Filtering by Tag: monday mixtape

Monday Mixtape: Novelin' Music

Music is an integral part of my writing process. For me, it's very much the first stages of character development. I'll hear a song and go, "Oh, this song is totally so-and-so," or "That song is perfect for the scene where this thing happens." I'm even known to do this for my writing lobster's novels.

While plotting, I always compile a playlist of songs that strike something in me about the story. Usually, the playlist gets absurdly long--we're talking 75-100 songs sometimes.

As the story comes more into focus, as I get to know the characters better, the playlist shrinks. I listen to these playlists on loop while I write, and for months and months after I finish a draft, every time I hear a song that had been on a playlist, I go right back to that story.

I'm currently almost done with the third book in my first series, and its playlist sits at about twenty songs. Each one represents something about the story, or a piece of a character, and they immediately put me into the story.

I decided to share a few of these songs with you guys today.

First up, "Till the Casket Drops" by ZZ Ward:

"Show Me Your Fangs" by Matt Nathanson:

"I Really Like You" by Carly Rae Jepsen:

So, there ya have it. The soundtrack of random that is on repeat in my head right now!

What about ya'll? Do you use music playlists as you write? What kind of music do you listen to? Any recommendations? I'm always on the lookout for new music!

Monday Mixtape: Whitney Houston

Do any of you remember the first time you heard Whitney Houston sing?

If you're like me, this is it:

I loved belting out this song when I was a kid, then as I grew up, I learned to appreciate how well-written the song was and how powerful the voice behind it was.

It broke my heart when I found out Whitney passed away. I was rooting for her to conquer her demons, and it is just so, so sad that she's gone. So, in memory of the woman with the spectacular voice and bright smile, here are a couple more of her songs:

And, a tearful, heartfelt tribute from LeAnn Rimes:

Thank you, Whitney, for sharing your gift with the world.

Mixtape Monday - The First Album I Ever Owned

So, I was listening to music this morning as I worked on my (boring) homework and a song came on. It was a song I hadn't heard in a while and had forgotten about. Immediately, I started singing along. I still knew every word. I still loved this song. What song, you ask?

This one:

Do any of you remember Expose`? I was a kid when they were really popular, but I vividly remember receiving the cassette tape for Christmas. Yes, cassette tape! It was the first album I'd ever owned. Before that, all my songs were recorded off the radio. Anyone remember doing that?

Anyway, I loved that tape. It had so many great songs on it, a good portion of which were written by the amazing Diane Warren. Like this one:

And this one:

Just listening to these takes me back to when I was a kid, alone in my room, blaring these songs and singing like I knew what they were about. They don't really make music like this anymore, do they?

So, what about you? Do you remember these songs? Cassette tapes? What was the first album YOU owned?

Monday Mixtape - Sugarland

I just wanted to stop in and let everyone know that, yes, I'm still alive. Just buried under a mountain of homework -- and that's NOT an exaggeration!

And, since it's Monday, and I haven't done this in a while, here's some music for you. Sugarland, because on July 9th, I'll be seeing them in concert!

This is my favorite Sugarland song. The lyrics are honest and beautiful and uplifting. And I really hope they perform this when I see them live next weekend!

Jennifer Nettles has a voice tailor-made for ballads. Like this one:

And this one:

And to end on a more upbeat, positive note:

Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday Mixtape - Mariah Carey

So I missed last week's Mixtape on account of baking hundreds of cupcakes. A pretty good excuse, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, I was showering this morning, listening to my iPhone, and Mariah Carey came on. I found myself singing along to every word (badly, I might add) and I thought, "What better person to devote a Mixtape to?"

I've loved MC for years. And years and years. Ever since I was about 9. My best friend at the time would swear that Paula Abdul was better. I disagreed. I still disagree.

One of my favorite things about Mariah is that she writes all her own songs. I've talked about my love of lyrics before, and how much I love a good songwriter. Well, Mariah is among the best. At least in my opinion

I'm not the biggest fan of her new music, but the old stuff? Amazing.

Anyway, this is the song that reminded me of my love for this artist:

This is an old favorite:

This song was my anthem throughout my teen angst years. Favorite lyric: "She dreams of all that she can never be/She wades in insecurity."

And there you have it. I take no shame in crediting Mariah Carey for getting me interested in writing. Daydream was the first CD I ever owned and, after reading the liner notes, it hit me: people WRITE this stuff. The songs I sing along to, the books I read...someone actually WROTE them. I don't know why it took so long for me to realize this, but it changed my whole life from that point on.

So, what about you? Who are some of your inspirations?

Monday Mixtape: Adele

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good singer. I love listening in awe, wishing like hell I could sing half as well as they do. I love closing my eyes and letting their voices wash over me. I love the pure, God given talent spewing from their throats. I love it.

