Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pretzel fish are not a weapon! . . .and other bizarre things you will hear around my house

I started this blog with the purpose of talking about my books, and my writing life,and not with the intention of filling it with stories and pictures of my kids (don't worry, Mom, I'll start that blog eventually). . .but let's face it, part of my writing life is being a woman who is trying to balance momhood with building a successful writing career. There's no doubt that my daily life, including my stay-at-home-mom-ness, influences who I am as a writer--and I thought I'd share a few moments, starring KidA (my almost-3-year-old son) that definitely help inspire my sense of humor.

Lunch the other day:

Me: Hey, KidA, what do you want for lunch today?

KidA: Ketchup

Me: Um, you want some chicken nuggets with that?

KidA: Nope, just ketchup.

Breakfast a few days ago:

As I hand KidA his carnation shake, he starts giggling as little pooting noises emanate from his diaper region.

Me: KidA, are you tooting?

KidA: Nope. My butt is talking to you!

At our weekly trip to the grocery store:

Things were looking bad (or pretty much the same old, same old) with our weekly trek to the grocery before we even got out of the car. In fact, it all started when I opened the door to get KidA out of his carseat, and I was met by a pelting of tiny fished shaped pretzels right between my eyes (accompanied by a chorus of explosion noises, and little bits of spraying spit from KidA's mouth). Then he turned his barrage of flying fish on his brother, KidZ, who promptly began screaming.

Me: "Pretzel fish are not a weapon!"

KidA: "Actually, yes they are."

After I threatened to confiscate his salty pescetarian grenades, KidA finally relented on his attack and seemed relatively calm as we walked about 50 feet into the store--which is where all the calmness ended. KidZ announced that he was too big to ride in the car cart anymore, which means KidA also decided that he was too big, and was quite adamant about the subject. Neither child could be coaxed into any cart of any kind, so the next 45 minutes proceeded with me lumbering through the store, pushing one of those huge car carts (because they still insisted we get one) while the boys ran around me in circles, engaged in a Star Wars style battle of epic proportions.

How disturbing should I find it that my toddler can make perfect machine gun sound effects?

The battle continued, and the kids managed to only turn over the grocery cart once, and I finally made my way to the check-stand. . .where KidA decided he MUST incessantly push the little green button on the credit card reader, rendering it impossible for me to finish paying for our groceries.

After about the tenth button push, the cashier looked at KidA, and in all seriousness said to him: "You cannot push that button. There is a bomb in the store, and if you push that button one more time, all of Harmons, and everyone in it, will EXPLODE."

KidA's eyes got wide. He looked at the cashier. He looked at the button. He looked at me. He smiled, reached up, and . . .pushed the button.

Jack Baur, you've met your match.

The other afternoon:

I was working on my laptop when KidA announced that he "needed to go potty," and ran into the kid's bathroom. The thing about KidA "going potty" is that he doesn't actually "go." Nope. Not at all. What he does is run into the bathroom, push up the toilet-seat, stand fully-clothed in front of the potty, lift up his shirt, press on his belly-button (he has quite the "outy"), and make a "pssssss" noise with his mouth. No actual peeing happens--ever.

Hurray for potty training!

Anyway, on this particular afternoon, KidA became fascinated with the up/down action of the toilet seat, and got distracted by banging it back and forth for awhile. I kind of zoned out on this activity until a particularly loud bang was followed by a yowelling shriek from KidA. He came barreling out of the bathroom, holding out his little hand in front of him.

Me: "Oh no. Did you slam your fingers with the toilet seat?"

KidA: "Yes." Then he stuck out his germy little hand in front of my face. "Kiss it, mommy."

Me: "Um . . .can we wash your hand first?"

KidA: "KISS IT!! KISS IT!!!"

Um, yeah . . .I kissed it. Because I'm a mom, and that's what moms do.

Side note: I finally figured out why KidA always pushes on his belly-button when he "pees." I was changing his diaper the other morning when he pointed at his giblets and said, "That"s my belly." I shook my head and said "No, that's your willy." (In theory, we believe in using all the anatomically correct names for body parts. However, in practice, we mostly end up using words like willy and giblets.)

KidA shook his head, pointed at his willy and said, "No. This is my belly," then he pointed at his outy and said, "and this is my belly-button." Apparently, the belly-button must be pushed in order for the "belly" to work.

