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Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Marc in music — an Unlawful Contact playlist

Hi, all,

Sorry to be MIA again. It's a really busy time at the paper for the next couple of weeks, so my energies are very drained. Plus, I'm trying very hard to finish Untamed within the next two weeks. Bottom line: I'm falling behind on everything.

But here's the playlist I promised. If you haven't read Unlawful Contact there are some major spoilers here. So read at your own risk!

Part of writing a convincing story is for the writer to feel every bit of emotion that the characters feel. That means the writer has to be present in the story, breathing and feeling through the characters. I try very hard to feel exactly what they're feeling, to the degree that if they're afraid my heart rate goes up, too. To do this, I have to manipulate myself and seek their "energy" anywhere I can find it.

Music is the single most important inspiration I have, in addition to the stuff in my own sick and twisted imagination. I am always hunting for new tunes, expanding what I listen to and letting the music spark emotional reactions inside me that I can channel into writing. The only genre of music I won't listen to is country, because all it inspires is a desire to plug my ears and run away. But hip hop, rock, metal, classical, Celtic, blues — all of these take up lots of space in my iTunes, which is why I was so desperate to retrieve my iTunes when my last computer died.

For those of you who love music, I've put together a play list with notes of key songs that influenced my emotions when I was writing Unlawful Contact.

Remember, there are spoilers! And have fun sampling if you haven't already heard these.

“When I’m Gone,” 3 Doors Down from Away from the Sun

Notes: The first time I heard this song, it personified Marc for me, particularly his sense of self and his longing for Sophie, knowing he’s not good enough for her and wanting her anyway. I felt it also captured the “no happy endings, not for us” reality of their relationship, the idea that one way or another his freedom and his life with her was going to be very, very short. This was such an important song for this story, keeping me focused on the hopelessness of their situation.

Key lyric:
So hold me when I’m here
Right me when I’m wrong
Hold me when I’m scared
And love me when I’m gone
Everything I am
And everything in me
Wants to be the one
You wanted me to be

“Here Without You,” (acoustic version) 3 Doors Down

Notes: This obviously fed the emotional thread of Marc longing for Sophie over a 12-year period, particularly in prison where all he had to conjure her back was his mind, his memories. For me, it represented Marc's deep loneliness during his six years in the slammer.

Key lyric:
A hundred days have made me older
Since the last time that I saw your pretty face
A thousand lies have made me colder
And I don’t think I can look at this the same
But all the miles that separate
Disappear now when I’m dreaming of your face

I’m here without you baby
But you’re still on my lonely mind
I think about you baby
And I dream about you all the time
I’m here without you baby
But you’re still with me in my dreams
And tonight it’s only you and me

“Savin’ Me” Nickelback from All the Right Reasons

Notes: I love this song. It came into my life as a Julian song, full of that dark energy that motivates him—his sense of utter worthlessness, his being trapped in some ways by his own past, his fear of confronting the darkness inside him. Then, somehow, the song morphed into a Marc song, and in that incarnation the connection was very clear, as Marc was in prison. Both Julian and Marc are “saved” by their love for a particular woman and her love for him. This song freaking rocks.

Key lyric:
Prison gates won’t open up for me
On these hands and knees I’m crawlin’
Oh, I reach for you
Well I’m terrified of these four walls
These iron bars can’t hold my soul in
All I need is you
Come, please, I’m callin’
And, oh, I scream for you
Hurry I’m fallin’, I’m fallin’

“Where Do I Hide” Nickelback from Silver Side Up

Notes: Another pretty obvious Marc song. Though Nickelback really needs to brush up on the reality of the U.S. criminal justice system — sorry, the journalist in me is nitpicking for accuracy — the idea of a man on the run and looking for vengeance that feeds this song helped feed my “Marc as criminal badass” mood.

Key lyric:
Got a criminal record, I can’t cross state lines
First on the bad list, and you’re last on mine
Lookin for a scapegoat, long past due
Walking down the aisle, staring straight at you

“Worthy to Say” Nickelback from The State

Notes: This song really captures the whole underground drug culture element of fear—of wondering which one of your friends turned narc on your ass, though creating the song around marijuana instead of, say, coke or meth or smack is kind of funny. What I liked about this was its sense of the street. I could see Marc checking all of Megan’s known hideouts, walking the “shooting galleries,” i.e., places where heroin addicts shoot up and bliss out, and following her pusher/boyfriend to his home on Race Street to kick his ass.

Key lyric:
They’re growin dope everywhere around the block
You can smell it
You can tell by the way they talk
Somebody stole five for gasoline
Who told ya, Who told ya

“Better Than Me,” Hinder from Extreme Behavior

Notes: No explanation needed, really. This highlighted Marc’s deep sense that he was only destroying Sophie’s life by being a part of it. Aimee turned me on to Hinder. Thanks, Aimee!

