Sooo…what’s going on here, anyway?

I’ve been avoiding this question for quite a while, but in a nutshell: SoundCloud has changed a lot since I started this blog, and it’s grown increasingly difficult and time consuming to post other people’s music here, although that’s why I originally created Sirenstories.com.

As a new mom and aspiring novelist, I was missing my first love: music. So I started this blog to inspire myself to seek out new independent artists. And I think I did a pretty good job. There’s a LOT of great music posted on this site. My goal was to accept every song uploaded to the Sirenstories SoundCloud, find something I loved about it, and share.

The blog was a delightful diversion for me, as well as a way to give back. A way to discover new independent artists, amazing songs, and gorgeous composed music.

But now, because of the changes on SoundCloud, and in my own life, I’m officially moving on from the original Sirenstories.com format. From here, I’m not sure how the blog will evolve—but I don’t want to just let it go.

So hopefully sometime soon, I’ll start updating links, and continuing to connect with musicians and authors whose work I admire. But for today, here’s some work of my own. My first book trailer. Please click on the pic below to watch, and if you have a sec, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you. I hope you enjoy this small peek into Cate and David’s world…

And until we meet again, I hope you take good care of each other, and work for what you want. You know what I’m talking about.

Love,

Mimi

Cate sitting w guitar on lake copy.jpg

French Trailer Music — To Defeat Them All

Jonathan Mayer

I knew if I said French, you wouldn’t be able to resist . . .

Born into a family of artists and musicians, French composer Jonathan Mayer studied violin as a child, then in high school moved on to electric guitar. But it was when he first heard the music of John Williams that Mayer discovered his passion for film music. Movies like Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park inspired Mayer first, and only a few years ago, he discovered that he “could play an orchestra” by himself with soundbanks.

In our back and forth, Jonathan Mayer told me that originally, he composed for fan films—which made me think of authors who’ve honed their writing skills on fan fiction. Then he wrote music for companies who needed it for educational trailers. Now, he’s branching out into commercials and Android video games, and recently an agency in New York contacted him about using his music for TV.

Love this screen shot of To Defeat Them All

Screen Shot To Defeat Them All

We’re quite lucky to have caught Jonathan Mayer at this stage. He ended our last email conversation by saying,

“Here i am now, very busy, but that’s what i looked for.”

Then he apologized for his English, but I found it charming.

Mayer was generous enough to contribute several pieces to the Sirenstories SoundCloud and he sent me a couple of tracks privately, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time listening to his music. Epic, mysterious, bold, moving—it’s all deep and dramatic. In other words, excellent writing music.

SInce it was so hard to decide what to post, I’m adding one more of Mayer’s pieces for your listening pleasure—the name alone made me love it: Biocode.

Those who speak geek might like to know that on Biocode, Mayer uses Spectrasonics omnisphere, Projectsam orchestral brass, EWQL stormdrum 2, symphobia 2 and cinematic strings.

I’m a musician and all but—yikes.

 

Jonathan Mayer

Musicians and composers, please connect with Jonathan Mayer on his facebook page.

Thank you.

 

Arise

AGARTHA

Sorry the Sirens have been so silent, I’ve been busy writing and haven’t had a chance to post.

But I have been listening to lots of new music.

Wow.

Some new artists have joined the Sirenstories SoundCloud and they are amazing.

If you’ve checked out some of the previous posts, you might know I love to listen to music while I write. Arise, a gorgeous piece from Lyubomir Yordanov, a Bulgarian born composer and producer who writes for film and TV, is excellent writing music. It’s excellent music in any case, but the latest scene I wrote for the lovestory/ghoststory I’m working on nearly popped right off the page because of Arise.

Arise is intensely emotional, epic even. Evocative of something ancient, there’s also something sleekly modern about it, as if it might be the distant cousin of the chill track your favorite Seattle coffee shop used to play. Arise is short, just a little over a minute and a half, (I’ll have to drag it into Garageband and loop it if I want to keep using it for the soundtrack of my novel!), and that’s because it was created as trailer music. I’d go see any movie or read any book that used Arise in its trailer.

Arise is from Lyubomir Yordanov’s 2013 film inspired album Agartha, which Yordanov recorded, mixed & mastered himself. The record  was 
orchestrated by Hristo Manolov, and Denica Serafimova
 contributes the dramatic vocals, which are lovely and powerful. It took me several close listens to realize that when Denica Serafimova’s voice first comes in, it reminds me of Björk. Beauty edged in darkness.

