As previously mentioned, a few posts back, I wrote Smokepit Fiarytales and Sing Goddess, The Wrath of the Fonz back to back while deployed on the USS Bonhomme Richard. I won’t go into the day to day behind writing those here for the sake of brevity. Also, spoilers for the book if you haven’t read it.
The following songs are the music that best fits the mood for the book.
Illusion of Gaia OST, Signs of the Past.
This song slow and almost cryptic with it’s flute work. When Hank and Doc are having the conversation about possibly being immortal I felt there should be an ominous sense of dread in the air.
Night on Bald Mountain, by Mussorgsky.
Another classical piece that fills the air with dread. Most classical music is upbeat and cheerful, but not this fucker. It’s heavy, brooding, and dark. Anyone who’s seen Fantasia will know that with this song comes demons.
Starship Troopers Main Theme, Piano cover.
The original version of this song almost sounded like Holst’s Mars, Bringer of War. The piano cover gives me a feeling of woe, and despair. I could hear this song in Hank’s mind while lulls in combat in Russia, wondering who, if anyone would survive, and what was becoming of his wife and unborn son back home.
The Trooper, Thomas Zwijsen, Iron Maiden Cover.
A flamenco guitar cover of an Iron Maiden song. The original lyrics were about dying in combat while fighting Russians. I think the nylon string guitar plucking takes away any motivation to fight that may have been portrayed by the original song, and again leaves the listener with an unsettled feeling in their gut. A verse from the original song goes “We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground, And as the Russians fire another round, We get so near yet so far away, We won't live to fight another day.” I think that’s reflective of the sheer helplessness the characters faced.
Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age, Holst.
This song is bone chilling. I could imagine Hank and Doc on watch or on a seemingly quiet patrol as this might play in the background.
Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drum, A Perfect Circle.
In my head, heavy industrial music was playing whenever the Mechs were moving. The underlying monstrosity being heavy and gritty. The darkness in this music is what I wanted the reader to feel when Hank and Satin were separated from the Marines in Latvia. It didn't help that they made us listen to this at SOI east lol.
Winter Bane, Abbath
This song was added post publishing. But the heavy guitar riffs and growling gravely vocals seemed to fit warfare in the winter in northern Europe.
2 Minutes to Midnight, Iron Maiden
“Blood is freedom’s stain. Don’t you pray for our souls anymore.”
This one is more lyrically related than musically.
Blow me Away, Breaking Benjamin
This one is nostalgia linked. There was a point in the game Halo 2 where this song plays as the player is thrown into a mess of a combat situation. There was a point in that fight where the lights were out and besides muzzle flashed you were in complete darkness.
Mein Teil, Rammstein
This one is purely musical. I think the lyrics are about a cannibal in the 90s in Germany that ate a dude’s dick, but that’s Germany for you. I imagined this is what would be playing as the Mechs treaded the streets.
99 Ways to Die, Megadeth
Given the immense amount of death in this book, I think the title is self explanatory. “I down another glass of courage… and a shot of thorazine.”
Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden.
The bridge leading up to the solo, and the solo itself seem very fluid and dynamic to me. It was easy to picture hand to hand combat to the motion of this music.
I guess this is synthwave? But it’s got a dark ominous sound to it. This fits with what was in my mind as Hank, Doc, Fonz, and DeLaGarza crept through Ilium.
Suspense, Andrew Hulsthult
Another suspenseful, dreading song. Originally from the Doom soundtrack.
Metal Gear, Dr. Wily and the Robots.
This song was from the American version of the game Metal Gear for the NES. The game’s objective is to avoid combat and sneak around to reach your goals. Much like Hank, Doc, Fonz, and DeLaGarza snuck around Ilium.
This is a youtuber’s cover of a song from the N674 game Goldeneye. Another infiltrator song.
Metal Gear Outside, Rich Douglas,
Another song from the Metal Gear franchise. Sneaky sneaky.
Eternity Served Cold, Homestuck
There’s something dreadful in the tone of this song, but there’s something else bearing a glimmer of hope.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Moonsorrow, Metallica Cover
They somehow made this song either minutes long. But mixed in with the metal are folk instruments, and this is presented in more of a black, or folk metal fashion.
