Thursday, November 20, 2014

On Quoting Song Lyrics in Your Novel (Part 1)



So I'm working on my 3rd Brides of Prophecy novel and it's the point where we get deeper into some of the said Prophecy. It's also where the series veers from Urban Fantasy to straight fantasy, but I'll get into that more another time.

For now, onto the music.

I actually wrote Xochitl's story back in 2001. It SUCKED so bad that I'm glad my old computer died and I was only able to get some of the book off my floppy discs. Yes, you heard me, floppy discs. I was even more poor back then.

However there was a part about it that I liked. Xochitl is the lead singer of a famous metal band. The band had formed back when they were in high school. They learned how to perform an epic rock song so well that their peers finally started taking them seriously and later it helps them get their start in the business.

That song ended up cementing their bond in the end as well as accomplishing something VERY important that I can't say because spoilers.

In my ancient crap draft the song was "November Rain" by Guns & Roses. Which is a great song, don't get me wrong but REALLY would have been a terrible idea in the book.

Sometime around 2005, I heard a song (much older than "November Rain") that gave me chills and accelerated by pulse like no other. The vocals, the instrumental, the LYRICS! For about the 1st 20 listens, I just reveled in the beauty of the song. But as I listened to the words, something eerily familiar about it. OMG, it's a lot like that one part of Xochitl's book! And I could totally imagine Xochitl singing it.

THIS IS THEIR SONG, I decided, and went back to turning wrenches and working on Book 1.

Now that I'm working on book 3 I've learned enough about the world to know that I need permission to use copyrighted song lyrics in my novel. At first I thought I would need to contact the writer of the song's lyrics or his manager/ agent. Since he is deceased, then it would be his widow/ manager/ agent which I'd thought would be easy since she's the same person. I was wrong. There is no contact info to be found.

I couldn't even find contact info for her record company, but I DID find contact info for another record company affiliated with hers.

Thankfully they got back to me right away and directed me to ANOTHER record company... who didn't have the song, then I got directed to ANOTHER, which directed me to BMI, which I should have checked in the first place.

Still, one thing was troubling. You can "Buy" the rights to songs from BMI and major music sites like Warner, Universal, and Sony, but they only sell rights to play or perform the actual song, which doesn't work because A.) you can't print sound and B.) FICTIONAL people will be performing it. They don't offer anything on just the lyrics.

Still, BMI was useful.

....Which I would have known if I'd read Literary Agent, Virginia Lloyd's Blog Post.

Not only does it tell you about sites like BMI to see who owns the publishing rights to a song, it tells you how to ask to use them. I emailed the publisher pretty much asking how to ask BEFORE I stumbled upon Virginia's post.

HOLY WOW, they responded 6 hours later! Even more impressive was that I emailed them in the evening and they responded 1st thing in the morning.

Luckily, they were gracious about my lack of experience with this scenario and outlined their requirements EXACTLY like Virginia said.

Here was what they asked for:

Book title:
Context of lyric use:
Term of license required:
Territory:
Print Run:

After supplying that info, they said they'd provide me with a quote... which I may or may not be able to afford. From further research, the price could be anywhere between 50 and 2000 bucks.

Also, I did not have concrete answers for some of those questions because A.) the book isn't finished yet. I figured I'd check on permissions first so I know how important a role that song is allowed to play in the story. B.) I really don't yet know what a reasonable term to ask for is. I know you have to renew the permission (with more money) when it runs out, so I asked for more clarification.
C.) I just put the territories that my books seem to be selling most in.
D.) This is my Indie series, so I don't have a print run. My Indie series is just getting off the ground, so I went for only 1000 copies with option to renew once I get close to selling that amount.

I highly doubt I'll hear back from them as quickly but cross your fingers for me that they won't quote a price outside of my range.

I'll also keep you all posted on what happens next.


   

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Belated Halloween Recap

Sorry I've been absent. I had the misfortune of getting the worst cold ever for the entire week of Halloween. I'm barely now able to breathe.

Still, that didn't stop me from doing my damnedest to enjoy my favorite holiday.

First, I spent several nights in October with The Halloween Horror club mass screening horror movies and exchanging snark.

