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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

Friday, April 02, 2010

I-Team playlists for your iPod

I am a music fanatic. I’ve always been that way. Even back when I was 4 years old, music playing on the stereo would make me jump out of the tub and run, wet and naked, on fast little feet out to the living room to dance. My parents probably thought there was something developmentally wrong with me.

In school, I was in choir, marching band and concert band. Plus, I listened to music non-stop at home. When the Walkman came out, it became my constant companion. No need to tell you that I'm an iPod devotee.

But music is also one of my primary sources of inspiration for my writing. Without music, would there be words? I'm not sure. I use music to manipulate myself emotionally, setting up playlists for characters, for certain scenes in books, and general play lists for novels.

Several of you have asked about my playlist for Naked Edge, but rather than just listing that, I thought I’d put them all up here. So whether you’re on Team Reece, Team Julian, Team Marc or Team Gabe (or are preemptively signing up for Team Zach), you’ll find something here to give you insight into those characters — or at least the odd inner workings of my brain, which is much less exciting.

So get ready to sample some tunes at the iTunes store. I won’t be able to list everything here, just the most significant songs for each book.

Extreme Exposure
I haven't saved this list — it’s been a while now — so I’m going from memory. I listened to a lot of Eminem (esp. Lose Yourself and 8 Mile) while I wrote this. Not sure why. But the most “Reece” song to me was Five for Fightin's Superman (playcount 1,630). I saw Reece as a hero who was almost too good for the world around him, a man who just wanted to be a man but whose sense of right and wrong was so strong that it led him to this sea of conflict — but also, ultimately, happiness with Kara. That song for some reason evokes that for me. For the scenes at the cement plant at the end of the book, I wanted something that sounded violent and evoked factory machinery. So I listened to U2’s “Mofo” from Pop. And that's about all I can remember...

Hard Evidence
I still have some of this playlist on my iTunes.
“Jerusalem Poker” by Bruce Cockburn — evoked Julian’s inner cool during violence
“Savin' Me” by Nickelback — This might sound like a Marc song (in fact, he might have grown out of it), but to me it evoked Julian’s inner struggle and his being trapped in a sense of worthlessness. It is the most “Julian” song I can think of. Plus he was in prison at one point.
“Feelin' Way Too Damn Good” — this made me feel his sense of disbelief that he’d fallen in love
“If You Wear That Velvet Dress” — This was the end of the story for me. It starts at Julian’s bleakest moment when Tessa is gone, then resolves into their being together and all danger being past. This is one of those instances where it’s more the emotion of the music than the lyrics.

I also listened incessantly to a mixtape put together by Joe Thunder and some of his homies. This was hip hop from Aurora — A-Town, Julian’s stomping ground. This was right off the street. You can’t get it anywhere, plus none of the songs have titles.

Unlawful Contact
The name of this playlist is actually MARC&SOPHIE. I think in terms of characters, because they have to feel like people to me to feel real to you.
The love scene in the prologue needed a sense of innocent sensuality, and I got that from “One Summer Night” by the Danleers. Think of Marc's ’55 Chevy.
“Spybreak” and “Clubbed to Death” from The Matrix soundtrack fed the actions scenes.
“Running Away” by Hoobastank — what else but prison escape music? “Where Do I Hide?” by Nickelback came in there, too.
“Running to Stand Still,” U2's song about heroin addiction, was Megan for me. Love this song.
“Worthy To Say” by Nickelback and “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton helped feed the street scenes, particularly anything having to do with drugs.
“Better Than Me” and “Lips of An Angel” brought to mind Marc's sense that Sophie deserved better. Again, it’s not always the lyrics. Sometimes it’s just the emotion it evokes.
As for the love the two felt for each other, “Truly Madly Deeply” and “Chasing Cars” were high up there.
And the ultimate Marc song? “When I'm Gone” by 3 Doors Down. This was the beginning of my 3 Doors Down obsession. See if you think this fits:

Everything I am

And everything in me
Wants to be the one
You wanted me to be
I'll never let you down
Even if I could
I'd give up everything
If only for your good
So hold me when I'm here
Right me when I'm wrong
You can hold me when I'm scared
You won't always be there
So love me when I'm gone
Love me when I'm gone...

That scene that made people really anxious toward the end of the book, the one that involves bullets... (I’m trying to do this without spoilers) I listened to one song for an entire weekend just to convince myself that the worst had happened and that it was O-V-E-R in a permanent way. And that was the love theme from the 1969 film Romeo & Juliet, titled “A Time for Us.” And I cried my way through an entire box of Puffs writing that scene.


Marc met her gaze, gave her fingers a squeeze, then spoke haltingly. “I’m sorry… Dragged you into this.”

