Posts Tagged ‘new release’


Shh. Don’t tell Susan that I picked this one up when it was free, so look for a review probably later than sooner ’cause she’s sent me a whole bunch of stuff. A lot of you authors are sending me stuff to read, and I love it! Keep it up!

Oh, wait. That means I have to keep reading and reviewing. Huh. Forgot about that part.

Anyway, here’s the book of the day. It’s the new one from Karina Bliss, who wrote What the Librarian Did, which Susan got to read and I haven’t had time to catch up with yet (see above for why).

This new one is called Rise. Here’s the description:

Rise – The redemption story of a rock star going straight(er) through the love of a good(ish) woman.

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes.
So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir.
Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions–manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous.
In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject.
When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.
Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke.
She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter.
She thought wrong.

Rock star Zander Freedman has been an outlier–many would say an outcast–for most of his life.
But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the breakup of his band to the inevitable damage to his reputation.
His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph–if his golden voice holds out.
Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz. Elizabeth’s integrity is the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.
All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not force him to think.
Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out.
And certainly not make him fall in love for the first time in his life.
Turns out he is scared of something: being known.

I like that our rocker, here, is feeling his power. And he doesn’t seem like much of an ass, although let’s face it: it’s part of the job description, and it’s part of the demands of the life, and it’s part of the structure of safety, too. It happens. But this guy?

Yeah, I’d like to spend time with him. Even though it’s yet another works-for-the-band trope. Sigh. I think it’s my least favorite because it’s the most used. Maybe it’s trope fatigue.

Rocktober3avatar S RED Let’s welcome my friend AJ Krafton to The Rock of Pages! We’ve bonded, she and I, over our musical loves and with a new book out last month, I asked her to come talk about… what else? The collision of music and fiction.



Senza Fyne, Senzafine: The Musical Inspiration behind AJ Krafton’s THE HEARTBEAT THIEF


By Ash Krafton


I’ve always been inspired by music. Words are powerful things but somehow, when they are sung, they gain an extra layer of strength and intent, especially when the singer pours their heart and their emotion into each note, each line. Their art becomes part of me, seeking the spark within me that is a new story, waiting to be told.


If I tried, I could identify a song behind almost every story, every poem I’ve ever written. In fact, my third novel, WOLF’S BANE, was inspired by a German metal band. You know how writers sometimes feel like their characters are real people? Part of me actually believes Turn of the Wheel is a real band. I even made concert shirts. See?

turn front
turn back


So, yeah. I like to rock out when I write, and write about what rocks me.


Lacuna Coil: Moody Music

Give me some music; music, moody food
Of us that trade in love.
(Antony and Cleopatra, 2.5.1-2)

I love these words…”music, moody food”…because the sentiment perfectly describes the muse that leads me through the pages of each of my stories.

I tend to listen to music that is emotionally-laden. My writing playlists lean heavily toward rock and metal—Type O Negative, Blind Guardian, My Chemical Romance, and especially the Italian band Lacuna Coil.


Lacuna Coil are an Italian gothic band I first heard when they opened for Type O Negative in 2003, I believe. I was stunned by the melodious qualities of the duo vocalists against the keys and guitar. Moody food, indeed!

The next morning, despite a thick fuzzy head from the great quantities of Bacardi mixers consumed the night before, I stopped at a record store and bought the CD Comalies, listening to that swirl of rapture all morning.

The songs spoke of longing and separation and the agonies of love—things I haven’t experience since I was an angsty teen—and I realized I found my elusive muse at last. Songs like Entwined and The Ghost Woman and the Hunter supplied the emotions my characters need to flourish, renewed by the beauty and the grace of my musical muse.

Lacuna Coil have since progressed to become a kick-ass symbol of all things urban fantasy—fortunate for me, no doubt, as I have lots of urban fantasy and paranormal romance inside me just begging to claw its way out.


Lacuna Coil’s songs take me to a place where urban fantasy becomes real. Their song “Our Truth” from the album Karmacode even appeared in one of the Underworld movies. What can be more urbanly fantastic than a movie about vampires and werewolves and (quite literally) everything in between?


There is something about Lacuna Coil songs that make me want to write: their guitar-driven melodies, their soul-searing harmonies, their relentless pounding heartbeat. It’s almost as if I become a part of their flow—they create and inspire me to create in return.


The Heartbeat Thief and its Musical Muse

While I have lots of favorite LC titles, the top of the list is Senzafine, one of their Italian-language songs.


Senzafine is the Italian word for “without end” or “endless”. It’s the word that inspired the main character’s name: Senza Fyne. It also told her story.


It wasn’t only the title that inspired the character. The lyrics themselves and their underlying interpretation accurately portray the internal struggle Senza experiences and is the perfect companion piece to the story.

This video of Senzafine [] contains an English translation of the lyrics so that you can enjoy the song, even if you don’t speak Italian. (It also has live clips of LC, which makes me very happy. I love seeing them in concert!)


