirational, exotic locale)

The Aviator soundtrack by Howard Shore (action, Hollywood/Coconut Grove vibes)

Sideways by Rolfe Kent (jazz, lounge-lizard groove)

Music by Tangerine Dream in general (for instance, Risky Business) (dreamy, modern, exotic, futuristic)

Music by Vangelis in general (for instance, Chariots of Fire, Mutiny on the Bounty, Alexander) (dreamy, exotic)

Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis (dreamy, futuristic, sexy, noir, action)

Music by Brian Eno (for instance, Music for Films, More Music for Films) (dreamy, modern, exotic, futuristic)

King Arthur soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (hero, epic battles, knights…)

The Ring/The Ring 2 soundtracks by Hans Zimmer (eerie, action and suspense)

Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack by Thomas Newman (menacing, playful darkness)

First Knight soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (romance, knights…, heroic)

Congo soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (Africa, exotic, adventure, suspense)

Van Helsing soundtrack by Alan Silvestri (adventure, monsters, menace)

Finding Neverland soundtrack by Nick Ingman (gentle, elegant, old fashioned, tragic)

Hero soundtrack by Tan Dun, Itzhak Perlman, Kodo (heroic, epic battles, eastern influence)

Troy soundtrack (heroic, epic battles, exotic locale, tragic)

The Merchant of Venice soundtrack, David Juritz, leader (historical – Europe, elegant, tragic)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek (sublime, sensuous, eerie)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Supernatural, 9/24/09

Even though the brothers are in a depressing place, I’m feeling a vibe of early SUPERNATURAL fun here. Like, end of season 1 fun mixed with the roadhouse grit of season 2. Sweet.

* Do you ever wonder if Sam is ultimately going to end up with Jessica again in some shape or form?

* I do love Castiel, but Dean on the road without Sam is like the Lone Ranger without Tonto. Like a cupcake without frosting. Like…sniff…the Chipp without the Endales.

* Angel zapping doesn’t sound like very much fun.

* Undercover Castiel = pod person.

* I’m gonna die if Dean takes Castiel out to get laid.

* I die.

* Castiel: “This is a den of iniquity.” You know, at first I typed “Dean of iniquity.” Heh.

* Should we believe Raphael? God is dead in SUPERNATURAL-world?

* I don’t know why this enthralls me, but what’s your verdict on Sam’s hair? I think it looks kind of girly. I like his season 2 style, when he had bangs. He also had hair wings, but…still.

* Wait—dang. I wasn’t listening for a sec. Did Raphael say that God actually just ran away? If so, I’ll bet George Clooney is his vessel.

* What’s up with the Sam versus hunter guys fight? Sam could totally bench press them, so why’s he losing?

* Okay, when I made that first comment about Jessica, I wasn’t talking about her being in the form of Lucifer.

* Whoa…next week? Mind trip.

Already this season is rushing by, and it's probably because it might be the last one. Aye, me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BTW, No Heroes

Since season 2 of HEROES, I've been dialing back on the recaps for the show. It used to hold a veritable wonderland of opportunity for fun speculation and snark, but something happened last year. Watching the show felt like a huge chore, and recapping it...? I couldn't find the energy.

Did anyone watch it last night? I switched to football after the first 20 minutes, so maybe it was good. Nonetheless, no recaps. I do them for SUPERNATURAL now, though, so if you want some virtual water cooler talk, stop by late Thursday nights!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Winner!

The most recent winner of the www.crystal-green.com contest is Misty Malik. She's going to receive a pack of signed Vampire Babylon books (1-4, plus FIRST BLOOD) and a Neko "Stone Princess" print.

New contest is up now, so click on the link to enter!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Supernatural, 9/17/09

And we’re off and running with the apocalypse!

* Here’s one of those useless questions. Which series has more hospital scenes: SUPERNATURAL or SMALLVILLE?

* “Enough foreplay,” says Cranky Bobby as Castiel and Dean chat. Fanfic boards are buzzing with glee.

* What? Dean’s constant necklace is God radar? Who knew?

* Dean: “Now I feel naked.” Legion of Deangirls: “I wish.”

* Ellen! With the hunters coming together, doesn’t it feel like the glorious days of season 2?

