I Believe in Music
The next line from this country song goes -- I believe in love, and as a romance writer, I'd better believe in love. But as a music therapist and performer, I believe that music inspires and can and does impact on people in more than just the obvious, 'oh, that's a sad song' way. I've seen positive physiological changes and improvement in the quality of life in every age group.
I don't play music when I write. I can't listen to a song or even instrumental piece without being distracted. When I hear music I hear stories -- even "long-haired" music as they call it. And forget about songs with lyrics or incidental music to movies or musicals where the composer actively sets out to create a specific image in your mind. If I'm writing a story set during the American Civil War the last thing I need to hear is music from "Wicked" playing.
But what I often do is set up a playlist beforehand and take note of music when I'm not writing and track down the song and/or artist.
Two of my stories were taken directly from specific songs. I mentioned one earlier (A Song of the Sidhe) but there's one story that owes everything to Country & Western music, from the title, to the name of the strip joint, to different scenes in the book, to character sketches. The list of songs can be found at this link: http://jeannebarrack.com/books/no-one-else-on-earth/.
No One Else on Earth was originally going to be called "A Real Bad Boy" from a line in the country song "Real Good Man" sung by Tim McGraw. As soon as I heard him sing this tune, I saw the scene in my head: A line of buff cowboys dressed in chaps doing the boot scoot boogie on stage to the music and then ripping off their chaps. Instead of I wound up using the song "No One Else on Earth" whose lyrics are just incredible and describe the heroine's feelings perfectly. I did call the strip club, "Real Bad Boys". It was just too perfect a name for a place like that.
Music is used throughout the book to evoke the feelings of several of the characters.
Here's the blurb:
Julie Turner returns to the quiet town of Greenrock, PA, to open a male stripping club with her three best friends and as part of the opening, they’re running a contest to find the best strippers.
The club is also being used as the base of operations by two very different males. Mike Winstead, is a Tracer, a hunter from another world chasing after an alien sexual predator who’s come to Greenrock. And Tzahyad, the predator,is a shape shifting, vampire-like alien who drains his victims of their sexual energy.
Two men want Julie - one for love, one for seduction; one for life and one for death. Choosing the right man has never been quite so crucial.
And I know you're dying for an excerpt featuring some of the guys from the club being 'real bad boys'.
Julie dawdled by the CD player as long as she could after she’d tweaked the sticky volume control.
What the hell had she gotten herself into?
Sex. Glorious, hot, sticky, down and dirty, pure sex. Well, maybe not so pure. A shiver of remembrance ran through her.
What had she done? But how could she have refused? What woman in her right mind could have refused being made love to by the man of her dreams?
Okay. One of the men of her dreams. Would her other lover come calling?
If he did, could she let him make love to her now that she’d had the most mind-blowing sex of her, to be honest, limited real life experience?
The answer was simple. In a New York minute!
She stared into space, reliving her earlier sexual encounter in the office. A sappy smile appeared on her face.
“Excuse me, Julie? Here’s my CD. When the spotlight goes on that’s the signal to play it.”
She started. Speak of the devil. One of her fantasy twosome had just interrupted a replay of his star performance.
“Sorry. Lot on my mind. Go ahead. I’ll be ready.”
The stage lights dimmed. A blue light washed over the empty platform. And Julie started the music.
The haunting strains of “The Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera filled the air.
As though he’d appeared out of nowhere, her dream lover glided into the light. His mask covered half his face in his persona as the Phantom. He sported a long, black cape lined with crimson satin. A snowy white frilled dress shirt, black bow tie and tuxedo jacket, peeked from beneath the cape’s concealing folds. A blood red, satin cummerbund wrapped around his trim waist.
He wore only a miniscule, black satin jock below that. His bulging penis set off lascivious comments from several of the other performers.
“Christ, wouldn’t you like to peel off that piece of material and sample what’s underneath?”
“Please don’t tell me he’s straight. I want to take him home to meet my mother.”
“Straight. Queer. Who cares? Give me some time with him; I’ll unmask him.”
Julie blotted out the raunchy remarks she heard.
The man on stage mesmerized her.
He glided toward its edge and swooped low toward the tables down front. When they were filled with panting females, he’d have them fainting.
He flashed enticing parts of his skin as he moved around the stage. The voluminous material hid his hand movements. Pieces of his costume lay scattered on the platform. As they fluttered to the ground, he’d whip back his cape to offer a glimpse of the flesh unveiled.
Finally, as the seductive strains of the song faded away, he threw back the cape to stand gloriously naked except for the satin material covering his genitals.
Gathering the edge of the cape in his hands, he drew it over his body and the blue spotlight went out. When it went back on, the stage was empty. Only a black satin G-string remained in the light.
The spontaneous applause from the other contestants rocked the club.
He was going to be a hard act to beat.
A few minutes passed while the stage was made ready for the next act.
One of the men handed her a CD and gestured to the stage.
“He asked me to give this to you. You can start it any time.”
Julie placed the plastic disc in the rack and pressed the control.
A soft, golden spotlight illumined the stage centered on a life-size statue standing on a six-inch high marble platform. The sounds of Zamfir’s panpipes drifted into the audience.
The statue’s marbleized flesh was all muscle and sinew. Even the hair, à la Greco-Roman style, was a curly white wig with marble-like veins running through it.
The only spots of color were a deep purple bunch of grapes held aloft by one strong hand and a strategically placed fig leaf offering scanty covering for the heavy cock blossoming between the statue’s thighs.
Then the statue came to life. As it stepped about the stage, it paused and struck pose after pose.
One position had him on his knees, bending backward, thrusting his cock upward. He, too, drew near the rim of the platform, offering his grapes to the now empty tables.
In another pose, he lay on his back, the leg farthest away from the audience bent. He plucked a grape and slowly chewed it. The action proved incredibly erotic.
The following pose found him face down, and then, as though he were doing push-ups, he lifted his hips straight-legged from the floor. The movements that came after eliminated any doubt as to whether or not he was doing calisthenics.
With his head thrown back and the grapes lying neglected as he undulated his body, one knew that he was fucking an imaginary partner.
His thrusts grew more forceful as the music picked up its pace, growing wilder and more like a bacchanalia. One final lunge bowed his back and lifted his crotch from the floor.
He was as rigid as a tent pole, the white thong and fig leaf covering, but not concealing, his length.
A sigh ran through the spectators.
The lights went off and then on. He was posed back on his low pedestal, his profile to the front of the audience displaying his rampant manhood.
The lights went out again.
* * * *
So, do you believe in music now?