How #GlennFrey influenced my novel, #IntheShadowoftheDragonKing

I know it might sound odd, but Eagles band member, vocalist, and songwriter, Glenn Frey influenced my novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King.

I didn’t really notice it until I started going through my notes and saw all these references to Eagle songs. “Incorporate feeling here.” “Listen to I Can’t Tell You Why. Fill David’s gut with this raw emotion”

Frey wasn’t a magic man, a wizard. He didn’t own, fly around on, or, to my knowledge, even believe in dragons. He didn’t write fantasy stories or live in a hobbit house, so how could he possibly inspire me to write a YA fantasy book?

The answer is simple. He was an amazing storyteller, and his lyrics of love, heartache, life, touched me and my characters in more ways than I even imagined.

As I went through my notes on Dragon King, I was surprised to see all the references I’d made to Eagle songs. Trust me there were other artists referenced: Billy Joel, Pink Floyd. Aerosmith, but none as many times as the Eagles. And I found it equally weird and remarkable that the songs seemed to center predominately around two characters: my grand knight, Sir Trogsdill, and my very young, inexperienced protagonist, David. There are over 30 references to the Eagles/Glenn Frey songs in my notes. 30.  That’s mind-boggling to me.

What were the songs that kept popping up?

And the references continue to show up in my 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy. Phrases, words of wisdom, notes on how to incorporate the message into the book. Some explore feelings within a character. Take New Kid In Town for example. The whole beginning of this song is exactly how David feels when he is entrusted with his quest. Everyone is watching him and he can’t let anyone down, however, I didn’t write the novel around those lyrics. The lyrics simply ‘fit’.

Desperado is a song steeped in wisdom of the heart. I can so hear Sir Trogsdill giving similar words of advice to his squire, Eric, and to David.  They are also words and emotions he wrestles with on his own as he battles his own demons. Again, no lyrics were used or re-worded. It’s more of a feeling. An interpretation.

Writers get their inspiration from a million different places. It just so happens that most of my inspiration comes from song lyrics, mainly because of the emotions they stir within me. If I want a character to feel a certain way, I delve into my memory banks and latch onto the song that makes me feel the way I want my character to feel. I note it in the margins, in comment boxes. That way, if I fall short in what I was trying to convey, I can listen to the music and then hone in on the emotion.

Still, it never ceases to amaze me how the music of one person, one band can touch your heart and soul.  There have been many artists who have found that special place within me, some more than others. Glenn Frey’s passing didn’t devastate me, not like Elvis’ did, but I can assure you, his music will be missed just the same.

So, Glenn, if you can hear me, thank you for your songs, thank you for the inspiration.

And more than anything, may there always be a rainbow above you.  Rest in peace.

Passing on the artistic gene

We all have a talent.  Some of us can sing, some can write, some can dance, others can play a musical instrument.  I know I personally marvel at someone who can draw, paint or sculpt.  It boggles my mind to see someone turn a blank canvas into a spectacular work of art.

All of my kids have inherited some sort of talent.  My oldest daughter is a writer. She’s had several poems published as well as a children’s picture book.  She is currently a teacher in Seattle, Washington and has an uncanny ability to pick up on other languages.  She is currently learning to speak, write and converse in Nepali and Hindi.

my daughter’s book

My middle daughter sings like an angel and loves the theater.  She won several awards in high school for her singing.  She’s also an amazing artist and designer.  She is currently going for her Master’s degree in theater Costume Design and will graduate in May 2013.  Her internships include the Santa Fe Opera, Tibbets Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan, and the famous Maltz Theater in Jupiter, Florida.  The Winston-Salem Journal even featured her in one of their news articles you can read here.

My oldest son possesses many talents.  He can play several musical instruments including saxophone, contra-base clarinet and guitar.  He is also a fantastic artist, inheriting his father’s gene to be able to look at a piece of wood and create something beautiful from it.  This morning he completed (except for some small touch-ups and a few coats of polyurethane) his most recent project and largest undertaking to date.  He drew the design of the queen trigger fish by hand, then carved and wood-burned the design.  Isn’t it spectacular?  And he did all from  memory.

My youngest son is musically inclined, playing saxophone and alto, tenor and base clarinets.  His passion though is computers, video games and weapons.  He can tell you anything you want to know about military arsenal back to medieval days.  He’s still in high school and is weighing his options for the future.  Ever since he was little he’s show a propensity for the military, so I wouldn’t be surprised that’s where he ends up.  It’s second nature to him.  He still loves to pick up a clarinet now and then and belt out a tune.  I hope he never loses his passion for music.

Yes, my kids are amazing.  I always wanted another writer in the family.  I got more than that.  I got a variety of artists in my family, and I am in awe and so proud of every one of them.

What talents do you have?  What others run in your family?

Touched by an angel – Austin Criswell

I’ve always loved music.  As a writer, it’s a necessity in my life.  It inspires me, comforts me, lifts me and cries with me.  Very few musicians touch the core of my soul.  Elvis Presley, John Denver, Carrie Underwood and James Taylor are four singers that capture the very heart of me when I hear them sing.  There is something about their voices that tug at my heartstrings.  I could get lost in their voices, their music for hours and never regret a moment.

Thanks to Amy at TBNRanch, I just discovered singer and guitarist, Austin Criswell, who makes me feel the same way.  I don’t know anything about this guy except that when I just heard this version of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, my soul almost wept.  Austin’s voice crawled deep within me and stays there still.

Thank you, Amy for introducing me to Austin.  This is such a beautiful version of Dylan’s song.  Your post came along at a vital point in my W.I.P., and the words completely echo what my David wants, but can’t say, to Charlotte.  I had forgotten about this song, and if David could sing, I would give him Austin’s voice.

Hit play, close your eyes, and listen.  When over, let me know what you think.