Posts Tagged ‘music’


Inspired by Vorcha Girl’s playlist for her Shepard character from Mass Effect, I wanted to post the playlist I made for one of my characters from Star Wars: The Old Republic: Jeana, the Light side Sith warrior.

Theme Music

“Break On Through (To the Other Side) [Remix]” by BT vs. The Doors — Jeana’s theme song. As a Sith, she’s seen the other side.

“Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani– Jeana, Vette and Jaesa are three badass women. They ain’t no hollaback girls and they’ll knock you the eff out.

“Goddess” by Soho — Jeana’s a true heroine, fighting darkness when there’s no other light but hers.

“D’Artagnan” by Michael Kamen — This epitomizes Jeana as a low-level character: incredible potential, hopeful, full of life and a dash of well-deserved arrogance.

Dance Music

I was playing through Jeana’s missions while I was first getting into the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Any hero has a life outside of saving the world, and Jeana’s first love is dance. These are the kinds of songs she would enjoy dancing to.

“Peace and Love, Inc.” by Information Society — I first heard this song watching an NCAA gymnastics competition. The power, grace and fire that I saw remind me of Jeana.

“Trip Like I Do” by The Crystal Method — Jeana would shred a song like this!

“Right Here, Right Now” by Fatboy Slim — This too!

“Veins” by Charlotte Martin — Quirky, cool and mysterious. This is where science fiction veers into magic.

“Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon — And sometimes, you just dance like a badass.

Scene Music

“The Thorian” by Richard Jacques and Jack Wall — As a Sith, she’s fought a lot of nightmares.

“Distants” by Celldweller — Jeana watched the twin suns of Tatooine set beneath a stone arch the size of a mountain. With the dry air, sharp as a blade, she thought she could see every crevice, every crack and pit in the rock face. She said to Vette, “Now I understand why prophets come to the desert. It burns away what doesn’t matter.”

“Sand” by Nathan Lanier, featuring Karen Whipple — This is one of my favorites. The song opens as Jeana sees a vision on Tatooine that lays her destiny before her. Her childlike hopes for a peaceful Empire vanish. As much of a gut punch as it is, she sees what she has to do: join forces with a Jedi padawan who experiences the Force with as much passion as she does.

“Eptesicus” by Hans Zimmer — Having the will to act is the first step.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica — Like I said above, sometimes she’s just a badass.

“Ra” by Nathan Lanier — There’s a villain in the game named Thana Vesh, a Sith who is Jeana’s equal: arrogant, fast, vicious, and fights like a tiger. This is the music for their confrontation in the middle of a burning space port.

“Girls With Guns” by Tommy Shaw — Jeana’s friend Vette carries twin blaster pistols and shoots them like a demon!

“Samara” by Jimmy Hinson — This captures the awesome power of the Force that surrounds her. I imagine Jeana walking into a room full of bad guys, trying to reason with them, then their sense of dread as she fires up her lightsaber, throws some across the room, and they realize how much trouble they’ve gotten themselves into.

“Mother vs. Daughter” by Jack Wall — “Jeana and the Sith fought like a bladed whispers. They moved too quickly to see.”

“Torn” by Nathan Lanier — Jeana is nearly killed by her Darth Baras, her master. Her mother picks up her lightsabers again to avenge her daughter. Darth Baras has no idea what fury he’s unleashed.

“Rise Above” by Veigar Margeirsson — Heroine or hero, anyone can have a crisis of faith.

“Bernini’s Angels” by Kerry Muzzey — Or as I call it, “Like Mother, Like Daughter.” Jeana and Raffa fight Darth Baras’ apprentices while her mother and father cut through his armies like chaff.

“Don’t Let Go Yet” by David Roch — On the verge of turning to the Dark side, Jeana finally finds something to give her hope. Vette sobs as she watches Jeana dance again.

“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons — Jeana defeats Darth Baras and takes her place as Darth Soleus. The Empire is about to change. Welcome to the new age. Roll the end credits!


Risha held him in her arms afterward. A cigar burned slowly in the ashtray on the side table, next to the best whiskey they had and a box of fine chocolates that she’d been saving for a special occasion. He kissed her shoulder. She smiled. He stayed there and nestled his face against hers. There was more going on than just a kiss.

