Imagine this scene from a steamy romance novel:
Sounds of the shower running. The hero, a tall, strapping young man, leans his head back as the spray hits his muscular chest.
Our heroine creeps into the bathroom, having finally emboldened herself to approach him and finally lose her virginity. She is nervous about her lack of experience, but determined to follow through with what she’s told him she wants.
Confidence fills her as she slides back the shower curtain, and sees our hero in his blazing, naked glory. Startled, he turns, and sees her. His frown of dismay turns to a smile of dark sensuality. Her admiring gaze roves over his chiseled body, down to the droplets glistening in the dark hairs below his belly button…And the obvious, raging evidence of his desire for her that suddenly asserts itself.
As his purple-headed warrior of love boldly points upward, she begins to undress, ready to join him. Standing there naked, she gazes at him invitingly.
He looks at her, looks down at the raging warrior of love, ready for action, and suddenly begins to warble…"Skyrockets in flight! Afternoon delight” by the Starland Vocal Band.
Or worse, "My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry. Not exactly a prelude to a romantic moment, is it?
Songs can evoke emotion, make us laugh, cry, or scrunch our brows and go, “wahhh???”
Music hath the power. As writers, we can use music to our advantage, if we find the right song to accommodate what we’re writing.I know how powerful music can move me. Literally.
When my husband and I eat out at our favorite bar, and we know it’s karaoke night, we bolt down our meal as if the hounds of hell were snarling at our heels. Karaoke night means enduring song after song sung by elderly people who are tone deaf and think Elvis is still alive.
Note to them: He’s not. He’s dead.
I also use music in a beneficial way – when I write. It helps make a difficult transition easier.
This weekend, I was doing edits for the next Egyptian historical, The Lady and the Libertine. After I finished, I had to get right back to writing a proposal.The hero is a Cajun werewolf, so I whipped out the Cajun music, leaving Egypt far behind.
The same is true for writing the Egyptian historicals. While writing The Lady and the Libertine, I realized the hero should have a noble occupation for his hands. He’s a thief, and an earl, and used to philandering treasure from Egypt’s sands. (Side note: it plays nicely in the cover, where you see his hand on the heroine’s shoulder, attempting to steal her ruby necklace).
Yet he changes during the course of the book. To give him another occupation other than stealing treasure, I decided to make him musically inclined. He plays the piano, something dear to his heart, but a hobby he disregarded when his strict father termed it “womanly.”
I came up with the idea after touring Henry Flagler’s Palm Beach residence and visiting the gift shop. I became enchanted with a small music box that played “The Blue Danube.” The tune brought me back to a more classical time and it was easy to envision Nigel sitting at the piano, his long, elegant fingers on the keys.
When it comes to modern music, I’m very eclectic. I like a lot of songs, but I swear, there are songs that make me run away in abject horror.
Michael Bolton comes to mind. Hey, I realize some love, love, love him, but wow, when I hear him screeching, it makes all the hairs on the back of my neck salute the air. I think of old air raid sirens from the 50’s. My dogs run under the bed, whimpering.
Or Muskrat Love by the Captain and Tennille. "Muskrat Susie, Muskrat Sam. Do the jitterbug out in muskrat land." Gahhhhhhhhh.
My husband, on the other hand, cannot stand the very first song I ever bought. The Lion Sleeps Tonight. When it comes on the radio as he’s driving, he switches the station. I swear the man actually growls when he hears that song.
And song titles? Whoa boy. Here’s an actual list of bad song titles. Seriously. These are REAL titles.
1. Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life
2. Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed
3. Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth 'Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye
4. Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure
5. How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
6. How Can You Believe Me When I Say I Love You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life?
7. I Been Roped And Thrown By Jesus In The Holy Ghost Corral
8. I Changed Her Oil, She Changed My Life
9. I Don't Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling
10. I Fell In A Pile Of You And Got Love All Over Me
11. I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart.
12. I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You
13. I Wanna Whip Your Cow
14. I Would Have Wrote You A Letter, But I Couldn't Spell Yuck!
15. I Wouldn't Take Her To A Dawg Fight, Cause I'm Afraid She'd Win
So, what are the songs you can’t stand? What are your favorite songs? Are there any songs you like to listen to while you write?