I felt it when my block broke this week. Normally, I don’t
realize I’ve made it through a bout of writer’s block until I’m well on the
other side, elbow-deep in fresh words. This time, though, I can pinpoint the
moment it happened.
My husband and I were eating dinner at what is fast becoming our favorite local bar. I sipped an excellent Old Fashioned and listened to him recount the mundane horrors of his work day. The bartender poured a frothy, butter-yellow drink into a cocktail coupe, a tea candle’s flickering light reflecting off the glass, and a tingle started behind my ears and sizzled into the bones of my right hand. Every cell in my body became alert, like a dog recognizing a certain car door slamming closed.
No burst of inspiration or lightbulb idea followed. Words did
not flood my mind.
But a whisper of a promise hovered over me in the steam from
the hand-cut French fries: I will write again. My story is ready for me, and I,
I wrote 2,000 words the following day.
I’ve re-written this opening to avoid some minor spoilers surrounding Solvi and her love interest(s) in Blood and Water (and beyond). As the author, it was obvious from the start which character would capture her heart, but in my critique circles people have come to shipping them (or not) at varying paces, so I’ll refrain from confirmations and just provide you with the top songs I’ve listened to while writing the main couple’s love story (or lack thereof…dun dun dun…) across 2 books.
- You’re the One That I Want – Chadwick Stokes
- Hideaway (Acoustic) – Dan Owens
- The Few Things – JP Saxe
- Head Above Water – Avril Lavigne ft. We The Kings
- Whole Heart – Taylor Berrett
- A Grave Mistake – Ice Nine Kills (Live from Sirius XM version preferred, though the original fits the overall book/scene better)
- Better Than the Pain (Acoustic) – The Woodlands
- May I – Trading Yesterdays
- Tired – Alan Walker ft. Gavin James
- Little Do You Know – Alex & Sierra
- Please Don’t Leave Me Like This – Edward + Jane
- Resurrect Me – Skrizzly Adams
- Fade* – Lewis Capaldi (the F-bomb is dropped so painfully toward the end that it might be the most beautiful swear I’ve ever heard)
- Forever – Lewis Capaldi (okay, I’m borderline obsessed with him, and these songs have been on repeat for some book 2 scenes)
- Already Gone – Sleeping At Last
- All I Want – Gardiner Sisters
- Hear You Me – Alex Goot
- Hurricane – The Likes of Us
As always, you can find the entire playlist on YouTube.
There are a lot of gods in my book Blood and Water. Most of them are based in some way on Norse mythology, but I’ve pulled inspiration from other religions and mythologies as well. I’ve compiled my pantheon here:
- Vöder: aka the Allfather, ruler of the gods and overseer of Fallne Hallen
- Gull: aka the Divine Mother, protector of home, families, and small children
- Hel (former): sister to the Allfather, goddess of life and death, darkness and light, and overseer of the afterlife. After a dispute with Gull, Hel was split into two entities:
- Alfra: goddess of light, life, summer, sun
- Audhild: goddess of darkness, death, winter, moon/stars. Overseer of Hel, the afterlife for traitors, rapists, vicious murderers, and cowards. (Revered above all other gods by the Night Raiders.)
- Tore: god of mankind and war
- Leika: goddess of prosperity, passion, love
- Fiske: god of fish and the seas
- Jorden: god of land, harvest, and game
There are a number of lessor gods not named in Blood and Water who oversee specifics, but almost any topic needing divine oversight can fall under one of the main gods listed here. Healers call upon Gull to speed recoveries from illnesses or wounds. Chiefs turn to Tore and Vöder to determine justice for committed wrongs. Leika is praised during weddings and blamed for divorces. Audhild represents evil for many–though any one of the gods can act in ways that would seem cruel or devious.
In Solvi’s world, children are dedicated to a specific god a week after they’re born. This dedication is often based on the particular blessing a parent hopes to bestow upon their child: long life, prosperity, good health, strength–or based on the child’s temperament: steady like solid ground, chaotic as a roiling sea, soothing as a summer sunrise.
For fun: Can you figure out which gods would bestow the blessings mentioned above? Which god do you think you’d be dedicated to?