“Shhh!” She ran her knuckles over his cheek, trying not to cry and failing miserably. “You just rest now. Save your strength.”

“Don’t cry… No happy endings… not for us… not this time. But for you… you’ll find happiness… the right man.”

“Don’t you even say that, Marc Hunter, damn it!”

“You helped me… find Megan. Thank you… is not enough.” He looked to where his sister sat crying quietly, the baby clutched in her arms. “I love you, Megan… Promise me… no more drugs. Be… a good mom. Tell Emily… I love her, too.”

“I-I promise.” Her face contorted with grief, Megan gulped back a sob and held the baby out so that he could touch her, Emily’s little fist closing around his finger.

“Cop… ” Hunt’s gaze shifted to Julian. “Watch over Sophie. Megan and Emily, too.”

“You know I will.” Julian met Sophie’s gaze. “Three minutes, thirty seconds.”

“Sprite?” Hunt took another shaky breath, his pale face a mask of pain, his gaze searching for her.

“I’m here, right here.” She squeezed his hand, but this time he didn’t squeeze back.
His seemed to relax when he saw her. “I... love you… Always have… Every day… you. My fairy sprite.”

“I love you, too, do you hear me?” She sobbed the words.

His mouth curved in a weak grin. “I… hear you.”

Their gazes locked, the love she saw in his eyes undimmed by pain. And for a moment it was just the two of them—just her and Hunt.

“You mean everything to me, Marc Hunter. Everything.” She leaned down, pressed her lips to his, her palm pressed against the rapid thrum of his heart.

He answered her kiss, his lips like ice.

Then the distant beat of a helicopter drew her gaze to the sky.

By the time she looked down again, his eyes were closed.

And that brings us to...

Naked Edge

I have many playlists for this book. Kat has one. Gabe has one. The sex scenes have their own list. The book in general has one. The big scene at the end of the book has its own playlist. If you absolutely must know all of the songs, e-mail me. Here are the highlights:

“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails — what else could be the soundtrack to his sex life?
“Unforgiven II” and “Fade to Black” by Metallica for his climbing scenes
“Broken” by Lifehouse for Gabe’s feelings about Kat
“It's Been Awhile,” “Right Here,” and “Tangled Up In You” by Staind are strong Gabe songs, especially the first, which is kind of the ultimate Gabe song:

It's been a while
since I could say that I wasn't addicted and
It's been a while
Since I could say I love myself as well and
It's been a while
Since I've gone and fucked things up just like I always do
It's been a while
But all that shit seems to disappear when I'm with you

I listened to a lot of 3 Doors Down, too, but Staind really took over after the first six months or so.

The entire soundtrack to the movie Thunderheart
The soundtrack to How the West was Lost
“Meditations on Dinetah,” by R. Carlos Nakai (Dinetah means Navajoland, and Nakai is Diné)
The entire CD Fire Crow by Joseph Fire Crow

This music also served to fuel the action scenes toward the end.

Other significant songs:
“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak and “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias for the love scenes (together with a bunch of others)
“You and Me” by Lifehouse for their wedding at the end and the epilogue.
“Supermassive Black Hole," by Muse for skiing scenes (that turn into snow angels).
“Sometime Around Midnight” for Gabe's broken heart

And for the scene that made you hate me? This will probably seem weird, but Annie Lennox singing “Into the West” from the third Lord of the Rings movie. It is, after all, a song about dying and grief.

And there you have it.

I’m always looking for new music. Oftentimes, when I feeling like I'm suffering from writer’s block it's actually musical ennui — being sick of all my music. So feel free to share, especially if you’ve got music that evokes torture. I could use some of that for Zach right now. (Let the teasing begin! Bwahaha!)


Rachel said...

Torture?! Nooo, poor Zach! Well, I'll let my imagination run wild with that one until you decide to toss us another morsel. In the meantime, the first song that popped into my head when you said that would be Savage Garden's "Break Me Shake Me," and if I think of anything else, I'll run right back here and let you know!

I definitely hear you on the music fatigue, by the way. My boyfriend says I give him whiplash with how quickly I change the CDs in my car.

Kara C said...

A day off from work AND the I Team playlist all in one day. Thank you, thank you. Several of those songs are already on my iPod but more will be added.
And how can anyone read that UC excerpt and NOT join Team Marc? Baffles the mind. :)
Hope your Good Friday is a GOOD Friday.

Scorpio M. said...

Pamela, you are too cool for school! This is great. I will
I-Teamize my iPod this weekend.

