#SongLyricSunday | Away – Breaking Benjamin

Breaking Benjamin performing at the White River Amphitheater 9/22/19.

I mean…you knew this was coming, right? I can’t mention Breaking Benjamin in a post and then NOT pick one of their songs the following week. 😀 Gaw, I’m still gushing and just look at that full sleeve tattoo! *melts into chair* And for how close he looks here, it was even closer in real life. I could have just squeezed between 2 people and touched him, but, you know…security. 😐

#SLS is hosted by Jim over at A Unique Title For Me. Click on the theme link below to join along, or to hear all of the other song choices for today!

This week’s theme is: Listen|Hear|Talk|Speak

My song pick is for Hear. Another classic BB song from the original band, released in 2004 on their album, We Are Not Alone. I have a sad confession: I spent many years believing he was saying “I’m coming to take you away” NOT “They’re coming to take you away,” which for a super Ben Burnley fan like me was soooooooo much hotter and fantasy-inducing. But, this is still a sexy-ass song and of course, packed with powerful, passionate vocals, and screamy grrr…’cause, duh.

Benjamin “Ben” Burnley

Fun Facts From Their Concert Witnessed By Me – no Wikipedia needed:

  • Between sets, Ben noticed some kids in the audience and jumped off stage – you should’ve seen his security scramble to go after him, LOL! Ben escorted the kids and their parent(s) up on stage to join his VIP groups already there. One little girl was holding a sign and he led her up to the very front of the stage and asked her name, then asked if it was her birthday, to which she said “Yes” and he asked, “How old are you?” and she said “Eight.” And then, he preceded to have all of us in the audience sing “Happy Birthday” to her. I’ve never seen a kid smile so big – it was awesome, and will undoubtedly be a lifelong memory for that little girl! 😀
  • At one point Ben started talking about embracing your geek side, as stagehands rolled some weird looking thing out on stage in the dark area where we couldn’t see (and I was only about 2 rows back from the stage). After going on about our inner-geeks, Ben ended his speech with: “Because, you know I’ve already embraced my DARKSIDE!” (Yeah, he growled it just like you imagined) – at which time a handful of red Lightsabers lit up (exactly like they sound in the movies) attached to a drum set, that he then started drumming away on and it was the most geektastic, rockgasmic thing I’ve ever seen or experienced in my entire life. Then, he gave the Lightsabers to his VIP kids, as you can see below in a really blurry pic. LOL
  • Not a Fun Fact: I caught 95% of the concert on video, including the Lightsaber experience, but have yet to find a way to upload any of the videos onto my laptop – nothing I’ve tried so far is working! 😐
L-R: Keith Wallen & Ben Burnley both on guitar with lucky Lightsaber VIP kids in background (Pic is blurry due to red light saturation, sorry).

Cold am I, I’m beside myself
Because there’s no one else
Have I grown so blind?
Only God could save you
If you knew your way to the light
So fly away and leave it behind
Just stay awake
There’s nowhere to hide

I see you
‘Cause you won’t get out of my way
I hear you
‘Cause you won’t quit screaming my name
I feel you
‘Cause you won’t stop touching my skin
I need you
They’re coming to take you away

Frail and dry, I could lose it all
But I cannot recall, it’s all wrong
Don’t cry, clear away this hate
And we could start to make it alright
So fly away and leave it behind
Return someday
With red in your eyes

I see you
‘Cause you won’t get out of my way
I hear you
‘Cause you won’t quit screaming my name
I feel you
‘Cause you won’t stop touching my skin
I need you
They’re coming to take you away

I see you
‘Cause you won’t get out of my way
I hear you
‘Cause you won’t quit screaming my name
I feel you
‘Cause you won’t stop touching my skin
I need you
They’re coming to take you away (away)

“Away” as written by Jeremy Hummel & Benjamin Burnley • Lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

And, we’re out..

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

I DO own all of the pictures of Breaking Benjamin in this post, so please ask before using any of them! Thank you.

Confessions of a Hybrid Author | It’s Not a Quantum Leap, But…

It’s fascinating to me that so many authors start with a story, and that story becomes their first finished rough draft and then, their first published book–no matter how long it takes them to accomplish each of those stages.