If you’d like a copy of Agartha, you can get it on iTunes.

Or, you can connect with Lyubomir Yordanov on fb.

It looks like you can find also find Lyubomir Yordanov at www.ama-sound.com and possibly commission him to create a piece for your own book or movie — but I bet he’s busy . . .

Boy Meets Girl. Cities Burn.

Soundtracks can be a great source of inspiration for writers.

If you’re writing a scene today with a lot of conflict, check out Final Battle (The Gates of Kronos) by Peter Mor. Final Battle is a minute and a half of epic drama, perfect for book three of your paranormal trilogy, when good and evil go at it.

Dotted with hits of quirky synth sound that come in for the first time around the fifteen second mark, you can use Final Battle as the background music for your YA dystopian, too, or to help you get that sci-fi novel you’ve been thinking of out of your head and onto the page. Focus on the vigorous strings if your characters need to flee, or the sustained brass part if you’re writing your hero. The insistent, driving drums guarantee you’ll have a sweeping setting if you let your muse listen to Final Battle and allow her to have her way, although she might talk you into writing a historical novel, something you promised yourself you’d never do, because it’s just too much work.

Peter Mor was born in Volos, Greece, and comes from a musical family. He began classical guitar lessons at the conservatory at age seven, but his favorite instrument is the electric guitar. I’m pretty sure he loves movies, and Sirens. This pic was on his site.

MORE

Halloween Rears Its Creepy Head

When I started this blog I asked that all contributing songwriters and composers submit two songs to the Sirenstories SoundCloud, in case I wanted to feature them twice. I love featuring new musicians, but I’m always interested in hearing what the lovely Sirens of Sirenstories.com are up to, so when the artists began to submit additional tracks, I gladly listened. Every artist on Sirenstories will probably end up being featured twice, but so far, since there have been so many wonderful pieces posted in the Sirenstories SoundCloud, most artists have only been featured once.

Today, I’m going to break all my rules—I just have to. Halloween is coming and, well, I thought you all might appreciate something somewhat seasonal. No, I’m not posting Five Little Pumpkins, the song that used to give me laryngitis every October when I taught music to elementary school children, I’m posting Into the Fray by Proofsound.

Into the Fray is the third piece I’ve posted by Proofsound. That’s the rule breaking part. You can hear more of their music and read about the duo here and here.

Into the Fray is a gorgeously gothic creepy sounding piece. Horror writers, you know that sacrifice scene you still have to finish? Into the Fray ought to get you pumped for that. If your horror story is already written, you’ll probably want to use Into the Fray your book trailer. If you’re not a writer, well, Into the Fray is definitely pumpkin carving music.

I couldn’t resist sharing Into the Fray, I hope you enjoy it. (After you’ve checked under the bed for monsters, of course.)

The Right & the Real

I pre ordered my copy of The Right & the Real, the new YA novel by talented writer Joëlle Anthony, but if I hadn’t, the book trailer would have made me buy it.

The solo electric guitar playing of Nathan Tinkham is all  you hear when you watch the trailer for The Right & the Real, and his raw, emotionally wrought version of Amazing Grace combined with the images and written words is chilling.

I wrote about Joëlle Anthony’s previous novel, Restoring Harmony, here. I can’t wait to read The Right & the Real, Publisher’s Weekly says it’s a harrowing page turner.

You know where I’ll be tonight.


The Ominous Beauty of The First Meeting

Sirenstories takes you to the movies today with The First Meeting. Romantic and hopeful, sad, mysterious, and slightly tragic, this beautiful piece was composed and produced by Copenhagen artists Paul Bjørling and Michele Brustia who work under the name Proofsound.

The First Meeting is a story, and maybe you have one that matches. I’ve talked to a lot of authors lately who are making book trailers and need good music. There’s a lot of music out there that’s canned, and you want to be careful when you’re making a trailer that you don’t use musical clichés. Maybe Paul Bjørling and Michele Brustia have a piece that’s perfect for you. Click on their photo to visit their site.

“We use both acoustic and electronic sound sources. We have an extensive range of cutting edge sounds and synthesizers that we love to blend together with real instruments.”

The First Meeting can be found on the album “Screenplay” (Apollo Publishing – APL 127).

Previously on Sirenstories  Music for Film Featured on Sirenstories

Back to Book Trailers, The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister

My favorite things: music, books, movies. The order varies, but the list explains why I love book trailers.

The trailer for Charlotte Agell‘s middle grade novel The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister is one the best I’ve seen.