At church this afternoon:

Hubby: "So KidA's teachers asked him what song he wanted his class to sing today. Guess what he said?"

Me: "Um . . . (Part of me was hoping he was going to say Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World since I'd sung it to the kiddies the night before, but this is KidA we are talking about, so I was suddenly filled with dread. . .) what?"

Hubby: "The fart song."

Oh, and it gets better than that. Because when KidA is questioned as to how "the fart song" goes, all he does is shrug and say: "I can't sing it. Only Mommy knows that song."

Yeah, I SWEAR that I do not know how that song goes. . .but I am happy to report that at least it wasn't my kid at church who kept licking the bottom of his own shoe. . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My job made easy

For the last few days, I've been wanting to post a little bit more about how the whole "getting an agent/getting your book published" process works. But a couple of cool kids decided to do the leg work for me . . .so I'll just sit back and delegate from here . . .You know, instead of trying to come up with my own witty remarks on the matter, or actually having to formulate an entire, well-rounded, blog post.

First off is a contribution from my sister-author Brodi Ashton: In one of my very first posts when I started this blog, I compared getting an agent to getting into the top three on American Idol. Yesterday, Brodi decided to take this metaphor and run with it--complete with pictures. So head over there and read her witty comments on the matter and pretend that I wrote them. Thanks for doing all the work, Bro!

Second, the clever folks at Macmillan Publishing decided to put together an insider's video on how a novel goes from the typewriter to the bookstore. (And, yes, I did take this video from Nathan Bransford's blog--but it's not stealing, it's delegating.) Watch. Enjoy. Be educated.

Oh, and just in case you didn't figure it out, that video was totally tongue-in-cheek. I mean, everybody knows that your agent would never staple your manuscript.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Putting a little "x" on life's dream checklist

Seeing my very own book-deal announced in Publisher's Marketplace has been a life dream of mine for the past several years. Basically, Publisher's Marketplace is the authority on the publishing world. They gather news about the industry, report book deals, track sales trends, have a forum for editors and agents to post what they are looking for, etc, etc. Each day they put out a report of recent books deals, and each day I read the list, imagining that my very own book is listed with all the other bright, shiny deals from all the bright, shiny authors. So you can imagine my delight this afternoon when I clicked on the PM deals page and saw this little announcement to the entire publishing world:

January 15, 2009

Young Adult

Bree Despain's THE DARK DIVINE, a modern exploration of the Prodigal Son parable with a paranormal twist, to Regina Griffin at Egmont, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Ted Malawer at Firebrand Literary (NA).

How cool is that?!! I'm one of those bright, shiny authors who deserves space on the glistening webpages of the Publishers Marketplace. Wow, this is all really happening! I can barely believe it.

Sorry, just had to bask in the coolness for a bit.

p.s. FYI, not every book deal gets listed in PM. Just the one's by the "cool" people. j/k

p.p.s. The other thing that is really cool about getting listed in PM (other than official bragging rights, and proof that your book deal isn't just a figment of you imagination) is that occasionally movie producers will go trolling through PM, looking for new project ideas. Not that I'm saying that will happen to me . . .it's just cool to think about the possibility, don't ya think?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Complete Dark Divine Playlist/Soundtrack . . .and an awesome birthday

As promised, I've embedded the complete soundtrack as a permanent fixture on the blog. It's right over there to the left, down a little . . .see it? Okay, push play to make sure it works. You can even change what song you want to listen to. Neat, eh?

I hope you all enjoyed the music. And I really hope it made you want to read the book :). Perhaps I'll re-post all of the entries just before the book is released.

On another note: I just have to say that I have the best husband in the world! Sorry, ladies, but best man is already taken. He pulled off an awesome surprise party for me--complete with an egg/dairy/wheat free cake that he baked himself (and it tasted pretty darn good!) Thank you to everyone who turned out for the party!! I'm happy to know that I have so many friends who would come all the way out here to the boonies for me. And thanks for all the great gifts! The awesome party, and all the great loot, made turning 30 totally worth it.

Emily, the Royal Secret will especially be cherished!

Since the party was a total surprise, I didn't have my camera. So if any of you took pictures, will you please email them to me? I'll post some pics as soon as I have them.