Today's singer is a recent discovery. I've been hearing this first song everywhere, so I decided to pick up her cd and give it a listen. And let me tell you, it's amazing. Go buy it. Now!

This next one is my favorite off the cd right now:

How awesome is that? Gorgeous and chilling, right?

Alrighty. I'm off to finish up The Odyssey and take a stab at the next chapter of my WiP. Happy Monday, everyone!

It's Monday, Folks

I can't believe I failed at the first challenge of Rachael's Crusade. I am so ashamed!

But in all has been chaotic. It seems that in the five or so years that I was out of school, I've developed a mild case of ADD. I've got two mid-terms tomorrow that I need to study for and I absolutely cannot focus to save my life. It's kind of ridiculous, really. I'll crack open the books or pull out my notes and my mind wanders. Or, worse yet, I'll open my computer and play around on the internet for hours at a time. Isn't that ridiculous? I blame my job. I have to do so many things at one time there that I'm just used to multi-tasking. It's impossible for me to focus on one thing.

And I think this is a huge problem with my writing life, too. I'm one of those people who has like ten tabs open in Firefox and when I hit a bump in the writing road, I pull them up and browse aimlessly. This lack of focus, of pure dedication, is gonna be the end of me. You just wait and see.

How about you? Am I the only one with this issue? How do you work past it?

Today is Monday, which means I'm going to share some music. But since I'm short on time (and apparently attention span), I'm just posting one song. Lady GaGa's new one. Is it just me, or does this song totally sound like Madonna's "Express Yourself"?

Monday Mixtape - The Lazy Edition

Why hello, Monday. Have I told you just how much I hate you? Well I do. Go away.


Sorry about that. I'm looking down the barrel of a pretty long week and since Monday is the start of it, well...I've got feelings. Angry feelings. It's not Monday's fault, really. But there you have it.

And now that I've revealed just how crazy I is everyone else today? I'm nearing 200 followers, which seriously blows my mind. Thanks, guys! You sure know how to make a girl feel special!

Onto this week's Mixtape. I'm only posting one song today, as I'm on my way out the door. But it's a good one, I swear.

I resisted Pink for the longest time. Said she was overrated. Annoying. Blablahblah. But the truth is, she's pretty bad-ass. And I adore this song. Like, a lot.

Alright. I should get a move on. I've got about an hour of public transportation while reading The Odyssey ahead of me. This might call for some Mt Dew...

Monday Mixtape - So...Very...Random

Ahh, Monday. How did you get here so fast? Am I the only one who can't believe it's already February? Where does the time go?

Did everyone watch the Superbowl yesterday? I have to admit, it was on but I definitely wasn't watching it. Guess what I was doing instead? No, not writing (bad Meika). I was playing with my brand spanking new iPhone!

*cue girlish squeals and hand clapping*

I've lusted after the iPhone for soooo long. And then Dana got one a few months ago, which only made me want it more. Well, yesterday I finally got one. And I'm super excited and slightly obsessed. Now, if only I could figure out how to blog from the thing, we'd be all set...

Anyway, today's Mixtape is full of randomness. It's just the kind of mood I'm in.

Do any of you watch Glee? I have no problem admitting that I'm a big ole Gleek. In fact, I couldn't wait for the Superbowl to get over last night so I could watch it. Anyway, Gwyneth Paltrow just did a guest appearance on the show a couple months ago, and she sang this:

How great is she?

I feel like I should apologize in advance for this next video. My mythology professor had us watch this in class last week (I'm like 90% sure it has nothing to do with Mythology,, I was amused). Prepare yourselves for some creepy, scaly manfish:

(I'm so ashamed...)

Hmm...what can I do to make up for that lost minute and a half of your lives? How about some Jason Mraz? I love the simplicity of this song. It's just...ahh.

Favorite line: "And it takes no time to fall in love/But it takes you years to know what love is."

I really, truly, sincerely hope you forgive me for sharing Old's been stuck in my head for days!

Anyway, have a great Monday. I'm off to play with my new toy...and maybe finish chapter 18...

Monday Mixtape - Honorable Mentions

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope the weekend was long and relaxing for you guys. Mine, well...not so much! But I'll survive!

I had a blast participating in the Page 99 Blogfest -- if you didn't check out everyone's pages, do it! It was fun and interesting and educational. Thanks to everyone who swung by to read my page and for all your lovely comments. Tierney isn't as heartless and selfish as she comes off on that page, I swear!

Anyhoo, the lineup for Monday Mixtape is filled with leftovers from last week's blogfest. My honorable mentions that didn't quite make it to my top ten list. Hope you enjoy!

