Everything That Counts

Soundtrack to ‘Everything That Counts’

Some of you might not know this, but I spend a lot of time coming up for a playlist for each novel.  It could have been the beat, the title, lyrics, or just the way the song made me feel as I was writing ‘Everything That Counts’.

Granted some of them might not be my taste, but as a writer you have no control what’s going on in your head, nor what your characters like to listen to at a party. On the other hand I did majorly fall in love with Rivers Cuomo and Weezer.  At this point I’ve listened to so much of their music for such an extended amount of time that I know all the lyrics to pretty much every song (well from before 2005).  Needless to say I owe a huge thank you to Weezer who really helped shape Blake, when I first started writing him I couldn’t connect with him until I found a band that really encapsulated him.  I thought, ‘What would a geek listen to?’ and I thought of Weezer first.  After listening to their songs I noticed that their album ‘Make Believe’ really worked well with my story, and fatefully enough it was released in time to make sense for my novel which is set in 2004-2005.  It’s almost as if they wanted to be included in Blake’s story…

Many of the songs are now eternally linked to a specific scene in the book i.e. whenever I hear ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis I think of a specific party that Blake attended.  Ironically a pivotal point of the novel.  Those songs are denoted with a (+).

Some songs are mentioned by a character, or referenced in the prose.  Those songs are italicized.  A few have a location real or ficitous- the geography is in (parenthesis like this).

I highly recommend you check out all the music that influenced ‘Everything That Counts’ which will be released in August, 2017.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

‘Everything That Counts’ from award-winning author Melissa Algood

I’d been treating life like a chess game, forgetting to live in the moment when I had a chance. I had to change all that.

Blake Morgan is the biggest geek in all the graduating class of 2004, possibly in all of Annapolis, maybe even the entire world.
He decides that talking to a girl, doing something unexpected, getting something other than an A+, and do something brave during his senior year will make him into a whole other person. Maybe even cool.
Yet each time he checks something off the list he hurts the few people who love him just the way he is. A loser.
Is he able to repair the damage? Is changing who you are worth it? Can Blake be an astrophysicist and have a supermodel as a girlfriend?
He’s stupid enough to wreck his life, but is he smart enough to put it back together?

 

 

And now for the official playlist for  ‘Everything That Counts’

 

Chapter 1-August 2003

  •    Imitation of Life by R.E.M +
  •   Caring is Creepy by The Shins
  •    Green Grass of Tunnel by mum + (Magothy River)
  •   For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)[Remastered] by Pete Yorn
  •   Cause = Time by Broken Social Scene
  •   What You Waiting For? By Gwen Stefani
  •    The Way We Get By by Spoon
  •    Strict Machine by Goldfarp +
  •    Somewhere Only We Know by Keane + (a white oak in front of Blake’s house)

Chapter 2-September 2003

  •  Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet +
  •  Think I’m Paranoid by Garbage
  • Black Rooster by The Kills (Cape St. Claire High School)
  • We’re Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes+
  • Buddy Holly by Weezer +
  • Doin’ the Cockroach by Modest Mouse
  • Undone (The Sweater Song) by Weezer
  • Can’t Hold Us Down (feat. Lil’ Kim) by Christina Aguilera (Annapolis Mall
  • In Da Wind by Trick Daddy (Cape St. Claire High School)

Chapter 3- October 2003

  • A Lack of Color by Death Cab for Cutie
  • If You Find Yourself Caught In Love by Belle and Sebastian
  • Here I Dreamt I was an Architect by The Decemberists
  • Do You Realize?? By The Flaming Lips
  • The Scientist (Live) by Aimee Mann +
  • Exit Music (For A Film) by Radiohead +
  • Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz (St. Margrets)
  • Upward Over the Mountain by Iron & Wine +

 

Chapter 4-November 2003

  • Roses by Outkast
  • Stronger by Britney Spears + (Zoe’s favorite song)
  • 12:51 by The Strokes

 

Chapter 5-December 2003

  • Photobooth by Death Cab for Cutie +
  • Stay Together for The Kids by Blink-182
  • Hate It Here by Wilco +
  • Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty & The Heatbreakers (Ego Alley)
  • A Perfect Sonnet by Bright Eyes + (Magothy River)
  • Swan Lake composed by Tchaikovsky
  • Pyramid Song by Radiohead
  • Radio Number 1 by Air
  • Mad World (feat. Gary Jules) by Michael Andrews +

 

Chapter 6- January 2004

  • Gretchen Ross by Michael Andrews + (Sophie)
  • #1 Crush by Garbage+
  • The Sweat Descends by Les Savy Fav
  • You Were Meant for Me by Jewel
  • Poupée de cire, poupée de son by France Gall (Lily)

 

Chapter 7- February 2004

  • Weak and Powerless by A Perfect Circle
  • Dark Moon, High Tide by Afro Celt Sound System
  • Hey Jupiter by Tori Amos +
  • 2 + 2 = 5 by Radiohead
  • Teenage FBI by Guided By Voices

 

