Thursday, March 20, 2014

What's Love Got To Do With It?

I blame it on my mom. Yep, my dear sweet mother turned me into a sap early in my life.

I never had a chance.

Once upon a time, television hosted maybe 5 or 6 channels during viewing hours – unlike today where we have hundreds of channels to choose from, 24/7, and if that’s not good enough, there’s a host of online providers to meet whatever movie desire you might have, not to mention all the complete series of our favorite programs. . .

You get the picture : )

Since my mom worked weekdays, she never had a chance to develop a fondness for soap operas or game show. Instead, on the weekends, she’d play records of her favorite singers. Sinatra, Crosby, and so many more. My didn’t-have-a-romantic-bone-in-her-body mother played records that cranked out love ballads all weekend long.

I was doomed from the start. These love songs left some serious grooves in my gray matter. Fifty years later, I can still belt out lyrics to songs long forgotten, while modern day tunes gets twisted and blurred together with multiple artists and songs.

Whew. My mind can be a scary place!

So what’s the point of all this, you ask?

Melody and tunes catch your attention; lyrics capture your heart.

There are times when I’ll sit in front of the computer…that’s it, just sit. I can’t for the life of me figure out the next move for my character. So I’ll get up and pace around, maybe do some laundry, drive to the store  -- and it isn’t until I hear a chord or measure in an unrelated song, that my mind opens up and begin to hum a tune from years back. The words come back with a rush and there I am again, sitting next to my dad on the couch while he tried to watch a hockey game over caterwallin’ of my mom’s record player.

Sometimes I wonder how we survived those formative years, LOL!

Bear with me while I stroll down memory lane and offer examples of lyrics in action. As my Seeker buds can attest, I have very little character-conflict-generation in my soul. In my initial drafts, I jump over conflict for my characters like a pole-vaulter clearing a winning height. If left to my own resources, I’d be writing books that introduced my characters on page one and pronounced them man and wife on page ten, LOL! I desperately need help in the GMC aspect of plotting and I’ve finally found a way to put all those hours of humming and singing to good use.

Here are the partial lyrics to a song I remember hearing when we’d go visit my aunt and uncle. This song stuck in my mind because the Royal Guardsmen sang some goofy songs, yet this ballad had heart and soul:

You say, you’ll always be proud of me
Well, I’m gonna see that you do, baby.
I’ll be somebody something,
If you wait, babe I promise you, yeah.

I’ve got my pride,
Every kid’s gotta hold his head up high
Nothing like you and me
Victims of, poverty.

No, baby let’s wait
No, baby let’s wait
We’ve got time.

Baby Let’s Wait, --The Royal Guardsmen

If you want to check out the tune and the rest of the song, I’ve included a link to the YouTube video.

This song established the GMC for Zac Davidson, the hero in my current book, SecondChance Ranch. He’s the youngest of the three boys and kind of a wild child. No one took him seriously, except Jennifer O’Reilly, his best friend and love. They were inseparable in high school and young love wanted to grow, but Zac couldn’t afford to stay in Hawk Ridge. He had to go out and prove to his family that he was worthy of his share of the Circle D. He knew if he stayed in Hawk Ridge, he wouldn’t amount to anything beyond what his family and the town thought of him. He loved Jennifer, but had to leave to prove himself.

My mother ADORED Engelbert Humperdink. OMG!! Had every album the man ever recorded. He sang a lot of ballads, but this song had kind of a zippy-er beat. Zippy, yet relevant to the male-female relationship:

If I had a chance to see
To put myself inside your shoes
Could I stand by and watch me crawl
Or would I try to give my all
If you were me, and I were you

If I Were You, --Engelbert Humperdink

In Second Chance Ranch, Jennifer O’Reilly had a difficult decision to make when she found out she was pregnant. Having earned a full-ride scholarship to nursing school and out on her own for the first time, Jennifer had a lot of responsibility riding on her shoulders. When she turns to Zac for support and decides she isn’t going to get any from him, she carries that stake through her heart for years. It isn’t until Zac moves back to Hawk Ridge that she begins to realize what he had gone through all those years ago. She begins to put herself inside his shoes and discover there are always two sides of a story.

For these lyrics, I really can’t put the blame on my mom. She didn’t like the Beatles when they burst onto the scene, but she had laid the groundwork for my penchant for romance and there was nothing more romantic than the early years of the Beatles:
There were bells on a hill
But I never heard them ringing
No I never heard them at all
Till there was you.

Till There Was You, --The Beatles

In Rough Road Home, the third book in the Circle D series, oldest brother, Nick Davidson, continues to punish himself over his wife’s accidental death. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is the theme of his life. He sees nothing of the beauty or love in the world -- he doesn’t think he deserves it. Instead, he tours the country on the back of a bull, going from rodeo to rodeo trying to run away from himself. It isn’t until Rachel Hill pops into his life that he finally learns to let go and live.

So, there you have it. The Audra Harders’ method of piecing together GMC. What do you think? Do song lyrics influence how you see the world? Can you identify with anything I just babbled about? Share how music and lyrics influence your work and maybe share a theme song for your current WIP. Speedbo is only half-way through. There’s still time to get lost in a song and give your characters a whole new outlook on life.

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for an MP3 download or audio CD of your favorite music-to-work-by album by your favorite artist – or collection of artists – not to exceed $12.00. I hope you find the words to the song just as inspiring as the music!! Winner will be announced in the WE.

AND NEWS! I’m thrilled to announce my first independently published book, Second Chance Ranch. Second Chance Ranch is the second book of the Circle D series set in Hawk Ridge, Colorado. I consider Gabe and Melanie’s story in Rocky Mountain Hero (Love Inspired Books) the first book introducing the Davidson family. The Circle D Ranch lives on in my heart, and I hope yours as well. Enjoy Zac and Jennifer’s story!

To celebrate, I’m giving away 5 Kindle copies of Second Chance Ranch. Leave a comment and have your name tossed in the cowboy hat! Come back this weekend and peek in the WE to see if you've won!!

