On Music

One thing that hits every single aspect of my life is music.  Be it the background noise while I’m writing, what I do to keep me just distracted enough to keep me focused while doing my day job, or what I bounce to while I’m cleaning.  Music is in just about every aspect of my life.

Stephen King writes to artists like Metallica.  I was talking to another writer about music (Soren Summers) and he mentioned that he listens to artists like Gesaffelstein.  I, personally, listen to classical music for what I need in my environment when I write.  But it’s not just the music that’s there – it’s the music that enhances what you’re writing.

For instance, Soren’s choice of Gesaffelstein is something that I could definitely listen to if I was writing erotica.  There is something sensual in the beats, the rhythm, the trance that the music puts you in, and that overall it just gives you the chance to let go of yourself.  And if you’re writing an effective sex scene – not a lovemaking scene, a sex scene – then why not listen to something that’s raw, and a bit animalistic?

When writing parts of A Million Miles Amok, I actually chose to write without music, and used the noisy aircraft cabin as my ambience.  But when I wrote Migration: Beginnings, I actually varied what I wrote.  In the “setup” type scenes, I listened to regular classical music. But in a couple of pivotal action sequences, I actually put “O Fortuna” on repeat.  Why?  Because it’s one single piece of music that has been used in critical action sequences in multiple movies, and I wanted to see if I could capture that same type of energy as I wrote.

Music is pretty big for me, and as I don’t have much to blog about right now (because rewrites kinda suck!), I thought I’d start a little side bit here about music.  Not just music when it comes to writing, but also music in the movies.  Because music can make or break a film, turning a cinematically-filmed marvel into a two dimensional piece of entertainment.  I mean, when it came to films from 2005, the cinematic marvel was “Brokeback Mountain”, though it would not be as successful if Gustavo Santaolalla hadn’t penned the beautiful piece “The Wings“.  What would Close Encounters of the Third Kind be without the pivotal “Dialogue” scene?  And the movie Jaws wouldn’t have been half as scary without those few low notes from a tuba and woodwinds that started it all.

I, personally, was ready to dismiss the remake of the 1950s classic “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – until I not only saw the movie, but the accompanying music.  Sure, the scene with Walter Mitty jumping on the helicopter as Kristen Wiig and David Bowie sang “Space Oddity” was a turning point not only for Walter, but for the movie itself.  But to me, both the cinematography and lyrics to the song “Far Away” do the most when it comes to non-verbal communication with the audience.  Mitty, a guy who has a nonplussed life, suddenly is feeling alive again as he skateboards down a deserted road.  Even the lyrics are there.  “Step in front of a runaway train, just to feel alive again.”  There’s a link on Youtube, but unless you see the whole thing, it doesn’t impact you as much as the whole film does.

So here goes.  A dialogue on music that’ll happen from time to time.  Because why not?

Not a fan of the Kindle? That’s okay!

So many people like and use the Kindle format, either on a Kindle reader itself or within the Kindle app.  I tend to read that way, because it can keep track of your progress in a book, sync with Goodreads, among other things.  But the thing for me is, it doesn’t sync between devices – at least not for books that you don’t get from Amazon.  And if you take part in ARC (advance reading copies) programs or downloads from Instafreebies or the like, then that book stays on the device you downloaded it to and doesn’t get shared with your other devices.

Which is why I’m happy to announce that Migration: Beginnings is now available on not just Kindle, but iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and even libraries starting Tuesday, March 7th!  The book is live in many of these bookstores, but get delivered to Kobo and libraries starting tomorrow.  And as a special for libraries, I’ve made the books free.  So if you’re interested in reading from your local library (many of which take advantage of the Overdrive reading app), you should be able to download a copy and read it from your libraries starting soon.

Hope this makes people’s Mondays just a bit better!

Proper preparation and all that stuff

Oh man… So when I wrote ‘Migration: Beginnings’, all I had was the whiteboard (which I told you about in the first Vlog that I produced), and my notes that I typed up and kept in a Microsoft Word document. And that’s all I really needed. Why? Because it was so fresh in my head, that I never doubted a thing.

And then I finished the book, read quite a lot, and have written other stuff since then that’s not related to Migration. So when I went to write out something about Rhys, the lead character from Migration, I suddenly had to know what college he went to – where he got his undergrad work, and where he got his PhD. (Turns out that it was Boston College for the undergrad, and University of California, Berkeley for his PhD – if you were curious). I used to know these items in great detail, even though they weren’t a part of the book. It was still something that was in my head.