Have fun listening to the play-list! I'm off to finish celebrating the last minutes of my b-day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #16


Alas, I am capping off the last day of my 20s, and the end of The Dark Divine Play-list/Soundtrack, with the perfectly bittersweet song Love You More by Alexi Murdoch. I didn't realize until I started listening to it while writing this post that this song only has 4 simple lines:

"Love you more than anyone
Love you more than anyone
Love you more in time to come
Love you more"

The line that resonates the most with me at this moment is: "Love you more in time to come." For me, this song symbolizes the sadness that comes with the end of something that is practically a part of who you are--but also the sweetness that comes with the beginning of something completely new. This is the way my characters feel at the end of the book--and hopefully how the reader will feel also. I know it's the way I felt when I finished writing it.

And it's definitely how I feel looking toward tomorrow. It's the end of a wonderful decade--but the beginning of a new one. And who can complain too much about turning the big 3-0 when kicking off the year with a two-book deal in her pocket?

Here's to a whole new year, a whole new decade, and a whole new adventure . . .

Love You More - Alexi Murdoch

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #15


Today's song is another beautiful one by Death Cab for Cutie. What Sarah Said is an excellent example of amazing writing. Every word of this song just drips with story-telling talent. I love listening to this song when I need some inspiration with my prose. And as literary agent Nathan Bransford once said on his blog, "The very first step of being a good writer is recognizing good writing."

If you haven't figured out by now, I just can't get enough of Ben Gibbard (he's also the singer/songwriter for The Postal Service). In fact, I have a little equation for you all to consider:

My Book
Joss Whedon
Ben Gibbard
Taylor Kitsch

+++=One Freaking Awesome Movie!!!
(Disclaimer- this is NOT the real cover)
Script Writer/Director
Musical Composer
in the leading role of Daniel Kalbi

Great idea, don't you think? Now does anyone have the connections to make this happen? Because, you know, the book is getting PUBLISHED . . .and I still own the film rights . . .so making a movie of it isn't all that far-fetched of an idea. And here I've already done most of the work and laid out a formula for a surefire success. Let's get on it, people!! ;-)

Anyway, go ahead and listen to the song and try not to be too disappointed that you aren't watching The Dark Divine: The Movie while you do so . . .sigh.

Disclaimer: As with yesterday's post, even though this song talks about death, that doesn't necessarily mean that someone in my book dies--it's more the sentiment of the song that I wanted to capture in my soundtrack. (However, me giving you this disclaimer doesn't necessarily mean that someone doesn't die, either. You'll just have to read the book--or see the movie to find out. ;))

Another Note: I have no idea why there is a big huge gap in the middle of this post. Aparently we are having html problems that I can't solve. So, sorry that it looks all weird.

What Sarah Said - Death Cab for Cutie

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #13 and #14


Since we had a minor interruption in our regular programming yesterday (and what an interruption it was!), I'll be presenting two songs (as promised) from the play-list this evening. I'll talk about each song and then post the player for them at the bottom so the text doesn't go all wonky again.

Our first song is another by Spoon. Stay Don't Go is another one of those perfect songs to listen to while running on the elliptical. Which means it is also one of the songs I listen to while plotting in my head (for action in my novel, not for diabolical schemes--I save those for the shower). I love this song, and it is absolutely perfect for the way Grace feels at this point in the novel (you know, the novel that is getting PUBLISHED!).

Side note: This song is actually the reason I titled my blog "Confessions of a Mere Mortal," because I love the line, "Confession is: stay don't go." Originally I wanted to start each of my blog posts with something like "Confession is: [fill in the blank]," but I ultimately decided that it might get a little old after a while. It's a fun idea, so I may still use it from time to time.

The next song on the play-list is I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, and it is one of my ALL-TIME favorites (only to be recently surpassed as current favorite by Postal Service's Against All Odds). To say that I am obsessed with this song would probably qualify as an understatement. In fact, my obsession has gotten so out of hand, I probably shouldn't include this song in the soundtrack for this book, because I have actually started writing another novel based on this song. (That's my Persephone/Orpheus story for anyone who is keeping track.)

To me, this song represents sacrifice. A willingness to follow someone into the dark, or do something unbelievablely difficult for someone else without knowing what the outcome will be for yourself. This song is about the heart of love.

Another side note: Even though this song talks about death, that doesn't necessarily mean that someone in my book dies. (But me giving you this disclaimer, doesn't necessarily mean that someone doesn't die, either. You'll just have to read the book--you know, once it's PUBLISHED!)