The Trails’ End Ranch is For Sale
Pediatric oncology nurse, Jennifer O’Reilly returns home to Hawk Ridge, Colorado to establish a mountain recreation camp as a safe adventure for children battling cancer. Her path to ownership depends on developing a profitable business plan to convince the bank she can manage not only the camping facility, but the entire Trails’ End Ranch operation.
Generations earlier, one misplayed hand of poker lost part of the family ranch, and Zac Davidson, youngest son and financial genius of the Circle D, wants it back. Intrigued since childhood by the legend of his great grandfather, Zac is the only family member who holds out hope that one day the ranch would become Davidson property again. When the ranch goes on the market, money is no object, only Jennifer O’Reilly stands between him and his dream.
High school sweethearts, Jennifer and Zac have wounded each other, and the scars run deep. Jennifer is forced to reveal a secret she’s protected for twelve years. Will past mistakes jeopardize the future of both of their dreams or give them a second chance?


  1. First - 40K baby!!!!! Just passed it and popped over before going to bed :D.

    Second - AUDRA!!!!!!!! I was thinking today how much I miss you :).

    Third - I'M IN FOR THE DRAWING!!! Both for the music and the book. But I'd rather win the book ;).

    Fourth - I’d be writing books that introduced my characters on page one and pronounced them man and wife on page ten, LOL!

    /puzzled/ What's wrong with this? Isn't that essentially a mail order bride/marriage of convenience story? At least they're already stuck to each other by then ;).

    Fifth - um... there was something else... Oh! I started with a WOW CD playlist. You know the top 24 songs of the year ones [or however many] then expanded it as CDs have been added to our collection [or I dusted off old ones]. Now there's a bunch of Matthew West [12yo's fave] and Rich Mullins [hubs and I's fave I dusted off - and his songs play a key role in one MS] and several others. I'm in the process of working my way through them all and making a faves fave list of just the ones I love - the ones I sing to while I work or can't work through for when I only want 'good' songs ;).

    I also downloaded the Frozen soundtrack... bought it off Amazon for a friend and it came with the whole free digital deal. That might be fun... ;)

  2. Congratulations on your new venture, Audra.

    I love music, but I don't play it when I write. I work better in silence. Which puts me in the minority, I'm sure.

    Coffee's ready.

  3. I love your post!

    Your book sounds great and I would love to win a copy.

    I haven't been writing with music in the background. It has mostly been with TV in the background usually old reruns on Netflix or Amazon. However my longest writing spree occurred tonight with Fox News in the background.

    Have a great night everyone and I will see you in the morning.

  4. I usually write with music in the background. On the subject of Englebert: my sister and I took my mom to see him at the 5th Avenue in Seattle for her birthday one year. We sat in the fifth row in the center. I was shocked - shocked(!) by the number of older women throwing their undies at the stage. Oh. My.

  5. I love music, and yet I do my writing in silence... or at least with the volume set so quietly I can't hear it (which kind of defeats the purpose of having it on at all). I find it too distracting, although I admit it's good for setting the right mood.

  6. Great post, Audra! I absolutely love music, and I think it definitely affects my writing. I love bluegrass, folk - that sort of thing - and the emotions captured in the raw music reflect in my characters, I believe. I actually put together "soundtracks" for each of the books in the series:

    Forget Me Not soundtrack

    Bleeding Heart soundtrack

    Morning Glory

    I feel like the music can be another way for my readers to experience the stories and really feel what the characters experience. Plus, listening to music and singing along helps me to get into my characters' heads as I write or inspire the story as I daydream.

    I'd love a chance at either or both of the giveaways - thank you! And congratulations on the new release, Audra! I came across the cover on Amazon the other day, and it's wonderful. :) Go indie authors!


    P.S. "Till There Was You" makes me think of The Music Man with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. :)

    P.P.S. Shameless plug: Forget Me Not is currently FREE for Kindle (through Friday), if anyone's interested! :) You can get your copy on Amazon HERE.

  7. I have been blaming mum for alot of things lately but not for the sappy love songs or movies.
    She didn't listen to as much in the music line (her sister did and we have the records) as a 7 year old my favourite record was by Mighty Guy Mitchel

    She did however love the musicals and we use to watch them when dad wasn't watching Westerns. Hence I love both. Nothing beat watching my hero Randolph Scott!

    She didn't like Sinatra as back then it was a you love Bing Crosby or Sinatra not both. I do have music to walk to at present its worship songs. I also have some from itunes I can only listen to on the computer. One of the new ones I love is Man of Sorrows.

    I dont need your book as you know I bought it the other day.

  8. Good morning, Audra!!!! Oh how fun to see this post, the walk down Memory Lane and your first indie release!!!!


    I brought a breakfast fritatta, loaded with egg, ham, cheese, onion, diced up taters, green peppers, and then more cheese!

    A hearty breakfast for ranch lovers is the order of the day! (Even if Dad Davidson is still on his heart-healthy diet...) :)

    Congratulations! So excited for you!!!!

  9. Helen, I write in silence, too...

    Music distracts me. But it's also a good source of inspiration when I'm not actually writing. But when I'm creating characters and scenes, I need a quiet, uninterrupted space.

  10. Suzie Johnson, SPEW ALERT!!!!


    Dying laughing.

    And cringing at the same time!!!

  11. Waving back at you Ruthy. (mental note send email to Seekers re winning Ruthy's book!)

  12. Jenny, I've got your e-mail, sweet thing, but remind me in a couple of weeks when it releases on Kindle.... It won't be out on Kindle until the end of April.


    BUT.... I think you'll love it, Jenny!!!!

  13. I loved this post. I play music all the time. My CD stack is beside my desk and when I get tired of changing CDs or need something different I go to Pandora or You tube.

    One story I wrote I only listened to Harry Connick Jr and Michael Buble. Usually I listen to country music. Talk about angst and love.

    I can't wait to read your book. Please add my name to the drawing. Beautiful cover!

    Have a great day!

    (Carol, great job!)

  14. Amazing, isn't it, Audra, how those tunes can trigger something in our brains to produce a GMC suitable for our fictional world!?

    I LOVE the cover of your new book and can hardly wait to read these new stories about the brothers of the hero in your first book!

  15. Audra, I love the cover of your new book! Very nice! I'm with you about tying the knot on page ten—I have to watch out for that too!

    When I write , I have to have quiet even though I love music. Especially when giving the house a good cleaning.