Here's a few that I was able to watch:

The Legend of Hell House
Candyman
Dead Alive
Brain Damage
Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons 2
Night of the Living Fred
Phantasm 2
ReAnimator
Funky Forest
Spookies
Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter
FunHouse
Street Trash

I definitely want to do that again next year!

I also had a ton of fun carving my pumpkin. I spent 8 hours creating Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. Then I roasted pumpkin seeds in butter and Johnny's Seasoning Salt.


I read some spooky Horror novels, including Shirley Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and Peter Straub's GHOST STORY.

For the big day, heavily doped up on nyquil, I went to my local pub for a costume party and karaoke. My singing was worse than usual with the cold, but I still had a lot of fun.

What did you do for your Halloween?


Monday, October 20, 2014

Multi-author Book Signing October 25th in CDA!


If you live in the Coeur d'Alene area, you're in for a treat. On October 25th at the Coeur d'Alene Hastings (101 Best ave) I will be participating in a multi-author book signing. The other authors attending are Shelley MartinBonnie R. PaulsonKaye Thornbrugh and Frank Zafiro.

To keep with the Halloween spirit, we've dubbed out signing, "Thrills and Chills" with Shelley, Kaye, and I providing the "thrills" with Vampires, Fae, Gargoyles, and Phoenixes, and Bonnie and Frank supplying "chills" with Zombies, Serial Killers, and apocalyptic thrillers. I think Bonnie's even bringing some cowboys along, so there should be something for everyone.

There are going to be lots of swag and prizes.

I'll be handing out these scrumptious candy bars and raffling off a basket of books.


So if you're in the Spokane/ Coeur d' Alene area, stop by and get your thrills, chills, books, and treats! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

AWESOME NEWS, AWESOME DAY!!

You guys, this is one of the best days I've had in awhile. First off, after over a year of agonized secrecy, the cover for book 3 in my Scandals with Bite series is available to the public.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you BITE AT FIRST SIGHT


As gorgeous as my other covers are, this one is my favorite of the 3. It has been agony to wait so long to show it off. I mean, it's so HOT!!!

Speaking of hot, did I mention that this is Rafe's book? Those of you familiar with the series know what I'm talking about. Mrrrrrrrowww!!!

Even better, the book is up for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and probably other places as well.

Here's the blurb:

"When Rafael Villar, Lord Vampire of London, stumbles upon a woman in the cemetery, he believes he’s found a vampire hunter—not the beautiful, intelligent stranger she proves to be.

Cassandra Burton is enthralled by the scarred, disfigured vampire who took her prisoner. The aspiring physician was robbing graves to pursue her studies—and he might turn out to be her greatest subject yet. So they form a bargain: one kiss for every experiment. As their passion grows and Rafe begins to heal, only one question remains: can Cassandra see the man beyond the monster?"

And for my other bit of good news, which admittedly is not nearly as phenomenal is that I get to host a mass screening of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS on Facebook's Halloween Horror Club. Every night we stream a different movie and exchange snark. 

I am so happy I found this group. Not only am I discovering new horror movies, but I get to have company when I watch them and I get to share my favorites with others.

With my boyfriend and son hating horror movies, I was getting really lonely this Halloween season.


I know I've talked about this movie before on this blog, but I must reiterate that this film is the epitome of 80's Cheezy Goodness.

So tonight, I am prepared with a fitting snack:



The film is up on youtube if anyone cares to check it out: 


And if that's not your thing, be sure to pre-order BITE AT FIRST SIGHT and check out the 1st two books in the series!

Hope everyone's having a great October and enjoying the Halloween season! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Happy Book Birthday to Ironic Sacrifice!!!

I am so excited to announce the release of book 2 in my Brides of Prophecy series, IRONIC SACRIFICE.
 
Wrenching Fate left off with Akasha and Silas happily married but trouble encroached on their wedded bliss when their old enemy, a psychotic leader of a vampire cult, takes over the town next door.

This is Razvan's book. :)
 
Here's the pretty cover I made!



 
And here's the blurb.