Addicted - Kelly Clarkson
Who hasn't been in a relationship like this before?
My favorite line: Well...all of it, really.

Cruz - Christina Aguilera

I don't know what it is about this song, but every time I hear it, I want to close my eyes and soak it in...
My favorite line: "As I'm driving I'm captured by the view/So much beauty, the road becomes my muse"

The Difference - Matchbox Twenty

My all-time favorite song by this band is Hand Me Down, but this one is a VERY close second. I love Rob Thomas' voice and he's a great songwriter. My favorite line: "Day breaking on the boulevard/Feel the sun warming up your second hand heart"

Monday Mixtape: Mandy Moore Edition

So, Dana and I saw Tangled this past week. It's an adorable movie which, of course, features Mandy Moore's voice as Rapunzel. It got me to thinking -- Mandy has such a sweet, beautiful voice and her music seems to go, for the most part, unnoticed. So I decided to dedicate this Monday's post to her.

Wild Hope is definitely one of my all-time favorite albums -- by anyone. There are so many amazing songs on it. This one is so...gah...just gorgeous:

Back in the 90's, in the midst of the pop princess/boy band phenomenon, I dismissed Mandy as one of the mediocre, barely talented acts that sprouted up. This is the song that changed my mind.

Who hasn't seen A Walk to Remember? The heartwarming, heartbreaking teen flick starring Mandy and the adorable Shane West? When Mandy sang this song, I got chills:

This last one is from Mandy's newest cd, Amanda Leigh. I don't like this one quite as much as Wild Hope, but it's still got its charm.

And there ya have it. I hope you enjoyed this week's Mixtape. I'm hoping to post more regularly in the near future, as soon as the holiday chaos calms down. If I don't make it back here again this week -- have a happy and safe New Year's Eve, everyone!

Monday Mixtape - NaNo Edition, Week 3

Ahh, Monday. It's nice to see you again...not.

I'm flailing in the somewhat shallow waters of my wordcount at the moment, as you can no doubt see on the handy dandy widget to the right. I've made the mistake repeatedly of trying to write at night. I am no longer a night person. I used to be, but then my work shifts changed and now I'm up and functioning no later than 7am. So by the time 11pm rolls around, I'm ready to crash. I was up the other night till 2am trying to write. Kept falling asleep as I was typing. Started typing things that made no sense. Oh, it wasn't nearly as bad as last year, when I typed something about my main character drinking "two sips of vodka" -- while she was pregnant. But I'm sure it does no good for my writing to type half-asleep.

So, I'm up early this morning to try and catch up on my words. Wish me luck!

Real quick, here's Monday's Mixtape:

Tierney's love for hair bands + a disastrous and dysfunctional love life = Def Leppard's Love Bites:

This song is so heartbreaking and captures a low point in Tierney's story perfectly:

And last up, the incredible Rachel Williams with a song I'm sure everyone can relate to (plus, she bears an uncanny resemblance to what I picture Tierney to look like):

Okay, I've gotta get busy writing. Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday Mixtape - NaNo Edition, Wk 2

I can't believe it's the second week of November already. I got a little behind on my wordcount yesterday, so today's post will be brief.

I've mentioned before that I'm a huge SHeDAISY fan. Kristyn Osborn is one of the best songwriters I've had the pleasure of listening to. This song, Mine All Mine, is perfect for the moment my main character realizes that the things that went wrong between her and her ex are all her fault. Favorite lyric: "I drove you to the edge of the map and after that, I pushed you off just to watch you fall."

The next song on my playlist isn't meant to be taken literally. But the bittersweet, melonchaly feel of it, the idea of being "almost honest" is perfect for Tierney's life. After all, she's been "almost honest" with everyone in her life. Plus, Josh Kelley has an amazing voice.

The last song is another by Sara Bareilles. What can I say? The woman has a way with words. This song captures Tierney's desperation for reassurance, that she's not an awful human being. To me, this is her begging the one person she's been totally honest with to stick by her. To make her feel "not alone"

Alright. I need to be at over 13k by the end of the day and I'm sitting at almost 11k. So I've got some work to do!

Monday Mixtape - NaNo Edition + My Writing Space

Happy NaNoWriMo!

As promised yesterday, this is going to be a double entry. First up, my entry for the Writing Space Blogfest:

Here is an overview of my space. I put this desk together all on my own last winter, after NaNo. It's kind of cluttered with various inspiriational bits. The pink and purple blanket on my chair, my mom made for me. I love it.

Here's a shot of my cork board. Various writing quotes and my winner's certificate from last year's NaNo. The blue question mark man is a Jason Mraz sticker for the song Mr. Curiousity, which he wrote about Writer's Block.