1,771 words tonight. I made up another hundred on where I need to be. If I can keep this up, I’ll be back on schedule by the end of the week!

Some of the writing I’ve been doing lately has been adapted from little one-shot scenes that I wrote a long time ago, that I either did just for fun or which were meant for another book. As I read them it struck me how much better the writing was in those scenes than what I’ve been doing lately. What was missing? Honest to God, it was love. This is what happens what you’re focused more on the finish line than enjoying the scenery where you are. Tonight I wrote more patiently. I picked the characters in my heads using old friends for actors. Instead of pounding away through the plot, I took a stroll through how the characters felt in that moment. It paid off. To my fellow Nano writers, I say enjoy the words. Swim in the language. Wax poetic for no reason at all. Maybe you’ll keep it that way, maybe you won’t, but we’re here for fun.

Super shout-out to Fredrik Kayser for talking about our discussion on character playlists at his blog! For those who missed it, I like to make iTunes playlists about stories I’m writing or characters in those stories to give me a better feel for who they are. Risha graduated from the college of hard knocks. She grew up a princess, so she’s educated, and has better taste than most of the people around her now. She’s also nobody’s fool. Here are some samples from her playlist:

“Soul Dredging” by Future Rhythm Foundation. I see this playing in the background while she plans a gig — which is to say a smuggling job or a robbery.

“Stop This World” by Diana Krall. I liked the groove. It plays up Risha’s sophistication.

“De Novo Adagio” by Alicia Keys. Risha plays piano. I see her playing something like this, maybe in the third book, when thousands of lives hang in the balance, and the responsibility weighs on her shoulders.

“Medicine” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Risha has what those of us from Philly call “attytood.” That’s “attitude” in bold italics. Capital letters if you’re not paying attention. She’s got the medicine that everybody wants, and the galaxy’s about to find out.

She Told Him That Only She Loved Him

Posted: October 14, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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rock star

Post #5 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. My first thought was that the “only” sounded menacing in this one. Stalkerish. It didn’t sound like fun to me. Maybe I should have written it as a step outside my comfort zone. As it is, I wrote a scene where everyone tells him that they love him, but her love is true.

Justin and Beverly ran from the limousine into the hotel while hotel security held back the crowd. Justin laughed. He took off his sunglasses and held out his arms, basking in the applause. The rest of the band waved. Some signed autographs. Beverly looked like an ant under a magnifying glass stared at by dozens of eyes, begging to be left alone, before security hurried her inside.

“We love you, Justin!”

“Sing ‘Another Night’!”

“I named my son ‘Justin!’ for you!”

Justin jogged to catch up. He waved one last time at the door. Cameras flashed everywhere. He hoped his new laser-whitened teeth were looking good.

The lobby was cleared. “It sounds like a church in here!” He looked around. Beverly stood out of the way with her arms held tight to her body. Justin hurried over to her. “Sorry about that.”

“Is it always like that?”

“Yeah. Is that crazy or what?”


He rubbed her arms. “Hey. You all right?”

“It’s just a lot.” She peered at him. “I’m making sure you’re still in there.”

He grinned. “It’s me. It’s just a long way from Nebraska.”

“Yeah.” Justin’s publicist and his agent came over. Beverly sighed. Before they talked, Justin turned to them and said, “What’s up, guys?”

“You have an interview with the local news at 5:30.”

“And the venue says that we can’t do the pyrotechnics.”

He checked the time. “It’s 12:30. We’ll leave at 3:30. That leaves us plenty of time to get there and do the interview. Handle the pyro. If it’s a safety thing we’ll go without. I’m—”

“Justin, we can’t—”

“I. Am. Going. Upstairs. To. Chill. Out. Handle it!” Justin stated.

His agent straightened his tie. “All right, J. Love you, man.”

“Love, J,” his publicist said.

Justin held out his hand for Beverly. “Want to go hang out?” he asked. Beverly’s face lit up. That was the line he used the first time he asked her out on a date.

He had the largest suite in the hotel to himself. Normally he took a swig from the complimentary champagne or ate a tropical fruit that he couldn’t identify. He ran a bubble bath or he turned on every TV in the suite. With Beverly here, he took her coat, hung it up, and only grabbed a bottle of water.

