#SongLyricSunday ♫ “Guts Over Fear” – Eminem ft. Sia

Your eyes are working just fine, that really does say Eminem. Yes, I – rocker girl – am really an eclectic listener of music. I actually created a meme for this instance right here:

This weeks theme is: A Song That References Another Band

I have always been a fan of Eminem, which doesn’t surprise the people who really know me, because he’s like the Deadpool of music. #nuffsaid. But every once in awhile, he creates some pretty inspirational songs and this is one of them. Eminem is notorious for burning other bands/artists in his songs so severely, it actually ends their careers. In his defense – these people usually bring it on themselves by being dumb enough to target him first. And whether you like his music or not, Marshall Mathers is the king of lyrical manipulation and roasting – buuuuut, I didn’t want to go there. He has a slew of ‘dig songs’ to choose from, and while this one doesn’t necessarily escape that category with his mention of “AZ and Nas”, it’s more of a roast on himself than the other artists. Plus, I just genuinely like this song and the meaning behind the lyrics.

My favorite line is: “No wonder I had to unlearn everything my brain was taught” – because we learn our opinions of ourselves from others, whether we want to or not. When so many people say the same thing, we start believing it, and unlearning it can be the hardest thing in the world to do.

Australian superstar, Sia isn’t just a featured singer on this track, but one of its songwriters. She is quite famous for never showing her face on stage or screen, so America’s Next Top Model contender, Chantelle Brown-Young (now known as Winnie Harlow) plays her part in the music video. Chantelle suffers from the skin/pigment lightening condition known as Vitiligo, yet she fought for her modeling career by having ‘guts over fear’, making her the perfect choice for this video.

I wouldn’t expect anyone to listen to an artist they don’t like – but this is not the Eminem you’re thinking of, if you don’t like his usual lyrics. This song is about struggling to move onto the next chapter or remain relevant when everything you’ve ever known is no longer working for you, when you feel trapped in a ‘rut’ with no way out, and it doesn’t feel like you have a single supporter in your corner. It’s about shutting those voices out, the loudest one being your own, and combating the fear to accomplish your dreams.

And yes, it’s explicit. Deadpool of music, remember? 😀 Enjoy!

Feels like a close, it’s coming to
Fuck am I gonna do?
It’s too late to start over
This is the only thing I, thing I know

Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is
Find different ways to word the same, old song
Ever since I came along
From the day the song called “Hi! My Name Is” dropped
Started thinking my name was fault
‘Cause anytime things went wrong
I was the one who they would blame it on
The media made me the equivalent of a modern-day Genghis Khan
Tried to argue it was only entertainment, dawg
Gangsta? Naw, courageous balls
Had to change my style, they said I’m way too soft
And I sound like AZ and Nas, out came the claws
And the fangs been out since then
But up until the instant that I’ve been against it
It was ingrained in me that I wouldn’t amount to a shitstain I thought
No wonder I had to unlearn everything my brain was taught
Do I really belong in this game? I pondered
I just wanna play my part, should I make waves or not?
So back and forth in my brain the tug of war wages on
And I don’t wanna seem ungrateful or disrespect the artform I was raised upon
But sometimes you gotta take a loss
And have people rub it in your face before you get made pissed off
And keep pluggin’, it’s your only outlet
And your only outfit so you know they gonna talk about it
Better find a way to counter it quick and make it, ah
Feel like I’ve already said this a kabillion eighty times
How many times can I say the same thing different ways that rhyme?
What I really wanna say is, is there anyone else that can relate to my story?
Bet you feel the same way I felt when I was in the same place you are
I was afraid to

I was afraid to make a single sound
Afraid I will never find a way out, out, out
Afraid I never before
I didn’t wanna go another round
An angry man’s power will shut you up
Trip wires fill this house with tip-toe love
Run out of excuses with every word
So here I am and I will not run

Guts over fear, (The time is here)
Guts over fear, (I shall not tear)
For all the times I let you push me around
And let you keep me down
(Now I got) Guts over fear, guts over fear

Feels like a close, it’s coming to
Fuck am I gonna do?
It’s too late to start over
This is the only thing I, thing I know