* I was going to crawl into the TV to kick Sam’s butt if he drank that stanky blood.

* Roger with the glasses is way too inept with a shotgun and I recognize the actor from, among other things, DEADWOOD. He’s totally a bad guy. (re: The TV Axiom of Recognizable Character Actors Figuring Heavily into the Climax…and It’s Usually as the Villain of the Week)

* I feel for Sam, but I think Dean has every right not to trust him.

* Sam is tied up again. Methinks some show writers have been peeking into my diary.

* So, for some reason, the black-eyed people are good and the others are bad. I can’t wait for this explanation. Seriously. It’s a fun twist.

* Wormwood! That reminds me: If you haven’t read that collection of short stories by Poppie Z. Brite, go thee out and get it. She’s incredible.

* Points to Dean for the brain work. Whoo, Smart Dean!

* Yup—the TV Axiom in action.

* I’m going to love seeing Rufus and Bobby together. It’ll be the cranky Olympics.

* I like this episode, mostly because it reminded me of THE STAND, which is one of my favorite books.

* No way—even though Sam has a lot to make up for, I can’t believe Dean let him go. It was so sad watching Sammy walk off like a sad little (big) puppy.

* But without Sam, it’s going to be the Dean and Castiel show… That makes me extra sad for some reason.

Next week—same apocalyptic time, same apocalyptic station!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tony Lee's HARKER

(Possible teeny-tiny spoilers ahead)

You guys know that I was on a vampire-related Comic-Con, San Diego, panel this year. One of the participants was Mr. Tony Lee, writer of graphic novels, such as DR. WHO. He was there to talk about his upcoming release, HARKER, which is an unauthorized sequel to DRACULA.

I sat next to Mr. Tony Lee at the signing and we struck up a conversation. He even showed me a few panels of HARKER on his iPhone, and I was excited about what I saw and knew of the work at that point. Much to my surprise, Lee was recently kind enough to email me an advanced copy of the graphic novel. (Eee!) Naturally, I dove right into it.

What can I say except that I loved it? There's no way I'm going to give you major spoilers, but I will tell you that this is a very worthy successor to the original. Reading it made me feel as if I'd just put down DRACULA and was rejoining it soon afterward. I got to reunite with characters I'd missed and catch up on their lives after the traumatic encounter with Dracula. And I got to be swept up in an evil that postdated the Count. (Remember, some people maintain that Dracula didn't actually die at the end of the book--he turned into another form....)

Graphic novel fans will love the art: the images and coloring really make you feel as if you're in the midst of a gothic adventure/nightmare, and the tone feels absolutely true to DRACULA. Story-wise, the pacing is breakneck, but leaves enough room for the development of those characters we love. (There's one character who's going to stand out more than any other, I'll bet. It's the way this character drawn, designed, and developed. An outstanding villain. You'll know *exactly* whom I'm talking about after you read the graphic novel!)

A big thank you to Mr. Tony Lee, and a congrats to him and his cohorts on a job very well done. ;) I'll be buying my hardcopy when it comes out.

To see a preview of HARKER, click here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Scary Movie: EDEN LAKE

MILD SPOILERS AHOY

A few weeks ago I talked about IMPRINT, a short movie by Takashi Miike that tested the limits of my viewing abilities. This didn’t mean that IMPRINT was a bad movie. God, not by any means. It’s just that it was truly a “horror” movie that plunges you into a real dark place, unlike a “fun” slasher flick. It’s not the typical “legend tripping” sort of experience, where you get together with friends for a FRIDAY THE 13th installment or a trip to the nearby graveyard. It’s not a manufactured attempt to conjure fear and squeals while everyone proves how cool and brave they are by making jokes about the scary movie victims or drinking booze while brazenly sitting against a headstone and daring the dead to come get you. True horror goes beyond legend tripping—instead of us invading the graveyard, the graveyard invades us.

Accordingly, there are movies that are hard to watch because you genuinely dread what’s happening. The original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT was on of those movies that left me feeling like I needed a shower…and not just so I could get my skin clean. IRREVERSIBLE was another. IMPRINT came real close, too, but IMPRINT didn’t grab me by the emotional collar and choke me. It didn’t make me so damned angry that I wanted to scream or rage.