    Put my name in for the drawing! :-)

  16. Congratulations on your new book, Audra! That's so exciting and I LOVE the cover!

    I work in silence, and the dark, but I do my best *thinking* for my stories while in the car listening to those lovey dovey, sappy, sad country songs. I LOVE sappy country songs.

    Happy Spring, Seekerville!

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  18. Audra, how fun to see these song lyrics made into characters/stories!

    One of my first manuscripts (hasn't sold) was written to music. I'm wracking my brain right now trying to remember which song! Will be back later if I can ever come up with it.

  19. Love this post Audra! one: Colorado is the best State! (native who is unfortunately currently transplanted to East Coast). two: blame my dad, not mom for strange music loves (Sinatra and Neil Diamond - I can still see him serenading me in his car when I got to join him on his short business trips)
    and three: nothing like a song to trigger certain memories. only thing as powerful - certain scents

    personally, i think i write better in silence or minimal distraction, but whoa, baby - how a good lyric can set my imagination soaring (George Harrison - Got My Mind Set on You; Roy Orbison - You Got It; Cat Stevens - Cats in the Cradle). i also tend to love the saga song type stuff (Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot; Sink the Bismark - Johnny Horton; anything by Roger Miller).

    please toss my name in the stetson for book or music. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your indy book cover. my graphic artist heart smiles.

    SPEEDBO word count for yesterday: 1,270 words. gonna get this daily writing habit thing going...

  20. Second Chance ranch looks like a great story and would love to read it, put my name in the cowboy hat drawing

  21. Audra, congratulations on the new venture! I like to write in silence but am getting used to music thanks to my bookstore writing place. Some of the music suits and some doesn't depending on who is managing the music selection.
    didn't write yesterday but will be heading down to the bookstore midmorning. Please enter me for all and any prizes!

  22. Hi AUDRA, I'm loving the cover of your indie book. What a winner.
    Great tips on using music for the GMC and inspiration. I have poor auditory discrimination so I never hear the words to songs, just the melody. But I do put on music to get me in the emotional mood. Ruthy taught me that.

    But with you tube now the words come alive. smile Thanks for the tips.

  23. I only listen to music in my car and that's only one station, The Opossum. I can't imagine music not distracting me as I write. I need utter silence.

    I grew up listening to Tex Ritter, Johnny Horton, and then all the late '70 and '80's stuff. Oak Ridge Boy, Statler Brothers and Johnny Cash.

    Anyone remember the lyrics Brand New Key? I remember my dad telling me to listen to something else when I played (and sang) Going to the Chapel and We're Going to Get Married over and over and over.

  24. Audra, I loved this! I love music too. My dad used to always play oldies (from the 50's) when I was growing up, and my best friend's favorite song was, "Leader of the Pack." We'd belt that out at the top of our lungs. :)

    For my WIP I'm preparing to start, there's a song by Kelly Clarkson (can't remember the name of it right this minute) that really resonates with my heroine. Not sure for my hero yet. I love the way songs have helped you go deeper with your characters.

    Your books sound wonderful! I'd love to be put in the drawings.

  25. Hi, Audra! I love these songs you've mentioned! Couple of them I'd never heard of, but I spent half my childhood singing "Til There Was You" a la Shirley Jones. :)

    Carol! I love Frozen and the soundtrack! I downloaded it as soon as it went on sale for half off after the movie came out! :)

    Helen, praying for you during your loss and these busy exciting days in your writing. I'm with you on not writing with music. I just can't focus as well. Maybe it's because I love music so much, but I tend to give all my attention to it when I put the 'phones on. :)

    Thanks for such a great post, Audra!

  26. Hi Audra

    Beautiful cover for your new book. Didn't the Royal Guardsmen do the Snoopy songs? Used to love the Red Baron. I like music when I'm meditating about my stories but not when I'm writing. Fox News is on for background so I make sure I know what's happening in the real world. 39K in Speedbo so far.

  27. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What a great premise and what a gorgeous cover.

  28. I like silence when I write, but I play music in between to help motivate me for certain types of scenes.

  29. Well, I prefer to write in quiet, but with four kids that I homeschool, I don't get it real often. They like to turn on YouTube and play this really great teenage singer named McKenzie George. Its not that I don't like her, it's that I write better in a quiet house. But, I've learned to tune everything out, so everything works fine.

    Great post, Audra! I love the cover of your book!

    Yay Carol!!! I love to hit the 40K point. Then I can look down at the little word count bar and say 'I'm over halfway done!'

  30. Good morning, Seekerville!! OMG, I took today off so I could play and here and on Facebook today and what does my family do?? They hijack me and just ASSUME I'm back for all my MOM duties.

    Really? Are you serious?

    So, lunches are made and GROWN children are out the door. Whew, now I know why I went back to work, LOL!

    As I was cooking for the masses, I made a wonderful breakfast buffet for my favorite peeps here in Seekerville. Eggs, sausage, want it, I'll whip it up for you! Afterall, I've taken the day off to play!!

  31. Audra...I would love to win your book. Isn't it awesome how God uses songs and music? I think that it must have started in THE GARDEN! I love how you connected the song with the story. I love those! Have a great writing day, authors! ( I'm needing reading material) hahaha

  32. LOL, Carol you're too funny. 40K!! You go, girlfriend! And it's just past the middle of the month. I'll bet your NEW AGENT loves your productivity!!...the rest of us just drool over it : )

    I love your music faves and all! Hey, I remember Barney singing some catchy toons that still clog up my mind : )

    Gotcha in the drawings!!!

  33. Song lyrics can suck me in and before I know it, I've written a whole story in my head! lol

  34. Helen, I'm with you. I can not write to music. If the TV is on in the other room, I can shut out the noise pretty easily, but my ears perk up when to the background music of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly filters through the house because my son is watching it AGAIN.

  35. Wilani, I'm with you. I can write to news shows on...isn't that funny? Here's the news of the day and I can shut it down to just background white noise.

    Although, I am kinds sucked into this whole missing jet thing. How does one lose a 777 jetliner??

  36. Suzie!!! You've SEEN EH?? Wow, my mom would be drooling.

    There have been clips Tom Jones playing Vegas and the man tries to look like he did thirty-forty years ago.

