"We created this blog as a hub; the nerve center of our collective social-networking, homepages, books and distribution.

This is a place for our unyielding, genuine selves to pool together as many badass books and as much information about as many rock-star writers as we can.

We've done this to give readers, fans, players, and watchers of badass entertainment the badass material they need...

We do not fit the stereotypical author profiles.
We like heavy metal, epic movies, video games, and high octane, in-your-face, full throttle materials.
Many of us have a dark mindset, others are just wild and scattered, and some may or may not need an attitude adjustment.
But that's just the way we like it.
Raw, real, harsh to some, but an epic home for our ilk.

Some of us you may not have discovered until the moment you set your digital foot into this space, but we have bound together a group to prove that quality writing isn't restricted to genre-favoritism and big-publishing.

Our philosophy:
If you like a Thriller written by a badass, chances are, if that badass wrote a Fantasy, you'd like it too. So, if another badass with similar a mindset wrote a fantasy, we believe you may just enjoy that too.

Genre is now irrelevant in this new publishing world.

Instead, we take a good long look at the people behind these stories, and suggest you read them based on who they are; not what genre they write.
Because a badass book is a badass book no matter where it lands on the shelves!
This is because their authors share badass interests and have similar mindsets...Mindsets like your own!

Many of us aren't even "just writers," but artists in a variety of forms.

Here, you fans of the badass slice of life we all thoroughly enjoy, will have a source for new and unexpected originality, and a powerful, ever-expanding collection of soulful stories by badass people.

But more than just books; you will find more about the artists themselves than you might find in other blogs.
We give you their social media, home pages, distribution and the like, so you can connect with some of the most accessible, badass writers out there."
~M. P. and all the Badasses

...Welcome to our second home...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Badass Authors Roundtable #1
Topic: Music 

*** Author: M. P. Ness ***

Kicking off this roundtable discussion about music, I'm going to start with a brief consideration of the very opposite topic.

...It's supposedly golden.

I happen to agree.
There's nothing quite like a quiet morning on my deck, overlooking Lake Tapps, WA in autumn. The winter-long rains haven't yet come into full-swing. The colors are changing slowly, and mostly sun prevails.

Sipping a cup of coffee on a slow to rise Saturday dawn, I watch the fog from the chill of the night slowly thin like a snowblind at the death of the wind. It's a mystical, magical sight and experience; so quiet - so still.

The waters of the lake are a sheet of mirrored glass. Inevitably though, the light changes, the fog is vanquished, boats appear, the water is broken like so much "bad luck", and people move. Slowly my mind wakes up.
"If Silence is in fact golden, I must ask; what then is Sound?"
More specifically, I begin to think of the language of sound itself, stripped of all humanity...but brought to life and organized only by consciousness.


As complex as it is simple, as infinitely variable as it is limited by its small contingency of repeating notes;
music brings the world of Sound to true life, and gives it a soul.

When asked to write about music, I first come to these aforementioned thoughts. I think about the bigger picture. I think of what music is made of and how it can so powerfully convey an emotion, a message, an idea...or how its variations can even bring plants to growth or death, and water to freezing in chaotic or organized crystals...and how it is all of these in itself to begin with.

Music is magical.
Moreover, it is hugely inspirational and motivational for me as a writer. Take one look at E.L.F. - White Leaves, my debut novel's book trailer (posted here on the blog), and you can probably deduce what sort of music I'm interested in. And another glance to the title of this network's namesake will tell you the rest. I'm very much into the sort of bands and music that when listened to, your mind goes; 'geeze, what a fucking bunch of badasses'.

Some that pop to mind immediately are the likes of Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Deftones, Pantera, and their ilk. The song in that aforementioned book trailer is from metal band - Machinehead...(though I added some extra cinematic scores, hits, and extra sound effects to create a fuller soundscape than a mere song can present; I like to go big.)

So, yes, I do like a fair deal of heavy metal, as it has that aggression necessary for daydreaming up fight scenes, action and violence. I'm not a violent person in life, so the epic quality found in much of the higher-production-value heavy metal certainly helps a great deal when you write a lot of action, or you're someone who is inspired by fast-paced and monumental story moments, like myself. Metal can inspire the mind to come up with imagery you might not have been able to imagine otherwise.

