#MusicMonday Realize

I’ve written before about how my Muse plays games with songs and music videos that tie into what I’m writing. Here’s one example from Dolphin Girl, and I’ve still never told the story about the theme song for the Angel in Training series.

After I started writing the Denim Days series I would listen to the radio and jot down songs that seemed to capture Mel’s feelings and Duncan’s feelings. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol is one example. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie is another. These are great songs and I listened to them again and again while writing the books, but none captured my imagination like Realize by Colbie Caillet.

I still remember exactly when my Muse smacked me in the face with this song. One day I was on the way to the grocery store and Realize came on the radio. I was about half way through the first book, which was set at a lakehouse in Minnesota. Such a strange choice for me. I never lived in Minnesota. And, while I spent time at a lake during my childhood, and felt very nostalgic about that time, I never had any romantic experiences there. This song seemed to be the perfect choice and even though I’d parked and needed to finish my errands I stayed to listen to the end of the song and to make a note of the title and artist.

When I returned home, and after the groceries were stored away, I pulled out the note and pulled up Realize on YouTube.


My Muse was messing with me yet again.

Every time this happens it’s always been the same. The song, lyrics, and feeling match what I’m writing and then I watch the video and the images match, too. Coincidence? I don’t know. All I do know is that it spooks me and thrills me, strangely, at the same time.

The ending of this video is not how the series ends, so if you haven’t finished the series you don’t have to worry about spoilers.

If you haven’t read the series, you can click here to find out more about them or buy them:

The Summer We Believed(Denim Days #1)

The Summer We Stumbled (Denim Days #2)

And newly released:

The Summer We Realized (Denim Days #3)

Enjoy the video!





#MUSICMONDAY Dashboard Confessional "Carry This Picture"


I love a bunch of Dashboard Confessional songs (“Hands Down”, “Ghost of A Good Thing”, “Vindicated”) but the one that ran through my head as I wrote The Summer We Believed was “Carry This Picture”.

The Summer We Believed is the first book first book in the Denim Days series, which tells the story of Melody and Duncan over the course of three summers at their lake houses in the North woods of Minnesota. In the first book, the two main characters have been friends since the womb and the summer before they enter college they feel the tug of stronger feelings.

I really wanted to tell the story of the three summers without all the events that happened in between. Some of the events get included as backstory or even as a part of the main story, but it’s definitely not the traditional structure of one novel, so the series is being released as three shorter books. Eventually, I’ll put out a compiled version, but wanted readers to experience the summers the way Melody and Duncan would have experienced them—with a break in between.

This song feels like it was written from Duncan’s point of view. There’s a key scene in the story when they take a picture together. It’s an important scene in the first book, and in some ways the picture is even more important for the second book in the series. Unfortunately, there’s no official video for this song—I think it would have made a great one!—so, I’ve included a fan video from a concert.

And, if you’re interested in reading about Melody and Duncan’s first summer it’s available as an ebook here.

#MUSICMONDAY Adam Lambert underneath with @KaiStrand

Hi! Kai Strand here. Shel is gracious enough to share #MusicMonday with me, which is sort of ironic because I’m totally a 70’s rock and roll chick and I thought, “No one’s gonna want me to go there.”

 So first off I’m gonna thank Shel for the inspiration to step outside my comfort zone and get a bit more hip, because while looking for a song to represent my newest release, WORTH THE EFFORT: AYDEN’S STORY, I found this amazing song by this fan-frickin-tastic artist. I’ve loved Adam Lambert’s voice since I was first introduced to it on American Idol and I’m, like, totally fangirl-happy that the right song for the job is HIS!

 Okay, so AYDEN. Oh, Ayden. How do I describe this kid in a short blog post? First off, he’s super quiet, but don’t be fooled, he’s watching everything. He knows what is expected of him. He knows how to accomplish those things. But his anxiety won’t always let him. Then he adds to it by mentally berating himself over his failures and anticipating his father’s disappointment. Until finally, he can’t handle his life and he takes to the streets where the pressure of daily survival is far less taxing than navigating social expectations.

 He’s seventeen. Well educated. Well spoken. Even good looking…but he’s living on the streets. 

 Yep, this song is perfect. 

 Because when he is able to play the role society expects of him or when he is simply quietly observing what’s going on around him—so much is going on inside him that is ignored by everyone. And so much of it is good. 

 Ella is the one who looks Underneath.

