10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … This marks the final day of my ten-day countdown to the release of my novella Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree. Tomorrow. Tomorrow? Yikes! Tomorrow! You can read more about #HolidayTreeNovella at the bottom of this post, but today I’m taking you taking you on a brief tour of my writing playlist because, why not? Because music, poetry, and prose are closely related and forever intertwined.
In my younger years, meaning in the days before children, post-grad studies and, eventually, illness and disability, I was a musician. I played several instruments including woodwinds, guitar, bass guitar, and piano. That said, I’m a music junkie. My tastes are diverse to say the least, and I almost always have my earbuds in whenever I’m writing.
Yes, I have a writing playlist on YouTube, a decent-sized one at 432 songs and counting, and it’s one that I frequently listen to via my Chrome browser (Hint: I use an ad blocker so it flows uninterrupted – cheater, cheater, yes, I know). I also use Pandora from time to time, but I keep getting blasted with music I simply don’t care for, so I never stay long. And, yes, before you ask, I sometimes use Spotify, but they often don’t have the songs or artists I’m looking for.
Why do I have a playlist and, more importantly, why do I have it set to public? I know no better way to get to know someone, from a distance, than accessing the music they listen to regularly.
So if you wish to get to know me as a writer, aside from my blog, this is the quickest means.
Here are the newest additions to my playlist (Note: this might change at any point because I add songs almost daily anymore).
- Godsmack “Under Your Scars” (2018) Ah, Godsmack. I believe I have everything they’ve released as a group and everything their lead singer, Sully Erna, has released as well. This song, however, rings very true to me.
- Disturbed “Stronger on Your own” (2018) Just found this one today (11/1), so bear with me.
- Sick Puppies “Going Down” (2009) It’s a good song about overcoming odds, and I’m all about fighting for the underdog when warranted.
- Delta Rae “Hands Dirty” (2018) Resistor music. Rally music. A resistance anthem. Delta Rae is a Southern Gothic Advocate band, enough said.
- Staind “Epiphany” (2006) A very emotional song. I love it so.
- Three Days Grace “The Mountain” (2018) My Appalachian Elementals series is set on a mountain – that’s all you need to know. (I also really like Three Days Grace so this was a natural choice.)
- The Steeldrivers “Drinkin’ Alone” (2016) Aw, come on. This is great beer-drinking Bluegrass. I’m Appalachian. Liking Bluegrass is a requirement. (It’s somewhere in the rulebook, I think.)
- Shinedown “Monsters” (2018) This is one of my favorite bands. Seriously, Shinedown rocks.
- Depeche Mode “Precious” (2005) Yes, Depeche Mode is very 80s, but I was a teen in the 80s, so…. Actually, the lyrics to this song are very powerful, and it was released in 2005 so it’s not that old after all.
- Shinedown “Devour” (2009) This is the Shinedown I first met, actually through my daughter. Yeah, I still like them, a lot.
Hmm, these first ten songs didn’t really do much for showing the diversity in my musical choices, so here’s ten more. (Note: WordPress wouldn’t allow me to pick up where I left off, so the numbering starts over. Add ten to each one, and you’ll get there.)
- Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal” (2008) This is but isn’t a holiday season song. I sometimes pass it up, but I do enjoy the harmonies. And, no, the Pentatonix rendition isn’t better.
- Godsmack “Serenity” (2009) Well, hmm. Godsmack again. Have you noticed that I lean toward their softer songs? I do, somewhat, but I also appreciate their heavier material as well. (FYI, I played bass guitar in an 80s all-female hair band. Don’t worry. You never ever heard of us.)
- Elle King “Shame” (2018) I adore Elle King! She’s hot musically and… (clears throat). I love her, um, attitude.
- The Jompsom Brothers “On the Run” (2009) Chris Stapleton has an unmistakable voice.
- Elle King “Playing for Keeps” (2012) *minor swoon*
- Larkin Poe “Look Away” (2017) These two are awesome! They deserve fame they’re not receiving.
- Old Crow Medicine Show “Tennessee Pusher” (2010) They’ve performed locally, so I had to check them out. Guess what? They’re awesome! This song will be on the Keeping House playlist, BTW.
- Colter Wall “Kate McCannon” (2017) Outlaw country. My youngest son first alerted me to this artist.
- The White Buffalo and the Forest Rangers “Come Join the Murder” (2015) another song I stumbled across and love. Yes, I know it was popularized by the series Sons of Anarchy, but I never watched it, so…
- The Steeldrivers “Hear the Willow Cry” (2013) I love me some Steeldrivers, Chris Stapleton or not. They’re also the favorite band of one of my characters in the Appalachian Elementals series.
There you go, twenty songs from my playlist. Again, this isn’t by any means a full representation of my musical tastes. Oh no, I’ve groups like Omnia, Tears for Fears, Apocalyptica, Poets of the Fall, Panic! at the Disco, Brown Bird, Crooked Still, and a myriad of other artists.
Like in writing, if we stay trapped in one genre, we’re losing out on a lot of things.
A dozen handmade holiday ornaments, that’s all, but it might be an impossible task.
Centenary Rhodes and her mother are at constant odds. It’s one of the many reasons Cent left home when she was eighteen. Mama’s difficult for anyone to manage, but now that Cent’s back home, she has to try. Mama, however, won’t acknowledge who Cent’s become, even though she’s repeatedly been shown the truth.
It’ll take more than popcorn strings and paper snowflakes to heal the rift that’s formed between Cent and Mama. It’s going to take bushels of patience, heaps of magic, and assistance from everyone on both sides of Embreeville Mountain to reset the Balance between them.
But with Yule and Christmas just around the corner, it might already be too late.
Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree is available tomorrow in both print and ebook formats.
Novella cover by Jeanne G’Fellers