That is not how my writing journey started. The first rough draft I ever finished took me 5 years to complete and it’s still sitting on my computer unpublished, 11 years later. I’ve never even attempted to get it out on the market, and here’s where the plot thickens…

I write Erotic Romance. That’s my favorite genre to both read and write. Any kind of erotic romance; dark, light, kinky, paranormal, psychological, a combination of all of the above, it doesn’t matter.

But, my first completed manuscript was Epic Fantasy.

So, not a Quantum Leap, but…close-a-freakin-ough. Not only that ms, but the nearly completed sequel to it. Ready for the next plot twist?

That first book that gave me the thrill of writing “The End” is a spin-off from the first story I ever had an idea for when I was only 17 years old, and would take place between books 1 and 2 of the planned trilogy that has yet to be written.

Don’t look at me like that. I wish I could say it’s an exaggeration, but sadly, it’s not. However, I’ve already written a lengthy post about that dilemma right here, so I won’t rehash. What I really want to know is this:

Have any of you started off writing in one genre only to end up publishing in a completely different one?

If yes, did the genre(s) you were reading at the time play any part in that?

I didn’t take a direct reading path. One day I was a kid, reading children’s books, and the next I was grabbing books off my mom’s shelf, staying up too late reading V.C. Andrews and Ann Rule. Then, I went through what I call my ‘research’ phase, where the only books I read were about ancient Egypt and anything I could find on Vlad III of Wallachia.

My research on Vlad led me back into reading fiction for pleasure, diving right into Paranormal Romance with L.J. Smith, then taking a giant leap forward to Anne Rice. I was 14 when I read Interview With the Vampire, and that was two years before it was made into a movie. I gobbled down The Witching Hour after that and spent a lot of time dedicated to the Mayfair Witches before going back to the vamps.

Then, on a whim (aka I liked the cover art), I bought Kashiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey and no one even checked my ID at the cash register. O_o

Being introduced to High Fantasy and EXTREME Sadomasochism all in one book was a real eye-opener for my 16-year-old self. Christian who? Sorry Mr. Shades, you ain’t got nothing to bring to this table that hasn’t already been here waiting for you to catch the fuck up. #stillwaiting

Carey was a bit much for me to handle back then, not because of the whole *R.A.C.K. aspect as the main plot driven by an extremely masochistic protagonist, it was the High Fantasy of it all. Meanwhile, I was still reading Anne Rice like any dedicated fan would, but then a friend introduced me to Mercedes Lackey and I fell instantly in love. Not only was Epic Fantasy much easier to consume, it still had sex in it, so score!

I know it was a combination of these early influences that sparked my Epic Fantasy idea into life at 17, I just never expected it to become like the Venus Flytrap in Seymour’s basement; way too big and hungry for more.

But, despite it still being unpublished, completing that one Epic Fantasy manuscript knocked down whatever mental barrier had been standing strong in my head, and within two months I had written my second full-length novel start to finish; a Futuristic Romance, that would land me a contract with a publisher and become my first published work three years later.

I just had to prove to myself that I COULD finish writing a book, and it opened the flood gates. So, keep that in mind all you aspiring writers–sometimes it just takes reaching that finish line once, even if nothing comes of that particular draft! 😉

So, there’s my oddball confession. I’d love to hear from any of you who might have similar situations with switching genres or who might have also never published their first finished manuscript. Thoughts, feedback, questions, all are welcome–we creative types like knowing we’re not alone.

Unless, it’s for a book title. Stop using my book title ideas! ಠ_ಠ

❤ Happy Meh-day

*R.A.C.K. stands for Risk Awareness Consensual Kink, which covers the more extreme areas of S&M where physical injury, scarring, paralyzing, and even death have a higher chance of occurring.

#SongLyricSunday | Try Again – Aaliyah

A big Thank You to our host, Jim over at A Unique Title For Me for another week of musical themes to challenge ourselves with. I was actually surprised I thought of a song right off the bat, since there are so many frequently used words to choose from. Make sure you click on the theme link below to check out all of the other song picks for today!