A shot of the shelf on my desk. To the left is the plot bunny I found at a thrift store. He's cardboard and hollow inside, but I thought he was pretty cool. I've got a bunny pencil holder and a dinosaur with bunny ears, too. The book is last year's NaNo novel. I am so ridiculously proud of it, even though the cover didn't turn out exactly as I wanted. I promised Dana she could design this year's cover.

A close-up of the other board I keep on my wall. It's filled with various inspirations. As you can see, Audrey Hepburn is a big one. I like to think of her as my muse. Sweet and doe-eyed and soft-spoken, but capable of saying just the right thing to kick your butt into action. Jason Mraz in the upper corner, a sweet note from Dana on the shamrock in the lower right. My grandma is next to that, then a few concert tickets. The lottery ticket is from Dana, too. It's a losing ticket, but she cleared the words NOVEL and MINOR. She handed it to me and said, "Your issues are minor, write the damn novel." Surprisingly, it's pretty great motivation.

And last, but definitely not least, a shot of my bookcase. It's not super organized, but it makes sense to me. Two shelves' worth of writing books and a shelf of the classics. The rest is a mix of my all-time favorites and to-be-reads. Scattered throughout are various bits of inspiration. Again, Audrey. A stuffed pig on top. Snoopy with a typewriter.

And that about sums up my writing space. It's kinda cluttery but I love it! Can't wait to check out everyone else's!

Now onto the Monday Mixtape. Here are a few songs off my NaNo Playlist:

Bon Jovi, because my main character, Tierney, has a thing for 80's hair bands.

The Dixie Chicks - I Can Love You Better. Because Tierney is in love with someone who's in love with someone else. And she really does believe she can love him better!

Sara Bareilles - Between the Lines. This song is so heartbreaking and I think it captures perfectly the moment Tierney finds out her love is marrying someone else.

Now I must be off to crank out a couple thousand words before work. Wish me luck and good luck to all you other Wrimos out there!

Monday Mixtape - The American Idol Edition

This is the last Mixtape of October. Next Monday is officially November. AHHHH!!

Every Monday next month, I'm going to share songs from the playlist I've put together for my NaNo project. Some fun stuff on there. Today, though, is the American Idol finalist edition:

As I've mentioned before, I have watched every season of American Idol. Kat is pretty much my favorite finalist. Her new cd is amazing. Here is one of my favorites -- although, it's hard to choose since they're all so good!

Kelly Clarkson. Such an incredible voice, such an infectious personality. I adore this song. The lyrics are beautiful and Kelly's voice is...well, just take a listen!

I have a soft spot for guys who can sing like this. David Cook's voice is super sexy and this is, by far, the best cover of any song I've ever heard. I mean, it's Mariah Carey for God's sake!

I hope you guys enjoy these songs as much as I do. I have the sneaking feeling this won't be the last American Idol edition of Monday Mixtape...

Alright. I've got to go make dinner and get a few things organized for NaNo. I am under strict orders from Dana that I am not to do anything NaNo-related on our day off, so I want to get everything ready before Thursday! All you NaNo-ers out there, how is your planning coming along?

Monday Mixtape #2

Since last Monday's Mixtape post was met with a warm response, I decided to make it a weekly thing. After all, there's nothing I love more than sharing music that makes he happy down to my toes. This week, I'm going with a few lesser known artists that I have come to adore.

First up is Michigan Native Rachel Williams. She's an amazing country singer who hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet. This song is so gorgeous and has become my theme song:

Next is Mr. Mandy Moore, Ryan Adams. I fell in love with this song a couple years ago and it still makes me melt when he sings, "I can't win, but for you, I will try."

This last artist isn't really "unknown." In fact, she used to be huge. She just stepped back into the spotlight with a new cd filled with gorgeous songs. This is one of my favorites:

It's entirely possible that I need to get some writing done before work. So I'm gonna go do that. Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Monday Mixtape

Music is my drug of choice. I'm sure I've said that before. A good song fills me up just as well, if not better, than a gourmet, five-course meal. There's always a song in my head and I feel lost when I can't listen to music. Above anything, I adore a strong, beautiful, unique lyric. I've been listening to music all morning and thought I'd share a few songs with you guys. These are my favorites at the moment. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! And maybe they'll make your Monday a little less dreadful!

This one has been one of my favorite songs for years. I love the lyrics. Kristyn Osborn is a wizard with words. My vocabulary has been expanded from the years of listening to her songs.

Again, I'm addicted to Sara Bareilles's new cd. This song makes my heart ache.

Ahh, Jason Mraz. My heart belongs to this man. Not only is he a master of words, his voice is so amazing. And this song just tugs at my heartstrings and makes me smile.

I've got just under thirty minutes before work. Maybe I'll listen to these songs one more time and squeeze a little writing in. Happy Monday, everyone!