One of the things that’s so wonderful about this trailer is how true to the book it is. The trailer captures the essence of The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister. In this case, I read the book first then saw the trailer. My review of the book is below.

India is one of my favorite characters in Middle Grade fiction today. She’s even got her own blog, which is adorable and much more organized than mine. Of course India’s creativity might have something to do with her multitalented creator Charlotte Agell who probably gives India a hand once in a while. Click on India’s pic to visit to her blog.

The Siren behind the music for India’s book trailer is Charlotte’s son, Jon Simmons. The music is perfect; it expresses both India’s sweetness and her quirkiness.

Jon is also part of a pop/rock band based in Boston called The Crosswalk Kings. Look for a post about his music soon on Sirenstories

 

I finished reading The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister on the beach. The pages have a little sand in between them now, and I think that would make India happy.

India loves the outdoors, and author Charlotte Agell has included some beautiful descriptions of inland Maine in this entertaining and moving story about a sweet-natured nine and a half-year old girl who takes her fairly complicated life pretty much in stride. In a world full of little drama queens, I found India’s attitude refreshing.

Besides being an excellent and economical writer, Charlotte Agell is a gifted painter. An adorable watercolor portrait of India and the family pet bird, Beatrice Strawberry graces the cover of the book. I’d like to see Ms. Agell put out a version of India with full-blown watercolors of all the characters and their homes. I want to see paintings of things like “the lilac bush hidden in the fog” that India sees when she can’t sleep early one morning and steps outside to sit on her front porch swing.

Wolfgang, Maine, where the book takes place, is a front porch kind of town and by the time I’d finished the book I wanted to go there. Although there are no watercolors other than the front and back cover and jacket flaps–they feature more great pictures of India with the bird and her dog Tofu, the jacket designers obviously knew a good thing when they saw it–the book is full of sketches: clever drawings of India and things she likes, plus–just as important–things she doesn’t like. The sketches are accompanied by comments that made me laugh out loud.

India has a unique voice. Her backstory is rich. The settings are beautifully rendered. The book is colorful in every sense of the word, as is India’s slightly wacky artist mother.

India was adopted, and we learn she has questions and issues around that, but the book isn’t a big drama. Instead, The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister is a story, told by showing us small wondrous details in what seems like a very real little girl’s life.

I found myself wondering what will happen in India’s future, especially as far as she and her best friend, a boy named Colby, are concerned. Snowstorms in June, whale songs, yearning, and insightful comments fill this book that begs to be part of a series. A sequel won’t enough for those of us who have fallen in love with India McAllister.

I checked out this book as a possible gift for my niece who is India’s age. Unlike India, she’s not an avid reader. I’m pretty sure this perfect book of adventures will change that. I couldn’t put it down myself. It’s sweet and funny, and the way India’s small but complicated family comes together in the end left me with a lump in my throat and a smile on my face.

Confession: I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Agell‘s work. Her picture books are among my favorites, and my son, who is five, feels the same. The paintings that illustrate her books are so beautiful, I’ve been tempted to tear out certain pages and frame them.

My son and I love Charlotte’s book To The Island so much, that I used the text, with only a few alterations, as the lyrics for a song. Below is the super rough version I recorded on my laptop, at home, with my son.

I hope to go into the studio one day and do a better recording, but for now, I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed singing it. The words are so simple, but to me, they’re a metaphor for some of life’s more profound passages.

More Music for Film and, Film.

Book trailers are a relatively new art form and the best ones take advantage of both video and audio.

In this trailer for Edie Meidav‘s new novel, Lola California, not only does the video tell a story, but the music does as well. I find both beautiful and haunting.

I also found Edie Meidav‘s articulate description of her book eerie and intriguing. After seeing this trailer, I have to read this book. Do you feel the same way? Is there a book you’ve been compelled to read because of the trailer?

Kevin Salem composed the music for the book trailer, and he wrote additional songs for Lola California as well. Kevin says, “What you find here is the result of three years of procrastination and a couple weeks of cramming which, really, is how music is supposed to be. The music is part soundtrack for the reader, part songs inspired by the text (though I would be loathe to be too ‘on the nose’ about it as Edie’s words speak so eloquently for themselves) and part music inspired by the cultural identity of the novel. That is, we hope that they work together not literally, but like distant cousins who bear a resemblance you can’t quite put your finger on.”

If you click on Kevin Salem‘s picture you’ll be able to hear more gorgeous music for Lola California and read about Kevin’s relationship with Edie Meidav and her novel.