Music is such a fun and lively and mood enhancing and comfort.
I turn to music almost more than I turn to anything else when I need to get out of a mood, when I need to get into a mood, when I need a smile, a reminder, a hug, a good memory, a certain feeling, to feel safe, and when I need to clean the house.
Music got me through some of the most awful things as a teenager. Music got me through some incredibly lonely times. Music got me through heartache and loss.
And music often gets me to the memories of my grandpa, to the memories of when parts of life made sense, when I need to feel connected to something or someone that isn’t physically there.
Music influences my writing as much as anything else does. A song, a melody, a harmony, a guitar riff, a bass line, a lyric can convey exactly what I’m feeling and exactly what I need to infuse into a character or a situation.
Things in life are a bit strange and crazy and fucking scary. People are getting sick by the tens of thousands and people are dying by the thousands. Cities and states and whole countries are under Stay-At-Home orders by local and federal governments as efforts are made to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
The Internet has become the place to be for virtual concerts by celebrities, by bands we love, by people we don’t even know. Music has always come together when there’s something that needs the support of the population at large around the world. This time in history is no different. Music comes to the rescue when we need our collective spirits lifted and attention drawn to the bigger picture.
I know I’ve needed it and turned to it more in recent days.
Spotify is constantly on when I am doing anything at all or when I just need to drown out the dread and fear and worry for a while. It’s not good for us to watch so much negative, to be exposed to so much sadness and horror because our moods spiral downward, and our anger, stress, anxiety, and depression spikes. Music, though… We can never be exposed to too much. At least, in my humble opinion we can’t.
What’s comforted me lately is the music that got me through those horrible times as a teenager I referenced earlier. Prolonged sexual abuse led to an inability to process stress and fear and I developed a medical condition, depression, and an inability to trust anyone. Music got me to the other side, both listening to and attending live concerts.
80’s Pop (mostly European acts)
Duran Duran…my all-time favorite. Forever.
I have an 80’s playlist on Spotify that has 54 songs. Over 3 hours worth of songs. And I keep adding to it.
There’s a Duran Duran playlist as well that’s just… I usually listen and sing along when I’m writing blogs or doing revisions or just need them.
There’s a 60’s/70’s playlist that was started because I wanted a lot of the Guardians of the Galaxy songs that I had forgotten I knew once upon a time and the feels they give me.
I have other playlists, too, songs and classical pieces I want at my fingertips.
Music reflects our thoughts, our consciousness, our struggles as individuals and as the human race. It’s art. It’s interpretive. It’s not always and shouldn’t always be politically correct. It’s full of emotion and pain and joy. It’s a statement, a belief, a hope. It’s an expression of everything we’ve been through, are going through, and it reminds us that we’re not alone even when we feel as though we are. And at this moment in this time when many are isolated and feeling the stress of what the world is going through and when the pain and challenge seems insurmountable, I hope they’ll turn to music and find comfort in it, find a little bit of joy in a lyric, a melody, a harmony.
What about you? Do you turn to music? If so, do you have a go to band or musician or song that brings you comfort when you’re in need?
In light of the last few days and the horrible loss of nine lives in the California mountains, the most well known being Kobe Bryant, many of us have been plunged into thinking, into wondering, into questioning whether we’re living our lives to the fullest and doing the things that matter and make a difference and make us happy.
I’m not an NBA fan, but one can’t deny the impact off the court that Kobe Bryant has had and the light he was for so many, and the countless messages of inspiration he left in his wake through soundbites from interviews, through his books, his documentary about the game he loved.
He did what he loved. More than once. His career as an elite basketball player. Then, as a father who was fully immersed with his family.
Sometimes I wonder if I still do what I love, the thing that makes me happy, the thing that I would miss if I didn’t do it anymore.
I’ve always written. Since I was in Jr High and going through some personal things at home. I’ve written stories, books, flash fiction, poetry. I’ve written to escape reality and to put reality in a form that I could dissect and understand it. I’m almost 49 years old and I’m still writing. It wasn’t the thing I aspired to do when I was growing up or when I graduated high school. I wanted to be part of the music industry. A roadie, to be honest. And a concert flautist. And a composer. And… And… And…
Being married and having children was not on my radar and the things I’d wanted to do and the things I actually did do were so completely different.
I miss music. I miss playing. I can still finger a scale in the air the way a guitar player can finger chords on an air guitar. I can still see the music in my head of pieces I played my junior year of high school which won me medals in competitions. I still have my flute, my music, and so many I wish I had… thoughts.