    And Yes!! The ladies still swoon!!

  37. Suzie!!! You've SEEN EH?? Wow, my mom would be drooling.

    There have been clips Tom Jones playing Vegas and the man tries to look like he did thirty-forty years ago.

    And Yes!! The ladies still swoon!!

  38. Thanks for the cover compliment, Amber. Rogenna Brewer designed it and I'm certain I'm responsible for a crop of gray hairs...Rogenna is very gracious and she managed to make me think she was smiling at me through her emails, LOL!!

    I love setting the mood with music, but I can't write to it. It's the lyrics that stay in my mind. If I had music on, I'd be singing away and trust me, my singing is not a good thing for anyone!!

    Yes, shameless plug! Go check out Amber's book, Forget Me Not!!!

    Thanks for everything, Amber!!

  39. Audra, what a fantastic post. And what a great way to produce the GMC for your characters, you never cease to amaze me.

    Conflict is SO HARD to write for me too. I'm going to try your idea.

    You know one song that doesn't leave me is Tarzan sung by Phil Collins...I'm going to start listening closer.

    Here's to your mom, bless her soul.

    AND your book. WOW, loved it. You're on a new, wonderful path. What music would you use for this?

    SWAK LA aka Leslie Ann

  40. Jenny, I remember the Team Sinatra or Team Crosby thing. My mom was definitely Team Crosby.

    And you were either an Elvis fan or the Beatles.

    Team Beatles all the way!!!

    I can't tell you where the Rolling Stones fit in. I never really cared for them. BUT the Rolling Stones is an excellent example of my loving the beat of their music and not remembering much of the lyrics that go with it. So, if I'm going to dance, it's RS--if I'm going to get sappy and creative, it's THE BEATLES!!

  41. And Jenny! My first international sale!!! WooHoo!

  42. Ruthy, Dad Davidson sneaks snacks whenever he can : ) How about your world famous frittata made with egg whites?? Kind of a souffle thing going on, right?

    Go indie authors!

  43. BTW, have you seen Ruthy's indie covers?? OMG!!!

    Gorgeous! Everyone run over to Amazon and check them out...but remember to come back to Seekerville after you've gawked and bought!!

  44. Jackie, I love Michael Buble! His lyrics snag my heart like few others. I've heard Pandora is a great music device. How does it work??

    I've used the lyrics for HOME to give Nick, my hero in book 3, a sense of lonliness. He never wanted to come back to the painful memories of home, yet, home is the only place he wants to be.

    As you can see, I'm practicing ramping up my conflict : )

  45. Thanks, Glynna! I look at book artists the same as music artists...don't we all want to touch the hearts of our readers?

    While musicians have the added bonus of their tunes sticking in our heads, our covers and plots can bloom and grow as we touch the hearts of our readers.

    I mean really, how many times have we started thinking of a story only to have a similar theme from another author kind of wisp in around us? It happens to me and makes me realize that though I read the book for pleasure, it bonded to my emotions, too.

  46. Mary Hicks...what is this cleaning you speak of?? I've already named all my dust bunnies, I can't get rid of them now, LOL!

    Gotcha in the drawing!!

  47. Having said that, though, I write in silence. Complete, utter silence.

    Everything else distracts me.

    I'm not saying I couldn't get used to soundtracks while writing, especially music that evokes certain feelings, but I've just never tried to pair the two together enough to feel it and get in the zone.

    When I'm in the zone, I hear music in my head! Not real music with voices and instruments, but that happy thrum that says the story is just humming along...

  48. Annie Rains, I can't say enough about sappy country songs : ) The new season of The Voice has started and just listening to Blake Sheldon TALK is enough to make me sigh.

    Oh, I'm such a sap : )

  49. Missy, I'm glad you like my cover. Personally, I could stare at it all day...and get nothing done, LOL!

    I'll bet with all the electronics tuned on at your house, you get a taste of all kinds of music. Or does everyone listen to the same music? I know country music is a staple here in Harders' land. The kids had deveated toward pop and rap for a ahort time, but came to their senses quickly.

    Nothing beats a good ol' country song : )

  50. Well it's not a love song, but the song Great Is Thy Faithfulness was in my head one day when I was getting on a plane and it clicked the whole story of Gingham Mountain into my head.
    I mean I had the story idea, even partly written already, but that song gave it FOCUS.
    I suddenly realized how often we speak of being faithful to God but we don't often think of how faithful God is to us.
    And in a book full of kids off an orphan train who've had a terrible life dumped on them, where is a Faithful God?
    Exploring that, brought the whole story to life.

  51. DebH, 1270 words yesterday is fantastic!! No thinking; just writing. Go Speedbo! Keep writing everyday and it will become habit.

    Maybe even obsession : )

    And YES, YES, YES on the Gordon Lightfoot and Johnny Horton! Oh my goodness! Saga songs pull you in and don't let go until you've heard the the entire tale. I love 'em!!

    Cats In The Cradle is another great song as is Taxi by Harry Chapin.

    You're my kind of gal, DebH!!!!

  52. Tracey Hagwood, I've got you down!

  53. It's amazing how music and stories intertwine, isn't it? And the music combined with the lyrics cement them into your memory.

    (Which is why I teach children to memorize Bible verses by setting them to music - once you learn them, you just can't forget them.)

    But back to writing. I can't read or write with words in the background, so I play classical music. Specifically, Mozart and others from the same era. Puts my brain in a creative mode, I guess :)

    BTW - I love your cover! I have Second Chance Ranch on my Kindle already, but you can put my name in the hat for the music! I love David Nevue's piano pieces, and a download of them would be wonderful :)

  54. Olivia, I give you a big hand for being able to write in a bookstore or coffee shop. I can't do it. I get so distracted by EVERYTHING. Which is too bad. I love our library, but find even the minimal activity there takes me out of my groove.

    Along those lines, I've found if I stay after work and set up camp in one of the conference rooms, I can get 1000 words in a hour before the cleaning crew comes in. Then, I return to the chaos which is my home with a clear conscience knowing I've gotten my word count in.

  55. Sandra, YouTube is alot like Facebook...if I let myself indulge, I find HOURS have gone by. What is it about social media that is so entangling?