Due to our recent move halfway across the country, I’ve done a LOT of listening to music while packing/unpacking/relaxing by the pool to recharge after all that packing and unpacking. 😉
I already shared my main playlist for Blood and Water, but there are so many more songs that went into that novel (some I’m still discovering that fit so perfectly with a scene or mood), and even more that encapsulate particular characters. Why not share them??
I figured I’d start things off with my personal favorite (don’t tell the others): Maiken. Solvi’s older sister is brusque and fierce, with a surprisingly tender side she only shows when absolutely necessary (or when she’s alone with her man).
- Confidant* – Demi Lovato (because if there’s one pop song that screams “Maiken” for me, it’s this)
- Born For Greatness – Papa Roach (or maybe this one)
- Beggin for Thread – BANKS
- I Am Alive – Stevie McRorie
- Hunt You Down* – Kesha
- So Pissed – Bohnes
- Lion – Saint Mesa (I imagine this is what Maiken would listen to to get pumped up before battle)
- Bad Preachers – Saint Claire
- Don’t Kill My Vibe – Sigrid
- Walk Through the Fire – Klergy (obviously a song for her husband, Dag, but it could fit her relationship with Solvi, too)
- The Optimist – Adam French
- Religion – Colton Avery
*denotes songs with explicit content.
The entire playlist (with possibly a few extras) can be found here
Last week was a crazy adventure. In the course of 9 days, I spent over 24 hours in a car, 3 hours on a plane, and traveled to 5 cities in 5 different states to see friends, family, and watch the St. Louis Blues bring home the Stanley Cup (#LGB!).
This came at a really opportune time, because I’ve reached my wits end with the current draft of my novel. I still believe it in, but I’m so, so tired of it. There are about two chapters waiting for complete overhauls that I have not been able to stir up the motivation to complete. I’m impatient for it to just be finished and out in the world, looking for an agent to represent it, but can’t bring myself to give those last couple chapters the attention they need to be done. I’m sure there’s some psychological phenomenon at work, a reluctance to polish the ending and admit “I’m finished”. Or maybe I just am bored with the story I’ve focused on for the past year. I’m ready to move on to one of the other sagas bouncing around my mind.
Whatever the reason, I needed a break. I’ve tried taking them before, binging TV epics with the Mr. or losing myself in a good (already published) book, but Solvi & co. always lurked in the back of my mind, mingling with a slight sense of guilt I couldn’t quite shake.
Last week, so much of my time was spent on the road or visiting with loved ones that all I could do was sleep in my free time. It was amazing and exhausting and best of all, it’s given me a truly fresh perspective as I return to my story. I’m looking forward to getting this draft polished!
I’ve got a few hundred “inspirational” songs that have gone into writing Blood and Water. I’ve narrowed them down and compiled a list of 21 songs that I think best represent most of the novel, and/or were the most influential for some scenes. The entire playlist can be found on YouTube. Enjoy!
- Please Don’t Say You Love Me – Gabrielle Aplin
- Kvervandi – Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik (one of the “Viking”-esque songs I listened to on repeat for the fight scenes–Plus this one’s by Einar, I mean, come on!)
- Wolves – Sam Tinnesz, Silverberg
- Hunter – Adam French
- The Pines – Roses & Revolutions (this one makes me think of Solvi and Maiken)
- Blood and Bones – Kodaline
- Long Way Down – Matthew Mayfield
- The Hunter – Adam Jensen
- Dark Times – The Weeknd, Ed Sheeran
- Dangerous Man – Little Dume
- World Gone Mad – Bastille
- Wicked Game – Matthew Mayfield, Emma Hewitt
- Fire – Saint Mesa
- Dawn – Von Grey (Maiken/Solvi song)
- A Grave Mistake – Ice Nine Kills
- Feet Don’t Fail Me Now – Neoni
- World Gone Mad – The Phantoms
- Stone – Sawyer Fredericks
- Smoked Out of Heaven – Saint Claire
- Better Than the Pain (Acoustic) – The Woodlands
- Unspoken – Welshly Arms
- New Kings – Sleeping Wolf
As always, if you prefer a Spotify option you can check out the list here!