“Can I get you anything? Water? Juice? There’s a bar, but you don’t drink this early.”

“Give me something they don’t have back home.” Justin found a bottle of papaya juice and handed it to her. Beverly smiled at it. “Were you mad?” she asked.

“I’m sorry about that. Those two bug me sometimes,” Justin said.

“Everyone says they love you.”

“That they do. It’s nice when the fans say it. Some of the others, it’s just a catch phrase. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“I said it first.”

He took her hand. Out of habit, Justin started to put on his stage persona. He forced it away. “I…” Just say it. He repeated the words. “‘Justie, if you’re ever not sure who your friends are, remember that I loved your first, all right?’”

“Oh my God! I sounded like a greeting card.”

“When it gets too crazy, that’s what I think about to clear things up.” Beverly drew her breath. “I really miss you. Y’know, the travel’s not so bad. People screaming your name, that’s amazing. I miss real life, though. I think about Wednesday night roller skating. Walking the dog and meeting you at the corner.”

“My dog misses you too. He barked when I said I was going to see you. He kept looking out the window, then looking at me. ‘Where is he?’”

“Oh, don’t tell me that! Now I’m sorry I didn’t see him!”

“Come down and see him, then!”

“I can’t. We haven’t got time.”

Beverly tilted her head, giving him the look she gave him back in high school when he knew he was bullshitting her.

He couldn’t even try. “All right. Tomorrow morning. Before we leave town.”

Photo credit: “Day 283 / 365” by Jason Rogers at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

Hauntingly Beautiful

Posted: May 28, 2014 by writingsprint in Uncategorized
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Árstíðir is a band from Iceland. Here they are singing the 13th century Icelandic hymn “Heyr himna smiður” at a train station in Wuppertal, Germany.

Random beauty in everyday life

Posted: May 17, 2014 by writingsprint in Poetry
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Two guys join in on a street performer’s song, and an awesome jam session happens. Dear God, I wish there was a way to give them credit! I would share this with the world if I could.

Music and Iced Tea

Posted: April 29, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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coffee shop musicGary wiped his eyes as the singers in the coffee house left the stage. The woman’s guitar had a sticker of Mona Lisa close to the fret boards and one of the Earth near the bottom of the box. Her partner had wavy hair, walked slowly, and had a voice that made you believe.

A year ago tonight, Gary had committed to getting himself sober. He used to hold on to beers for dear life. He remembered the infinite fall to the floor, where his lifeless life would shatter into a million particles of dust, and then just blow away. On the outside he’d looked like everything was in control. His insides had felt like a weeping, belching, puking bag of stress and desperation.

Tonight, though, it was tears of joy. Tonight it was all about music and iced tea.

He traveled his empty glass of tea in paths on the table. He watched the condensation changing shape as the glass passed by. Maybe this was how God painted the stars into the sky, painting his brush over them again and again until they lay out in a pattern that he found beautiful.

The tears were coming down faster. Gary hadn’t felt happy in a long time. He was starting to lose it. It felt good, but it was going to look embarrassing if he blubbered his way through their next set.

As he paid his bill, he put down another forty dollars. “For whatever the musicians order.”

“Do you want me to tell them?”

“No. Don’t. Random act of kindness.”

“You sure? They’ll really appreciate this.”

“Some other time.”

Gary left with a bag of Earl Gray tea, a slice of pound cake, and one of the musicians’ CD’s. He made it two blocks before he started crying. He sat down on the concrete parking space blocks in front of a furniture store. The lot was half-lit. He hoped any passing police cars didn’t think he was some kind of vagrant.

The sobs shook him. The tears tasted sweet. He wept because the smell of the iced tea inside his empty glass had been like cinnamon, only sweeter, and more like home than anything he’d known in a long time. He hadn’t smelled anything like it in over five years.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” he whispered.

Back in the coffee shop, he could see the singers warming up again. From here they were only shadows. Her face and his, the mikes, just hints of their guitars, reflections of something shiny. It felt pure.

Photo credit: “Looking In” by Amancay Maahs, unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

Too Young to Feel That Sad

Posted: November 21, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama, Writing
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Jennifer’s sister Wendy held up her baby, turning him this way and that. “Isn’t he beautiful? They smell so good.”

“What’s his name again?” Jennifer asked.