    When I was researching the songs I used in my post, I wanted to let folks connect with the lyrics and melodies since I highly doubted many had ever heard of the artists. OMG, I started clicking through the songs and ended up listening to my past for HOURS!!

    It's safe to say, I'll probably never write another post like this one, LOL!!!

  56. Good morning, Audra! I'm a music lover and usually have to have it when I write. I don't really go for anything with lyrics unless it's Coldplay or something really mellow like that, because I start thinking of THAT story in the song, instead of my own. However, I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks or classical when I write or brainstorm. My current WIP is a murder mystery centered around a symphony orchestra, so I've been listening to a lot of classical to get in the mood. I actually chose one piece, Shostakovich's Festive Orverture, as a sort of "theme" for the novel. I thought it would be fun to explain a little about the piece throughout the novel, and at the end, direct readers to listen to it on YouTube.

    I've also found that TV or laundry noise doesn't distract me when I write. Good training for kids, I hope (and probably a throwback to my days as a newspaper reporter writing in a noisy newsroom!).

    Your book looks fun (beautiful cover!), but I'll sit this drawing out. No Kindle!

    Have a great day!

  57. Connie Queen, I remember screeching away to I've Got A Brand New Key and bebopping around the house. My folks hated it : )

    Looking back on it, what a silly song to have left an impression on so many people. LOL!

  58. Audra
    gotta say I have to agree with you about the Voice and Blake Shelton.


    i think last season the producers conspired against him so he wouldn't win AGAIN

    i do so love down home country boys...

    ps. hopefully getting some research help for my WIP from Coast Guard. should be interesting, since I've never done this before...

  59. AUDRA, you have dust bunnies? We have dust dragons, and no naming them. We name the squirrels.

  60. Audra, how fun to see your approach to writing! Every writer really does have their own method! And lovely cover by the way! Congratulations!!! Did you have to get permission from Harlequin to use the setting and characters that you introduced in your Love Inspired book?

  61. Audra, love this post! So fun to see how songs influenced your stories.

    I'm thrilled to have Second Chance Ranch on my Kindle! Just love that cover and can't wait to read this wonderful story.

    I don't have a song for my wip. Now I want one. :-) I usually write to quiet.

    I will tell you about a song that impacted me strongly and that's Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You'll Dance." A powerful message that we want to leave the sidelines and join the dance of life.


  62. Don't songs evoke special memories? Leader of the Pack, that's another classic.

    You're in the drawing, Jeanne!!

  63. Since many songs touch on the emotions and problems that are the basis for romance stories, I can see what a great tie-in or trigger they would be for a writer.
    Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce has been my song for defining a loving relationship.
    My sound track at home tends to be primarily celtic music. Also reflects some of my favorite reads. I could live on Highland and Western stories with a few good thrillers thrown in.

  64. Natalie, you know a song is a winner when other artist do re-makes : ) The Beatles' version is the only one I've heard. Hmmm, I gotta get out more : )

    Silence is golden during the writing; lyrics are platinum for inspiration : )

  65. 39K for Speedbo, Elaine? That's terrific! By the end of Speedbo, you'll have an LI length ms written!!

    Yep, the Royal Guardsmen sang Snoopy vs. The Red Baron and other really silly songs about peanut butter and the Jolly Green Giant and the Battle of New Orleans...

    So, when I heard Baby, Let's Wait, it grabbed my attention. What's a ballad doing in this mix?

  66. Music for motivation for scenes. It's grand, isn't it, Tina?

  67. Crystal, I'll bet you could record a song about homeschooling 4 kids and writing THOSE words would be inspirational!

    Keep pushing forward during Speedbo. The rewards will make you smile for weeks!

  68. Not to worry Marianne, I've got you on the list...LOL!

    I'll bet music dated back to THE GARDEN, too. Nature is such a melody inspiration. BUT I'll bet the heart-breaker lyrics didn't come out until AFTER the serpent made the scene...

  69. Yay, Pammy! Another lyric/story writer!! Ain't it grand??

  70. Leslie, Phil Collins is another artist that writes lyrics that stay with you long after the song is a hit. And his voice definitely leaves a memorable impression.

    Can you believe I haven't seen Tarzan? I'll have to YouTube the song and experience it first hand : )

    I know music influences your writing, too. I remember you gave away copies of a song with your book Dare To Believe in order to help build the feeling of Hawaii.

    Great marketing!!!

  71. I agree with you all the way, Pam! I can't deal with outside noise while I'm writing. All the noise has to be thrumming inside my head, LOL!

    When I work on my historical novels, I try to listen to classical music to take me from the 21st century back to the 19th century. I've found it works okay to listen to it while cleaning and driving, but still can't listen to it while writing.

    Don't know how people do it.

  72. Mary Connealy said:
    "I mean I had the story idea, even partly written already, but that song gave it FOCUS"

    That's it exactly! I can come up with a scene or attitude, but certain lyrics flesh it out and make it real.

    It becomes a real problem for my characters and adds that extra dimension that seems so elusive at time.


  73. Jan Drexler, you are sooooooo right! The Bible says teach children the way they should go and they will not forget it when they're older (paraphrased). If I had learned Bible verses to music when I was a kids, I'd be able to quote them much better as an adult : )

    Which brings up a good question. Does anyone know of a an artist who has taken current melodies and applied them to Bible verses? What a learning tool.

    I hope you enjoy Second Chance Ranch, Jan! Thanks!!

  74. Stephanie, I love the idea of a music theme to a book. It would help the continuity of writing and help you remember where your high and low spots might be. Great idea.

    I used to study with the TV on, so I guess I'm numb to the noise. I used to be able to read a book and watch TV, can't that any more. I guess maybe I'm not a numb to it as I thought, LOL!

  75. DebH, I do believe Adam Levine is a bit cockier this season since he won the last one. I love Usher. The guys just sits there and looks so in tune to what the performers are doing.

    Yes. I love Blake Sheldon and Usher.

    And Shakira holds a very special place in my heart, too : ) Gotta love her accent!!!

  76. Dust dragons, LOL! My bunnies would certainly be dragons if my husband didn't run the Swiffer around the baseboards and scoop up the equivalent to a half a Corgi a week in hair!!!

