An Impressionistic Wisp of a Song

“I was doing time in the universal mind,
I was feeling fine.
I was turning keys, I was setting people free,
I was doing all right.
Then you came along
With a suitcase and a song,
Turned my head around.
Now I’m so alone
Just looking for a home
In every place I see.
I’m the freedom man, I’m the freedom man.
I’m the freedom man, that’s how lucky I am.”

You may recognize these lyrics from Jim Morrison’s bluesy song, Universal Mind, but the music may be a bit harder to place. That’s because the atmospheric piano track and whispery vocals belong to Biirdy, a French student living in Paris. Biirdy says her influences are many, including Cat Powers, Emily Jane White, Kings of Leon, Beach Fossils, Yann Tiersen, and The XX—one of my personal favorites.

The title of Biirdy’s piece is Sapere Aude, which is Latin for “dare to know” The original use of this phrase seems to be in the poet Horace’s book of Epistlesdimidium facti qui coepit habet: sapere aude, incipe (“He who has begun is half done: dare to know!”). It can also be translated as “Dare to be wise”. The phrase forms the moral to a story where a fool waits for the stream to stop before crossing it. “He who begins is half done. Dare to be wise. Make a beginning.” is a loose translation. Horace’s words suggest the value of human endeavour, of persistence in reaching a goal and of the need for effort in overcoming obstacles.

This sounds like great writing advice, or . . . maybe someone’s horoscope. Either way, I’m going to let Sapere Aude wash over me while I write today and see what happens.

Epistles, or, Letters, by Horace were published in two books, in 20 BC and 14 BC, respectively—can you tell I’ve been to Wikipedia today? I’d only do that for a track I really love.

Biirdy copy

I’ve Been Tagged: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

I was recently tagged by the fantabulous Natalie Zaman to take part in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, something I’m feeling super warm and fuzzy about. The NBT Blog Hop is an opportunity for me to talk about my Work in Progress, which is kind of cool, because usually my blog is devoted to music—others people’s.

But before we go any further, please stop by Natalie’s blog and check out her WIPS—yes, she’s got two! I’m especially excited about WYVERNGIRL.

What is the working title of your book? 

THE DEEPENING, book 2 of Sirenstories. Book 1, SHINING SEA, is in the hands of several wonderful agents (YES, RIGHT NOW—EEEK!) so I have high hopes that I’ll find my match as far as representation goes very soon and my Sirens will have a better shot at making their way out into the world. Huh? What’s a Siren?

Si•ren|ˈsīrən| noun|ORIGIN Middle English (denoting a type of snake): from Old French sirene, from Latin Sirena, from Greek Seirēn. The enormous wings of the Siren can burst from the backs of their seemingly human bodies in a heartbeat and allow them to take to the sky. Their ability to breathe underwater permits them to be equally at home in the sea. The seductive Song of the Siren casts a spell so strong no man or woman, and certainly no teenager, can ever resist it.

There’s something even creepier I ought to tell you about Sirens—but you know how these things go. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

After I finished writing book 1 of Sirenstories, I realized that although the book was complete, the main character’s story was just beginning.

What genre does your book fall under? 

THE DEEPENING explores magical realism and dark fantasy against the backdrop of a wholly contemporary YA sensibility.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Whoa—haven’t thought about that . . . but nearly all the characters in THE DEEPENING are musicians and I listen to music when I write, so there are certain voices that I think of when I think of my characters, and certain melodies. I have looong playlists for all three Sirenstories books. Pete Yorn, the music of Marcelo Zarvos, New Order, IAMX, The Nationals, The Appleseed Cast, Linkin Park, Adam Lambert, Mini Bar, The XX—oh man, I’d better stop, or I’ll have to list half the artists on this blog! Proofsound especially has provided great cinematic music to write to.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Girl loses boy, Girl forms a band, Girl gets Boy back. (Boy is a Siren, did I mention that?)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Hope it will be represented! *drums fingers on table, taps foot*

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

A month. But that was the vomit draft so, it hardly counts. For me, most of the writing is in the revision, or rather, Re Vision.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Er—ah, hm . . . Book I has been described as an “Epic fantasy” and “A sweeping love story”, does that help?

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Maybe we should go for coffee? The short answer: I live surrounded by water and can see the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the country from my office window. (The main character lives in a lighthouse, surprised?) I’ve had lots of dreams where I can breathe underwater, I’m a singer, and a few years ago I dreamed of an owl with a woman’s face—that’s got to be symbolic, right? Because none of the characters are even remotely owl like.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a love triangle and the guys are super hot—

At its core, THE DEEPENING is an artist’s story. It’s about a teenage girl becoming a singer and a songwriter and a performer, despite the Sirens who turn up everywhere and try to kill her boyfriend. But maybe that’s secondary to all the kissing.

And now, onto step two of the blog hop: my nominations!

Five wonderful writers who I hope will to participate in the NBT blog hop!

Joëlle Anthony 

Tara Kelly

Emily Winslow 

David Macinnis Gill

Mindy McGinnis

Special thanks to Natalie Dahlink Zaman for the love. And the cupcakes.

PS Are you guys wondering if David and Mindy are related? Because I am . . .


Oh Sandy, the aurora is rising behind us . . .

An aurora in its own way, the music of Gedeon Luke is filled with light. Now that light will benefit people in the very area that Bruce Springsteen made famous with songs like 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) who were adversely affected by the recent storm.

Please take a listen to Gray, over at the iTunes store. Then buy it. All proceeds from the sale of Gray will go directly to helping victims of Sandy.


Living about ten minutes away from Sea Bright, New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas, I’ve heard a lot of stories from friends and strangers alike whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the storm. I knew I’d eventually say something/post something about the storm on Sirenstories, and since Gedeon was one of the first artists featured on this blog, spreading the word about his charitable musical effort makes sense to me. It’s one small thing I can do to help.

Having the gutters blow off our house during Sandy was scary—I slept in my clothes that night, afraid I might have to leave home at any moment. But losing power wasn’t too tough. After Irene we invested in a generator. Irene hit us harder than Sandy, we had a landslide on the cliff in front of our house and almost lost the 1930’s gazebo over the edge. But our home wasn’t really in danger. In other words, I have a lot to be thankful for. We moved the gazebo. We planted things on the hill. We were lucky.

There are so many ways to help people, and if you’re like me, you’ve already contributed somewhere,  maybe to a food pantry, or a fund. But we don’t have to stop there, and getting a copy of Gray is one easy way we can help.

I’m going to get my copy now, see you over on Gedeon’s page at the iTunes store, okay? Thanks.

As of January 2013, the number of businesses along the Jersey Shore that sustained damage from Sandy was up to 19,000. Please support NJ coastal businesses. Thank you.