Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Music To Make Write To with Jessic Bell

This week for deciding on our MTMWT participant I wanted to try something new.  I loaded my dryer with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters; then I Jerry rigged it to run with the door open.  Each coin had a designation of which participant got the nod.  Unfortunately I found out:
a) bad idea
b) they all fly out at once and they're kinda hot
c) you shouldn't sit in front of it
d) bad idea.

So I just went with the first person who volunteered to do it.  So here is Jessica Bell to share her 3 writing fav's.

Artist: Porno for Pyros
Song: Kimbery Austin

This song gets me in a happy mood. I'm always in a depressed mood when I write for some reason, so this gets me appropraitely bouncy for - you know - happy love scenes, mother/daughter scenes - realizing that the life is good scenes, etc etc. Plus, I've been a fan of these guys since my teens, so I ain't gonna kick the habit!

Artist: Aimee Mann
Song: Wise up

This song gets me as low as low as low as low and is guaranteed to make me cry EVERY time I listen to it. People cry a lot in my work so this comes in handy. Then I go and hide in my bedroom and bawl my eyes out ... But I'm good as gold afterwards I promise! :o) It's very cleansing!
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Song: Closer

Well, again, this is another teen favorite. Makes me wanna slip into my black patent leather body suit (well, if I owned one!). ;o) Need I say more?
-Jessica Bell

Monday, March 28, 2011

Odds N' Endz

Hey, Kids!

Let's start out by talking about me, since I'm awesome. I won 2nd place in a poetry contest. I know you are all asking yourself if it was the Pulitzer's, and if so, how I didn't just win outright. But actually, I came in 2nd in Angela Felsted's Looking Glass Poetry Battle. Normally in a battle I'd use an axe, or flame thrower, or something manly, but she said we had to submit poems. What are ya gonna do, right?  Anyhow, August is Chris Phillips month on her blog!  My poem will be posted on August 1st and I will also post there on the 29th.

Janet Sumner Johnson and Co. are giving away a 10 page critique by Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown starting March 28.
Come back tomorrow for MTMWT with Jessica Bell. Also, her book trailer just came out.  Check it out below.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Giving Up and AppleBees Commercials / Subtitled: Writing Good in the Neighborhood

There are days like today where I just want to give up writing.  Not completely, just writing that requires work.  Right now, to get my own book I have to spend months writing/revising and then go through the gauntlet that is the query process.  But what If I just said eff it?  Is there really an easy way to get paid to write?  Of course!  I could write AppleBee's commercials.  Here is their latest TV ad.

Through all of my high dollar sources I was able to obtain a copy of the actual script for that commercial so you could see it.  Mind you it's just a copy, since they let the author keep the cocktail napkin he wrote it on.  

AppleBee's Bourbon St. Ad 2011
AppleBee's Logo and 2 for $20 flashes on black background with white lettering.
The scene opens with friends jubilantly enjoying dinner at an AppleBee's.

Bro 1:
Hi Sarah!
Hey!  It's my favorite 2 for 20 club (spoken like she doesn't say that to all the 2 for 20 clubs.)  Back for new Bourbon St. entrees?
Obvious noob:
Bourbon St?
I see we have a new member.
Sarah looks around to make sure everyone is waiting for the punchline with bated breath and also to fill the entire 30 second spot.
(leaning in) Welcome to the club.

Shot cuts back to friends who are both awwing at said punch line and laughing uncontrollably.  
Bourbon St. entrees fall delicately onto plate as unidentified spices cascade downward from an unknown, possibly heavenly source.  Elsewhere, a nacho pulls taffy-like cheese, and tongs flip a succulent sirloin.  
Emphasis should be put on how late the restaurant is open in case you are super baked and want to tackle 2 entrees for $20 at 11:47PM.
And Scene.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blog Hype

My fictitious agent, that only exists for the purposes of this post, has advised me to start hyping things up a bit around here to build buzz.  He wanted me to get some billboards but those are pretty expensive, so I've just been ripping down other people's and writing my blog ads in sharpie.  It's in the corner.  If you look really hard next time you drive by... you'll probably drive into a telephone pole or something, so I guess don't do that.  Let's move on. 

He also said to get someone famous to give my blog some shout outs.  Unfortunately 50 Cent won't return any of my calls.  Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek Generations) was available but wouldn't come in costume, so what's the point? amirite?

Lastly he said to announce my really good posts ahead of time to build suspense and momentum.  So I want to let you all know that tomorrow's post will be REALLY good.  Today's is crap, but tomorrows... Whoahohoh!  That one will be a doozie.  See you then.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Music To Make Write To Guest Starring Lydia Kang

For this week's selection process I decided to go a different route.  Like always it is always based on looks, but this time I attached all of the likely candidates' profile pictures to bowling pins.  The best looking people got their bowling pins closest to the corners by the bumpers (since those are pretty much all I hit ever.)  After about 8 tries Lydia is our lucky participant.  Here are her picks:

1) Waiting for the End, Linkin Park
I'm really, REALLY late to the Linkin Park thing. This song is heavily played at my house right now. I often touch on mortality in my writing (who doesn't, right?) and this recurrent theme in LP lyrics appeals to me. There is one line in this song that kills me, when Chester says, "I know what it feels to lie." My MC tackles this exact sentiment in my current WIP.  Also, the video is so mesmerizing. They look like constellations gone wrong. Mr Hahn makes cool vids.