However, when it comes to utilizing music as a tool there is a very specific quality of sound that appeals to me, and its not used often enough, if you asked me. It's difficult to explain, so bear with me and try to picture what I'm about to describe. I look for music, passively, which has a certain far-off, dreamlike quality to its recording. This doesn't mean something intentionally recorded "lo-fi" just for the sake of sounding old-timey, or to have been intentionally recorded by analog.
(I see through you, musicians. Seriously, stop doing that.)
Rather, it means, the artists found a way to create a sound that transports me to another time and place, and helps me to 'daydream' the imagery of my stories together. This can come in the form of vocals or instrumental subtleties.

One song with this quality comes to mind immediately, and would be the sound I would use to describe "Pheinixfall," the first book in my yet unfinished epic fantasy saga(the Winds of Arillus) - "Rise of the Phoenix" (I believe its entitled) by Machinehead as well, off their album, the Burning Red...
This is more of an intro to the cd, rather than an actual song all its own. Its quite a short piece too.
But something about it just screams to my heart, "This is Pheinixfall," and not only for their respective namesakes. That just happens to be a happy coincidence. I don't know how or why, but somewhere in the language being spoken to me by this ethereal instrumental little track (#1 on The Burning Red), I can literally See the lonesome peak which towers over the Bottomland forestry veiled in mist at the rising dawn, wherein the story's namesake, Pheinix, greets her story-world, Arillus. It's much like this morning, where the low fog dissipates over the lake below my vantage, actually.

And that's the Power of music.
Without that track, I would not see the story of Pheinixfall the same way ever again.

I don't need to tell you; I'm a visual writer. E.L.F. is an action/adventure, and I hope that what I consider visual storytelling and its pacing alike show through. If you know anything about me, it's that I'm also a visual artist, so it should stand to reason that telling a visual story just comes naturally. But there's more to writing a story the way that I do. For me, to write a visual story, daydreaming is integral, and metal inspires that more than any other music I listen to.

If asked to put together a soundtrack for this novel, E.L.F. - White Leaves, in particular; I honestly wouldn't know which songs to tell you apply, because there are so many that played during the time I sat and wrote it.
However, I might note Alice In Chains, being a household name here in the Seattle area(from which they came). Alice In Chains, somewhat depressing overall, has a quality of harmonic vocal sound that makes them unique, and unanimously Seattle-sounding, which is where E.L.F. is centrally set. However, Shannon, the White Leaves protagonist, is a young woman; not a middle-aged, depressed, male heroin junky.

While Shan would enjoy Alice In Chains, as a Seattlite city-rat, and an alternative-lifestyled individual; I would conversely have to select music with female vocalists to be included in the E.L.F. soundtrack,
just to bring the necessary feminine vibe and outlook to the table.

Voices the likes of Evenescence, Skillet, and the recent rock-chick-fronted Halestorm may all have to be part of this soundtrack. Though to be fair, I would have to be extremely selective in song titles, as the subject matter is what's really important when it comes to vocal messages that reflect a story which is also a fairytale; riddled with little messages and morals. I say this because our protagonist, Shan, is an activist, hippy, and terrorist. Not just any female-sung song could apply to this story.

"Oops, I did it again," could NEVER EVER fly here.
Jewel, has no chance.
Perhaps angsty young Avril Levigne might make it work, or saucy minded Alanis Morisette, or even dark Tori Amos.
But, I also don't listen to any of their music. I listen to a lot of metal. So, I can't picture any of these women's works fitting the bill.

Whoever the artist is the songs have to have a specific "oomph" to them...a certain punch that drives home a rather dark-minded message to match the apocalyptic and dystopian scope of the story. For that reason others that would make the cut regardless of the sex of the vocalist would be some old Staind, some Disturbed, and oddly enough, some Incubus.

And this is how you know what bits of me go into my writing. A playlist can tell you a great deal about a person's interests, and in the case of a story written by a person like me; you can get a general feel for the direction and vibe and messages the story has to tell. Unfortunately, I don't much keep track of song titles as I do bands. This is for only one reason; iPod on Shuffle in my 'dreamlike' writing playlist.

It's a huge list, and all are actively participating in every story I tell, regardless of genre, characters, or events therein, because I'm always listening to them on random. My own personal artistic-creation-radio-station. Bless the iPod, for she is mighty.
Ultimately, the artists on my iPod combine, take turns, and BANG; the magic happens.

#Interjection - Rich Knight: I agree; silence is usually best when putting together story. It is indeed golden.