I know what it was like, I was there once, single parents
Hate your appearance, did you struggle to find your place in this world?
And the pain spawns all the anger on
But it wasn’t until I put the pain in songs learned who to aim it on
That I made a spark, started to spit hard as shit
Learned how to harness it while the reins were off
And there was a lot of bizarre shit, but the crazy part
Was soon as I stopped saying “I gave a fuck”
Haters started to appreciate my art
And it just breaks my heart to look at all the pain I’ve caused
But what am I gonna do when the rage is gone?
And the lights go out in the trailer park?
And the window that was closing and there’s nowhere else I can go with flows in
And I’m frozen cause there’s no more emotion for me to pull from
Just a bunch of playful songs that I made for fun
So to the break of dawn here I go recycling the same, old song
But I’d rather make “Not Afraid 2” than making another mothafuckin’ “We Made You” uh
Now I don’t wanna seem indulgent when I discuss my lows and my highs
My demise and my uprise, pray to God
I just opened enough eyes later on
Gave you the supplies and the tools to hopefully use it to make you strong
And enough to lift yourself up when you feel like I felt
‘Cause I can’t explain to y’all how dang exhausted my legs felt
Just having to balance my damn self
But on eggshells I was made to walk
But thank you, ma, ’cause that gave me the
Strength to cause Shady-mania, so many empty that stadium
At least I made it out of that house and a found a place in this world when the day was done
So this is for every kid who all’s they ever did was dreamt that one day just getting accepted
I represent him or her, anyone similar, you are the reason that I made this song
Everything you’re scared to say don’t be afraid to say no more
From this day on forward, just let them a-holes talk
Take it with a grain of salt and eat their fucking faces off
The legend of the angry blonde lives on through you when I’m gone
And to think I was gone
I was afraid to

I was afraid to make a single sound
Afraid I will never find a way out, out, out
Afraid I never before
I didn’t wanna go another round
An angry man’s power will shut you up
Trip wires fill this house with tip-toe love
Run out of excuses with every word
So here I am and I will not run

Guts over fear, (The time is here)
Guts over fear, (I shall not tear)
For all the times I let you push me around
And let you keep me down
(Now I got) Guts over fear, guts over fear

Songwriters: John Hill / Sia Furler / Emile Haynie / Marshall Mathers / L Resto | Guts over Fear lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, ME Gusta Music

I do not own any rights to this songs, lyrics or video. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

Meet The Character | The Self-Sabotager

They call me Max Carver, because that’s the name on the cover. I’m the latest contender in the world of Graphic Novelists. My fans line up outside the bookstores and comic book shops, dressed like characters I created, waiting to see what carnage will be wrought and what kind of debauched mess their favorite anti-hero has gotten himself into this time.

Insidious “Sid” Strider gives all bad things a bad name, and man, do they love him. They can’t get enough of my morally-challenged alter ego. The one who’s always been free to do exactly what he wants; extending two middle fingers to the world like twin banners of pride.

No one knows that he’s been my cathartic outlet since I was seventeen; that he was born out of the madness following childhood tragedy. That he’s my much needed escape from reality, my purge of all the fear and rage. They can’t know that at times, he’s still the only solace I seek, my most trusted confidant.

Mostly, they don’t know that I’m a girl.

A young woman frayed at the edges behind an easy smile. Picking at the threads of my seams when no one’s looking. They have no clue that Sid isn’t my only sordid outlet.

In my private life, I’m a submissive of the Alternative Lifestyle known by and large as Kink. I found it quite naturally and never looked for anything else, even though I always ruin it. A subconscious demand stemming from my many contradictions, which, eventually–and without fail–push me to rebel against contentedness and comfort.

I’m the good girl in need of a strict-ass Dom who won’t put up with my shit. Though, in all fairness, it’s a lot of shit. I really can’t blame them for falling for the lies I tell myself, while pulling the wool over their eyes because they let me get away with it before. It’s not their fault I’m constantly testing them and watching them fail. Somewhere in the dark complexities of my mind, they’re fighting the inevitable.

I don’t have issues, so much as a solid record.

But Hayden’s not failing. He’s calling me out on my BS at our first meeting, switching up the rules of engagement from any other Dom I’ve ever met and you’d think that was a good thing. Except, good things are like bad thing’s crack, and I feel Sid creeping out of his cage, just waiting to make a long-lasting impression.

I don’t know if this is going to be an amazing ride or the toughest trial of my life, but I do know one thing: I’m destined to fuck it all up. I won’t be able to stop myself. I will tow the line, bend the knee, and earn my “good girls” – but in the end, I’m still a self-sabotaging mess seeking a miraculous change, while fighting tooth-and-nail to remain exactly the same.