I usually only listen to music while at the gym or while driving and lately when a beat gets fast I imagine myself as some undercover CIA agent kicking ass. I think I've been reading too much romantic suspense, LOL.

Enjoy your day, it's a gorgeous 70 degrees in NYC, finally! Hopefully CO is just as nice :-)

Yes, Rachel, torture. But he's a former Navy SEAL, so he's not going to break.

I'll check that song out. Thanks!

LOL about your boyfriend's whiplash. I'm the opposite in that I play the same playlist or CD until everyone around me hates it. But that's because the story moves in my mind when it's playing. BUT when I am sick of it, I am truly sick of it. Plus, it's always NEW stuff that gets added to the mix that's most inspiring. In past blog posts I've come on begging for songs to sample. LOL!

Hi, Kara — So glad you have a day off! I normally have Fridays off, which is nice, because papers don't close for holidays most of the time.

Yeah, that excerpt is a fave of mine. That scene...

Thank you for the Good Friday wishes. And you have a wonderful good Good Friday, too!

Hey, Scorpio — Sending off your bookplates and bookmarks today.

I hope you enjoy the music.

I do that, too. I think music evokes the inner heroine in all of us. LOL!

I added a few more tunes from the playlist when I woke up. So you might want to read through the NAKED EDGE part again.

Mary G said...

Loved this post Pamela.
Lips of An Angel is one of my fave (crank up the volume & sing loudly)

Rachel, I'm with you on changing the music.

Kara C - ditto that Marc-Sophie scene.

Scorpio - I-Teamize - that's genius LOL

Hi, Mary G — I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I typed it up late, late last night when I was beyond exhausted, so I've found a zillion typos in it that I'm trying to fix. LOL!

Yeah, I thought I-Teamize was rather clever, too.

Scorpio M. said...

Thanks, Pamela!

Hi Mary...I think we've all been
I-Teamized by Pamela's men, uhm, books. :-)

Diane W. said... treadmill run is going to be SO much better today with this playlist!! Thanks, Pamela!!

And, I'm still sticking with "Team RJMGZ". Limiting myself just doesn't make sense to me. ;)


Sam said...

Pamela! I've been reading your books consistently like a rabid beast. You are the only author whose books are ALL good, which just the right amount of action, romance, and eroticism! You are definitely my favorite contemporary author. I just hate how I will have to wait years before I read about the other I-Teams, PLEASE write faster lol.

This post totally increased my love for you because your music taste is just awesome. Exactly my kind of gal!

Much love,

Debbie H said...

Damn, that excerpt made me cry AGAIN! I think I am almost as good at crying at the drop of a hat as you are. LOL

Torture music,huh? Mmmm, I'll have to think on that one.

Sam said...

P.S. I just like to let you know that your men totally ruined it for me with other guys. I keep on wanting them to be just like your hotties. You're bad for me.

Wildcat78 said...

LOVE love love mixing music and books. Truly the perfect combo! Thanks so much for the lists. Will be busy on iTunes this weekend ;-)


Linda A. said...

Great playlists, Pamela! The theme for Romeo and Juliet is so evocative. I watched the 1969 version with my students a while ago, and that song made me tear up.

That excerpt makes me want to read Hunt's story! I really have to get off my butt and catch up with him and Julian! I'm already on Team Gabe, but hey, double dipping isn't a crime, right? If I ever get through revision hell, I'll treat myself.

I can't say I have playlists for my characters, but I do have a theme song picked out for McShannon's Chance, called 'The Patriot's Game'. "Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing, for the love of one's country is a dangerous thing." It was written about the troubles in Ireland, but I think it applies to the Civil War just as well and the melody is haunting played on the tin whistle.

In my dreams, I hear a movie soundtrack with lots of fiddle. And I see Christian Bale as he looked in his role in 3:10 to Yuma...sigh!

Wendy said...

I stumbled over this cover of Kate Bush's "Running up that Hill" not long ago.

Please listen to it, everyone, it's so haunting and beautiful.

I learned that the song is about wishing God could switch men and women so we could understand each other better. Even way back when I first listened, I thought of that morning when Julian snapped at Tessa (SPOILER?) "just because we had sex doesn't mean we're close, okay?"

Sam said...

I was looking through my playlist and thought I'd contribute some songs into the mix.

Puddle of Mudd's Blurry evokes this kind of angst-y emotion on me whenever I listen to it. I thought it'd be great for Julian and Tessa, especially looking at the the lyrics.