Anyway, here are the songs. Enjoy them, because they are a couple of my favorites.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm Officially Official!!!

We interrupt our normal broadcast of The Dark Divine Play-list/Soundtrack to bring you a very special announcement . . .

Actually, before the announcement, I would like to direct your attention to the header of my blog. It used to say, "Yep, I'm an aspiring YA author (status pending)." But if you look at it closely, you will notice a couple of small changes that make a huge difference--as in, the "aspiring" part has been removed . . .and the status is no longer pending. Do you see it? Do you? Huh? Huh?

Okay, just in case I'm being too subtle for anyone out there, I'll just go ahead and say it:

I SOLD MY BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'M A REAL AUTHOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it?

I almost can. It's almost sunk in. I've almost convinced myself that I'm not asleep and having the most amazing dream ever.

And not only did they buy my book, they bought a second one from me. One I haven't even written yet! How freaking cool is that?

They like me! They really like me!!

Dude, all I can say is that Agent Ted seriously rocks the casbah! (Which is the term we use in our house for the highest form of praise.)

In fact, I think we should all have a moment of silence in honor of Agent Ted's awesomeness. Starting right now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Okay, that's enough. We don't want Ted to get a big head.

So how did it all go down, you ask? Well I'll tell you.

1. I got an agent. (To read about how that went down, click here)

2. Agent Ted had me do revisions for about a month (for more on this, click here)

3. Agent Ted gave the manuscript the green light and sent it out on submissions. He also banned me from talking about the submissions process on my blog . . .so, sorry I haven't been a fount of juicy tidbits lately.

4. One month later, on December 18th (which has been an extremely important date in my life for the last 6 years, so the fact that this phone call came on this day is the absolute most perfect form of karma ever--and if you don't know the significance of this date to me, then click here) Ted called me out of the blue--and I didn't answer. Seriously, I thought he was a telemarketer so I let one of the most important calls of my life go to voicemail. To be fair, he was calling from a totally different phone number than usual (with a totally different area code). So anyway, when I listened to my voicemail a few minutes later and heard Ted's voice telling me to call him back right away . . .I completely freaked out and almost lost all ability to press the little digit buttons on my phone.

Ted answered but he was on the subway so it was kind of hard to hear him when he said in an oh so somber voice, "Oh, hey, so I called you because I have some really bad news."

Right then my stomach attempted to fold itself inside out. No joke. And I was like, "What?" And my mind was racing, trying to think of what could possibly be so bad that he would have to call me in person instead of email (our normal form of communication). Did he decide to drop me as his client because he realized that my manuscript was unsellable? Did someone accuse me of lifting ten whole pages from someone else 's novel and inserting them into mine? (Not that anyone would ever actually do that.) Did he decide that his true calling in life was to be a go-go dancer so he's dumping all of his clients and moving to Las Vegas?

So then Ted says, all serious, (did I ever mention that he's also an actor) "Are you ready for this? Because the reason I called is to tell you that I can no longer call you one of my. . ."

Me: Crap, crap, crap! He is dropping me as his client.

Ted: " . . .unpublished authors!"

Me: "You big dork!!"

Okay, so that's not what I actually said. I was more like, "Seriously?!"

And then Ted went on to tell me about this really awesome offer that we had just received from Regina Griffin from Egmont USA, while I tried really really hard to stay all calm and professional and not start screaming like a 13-year-old-Jonas-Brothers-fan.

5. (Yeah, cause remember this was a list way back up there) Ted told me that the offer was good, but that there was still more negotiating to do, so I'd have to sit tight over the holidays. (Because the entire publishing industry shuts down from the week before Christmas until after the new year.) Oh yeah, and he told me I wasn't allowed to tell anyone (other than close friends and family) and especially no blogging!

6. I tried to stay sane over the holidays. Tried not to blurt out the news to every friend I saw at every party. Tried not to check my email every 5 seconds just in case something new developed on Christmas Eve. Tried not to have nightmares that all of New York City had imploded over night, sucking Agent Ted and Egmont publishing into the center of the earth--therefore rendering the publishing offer null and void. And even tried out how it would sound to introduce myself as an author on a couple of random strangers.

7. Negotiations reconvened on Jan 5th--and Ted called me again on the 7th with an even better offer from Egmont. He told me to "sleep on it" and contact him in the morning.