Well, I can add another movie to LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and IRREVERSIBLE now. It’s a little UK flick called EDEN LAKE, and by the end of it, I was so upset that I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Even now, days later, I’m pissed off in a profound way because the story felt so real.

The action starts off nicely enough when we’re introduced to Jenny and Steve, who happily drive off to a weekend getaway at a lake where Steve spent his childhood. It’s a location that’s about to be overcome by a flood of corporate housing, so their trip is sure to be a bittersweet one. When they arrive at this idyllic spot, a bunch of kids start hanging out just down the beach, blaring their music and letting their dickwad dog off its leash so it intimidates the protagonists. To be blunt, the kids are total assholes, and right away, your blood starts to boil. Haven’t you run into people like this at one time or another? I think so. Steve, being a manly man who feels it’s his responsibility to confront this boorish behavior, mildly asks the group to cool it. They just laugh at him, throwing in a few douchy insults for good measure. But you can see Steve bristling because his ego has been smacked. Even so, Jenny is like, “Be cool, hon. They’re jerks, but they’ll leave soon and we’ll splash around in the water.” The kids do leave, but as I said, they’re assholes, so they passively aggressively leave a bottle beneath the tire of the couple’s car. Guess what that does to the tire. You know that Steve’s not gonna let this pass if he finds those kids again.

At this point, I wanted to stop the movie, because I knew it would lead to no good. I won’t tell you exactly what happens, but even as I wanted to stop watching, I couldn’t. This is one movie where, for better or worse, you’re really hoping for a reckoning. You need to see it. After all, Steve and Jenny didn’t start this crap. (Yes, they could've ended it by just leaving, but how much do you take from someone before you can't stand to see the injustice any more? At least, that's the bigger picture, here.) The scary thing about this premise is that you could find yourself in a situation where you get fed up with assholes, just like Steve and Jenny do, and when you stand up for yourself...

Well, you might just want to leave with your tail between your legs instead.

I was so furious at the end of this movie that I actually directed my ire at a couple of plot twists that I thought were a real stretch, and I found myself thinking, “Nu-uh. That never could’ve happened, so I’m going to pretend like it didn’t.” And fooling myself made me feel better except…not really.

Seriously, don’t watch this if you’re not willing to be highly unsettled.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Supernatural, 9/10/09

If I were a boygeek, you know what I’d be doing? Haunting all the SUPERNATURAL boards and fan clubs that I could. Do guys realize just how many hot ‘n’ bothered females are there, all gathered in one place? Even an amoeba could get laid after an episode airs.

Now, putting aside my relationship expertise…

It’s back on, baby!!!

Some random thoughts as the episode played out:

* Opening: Somehow, I think we’re watching LOST, and it’s not just because a plane is going down. There’s a definite WhatTheHell feeling in the air. Let it be said that I will not be happy if quantum physics or whatever is involved.

* At Comic-Con, they screened this part where the boys regroup with Chuck. Kripke wouldn’t show us what came before. Not that we would’ve been able to figure anything out anyway.

* Oh, Dean, you had me at “asshat,” so, really, reciting the whole Winchester insult dictionary to the angels wasn’t necessary.

* Upon meeting Sam, I, too, would go straight for the pecs.

* You call it, Bobby**! Sam’s gonna do a lot of mea culpas this season due to Ruby and her grotesque harpy-tongued influence. Good riddance!
(**Or not Bobby.)

* Confused. Didn’t Bobby, of all people, have some sort of tattoo (like the boys) that keeps demons from entering him? He’s the last person I’d expect to be careless.

* “What is that, peanut butter?” BTW, did I happen to mention that my mom is now a Deangirl? I recommended the series to her and she’s watching on DVD, and she is currently in competition with me for my boyfriend-who’d-be-a-terrible-relationship-prospect-in-real-life-but-he-suits-my-fantasy-needs-just-fiiiiine. I’m not sure I like this Mrs. Robinson dynamic, but I’m glad SPN has one more fan.

* Ouch--that girl kicked Sam where the sun don't shine. Poor Sam’s balls! Listen, there are some things you can never be forgiven for, and this would be high on the list. That and shooting the boys, just like when Sam got shot in the shoulder by Bella. And you saw what happened to her. I sent hellhounds after that bitch. Beware, Meg, beware.

