On Writing: Music to Get You in the Mood

Hi, all!  Jennifer here.

In case you ever wondered, I do create a musical playlist for every book I write. It’s one of the first things I do when I begin plotting. It helps me get a certain sense of the tone for my book–meaning, setting, my characters motivations or backgrounds and even how they fall in love.

Will they fall in love quick and cute or more thoughtful and deep? All that kind of depends on the music I choose.

I have a music app called NAPSTER (formerly, Rhapsody). There I can discover new music and if I think it’s a good fit, I’ll add it to my playlist. Sometimes I knowingly search for certain songs because of titles that go with scenes in the book.

In my book, Fiancé by Fate, I knew I had to add “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder (because my heroine is extremely superstitious) and “Boston” by Kenny Chesney because the story takes place a majority of the time in Boston. 🙂

For the new book I’m working on, I happened to find a lot of WONDERFUL music while watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. The music is a little deep and emotional, but I feel it fits the mood, particularly with my hero. (He has a traumatic past.)

Here are a few songs that made the cut on my recent book playlist.

I hope you check out them out, because they’re my personal favs:

  1. All We Are” by Matt Nathanson
  2. Belong” by Cary Brothers
  3. Echo” by Jason Walker

Until next month, happy reading (and listening)!


PS. If you’re on Facebook, my friend, Leigh Fleming – Author has a new release coming up!
Stop by April 4th (today!) for giveaways and excerpts! I’ll be there 6:15-7pm EST (giving away autographed books and a fun bookworm coffee mug!)




About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

Fighting the Doubt Monster

As a writer, a full-time worker, wife, and mother of two, I find myself constantly analyzing my actions, reactions, and doubt-monsterefforts. For the story writing part of me, it gets worse as the book unfolds, then the edits, and before I know it the Doubt Monster takes hold and I’m paralyzed.

Doubt Monsters are red, with tentacle-like legs, razor-sharp teeth, and beady eyes. The visual manifestation looks like that anyway. The mental manifestation is fear and anxiety, followed by a lovely dose of procrastination on social media, maybe some candy crushing. They  won’t disappear with these tactics. The battle wages on regardless of the side tracks. I get scared about not living up to expectations, about how everyone will hate the words AND the best one of all – that I’m a fake. A no-good, useless waste of writing space, posing as a person with good ideas/plots/characters when really a four-year-old could come up with this stuff.

These are not issues only affecting me. I’m not unique. Most writers deal with the Doubt Monsters day in and day out. Nasty suckers, aren’t they?

If you’re suffering from one of these Doubt Monsters, thankfully there’s a few tips and tricks to defeat the beasts.

  1. Music  – I’ve got a few songs to help me through the tough times. Uplifting beats. You may remember employing similar efforts after a bad break up or when you’re stressed out.
  2. Sunshine and a walk – Break up the blurry eyes by getting away from the computer a bit. The problems aren’t going anywhere. The words will still be on the page. It’s time to let your brain process the information and then play catch up. I do some of my best work sometimes sitting in traffic.
  3. Talking things out with a friend – Most writers have a critique partner, along with a writing group. It’s part of the magic formula that helps get a lot of writers to the finish line and then into the ever-coveted, winner’s circle. Many times my CP is the one who listens to my ideas, the crazy ones, the problems, and the doubts. She’s the voice of reason to battle against the Doubt Monster.

Don’t believe me? Well, I come with articles to back me up. They are not fool-proof, and sure some of this is in my head, but

13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

The Benefits of Amazing Writing Critique Partners

There are more articles you can find talking about getting outside being good for the soul, critique partners enriching lives. I imagine you even have your own ways to fight the Doubt Monsters invading your mind and making a home in your amygdala.

How do you fight the monsters? 

If you’ve got a Doubt Monster creeping up on you, I have a song to help fight it.

Hugs, Love, and Battle On my friends.


About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.


Whether the calendar agrees or not, June is my official summer kick-off. Kids get out of school the first week of the month here in Las Vegas and we are ready to take a vacation! Sadly my littles and I haven’t been on a vacation in two years, but that is about to change. We are heading to California for a little beach, fun, family, and R & R! And of course as I started writing, music started popping into my head, so let me share with you, my Summertime Kick Off Playlist!

A few to take us back….

Just got to love a little DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Oh! And how can you think of taking a vacation without this little gem in your head?