On top of this being the greatest and best song in the world (Ask Tenacious D, this is the song that song’s about) there’s also a lot of pain and suffering in the lyrics and guitar work.
The Menace of Zeon, Mobile Suit Gundam OST
This was taken a bit because of the Mechs. Gundam was one of my inspirations to write this book. But instead of giant robots fighting each other, I wanted to look at how the infantry on the ground would have to deal with giant metal monsters. Also, this song is…menacing.
Spirit Horse of the Chrerokee, Manowar.
Hank and Doc are both half native, that’s why they painted their palms on their face before going in to the last battle. I could see Hank burying his tomahawk into someone as this played.
There are two big hashtag inspired posts on Fridays for indie authors, follow loops and feature Fridays. Loops from what I’ve experienced are shameless follower grabs that really benefit no one besides the original poster.
More often than not the objective with a loop is for everyone who shares the image and appropriate hashtags to follow everyone else doing it. This also usually exempts the original poster from following everyone back. There’re a few other inherent flaws in this system. Even if you play by the rules and follow everyone, that doesn’t mean they’re going to follow you back, and even if they do, there’s nothing to keep them from unfollowing you later, or buying, reading, or reviewing you book in the first place Heart reacts do not equal sales. The other issue with a follow loop is that you’re indiscriminately following everyone who calls themselves a ‘Writer’ you’re going to end up with most of your feed being posts by people who have only have pipe dreams about writing. They like the idea of calling themselves a writer, but they’re never going to publish anything, they’re not going to share any valuable information, (because they don’t have it) and their ‘writing’ is usually just their aspirations of sitting down and writing a book. If you follow these people, you’re not going to see anything besides inspirational quotes and pictures of their kids. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with aspirations, but if you let them sit there, that’s all their going to be. If you’re serious about being an author, instead of latching into these follow loops, find people who are doing what you want to be doing, or people who are carving their own path in their literary career and follow them. Listen to their advice, and don’t be afraid to contact them and ask how they did things. The reading audience is big enough for everyone, and quality indie authors know this. We also know that pulling each other up is how to make it in this race. If readers see that we at least resemble a team, they’ll be more prone to read our works. For instance, I have several other indie authors that pop up as recommendations on Amazon when someone looks at my books because people before had bought them together. I have also had readers of mine, who aren’t writers and don’t want to be one, tell me they’ve bought books from indie authors off my recommendation. Due to the nature of the internet, it may not be glaringly obvious, but recommending each other’s books does get us all more readers. That’s why instead of Follow Loops, you should stick to Feature Fridays. Highlight an indie author who’s work you enjoyed, or who you think’s doing a kick ass job marketing.
Then the important part is what happens when you keep going. As your numbers rise, there are two things you need to do. First is to keep punching UP and emulate people who are bigger than you. You’re not going to learn much from people less successful than you. The second thing, which, arguably is more important, is to pull as many people as you can up to your level.
Read that as: Read everyone who’s trying to make its books, not just the people you want attention from.If you need a selfish reason to do this, think of it this way. If you read someone’s book, post about it on Instagram, and leave a review on amazon, they’re more likely (But not guaranteed) to do the same for you. If they have more followers than you, then great, maybe some of theirs will come follow you too. If they have less followers than you, then by giving them a chance you show that you’re not a snobby twat.
Or better yet, do for why I do it. I would want someone elseto market my books the way I’m trying to market the random authors I find on Instagram.
That all being said, author accounts that I think you should at least give at to see how they’re marketing are Sydney Mann at @sydney_j_mann, April Woodard @April_m_woodard, and Britt Laux at @brittlauxwrites.
Authors who come at your with their work hard, and also champion other indie authors: Michele Packard at @aesopstories, and Heather Carson @heathercarsonauthor.
And authors who’s books I would recommend you give a shot: Caroline Noe @carrieauthor, Hollis Jo McCollum @hollisjomccollum, Remmy Stourac @remmystourac, Lynn McCain @lynnmccainauthor, and Nicole Damon @writerlingnixdamon.
Alright, I’m off my soapbox.
Have a fucking weekend, and don’t forget to rock and roll!