Key lyrics:
But I remember
What it feels like beside you
I really miss your hair in my face
And the way your innocence tastes
And I think you should know this
You deserve much better than me

“Cocaine” Eric Clapton

Notes: Really, it’s just the entire song — the drug theme. And coke is, of course, the drug Marc was accused of stealing and selling as a DEA agent

Key lyric:
If you got bad news
You wanna kick them blues
When your day is done
And you wanna run

“Closer” Nine Inch Nails from The Downward Spiral

Notes: I love how raw and unapologetically sexual this song is. I felt that Marc found escape from his past with Sophie, particularly when they shagged…

Key lyrics:
You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I’ve got no soul to sell
Help me the only thing that works for me, help me get away from myself
I want to fuck you like an animal
I want to feel you from the inside
I want to fuck you like an animal
My whole existence is flawed
You get me closer to god

“A Time for Us,” the love theme from Franco Zeffarelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1969)

Notes: This was Marc’s “death” theme. I put it on repeat and listened to it for probably eight non-stop hours as I wrote that particular scene. A very poignant song, written for “Romeo and Juliet,” it encapsulates the bittersweet experience of star-crossed love. I had to believe the worst was going to happen to write that scene the way it needed to be written, and this son enabled me to manipulate my emotions to do that. I cried the entire day.

Rather than putting in key lyrics, here’s the entire song:

A time for us, some day there’ll be
When chains are torn by courage born of a love that’s free
A time when dreams so long denied can flourish
As we unveil the love we now must hide

A time for us, at last to see 
A life worthwhile for you and me
And with our love, through tears and thorns 
We will endure as we pass surely through every storm 
A time for us, some day there’ll be a new world 
A world of shining hope for you and me

And with our love, through tears and thorns 
We will endure as we pass surely through every storm 
A time for us, some day there’ll be a new world 
A world of shining hope for you and me

A world of shining hope for you and me


Notes: These are largely action-scene themes, songs that capture the energy of an Alpha hero in action.

“Spybreak” Propeller Heads from the soundtrack to The Matrix
“Clubbed to Death” Rob Dougan from the soundtrack to The Matrix
“Jerusalem Poker” Bruce Cockburn from Life Short Call Now

Do you have any songs that make you think of Marc? Does music make you think of books at all? What music do you think I should hear?

Post and share some tunes (hint: no country) and I'll give away another signed copy of Unlawful Contact.


Ronlyn said...

Nice!! I love Nickelback. Gritty sexy voice. YUM! one of my favs I think is actually on your HE playlist.

damn, phone keeps rining.


Cheryle said...

Man I have alot of those here! I use to listen to 3 Doors down when my DH was in Iraq. Love the Play list and NIN Closer that song is just sexy. Dirty sexy just like Marc.

Oh and I can't drive 55 by Sammy Hagar. "Post my face wanted dead or alive, I can't drive 55."

Debbie H said...

Nickelback, definitely!

Anonymous said...

love all of tehm

touch my body from mariah carey love it

make love in the da club b y usher
he is hot.

kim h

Christi said...

Since I am maintaining iTunes supremacy at the moment my additions would be to the 3 Doors Down and Nickleback:

(1) "Sorry" - Buckcherry: Marc is appologizing to his sister/Sophie for failing them and that he considers himself a bad person because of it.
(2) "It's Not Over" - Daughtery: I think of this one when Marc is trying to do the honorable thing and convince himself he cannot have a future with Sophie but in the back of his head/heart he hopes it's not over and if God graces him with another chance he would do it "right this time around".
(3) "Before It's Too Late" - Goo Goo Dolls. (this was actually in the Transformers movie - one of my kids favorite) and I think it symbolizes all the time Marc wants to spend with Sophie before he gets either killed in a hail of gun fire of thrown back in jail.

I could keep going....but I'll spare you a super long comment.

well, how about another :-)
(4) "The Kill" - 30 Seconds to Mars: I like it but I can decided if it's Marc talking to himself or just in general.

Have a great Wednesday....

Debbie H said...

I just heard a new song by 6AM called "Life is Beautiful" and immediately thought of Marc. It's by Nickki Sixx from Motley Crue. Apparently he is doing some stuff on the side. The lyrics are what caught me.

Debbie H said...

Kill that last post of mine. Heard the word a little more clearly, not Marc at all! Where is my mind today? Sorry!

Lori said...

Comig out of lurkdom to say I absolutely love 3 Doors Down! I love to hear the songs that auhtors have in their heads when they write a character or a scene. Great playlists.