~ Catherine Maxine Nicholson

#SongLyricSunday ♪ “Candle In The Wind” – Elton John

It’s time for another #SLS challenge. If you’re just tuning in, the weekly music event can be found on Jim’s blog, A Unique Title For Me, where he lists the rules and upcoming themes. Check it out by clicking the theme link below.

This week’s theme is: A song That Includes Someone Famous In It

I’ve loved “Candle In The Wind” since I was a little girl. It was my original favorite Elton John song. And one of those kind of songs that captivated me, even when I was too young to really know what it was about – the emotion, the melody, they called to me – then when I was old enough to actually understand the lyrics, I fell in love with it all over again.

I’m sure I won’t be the only one to pick this one, but I don’t mind. I can’t think of a better song to share than this masterpiece, sung by the grand master, himself. Enjoy!

Goodbye Norma Jean
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled

They crawled out of the woodwork
And they whispered into your brain
They set you on the treadmill
And they made you change your name

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in

And I would have liked to have known you 
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Loneliness was tough
The toughest role you ever played
Hollywood created a superstar
And pain was the price you paid

Even when you died
Oh the press still hounded you
All the papers had to say
Was that Marilyn was found in the nude

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in

And I would have liked to have known you 
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Goodbye Norma Jean
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled

Goodbye Norma Jean
From the young man in the twenty second row
Who sees you as something more than sexual
More than just our Marilyn Monroe

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in

And I would have liked to have known you 
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin | Candle in the Wind lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

I do not own any rights to this song, lyrics or video. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

Dear Indie | Using Daily Prompts to Stay Active

Hi Indies!

Whenever I stumble upon something that I feel would be a great resource for you all, you know I have to share. When I first started my blog back in October of 2013, I used the WordPress Daily Prompt challenge to build up my followers and writing network. It was great for awhile – actually for a few years, but it was so time-consuming it cut into hours I needed to spend working on my actual WIPs. Unfortunately, the cost of not doing the DP’s anymore, was losing all of those followers and the interaction I used to have with them on a regular basis.

My blog is still a work in progress and I rarely see likes, comments, or re-blogs the way I did way back when. But, I’m even worse when it comes to Social Media. It is unarguably one of the most daunting aspects of being an author that I have always struggled with. I’m not ashamed to admit that if I never had to use it, I wouldn’t. Unfortunately, in this day and age, authors and aspiring writers who don’t use things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are cutting out a huge resource for building their platforms and potential readerships.

But it can be hard to think of what to share, especially for the long haul. For some, this seems to come naturally. For me, it’s a chore. I never know what to post. I never know when re-posting is not enough or too much and I’m a bit more picky about who I follow back, because I don’t want my feed clogged up with spam bots.

My latest discovery, however, has enabled me to go from maybe 1 tweet a month, to at least 1 tweet a day. First, if you’re not already a member of the #writingcommunity on Twitter, I would recommend checking it out. This is where I’ve found this fun writing challenge called #vss365 which stands for “Very Short Story” – Each month, a new host/ess is selected to come up with the Daily Prompts. What’s great about this DP challenge vs the WordPress one, is that there’s no pressure to have your post ready first thing in the morning to reach the most participants and Twitter is so limited, you’re only writing for a minute. No time-consuming creations followed by hours of editing. It’s short, fun, and offers positive results.

It’s keeping me active on Twitter regularly, helping me gain exposure while expanding my writing community network, and I’m enjoying reading others #vss365 creations. The inspiration from seeing how people can take so many different approaches to the same word is limitless. That’s why I knew I needed to share it here with you. In my opinion, these outcomes make this a good resource for any writer, but especially if you’re just starting to build your author platform or like many (myself, included) find social media overwhelming and intimidating to navigate.

There’s no wrong or right way to go about the challenge, as long you use the prompted word. There are even a few members who do multiple posts using a different approach each time, i.e. poetry for one, then a short story for another. Not to mention, there are many who include multiple challenge prompt words in the same post (#vss365, #bravewrite, etc.). I’m creeping in slowly, doing one DP challenge to start, but I might join in others later on down the road.