8. Attempted to "sleep on it," but no actual sleeping happened.

9. Emailed Ted with my answer at 5:00am and went back to bed. (Actually slept for about two hours until I got up and started an all-day vigil in front of the computer, waiting for Ted's latest update.)

10. Realized my back was killing me, so I decided to pull myself away from the computer in order to go to my chiropractor appointment. Arrived home an hour and a half later and discovered that I had forgotten my phone--and had missed a call, and an email from Ted, saying I needed to call him back asap.

11. After a lengthy game of phone-tag, Ted and I touched bases at 7:00 pm New York time--when it was now too late to finalize things with Regina.

12. Had another sleepless night, and an all day computer vigil (even checked the news a couple of times to make sure NYC hadn't imploded) until I got the email from Ted saying that everything was official--and that I was finally allowed to tell the world.

13. I started calling, emailing, and blogging in order to let everyone I've ever met know that I am officially a published author!!!

So anyway, thanks for sticking with me through this LONG post. But you can't rush a girl who has been waiting 9 years to tell this kind of news. I am basking. I am glowing. I'm so happy, I just might puke. . . or that might be from the fact that I ate my weight in Massaman curry at our celebration dinner. Mmmm . . .

Anyway, here are the details I'm able to share at the moment:

I have a two book deal (the second book still to be determined--it might be a sequel) with Egmont-USA (who is the brand new US branch of the European powerhouse publisher Egmont-UK) and my editor is the amazing Regina Griffin (who has edited many YA greats including Walter Dean Myers and Cynthia Voigt). If you would like to learn more about Egmont-USA, their publisher, staff, and forthcoming books, click here.

More details to come (I promise). And for those of you who came here looking for a new song from the play-list, I'll double post songs tomorrow.

And THANK YOU to everyone who has helped me get to this wonderful day: Agent Ted, Editor Regina, my writer peeps, my parents, my siblings, my many teachers and mentors, my kids (for being patient--and yes, now we can go to Disneyland), and most especially my super freaking awesome husband (who puts up with all my neurosis, and is my #1 cheerleader).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #12

Today I have the absolute pleasure of sharing another Kooks song with you all. I Want You is the kind of song that makes me forget that as a mother of two children, I should be all dignified and mature and whatever, and I just start singing/shouting along with the lyrics and even throw in a mild amount of head-banging. Yeah, I know . . .I'm a dork. I fear the day my kids figure this out, and start being embarrassed by me. For now, I will enjoy the dance parties and the fact that when we drive in the car, they only rarely complain when I play a song (including this one) for the the third time in a row.

Not only does this song perfectly fit the mood of this part of the book, it is also the song that MUST play in the background during this scene if my book is ever made into a movie. I can picture the whole thing in my head right now--it's really quite good. Wish you all could see it.

Anyway, without any further ado, I give you I Want You by The Kooks. And tell me if you don't just love that dirty British accent.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #11

So today's song is Where I Fall by The Reindeer Section. Which happens to be a very sad love song even though today is not a sad day. (We're 100% puke free! Yay!) Though being a mom stuck inside the house with two crazed little boys who weren't well enough to play with friends for the last 3 days--I can REALLY identify with the lines:

"I just want peace
I just want peace
I just want peace and quiet in my head"

This may be a sad song, but it also very beautiful. Plus, it is from an album titled, "Son of Evil Reindeer" so how can it not be good?

The boys are finally in bed so I'm going to pretend I can't hear them still playing transformers at full volume (in separate bedrooms) and go snuggle up in bed and seek some peace and quiet. Happy listening to this sad but lovely song . . .

Where I Fall - The Reindeer Section

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #10

Today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS. It all started when I was awakened 1.5 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off by both of my children screaming. I stumbled out of my room and discovered that KidZ had puked in his bed, and his following screams had freaked the heck out of KidA. I made a new bed for KidZ on the couch, cleaned up the puke, and since both of the kids were sick, I decided to let them have a movie-day while I got some work done. In the meantime, KidA discovered the wonder of the microwave . . .which I didn't realize until poor nauseous KidZ started freaking out about a stinky smell in the kitchen, and I discovered KidA standing (gleefully) in front of the buzzing microwave. I flung open the door and found two, shriveled, blackened, vaguely pterodactyl-shaped chicken nuggets and a partially melted IKEA plate. After I threw the plate outside and opened all the windows to air out the toxic pterodactyl+plastic fumes, I returned to work in the next room. . .only to be beckoned a few minutes later by a crashing noise from the family room. Apparently, the kids "resting on the couch" had digressed into a Power-Ranger's-style-death-match that resulted in the demise of my favorite lamp.