#Interjection - C.A. Sanders: I'd rather hear something lo-fi/analog than the overproduced, smoothed over, sonic spit-up that comes from the mainstream music companies these days. The more you produce, the more you squeeze the blood and guts out of the music. This is why live music will always be superior.
Also, I hate when singers use auto-tune to cover for their poor singing. 
Voice is an instrument, and if you can't play your fucking instrument; don't play your fucking instrument!

M.P. Ness: I fully understand where you're coming from with over-producion, C.A., but I stick by my ideal of refined sound. Overdoing it can be bad, though. I guess with anything, it has to be done right? Moving on, Marie Frances, what's your consideration of music look like?

*** Author: Marie Frances ***

When writing a book, it's generally accepted that the story itself is very important. But the characters within it are everything. Their realism and dynamics are vital to making the story truly come to life. I am an extremely character-driven writer. They develop so fully in some unlit corner of my subconscious that they become very real, separate entities inside my head. They even manage to surprise me sometimes with their words and actions while I'm writing them. Telling their stories is what keeps me motivated. It should therefore be no surprise that my musical choices while writing largely reflect my characters.

The protagonist of Nighthawk has the same tastes as me, so I write a lot of her thoughts and dialogue to the sweet strains of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Another character is much easier to write while I'm listening to Combichrist. Yes another seems to prefer instrumental Celtic songs.

The music almost serves as a figurative "imagination lubrication," making it easier to connect to that character's thoughts and allowing them to flow onto the page. There are plenty of moments where a more general soundtrack is helpful, however. The story itself is alive in its own way, and the music must match its ebbs and flows. Its playlist consists entirely of videogame soundtracks; games I have played and can associate certain moods with the music: Devil May Cry, Tomb Raider, God of War, Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia, Resident Evil, Borderlands, Final Fantasy, etc.

There is so much variety (and so few vocals) that virtually any atmosphere can be evoked within these soundtracks. Ultimately, music is a fascinatingly personal choice. Different melodies, lyrics, and rhythms resonate in their owns ways for each person. It's interesting to consider how such a wide variety of sound combinations can reach into the primordial part of the brain and play with the deep
emotional strings that reside there.

Personally, I couldn't write without music.
It provides focus and clarity.

In the silence, my own thoughts are deafening.

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: I hadn't even considered video game soundtracks, but I can see exactly what you mean, Marie. A soundscape, lyricless, can really open wide the mind and allow imagination to bloom much in the same way as classical orchestration. Explorative ambiance, and I bet, much of the game music is quite epic.

*** Author: Michael Loring ***

When I was writing "Dehumanized," my debut novel, I could never go without some music in the background. Because, just as Marie stated earlier, my thoughts can be defeaning and with music playing the beast in my head calms and lets me work.

I've always had a belief that every situation has its own theme song. I'm sure you've probably heard that before somewhere, or thought about it yourself, but I truly believe it. In Dehumanized there are scenes where only a certain kind of song can be played to go along with them. I could never list all the songs, since there are so freakin' many, but I can tell you that I was very particular when it came to what was playing in the background when I was writing.

If I was writing a fight scene (of which, in Dehumanized, there are quite a few), I could only listen to metal/rock songs; the kind that you can bang your head to and feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins. I listened to bands like Mudvayne, Slipknot, and of course my favorite band, Five Finger Death Punch. When the scene called for some introspection I played softer songs like "Mad World" by Gary Jules and "Bang" by Pack A.D.

Every moment had a theme to it, and should I ever decide to set-up a list of songs to listen to at certain times when reading Dehumanized, there'd be hundreds.

But this ideology doesn't just apply for books, it works for real life as well. Certain moods can be enunciated by the right song. Everyone knows this to an extent. When you're relaxing you like to listen to something relaxing, right? Or if you're angry you pump up some metal. It's just how it works. For me, I find myself playing more metal and rock than anything; not because I'm angry though, but because I love the blood-pumping adrenaline that comes with such songs.

I'd bang my head any day rather than just nodding it.

When I was taking boxing classes, I was allowed to bring my own kind of music for when I was sparring. Every one was allowed to do this, and we'd switch songs for each person depending on how the fight was going (i.e. if I were losing they'd play my opponent's songs). I'd always play stuff like "Way of the Fist" by Five Finger Death Punch and "Determined" by Mudvayne (both censored of course because there was a children's class right next to us) because those were what got me going. I'd always fight better when listening to my own music.