This week’s theme is: Could | Might | Should | Would

I went with Aaliyah’s “Try Again” from the Romeo Must Die soundtrack. This was one of the best movies when it came out, but then, I’m a fan of Jet Li, Aaliyah, and William Shakespeare so I’m biased. The movie was reportedly a ‘loose’ adaptation of Romeo & Juliet (I’d say extremely loose). Though it’s not my all-time favorite Aaliyah or Jet Li movie, if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it and have included the movie trailer at the end of this post.

Last October (2018) I did a post for #Rocktoberfest that went into more detail about the late and highly talented Aaliyah with an “Aaliyah Remembered video” that you can check out here. For those of you who didn’t know of her, she was yet another star still on the rise when she died in a tragic plane crash in 2001- just one year after the release of this song and following the filming of her second movie and blockbuster hit: The Queen of The Damned. I still remember watching the “Breaking News” broadcast and just feeling completely shocked. She was too young and so talented both in her acting and her singing career.

“Try Again” was the lead single from the Romeo Must Die movie soundtrack. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 & Hot 100 Airplay, #3 on the Mainstream Top 40, and was at #12 for the Year-End chart for 2000. The video features Timbaland, Aaliyah, and Jet Li. According to Wikipedia, the mirrored hall in the video was inspired by Bruce Lee’s Enter The Dragon. The video won the MTV Music Award for “Best Video From A Film” and “Best Female Video.” It was choreographed by Fatima Robinson, who has choreographed videos for Michael Jackson, Meghan Trainor, Mary J. Blige, The Black Eyed Peas, and more.

The section where Jet helps Aaliyah run on the wall was a reenactment of a scene from the movie and I just love the candidness they captured in the video of Jet laughing and them playing around with the move like a dance. Enjoy!

It’s been a long time (long time), we shouldn’t of left you (left you),
Without a dope beat to step to (step to, step to, step to, step to).
It’s been a long time (long time), we shouldn’t of left you (left you),
Without a dope beat to step to (step to, step to, step to, step to).

What would you do, to get to me?
What would you say, to have your way?
Would you give it up or try again?
If I hesitate to let you in?
Now would you be yourself, or play a role?
Tell all the boys, or keep it low?
If I say no, would you turn away,
Or play me off or would you stay?
Oh

If at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),
Dust yourself off, and try again
You can dust it off and try again, try again
Cause if at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),
Dust yourself off, and try again
You can dust it off and try again, dust yourself off and try again, try again

I’m into you, you into me? But I can’t let it go, so easily.
Not ’till I see, where this could be, could be eternally, or just week.
You know our chemistry, it’s off the chain.
It’s perfect now, but will it change?
This ain’t a yes, this ain’t a no.
Just do your thang, and we’ll see how it goes.
Ooooh

If at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),
Dust yourself off, and try again
You can dust it off and try again, try again
Cause if at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),
Dust yourself off, and try again
You can dust it off and try again, dust yourself off and try again, try again

See you don’t wanna throw it all away.
I might be shy on the first day,
But what about the next day? (huh, huh, huh, huh)
See you don’t wanna throw it all away.
I might be buggin’ on the first day,
But what about the next day? (huh, huh, huh, huh)

If at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),
Dust yourself off, and try again
You can dust it off and try again, try again
Cause if at first you don’t succeed (first you don’t succeed),
Dust yourself off, and try again
You can dust it off and try again, dust yourself off and try again, try again

It’s been a long time (long time), we shouldn’t of left you (left you),
Without a dope beat to step to (step to, step to, step to, step to)

Songwriters: Stephen Ellis Garrett / Timothy Z Mosley • Try Again lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

I do not own any rights to these videos, songs, movies or lyrics. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents/labels. No copyright infringement intended.