I wasn’t the best at all times. I was sometimes, but not at all times. But I never gave up. I used to spend hours a day practicing. 6 hours. 8 hours. 10 hours. I loved it. And I never stopped. Not until life changed and I didn’t know how to be one thing and still chase this other thing that meant so much to me.
I miss it so much some days.
I used to write like that, too. I used to write for hours and not stop. I used to write books that meant something to me, to readers. I used to write and write and write. Even while I was raising my kids and homeschooling. And then… I did stop. I did get discouraged. I did lose my nerve.
I keep coming back to it.
But I don’t chase it the way I once did. And I wonder why that is. I have no idea.
Do I miss it when I don’t do it? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
There are always ideas in my head. There are always stories that run in circles through my brain, like the bunnies that hop through my backyard. But could I leave it behind and in 25 years still miss it? Or would it just something I did once upon a time? These are the things I wonder when I’m being honest with myself and to be honest with you, I don’t know what the answer is.
Music still flows through my bones. It’s still embedded in my blood. It’s still part of me. It’s something I need in my life that a day without it sets my teeth on edge and I start getting really grumpy.
There’s a song for every emotion. There’s a melody for every mood. There’s a harmony for every memory.
The one thing I will say about writing, about music, is that they go together for me. I have to have the music right before I start writing. And maybe for me that’s where the two meet and mix and mingle and bleed together. Maybe that’s how music is part of my life now. Not in the same way it once was, but in the way that fuels this job that I have chosen to do.
The other thing that goes with writing for me is reading. I do a lot of it. More recently than I did the last few years. And the more I read, the more I start wanting to write. Wanting. Needing isn’t part of that vocabulary. But wanting, is. So, maybe as long as I’m a reader, I’m going to want to be a writer.
There are always stories to tell. There are always my stories to tell. There are always words to express what I’m feeling, what I’m going through, what I’m trying to understand about reality, what I’m trying to heal from the past. And as long as there’s music, I’ll be able to put those words down, I’ll be able to write and in that way… I do love it. I do still love what I do. I do still have passion for it.
And maybe, in this, I will have made my own mark and inspired someone else to find a way to marry their passions enough love what they do, even if it’s not a straight line. I think that would have made Kobe Bryant, a man, an icon, and one who sought to inspire others to follow their dreams, proud.
I LOVE The Band Perry. There are many reasons why, but in listening to pretty much all their stuff, so far I can relate to it in some way. I’m A Keeper is one I WANT to relate to… It’s full of self confidence and stepping out, even if you’re the only one doing so… It’s a great anthem for me and the things I’m going through and the things I’m trying to accomplish…
It’s getting closer, y’all and I’m super excited! I’m reading through, finishing up revisions, adding here and there. I’ll be sending out ARCs for review, and if you want one, you can sign up Here. We’re making a limited number of them available and there are guidelines for you to follow…
I write to music. This is no secret. I revise and edit to music most of the time too. The Cupcake Cowboy’s personality inspiration came from this song…
The question I’m most frequently asked as a writer of erotica is, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ The truth is that my creative processes can be sparked off by literally anything; overheard conversations, pictures, locations, even aromas. Another influence has to be music. Or to be more specific; lyrics. No matter how much I like or dislike the tune of a particular piece of music, it is the words that sell a song to me.
A fascination with listening intently to every single word of a song began back in my high school days. Many a fad swept my secondary school; one of which was to select hit songs that summed up the personality of each pupil, and ‘label’ them with that song. My shy persona and general wallflower status, led to me being forever associated with the song Goodie Two Shoes by Adam and the Ants, with particular reference to the line ‘Don’t drink, don’t smoke. What do you do?’ – (oh the irony!!! If they knew me now!!)
I just love the way lyrics can be woven together to tell a story. You only have to pay close attention to the words someone like Adele sings, to hear how beautifully they can be linked to tell short musical stories that we can all relate to.
The first erotic poem I ever wrote, Regrets, illustrates how lyrics can set off my imagination. The opening line of this poem is ‘Regrets, I’ve had a few…’
I’m not sure whether Frank Sinatra would have approved of my borrowing of 5 words from My Way, but then again, as Mr Sinatra wasn’t exactly “Mr Shrinking Violet”, he might have loved my rhyming words of desperate eroticism!!
“Regrets, I’ve had a few.
Most of them to do with you.
I should have shagged you on the floor.
In the kitchen; against a door.