"Everything's so blurry
and everyone's so fake
and everybody's empty
and everything is so messed up
pre-occupied without you
I cannot live at all
My whole world surrounds you
I stumble then I crawl

You could be my someone
you could be my scene
you know that i'll protect you
from all of the obscene
I wonder what you're doing
imagine where you are
there's oceans in between us
but that's not very far

Can you take it all away
can you take it all away
well ya shoved it in my face
this pain you gave to me
Can you take it all away
can you take it all away
well ya shoved it in my face"

The Servant - Cells is good for Sophie and Marc.

It'll all click when the mortgage clears
All our fears will disappear
Now you go to bed
I'm staying here
I've got another level that I want to clear
My skin feels like orange peel
My eyes have been vacuum-sealed
My organs move like a squirm of eels
We should be more adventurous with our meals
They annoy me those who employ me
They could destroy me
They should enjoy me
We eat chinese off our knees
And look for each other in the TV screen

The sun goes up and the sun goes down
I drag myself into the town
All I do I want to do with you
Everyday I'm at my desk
At my desk I'm like the rest
All I do I want to do with you"

The lyrics I interpret as as long as you're with the person you love, life is good. "All I do I want to do with you."

Those are my top favorite songs that I hope you'll like as well!

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

Switchfoot - Learning to Breathe should be good for Gabe and Kat.

"Hello, good morning, how you do?
What makes your rising sun so new?
I could use a fresh beginning too
All of my regrets are nothing new
So this is the way that I say I need You
This is the way
This is the way that I'm

Learning to breathe
I'm learning to crawl
I'm finding that You and You alone can break my fall
I'm living again, awake and alive
I'm dying to breathe in these abundant skies"

Annddd for Reece and Kara I picked this:

Snow Patrol's Just Say Yes!!

"I'm running out of ways to make you see
I want you to stay here beside me
I won't be ok and I won't pretend I am
So just tell me today and take my hand
Please take my hand
Please take my hand

Just say yes, just say there's nothing holding you back
It's not a test, nor a trick of the mind
Only love"

I got behind here, didn't I?

The good news is I finished the first chapter of a book that I have tentative titled SURVIVAL INSTINCT, i.e., Natalie's story.

Not a very romantic title, I agree, but...

Sam, dear, thank you so much for liking all my books! One peek at Amazon shows that not everyone agrees with you, but bless your heart! I'm thrilled that you've enjoyed my stories.

Which have you read so far? Do you have a favorite I-Team hero?

I'll write as fast as I can. Real life has a terrible way of taking me away from what I really want to be doing, which is writing more stories and writing them faster.

I read through the songs/lyrics you suggested and will be off to iTunes in a moment to sample them. They look great! Thanks so much for sharing them here.

As for those I-Team heroes ruining it for you... Why do you think I'm still single? LOL!

Aw, Debbie! I'm glad the scene still touches you even though you know what's going to happen. LOL!

Hi, Jess — So happy to see you here again! I hope you've had a chance to sample some of the songs. And you're welcome! Books and music just go together, at least for me. :-)

Hi, Linda — Wasn't that movie incredible? I was all of 5 years old when it came out, so I saw it later, but it became Romeo and Juliet for me. And the song... It's just so filled with star-crossed love. So poignant!

There's nothing wrong with double-dipping. I think you'd like both Marc and Julian quite a bit.

I'll have to check out your song. I love traditional Celtic music and I listen to it nonstop when I'm working on one of my historicals. Love it, love it! Thanks for sharing the title and lyrics here.

Hi, Wendy — I will definitely listen to that song. I, too, wish God would switch men and women. I think it should happen when women are in active labor. I want men to experience that for several hours without drugs. I truly think the world would change overnight.

Cool that you thought of Julian there. Yes, he's a bit of a jerk, isn't he?

Do you know that this thread has gotten more hits than any I've ever posted?

Why is that?

I guess we all just love music.


Oh, and Sam! Thank you for saying you like my taste in music! :-)

Linda A. said...

The version of 'Patriot's Game' that I like is by Matt Minglewood, an older Halifax musician you may or may not have heard of. The song was actually written in the fifties, but Minglewood gave it his own take. The full first verse is "Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing, for the love of one's country is a dangerous thing For it banishes fear with the speed of a flame And it makes us a part of the patriot's game." If you find Minglewood's version, let me know, because I haven't been able to find it in a long time.

Elise said...

Hi Pamela,
thank you so much for the playlists. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS! I'm kinda obsessed with your I-team heroes at the moment and this helps a bit to wait until your next book!
So some musical tips:
"Closer" from Kings of Leon and "Waiting on an Angel" from Ben Harper for love scenes.
You can also try "Hysteria" from Muse for some action scene.
Oh by the way, with a character like Nathalie, and as a French reader, you may need some help with French expressions or translations, I would be very honored if I could be of any help!
Thank you again for having so much talent!

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