And that was only what all happened before lunchtime. . .

So anyway, I've decided that I need to focus on a few of the good things about today:

1. I got to read the first draft of Emily Wing Smith's new novel. And by the way, you MUST MUST MUST go check out her new book trailer for The Way He Lived. I helped make it! (Well, if you call picking out pictures of cute guys with no shirts on "helping." Although, I noticed that Em didn't actually use any of those . . .but she did use a couple of the other pics I chose.)

2. I got a really good email update from Ted

3. I remembered that I Tivo-ed the new Bachelor season premier

4. Today's song for The Dark Divine Play-list/Soundtrack only happens to be my current most favorite song: The Postal Service's cover of Against All Odds

Not only is this another one of those completely and totally perfect-for-the-moment songs for the soundtrack, it is also a freaking awesome song. Yeah, I know, I always say that each song is awesome--but hey, they wouldn't be in the soundtrack if they weren't--and this time, you don't just have take my word for it. The New York Post named it as one of The Top 100 Best Cover Songs of All Time! How's that for a ringing endorsement? And, of course, you all get to check it out here for yourselves.

And I really wish I could tell you why this song is so perfect for the soundtrack, but once again, all I can say is: You'll have to read the book. So for now, just sit back and picture me madly working on revisions while you listen to this song. (And make sure you listen to the whole thing so you can get the full effect of the song.) I'm off to go force hubby to watch The Bachelor with me. . .

Against All Odds - The Postal Service

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #9

Today's song is Creep by Radiohead, and it is so absolutely perfect for my novel--in sooo many ways--but I can't tell you why. You're just going to have to read the book :-)

Sorry, but I keep getting way too descriptive with these posts and I have to leave some things for you all to read in the actual book, right? So let's just say that it's totally the most perfect song for this moment in the soundtrack. In fact, if I could have commissioned someone to write a song for this chapter of my novel, this totally would have been the song I wanted. Seriously, it's like Radiohead is channeling me . . .or perhaps it's the other way around . . .

PLEASE NOTE: If you go looking for this song on iTunes, this is the "clean version." And although it will say "clean version" in parenthesis (as opposed to quotes), it will still have the little, red "explicit" box next to it--because apparently the word "hell" is considered explicit by the iTunes people. Which apparently means my book is explicit by iTunes standards because it has a few "hells" in it . . .and apparently now my blog is explicit too . . .hehe. So, yeah, just know that if you click on a version of this song that does not say it is a clean version, it may get a little more explicit than a couple of hells. Sorry, there I go being all explicit again . . .

Anyway, here is the perfect song that I can't tell you why it is so perfect:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #8

If yesterday's song represented the "highest heights" in the mood of the book, then today's song is the beginning of the decent into the "lowest lows."

The overall bittersweet feeling of No One's Gonna Love You by Band of Horses is perfect for this moment in the soundtrack, but the most important lines are:

"Things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing's tumbling down."

This song also represents a whole lot of denial. Man, even I feel sorry for my characters sometimes. . .But at the same time, you gotta love conflict. I once took a writing class from the marvelous Martine Leavitt called "How not to write a boring book." Her theory was to "chase your characters up a tree, and then start throwing rocks at them." Basically, be as hard on your characters as you possibly can. Conflict. Conflict. Conflict.

No One's Gonna Love You may be bittersweet, but it is also hard not to love. So go ahead an enjoy it anyway.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #7

People often ask me where I got the inspiration to write The Dark Divine. Honestly, it's a hard question to answer because it didn't just come from one place, or a dream, or a single idea. It was more like a perfect storm of ideas, thoughts, and memories, over a few weeks time. It all came together while I was riding in the car on a dark January night in 2005. It was shortly after I'd read the book Speak, watched the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, listened to the song Such Great Heights over and over again, and was asked to teach a lesson about the concept of grace at my church. I was thinking about all of these things, along with a random memory from the 9th grade, when we stopped at red light and I looked up at billboard in the dark and suddenly this conversation between a brother and a sister popped into my head. The brother was warning his sister to stay away from their former best friend. "He's dangerous. He isn't the person he used to be. You have to promise to stay away from him." And that was when it all started. . .

