Friday, March 25, 2011

Music to My Ears with Guest Blogger: Cynthia Vespia

The Book Boost welcomes author Cynthia Vespia to the blog today!

Here's what she had to say...

Finding the Muse in Music

Recently, master movie maker Quentin Tarantino was the recipient of the Music + Movie Award during the 16th annual Critics Choice Awards telecast. Tarantino was the first recipient of the award and was honored for the exceptional way he blends music and movies together to deliver maximum impact. He noted that he finds the personality of the piece by the music, that it is the rhythm of the film. Tarantino recalled when he was just an aspiring filmmaker how he would listen to songs in his bedroom and imagine full scenes playing out in his mind's eye.

Music is a very powerful tool. It can evoke a wide range of emotions. We all have special memories linked to specific songs that are triggered the moment we hear the first few tones. Who among us hasn't shared a song between lovers that forever becomes “our song?”

Music is an art form, as is storytelling. Whether on the big screen or in the written word it is only natural that music and storytelling would come together. Music can quell the voices or spur them on. The tempo alone energizes me and makes my fingers fly across the keyboard. I can liken it to putting on my favorite rock music while working out in the gym. If I feel sluggish the music picks me up and takes me to a different level.

For me, music is therapy. It has helped me through difficult times and heightened the enjoyment of others. I've used music in the past during my writing to keep me in the zone, to limit distractions, and to evoke emotion for a specific scene. I wrote almost an entire novel to the soundtrack from A Beautiful Mind. The haunting melodies from Lord of the Rings and Basil Poledouris' Conan soundtrack emphasized the dark, brooding worlds in my fantasy series Demon Hunter.

I find I stick more to soundtracks when writing. Lyrics throw me off my game. But if you blend the two art forms together, the way Quentin Tarantino does, you can create maximum impact...if at least for yourself. The reader never has to know that you wrote your latest blockbuster to the tune of Lady Gaga. It can be your little secret as long as it helps you creatively.

Does the genre of song have to match the genre of your novel? You tell me. My paranormal thriller Life, Death, and Back though riddled with ghosts and the afterlife was penned as love ballads intertwined with 80's hair metal played softly in the background. The novels I write are eclectic and thus the music tends to follow. This rock chick isn't afraid to admit to loving the sounds of smooth jazz and sultry blues riffs. If I wasn't called to be a writer I would've been a musician. To me music is soul food and the great ones will never die. As long as you are inspired by your song of choice then slip on a pair of headphones, crank the dial, and mesh the worlds of music and writing together to birth a novel that pours off the page in rich emotion.

A Note from the Book Boost: I'm a big Tarantino fan and I give him huge props for the work he's done with music in movies. Great choice for you post today Cynthia. Thanks for joining us. Please tell us more about your book!


Life goes by in a blink.

One moment can change everything.

For most, death is the eternal end.

Bryan Caleb has just died. Now, as he struggles to come to terms with his own mortality Bryan must find the compassion within himself to help guide Lisa Zane, an emotionally and spiritually drained young girl, through her troubled life to find her purpose.

For it is only with Lisa's help that Bryan can rescue his very own son from the life of crime he has fallen into before Kriticos Caleb's fate mirrors his father' death.


It was eighteen years to the day. Approximately one hour to the time, Bryan Adam Caleb had passed away. His sudden resurgence left him in a panic. Six feet deep within the bowels of the earth, Bryan stirred and came awake. Gasping, his chortled screams muffled by the lined pine box that had been chosen for his eternal resting place.

Sightless in the dark, he clawed at the box top, ripping and striking until finally he burst through. The thick mounds of dirt that covered the casket fell all around him. The soil tumbled through his matted hair; fell across his shoulders, into his mouth and in his eyes. Feeling as though locked in a vertical tunnel, he moved through it like a rat in a sewer, anxious to see the light of day.

When he finally broke the surface, he was chagrined to find the moon shone down on him from the midnight sky. Its yellow hues danced off the surroundings, and impaired Bryan's sight further.

