Tag Archive for: YouTube

The Red String of My Mind

by Bethany Maines

In the cop shows, whenever the intrepid detective (Watchingthe Detectives, Elvis Costello)
is working on the massive conspiracy that killed her mother/lover/those six
girls we never met, but who really give our character a reason to act, the case
is always shown as pictures (Pictures of You, The Cure) tacked up and connected
by red string.  I don’t know what set
designer came up with the red string, but they ought to get royalties.  It’s so common that if I worked at a craft
store and someone bought red string I’d think they were a serial killer, a cop
thrown off the force for refusing to quit the case, or a grandmother of
toddlers stocking up for Christmas.  I
bring this up for the reason that it is a fitting visual for the song lyric
littered wasteland (Teenage Wasteland, The Who) that is my brain. 
Whenever I have a story noodling around in my head, but
haven’t moved it to the level of having an outline, my natural writing style is
to pick out scenes that I want to write, type them up, and save each scene to it’s
own word document.  As you can imagine,
this creates a number of random word documents that might be hard to keep track
of.  But I have a system, most often I’ll
name the document the song lyric associated with it.  As a book grows, frequently these scenes
become chapters, and those document names become chapter titles.  Which is why the original table of contents for
Bulletproof Mascara, the first of my Carrie Mae Mystery novels, read more like
a playlist than serious literary subtitles. 
Sadly, editor made me change most of them – now they simply hint at the
songs they reference.  Apparently, the
only people more uptight that literary rights lawyers or music rights
lawyers.  But you can still rock out to
the Bulletproof Mascara playlist simply by visiting my youtube page  (youtube.com/CarrieMaeMysteries) – please enjoy
the musical stylings of David Bowie, James Brown, Simon & Garfunkel, Tech9,
Morcheeba, and (of course) more.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Wild Waters, Tales
from the City of Destiny
and An
Unseen Current
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

While My Guitar Gently Teaches

Sparkle Abbey with Lori Rader-Day

Today we’d like to share a guest post from our friend and fellow mystery author, Lori Rader-Day whose book, The Black Hour, will be out this July 8th. 

Lori – You have the stage!

a YouTube video I can’t stop watching. It’s a clip from a tribute to George
Harrison from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in which Harrison was posthumously
inducted as a solo artist. Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, and Harrison’s
son Dhani, perform While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

I like the Beatles as much as anyone who wasn’t alive while
they were a band, and I adore Tom Petty. But the reason I can’t stop watching this
clip is because about three and a half minutes into the performance, Prince
enters the stage and breaks out a guitar solo that shuts down life as we know

The clip has been viewed more than 3 million times. One of
the comments says something like, “If civilization ended after that Prince
guitar solo, I’d be OK with it.”
This is the stuff of procrastination. Watching videos of
puppies learning to howl and little kids belting out songs with lyrics far beyond their years is what we do when we’re feeling uninspired and stuck. And
yet I keep going back to that Prince guitar solo, not because I want to waste
time, but because something in the way Prince throws that little red Corvette
of a guitar around on stage teaches me something I want to know—about

Here’s the lesson I keep trying to learn from that video:
mastery shows. Mastery is worth the effort. When an artist is in command of his
or her form, you want to be a part of it.  

Coming July 8th
Haven’t you ever opened a book in a bookstore and found
yourself within a couple of sentences in the firm grasp of a master storyteller?
As readers we’re often forgiving. We’ll give a writer pages, chapters,
sometimes a full book before we decide if we’re satisfied. We’re all willing to
be captivated. We’re hoping to be
captivated. It doesn’t always pan out. But when it does, there’s something
magical about being under the spell of an expert at ease in the command of her
story, someone we can trust completely with our time and attention.

This theory holds until you realize that the original
recording of “While My Guitar” by the Beatles featured a guitar solo by Eric
Clapton. Clapton, it’s safe to say, is a master of his genre, too. So why is
Prince’s three-minute guitar-weeping solo like a bomb going off on that stage?
I think it’s because he’s playing with expectations. The
song may be one we all recognize, and Petty and company are doing a serviceable
job for their parts, but when Prince enters the fray, he’s doesn’t merely do
what’s necessary. He doesn’t recreate Clapton’s notes. He throws himself body
and soul into creating something new from the expected.

And that’s the lesson we writers can take to the page.
Mystery writers, perhaps especially, have signed on to fulfill certain
obligations to the reader. We have to set up the crime, dole out the suspects,
pin down the clues, and for the love of all that is holy, solve the crime by the end of the book. But that doesn’t mean there
isn’t room for creativity in how those expectations are met. Riffing on what’s
expected, in fact, means you’re in the conversation with all that has come
before you. And like Prince, you can step up to honor that history and still
blow everyone’s minds. 

Again, Lori Rader-Day is the author of The Black Hour, out from Seventh Street Books on July 8th. She’s a fan of music, mysteries, and mutts. Learn more at: www.LoriRaderDay.com 
A great post Lori! Thanks for being our guest. 

Readers, what do you think? When was the last time you were totally blown away by a keep-you-up-all-night-read, a performance, or a work of art? 

Leave a comment and share your thoughts because we’ll be doing a random drawing from among the posters for an ARC of Lori’s The Back Hour. 

All hail technology

By: Joelle Charbonneau
The age of computers and the internet is a wonderful
thing.  Facebook and Twitter, blogs and
e-mail allow us to keep in touch with friends and family in way that weren’t
possible before.  I, for one, am thrilled
because I’m pretty bad at writing letters. 
Well, actually the writing part I did pretty well.  I sat down with stationary, got out my pink
(or green or chartreuse) pen and started scribbling.  Sadly, unless I’m being really careful, my penmanship
looks a lot more like I went to school to be a doctor than a singer.
Still, I was great at putting pen to paper and writing line
after line of chat.  When I was done, I’d
happily put the paper in the envelope, print the name of the lucky recipient on
the front and put it to the side with the intention of digging out my friend’s
address and mailing it the next day.  Only,
the next day never seemed to come.  At
least, not for the letter.  The poor
thing would sit there like an abandoned toy. 
Waiting for someone to put it to use. 
When I finally did remember that I was supposed to send the letter,
several weeks or months had passed which meant I needed to write the thing all
over again because my news was outdated.
Yep.  I was the person
that e-mail was created for.  Sit
down.  Type out a message.  Hit send. 
No street
address or stamp required.  Hurrah!  Let us all worship at the altar of
Or not.
While I understand e-mail and mostly get how Facebook,
Twitter and this blog work (I say mostly because much to my dismay the internet
elves keeping changing the rules on those programs) there are certain pieces of
technology that have me baffled.  With
the upcoming release of MURDER FOR CHOIR, I was encouraged by those who are
smarter than I am to put some clips of my singing up on YouTube.  They reasoned that since my amateur sleuth is
a classically trained singer, it might be nice for the internet using public to
see where I got some of my inspiration from. 
Since everyone I talked to said it would be easy to pull some clips off
of a DVD and stick them up on YouTube, I agreed to take a whack at it.
And another whack at it.
And another.
So much for easy.
I guess one person’s easy is another person’s tension
However, despite the headache, seven or eight hours of
shaking my head at the computer screen and a bunch of reboots later – I am
happy to report that perseverance and dumb luck won out. 
Of course, now that I am sitting back basking in the glow of
my accomplishment (which I am not sure I know how to repeat) I am wondering –
what types of technology have you struggled with that everyone else claims is
easy?  Please share!
Oh – and in case you are interested…here is one of the
videos I managed to upload.  Here is
hoping that it works!