I could have pressed you to a mirror,
And seen your sweat marks shine and shimmer…”
Getting more up to date; it was a line from the Snow Patrol song, You’re All I Have, that sowed the seeds of inspirations for the nature of the lead male character, Mark Parker, in the my erotic BDSM psychological romance, The Voyeur. The lyric in question is ‘There is a darkness deep in you; a frightening magic I cling to…’ A sentence which hints at a compelling obsession, a willing coercion that (in the case of The Voyeur) weaves the dominant character of Mark, and his two female employees, (Bi lovers Anya and Clara), into an uncertain game of dominance and control.
So, what music do I play while writing my erotica; which let’s face it, tends to feature the rougher side of sex?
Over the years I have put together a few playlists to urge my work frazzled brain into writing mode. Each is varied, and is fashioned to whether I’m writing down and dirty BDSM, or slightly milder calmer S&M kink. Two songs however, appear on every one of my playlists, for there is something deeply erotic and edgy about each of them.
Despite not being a big fan of David Bowie, the first track is his classic ‘Let’s Dance.’ Just the rasping way he sings the introductory line, (Let’s dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues), is enough to make all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The lyrics are both romantic and sexy, and yet hopelessly so. You just know that whoever the song is being aimed at isn’t going to get the happy ending they yearn for. Such is the lot for so many of my poor characters! (Just check out my Fem Dom anthology Yes Ma’am to find some hot sexy encounters, but without the happy ever afters!)
The second song that always features on my playlists is Underwear by Britpop group Pulp. I’ve lost count of how many individual stories that song has kick started. Nearly everything Pulp’s lead singer, Jarvis Cocker, sings has a heady kinky edge to it, but Underwear is the cream on the cake for me. If you’ve never heard it- then you must find it on You Tube or treat yourself to the mega sexy album Different Class! I promise that inspiration will soon follow.
Alongside the confessions of my local couriers, the entire manuscript of Not Her Type: Erotic Adventures With A Delivery Man (1001 Nights Press) was sparked by the concept the song presents. Why might someone feel compelled to keep meeting someone secretly for sex? Are they really helpless to fight that compulsion, despite the wrestling they do with their conscience?
“Why don’t you close the door and shut the curtains
‘cos you’re not going anywhere.
He’s coming up the stairs and in a moment he’ll want to see your underwear.
You couldn’t stop it now. There’s no way to get out.
He’s standing far too near. How the hell did you get here.
Semi-naked in somebody else’s room.
I’d give my whole life to see it.
Just you stood there only in your underwear…”
If I’m really struggling to write, then I always turn to the music of 80’s pop group, Depeche Mode. More or less everything they performed is cut with undertones of submission and dominance. How could they not be with titles such as Master and Servant and Just Can’t Get Enough? My favourite of their works has to be Personal Jesus. The catch line, ‘Reach out and touch me’ was running through my head as I created Jess Saunders, the lead character and unwitting new sub, from my novel The Perfect Submissive. Bless her; no matter how much Jess pleads to be touched, she just has to wait until everyone else has had their fun first, (and even then she is sometimes left wanting).
So, do you see a pattern building in my song choices? Need more clues? Other tracks on my erotica writing playlist include Love is a Stranger by The Eurythmics, Human by The Killers, Big Mistake by Natalie Imbruglia, I Want Your Love by Transvision Vamp…and so on…They are compulsion songs. All about power, control, and simmering sexual tension; and if you have never read any of my work, then just a quick listen to that lot would give you a big clue as to what you can expect!!
Thanks for inviting me over Lissa!
Kay Jaybee wrote the novels Making Him Wait, (Sweetmeats Press, 2012), The Voyeur (Xcite, 2012), The Perfect Submissive (Xcite 2012), as well as the novellas, Not Her Type: Erotic Adventures With A Delivery Man (2nd ed. 1001 NightsPress, 2013), Digging Deep (Xcite, 2013), A Sticky Situation, (Xcite, 2012), and The Circus, (Sweetmeats Press). She has also written the anthologies The Collector (Austin & Macauley, 2012 & 2008), The Best of Kay Jaybee (Xcite, 2012), Tied to the Kitchen Sink, Equipment, (All Romance, 2012), Yes Ma’am (Xcite e-books, 2011), Quick KinkOne and Quick Kink Two (Xcite e-books, 2010). Kay has had over 70 short stories published by Cleis Press, Black Lace, Mammoth, Xcite, Penguin, Seal, and Sweetmeats Press.