  77. Eva, great questions. Yes, I did. That's the reason it's taken so long for my to get this book out, I didn't think they'd let me use my characters. But I talked to the contracts' dept and they said as long as I didn't give exclusive rights to anyone else, I could publish the books.

    I thanked the Lord over and over again. These two books have been written and tugging at my heart. Through the wonder of indie publishing, they can now go out into the world : )

  78. Janet, I couldn't agree with you more. "I Hope You Dance" has a powerful melody and the lyrics speak to the need to enjoy life.

    Grab the gusto!

    So, now you've put that song in my head. I'll be humming it all day : )

    I hope you enjoy Second Chance Ranch!!!

  79. Oh that cover, Audra, is gorgeous. And I love the story line and blurb. I'm buying it today. Can't wait to read!

    I write in quiet...usually. Although if a deadline looms and stress abounds, I'll listen to "Faith," by Jim Brickman, purchased at TARGET. No lyrics, just beautiful music that soothes my soul and allows me to write.

    BTW, I loved the Beatles. At least their early music. John was my main man!

  80. Oh, what a nice shout out for my covers, Audra Harders!!!! Thank you!!!!

    And I'm over the top loving this year's version of "The Voice" with Blake, Usher, Adam and Shakira... They're so funny and normal-acting and not phony.... or they're very good actors! In any case, they keep me laughing so I DVR it to hear what folks are doing/singing. Although there have been a couple of trashy songs on it.... And it's on too early for me to think trashy songs are cool... But I love the judges rapport,.

  81. Debby Giusti, I love Jim Brickman... Oh, just to sit and listen to that beautiful music, the piano notes... I can float away.

  82. I tend to be about ten years behind musically. So recently I discovered this pop culture artist named Mika.

    Love this song and it's inspiration for a reunion song I am writing.

    Mika Stardust

  83. I have been noticing while I am writing that it has improved since I have begun reading so many books. I have read 45 so far this year. I think the descriptive words especially. I taught Kindergarten and first grade for a long time and I tended write in short choppy sentences I especially noticed this last night with a wedding scene and especially the kiss.

    I hope everyone is having a good day.

  84. Debby, I'm going to have to check out Jim Brickman. Any soothing music is welcome in my life.

    I'm behind on current music. Watching The Voice reminds me how painfully behind I am. Some of the songs the contestants sing are obviously current by the judges remarks, but do I recognize them?

    Sad to I really should try to fix that...

  85. I'm with you, Ruthy. I love this panel of judges.

    I'm stunned, absolutely stunned, by the caliber of talent. Especially through some of these battle rounds. There have been a couple of duos where I wish they would pair them permanently!

  86. Tina, are you writing songs now, too? Wow, your talent amazes me!!

  87. Wilani, they say reading books you love is the best teacher for writing books of your own.

    Although, you do have to figure out why you like the books that tend to stay on your mind, which then becomes a pain and takes the fun out of it, but along the way, the homework is really, really cool : )

  88. AUDRA!!! LOVE THIS, my friend, because like you, I do tie music/lyrics to so many of my books, and I ALWAYS use lyrics to drive a point home if I can.

    In fact, there was this Hillsong worship tape that I strongly felt God speaking to me through when I was writing A Passion Most Pure, and to this day, when I hear it, it sweeps the beginning days of A Passion Most Pure back into my mind with the same powerful message God gave me before. And, in fact, that tape -- and one song in particular, Glory to the King -- inspired SO much of APMP for me, that I cannot think of one without the other, and it even provided Scriptures that I incorporated into the book.

    So I totally agree -- music and lyrics can help an author capture an idea, a feeling, an emotion, whatever they need to write powerful fiction.


  89. someone mentioned how certain songs bring back memories. I cant listen to a Randy Stonehill cd I had cos I was reading a book that was quite deep and almost scary at the same time. Was about a cult religion which is around today and still quite a strong following and how the couple eventually learnt the truth and tried to get away. The series could have been a one book story cos it did drag on but I just cant listen to him now without chills.

    Mary one of mums two favourite songs was Great is thy faithfulness and I still cry often when I hear it.

    My song for ages was Its my party and I'll cry if i want to.

    My song right now I really need is Help is on the way by Michael w Smith. Today is not going to be a good day pain wise and I am almost at breaking point. I know God is in control but I just dont know how much more I can take right now.

  90. Julie, powerful doesn't begin to describe some of the waves that wash over me at times. Some aha moments are so luminescent, I know the good Lord is kicking me to get my attention.

    You can't ignore the message when it sweeps into your life on a tide of music you just can't get out of your head. Embrace it, even if you don't see how in the world that particular melody or verse can fit your manuscript. Make note of it and keep it in your mind and I guarantee there will be a significant moment for it.

    I know how much of yourself you poured into APMP. You cuddled that story for years before the good Lord gave you the green light to share it with the world.

    I'm glad He finally did : )

  91. Jenny, I'm so sorry you're not feeling well today. What a roller coaster ride you're on.

    I will kick up my prayers a notch and help see you through it!

  92. Music typically helps me focus on my characters, but as I am in the process of moving an entire itunes library from one laptop to another... it's just distracting me now. Found my mother's ipod so i think i'll crank some matchbox 20 tonight. Thanks!
    Please enter me for all prizes.

  93. Audra!!!! Congratulations on your new release. I'm soooo excited. I'm in Seeker Heaven with all the releases you guys have this spring. I'm reading Glynna's Pine Country Cowboy right now. Just finished Myra's Pearl of Great Price. And I believe I can get my hands on a Ruthy book in a week or so. Wooot! It's raining Seeker books which is better than snowing sleet!!!

    I pick a theme song for my romance thread. Then I break it up line by line and thread it through the book. I don't actually use the song in the final draft, but using the lyrics while I'm writing helps me pace the romance. Each line seems to spark my imagination and helps me stay focused. If that makes any sense.

    And, believe it or not, I write with Southern Gospel music playing in the background. I, the Canuck way up here!!!! :-)

  94. Audra, Congratulations!!! Don't put me in the drawing because I'm going to go buy the book on amazon right now :)

    I can't write to music like some authors can, but I love music and love creating a sound track for my WIP. Lately, I've been playing this little snippet of Robert Downey Jr and Sting singing together on Alley McBeal.