Chapter 8-March 2004

  • Come On Let’s Go by Broadcast +
  • Step to My Girl by Souls of Mischief
  • Change Your Mind by The Killers
  • Milkshake by Kelis +
  • Hate to Say I Told You So by The Hives
  • Porcelain by Moby
  • Save Me by Aimee Man (Sophie’s favorite song)
  • Get Over It by Ok Go

 

Chapter 9-April 2004

  • D.I.D.A.S. by Killer Mike & Big Boi
  • Star Guitar by The Chemical Brothers
  • The Way You Move (feat. Sleep Brown)[Club Mix] by Outkast
  • The Power Is On by The Go! Team
  • Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 by The Flaming Lips
  • She’s Got Issues by The Offspring
  • Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney +
  • No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age
  • Lost Cause by Beck +
  • Just Because by Jane’s Addiction
  • Superstar by Sonic Youth

 

Chapter 10-May 2004

  • Can’t Get Used to Losing You by Andy Williams +
  • My Boo by Usher & Alicia Keys + (Downtown Annapolis)
  • Till Kingdom Come by Coldplay
  • We’re Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes
  • If She Wants Me by Belle and Sebastian
  • Creep by Radiohead
  • Only In Dreams by Weezer +
  • Crystal by New Order
  • Pictures of You by The Cure
  • Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams
  • In the Backseat by Arcade Fire
  • Beverly Hills by Weezer
  • Clocks by Coldplay
  • Simple Things, Pt. 2 by Dirty Vegas
  • Perfect Situation by Weezer
  • My Best Friend by Weezer
  • Falling Away from Me by Korn
  • Here Comes Your Man by Pixies
  • Pardon Me by Weezer
  • Wonderwall by Oasis

 

 

Chapter 11- June 2004

  • Something About Us by Daft Punk
  • The Damage In Your Heart by Weezer
  • Center of the Universe by Built to Spill
  • Uptight (Everything’s Alright) by Stevie Wonder
  • Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse
  • Haunt You Every Day by Weezer
  • Cherry Blossom Girl by Air
  • Everything Hits At Once by Spoon
  • Golden by My Morning Jacket
  • Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Such Great Heights by The Postal Service

Chapter 12-July 2004

  • Black Dog by Led Zeppelin (Blake’s House)
  • Just Like Heaven
  • Kissing the Lipless by The Shins

Chapter 13-August 2004

  • Susanne (Single Version) by Weezer
  • Hard to Explain by The Strokes
  • Cybele’s Reverie by Sterolab +
  • Fade Into You by Mazzy Star +
  • Sunrise by Pulp
  • (Girl We Got A) Good Thing by Weezer +*

 

 

 

20 Questions With..., pictures, short stories, Uncategorized

20 Questions with Jessica Raney

I know a lot authors, but Jessica Raney was the first in which I was the published her work.  So keep in mind no matter how many rejections one might get, there will be someone who appreciates your work, and wants to give you the ability to share your voice.  It was my pleasure to be that springboard for Jessica.

 In the anthology ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ compiled by myself and Chantell Renee we were excited in include Jessica’s pieces (including my favorite The Middle Part which although horrifying is perfect for Valentines Day).

She’s accomplished in her own right long before she met me, including BFE Podcast in which she, along with two friends, interview interesting people (including myself and Chantell during The Amazing Comic Con which you can listen to here.)

Jessica reading a section of her piece Cold Comfort from ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’

14706813_10154097149451902_6206531368498022241_o

And now for Twenty Questions With… Jessica Raney

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

Hmm…well I feel like I’ve been writing and reading forever so it’s difficult to decide which book, but I probably have to go with “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell. I read it when I was in 4th grade, which is waaaay too young for that, but I was highly unsupervised as a child. The good news is it’s a pretty tame book. The bad news is it led me to read a follow-up book that I found in my mom’s closet that promised, “In the spirit of GWTW,” called “Sweet Savage Love” by Rosemary Rodgers. It was not so tame and yeah…that made me want to be a writer too. In addition, to find sweet, savage love with a scoundrel on a cattle drive across the American Frontier.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

Really young. Probably 7 or 8. I wrote a short story called “King Bong and Rose” which is a delightful tale about a crappy king who taxes the hell out of his people until a girl named Rose uses magic to threaten him with harm unless he adopts a more sensible economic strategy. I also wrote a play called “The Passing of a Pork Rind King” about a dude who builds a pork rind empire and is murdered in a washing machine. Go figure.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

Neil Gaimen, Chuck Palahniuk, Margaret Atwood, and Beverly Cleary

 

  1. What would you eat?

Whatever Beverly Cleary wanted.

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?

Notebooks, diagrams, list upon lists upon lists. Then I toss them all and just write. I wish I were more organized about it but, meh.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

Usually in the evening, but sometime all day if I have the time. One of my favorite tricks is to set a timer, write for 20 minutes, and then go do something like clean for 20 minutes. I get a good groove on and words just seem to flow better. Also, things get cleaned, like WHOAH.

 

  1. Is there music on?

Nope. I prefer silence.

