There is nothing that inspires me more in my writing than music. I can be suffering from writer’s malaise, or even a failing of words or ideas, but when I hear the words of certain songs, something happens. I’m suddenly bombarded with a plethora of fresh ideas and direction. It is uncanny, the connection that occurs. It often feels as if the music forces the computer to reboot, untangling the knots of inertia that are strangling my creativity, and like an infusion of nourishment, my brain’s neurons fire up and the engine once more chugs forward. I have pretty much convinced myself that there is no such thing as “writer’s block”, only a temporary clog that calls for a dose of writer’s Drano—for me it’s musical catnip.
In every book that I write, there is always a song inspiring the emotion of a scene. Oft quoted, inserted like a love object, it breathes life into the scene. In my first book, The One, my heroine Adelia’s marriage has imploded and she faces a bitter custody battle with her wealthy ex-husband. She is at the lowest point of her life. Her best friend, Detective David Weiss, is determined to help her pick up the pieces of her broken heart. Believing in her, he knows that she must fight to live again; that the curtain of darkness dropped into her life will disappear if only she can see her way through to pull the cord and raise it, flooding the room and her life with light.
He brings her a compact disc and the printed words of a song that he hopes will better express the depth of his feelings, whereas he fears the ineptitude of his words might fail. The songwriter is Peter Gabriel, the version I use is sung by P!INK and John Legend, the words are simple:
Don’t give up
‘Cause you have friends.
Don’t give up,
You’re not the only one.
Don’t give up.
She cries, they embrace, and she gains the fortitude to fight.
In the third book in The Only One Series, One More Time is Not Enough, which released on July 13, my hero and heroine, now divorced, are thrown together again and sparks fly. In a romantic scene, where what they still feel for each can’t be denied, they dance to John Legend’s All of Me. That was my original concept, however, I soon learned from my editor that I couldn’t use a song written by another writer, so instead of dropping the music I wrote my own lyric. The lesson being, when someone tells you no, remember there is always a way to work it out. I thought I might share that excerpt and the lyric that I wrote to replace All of Me.
She was prepared to spend the night loving Miles without guilt, blame, or remorse. Lovers, ready to discard the insecurities that separated them.
Breaking from his embrace, she caressed his cheek where tension tightened his jaw. He watched her rise from the lounge chair and extend her hand to him.
“Come, Miles. You do want to make love to me, don’t you?”
He followed her through the house and into her bedroom. Ribbons and photos of her on horses jumping fences lined the walls. A bookcase displayed dozens of silver plates and trophies. She closed the door behind him and lit the gas fireplace.
Adelia hit a button on her iPod and a romantic song filled the silence. Then she grabbed a bottle of champagne from the wine fridge and filled two flutes. Handing him a glass, they sipped and listened to the music.
“I heard the door slam
When you walked out on me
What happened to our love?
Baby, don’t leave
She didn’t know if what she was doing was wrong or right, and she didn’t care. She felt an inexorable need to follow it through. Perhaps it was possible to love him again.
Everywhere I turn
I’ll never get over you
She stood inches from Miles, and when he opened his arms, she walked into them. They slow-danced, turning in circles to the music.
The way you smile when I’m kissing your lips,
Or the rush on my skin from your fingertips,
I’ll steal your breath
Make you cry out my name
When you’re lying beneath me,
There’s no escape
“Did you pick this song for a reason?”
Baby, come back
I’m the one you need
I’m putting it all on the line
Betting the house you’re still mine
“What happens when it ends?” he whispered in her ear.
“I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t end. Maybe it just continues.”
“The song or us?”
She smiled. “The song.”
His brows furrowed.
She placed a finger on the deep vertical line between his brows, smoothing his questions away. “What if I said, us?”
“I’d think I was dreaming.”
“Why do you love me, Miles?”
“I’ve tried not to.”
“I know. Me too. I’ve tried not to love you.”
Give us one more chance
Let me show you our love is real
“We belong together, baby.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do.” He stroked her face, then bent to kiss her. “It’s playing again.”
Her eyes were closed, and her lips held a shadow of a smile. “Is it?”
“It is.” His kiss was like the song. Feelings swept through her. She could feel his body tense against hers. She slipped her hands beneath his shirt, resting them on his strong back, encouraging him to touch her.
“Since we first met, there’s never been anyone or anything that I wanted more than you.”
His powerful erection pressed against her. Without hesitation, she returned the pressure, her body molding to his. Losing herself in the union of their bodies seemed so natural. How calculating had she become that she’d fooled herself into believing she didn’t love him?
Following her lead, his hands sought the round contours of her derriere. He kneaded her flesh pulling her against him. Fervent kisses traced a path down her neck, sucking. He smiled. “I’m marking you with a hickey, so you won’t be able to escape the proof of our lovemaking.”
A deep, resonant moan escaped her lips. “Who says I want to escape?”
His cock pulsed against her in response.
“I don’t know what’s happening to me.” She sighed.
“You’re . . . letting . . . me . . . in—not fighting . . . us.”
His lush lips journeyed up and down her neck.
“I-I don’t know, but it feels so good.” If the years had taught her one thing, it was that he knew her body better than she did.
With a gentle sweep, he moved her hair aside, exposing her ear to his probing tongue. “I love to bring you pleasure, baby.” The gravel in his voice drew goosebumps.