While the provided translation may not be perfect, it does get the gist of it. The female voice expresses her desire to break free of her life, her destiny. The male voice sings of darker things, the force that fights against the female. There is a constant battle between good and evil and the female admits that is sometimes hard to choose between them. There is also the realization that she must be prepared to live alone, dependent upon only herself.


And that, to me, sounds very much like the symphony of Senza’s determined heart.


Playing opposite to Senza is a tall, mysterious stranger who teases her with secretive smiles and suggestions of magic. From their first meeting, he calls her bien-aime, which is French for “beloved”. When she demands his name, he listens to the tolling of a nearby church bell before calling himself Mr. Knell.

But he has an older name. A much older name. And it will take Senza a very, very long time before she realizes just who he truly is.

The song Senzafine fits him, too. One particular verse fits Senza’s dark seducer perfectly. In fact, I believe the last lines belong to him…

Non c’e scelta senza me
Non c’e vita senza me


There’s no choice without me
There’s no life without me

And Senza utterly believes him.

I hope you’ll read The Heartbeat Thief []and keep these words somewhere in the back of your heart. And when you finish, and you close the book, think back upon Senza and her struggle to escape her destined life. Think back upon Knell and think back upon those last lines. I hope you’ll find them as deliciously poignant as I do.


Most of all, think back upon your own feelings, and firmly resolve to resist destiny’s plans for you and choose your own, instead. The song will still be there to inspire you on your journey, just as it continues to inspire me.


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Whenever I connect with a Rock Fiction author, I like to invite them to stop in to promote a new release, or to talk about the category in general. To promote her new release, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, Volume Seven (Amazon link, no affiliate), she’s stopped in to talk.


Why Rock Fiction?

I’ve been writing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles since the 1980s, when I was a teenager living in the suburbs of New Jersey. MTV was new then, and nonstop music videos brought visions of David Bowie, Prince, and Siouxsie Sioux right into my suburban den. These are the visions that saved my life, the guardian angels who told me through their songs and their mere existence that there was something else besides the crushing conformity of suburban life. Rock and roll called to me as a lifeline.

I was always the “weird kid.” Even when other kids didn’t know WHAT was weird about me, they knew I was different. I just couldn’t conform enough to their idea of normal. Teachers called me “creative,” but didn’t really know how to support my overactive imagination: no one lets you write fiction instead of a book report. (I confess: Mr. Mantegna, that book I said I read about the silver condor in fifth grade? I totally made that up.) To protest the tyranny of the “fashionable girls” I started wearing a Han Solo costume to school, complete with blaster strapped to my leg. To me the idea of being a rock star would mean I could wear whatever the heck I wanted–spandex? a unicorn horn? a tuxedo?–and people would love me for it instead of bullying me. Rock and roll, to me, has always been about the outsider becoming loved instead of reviled.

In Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, our hero is a talented guitar player who dreams of escaping suburban hell in New Jersey and making it big (sound familiar?). When his story starts he has made it as far as music school in Rhode Island. Daron has a lot of challenges in his way, not the least of which is he’s scared to death people will find out he’s gay. Heck, Daron is scared to death of BEING gay. He fears not only that if his sexuality is exposed it will prevent him from having a successful career, but on a deeper level he fears intimacy.

Enter Ziggy, the lead singer Daron’s band needs to succeed, but what relationship is more intimate than being a partner in creative pursuits? Writing music together, performing it live, and bonding as bandmates gives Ziggy far more access to Daron’s head and heart than Daron realizes.

Some see Daron as having two quests, one for artistic success, one for romantic love. But really it’s all one big quest for love: from the fans, from the men in his life, and from himself.

So why rock fiction? It’s the perfect vehicle for me to explore the inner workings of my poor angst-ridden heroes and the ways they push against conformity. These boys aren’t going to live in a suburban box. They can’t. They’d die, creatively and spiritually if not actually, if they were forced to be “normal.” And I get to explore all the issues about love and acceptance in a giant metaphor (the music business) for how damaging love can be. Like the Bowie song says, “And when the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band.”

Oh, and did I mention the story is set in the 1980s? I started writing it then and when I started publishing it in 2009, instead of updating it to the present, I kept it in the era of AIDS, Just Say No, and Silence=Death. In 1986 the “alternative rock” revolution hasn’t happened yet. And neither has the gay “coming out” movement. So that’s yet another way I get to equate rock music and love outside the mainstream.

It’s all one giant addictive tapestry of garage rock, arena shows, basement rehearsals, tour mishaps, friendship, love, and art, told through the eyes of a musician who has as much to learn about life as he has to learn about himself.

Daron’s story is now seven books long–volume seven in the series releases today!–and the web serial continues over at Readers have told me they find the series deeply entrancing. Daron becomes like a best friend to many, so talented and beautiful and flawed, you want to root for him to succeed day after day.

If you want to cheer him on, too, book one of the series is free right now on Amazon and Smashwords, and the full chapters of the entire serial can be read at any time on Wattpad or on the Daron’s Guitar Chronicles home site.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cecilia Tan is the winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in Erotica and the author of over a dozen novels. Her forthcoming January 2016 novel from Hachette/Forever, Taking the Lead, pairs a bad boy rock star and a Hollywood heiress with a secret.