And - heay - I'm a Buff - class of '88 :) Sure do miss Boulder!

Lori said...

ps - I promise to proofread my post next time :)

Hey, everyone! I'm sneaking in a quick post from the midst of nutty business...

I'm thrilled to see so many Nickelback fans on here. Chad Kroeger is pretty bleeding hot. I was within touching distance of his foot a couple summers ago. I had a photo pass so I was right up front with the bouncers. He even came over and did the spread-legs, bend-the-knees, isn't-my-package-so-big? thing that he does. He even made eye contact with me. Sadly, the camera I had was a prop. It didn't work. Oh, well!

Which is your fave, Ronlyn?

Cheryle, I completely agree about NIN. Dirty-sexy, the way you need it to be sometimes. Glad to see another person loves 3 Doors Down. Is your DH safely back? I hope he's home to stay!

Debbie, I think we had a Nickelback conversation in Dallas. Not sure. We should have if we didn't. LOL! I've never heard of Nikki Stixx but I have heard of Motley Crue. So you don't think it's worth a listen?

Kim H, thanks so much! I'll have to go sample those and see what I think. I love finding new music.

Christi, congrats for holding iTunes supremacy! I hope it lasts. :-) I'll have to check out those tunes when I get a chance. Thanks!

LORI! Welcome fellow Buff. I'm so glad you de-lurked! Class of '88 would have been me, as well, but I had a baby my freshman year and another my senior year and just didn't graduate on time. I graduated in '91, I think. It took forever! Yes, the People's Republic is one of a kind. Where did you end up?

OK, so I have a contest winner to pick for another copy of Unlawful Contact. (Running for the fedora and the little slips of paper...)

And the winner is...

D'oh! Two pieces of paper stuck together and I don't know who to put back... So I guess I'll give away two books.

Christi and Lori!

E-mail me your snail addys and I'll get your copies in the mail!

Anonymous said...

wtg ladies. thanks, yes they are hot songs


Sin said...

I love Three Doors Down. While I read UC, I listened to my favorite playlist which includes some Nickelback, TDD, NIN's Closer (And I love how you incorporated that into his playlist!) I really liked Submersed's CD for this book. I don't know if it was the way the CD seemed to flow with the book or what, but I don't think any of the words fit. LOL. Or Hurt. I love Hurt. Both Volume I and Volume II are great CD's.

At the last scene, when Marc is laying in the snow, Julian's doing the countdown and Sophie is struggling to keep Marc with her, I was listening to "Now Comes the Night" by Rob Thomas. Strangly fitting for that scene.

After that on my playlist is a song called "Too Late" by Fisher. I love that song too. It, too, fit the thought of Marc and Sophie never seeing each other again. Which broke my heart. The end of that book was something that sticks with you even after you finish and put it away.

I always listen to music when reading. For me it makes a better read. And especially for writing, because otherwise I couldn't keep my thoughts seperated long enough to get them down.

xox Christie

Sin, dear, sounds like you were instinctually gravitating to exactly the right music! Interesting that you listen to music while you read. I listen while I write, of course, but not while I read. I'm usually flopped on my bed while I'm reading and — if the book is good — I'm so lost that I'm not sure I'd hear anything. When I write, I use the music as emotional stimulus. :-)

Oh, and I'll have to check out the tunes you listed, Sin. I'm always trolling for tunes. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great playlist! Most of the songs listed are actually on my playlist. I rarely listen to music when I read, and when I do, I don't even notice it. But I love it when I listen to a specific song and it reminds me a scene from a book I loved.

The gift by Seether.

And Sin: Vol II is NOT as good as Vol I.... I thought we agreed on that! LOL


Sin said...

Stef, I know we agreed, but I've been listening to Vol II with a new appreciation lately. Yes, Vol I is some of the best music I've ever heard, but Vol II has a raw quality to it as well. Especially Summers Lost, which I initially didn't like. And you know I love Abuse of Sid.

PC, I don't really *hear* the music when I'm reading or writing. I have to have it on as background noise, reading more so than writing. For writing, I have to have an appropriate playlist to write the scene I need. Action gets metal. Emotion gets a lot of Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Hurt, Within Temptation. And sex scenes, well I listen to hip-hop. Not necessarily the words (because I don't understand half of it) but the tempo is just right. :)

Lori said...

Oh gosh - just coming back after a horrific work week, and what do I see? You rock!!!

Thanks so much!

Tena said...

hi I love the songs you said helped you write the book I looked them up and downloaded them of course I had nickleback that is my daughters fav but when looked up “A Time for Us,” the love theme from Franco Zeffarelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1969)it brought up alot of songs by different people can you tell me which songerwriter sings the song you said?? thanks tena

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