Every author has something else going on while they’re writing. Maybe it’s a TV in the other room, maybe it’s the sounds of the coffee shop. For a lot of us, it’s music. I’ve heard authors say that they have everything on from the radio, to specific albums, to specified playlists.
Normally I stick to certain specific music to keep my head where I want it to be for the tone. While there may on occasion be albums played to drown into tunes out white noise, I write mostly while listening to a set playlist.
I had always written short stories, most of which were damned to spend eternity locked inside a hidden away file in my documents section. I didn’t sit down and really start to write Smokepit Fairytales until I was deployed on the USS Bonhomme Richard with the 31stMarine Expeditionary Unit out of Okinawa. I was filling a Psychological warfare billit on a ship that was essentially on a months long training mission.
Gainfully unemployed. I actually wrote Smokepit Fairytales and Sing Goddess the Wrath of the Fonz back to back on my laptop sitting on the floor of the berthing area. I would get up in the morning, go work out, go eat, smoke, write, smoke, write, eat, smoke, write, pound a Red Bull, smoke, write, eat, watch a movie and go to bed. I literally had nothing to do on that deployment. My only real saving grace was my buddy Chuck who I’d spitball ideas off of. That’s where a lot of the dialogue in those first books came from.
I had a certain playlist in my itunes that helped me keep the mood for Smokepit Fairytales when I was writing. It goes as follows.
The Ecstasy of Gold, Ennio Morricone
This song always reminds me of the desert. It’s probably supposed to. But I imagined this being the background music for when Hank got home from Iran and was just driving his jeep around the desert to clear his head in the middle of the book.
Oceanside, The Decemberists
Most of the story takes place in and around San Diego county, specifically Oceanside and Camp Pendleton. I didn’t find this song until after I left the West Coast and the lyric “If I could only get to Oceanside” always stick with me.
Detroit Rock City, KISS
“You gotta lose your life in Iraq Rock City.”
Gates of Babylon, Rainbow
Ancient Babylon was what’s now Iraq. One of the reasons the story took place there was because on top of Smokepit Fairytales being recycled stories of things that I’ve been through in real life, it’s also part of a larger saga that’s first part is a retelling of The Epic of Gilgamesh.
If you haven’t read that, and you’re a fan of my work, go check it out. Some things will make a lot more sense. Particularly the chain of events that start in the cave.
Enter Sandman, Metallica
This is Smokepit Fairytales’ anthem. Throughout the story Hank keeps having nightmares. He particularly had Dreams of war, dreams of liars, dreams of dragon’s fires… and the things that will bite.
Soldier Side, System of a Down
It’s reasonable to assume that Hank and Doc should have died in Iran. In some ways, they did. “Young men standing on top of their own graves.” This song illustrates some of the terrible realities of war.
Call Me Call Me, Steve Conte
From the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, which is referenced heavily in the last half of the book. Sometimes you just need a call to tell you it’s alright.
Long Haired Redneck, David Allan Coe
The guy Éclair is based on and I sang this song a lot while drinking. We changed the lyrics to reflect our own cowboy ways. “Boot bitch in the corner’s getting to me. Talk’n bout my mustache and my hair. I guess he ain’t read the signs that said I’ve been to Sangin.”
Ain’t it Fun, Guns N’ Roses
A cover of a punk song, this is something I listen to when I’m drunk, ruining my life, and hating myself.
Rain Dogs, Tom Waits
There is too much wine in this book to not have a song about drinking it.
Still of the Night, White Snake
Possibly the best love song ever written.
I Just Dies in your Arms Tonight, Cutting Crew
I thought this was Duran Duran for YEARS. But who doesn’t want to listen to this when you decide to Thelma and Louise it and drive your car off a cliff?
You Can’t Bring Me Down, Suicidal Tendencies
The title’s self explanatory for Hank’s attitude.
Blood, Sweat, Tears, The Marine Rapper
Blood, Sweat, and Tears are how you get through things man. Percistance.
Twilight Zone, Golden Earing
There’s a lot of trippy shit in this book, and maybe it’s all in Hank’s head. Maybe, he’s in the Twilight Zone.
The other books will have their own playlists posted. More to come!