 About the book:

 Seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth shouldn’t have to seek peace of mind in the streets. But as family pressures mount, his anxieties increase, and he turns his back on comfort for a life in homeless camps and back alleys. 

 Then one fateful day he runs into the only person he ever wanted to know better. Ella Jones. His memories paint her as kind and undemanding, and it seems the years haven’t changed her. Her simple expectations draw him to her. Against all odds, a relationship buds and grows.

 Yet, as Ayden repairs his life, Ella suggests he help others who also struggle. Will Ella turn out to be just like his dad, expecting more from him than he can give? Or will he prove that he is worth the effort?

 Worth the Effort – Ayden’s Story is a young adult contemporary romance novella at 23,000 words. It is the novella duet to Worth the Effort – Ella’s Story. The novellas are told in first person point of view by the main characters. Alone they are each a complete story. Together, they are a harmony.

 About the author:

 When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

A quick note from Shel:

I’m happy to host you today, Kai, and please don’t worry about being hip for me. Any kind of music works if it inspired your writing or if it fits the story!

Three Wishes with M.E. Purified

I first got to know M.E. back in April or May of 2012 (I don’t remember which) when he let Grace, the main character from Winging It!,  interview him. I’ve always felt this post was fun and funny to read, so if you haven’t seen it before, check it out.  Anyway…I thought it would be great to lend him Eugene to see what he would wish for and so I’m just going to turn it over to M.E.

I don’t believe in religion or the supernatural. So this three wishes and djinni thing could be a bunch of hoo ha. But yet I am a spiritualist (Buddhists) and feel that reincarnation is practical. And I do believe in ghosts. Yeah, I’m contradicting.

I am a writer, though. People pay to read me spout off about the truth in the form of lies and slight of hand. So for sake of argument I will believe in three wishes for this essay in hopes to reveal some truth.

Wow. Three? Really? Seems like such a horrible number. Yeah, you could pick one, even save it for a rainy day. But three? I have a hard enough time making a top five list of my favorite movies/books/songs. Also, at this time in my life, I feel so content. What could I ask for that I don’t already have? I have a great wife who I’ve been married to for over 10 years and with for 18 years. I have a seven-year-old son who’s smarter than the average bear and I have a newborn daughter who took six years to get into our lives. I’m not rich, but comfortably poor. I have a writing career that is starting to pick up. I have a good part-time job that I like going to. I’m not in debt and have my own home. I have the best cats as pets. I have all the books and movies and music I could want. And most importantly I have my depression under control so I can enjoy everything I just mentioned.

So what the freakin’ hell should I wish for?

Material objects are out. I’m just not into technology that I don’t need to get through life. Meaning, I have my laptop, television, blue ray player, etc. I don’t need a so-fast-you-will-miss-it in-a-blink cell phone or a television the size of an elephant or a car that vibrates my ass and plays satellite radio tuned in to the Tiny Tim channel. See what I mean?

Got the love of my life, etc, etc, etc.

Sure I could ask for money. It wouldn’t hurt to have some bank in case shit goes wrong. But…I would feel uncomfortable with that. Struggle shows a person’s true colors. And I like to be a rainbow when all is said and done.

So I will have to give my three wishes to the world.

1)   I wish there was no money in the world. People could just work at what they love and make things for others. No one would be denied anything to live comfortably.

2)   I wish there was no hate in people. Yes, this is hard. And in some way as each generation moves on past prejudices and discriminations hate will fade. I’m not saying they have to love everything. Just that if something is not their cup of tea then they just shrug their shoulders and say, “Okay,” and move on.

3)  You know what? The last two are major wishes. Maybe I will use the 3rd for myself. I wish to complete my collection of Black Lizard crime books from the 80s.

What do you say Eugene?

There are days I’d definitely like to return to the 80’s M.E., but I really love the fact that you’re content with your life!  And I like your wishes, too. Eugene’s always said the big ones like love and happiness are the hardest to grant, but I’m sure he’ll give it his best.

As for my wish today…I hope you’ll show M.E. some love and check out his newest release SURLY GIRLY (Miki Radicci Book 4)! Here’s all the on-line places you can find it (and him) hanging out. 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Surly-Girly-Tenebrous-Chronicles-Radicci-ebook/dp/B00HOFTX8Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1388928660&sr=1-1

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surly-girly-me-purfield/1117947127?ean=2940148993117 

Homepage: http://mepurfield.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MEPurfield