I thought it would be great fun to only draw from one book to create my posts – this has proved quite challenging! – but that only get’s my creative juices flowing all the more. Again, because it’s Twitter and the word count is limited, all of my posts are original. They wouldn’t actually be found verbatim in the book, itself, but the ideas behind them are definitely there. If I still like that process by the end of this month, than I’ll pick a different book for September, and so on.

❤ That’s it, Indies. If you’re already participating in the #vss365, #bravewrite or any other Daily Prompt challenge drop me a comment below to share your experience and how you prefer to approach your unique creations!

Meet The Character | The Sadist

Screams thread the very fabric of my existence, weaving worlds of pain, blood, and pleasure together. Like any addict or connoisseur, I do have my preferences. Emissions of pleasure wrought by pain are, indeed, my favorite. But I am the Harvester; the one my Head of House turns to when he needs answers. My skills are legendary, as are my results.

They say you can’t glean truth through torture. I say they’re not doing it right. Besides, we’re not human. Most of the creatures who end up on my cross can regenerate within days, if not hours. And trust me, the agony of regrowing bones is far more excruciating than having them ripped out of your body. Loyalties never fail to leach into the bloodstained floor at my feet, the truth pouring out faster than bodily fluids.

I am the sadist without remorse, the second most powerful Elemental in the Phoenix Down Territory. Redford is my Household. Scotland is the one I answer to, for Fire is the demon I feed. But I am also half of a cruelly enforced bond. Berlin is my equal in every possible way, the only enemy I could never defeat on the battlefield and now we are two parts of a shared judgement, sentenced by Aeolus, himself. Due to our major parts in the Territory Wars, we’re now cursed with the inability to find satiation without each other. We live, eat, fight, and fuck together.

It’s much kinkier than it sounds, for Berlin is Water, my natural enemy. Our Elements are fatal to one another’s, making life and fun a little on the tricky side to accomplish with any kind of satisfaction. Of course, we found a loophole–quite a painful one, at that–an exchange I usually endure awash in Berlin’s screams.

Nothing we’ve ever known compares to the one we’re sent to capture for our Elder. Even while her Water slays me, her instant connection with Berlin riles this sadist like nothing else on earth. Because I heard her scream. And, fuck, it was like the maddening ride of an opium haze laced with delirious obsessions, triggering an orgasmic high in each of my senses. I can’t get enough. I would coax the full range out of her if it took an eternity, and I’d devour each pitch until her screams were infused with my soul–if only she were mine to render in pain so reverently.

~ Damascus Dmitri Redford

#SongLyricSunday ♫ “If I Had A Heart” – Fever Ray – THC’s “Vikings”

Last weekend, I had my post all created and ready to go for the movie song challenge (Working 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton) and then I completely forgot to schedule it. 😦 Oh, well. I guess I will find a reason to post it another time!

This week’s theme is: A Song Featured Prominently in a TV Show

I already wrote an AMAZING post for “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas featuring a live performance by the band at Comicon during #RocktoberMusicFest that you can check out here. I’m a huge Supernatural fan, so of course that’s always the first song that comes to mind when I think about TV shows, but I try to keep from posting repeats if I can help it.

So, my pick for today is “If I Had A heart” by Fever Ray, which is the opening theme song for The History Channel’s most popular show ever: Vikings. Any Vikings fans can hear this song from a mile away, just the first few notes, and will instantly channel their inner Viking, probably by shouting “Skol” or some other Scandinavian word they’ve picked up from the series. Of course “A Song of Ice and Fire” is exactly the same for Game of Thrones fans (“Dracarys” even has its own clothing line), but unfortunately, there are no lyrics to that popular intro song – otherwise, I’d have chosen it, instead.

I have included both the official music video and a video clip of the show’s intro, just because I can and I wanted to. 😀 I’m still trying to get caught up on Vikings so no spoilers in the comments, please – I was a late viewer to the series. Make sure you stop by Jim’s blog, A Unique Title For Me to check out all of the song picks for today. Enjoy!

This will never end 'cause I want more
More, give me more
Give me more

This will never end 'cause I want more
More, give me more
Give me more

If I had a heart I could love you
If I had a voice I would sing
After the night when I wake up
I'll see what tomorrow brings

Ah ah, ah ah
Ah ah, ah ah
Ah ah, ah ah

If I had a voice, I would sing

Dangling feet from window frame
Will I ever ever reach the floor?
More, give me more, give me more

Crushed and filled with all I found
Underneath and inside Just to come around
More, give me more, give me more

Ah ah, ah ah
Ah ah, ah ah
Ah ah, ah ah

If I had a voice, I would sing

Songwriters: Karin Dreijer Andersson | If I Had a Heart lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

I do not own any rights to this song, lyrics, or videos. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

p.s. “Skol” means “cheers” and “Dracarys” means “Dragonfire” for any non-show watchers.