  95. I don't watch The Voice. Can never get "into" it. But I love American Idol. It is the American dream to me...kid from small town America gets discovered and makes it big. Add romance and it could turn into a best selling book! LOL!

  96. Audra, congratulations on your indie release! I would love to be included in the drawing.

    Song lyrics can be so powerful. One of Roger Miller's songs in "Big River" ("Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go") inspired me to write one of my western historicals.

    And thanks for reminding me about "Till There Was You." Such a good song.

    Nancy C

  97. So late to the party today, but what a fun post, Audra! Song titles and lyrics are a great source of inspiration for both book titles and plot ideas.

    My historical romance series shares the title "Till We Meet Again" with an old WWI song my mom sang often when I was a little kid. The titles of each of the three novels are taken from the lyrics and also helped generate ideas for the characters and plot.

    And, um, my excuse for chiming in so late? I was computer-less for 24 hours while the Apple Store migrated the data from my old Mac to my new one. Boy, is this thing super-fast! Now, if only it will help me write faster!!! I am way behind on my Speedbo goals after this computer rigamarole!!!

  98. Speedbo update!! Finished revising from deep third to first person POV!!!! The story is so much better for first person POV, even I like it and I've read it so many times :-)

    Giving myself a bit of time off, and then going back to the first western historical to make it first person.

    Thank you Seekers for Speedbo!

    Nancy C

  99. oops...meant I am writing a reunion STORY.


  100. Great post, Audra!
    I like soothing music as I read; already shopped for Jim Brickman at Amazon.....sounds like something I would enjoy.
    Please count me in the drawings!

  101. Nancy I love the sound track to Big River. I love That song and it is another of my go to songs.

    Thanks Audra I really hate complaining all the time. I am trying to be positive and learn to live with the pain its just its gotten higher and I am not coping at present. I just need the dr to ring with some answers and need me to come in today (that way I may be able to get something to help before my next appointment in 2 weeks). I can handle pain at level 2 or even 3 but this pain level 5 out of ten is really getting to me.

  102. Audra- I have to say that is an interesting use of music in planning a story. To be honest, I had never thought of finding songs that fit my characters. I LOVE music (good), but when I write it becomes a distraction for me because I get caught up in the music and lose my train of thought(bad).

    Unlike so many people, I really don't like shows like Idol and Voice because (#1) I can't handle really bad singers (even though they get better eventually) and (#2) to me the judges sometimes swerve from constructive criticism to embarrassing the contestants, which I think is over the top.

    I would love to be considered for your book/music drawing Audra.

    Jenny- you hang in there. I'll be praying for you.

  103. Second Chance Ranch is a terrific title. I've used Second Chance as a church title in a couple of my novels. I didn't make my daily goal for only the second time since Speedbo began. But I have 22,640 words.

  104. Have the record for fewest words written today 22! At bookstore and my surface died! Apparently I cannot remember which device has been charging. Still manning Toddlerville but his mom will be home within the hour. Does it count if I thought the words? Song for the evening then is: "Words" by the Bee Gees.

  105. Haven, I sympathize with you. Moving anything from computer-to-computer makes me drum my fingers because my laptop moves sooooo slooooowly.

    Isn't it amazing how quickly we amass a considerable iTunes library? Makes my eyes pop : )

  106. I understand the old songs that churn in your head dilemma. My mom had "How Much is That Doggie in the Window." and "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas." It's a wonder we aren't scared for life!

    I think a writing playlist sounds perfect. What a great idea for turning the story wheel.

  107. Kav!! I love your method of using lyrics. Makes sense to cut up the song and use it bit by bit. Songs are essentially structured like books...or some of them are.

    How in the world do they record a song that only has one word? Repeated over and over and over again?

    Beats me.

    Crank up that Southern Gospel and let's get some words down!!!

  108. Rogenna! You are my hero!!

    Not only did Ro design my awesome cover, but she also taught a killer night course here in Seekerville back in January. All about indie publishing on Amazon. So, do you see I took plenty of notes and followed her directions and VOILA!

    Seriously, if anyone is looking for a cover designer, check out Ro's website. She has sooooo much patience and creativity!

    Okay, back to music : ) I'm going to have to listen to the song you linked. I used to love Ally McBeal. The whole dancing baby thing used to crack me up.

  109. I think you've got yourself a winner plot idea there, Debby. Throw in a few chapters of suspense, and the book will go flying off the shelves : )

  110. Nancy C! Way to go with your Speedbo time and words!! Changing a story from 3rd to 1st person POV is NOT a small undertaking. Glad you're happy with it. That really says something when you've been "bedmates" with a story for sooooo long!

    Roger Miller had some great songs. I love that era of music. The lyrics told a story. Another band I LOVE is Alabama! Talk about heartache by the dozens in some of their early work!!

    Gotcha in the drawing, Nancy!!

  111. YAYAYAYAY on the new computer, Myra! New toys ALWAYS make writing more fun...and sometimes faster : )

    Loved that you linked a series together through one song. Talk about continuity!

    AND, make sure you've checked out Myra's cover for her first Indie release, Pearl of Great Price. Absolutely gorgeous!!!

  112. Tina, you are a woman of MANY talents. I wouldn't have put songwriter past you.

  113. Fun post, Audra (except now I can't stop humming the Beatles "Till There Was You" LOL!)

    CONGRATULATIONS on Second Chance Ranch - - love that cover!

    I don't usually write to music (I'm too easily distracted) but when I do it's usually soothing jazz (but not TOO soothing, or I get sleepy).
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  114. I can't say song lyrics really inspire me very much, but then whatever works for you is great! A painting or a photograph gets my writing going -- or at least the inspiration for it.

  115. Aw, Audra! I love this post! Great job! Did you know that I plotted a couple of my books while listening to Love Story and Enchanted, two songs by Taylor Swift? Nowadays, I have to plot faster, so I use more conventional methods, like books and conference workshops on my ipod. But romantic songs are helpful.