#SongLyricSunday ♫ A Special Event Post

I normally don’t do this – and I apologize, Jim! – I know everyone’s time is precious and there are a lot of songs to listen to by all of the other participants (click theme link below to check those out). But as some of you are reading this, I’m getting ready to take my oldest son to his first concert ever. It’s his graduation present, and since I completely corrupted him from a young age – we both love the same kind of music! 😀 So, we’re off to the White River Amphitheater to see 5 – yes FIVE – rock bands play tonight. I really wanted to pay tribute to at least the 3 main headliners for this special event post, but you don’t have to listen to all of them. I will completely understand if you only pick one.

This week’s themes is: Clothing|Hat|Pants|Scarf|Shirt|Shoes|Tie

Soooo, I totally cheated because I wanted to include a song by the three bands and I could not find any that I’m familiar with by BB with any of the theme words (as they’re meant to be) – buuuut, the song I chose does have the word “Tie” in it, just not the kind you wear around your neck. It’s a special occasion – I get a free pass! 😀

My picks are “Tourniquet” by Breaking Benjamin, “Hats Off to the Bull” by Chevelle, and “Me Against You” by Three Days Grace. Now, old school TDG fans, this is a whole new sound from when Adam Gontier was the lead singer – but it’s still pretty good. The new lead singer is Matt Walst formerly of My Darkest Days, who I saw in concert a few years back with Bush, Papa Roach, and Nickelback. The other two bands that will be playing tonight are Dorothy and Diamante. I’m so excited!!! Okay…enjoy!

p.s. to completely understand this video you have to watch “Never Again,” “Red Cold River,” and “Torn In Two” prior to this one – in that exact order. But it’s still a good song on its own!

Take this life

I will make you
I will start the pain within
I will crave you
I will learn to hate again

I will drain you
I will make you whole again
I will blame you
I will lay beside the dead

‘Cause I don’t want to live inside this hell

Tame the fire from within
You won’t break me
Love will tie the tourniquet
And suffocate me

I won’t save you
I won’t start the hope within
I won’t change you
I won’t fight the pain within

I won’t fail you
I won’t let your light descend
I won’t play you
I won’t face your fate again

‘Cause I am born to live inside this hell

Tame the fire from within
You won’t break me
Love will tie the tourniquet
And suffocate me

Tame the fire from within
You won’t take me
Love will tie the tourniquet
And suffocate me

Let the calm rise up
So graceful
Every wasted word
So faithful

Tame the fire from within
You won’t break me
Love will tie the tourniquet
And suffocate me

Tame the fire from within
You won’t take me
Love will tie the tourniquet
And suffocate me

Suffocate me
Suffocate me

Songwriters: Aaron Bruch / Benjamin Burnley / Jasen Ryan Rauch / Keith Joseph Wallen / Shaun William Foist | Tourniquet lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

All our needs put together
Don’t bleed on their own
You paid for an eyeful
So behold the bull
Why can’t I look up, (out in the clearing)
Tell me what’s there below, (end over end)
While he’s safe for the moment, (guess what I’m learning)
He’s never safe from the crowd, come one

So hats off to the bull
No giving up
(Either way, it makes ya mad)
(Well some of us)
Hats off to the bull, keep giving all
(What ya say we make amends)

To be monumental
Could mean the beyond
The simpler the treasure
Means the higher the cost
Well as for the ending, (damn right I’m learning)
You might ask for the door, (end over end)
Well I hate how the clouds hide
The gasps from above

So hats off to the bull
No giving up
(Either way, it makes ya mad)
(Well some of us)
Hats off to the bull, keep giving all
(What ya say we make amends)

Find your challenge, suffer miles
Colors gray, he brings them out
Don’t mind the challenge, suffer miles
A little shallow, if I don’t say

Hats off to the bull
His time ain’t up
(Bitter hell in the lion’s den)
For some of us
Hats off to the bull
The sun won’t set
(Till the pain and the final breath)

So hats off to the bull
No giving up
(Either way, it makes ya mad)
(Well some of us)
Hats off to the bull, keep giving all
(What ya say we make amends)

Hats off to the bull
No giving up
Hats off to the bull
Keep giving all
Hats off to the bull
No giving up
Hats off to the bull

Songwriters: Peter Loeffler / Samuel Loeffler | Hats Off to the Bull lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Lyrics in video. Theme word: SHOE

Songwriters: Barry Stock, Brad Walst, Ted Bruner, Gavin Brown, Matt Walst & Neil Sanderson | Me Against You Lyrics © RCA Records

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

A Day With My Muse

As I’m watching the calendar zip toward the end of the year, I’m really feeling the pressure, and all of my 2019 goals slip right through my fingers. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, I’ve just been writing everything except the books I had planned to finish before the end of the year.

