Sunday, February 27, 2011

Catching Up

Haven’t posted since Valentine’s Day. Life has been crazy. Can’t post the details here yet, but when I can, I will.

On the writing front, I’m holding a book launch celebration on Thursday, March 10, from 6 to 8 pm at The Company House, a cosy little acoustic music venue at 2202 Gottingen Street here in Halifax. Officially it’s a launch for Heart, but due to the twists and turns of Chance’s route to publication I never had a launch for it, so I’ll be reading from both. Everett McInnis, my other half, and Kathy MacGillivray, one of my best friends, will be providing the music. I’ll probably join in on a tune or two myself if my voice allows – right now I have a cold, so I’m not sure. It should be a fun evening. Tara MacDonald, from the RWAC marketing committee, and Frances Leary from BConnected are helping publicize the event. I can’t believe their supportive energy. I’m a very, very lucky author.

News flash – I just finished a telephone interview with Desmond Haas, a fellow author, for his online Romance Radio show! I think it went well, but I’m reserving judgement until I hear the recording. I’ll be posting links to the edited sound file when I get them. AND there’s a group book signing with RWAC at Chapters in Dartmouth Crossing on March 19. All this good, exciting stuff – and the not so good, stressful stuff – has my head in a whirl.
It also has me thinking about music for the launch party. I’m trying to come up with a few tunes that evoke the characters in my books. Here’s what I have so far:

1. She Mov’d Through the Fair: A haunting tune of love and loss, for Martin Rainnie. It’s the song I recorded for the trailer.

2. The Patriot’s Game: For Trey’s best bud, Justin Sinclair. “Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing, for the love of one’s country is a dangerous thing.” This song is about the troubles in Ireland, but it applies to civil conflict everywhere, with its tragic loss of young lives. Can’t find a good recording of this one.

3. Soldier’s Joy: For Nathan Munroe. I love Michelle Shocked’s version of this tune. War ain’t pretty. Soldier’s Joy is morphine.

Shaking hands and fingers that do tremble
Soldier's Joy has been a bitter pill
Though in battle, a brave man I resemble
Alone I am a coward without will

Since I couldn’t find a recording of her version, here’s Earl Scruggs doing the classic Appalachian version.

4. For Trey McShannon: Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. A beautiful, beautiful piece that for me, evokes Trey’s love of the simple life.

5. For Beth Underhill: Ashokan Farewell. I love, love, love this piece, no matter how many times I’ve heard it. For me, it evokes Beth’s grace and gentleness, and her underlying strength.

6. Finally, for Rochelle McShannon: I don’t know the name of this piece because it isn’t titled in the video, but it’s lovely and evokes Chelle’s wistfulness.

I’ve missed a couple of Folk Fridays, so I hope this makes up for it. I’ll let you know how the interview turns out. And if anyone has any other suggestions for music that suits my characters, I’d love to hear them!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Music is the food of love

There’s a magnet on my fridge that reads “If music be the food of love, play on.” My mother gave it to us when my DH and I moved into our house. It’s a pretty good description of our relationship.

I’ve told this story on my blog before, so forgive the repetition if you’ve already heard it. We met sixteen years ago. After a few years of not playing much guitar, I’d decided to take some lessons to get me motivated. I was working at Dalhousie University at the time, and one day I saw a notice on a bulletin board from a guitar instructor looking for students. I called the number, and the rest is history.

By the time my first lesson ended, I knew Everett was not only a fine musician but an excellent teacher – an uncommon combination. It took longer to make up my mind about him as a person. He’s quiet and reserved, not the kind of man you get to know right away. We talked mostly about music, nothing personal, but my lessons often seemed to run overtime.

I belonged to the Halifax Harbour Folk Society, and when it was my turn to act as host for the weekly coffeehouse session, Everett agreed to join me. That was a bear of a winter in Halifax, and when we left the pub it had started to snow. Hard. I insisted I’d be okay driving home, as it was only a few blocks. We said goodnight and got in our separate vehicles.

When I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment building, Everett’s headlights flashed in my mirror. I’d been so focussed on the road, I hadn’t noticed him following me. He bumped his horn and drove off.

I was impressed. He had a much longer drive home. We weren’t dating at the time, just beginning to become friends, but he’d gone out of the way to see that I got home safely. That was the night I began to wonder if he might be a keeper. When he stopped charging me for lessons, I knew he was thinking the same way.

We complement each other musically as well as we do in other ways. I can hear lyrics once and, if they affect me, I’ll remember them. Everett doesn’t remember lyrics, but he can lift the most complicated chords from a recording. He’s a true musician, while I’m really more of a poet who likes to sing. We also share an interest in science. Being a creative person, he understands when I glue myself to my laptop to write . He isn’t a fiction reader – technical manuals or science magazines are more his style – and he hasn’t read my books, but he supports me and gives me my space. We’re still playing on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Colorado Dreaming

I had an amazing, vivid dream last night. It went on for what felt like hours, and at one point I woke, fell asleep again and tumbled right back into the dream.

It all took place in Wallace Flats, with my characters from McShannon's Chance. There was the town, laid out like a set from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. There was Neil Garrett’s saloon, the Bakers’ mercantile, and a lovely lake I wish I’d thought to put in the book.

In keeping with the Dr. Quinn theme, Beth looked a bit like an auburn-haired Jane Seymour. As for Trey, he surprised me. He had straight, coal-black, shoulder-length hair (I’ve always pictured him with shorter hair), a close-trimmed moustache, and a face something like Jude Law’s in Cold Mountain, almost fierce-looking. Of course he had deep, molasses-coloured eyes. Sigh. And his beautiful bay stallion, Flying Cloud. Another sigh. The only other characters to appear were a blond teenage boy – a version of Ben Reeves – and a young girl of eight or nine, Samantha (Sam). I have no idea where she came from. Perhaps she sprang from my mental image of Beth and Trey’s daughter Chelle. Sadly, no Nathan. I missed him and Lorie.

The only action I remember clearly was a horse race around the lake, which Trey and Cloud won in a thrilling finish. Everything else is hazy, but I woke feeling like I’d spent a wonderful few days with my characters in an idyllic setting, free (After all, I was dreaming!) of the harsher realities of the time. I wouldn’t mind going back every night.

Is the universe speaking to me? I hope so. I'm at a bit of a personal and writing low point right now, and I sure could use some inspiration. People of blogland, do you have any dreams to share?