Sunday, September 23, 2012

Top 5 Writing Soundtracks

Music is a powerful tool for writing. It's so helpful in setting the mood, getting your brain juices flowing, and drowning out any distracting background noise. It especially helps me tap into emotions I need for a scene. In my years of writing, I've found certain types of music to be more inspiring than others. For example, music with lyrics is more distracting than helpful. The best stuff I've found is film scores, but only scores that aren't too iconic or closely associated with a film. For example, I could never write to the Star Wars or the Lord of the Rings soundtracks; I'd just see scenes from the movie in my head the whole time. Others I've tried but had to pass on were the Batman scores and Pirates of the Caribbean. 

My top 5 writing soundtracks are from films I'm less familiar with, or have only seen maybe once. I have to be able to disassociate the music with the story it's from, so I can adapt it to my own work. Sometimes, when I go back and read stuff I wrote, I can hear the music I listened to playing in my head--pretty awesome! Makes me feel like I'm reading a movie script. =)

1. Edward Scissorhands (quirky and whimsical)

2. Pearl Harbor (this is my favorite; I wrote my entire first novel to this one--so emotional and versatile!)

3. Requiem for a Dream (creepy and intense)

4. Forrest Gump (a little slower, very atmospheric)

5. Braveheart (epic and energetic)

Other than these, almost everything by Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, or Danny Elfman is great writing music. I really like John Williams, but most of his scores are too iconic. But c'mon--you can't beat the Jurassic Park theme song! Ah, I can hear it now...

PS. The best way I've found to listen to music is through Pandora; I just put in these composers or films, and voila! An entire station of both that music and songs similar to it. This helps break up the monotony of listening to one score over and over again, and also helps me discover new great writing music.

I'm always on the prowl for new writing music. In the comments, let me know if you write to music, and if so, what your favorites are! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Snapshots from Publication Week!

It's been a whirlwind of a week for me! Origin hit stores on September 4th (I can finally say that in the past tense!) and so many amazing things have happened since! I want to share some snapshots of my publication week with you.

1. Origin Release Party
The Origin Midnight Release Party was a blast! It took place at [ash-ling] Booksellers in downtown Toccoa, Ga (where I live--and have lived for my entire life). It was so special to celebrate the launch of my first book with friends, teachers, librarians, babysitters, and family who have known me for my entire life, as well as new friends I've only known a short while. Here are some pics from that amazingly fun night!

The owner of the bookstore made this exact replication of Pia's birthday cake, complete with Skittles and orchids! And it was delishiusssss.

My husband helped me cut out this life-size Pia and everyone got their pictures taken with it throughout the party (and the braver party goers slapped on some Ai'oan facepaint!)

Ash-ling Booksellers decorated their windows with tropical plants and we played jungle drum music--awesome!!

We did a mini-version of the Origin Olympics. Everyone divided into teams and competed with scavenger hunts, trivia, and book poetry! The winner of the night was Team Anaconda, and they each got a Origin bookmark as a prize.

 I have to thank YA authors Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly) and Sarah Maas (Throne of Glass) for their wonderful suggestion of using a copy of Origin as my guest book! So now I have my own copy filled with notes from everyone who came to the launch. So special!!

The team at Ash-ling are super savvy! They put on a fantastic party that I will always remember as the perfect start of my career as an author. I'm so grateful to them for their hard work and enthusiasm! If you want to order a signed copy of Origin, contact them through their Facebook page--right now they're the only store able to stock and ship signed copies.  

2. Barnes & Noble
I found out that Origin was both a Barnes & Noble Bookseller's Pick and a Best Book of the Month! My jaw dropped at both of these incredible honors--I couldn't believe it! I went into my local B&N (and by local, I mean it's a 50 minute drive away--I'm a country girl, y'all) on the 4th to peek at it on shelves. When I walked through those big glass doors, my stomach was fluttering so much I nearly turned around and left! All my life I'd been walking into B&N's dreaming of seeing my book inside--and that dream finally came true! I rode up the escalator, intending to make for the YA section to hunt for it, but as I stepped off I saw it! Right next to Elizabeth George and James Patterson! I almost toppled right down that escalator. (PS. note to authors--B&N loves for authors to sign their stock, and if you do, they'll likely move it to the front of the store w/those fancy "autographed copy" stickers).

3. Apple iBookstore
B&N wasn't the only major bookseller to highlight Origin--Apple also chose it as one of their Books of the Month! Which meant if you went to the iBookstore in iTunes, you'd see this! I was just floored.

I had the privilege of attending the Southern Independent Bookseller Association's annual trade show in Naples, FL this past weekend, where I signed copies of Origin, met a lot of fantastic bookstore owners, and some very cool authors! On Friday I spoke on a YA panel with Jackson Pearce, Gigi Amateau, and Kat Zhang--definitely a highlight of my week! What talented authoresses these gals are, and you guys should check out all their amazing books!

5. Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, USA Today chose Origin as one of their top recommended weekend reads--along with books by Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz! My eyes are still popping from this one!

6. Completely unrelated to Origin, I began watching Dr. Who this week, after hearing so many people rave about it for years--including my mom, who grew up watching it. So when I saw it on Netflix, I shrugged and muttered to myself, "Oh, all right. I'll see what the fuss is about, I suppose..." Anyway, suffice to say, I'm now a bonafide Whovian. There's no going back (I'm currently on season 4). 

On top of everything else, I've really enjoyed seeing the photos people send me when they buy my book, hearing about the random places Origin has turned up, and most of all, dwelling on the euphoric realization that dreams come true, and mine just has. And as a country gal who had zero connections, zero publishing credits, and zero experience--well, if I could do it, anyone can. So all you aspiring writers dreaming of your own publication week, let me tell you--it's totally, completely, and absolutely possible. Keep writing, keep querying, keep dreaming--because these things do happen!

So as you can see, I've been incredibly busy these past few days! I can't even describe how surreal and wonderful this week has been--and considering my line of work, that's saying something. It's truly a dream come true in every way! And because I'm just so overwhelmed with good feelings, I'm going to give you guys a chance to win a signed, finished copy of Origin! And I'll probably throw in some swag too, so enter below for your chance to win! =)


North America only
a Rafflecopter giveaway