Every one has their own music, each song for each situation. No two people will ever pick the same songs for everything. I could say, All That Remains, while you say, Skillet. I'd say, In This Moment, while you'd say, Carrie Underwood. My point is everyone is different, and thanks to the diversity of music everyone
has their own theme for every moment.

#Interjection - C. A. Sanders: "Mad World" is one of the greatest songs ever written.

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: Michael, your words trigger a truly fascinating thought, when you talk of feeling the music; banging your head rather than merely bobbing it. It makes me think of the way sound can orchestrate life on a much more microscopic level. Like feeling it, even baser elements respond to music; as with such experiments where a metal song is played during the freezing process of water. The molecules crystalize in chaotic patterns. If Beethoven, however, is played during such a freezing process, the crystallization occurs in a very orderly, organized, ornate and frankly, beautiful pattern. Its as though music organizes life itself.
My brother is a drummer, and he feels that the pull and patterns of sound and song actually work prior to feeling. You listen to a mellow song when in a mellow mood, but you can also influence and promote and instill a mood with music. This is actually, in fantasy writing, what you might call a Bard. Even the fairy tale of the Pied Piper suggested he could woo rats into following him from the village, and by that, the Bard was the hero.

*** Author: Natasha Wetzel ***

I must admit, I always had trouble with shit like this in high school. Slap me in the middle of my friends... you couldn't shut me up. Put me in a class and demand my brain to write a paragraph about a word listed on the bored, my face goes blank; complete with a drool river down the side of my chin.

Music? I like it. Any form of it. Doesn't matter if I'm screaming with 'Drowning Pool' or line dancing to Garth Brooks. When it comes to my writing I can't help but listen to the massive list of Two Steps from Hell that I have. But, when I am not writing I blare the shit out of Les Friction.

Don't know who that is?

Well... the badassary of this group goes unnoticed by a lot of folks. I'm surprised more aren't singing their songs in the showers or posting their YouTube links in the black hole that is facebook. Either way. Music is like people, each different, unique and awesome in their own way.

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: Les Friction is badass. Agreed.

#Interjection - C.A. Sanders: I didn't know that people still line danced to Garth Brooks. Then again, it beats twerking.

*** Author: Rachael McIntosh ***


The loop runs NON FRIGGIN' STOP until I get the scene done.  I don't care if I'm driving the kids to 4-H or washing the dishes. It's stuck on repeat until the scene is done. Country Music. Rock'n'Roll. Roots Rock. Blues. Punk with sphincter vocals. Dubstep. Wagner. 

It's all right there. It's in my book.

I don't think the auditory hallucinations actually influence the tone of the writing.  But maybe it does. 
Who the fuck knows? Right now I'm enjoying some quite time.

...My manuscript is done... 

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: A moment of solace when you finish a manu isn't it? Music? Nah. Give me silence then. Quiet reflection.

*** Author: Rich B Knight ***

It really all depends on my mood when it comes to writing with music. Sometimes, the only sound I have on is the drone of my air conditioner, like I have on now. And other times, I put on music to really get me in the spirit. When I am in the spirit, I usually listen to progressive rock from the 60s and 70s like Genesis, Gentle Giant, and King Crimson. I'm also quite fond of listening to movie soundtracks, especially while I'm editing. Shogun Assassin, The Master, There Will Be Blood, and Transformers: The Movie, are in constant rotation on my laptop.

But yeah, it really all depends on how I'm feeling at the moment and what I'm writing.

#Interjection - C.A. Sanders:  Holy crap, I haven't thought about King Crimson in years!  Good call!

*** Author: Bex Pavia ***

Music is my muse. I said that on my Facebook page the other day. That's nothing unusual, I know; I'm certain many other writers say something similar.  But, this piece is about how I feel about music, so it bears repeating.

When I listen to music (any music) I'm drawn into different worlds, different situations, taken to exciting places. When my headphones are on and the volume is up, the real world fades away and anything is possible. That's why music is so important for me as a writer. I'm not saying I couldn't write without it,
but my writing would probably be something less than it is without its influence.

When I play a track from epic music company, Two Steps From Hell, the world of The Sanctum of Souls comes to life in my mind. Scenes play out like movies, complete with their own soundtrack. The character's form and movements become almost tangible, their dialogue becomes rich and audible.

