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Candice LaBria: Falling Hard (Contest & FREE in KU!)
Thursday, September 30th, 2021

“Music is to the Soul what Words are to the Mind.”
~Modest Mouse

As I started writing the short story, The Homecoming, music was an obvious component. It’s a bonding experience for my couple. It sets the mood for a romantic night. I listened to music as I wrote. Songs inspired feelings I wanted to convey. Lyrics prompted dialogue. It’s a second chance at first love. Lauren and Beck shared their first kiss at the homecoming dance just minutes before he broke her heart. Twenty-plus years and two failed marriages pass before Lauren—OM Goodness, I’m so sorry, I’m so ahead of myself. Sorry.

I’ll start over: I have loved music since I was a child. I remember finding a single of Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World when I was five and playing it over and over. Suspiciously, my record player disappeared one night. Hmmm. Thanks to the internet (and lack of parental control!) I don’t have that problem now. I stream music constantly. The array of genres means no matter what my mood, feeling or occasion, I can find the perfect song.  How many times have you been experiencing a major life event and suddenly come upon the song that captures that moment? It has gotten me through heartbreaks, made the road trip memorable, created lasting friendships, and elevated a celebration to an unforgettable party.

My first boyfriend and I would talk on the phone every night. He was a bass guitar kid. He would play albums and delve into structure and composition. Me – I just knew I liked it or not. It frustrated him because I always got the lyrics wrong. (Still do. And still don’t care. Mine are way better.) Music created that bond between us. Decades later, we had a discussion about Rush’s 2112 album. I hated it as a kid. I watched it on YouTube last year. I got it. And I realized the lost art of listening to an album; how the musicians craft a series of songs to tell a story or address issues. I now have a record player again. When was the last time you listened to an album?

I shared a desk with an employee in the late 90s. I worked days and he worked nights. He would leave me funny notes, we barely knew each other having only met once. One day as Christmas approached, our paths crossed. I asked if he wanted to help me do some shopping for the office. We headed to the mall. A song came on over the sound system. He swept me up in his arms and waltzed me around the store. It was beautiful and magical. There was a smattering of applause. A woman commented how lucky I was to have such a spontaneous guy. I thanked her. Our friendship was cemented in that moment. We traveled through Europe together. I attended his wedding and have watched his children grow. Have you ever made a friend over music or lost one?

My son taught me how innate the emotional response is to music. He was barely two months old when I was dancing him through the house to the soundtrack from Braveheart. We came to the death scene track. His expression changed and he started crying. It took me about five times to realize it was the song that was doing it, not hunger or a need for a diaper change. Something in the composition spoke to his soul at that young age. Studies conducted on the powerful effects of music on your mood support this. What song has evoked an emotional response from you?

My daughter taught me the power of the musical group experience. She loves music more than I do. As I struggled to bond with her as she entered her teens, I bought concert tickets to One Direction. At the time I wasn’t familiar with their music. She had an iPod and earbuds, so I didn’t have to listen to it like the torture I inflicted on my parents. I was excited to be spending an evening with her. We joined the thousands of girls, moms, and the occasional dad, in the football stadium. I fell in love with the opening act, 5SOS, but that is another story. The boys appeared. The energy in the stadium was astounding. 78,000 people standing and singing every word along with One D.  We were a united group. My daughter and I have traveled the US chasing bands and catching shows. How I miss that with Covid and look forward to pursuing that again. What was your favorite concert?

As I started writing the short story, The Homecoming, music was an obvious component. It’s a bonding experience for my couple. It sets the mood for a romantic night. I listened to music as I wrote. Songs inspired feelings I wanted to convey. Lyrics prompted dialogue (yes, I verified they were correct—thank you, internet). It’s a second chance at first love. Lauren and Beck shared their first kiss at the homecoming dance just minutes before he broke her heart. Twenty-plus years and two failed marriages pass before Lauren, filled with liquid courage, makes a date to reconnect with her lost first love. Drinks in a cozy Manhattan bar turn steamy, and their old spark is rekindled, but Beck leaves her wanting more. Still haunted by the heartbreak of homecoming, Lauren doubts the budding relationship after his sudden cancelation. Can Beck convince her to give him another chance? Or will the distance, both in time and location, keep them apart? “Old Me” by 5 Seconds of Summer spoke to me for the story. What’s your romance and music story?

The Homecoming is included in Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard anthology being released TODAY!  Get your copy here!

Falling Hard is a collection of 7 steamy short stories with all the proceeds going to ProLiteracy, https://www.proliteracy.org,  a leading organization working to promote adult literacy.  I made a playlist for my story. Take a listen:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/11br0jZGY8j2zZMU7zl65J?si=0eb2cd4f07f441e4.

I asked the other contributors about music.  For Jordyn Koss’ story, Open Enrollment, Ed Sheeran’s All the Stars has meaning for her characters and to the story. Cher’s anthem of All or Nothing inspired Ryan T. Osborn’s character in Claiming Papa.  As Michal Scott was writing Who can Find a Virtuous Woman, Rick James’ Super Freak was playing in the background. Deni Dawson’s says, “Time is an important theme in my short story, so I wanted songs that embody the futility of time, that when time is all you have, it becomes meaningless. Until you run out of it.” Check out Lord Huron’s When the Night is Over.

If you want to read the full story on the Playlist behind Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard Anthology, find it on my blog https://candicelabria.com/2021/09/15/falling-hard-the-playlist-and-the-stories/ . Interested in hearing the songs, check out them out here:  https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3N24um7YMExHKwLOy7nXek?si=2bab5d919d78438d

Contest

I would love to hear about how music has played a part in your life. Drop me a comment and share the experience. Have a playlist that inspires you? Drop the link. I am always looking for new music. Comment, and Delilah will pick one lucky winner to send a copy of FALLING HARD to someone who isn’t a KU subscriber!

