The Music Tag (A Blog Hop)

I’m not gonna lie – I was SO excited when Victoria Grace Howell nominated me for this blog tag (thank you, Tori!) that this was my reaction.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration… But music is one of my many loves in life, along with writing, books, and tea. So if you’re a music fan as well, fair warning: This post features YouTube videos. It also features links to more YouTube videos. I tried not to go overboard… but you still might be here a while. 😉

First, like any blog tag, let’s start with…

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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

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Plus, Five Non-Metal Songs That Appear on the WIP’s Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post marks 80% completion of Draft #3 with another progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

This is it, guys. The finish line for Draft #3 is in sight!!

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Don’t worry. The WIP hasn’t gone up in flames. I just think this Incredibles GIF is adorable. 🙂

And it doesn’t seem like long since the last pair of Chronicles, right? Well, it’s not that the editing has picked up in speed. Rather, I couldn’t schedule the previous pair until 3 weeks after I’d passed the 60% mark. But thanks to my new blogging schedule, you’re getting this only 1 week after I passed 80%. 😉

(NOTE: Despite last week’s blogging schedule announcement, the second half of the 80% Chronicles pair will still post this Thursday, since it’s ready to go.)

As always with these progress reports, I’ll share Draft #3’s latest word count and what else made the past 20% of edits unique. Plus, I’m sharing five more tracks that currently appear on TKC’s novel playlist. So, shall we?
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Time Flies!: July 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Ahhhhh. What a lovely month this has been. I sort of feel sad that July is almost over, because it’s the most relaxed I’ve been all year. (With the exception of a flat tire earlier this week. :/ ) So I want to savor that feeling a little longer.

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August is going to be super-busy, though. The Writer’s Digest Conference is in 2 weeks, and Doctor Friend’s wedding (the one where I’ll be a bridesmaid) is 3 weeks later. My head spins just thinking about those events… But I think I have almost  everything I need for both, so I’m not too stressed out. Well, not yet, anyway.

Ifyou’re wondering, I don’t anticipate taking a blogging hiatus next month. However, it may take me longer than usual to respond to comments, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me right away.

Now, let’s get to this month’s recap!

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Time Flies!: December 2015

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Did I ever tell you that Lilo And Stitch is my second-favorite animated Disney movie after The Lion King? ;)

Confession: “Lilo and Stitch” is my second-favorite animated Disney movie after “The Lion King.”

Yes, it’s me popping in! 😉 I’m on hiatus until Monday, January 4th, but I thought I’d still post a Time Flies to “officially” wrap up the month.

How have your winter holidays been so far? Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve? I’ll most likely stay at home and call it an early night (I’ll explain why shortly). The last two months have been nutty on all fronts, so it’s been nice to breathe deeply and relax the past few days.

If you noticed things were slower here than usual this month – you’re correct. I scaled back on my blogging activities in December because of all the busyness, and also to get a head start on my January posts. So, you probably haven’t missed much if you’ve been away, but here’s your chance to catch up:
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An Ode To… Josh Groban

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An Ode To… is a bi-monthly meme where I pick one of my favorite musicians / bands and share some of my favorite songs by them. Maybe you’ve heard of said musician / band before, or maybe you’re about to discover fantastic music to add to your library. So, sit back, listen, and relax – or, in some cases, headbang. *wink* 

I’m off to see Josh Groban in concert again tonight! 😀 So I thought this would be a great time for a new Ode, and one with a different music style than the rock and metal I’ve showcased in the past. In other words, no headbanging and loud guitar riffs this time. Instead, here are some equally bombastic tunes of a more purely symphonic nature, with one of the most incredible voices on the popular music scene today.