Dear Indie | Genre Trends

Hi Indies!

Have you ever noticed that whenever a certain genre niche gets popular, the market is suddenly inundated with a ton of similar books? Secret Baby trend hits big and – BOOM – 100,000 new secret baby books hit the market overnight. WTF? Were all those authors actually sitting on a finished book, just waiting for that particular niche to make it big before publishing? Why didn’t I think of that?! Ugh!

But is that the truth of the situation, or just how it appears? Are niches really popular long enough for authors to start a book from scratch and publish it while the trend is still hot–or do they just have remarkably lucky timing with what they’re already working on?

These aren’t the only questions I find myself scratching my head over when it comes to why certain books make it and others don’t, despite how alike they are. Of course, we already know why some books make it big, even from unknown authors – it’s because they had that extra. It doesn’t matter what the extra was, it set them apart from the competition. For example: Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent are all YA/NA Dystopian/SciFi and deal with a society or group of people “trapped” in one place, oppressed or strictly governed by a more powerful force. They have a romantic entanglement tossed in or love triangle, which is a common trope for this genre – yet they are so distinctly different with their “extra” that they made it through the mountains of books that just weren’t different enough – or weren’t written as well.

Those are the two key factors: Uniqueness and Well Written. The bonus third factor of course, is marketing/branding/exposure.

But I’ve got a 4th key factor that I never paid any attention to in the past, and maybe you haven’t either: Genre Trends.

I’m not saying you should be searching for a daily report while obsessively typing away to try to get a trending niche book out on the market before it drops in popularity – I’m saying once you have the book you just had to write finished, check the market trends before publishing. There’s a possibility that if you hold off just one week, two months, etc. your book will actually do 100% better at its launch, then if you publish too soon (or not soon enough).

We spend so much time and effort ensuring that our books are at their best before introducing them to the world at large, doing this one extra step is definitely not going to hurt. Impatience is just as big an enemy as procrastination. I for one am going to add this step to my pre-publishing process from now on – and maybe I’m the only one here who hasn’t actually been doing it this whole time (that would not surprise me, lol!) I just wanted to share in case others haven’t been paying any mind to the current trends when they publish, either. And I also wanted to mention it for those of you who are still aspiring writers, for future reference.

I’ve stumbled upon a good website called “Watched Plot Never Boils” that is specifically designed to keep authors up to date – weekly – on MOST genre’s niche trends. It covers quite a bit of the common genres, but misses others. Though, the website owner might be open to suggestions. It’s pretty cool, if you want to check it out and I’m sure it’s not the only one, but I like it. Week by week the trends don’t change much so it can get a little repetitive – but if you only hop on there to check out your specific genre when you’re getting ready to publish, it’s quite informative breaking down the niches, character types, and plot tropes in a way that’s fun to read rather than dry and analytical. But, as with everything else in this industry, double and triple check your information and never rely on just one source for the whole picture.

Now, I’d like to pose some questions, which you can answer in the comments below or just use as food for thought. 🙂

  1. Do you write only according to what’s popular at the time or do you write your own thing and hope for the best?
  2. Do you often find yourself searching for a way to add a new twist – that “extra” – to an old, favorite theme? ( i.e. fairytales, mythology, etc.)
  3. Would you ever sacrifice your true “writer” self just to sell books? i.e. write differently (or in your opinion, worse) than normal, try a POV you’ve never used before, or write about topics you typically wouldn’t, etc.?
  4. Do you hold fast to the long-standing belief that publishing one astonishing book a year is the best practice – or, do you think that’s become outdated and no longer smart business for the modern-day, e-commerce marketplace?
  5. Last, but not least and this is a 2-parter. #1: What’s your view on ghost writers and do you think they’re in more use today than ever before due to the high demand for faster release dates? #2: Would you take an entire year off (or longer) from publishing to just write, so that you could have multiple finished books to publish in faster succession or would you rather hire a ghost writer to pick up the slack?

❤ Okay, that’s all the questions (for now) 😀 Happy Hump Day, Indies, make it a good one!