Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hottttt New Blaze Cover!

That's what I'm talking about. Check out the bathtub antics in July!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reading for my Who's Your Baddy workshop

If you were in my Who's Your Baddy workshop today, here's the source page....

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
Mindhunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

Recommended reading beyond the core books:
The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore
Crime Classification Manual (a detailed inventory of criminal personalities by John Douglas, etc.) PDF online at

Thanks for being there, and good luck with your baddies!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Song List for Pied Piping the Muse workshop

If you've come here to access the playlist I referred to during the California Dreamin' conference "Pied Piping the Muse" book camp workshop, you're in the right place!  Here 'tis:

Songs used during workshop:

"Charging Fort Wagner" from the Glory soundtrack by James Horner

“Main Theme” from the Sleepy Hollow soundtrack by Danny Elfman

“Main Title” from Rain Man by Hans Zimmer

(if time allowed)
“Ebudae” by Enya (setting)

 “The Yearning/Sirens Suite” from the Sirens soundtrack by Rachel Portman (character)

 Suggested Song/CD List

“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)

“Imperial March” remix by Rage Against the Machine (futuristic, dark, gritty, adventure)

 “An Epitaph to War” (melancholy, epic hero) by James Horner from the Glory soundtrack

“Spanish Guitar” by Bo Diddley (new-wave Western setting or hero)

“Main Title” from Game of Thrones (epic adventure) by Ramin Djawadi

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

“Ode to Joy” choral by Ludwig Von Beethoven

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

“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 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)

“Exotica” (mysterious, sensual, modern) and “Something Hidden” (exotic, mysterious, sensual, tragic)   from the Exotica soundtrack by Mychael Danna

 "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

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

“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)

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

 “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)

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

“The Chairman’s Waltz” (romantic, tragic, flowing) from the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack by John Williams

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

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

“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 Camille Saint-Saens (atmosphere, dreamy, sensual yet innocent)

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

All of “Requiem, K. 626” by Mozart found on the Amadeus soundtrack (sublime melancholy, action/adventure dark moment, dark forces, aftermath of a mentor’s death)

“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 Jerry Goldsmith from the Basic Instinct soundtrack (classy, mystery, suspense)

“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

“Overture” 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)

“Paranoia Prima” by Ennio Morricone from the Grind House/Death Proof soundtrack (eerie, dangerous, bad-ass)

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 FireMutiny on the BountyAlexander)  (dreamy, exotic)

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

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

Music by Brian Eno (for instance, Music for FilmsMore 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)

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

 Pied-Piping the Muse Notes

The Mozart Effect – This term is based on studies done in the 1950’s with         children who had speech and communication disorders. 

“Rules” for meditation exercise:
1.      Have a partner select music that will focus on your purpose.  (For example—tell her that you’re working on a werewolf story and you’d like it to be seductive, suspenseful, and gothic in tone.)  Partner keeps the title(s) a secret so you can avoid any preconceptions about what you’re going to hear.
2.      Listen to song more than once. 
a. First time – absorb the music by just listening. 
b. Second time – record your impressions in a variety of ways: word pictures (phrases, sentences, words, details), sketches.  Don’t break the flow of your writing!!!
c. Third time – interpret your impressions by adding notes, completing    sentences, and adding more details or deleting what doesn’t fit.
Listen again if needed….
3.      Remember to use the five senses.
4.      Allow yourself to get corny and feel the music.  Live the song.

Have fun!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

California Dreamin' Conference this weekend!

Hope to see some of you in Santa Ana this weekend at the sold-out California Dreamin' Writers Conference book signing! It's Sunday 1-2:30 at the Doubletree near the Orange County airport.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ghost for Hire release date and title!

I have the title for the first Jensen Murphy: Ghost for Hire book, as well as the release date!