When I listen to music that feels right for the piece I'm writing, I'm transported there; no longer a writer but a casual observer, recording the action in my mind so that I may write it later - once back home in the comfort of my huge office chair. Music didn't inspire the story I'm passionate about, but my passion for music assists me as I write it. The world of Gadrionis would, I suspect, be a very different and less colourful place had music been absent during its creation.

As for the mechanics of music and writing; I rarely listen to music as I write. I did at the beginning but found it distracted me too much. I realized I achieved more words on the page in musical silence. Conversely, some parts of the book have flowed better with music playing. Battle scenes seem far easier to write when accompanied by a full orchestra pounding out the mood. Soft, melancholy tracks draw the emotion from me that is required to write a sad bit of the story. For those extremes, I believe I write better with the music on. And yes, I prefer my music reaching my ears via headphones. Partly because I like my music loud and I'd rather not write to the rythmic beats of my neighbours fists (or kitchen utensils) against my walls. However, headphones aid the whole world-transportation thing. Mine are a great set that shut out anything that isn't audibly pleasurable - they provide sanctuary from the aforementioned neighbours.

Well, I think I'll cease my rambling before it becomes any more introspective and thus, totally boring. I would have mentioned points made by the other, most excellent, Badass Authors, but in all honesty, though I've read their pieces, I've completely forgotten what they said and have come to a natural coffee break.

I need coffee almost as much as music, so it cannot be denied!

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: Ah, Coffee. Beloved blessed Coffee. That goes hand in hand with writing for me. Also, fret not for becoming introspective. I operate regularly in the land of introspection, and I write alike. I find introspective thoughts fascinating. I also write like you, transported, visualizing, recording events. That's awesome we share that!

Bex Pavia: And so I pass the baton to Craig Sanders.

*** C.A. SANDERS ***

When I was five years old, my aunt put a guitar in my hands and showed me how to strum.  I never looked back. I've been playing guitar for over 30 years now, but I'm not nearly as good as I used to be.

I suffered a pretty bad dog bite that got infected, and I can't work the fretboard with the dexerity I used to have.
Fucking dog.
These days I mostly pick at my acoustic, a knock-around Washburn, and try to sing.  It's still fun.
I've never played in a band, music has always been too personal to share. I'll just pick out some "Dead" or "Hot Tuna" and be happy with it.

When I first escaped college, I tried to write fancy-schmancy literary stories, and failed miserably. My first paid writing gig was covering concerts for Relix Magazine. Later on I wrote about blues, rock, and folk, for online sites, including Examiner.com and Suite101.com.

It was those jobs that gave me the confidence to go back to writing fiction.

I'm a Classic Rock kind of guy. Love Led Zep, love the Beatles and the Stones...you get the idea. Zep is the greatest band ever...don't even try to argue, your argument is invalid and I am judging you for thinking otherwise. As I've gotten older, I've been more drawn to singer-songwriter types: Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Ani Difranco, etc. There's an ernestness and openness there that reminds me of a good story. I love story songs, and that drew me to old blues and folk music. If you're judging me about liking folk music, eat a dick sandwich. Those are some morbid, disturbing songs. Did you know that "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" was originally about child rape?
Fucking crazy, man.

In my novel, "Song of Simon," the main character has a similar love of music, but is a much better musician than I am. Music is a driving force in the novel, as you might expect from a novel with "Song" in the title.
Music is about as primal an art as you can get. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a good riff is worth a fucking novel.

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: All hail the Zep! Also, I'd be curious to see what other song-oriented books you've read and or enjoyed, C.A.? Could you recommend any for the readers? I'd revert immediately to "the Wishsong of Shannara," Terry Brooks. ...Blew my mind as a kid when I first read that.

C.A. Sanders: Passing it on to Charlie Flowers. Give 'em Hell!

*** Author: Charlie Flowers ***

While I'm sitting with a nice chilled cider waiting for the door on my imagination to open and for my characters to start chattering among themselves, I put the speakers on and listen to- Sepultura, Prodigy, film soundtracks, you name it. Anything to get the adrenalin flowing.
My characters carry an inbuilt advantage- they can all sing, and every now and then they stop the action to belt out the odd showtune.
I can't help it, I grew up on Bollywood films!

Furthemore- my DJ, the very talented Dan Wilde, even made soundtrack compilations for my first two books. Here they are, free to download.