That’s why you should always start a book with not only an outline, but a character biography. Just a single page that tells you everything you need to know about the person. And I’ve started doing them now, in anticipation of continuing the sequel to Migration: Beginnings. Like for instance, Jason is the middle child of three, was voted his high school’s class clown, and went to the University of Washingon. Whereas Captain Clarice Franks is bisexual, was born in Germany but on a US Military base, and has wanted to fly ever since her father took her up in his private plane when she was barely out of diapers.

Proper preparation, y’all!

Ficlet from Migration ‘verse: An Italian Afternoon

I belong to a few writing communities, one of which is called “Get Your Words Out,” that is hosted on Livejournal.  I’ve pledged to write at least 150,000 words this year, which includes finishing the second book in the Migration series, as well as a short novella that is set before the series begins, just to get people acquainted with Rhys and Jason.

One of the prompts in the community is a picture prompt of two women who are sitting on a windowsill (you can see the picture here), and honestly it didn’t speak to me at all.  I’m usually very good with writing for random prompts.  However, I was stumped.

And then as I sat down this morning, the scene painted itself clearly to me.  Though the image is of two women, the story of Rhys and Jason from Migration: Beginnings and how they are vacationing in Europe, and happen upon the two women sitting in the window.

I call the story, “An Italian Afternoon”, and you can read it here:

Read more

Alternate Cover Art!

I was talking to my friend Sarah Madison (if you aren’t reading her, you should be!  Click the link for her homepage!) about a few items, and the subject of the book cover came up.  If you’ve seen the book cover, you know that it’s pretty much a bunch of shade of greys.  Thing is, it works – or at least I think it does.  But what about you?

Sarah mentioned a “splash of color” might be needed.  So with that in mind, my friend Alice put together the cover, but with a gentle splash of color, and I think it actually does make a difference.  But what about you?  What do you think?

Here’s the original and the new; let me know what you think!

Two New Giveaways!

I’m running another giveaway, both on Goodreads for a print copy of the book, but also on Amazon for five copies of the Kindle version. So if you’re interested, enter to try and win!

If you’re interested in the Goodreads paperback giveaway, you can click this link: Goodreads Giveaway.  The Goodreads giveaway will run from December 15th, 2016 through December 31st, 2016.

If you’re interested in the Amazon instant-win giveaway, you can click this link: Amazon Giveaway.  The Amazon giveaway is live now, and five random people out of 250 will win a copy of the book.

So get to clicking, and good luck!

It’s Book Release Day!

I’ve been waiting for this day for quite a long time; Migration: Beginnings is finally available for sale on Amazon!

While the print copy has been available for a little while (due to a glitch on my part; who knew you couldn’t set a pre-release date on a hard copy book through CreateSpace?), the Kindle version is finally available. If you have a Kindle, or even have the Kindle software available for your PC, Mac, iPad/iPhone, or Android device, and are interested in the book, you can now purchase it on Amazon.com. Even better for those people that have Kindle Unlimited, the book is free as part of the Kindle Unlimited program!

And if you haven’t entered the giveaway, there’s still time!

Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Migration by Walter H. Hopgood

Migration

by Walter H. Hopgood

Giveaway ends November 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Giving Away a Copy of Migration: Beginnings on GoodReads!

We’re also giving away a copy of Migration: Beginnings on the GoodReads.com platform!  If you’re a fan of GoodReads, please consider following me on there.  And while you’re at it, enter the giveaway!  Details below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Migration by Walter H. Hopgood

Migration

by Walter H. Hopgood

Giveaway ends November 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

#RTtoWin A Copy Of Migration: Beginnings!

To celebrate the pending release of Migration: Beginnings, I’m going to give away a free printed copy to one lucky Twitter follower.  All you need to do is retweet this post, and you’ll be eligible.  You can retweet any time between Thursday November 3rd when this post comes out, and Monday, November 14th at 23:59 Pacific Time.  Then on Tuesday, when Migration: Beginnings is released, I will get the list of all who retweeted the tweet associated with this post, and use the website RandomNumberGenerator.com to pick the winner.

Good luck!