#Music and #Writing…Does it matter?

For this writer…YES!

Every book has a different feel, even when they are in the same world and have some of the same characters. The “feel” of the two main characters when I first start thinking about them and their story dictates the type of music I’ll be listening to when I write. If there was ever a muse for me…it would be music. I can certainly write without it, but the right music helps me dig deep into the character and story.

Once I know what music is going to drive the character, I pick a “station” on iTunes and then as I plot and develop characters in my spreadsheet, I weed out the songs that seem to scream to me they are the best fit for my people.

What is the most interesting to me is that each book has a couple “kick off” songs. Songs that always trigger (even years later) that story and every emotion I felt about the characters.

To Protect His OwnWhat shocks me sometimes is the drastic switch in types of music from one book to the next. When I was writing TO PROTECT HIS OWN, which comes out 20 March 2017 (you can pre-order your copy now, wink wink) the kick off songs were I Want Crazy by Hunter Hayes, Redneck Paradise by Kid Rock, and Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy by Big and Rich. Lots of other country songs on this list but those just scream to me Kenzie and Jake!

TO PROTECT HIS OWN is currently going through edits, so while I wait to get them back, I’ve dived into my next book in the NY STATE TROOPER SERIES, which is tentatively titled THE PAY BACK GAME. Josh and Delaney are both approximately 29. Josh is a State Trooper who just a year ago had five bullets pumped into his chest by the woman he’d been sleeping with. That sucks. But he was undercover and thought the wife of the man he was to bring down was terrified and going to help him…only she didn’t…but she died in the car bomb that was meant for Josh. This is all backstory, FYI. Anywho, Josh opts for a less exciting post and moves to Lake George. The man he was supposed to bring down only did a little time for a nothing crime and now is out, so when Delaney shows up and immediately flirts with him and she’s from the city where he’d been nearly killed…he’s a tad suspicious. And rightfully so since Delaney was sent there to destroy Josh…only Delaney is being forced to because if she doesn’t, the bad guy will kill her brother…The story begins where Josh and Delaney meet for the first time. I’m only 10k words into the story, but its fleshing out nicely.

The music for THE PAY BACK GAME is very different from the last book. Kick off songs are: Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake, Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé, Bye Bye Bye by NSYNC (yeah, I know must be a Timberlake thing) and then oddly, Gold Digger by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx. I found a great Apple Music station for this book, which is the Trolls Station. Sometimes I must hit the “skip this song” button, but I find myself listing songs like F.A.M.E by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, which is like WTF? That’s the kind of music I used to tell my boys to shut off or turn it way down because I can’t stand listening to it! My husband sent me a text the other day asking me to dial down the screaming. He’s not a fan of country, but he’s not a fan of this music either and wants to know when I’m going to write a book where my muse consists of Genesis, Styx, Eric Clapton, CCR and the like…

What kind of music do you listen to when you write and why?

Rochester, New York…Dangerous city…or great place to raise a family…

I just finished a rewrite of a draft of a book titled: The Butterfly Murders, which I set in Rochester, New York, which has always ranked high in most dangerous cities in New York State.

Grunge rubber stamp with name of Rochester, New YorkRochester is the 7th largest community in the state with a population of 209,802 (this does not include the surrounding areas (like the suburb that I live in).

I found this statement at onlyinyourstate.com: “…in Rochester you’ll only be safer than 6% of our other cities in the United States. The largest city included in our list, your chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime here are just 1 in 119. The city also has a high number of reported rapes, murders and cases of arson.”

For years, it has fascinated me that so many people say (including myself) that Rochester is such a great place to raise a family, I mean, I did raise mine there…Forbes actually rated Rochester in 2010 as the third-best place to raise a family. Yet, the city is considered one of the more dangerous cities…

Roadsnacks.net ranks Rochester #3 of the most dangerous cities just behind Buffalo and Niagra Falls.

I95rock.com has Rochester ranked at #4, stating that: “The chance of being a victim is 1 in 16…” That statistic isn’t just for violent crimes, but all crimes…

One site that I found very interesting regarding Rochester is the neighborhoodscout.com. The crime index for Rochester is a 7, which means it’s only safer than 7% of all cities in the U.S. Ouch!

Some of the more notable murderers in Rochester were the Alphabet Murders, which a movie was made about and the killer was never caught. Then there was Arthur Shawcross, who was nicknamed The Genesee River Killer.

The most memorable for me was the Mark Christie, who killed a 4 year-old girl named Kali Ann Poulton in 1994. It is a heart-breaking story. My daughter was just 3 years old when it happened.

We also had some interesting Mob murders in Rochester. Salvatore Gingello, Jake Russo, Thomas Didio, Vincent (Jimmy the Hammer) Massaro, and Dominic Chirico…

So, is Rochester dangerous? Or a great place to raise a family?