"Riz", listed here on the Badass Author's Blog
"The Fox Princess"

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: Showtunes?! A bit like Seth McFarlane(Family Guy)? Interesting. So, you likely have a very orchestrated sense of your stories and their flow, given its so soundtrack oriented. That's excellent. A higher vision than just a written prose. I hear the Riz series is actually going multi-media and perhaps into film. That's the direction I'd like to go myself. So it's good to see another in that aim.

*** Author: Joe Hickey ***

I am a hip-hop-head; no metal, no classical. The only other band outside of this genre that happens to get played is my beloved Red Hot Chili Peppers.
As for writing, it's simple; it's a mix of Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi. Perhaps -if it's a depressing piece- Gary Jule's "Mad world" on the loop.    
I don't find music as an important piece of my "set-up." However, it is usually there, more as background noise than anything else. Silence for me does nothing more than numbs my brain. Television won't work as it can distract me too much. I will, say when I need some motivation, or inspiration, I will opt to mute the music and put in The Watchmen Motion Comic, disk two. There is an amazing episode where Dr. Manhattan explains Thermodynamic miracles. It is so beautifully written and poetic when listening to the segment when writing.
Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfl-jFS_NTo
I digress; this piece was asked to be centered on music, not motion comics. It just pains me to say it, that music has no bearing on my life. I enjoy such a small select sub-genre of hip hop, that there just isn't much that I listen to. If anything, I find myself really supporting local hip hop, people I grew up with, who are doing everything in their power to live out their dreams in the musical world, as much as I am trying to in this whacky world of indie publishing.
Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnojrWfuHrU   
I ran into this dude at Meijer, both of us with the wives and the family doing some grocery shopping. He stopped me and said how awesome it was hearing about my success with my book was going. I told him the same, we exchanged some friendly words and chewed the fat for about fifteen minutes.
He looked at me and said, "Dude, I don't know how the hell you can write novels‚ seems so hard." 

I told him, in all honesty, I would give up my talents as a writer for his talents as a musician.
This is true, I totally would.
I tried explaining to him, in my opinion, writing hip-hop lyrics, poetry, etc; it's so much harder than what I do.
I have 100,000 words to get my story across in any method or means, confined by nothing more than my ambition.
He tells a story in two sets of 16 bars and a reoccurring hook. That's talent man.

I know this because back in high school and college I liked to rhyme in the school halls as well. I would sit up all night writing battle raps, losing sleep over the excitement to go to school the next day and rap them to my friends.

Well, now I focus all my energy on my Young Adult series, which I am actually good at. In the end though, music has its place, despite how limited it may be.

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: Joe, grown up hip-hop. Fascinating. I never would have expected, given your works. That's a surprising turn, but delightfully so. I would concur with you, regarding your outlook on trading writing for musical talent. I've played music since I was about 16. Lately, its trickled away and crumbled to dust, but only because I'm so much better with words of length than with lyrics and poetry. I also, while coordinated enough to play instruments, haven't the creative instinct with note selection and orchestrating sound. So I totally get where you're coming from. -Musicians...are more talented than us.

*** Author: Josh Thornbrugh ***

My mother grew up in Los Angeles during the 60s, witnessing the British invasion first hand. Naturally, she instilled a great love for the Beatles and the Stones in me, but ultimately my teenage angst arrived in the late 80s, and so, my musical preferences took a slightly different bent.
As well they should.
Respect what came before, but don't be afraid to try new things.
That pretty much sums up my tastes.

When I first started writing, it never occurred to me to listen to music while putting pen to paper. In fact, much like most things in my life, listening to music while writing was born of necessity. Try as I might, I was never able to find the peace and quiet I thought I needed in order to write. I don't know what ever made me think it was even possible in a house with two daughters, a wife and a veritable managerie of pets. Don't get me wrong, I love each of them; they're just not always conducive to writing.

So one day, the start of NaNoWriMo 2009 to be exact, I put my headphones on and cranked up iTunes, letting the Cure's "Disintegration" echo hauntingly through my thoughts.
I've never looked back.

Each piece tends to call for the appropriate music, and when I hear it, I just know. It feels right.