A huge Thank You to Delilah Devlin for giving me the opportunity to write about music.

Happy listening and reading.
XoXo
Candy

About the Author

Candice LaBria is the author of The Homecoming and a member of Passionate Ink. She is currently working on a Mardi Gras-themed short story and a novel about a couple that is stuck rut. Can they get past it and save their marriage or is the chasm insurmountable? Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @bria_writes, Facebook Candice LaBria, newsletter. Follow the story and music at www. CandiceLaBria.com.

Sunday Morning Song — Enjoy!
Sunday, September 19th, 2021

How about some vintage No Doubt? Just because every day should start with a fun song…

Enjoy the last day of the weekend! Get some rest, watch a movie with family or friends, eat a good meal!

Pssst. The spaghetti-food-fight would’ve really bothered me if they hadn’t been eating outside! Also, did he make a fresh batch of spaghetti sauce or did he really scoop it off the floor?

I’m still building my workout playlist! (Contest)
Friday, August 13th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…pat!
*~*~*

It’s been a busy week, and I didn’t have time to review ALL the songs you ladies previously mentioned on my first request for playlist recommendations! So, here’s one more chance to win another $5 Amazon gift card! All the Queen songs were spot on, BTW. I’m thinking AC/DC, too. (“The Jack” is my fave!).

This one’s quirky and fun and perfect for the start of a workout (which for me is all about housecleaning—don’t you dance with the vacuum cleaner?). Thanks to Christine for reminding me this song exists!

Help me build my “Workout Playlist” (Contest)
Sunday, August 8th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Jennifer Beyer!
*~*~*

So, it’s time to shed some pounds!!!! Not because I want to be slim. I don’t. I’ve done that, and it’s too much work to maintain. I just want to feel better, less sluggish. Simple as that. I figure 30 pounds ought to do it.

I loaded the Weight Watchers app on my iPhone. I filled the fridge with healthy, nutritious snacks like celery, hummus, cottage cheese, eggs… There are sardines and crackers in the cabinet. I like snacking, so I try not to sabotage myself with chips and nuts (Gawd, I love nuts!). I’m a salt person, not a sweetaholic. My dd already cooks nutritious dinners, so I just have to navigate every other meal throughout the day. I’ll count the points!

What I have to do is up my activity. Yeah, I love the pool, but I like to float. I can do some lunges, some kicks holding onto the pool noodle…all that…no problem, but I figure if I add music to my housecleaning/organizing, I’ll be more apt to dance while I do it. You know, something fun instead of the old treadmill.

So far, I have “Walk This Way” by Run DMC and Aerosmith, “Happy” by Ferell, and “Wild Things” by the Troggs. So, help me fill out my playlist to get my a$$ in gear to work up a bit of sweat.

I love Heavy Metal, Classic Rock, and some Pop. Suggest away for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, and if you have suggestions for low-impact exercises, feed those to me, too!

The Devlin Family’s Musical “Heritage” (Contest)
Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Stacey Kinzebach!
*~*~*

The 16-year-old girl drove me into town today. Before we left the driveway, she plugged in her phone, pulled up Pandora, and started the song list at the top of her menu.

The first song played was “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters, the next was “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day, followed by Etta James’ “At Last.” She sighed when she heard that song, saying, “That one’s my favorite.” BTW, she sang every word of every random song played. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Her mom had the same taste growing up, and this didn’t happen because we play Classic Rock and Motown songs 24/7 in our house. We listen and know well all the current hits, but the teenager is the one who brings up the frequent gripe our family shares that they just don’t make memorable music anymore. When the opening strains of “Stand by Me” play, you instantly know the song, and no matter how long it’s been since you heard it last, you remember the words.

This morning when the guitar riff at the start of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” played, we both squealed and began dancing in our seats. I guess we’re doing something right. 🙂

Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me what songs bring the biggest smiles and joy to your family!

 

Cara/September North: What do The Drummonds and Arts & Crafts have to do with each other?
Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Hello everyone and thank you for having me as a guest on this blog. I enjoy arts and crafts. Pinterest is one of those social media sites that I thoroughly enjoy because it not only lets me save tons of pics of my muse, Jake Gyllenhaal, it also allows me to find new arts and crafts type projects I can work on. Are you crafty? In my YA for Mature Readers, The Drummond’s Series (14 Books!), I think at least one person is artistically inclined. The Drummonds are musicians, but not everyone is awesome at it, and several of their mates have other skills such as spray painting, pottery, making awesome “I’m With the Band” T-shirts.

What are some of your favorite arts and crafts? Are they holiday-themed?

As an author, I got a batch of my books with the pages stuck together. They sent me a fresh batch, but I am trying to figure out what all I can make with the randomly glued books I have. I don’t want to throw them away. So far, I have origami cranes and I mod-podged some pencils. Any other suggestions?

If you are into YA, please check out my Drummonds. They are available where e-books are sold.

Website: http://www.creativewritingwithdrnagle.com
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Why do I like this? (Contest)
Thursday, April 29th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Mary Preston!
*~*~*

Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, watch this video and tell me something you like about it. Maybe I’ll figure out why I like it so much!

P.S. Do you recognize him?

MORE OPEN CONTESTS!

  1. Our Favorite Pets! (Contest) — Last day to enter! Win a FREE book!
  2. “Blown away, tissues on hand…” Have you ordered your copy? (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. Andy Carley: Pure Magic (Contest + Excerpt) — Win a FREE book!

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