2) Never say Never, the Fray
A great song about the challenges of a relationship. It's perfect for my MC and her love interest. I love Isaac Slade's falsetto and the apocalyptic video.

3) I'm Yours, Jason Mraz.
This one has nothing to do with characters in my writing, per se, but I first listened to this song the same time I started my very first (and very shelved) novel. Every time I hear it, I'm transported back to the magic of creating my first world. And the video makes me want to go to Hawaii. Like, now.

It was so hard to pick just three! Thanks Chris for letting me spill out a bit of my musical writing mojo for all to see. Nebraskans rock.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Odds n' EndZ

Arlee Bird, Jen, and Alex are hosting the A-Z blogfest beginning in April.  The idea is to go through the alphabet everyday but Sundays through the month of April.  I'm still mulling over whether I know the alphabet well enough to contribute.   Jeffrey Beesler had this post about why he is doing it. 

This weekend I traveled to the middle of Kansas to my wife's family farm and went to my first ever farm auction.  It was fun, and I got something worth $350 for $100 cheaper, but it was kind of scary having 4 farmers speed talking at you.  TwofiftytwoseventyfivetwofiftycanIgettwoseventyfive?

I also watched the last KSU basketball game of the season.  Jacob Pullen set the all time scoring record for KSU and scored 35pts in the game.  Wisconsin still won by 5.

Now on to my second favorite team (whoever is playing KU.)

Come back tomorrow for MTMWT with Lydia Kang.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MTMWT Guest Staring Janet Sumner Johnson

I have a confession to make.  Last week, when I told you I had supercomputers deciding who did MTMWT based on looks... That might not have been 100% true.  Oh don't get me wrong!  It's still based on looks, but more along the lines of me throwing darts at your pictures with the more beautiful people lower on the wall where my sissy throws are more likely to land.  The super computers are dedicated to making lolcatz!  Glad we could clear that up.  This week my victim of the darts is Janet Sumner Johnson.

When Chris asked me to submit a guest post for his Music to Make Write to series, my gut reaction was to thank him profusely, but politely decline. Why, you ask? Because I'm a silent writer. I can't listen to music when I write.

I'll give you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor.

Fortunately, I looked at his request a little more closely, and realized he didn't ask "What do you listen to when you write?" He said "pick 1-3 songs that are important to your writing."

Phew! That I can do.

But I'm only choosing one since I'm a short and sweet kinda gal.

One song that never fails to make me wish I were sitting in front of the computer working on my WIP is Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten." She may be talking about life, but to me, I see the possibilities of worlds I can create through my writing when I hear it . . . 

I'm just beginning, pen's in my hand, ending unplanned.

Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window, let the sun illuminate the words that you cannot find.

Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost taste it . . .

The possibilities are why I love writing. And the imagery Ms. Bedingfield evokes in my mind, is why I love this song. It reminds me why I keep going despite how hard the whole process can be.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chris Phillips - Bracketologist

So for today, let's take a look at those brackets.  Mostly it's just prayers, luck, and going with what you know, but there are some tricks to it. I mostly throw wet linguine noodles at a wall and whichever number it looks closest to is the seed I pick. 

Start with the play in games.  The 16 seeds are meaningless, just eeney-meenie-miny-moe that stuff right there.  I went with Clemson in the 12 play-in, because they've seen better competition.  VCU is decent team and I've seen them win a grinder on the road, which USC can't do, so go with VCU there in the 11's play-in.  

Now pick the 1 seeds.  No 1 seeds have EVER lost to a 16 and never ever will ever.  So pencil that in right now.  No now!  K?  Now 90% of the time the 1's make the sweet 16 too, so you can probably pencil that in. 

For the 8/9's I went with: Mason, UNLV, Tennessee, and Butler.

The key for this bracket is to pick about 7-10 upsets in the first 2 rounds.  Teams are CLOSE this year and anyone can really beat anyone (unless you're a 16 seed.)  Now don't go crazy.  The 1's and 2's should win in the first round.  

Hot teams: (Washington, KU, Connecticut (but they are exhausted too, I have them losing 2nd round) Florida, Temple, Duke)

Teams wheezing to the finish line:  North Carolina, Texas, Mizzou, Villanova

Upset specials: BYU to Wofford, Kansas State to Utah St (hurts to type) Cincy over Conn. in the 2nd round, Temple over San Diego St. in 2nd round, Belmont over Wisconsin wouldn't be unreasonable either.