And no playlist is complete without a little Jake Owen…

If I’m totally honest, this last video is my favorite. I love me some Jake! Well I love me a lot of country singers, but that is a topic for another post. So tell me, what are some songs that just pop into your head when summer hits, or vacation is coming up?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Musical Inspiration – @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers


I know we’re said it many times here at HSG, writing is hard and sometimes finding inspiration is even harder. I know that there are some days where I am grasping at straws to get my daily word count down where as other days, I can’t wait to write.

When recently trying to figure the difference between those two types of day, I discovered one thing: music. The days where I wrote the most, I listened to music. Now, I don’t know why I find this astonishing as music soothes my soul and I know it soothes many other writers.

I’m one of those that have decided to start playlists specifically geared to my work. And those play lists run the gamut of modern to classical to rock and everything in between. There’s nothing like a country song to get me laughing and wanting to throw a little comedy at my stories. If I want something more serious, I start looking at some of today’s young artists because they all seem so emotional when it comes to certain things.

If I’m writing a fight scene, I will go find a good movie theme to get me going. One of my favorites happens to be the original music from Conan the Barbarian. Yeah, it’s that good but let me tell you that the soundtrack of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy will have me rocking out for days. So for me, music is just the inspirational tool that I need to get me going. And keep me going.

What about you? What type of things help your creative juices flow? Do you like music or is there something else that makes you want to put the words down?

I’ve love to hear from you…until next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Inspiration as of late…

Wow, I almost forgot to blog today! I was busy shopping and having yummy lunch and buying pretty cupcakes. 🙂 It was a nice getaway and a much needed break from my routine of hardcore Friday writing. Right now, I’m finishing up the second full novel in my River Bend series–Can’t Get Enough–and it’s funny how much I’ve been inspired by country music while writing this book. Luke Bryan has been especially inspirational, but the video that I can’t stop watching (and the song I can’t stop listening to)??  This one…

What do you think? Does this sound like a small town romance? Heck, yes, it does! Love it!  What’s your favorite song right now? Or what are some other songs that might be good for a steamy small town love story? I could use all the inspiration I can get!! 😛


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Summer Lovin’ & Movie Music

Image: zoomerradio.ca

Image: zoomerradio.ca

Admit it…you started singing this, didn’t you? That’s okay. So did I. It’s hard not to! Such a catchy tune!

Anyway, I started this blog intending to talk about great beach reads, because reading is my absolute favorite thing to do in the summer. We went camping for Memorial Day and I devoured Lexi Ryan’s entire Wish series. What is it about books when the sun is shining and you’ve got a cool drink at hand? They just seem SO much better, don’t they?

Well, I shifted directions and today we’re going to talk about movie music instead. But Molly, you say, May was movie month. Yes, yes, I know. And I totally blame Youtube for this post. I went in search of the above link and, well, the Youtube sidebar was too tempting and before I knew it, I’d watched a bunch of videos for my favorite summer movies. Not so coincidentally, they’re all chick flick type movies. I do write romance, you know! *smile*

My favorite is probably the soundtrack from Dirty Dancing. It never fails–even if it’s the middle of February–when I hear She’s Like the Wind, Hungry Eyes or Time of My Life….I wanna roll the window down and let the wind blow through my hair. Watching those videos, I also realized where I got my urge to write books. I think I watched that movie a hundred times the summer between 6th and 7th grade. And that’s probably not an exaggeration. Frankly, I’m surprised the VHS tape didn’t start on fire.

How about Top Gun? I was never a big fan when it was popular, but I watch it now and I could totally fangirl over Tom Cruise before he became a jaded crazy person. This song and this video? Seriously hot stuff. Makes me wanna join Netflix again just so I can binge on old Tom Cruise movies. *sigh*

Then there’s Armageddon and this song, which made me think of Pearl Harbor and this Faith Hill classic. Okay, so I might’ve watched that video and sobbed like a flippin’ baby. I know PH isn’t the most popular movie among romance authors, but I love it to pieces. I may have named Josh in Can’t Shake You after Josh Harnett. In hindsight, I realize that my plot (boy meets girls, boy goes off to war and girl falls for boy’s bff at home, only to have boy return) is also a bit much like the PH plot. That, my friends, must’ve been entirely subconscious because it certainly wasn’t planned. It must also be a testament to how hard I love that movie. Netflix is sounding better and better with every passing second…

Anyway, I could go on and on–and on–but I’ll stop and let you take a turn sharing your favorite movie songs. I can think of at least a half dozen more of my favorites. I bet you name them!!!

Happy Tuesday! ~Molly

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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