February, 2014

We're going with the idea of older songs for titles. I can't tell you what I've submitted for the next two books, but I'm crossing my fingers they'll be approved. :)

If you didn't get a chance to read about the conception of this new series back in late 2011, I'm reposting it...with a few of the details I never got to divulge. Now that the book is on its way to the shelves, I can tell you everything. :)

"Conception of an Idea

Sometimes ideas for new books/series are slow in coming. They evolve, pieced together bit by bit--a magazine article here, an experience you've had in life there...

And one day, it coalesces, and you flesh it out until it's ready to hit your editor's desk.

Then there are some ideas that run you over like a freight train.

That's what happened to me last week, while I was at the World Fantasy Con in San Diego.

As a superstitious person, I'm not going to spill the beans about just what it is. But I will tell you it's a ghost story (Whoo! Love!) and it's an urban fantasy (Double whoo!).

How did this one happen? Well, my fellow paranormal writer Linda Thomas-Sundstrom and I were having lunch with a wonderful fantasy author who shall remain anonymous when we got into a powerful conversation about the death penalty. When Linda and I were walking back to the workshop area, we exchanged thoughts, as you do, then veered into a related subject: true crime books, like the ones written by Ann Rule. I asked Linda if she had read any John Douglas books, in particular THE CASES THAT HAUNT US. I told her about the stories in it--Jon Benet Ramsey, Jack the Ripper, OJ Simpson.... Linda paused, then referred back to the title of the book as well as our main topic, saying something that jerked me toward this new idea (and, yes, I am remaining vague here on purpose. ).

I blurted out the concept of the book, because it was triggered that quickly, and Linda and I stared at each other for a second then started laughing maniacally. She said jokingly, "If you use that, you have to acknowledge me." I said I would dedicate the book to her, LOL.

Then the idea started to get fleshed out in my head. The next morning, I just happened to have breakfast with my Ace editor, Ginjer Buchanan, and I pitched the idea to her. She wants a proposal. :)

Fingers crossed, you all. I hope to have an outline and three chapters done by the end of the year!"

As it turned out, I did sell this series. I wrote the first book. Now I'm writing the second, but here are the filled-in blanks...

"As a superstitious person, I'm not going to spill the beans about just what it is. But I will tell you it's a ghost story (Whoo! Love!) and it's an urban fantasy (Double whoo!)."
Here's a brief blurb of what you can expect: Twenty-three-year-old Jensen Murphy was murdered decades ago, and she has just been pulled out of limbo by a justice-seeking medium who wants to use her to haunt humans, getting them to confess to crimes d to a realm where ghosts just want to have fun, she realizes that there’s more to haunting than just scares and boos--anthey might or might not have committed. But as this 1980s SoCal girl gets acclimated that humans can be just as dark as some of the spirits who are attracted to otherworldly fresh meat like her...
And this...
"Linda paused, then referred back to the title of the book as well as our main topic, saying something that jerked me toward this new idea (and, yes, I am remaining vague here on purpose. )."
I now have the freedom to be vague-free! After I mentioned THE CASES THAT HAUNT US book title and talked about the type of cases that John Douglas had profiled in it, Linda referred to the title and commented that people like OJ should be haunted. Immediately, I thought of a ghost who could work for an agency that sics ghosts on people who may or may not have committed a crime in order to mentally push them toward confessing or not confessing. The first book is sort of the evolution of that "agency," with the medium acting as a liaison between the "clients" and Jensen, the first ghost.

Out of one little comment a world can be born. If you're a writer, you know that you frequently inhabit a storyland, where something you see or hear or experience triggers something bigger. It could be a song. It could be an older story, like THE WIZARD OF OZ, that inspires you to twist it around and make it your own. It could be a sound you hear on TV that fleshes out your world in a direction you didn't expect. This series came out of a conversation that followed another conversation, and in addition to Linda, I plan on thanking the other author who started the discussion about the death penalty (after I contact her to see if putting her name out there is okay), too!

Ah, the writer's life. Gotta love it.