"Jayden Leigh wants to commit suicide. Her clairvoyant powers have become so intense that she lost her job and home. Death is the only way to make them stop. Opportunity presents itself when she comes across a sinfully handsome vampire ready to make a kill. Jayden begs for him to take her instead. A blissful death in his arms, or the visions ravaging her mind? She'd gladly take the vampire. 

Razvan Nicolae is captivated and amused by the beautiful seeress who sacrifices herself for a stranger. Killing such a pleasing asset doesn’t interest him. If he could get her powers under control, she just might be the key to finding his missing twin. 

Controlling her visions and working for a seductive vampire? Razvan’s offer is like a dream come true. But her dream turns into a nightmare when a mad vampire cult leader seeks to exploit Jayden’s powers to stop an ancient prophecy. 

As Jayden finds herself at the center of a vampire war, she realizes that the biggest threat isn’t losing her life, it’s losing her heart." 
 
Buy links:




 
And to celebrate the special occasion, book 1, WRENCHING FATE is FREE for the entire week!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gearing up for IRONIC SACRIFICE RELEASE!



So the 2nd installment of the "Brides of Prophecy" series releases October 10th. So excited!!! My budget is too low to do any big events at that time, however I will be throwing a kick-ass party on Facebook chock full of guest authors and giveaways. And because it's October, the party will be Halloween themed and you are ALL INVITED!!

Here's a list of attending authors by theme.

Vampires: Brooklyn Ann
Werewolves: Trina M. Lee
Witches: Ashlyn Chase
Demons: Sara Humphreys
Zombies: Bonnie Paulson
Shifters & Demons: Alisha Payne
Fairies: Shona Husk
Gory Horror: Alex S. Johnson
Horror Comedy: Jeff Ö'Brien

The party will take place 5pm to 8pm Pacific time this Friday on Facebook. Here's the event link.

Not on Facebook? Don't worry. There's still something in it for you. Book one, WRENCHING FATE, will be FREE today until next Tuesday! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Movie Review: The Exorcist (Original 1973 version)



My mom raised me on horror movies. Nightmare on Elm Street and JAWS were particular favorites. But there was one horror film that she didn't want me to watch, and that was The Exorcist. She said it was "evil" and that lightning struck the screen of the drive-in theater (I heard this happened at a lot of drive-ins across the country) and that meant that God didn't want you to watch it.

Of course this TOTALLY made me want to watch it. And when I was having a sleepover at my best friend's house, I related what mom had told me about The Exorcist. She said, "We have it." Then she asked her mom if we could watch it and she said, "Go ahead."

We were nine, I think.

I was all, "Really? After your mom got upset that my mom let you watch Freddy Krueger with us?"

We shrugged and popped it in the VCR. And we discovered that aside from the last twenty minutes, it was boring. (The terrifying crab walk scene and possibly the disgusting and disturbing crucifix masturbation scene were omitted in the edition we had) but those 20 minutes were absolutely riveting.

Still afterwards we wondered what the big freakin' deal was.

Then when I was fifteen I discovered the BOOK.

The book was excellent. That's where it's revealed that the girl was possessed by an Assyrian demon named Pazuzu (which I thought was a badass name and immediately gave it to my new kitten) not the devil. You also get a lot more insight into the characters, especially Father Karras and his mommy issues and struggle with his faith.

I've since watched the film several more times and I still maintain that the first half is boring. I think the main problem with it is that it tries to cram so many details of the book into little scene bits simultaneously with things the director felt like throwing in. If it had been streamlined into one or two character arcs instead of 10, it would have been better.

The child actress also acts way too immature for a twelve year old and her babyish voice is annoying.

That said, there is also a ton of AWESOME in this film. I love how they sneak in visuals of the demon's face in random places. I love the dynamic of the battle between physiology, psychiatry, and religion expressed in the process of diagnosing Regan's possession.

I love the makeup and special effects.

Once Regan is fully possessed the film is masterful in creating some of the most memorable, traumatizing, and pants-shittingly terrifying scenes ever.

Like this one:


So despite having trouble figuring out who was who and why I was supposed to care, I recommend THE EXORCIST to any horror fan who hasn't seen it. And I HIGHLY recommend the novel.