    Oh, please say your mom listened to Dean Martin! I so love Dean Martin's voice and his romantic ballads. Mmmmm. So dreamy. And I was definitely a Beatles girl. While my friends were listening to Journey and Michael Jackson, I was listening to the Beatles. I probably know all their songs by heart!

    Anyway, I loved your post, and sorry I'm so late! Had to have an upper endoscopy today and it always takes extra anesthesia to put me out. They say I fight them! Of course, I don't remember it, and then it takes me forever to really wake up. I'm still pretty dizzy. Ugh. So .... if this comment doesn't make sense, we can laugh about it tomorrow! :-)

  116. Jackie Smith, you are in the drawing : )

  117. Audra--Great post! I can't say that my WIP has a theme song. I mostly have to write in silence or to classical music or movie scores. If I listen to music with words I get distracted by the lyrics. LOL! I will admit that my most productive session of writing occurred while I was half watching "Princess Diaries 2" with my BFF and her kids last weekend. BTW--I would love to be in for either the music or the book! I have a few movie soundtracks I would love to get!

    And Carol--I got the Frozen soundtrack last week after I saw the movie. I can currently hear "Let It Go" rolling around in my head, but I listen to it all the time at school. My first graders love it!

  118. Dianna, I can't write while music is playing either. I get so distracted. But using the lyrics of songs tend to help figure out my character conflicts and then massage around the goal and motivation.

    I have to agree about the unwarranted criticism. When Simon Cowell was on American Idol, I just couldn't watch it. I think The Voice is very different. They have coaches rather than judges and I've never heard a blatant diss over a singer's talent.

    Besides, I love Blake Sheldon : )

  119. LoRee, no need to be down! Missing your word count is no biggie!

    Let's focus on what you've accomplished during Speedbo: 22,000+ I think that's fantastic!!! And there's 11 days left in the month!

    I think you're doing awesome!!!

  120. Olivia, we can't always be at our computers to record the words. If you thought them today, be sure to write them down tomorrow : )

  121. LOL, Becke! My MIL used to sing "Do You Know The Muffin Man" to my daughter. Over and over and over again. To this day, my daughter can hum the first couple bars of that song and KNOW it'll be on my mind the rest of the day!!!

  122. Patti Jo, so glad you like the cover of Second Chance Ranch. It makes me smile : )

    Till There Was You is such a great song. To this day, I can sing in order the songs on that album.

    Kinda spooky, huh?

  123. Cara, I tend to need a push in the conflict direction. So many songs speak of love gone wrong, or heartache, or brokeness...I need that jilt to make me think of BAD things to have my characters experience.

    I tend to think very good things when viewing the mountains, the central setting of my books : )

  124. Melanie, I hope you're feeling better and nothing is wrong! We'll talk about it tomorrow when you're not quite so dizzy : )

    Taylor Swift writes incredible lyrics for conflict! I haven't thought of her songs, but you're so right! I'm going to have to go and check out some of her songs.

    Yes, my mom loved Dean Martin. She never missed his show. I think it's funny remembering his famous glass of what? Scotch? and cigarette as he performed. LOL!

    Beatles! Yes! I knew I loved you for a reason!!!

    Get to feeling better honey!!!

  125. Emily, I'm definitely going to have to check out Frozen! Way too many positive comments on the movie.

    I've been reminded of so many great movie soundtracks today. I'm going shopping at iTunes sometime soon!!!

  126. JENNY I'm late to see the rest of the comments today but sending you a 'high five' for liking Big River!

    Nancy C

  127. Audra-Frozen was great! And the soundtrack is awesome. I made my first graders write to the movies instrumental music this week.

  128. Congrats on "Second Chance Ranch", Audra!!

    I hope I never have to choose between music and books, as I love them equally!!

    It is said that "music soothes the savage beast" - but it does much more, including inspiration - whether it be writing, spiritually, motivation, changes, etc., etc.. I'm not a writer, but can certainly understand how music could inspire writing - after all, most songs ARE stories, also.

    Thank you for the enjoyable post and the opportunity to win some music, or a copy of "Second Chance Ranch" - I would be thrilled with either!!

    And thank you, Amber Stokes, for the free download of "Forget Me Not"!!


  129. bonton,

    You're welcome! :) Thank you for your interest in Forget Me Not!


  130. I love music - ranks right up there with reading a good book! I usually have some type of music playing when I write - depends on the mood I'm in and where I am in writing. So, put my name in for the drawing - music or book - love 'em both!

  131. I can't even read with music playing, let alone write.

  132. I've got an old slouch hat, got a pack on my shoulder. Got nothing to lose, not even the blues, just a bummin around.
    I grew up in a life saturated with country music. Daddy couldn't read a note, but he could play anything he picked up except my daughter's flute and son's trumpet.
    4025 words on "Take A Chance" Speedbo yesterday. If there was music playing, I didn't hear it. I have my laptop in the kitchen...I think while I cook, bake, do dishes, make cottage cheese...the cookies are overdone, the cheese mushy, the dishwater cold, 'cause I just though of another line, which becomes 3 or 4 or twenty....I'd love to read Second Chance Ranch, but I know I won't be able to sleep until I've read the whole thing.

  133. I LOVE this music idea! I'm going to work on that.
    Current favorite song...
    "Never once did we ever walk alone.
    Never once did He leave us on our own.
    You are Faithful. God, You are Faithful."

  134. wow Audra - that COVER!
    Congratulations ma'am!
    Please put my name in the hat! :D

    Interesting how you work. This is the fun of Seekerville for me at least. Sharing methods for each of you and seeing how I can apply them to myself.

    Gotta love it. And oh. My parents adored Floyd Cramer and 101 Strings. I can close my eyes and I'm in the Way Back Machine once again. Thanks for bringing to mind some wonderful memories! :D

  135. This post brought back my own memories of my mother trying to teach me to dance every time her favorite singer (Gene Watson) came on the radio. (I grew up in Texas and NOT knowing how to 2 step by the time you were 10 is completely against the law). My mom has been gone for a long time, but music takes me to my own place and often breaks my slump when writing.
    Thanks for the post and the trip down memory lane.

  136. Great idea! Love the way you're using lyrics.
    Put me in the drawing.

  137. Great idea. Love the lyrics and how you've combined them with your writing. Very inventive.

    Put me in your drawing, please.