Discipline is great advice–if it actually worked for my dysfunctional muse (aka creative flow). Unfortunately, whenever I try to force myself to focus on a certain book, rather than the one my muse wants to work on, I end up spending hours staring at a blinking courser while she sits on the sidelines filing her damn nails.

Any amount of words you can get down for any WIP is progress. This is a golden truth and we should never deny ourselves the credit for those small, random accomplishments. I just wish mine were on the WIPs I need to get done first. There’s a natural order to writing, or at least there should be. Especially, if you’re like me and juggle an extensive amount of series. Oldest series should be getting new installments published before newer series, right? And definitely well before new stand-alone’s that can wait.

My order is slightly different. My older series are with my publisher, rather than self-published so I’m not in any hurry to add to those until I get my rights back. #sorrynotsorry. My goal order begins with my oldest Indie books – the Hell on Earth series would be first and I hit that one out of the ballpark by introducing Hexed earlier in the year. Yay, team! The Dark Day Isle series would be next…. (looks around for muse, and finds her ecstatically pointing toward book 3 of my Ulfrinn series.) Erm…no. I just said, we’re not adding more books to the series that are still with the publisher.

After three days of staring at the blinking courser, I break down. Fine! We’ll work on the damn 3rd book to the Ulfrinn series until you get bored with it!

One week later….

I’m now staring at a blinking courser for book 3 of the Ulfrinn series, so I guess she’s finally bored with it. What are we working on today, muse?

“I had an idea.”

No. No, you didn’t–

“Yes, I did and it’s totally awesome, you wanna hear it?”

No, I–

“SOOOOooo, this is how is goes…”

😐

Two days and one new WIP added to the pile later…

This has been my year so far; lather, rinse, repeat. How are your 2019 goals shaping up, writers? Are you struggling to meet them, surpassing them or just happy with writing anything at all? Do you often find yourself at odds with your muse or did you get a fully-functional, helpful one?

There’s an endless supply of advice out there on the world wide web about how to conquer, control and keep your creative flow in line – and I really hope you’re all finding something useful to help you along your journey. They often don’t work for me because much of it centers around being a Plotter, which I will never be. I couldn’t plot a book to save my life. I’m 100% a Pantser, completely at the mercy of my characters and which direction they want to go, what they want to reveal, and those delicious twists even I never see coming.

Plus, I have the most obstinate, stubborn-as-hell muse in existence. I just really hope I’m not the only who refers to their ‘creativity’ as a separate entity they often butt heads with – LOL. If I am, don’t tell me, I like living in denial of my issues. 😉

❤ Happy Saturday! Wherever you are, I’m sure you’re trying to stay cool like the rest of us – so now might be a great time to work on your next winter or autumn themed novel. Just an idea! 😀

My Preciousss

How big is it? Will it ever see the light of day? Do you feel worthy enough to be its creator? How long are you going to hoard it all to yourself in the dank caverns of your ‘unfinished’ works like Gollum and his precious ring?

Writers, I’m talking about that ONE story that’s been festering in your head for decades. Maybe it was your first, or your twentieth, but it’s the one that you feel the most attached to and most protective of. The one that you’re beyond certain would be an international best seller if only someone like J.K. Rowling penned it, instead. And so you sit on it, leave it on the back burner while teeter-tottering whether or not you’ll ever actually put all of the effort into seeing it published.

Maybe, it’s the one you regret never finishing but have come to the conclusion that you just don’t have it in you anymore to do so. Maybe, you’ve taken the advice that not all books should be published to heart, despite having the inability to trash it. Oh, it’s still there. Every freaking scrap of paper you ever wrote notes about it on, every document related to it taking up space on your hard drive. You’ve moved it a dozen times already, both in boxes and digitally from computer to computer…yeah, I know you have. The entire evolution of that story can be traced all the way back to the beginning, it would just take days to piece all of the notebooks/pages/documents/napkins together to prove it.