 

  1. What inspired your last story?

I think the last one I wrote was “Moonlight Serenade.” I was on a trip to New Orleans and I saw a for rent sign in the French Quarter. It advertised that the apartment was haunted so the story is an answer to the question, who wants a haunted apartment?

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (A master of character and dialogue), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (one of the most unique and brilliant spec fic books I’ve ever read), and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (No reason needed)

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

Game of Thrones is amazingly well written and produced. Anyone who can trim GRR Martin down into manageable TV is a great writer. Parks and Recreation was one of the most brilliant TV shows of all time. For movies, I think Stardust is amazing. It’s so good it makes me forget I always want to punch Claire Danes. For albums, I would say Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. Breakups and cocaine apparently make for genius songwriting.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

Most of my projects are short stories, but I am working on a zombie apocalypse novel. I don’t know whom I see as the main character, hopefully whoever replaces Jennifer Lawrence as badass/hottie/sensitive girl, but for the villain, I see Helen Mirren because I think Dame Helen Mirren with a machete would be quite something to behold.

 

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

I have a short story called “To Stray From the Path” that is a take on a fairy tale that was hard to write. The first draft veered pretty far away from what I intended because I was caught up in sensory descriptions. As a result, I lost the point of the story. I fixed it but it was tough. Revising anything is always a pain.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

“The Middle Part” just sort of plurpted out. I knew exactly what to write and how to mess up the order of events. I did have revision help from my loyal beta readers so that helped but I pretty much got it right the first time.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

I’ve had people tell me that “Cold Comfort” freaked them out and they were wigged when their cat jumped in bed with them, so I would call that one a success.

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on a vampire comedy about the least suave and debonair vampire of all time. I hope that by this time I also have a short story collection about various horrific love stories complete.

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

I’m going to finish an epic vampire series before I die. And if I don’t, I’m going need a vampire to bite me and give me immortality so I can finish it. I hope that it’s a cool vampire. Not that gross Nosforatu dude or that sparkly douche from Twilight. Like Eric Northman or Pam. Yeah…Pam.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

Do I have fans? I don’t know about that but I can tell you that the first book you ever sign for someone is a trip.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

“You’re never going to finish that puzzle. Fat Larry ate the llama’s nose piece.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off real people?

Absolutely. However, I can’t go into details because I’m afraid they’ll want money.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

Of mine? Hmm…probably the ghost in “Moonlight Serenade.” I admire tenacity and fabulous style.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on their blog Jessica Raney’s Blog and purchase her work ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ from Amazon..

Scary Human Skull, Crying Blood
Scary human skull crying blood isolated on black background
pictures, short stories, Signing Events

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ release party

In early August 2016 my dear friend Chantell Renee, a fellow hairstylist and award winning writer, decided to create an anthology of short stories that were truly terrifying.  That day over tacos at Torchy’s in the Heights we planned to have the collection ready in time for Halloween.  Considering I’d just taken a position at a new salon, Chantell was opening her own place to cut hair, and I would be out of town the first two weeks of September…we kicked some ass by getting this collection out.

We asked out friends who also write horror if they’d be interested in joining us.  Thankfully 5 authors agreed.  Even better their stories were amazing.  We held a party at the Wilde Collection in the Heights, which is an amazing venue, and friends gathered with us to celebrate our joint accomplishment.

All seven authors read a selection from their included work.  Chantell was having trouble reading hers, she says that’s what happens when you’re over 40, so I took over for her.

You can see the video of me reading my award winning piece ‘Hair Dying’ on my Facebook author page.

There were lots of dead things to take pictures with, including Jack Skellington.

I’d like to take this time to thank all the contributors, readers, friends, and of course Chantell Renee because without all of you this collection of 21 horrifying short stories from 7 local authors wouldn’t be available for purchase on Amazon or on my Amazon Author page.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy to ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ and leave an honest review once you’re done!

 

20 Questions With..., pictures, Signing Events, Uncategorized

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’

It’s definitely something you don’t want to read in the dark.

‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ is an anthology of 21 tales from 7 authors compiled by myself and Chantell Renee.  It includes newcomers like Jessica Raney (who interviewed Chantell and I for her BFE Podcast), multiple title authors D. Marie Prokop, and repeat horror writers like David Welling and Patricia Flaherty Pagan.
You’ll also see never before published stories from me including ‘The Girls’, ‘Birthday Cake’, and the hilariously horrifying ‘Even Aliens Watch Reality T.V.’.  Fan favorite ‘The Silencer’ along with others are included.  Each will be sure to leave you with nightmares.
14523146_908642372599207_1315709405749979797_n

We’ll have a small gathering at  The Wilde Collection in the Heights on Thursday October 31 from 7:30-9 pm.  The contributors will read and sign the anthology.  There will be snacks and BYOB.

 halloweenfest2016

Chantell and I will also be at the Houston Zombie Walk on October 29 which is a free outdoor event which raises money for students scholarships.  We’ll be in costume and would love for you to join us.

We look forward to seeing you there!