Remember to have fun, have low expectations for your brackets, and expect some upsets.  Good luck!  Come back tomorrow for MTMWT with Janet Sumner Johnson!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Music To Make Write To

Many of you often email me or throw bricks through my window with notes asking, "Chris, how do you pick people for MTMWT?"  There is actually a sliding scale based on looks that I use to pick all of my guest posts.  I have a basement full of computers dedicated to matching your profile picture against those of hollywood's elite.  That is why Tracy got to go first.  I will continue this complicated process (that in no way resembles blindfolding myself and pointing at my list of blogs I follow) until people contact me and ask to do it.  This week the computers have selected E.J. Wesley.  After rebooting the computers several times they were still picking him, so what the hey?  Take er' away, E.J.

1. Concerning Hobbits - Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack

Cinema is a big inspiration for my writing.  I really get  swept up in the emotion of the scenes, and the best movies really spur my creativity.  Not surprisingly, I love to write while listening to movie scores.  I can hear just a few notes of the great scores and immediately go to the scene in my mind.  Wether it be the thrill of an epic battle, or the peace of simple times in a beautiful place, being able to conjure that emotion with only a song is really key for me being able to write daily.  Even when I'm not feeling inspired.

I think it's for that reason I love the Lord of the Rings soundtracks.  (For all 3 movies.)  There is a theme for every scene and character, and it was such a sweeping/epic set of films that there is truly something for every writing mood.  I chose Concerning Hobbits specifically because it makes my mind relax and forces me to reflect on my own basic human happiness, something I can use to create believable characters in my own writing.

2.  The Funeral - Band of Horses

I personally find that one of the most difficult emotions to accurately convey in words is sadness or grief.  As writers, I think we often try to express it through tears, which can be overly simplistic in my opinion.  Perhaps it's so hard because it's such a unique concept?  No two people express loss the same way.  Some internalize and shut down.  Some lash out.  I'm not necessarily meaning just the kind grief that comes with death, either.  It could be the end of a relationship, the loss of some deeply ingrained belief, or maybe just the void that often comes with change.  

That's the beauty of this song.  I think it captures the essence of what it means to lose.  From the haunting lyrics, to the driving guitar, it really makes you feel it all.  (In a tidy 5:22 seconds to boot!)  Challenge: Play this song to any sad scene in your story and see if it moves you to further explore.  I bet it will.

3. June Hymn - The Decemberists

From a creative standpoint, I'm incredibly influenced by weather and seasons.  Snow, rain, and warm sunshine really make my mind sing, and all in very different ways.  That's probably why I love the change of the seasons so much; it means my mood, and thus my writing, is going to experience a sort of metamorphosis as well.  Incidentally, South Texas (where I now live) isn't the ideal place for a person of my persuasion.  We have two seasons: hot and freaking hot.  At any rate, I've learned to use music to kind of force a seasonal change in my mind when I can't get it the old fashioned way.  This song really takes me to that subtle shift from spring to summer.  So much of the Decemberists' music is evocative in that way.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oddz N' Endzzzzz

Sup, my beautiful people?

Go here and find the "query to the call" link at the bottom. You can download a free .pdf e-book with a wealth of knowledge about how to query.

If you want to see pretty people, go here.  Apparently it's supposed to inspire us to write our main characters (pffftt) *Bro Public Service Announcement*  *Bros, immediately scroll down 5/7 of the page to avoid all the shirtless dudes and go straight for the chicks.*

The QQQE has a good series on research starting up.   The first post is on my research favorite, wiki.

Come back tomorrow for E.J. Wesley who will be joining us for Music To Make Write To.

I will be out of town for most of the week catching basketball games in KC and visiting family, so Tuesday and Friday should be my only other posts this week, with Tuesday's being more likely than Friday's.  Holla back, shorty's.  woot.  woot.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Music to Make Write To Guest Starring Elena

Welcome to another edition of MTMWT.  This week we have Elena 
Solodow at Ye Olde Blog to share some of her favorite writing tunes.

1. Something Dark Is Coming from Battlestar Galactica soundtrack,
composed by Bear McCreary

My Blurb: I'm a huge score fan, and this is by far one of the most
evocative pieces I've ever listened to. Usually when a song "hits" me,
it comes with a particular scene(s) in mind, images that come to me
every time I listen to it. This combines my love for tender, melodic
pieces with more bass-heavy songs. I love a good beat. What more could 
you ask for? I just started the novel that pairs with this.
2. Sabotage by The Beastie Boys

My Blurb: "Hell yeah!", is all I can say. This song screams car chases
and shouting matches. If you ever pass me on the highway blasting this
to the maximum my Honda speakers will allow, you know I'll be going at
least 80 mph. I've also paired this with the novel I recently started.
It has such a great frenzy to it.
3. Venus in Furs by Velvet Underground

My Blurb: This song is just weird. I love the twang of the guitar, the
monotone pitch of the lead singer. I see dystopia in this song. People
staring off into space. Like the other two, this is on my playlist for
the current WiP.
Thanks for allowing me to do this, Chris. It was fun!