How many times do you go back and read it? How many drafts have you created trying to revise it, using all of the knowledge and experience you’ve gained over your writing career to turn it into the masterpiece you’ve always envisioned?

Why are you still unhappy with it?

I’ll tell you. Because it’s your precious, your baby, the one you have dedicated so many hours, emotions, ideas, brilliant moments of creation to, and the one that you held to such high standards, they’ve become unreachable now–and I know this because mine started at age 17 with a simple idea.

That “idea” has since grown into a Tolkienesque catastrophe of details, lands, languages, characters, back stories, side stories – I actually have one completed novel and another that is about 85% completed and they’re not even the beginning – they’re about times, events, and characters that happen hundreds of years AFTER the beginning and the worst part – they’re both over 100,000 words in length! I have an actual filing cabinet filled with handwritten segments, notes, glossaries, character lists, you name it – multiple files saved in Dropbox and if I were to quit my job today and dedicate all of my time to only writing these books, they would still take me years to finish – and then I can’t even promise I’d be happy enough with them to hit publish.

Because, it’s that one story I’ve never felt worthy enough to write. That I imagine Peter Jackson would turn into a blockbuster in a heartbeat, if only I wasn’t the author. And I honestly can’t say why, just that it’s my one…my first, and definitely my most ambitious story of all time. I’m not 100% sure that it will never see the light of day, though. There’s no finality, only wishy-washiness over it, so for now – just putting it out there that if you have your own preciousss – you’re not alone, Gollumses.

Hopefully, I’m not alone, either LOL – so how ’bout it? Ready to dig up the old works and dust them off, give them a new polish or read over? Are you really so sure that you don’t have a hidden gem lurking in all those files just waiting for you to remember it’s there?

❤ Food for thought, writers! Enjoy your Hump Day! 😉

Meet the Character | The Meddler

Call me cupid. I’m not a sap, I just like seeing my friends so deep in the well, they can’t even tell they’re sinking. It’s that moment when it finally hits them that I get the biggest thrill. And I don’t mind taking in glory only I’m aware of while standing off stage; in the shadows, no one else aware.

They call me a meddler, those friends. They don’t appreciate everything I’m doing for them, and they certainly aren’t there shaking my hand with gratitude when their worlds align with the one that takes their breath away and leaves them staggering for balance.

I’m after some of my biggest challenges to date with this lot and I don’t have much time to pull it off. One week: 8 nights and 7 days is hardly enough time to make hearts collide hard enough to create the bungee effect. Hook those anchors in, so even if they try to run, they’ll eventually come springing right back, unable to stay away. Yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me…guess it’s a good thing I was left in charge of the guest list.

And if I pick up something a little extra for myself? That’s just for fun, no worries. Everyone knows that cupid’s only care is others, not for himself. We’re aware that love can’t love, it’s the cosmic balance of it all. But lust…yeah, he can certainly lust and I’ve got a wild horse in my sights.

As the son of an equestrian veterinarian, I’m particularly fond of the beasts and the wilder, the better. But, this isn’t about my play time, it’s about those hearts unwittingly put in my care. My bowstring is still quivering, arrows already launched. Now, I guide them with my magic touches, make sure they take hold for the big pay off.

Sometimes, my targets make it so easy it’s almost shameful to take credit, yet I’m going to anyway. Because, to them, I’ll always just be the meddler. Never mind that I could have made these matches blindfolded. Lining them up and hitting them out of the park are two different things, though. I still have a lot of nudging and okay, yeah, meddling to ensure my victory–especially with the two most stubborn targets to ever grace my sights.

People always think those who fight the hardest against love have the most to lose, but I know differently. It’s because they have the most to gain. And I’ve never met two people with more room for a whole lot of love than my favorite picks for the week’s end. I’m betting all my money on them, so they better not let me down.

I can’t afford any more gambling debts.

>>–♥–> Monsieur Louis (aka cupid)