* Dean is the Fifth Element…er, Michael Sword.

* I can’t believe someone shot Sam again, this time with just a frakkin’ finger.

* Castiel makes an entrance! He does tracheotomies, too.

* Lucifer: “I don’t lie. I don’t need to.” Yikes. Things have gotten so bad that no fabrications are needed to sway someone to the dark side.

* Ellen!

Ready to Winchester-up for the apocalypse, you all? Until next week, sweet dreams. ;)

Tonight...Winchesters

Finally! Shoulders, chests, arms...oh, and a bit of Lucifer hunting. I'll be recapping SUPERNATURAL tonight, but I'm on Pacific time. That means you lucky spawn on the East Coast get to see it long before I.

:)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bits

Two days and counting until SUPERNATURAL premiere. Can hardly contain. Stay tuned for a recap after show. Wondering if it's worth Twittering about, too....

Might get to finally see INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS tonight....

Tony Lee sent a link so I can see advanced copy of HARKER before it comes out in October. Will be peeking at it soon because I can't wait!

Supposed to be my day off, but I'm a bit spastic and will be plotting a Blaze instead....

And there it is.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

This is what I write when I'm procrastinating

So you're standing on the fringes of the dance floor in a club. You're twenty-one, newly initiated into the scene, holding a Zima in your hand and wearing a sassy little top and hottie pants with your favorite strappy shoes. Your hair looks super cute, you're showered, shampooed, and shined and so very hopeful about the night ahead. There's a Potential Guy who's also lingering by the dance floor, kinda checking you out. You play eye tag. You drink from your faux-drink. You wonder what the hell to do next in this room where you will have to bellow over the music to communicate and establish anything meaningful with the Potential.

Then, just as he sidles a tad closer to where you're awkwardly striking a cool girl pose, it happens.

See, there'd been this other guy on the floor--the awesomely confident one in the red shirt who has picked up some streetwise, ass-slapping, Night Fever dance moves. He has been asking every wallflower to boogie with him. His name is McLovin, and he has seen you, too.

The room, with its flashing lights and blaring music, has confused you enough so that, when he begins pimping out in front of you in a ritualistic attempt to entice you onto the floor with his flailing charms, you don't quite know how to react. Do you run? Do you revert to the nice girl you've always been and pretend to dance, also, just so you don't embarrass him? Do you glance over at the Potential Guy to see if he'll come over and rescue you by pretending to be your boyfriend?

While the options whip through your mind, the guy in the red shirt dances on, and you wonder if this is what he looked like fifteen years ago:



In the end, this guy gets bored with you and goes on to score the most bodacious chick in the club. They get married, and he makes a billion dollars designing green technology. Then he goes on to teach his children to do the "these are my eyes, those are yours, we are connecting and understanding each other on a disturbingly intimate level" move. Basically, he lives happily ever after, dancing into the sunset while you waste your time watching YouTube. The end.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Bloodlands series update

I Twittered yesterday that it looks like my BLOODLANDS series (the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy) will be released sometime in 2011 because Ace would like to publish the books three months, back to back. I love that approach, so I'm very happy with the decision. The reason the books won't be out until 2011 is because I have only one of three installments finished at this point. If we're going to go for three consecutive releases, there's no way I could complete book three in time for the trilogy to appear any earlier.

Meanwhile, I've been reading everything from The New Yorker to Camille Paglia and watching Discovery Channel shows to look at cultural markers that give me ideas for building this new world....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Writing Cave

Now that I'm into the second manuscript in my as-yet-unreleased BLOODLANDS series (post-apocalyptic urban fantasy), it's time for me to lock myself down and go for it.

When I do a first draft, I go into that Commando Robot Girl mode, and banishing myself to my condo is all a part of the process. Everything becomes about what's going on in the story. I'm an airhead because I'm always thinking of the next scene. I'm moody because I want to get the damned thing done. I'm a freak who doesn't really live on this Planet Earth until I type THE END.

It looks like it's going to be a busy stretch, even after BLOODLANDS 2 is written. I think I'll be diving into a continuity book for Special Edition, then a couple more stories until I write BLOODLANDS 3, which is due in July. (God, that seems so far away, yet...not so much.) But am I complaining? Yeah, right.

Best. Job. Ever.