“He’s like a little package. He just settles in on your shoulder.” Wendy noticed Jennifer was staring. “Do you want to hold him?”

“I…well, okay….” Jen held him under the back and around his shoulder. Jimmy made coughing sounds, or something like that.

“Hold his head more. That’s better.”

“I’ve never held one before,” Jen said. Jimmy moved around his hands, like he was getting used to how they worked. At only a month old, maybe he was.

He stared to squirm. The smallest frown Jen had ever seen worked harder and harder onto his face. It was like watching a Pillsbury Dough Boy frown. “I think I’m messing up,” she said, smiling nervously.

“No, that’s okay. He’s just tired,” Wendy said.

He started to cry. He made more coughing sobs, or was it sobbing? “You’d better take him back,” Jen said, moving towards Mom.

“No, you’re all right.”

Jimmy cried again. Jen shook my head. “Take him.”

Wendy took him back. His eyes were open now, and he cried again. Wendy sat him in her lap. Jen felt sorry for him. Was he upset, or were babies all like that?

He cried again. Jen couldn’t take it anymore. “Excuse me,” she said. The party would go on without her. There were plenty of grandparents and cousins who wanted to hold him, and would probably do a better job. Jen went upstairs, closed the door to her room and put a CD in her stereo. Any CD. She didn’t care which one.

“Stop crying. Please, stop crying,” she said, still hearing Jimmy’s little voice. It wasn’t stress, or frustration. She couldn’t stand hearing him cry. Someone that young, a little guy like that, shouldn’t feel that much sorrow. Whatever it was, she wanted to make it better.

A song by Bruce Springsteen came on. Jen sank into the music, felt the beat, and prayed to the patron saint of bittersweet rock that whatever was making Jimmy cry would go. That next time she heard him he might be laughing.

The best coin ever spent

Posted: October 30, 2013 by writingsprint in Slice of Life
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A friend shared this on Facebook. This is beautiful.


“Insectoid” by ‘Dark Side of Duzio’ at DeviantArt

“We desire the sharing of worlds, to breathe and fly through the gases of space together. We will not join you in the quiet places where you do not wish us. You should not go into our places of dream time. We would meet you there when the dreaming is done. This is our wish.”

Cteek listened to the human machine translate his language into human sounds. The human thinking machine sounded tinny and mechanical. It had no nuance. No music. Cteek wished he could sing to the humans and let them hear how much he and his people wanted peace.


The human ambassador held up her appendages. For a moment Cteek thought she would pray. Then she pushed back from the table. Cteek couldn’t understand human speech, but he’d seen the body language many times over the past several days. He saw sadness and frustration. His people spoke with antenna twitches and gesturing as well as words. Cteek had already learned sadness, hope, honor, greed, and confusion in the humans’ gestures.

Cteek couldn’t bear the thought of another day of failure. The human and Karishi ambassadors had tried to communicate with one another four times. The human ambassador’s companions showed suspicion. Fear. Posturing of claws.

Cteek’s companions chittered to him in Karishi. One said, “Our people wait. Our people wish. They do not hear our songs. We cannot make them hear music if they have no ears.”

“We should return to our places,” another said. “We should live apart from these unhearing creatures. There can be no singing with them.”

The ambassador’s appendages hung down. She lifted one to her head. She shook her head as she listened to one of her companions. The ambassador looked at Cteek for a long time. Looks that were held for a long time seemed to having meaning to these beings.

Cteek said, “We need new music.”

Cteek stood. He made a sound, a single note at close to the human ambassador’s pitch. The translator spun. Without a context or linguistic structure, it read UNTRANSLATABLE.

The humans started to argue. The ambassador stared at Cteek. She quieted her fellows, never taking her eyes off Cteek. Cteek thought they might be communicating.

She stood, and made the same sound, as close as she could to imitating him.

The Karishi translator had as much luck as the human one did. Cteek turned it off. The human ambassador did the same with hers. Her mouth opened in a gesture that Cteek had seen before. The ends curved upwards. To his fellows, Cteek said, “Children sing small songs when they begin.”

He faced the human ambassador again. Cteek tried another sound.

Thought for the Day

Posted: September 28, 2013 by writingsprint in Writing
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“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” Truman Capote

Truman Capote