He fell to his back and covered his reborn-eyes against the earthly world. Eighteen years had passed since the day the auto accident had taken his life. Since that time he had come to know another way of life, an ethereal life. Now, catapulted back into the realm of the living, what he wanted, needed to know, was why?

Slowly, guttural screams crept into his throat and then echoed deep into the night. He wailed as though he were a newborn child brought to life for the first time, when indeed it seemed to be his second passage at life.

Sustaining his shouting, he finally uncovered his face and looked with his new eyes. What he saw were markers, dozens of them laid out in neat little rows down across a grassy null. He sat up and looked towards the front of the hole he just erupted from. Indeed, standing straight, tall, and bearing his name was his own marker.

Bryan quickly pulled his legs up from the hole and crawled over to look in. Down past the darkness he saw the casket, torn asunder by his emergence. His lips parted in awe and his breathing became rapid.


He had not taken an actual breath in such a long time. The crisp night air seemed to burn his lungs with each inhalation. He was alive.

Bryan's world spun out of control. Life and death were becoming a shared unity with one seeming to cancel out the other. He didn't know which side of the spectrum he was labeled.

So many years ago, he was killed; his life extinguished. Then, he was able to walk the grounds of Earth only in spiritual form, forsaken of any sensory details. Now, he felt the ragged grass beneath his fingers as he perched over his plot. He smelled the cold, musty soil and the stale odor of long lasting death emitting from the bowels within.

Concentrating now, he was able to visualize more clearly and took in the meanings behind what he saw, what he felt. There was no body in the open grave beneath him. There was no indication only his soul had come awake, as it had upon the brutal impact of his initial death.

As he looked over his hands and arms, he saw no decay, no time worn distinctions that any human body would have undergone after so long in burial. He was flesh and blood with muscles and fibers, skin, and sinew: all intact.

Frightened, he scrambled back from his grave, only to back into another. He bumped the large stone and it startled him. Looking around at the dozens of plots, he sensed fear, an all-encompassing fear he never knew before.

Once he had felt there had been no other place safer than a cemetery with its calm and simple solitude, but if he were to once again rise from his final resting place, what was to say that at any minute the rest of the bodies laid out wouldn't do the same?

He forced himself to his feet and ran as fast as he could. His feet pounded the ground beneath him with each step, and seemed to echo at the back of his skull.

“Where are you going?”

For a moment, Bryan thought the voice came from his own subconscious. He truly did not know where he was going, just he needed to get away quickly, but the voice had lingered too long on the night air just by Bryan’s ear. It caught him by surprise and tripped him up.

He came down hard upon the cemetery floor, feeling the impact of the hit. A wandering soul would feel no pain, but Bryan’s own pain sensors were fully active as he hit the ground. He rolled to his back. His eyes searched through the blackened night for the speaker.

He didn't have far to search. Standing over him, clad in a white tunic, his straight blonde locks framing his stone jaw, was Charlie: Bryan's own guardian when he had been alive. The angel who helped guide him through his passing and the dubious tasks that had come with it.

Charlie helped Bryan accept his fate, by making him help another who was in distress and showing him what it meant to be a guardian in his own right. It had cleared his way of thinking, and Brian had no longer felt cheated of his life. Helping the young girl, Lisa, out of her turmoil had been an awakening for Bryan in his death, as much as it was for Lisa in her life.

It had been many years since Lisa needed Bryan's guidance. She reached a straight and narrow path, leaving her self-destruction behind her.

Bryan had become mostly recluse, retired in his efforts, in his spiritual guardianship. He easily could sense this new state of affairs had nothing to do with that.

As though reading his thoughts, Charlie extended a hand and said, “Come, I will enlighten you to your new affairs.”

Want More Cynthia?

Cynthia is the author of character driven suspense fiction which she refers to as "Real life situations that you could find yourself in but hope to God you never do." She is a certified personal trainer and former fitness competitor who enjoys reading, movies that involve a strong plot/characters, and keeping active through various forms of martial arts and outdoor activities.

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