By the next day, the random 9th grade memory I'd been thinking about had transformed into the first scene in chapter one (except my main character is in the 11th grade), and the conversation between the brother and the sister had become the third scene in the book. And a lot of writing, revising, head pounding, swearing, praying, writer's block, listening to music, reading, more inspiration, and 4 whole years later--I have a finished novel.

And a killer soundtrack to go with it! (Nice segue, don't you think?) In case you didn't guess, today's song is the aforementioned Such Great Heights by The Postal Service. Partly, because it is an awesome song . . .but mostly because when people ask me where I got the inspiration for my novel, and I don't feel like going on and on with the long version, I usually just smile and say, "Such Great Heights." This is the song I listen to over and over again to get into the mood to work on this book--and I'm not kidding about the "over and over" part. Sometimes, I just put it on repeat for awhile. There is even a chapter in my book titled, "Such Great Heights," and let's just say that this particular chapter is highly inspired by the song (see definition of "inspiration" from above).

This portion of the soundtrack represents the "highest highs" of the mood of the book. . .So have a listen, and I'll be very surprised if this song doesn't make you feel good.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #6

Today's song is one of the few on the list that mostly represents Grace's point of view--and it is the only song on the soundtrack that is preformed by a female vocalist. Feist is actually one of the few female singers that I enjoy listening to--I don't know why, I just tend to prefer the sound of male vocals. But Feist has one of those unique voices that I can't help but love--and interesting music to go along with it.

My Moon, My Man just happens to be the perfect, romantic, (and to be perfectly honest) sexy song for the way Grace is feeling at this moment in the story. (This is a romance, after all!) Grace is in love with a guy who is far from perfect--and at the same time he's the perfect guy for her. (Or is he? ;))

I love the lines of the chorus:

"Take it slow
Take it easy on me
And shed some light
Shed some light on me please
Take it slow
And shed some light
Shed some light on me please"

Part of Grace wants to take it slow, the other part wants to rush right in. Also, at this moment, Daniel is "shedding light" on a very important revelation--one he has to ease into for her sake. How perfect is that?

Anyway, enjoy. I mean, who doesn't like a nice, sexy love song?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Dark Divine soundtrack: song #4 and #5

I left my house yesterday morning around 11:00 am, and I basically haven't been home until right now--so many apologies for missing yesterday's song. Seriously, it's been stressing me out. Therefore, today I will give you two songs for your listening enjoyment (and they're really good ones!).

The Dark Divine song #4 is Ooh La by The Kooks.

I love The Kooks. They have recently made it into my top 3 favorite bands. My friend Rachie did a recent post on The Kooks where you can listen to more of their songs if you want (and why wouldn't you?!) Ooh La is not only one of my favs (and a song I often listen to while writing) it is a favorite of the entire Despain family. I do believe this is the first song little KidA ever started singing along too. It is so cute to hear his tiny, raspy, toddler voice (did I ever mention that KidA has a smoker-baby voice?) crooning the "Ooh las" from the backseat of the car. And KidZ always requests this song for our family dance parties (even I am known to dance along with this one).

The line: "She was such a good girl to me," is the one that resonates the most with my book. But the overall feeling/mood I'm going for at this moment in the soundtrack is that of someone feeling used or unneeded. Or perhaps that of someone else lamenting the fact that they've made the other person feel used or unneeded.

Have a listen--and I dare you not to dance!

So on to song #5: Be Still My Heart by The Postal Service (the Nobody remix--and yes, it absolutely has to be the Nobody remix!!!)

The actual words of this song don't have much to do with what is happening in my book (other than the line: "This could be a brand new start . . .with you"), it is more the feeling of the song that I wanted for the soundtrack. I wanted to capture the elation/excitement/overwhelmingness (yes, I know, that is also not a real word) of starting a new relationship with someone, or sharing something really special with another person--and no, I am not referring to sex ;).

Enjoy this beautiful song . . .and if you want to download it from iTunes, just remember not to settle for anything less than the Nobody Remix. Ben Gibbard may be a genius, but Nobody took that genius and like multiplied it by ten.

Be Still My Heart (Nobody Remix) - The Postal Service

Oh yeah . . .I wish you all a joyful and amazing new year!