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Time Flies!: August 2015

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Well, that was a crazier month than I’d expected. Not a bad kind of crazy, but attending the Writer’s Digest Conference and writing a trio of articles to cover the event for DIY MFA on top of everything I normally do in a month’s time brought the phrase “insanely busy” to a higher level.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so, SO grateful for going to WDC this year, and for everything I learned and experienced while I was there. I just happened to load too much on my plate once again. It’s a bad habit I need to learn to kick… someday. 😉

But I got through it. I managed to stay on top of my priorities, though it did mean postponing other bloggish things (tea reviews, the blogoversary giveaway, an upcoming guest post, etc.) I’d been meaning to work on.  So, I still have some catching up to do, but that’s OK. It means that September should be a fun month here! Make sure you keep an eye out on your inbox or check back here during the month so you don’t miss out on anything.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on August’s posts:

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Music Mondays: Josh Groban – “She Moved Through the Fair”

Yes, I’m a proud Grobanite! And although the popular classical crossover singer Josh Groban hasn’t released any new albums recently, I’ve been listening to his music the past few days to “pump up” my excitement about seeing him in concert for the third time later this week. If I had to pick one song from his latest CD, 2013’s All That Echoes, that I’m looking forward most to hearing, it would have to be “She Moved Through The Fair.” This traditional Irish ballad has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Celtic Women, Loreena McKennit, and Hayley Westenra. Josh’s version is the one I’m most familiar with, and it still entrances me. The simple acoustic arrangements fit the lyrics’ pastoral love story like a summery white dress. And with Uillean pipes, a harp, and a violin along with Josh’s moving baritone, it stirs feelings of emotional intimacy that are hard to find in typical love songs. Think of it as a musical snapshot of seeing your lover’s innocence and true beauty for the first time, on a field of wildflowers under the stars. It takes my breath away every time – and honestly, it’s so beautiful that I don’t mind if it does.

Oh, and you get a bonus with the video below – because it’s a lyric video! Enjoy. 🙂

Music Monday: Lindsey Stirling – “Beyond The Veil”

I’ve only had Lindsey Stirling’s latest album Shatter Me for a couple weeks, but – wow! This is one of the coolest and most playful CDs I’ve listened to in a while. The amount of ground that this violin / dance music marvel (and former “America’s Got Talent” contestant) covers is astonishing: turbo-charged dueling with guitars and synths (“Roundtable Rival”), mournful dubstep (“Ascendance”), evading a laser beam alarm system (“Heist”), a dance of joy from the heart and soul (“Master of Tides”), and two vocal collaborations, including the impassioned title track featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. One song I keep coming back to on the mostly uptempo set is the breathtaking “Beyond The Veil.” It’s not a typical ballad, since it shifts back and forth between slow and fast, but my gosh is it gorgeous! The blending of synths, programming, and classical elements injects an evocative, oceanic quality. Slower sections shimmer like the water’s surface above, while waves thrash from the brewing storm as the music intensifies. Then there’s Lindsey’s instrumental prowess. She lets her violin skirt the waves and dive deep to swim with dolphins and mermaids. Her talent rounds out this hypnotic track with the spirit and whimsicality that’s impossible for vocals to imitate.

And judging from Lindsey’s video for “Beyond The Veil,” I’m not the only one who imagines water when I hear this song. 😀  What do you think?

Chronicling The Craft: 35,000 Words

A Music Playlist for My Work-In-Progress

Chapters In Progress: 10

Chapters Completed: 8

Somehow I’ve developed a bad habit of forgetting how chaotic life can be during the end-of-year holidays. And writing a book amidst the stress of work, Christmas shopping, baking, braving winter weather, and going to or planning parties… Well, who has time for all that? (Ha ha!) So, due to a combined lack of time and concentration, it’s taken from before mid-November to January 2 to write another 5,000 words. But that’s OK. Forward progress is forward progress, especially during one of the busiest times of the year. And progress is always worth celebrating. Continue reading

My Top 10 Albums of 2013

After an unforgettable year of music in 2012, I had no idea what to expect from this year’s releases. It turned out to be pretty good! Even though no 2013 album came close to leaving the same impact on me as some of my favorites from last year, a number of strong albums earned heavy rotation in my iPod playlist. So, let’s get started! Continue reading