When I started writing The Sixth Seal, I knew Ana Eloise was going to be fierce. She had lifetimes of experience and hardship, and she was ready to burst onto the scene like a caged animal. Bjork's "Bachelorette" and "Hunter" were two songs I played over and over while writing out Ana's scenes. They just resonate with her character; at least for me. I can hear them as a soundtrack to the rising action; Ana's relentless momentum forward despite all that is set against her.
I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

I know, weird, but that's me, although I prefer eclectic. I think eclectic probably best describes the music I listen to. Here's an abbreviated list in no particular order just to give you an idea. Bjork, Neko Case (A wonderfully melodic modern day Patsy Cline vibe), Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Motorhead (C'mon, how can you not like Lemmy?), Telepopmusik, Nick Cave, Enya, Early R.E.M. (Chronic Town, Murmur, Life's Rich Pageant, Fables of the Reconstruction/Reconstruction of the Fables.),
Death Cab for Cutie, Florence + the Machine, Radiohead, The Cure (not much after Disintegration though), Ratatat, Goldfrapp, Crystal Castles and recently, Two Door Cinema Club.

Of course, those are just the highlights, and I love discovering new music, so my writing soundtrack is ever expanding.

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: You're like an omnivore! There's nothing wrong with that. I have a selective sense of music, but as I get older, I do notice myself enjoying broader styles. One Local band here in the Seattle area I've known for quite some time, Xanther, recently put out an interesting album, "Misanthropic Fusion", and it is incredibly eclectic, but also produced well (despite being indie) and they're very talented/professional/skilled players. Josh, you might check them out.

*** Author: Justin Osborne ***

As I begin to write this, Alice Cooper is just beginning his nightly show on the only decent station I can get while atop my lonely mountain.
Seriously, my evening job is working a security gate atop a damn mountain, it's not that lonely though, Crom keeps me company and we laugh at lesser Gods.
If I have to explain that reference, I truly pity you.

Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand: Music.

When I began writing EPIC: Legacy about 3 years ago, I was at this same job with only classic rock to keep me company. One night I became more bored than usual and said to myself, Fuck it, I'm gonna take a swing at writing a book.
What the hell else am I gonna do to pass the time here? And I can honestly say that I would never have written a single word without music playing in the background, the thing is when I listen to music, scenes play out in my head, sometimes it's a guitar solo, a lyric, or even just the title of the song that shows me what to put to page.

Anyone that's read the EPIC books knows exactly what I mean.

The protagonist, Deacon is a casual musician who doesn't go anywhere without his guitar unwillingly. His 'adopted' Hellhound friend is named 'Dio' after a run-in with a woman who 'throws up the horns' to ward off the 'evil' that the Outlander Deacon and the Hellhound pup brought with them to the village of Fen Glennan.

In the first two books in the series, every chapter title is a song title, even though the content of the chapter doesn't necessarily mirror the song's lyrics. Fans of the series will be happy to know that this tradition will continue on for the next two books as well, with an average of 50 or so chapters per book, we're talking over 200 songs in total.

Will it be easy? Nope.
Will it be fun? You bet your sweet bippy.

Now that we've established that music is an extremely vital component to my writing and that classic rock built the foundation for the EPIC books, you may be wondering what plays in the background as I write my Horror short stories.

Well, you are, aren't you?
I'm just gonna go ahead and tell you anyway.
Atra Aerterna. Go ahead and look it up on YouTube, I'll wait...

Pretty cool, eh?

If you're a fan of the Silent Hill video games or movies, you'll notice that it's very similar. Just like the music from the games is specifically designed to keep you on edge and feeling uneasy, Atra Aeterna's music instills those same feelings to an extent while oddly calming at the same time. The perfect soundtrack to get my head into those creepy and unlit corners of my imagination.

So whether you love 'The Metal', Industrial, 80's New Wave, Hip Hop, or even Polka, don't be afraid to let music be your guiding light in your literary endeavours.
...Except for Country Music. Country Music is the Devil's Music, and that way lies madness...

#Interjection - M.P. Ness: I am only remarking to say that was very well said. I couldn't end it any better than that. Justin Osborne, everybody. Go on, take a bow.

And thanks for reading.

Stay tuned for more from the Badass Authors crew, and welcome to our circle!


  1. OMG! You guys are dead on. I make "soundtracks" for my novels...songs with a connecting theme about the story. I pick songs for the protagonist and antagonist too. Writing, music, and coffee are the soul, heartbeat, an lifeblood of this author!

    1. I'm listening to my novel's soundtrack right now, Kim. The whole things plays out like a movie in my mind, epic music and special effects galore. ;-)