I'll let you in on a little secret: I can't write without music. Seriously. My brain stops sending messages to my fingers and I freeze. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? A writer should be able to write from anywhere...and I can, as long as there is music, too.
I know several writers who listen to a specific playlist from the start of a project all the way through edits. I don't do that. My writing process requires different types of music for different areas: when I'm drafting, it's light classical or jazz. No Muzak and no instrumentals of popular songs because I'll wind up singing and not writing. Once the draft is in the can and I'm on to edits, my playlist comes into play, and it will have a little bit of everything from pop and rock to country and even some oldies thrown in for good measure. While I'm editing, the songs on my playlist will help me remember the mood of a scene or the crux of my hero's or heroine's problem...or the song will remind me of the book in general.
Here's a sampling of the playlist behind my Rockers series: Light My Fire, Start Me Up and Call Me.
1985 by Bowling for Soup
Springsteen by Eric Church
Raise Your Glass by Pink
Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Light My Fire by The Doors
Dance Forever by Allstar Weekend
Daylight by Maroon 5
Cruisin' by Smokey Robinson
Come Over by Kenny Chesney
(Kissed You) Goodnight by Gloriana
Here Comes Goodbye by Rascall Flats
An Excerpt from Light My Fire:
“Don’t.” Her words were a whisper, but still loud in the back of the limo.
Finally she looked at him, her deep brown eyes molten in the darkness. “Don’t be my brother’s best friend tonight. Don’t be my cheerleader. Just…” Her hand trembled against his on the cool leather seat. “I’m not America’s favorite sixteen-year-old any longer. I don’t need to pretend I’m still sixteen, and the magazines are already burning me at Trey’s sacrificial altar, so why not send that old image up in flames all the way?”
She leaned across the seat, brushed her sweet lips across his cheek, and Nate nearly lost it. He was holding on by a thread. This was Lily.
The same girl he’d grown up with. The Lily who’d brought him home after school because she noticed he hadn’t eaten lunch for three days. The Lily who cheered for him at the high school talent show. The Lily who couldn’t really want him, because if she did…he would ruin her.
Nate groaned when her lips brushed against his. A bit of her hair had come loose from the sleek updo and brushed against his neck, fanning that trickle of flame even hotter.
Her hand traced the line of his jaw, and Nate’s resistance burned to the ground. He pushed her back into the corner and dug his hands into her hair. “You don’t know what you’re asking for.”
She panted. “I know exactly what I want, Nate Lansford, and what I want is you.”
Nate lowered his lips to hers, tasting the sweetness of her lips for the first time. Her tongue tangled with his, pushing him further, asking him for more. And Nate gave it.
When Lily arched her back, Nate reached for her breast, feeling her nipple pucker beneath the fine silk of her dress. She moaned, a tiny sound, but it was enough to pull him back into the present.
What was he doing? This was Lily. The girl who made him want to be more than the kid from the wrong side of Malibu’s tracks. His friend.
He couldn’t mess that up.
Nate pushed away from her, fisting his hands in his hair as he tried to put a few more inches between them. The back of the limo was too tight. He was too close to Lily. He needed air. Space.
“I’m sorry.” His voice was rough. “That shouldn’t have happened.”
Nate smiled at her. “Still putting on a show?”
She could only shake her head.
“Because I’m about through watching it.”
Her belly twisted at the innuendo. “Sometimes you have to be part of the sh—”
He put his index finger over her lips. “No quippity-quips. Not now, Lil. Let’s just dance, okay?”
Her lips burned under his finger, but she nodded and slid into his arms as the DJ switched from bass-thumping fun to guitar-sensitive slow.
Nate slid his hands beneath her coat and reached under the camisole to play with the sensitive skin at the small of her back. And she melted into him. Lily rested her head below his shoulder and twined her fingers with his. She sighed at the rightness of being in his arms, even in the middle of a crowd and fully clothed.
He played his fingers along her sides like a piano and then worked his way around to the small of her back again, burning her from the outside in. Lily swallowed. She might want Nate, but she wasn’t ready for him.
Wasn’t ready for whatever this was building between them.
A small part of her still wanted the Nate she remembered—the boy who stood up to school-yard bullies for her, who smiled at her and only her while he performed before the rest of the student body in talent shows. The boy she shared her lunch with, the boy who took her to the senior prom when Bailey Yeardley stood her up at the last minute. She had so many memories with Nate, and almost all of them also involved her brother. What if whatever this was messed up not only her friendship with Nate, but also Chase’s?
Her waking up a year ago and realizing the boy she’d grown up with had become a heart-stoppingly attractive man didn’t mean a thing . He was still her brother's best friend. He might be the guy who would give the reporter's something to talk about besides her show being cancelled, but that wasn't a good enough reason to act. Not if they couldn’t salvage their friendship when this lust train arrived at the next station.
An Excerpt from Start Me Up:
She sat back, crossing her arms over her chest. "You can't be serious."
His posture was the exact opposite of hers. Everything about him was opposite. Where she wore a pretty Stella McCartney blouse and prim pencil skirt, he wore ripped jeans and a tight black tee. Her strappy Manolos hadn't a single scratch. His Dr. Martens had to be from 1999 and looked like they'd cleaned up after one too many groupies in the green room.
You're in control here, Nina. You're the professional. He's the client. Shoo him away like the ass he really is.
Oh, but what a fine ass he has, the part of her brain she was definitely not listening to today said.
"I assure you I'm serious. I need a non-clingy, well-proportioned date for a gala fundraiser in two days and I'd prefer she have no illusions as to what this is about." He sat forward in his chair and Nina was sure she saw his abs ripple. She caught her breath and then forced her gaze from the spectacle and back to those blue-blue eyes. And promptly forgot to breathe again. "The money raised will keep music programs in at least fifteen local schools. To keep the cash coming I need the headlines to be about the event, not my social life."
"Then you should go alone."
"Going alone will keep the gossip rags talking. What I need is a pretty date for a one- night-only performance."
Nina blew out the breath she'd been holding. She didn't believe for a second this was a mercy date situation. More like a mercy hookup. She didn't do hookups. Her business set up marriage minded people who were matched based on an algorithm her aunt developed ten years before. An algorithm that had made the company a go-to in Los Angeles.
She shot a glance out the window at the press corps on the sidewalk below her window.
Well, until this morning, anyway.
"I think you've got my firm confused with…something else entirely, but for future reference—" she typed a few words into the search engine on her computer and flipped the screen to face him "—I am a matchmaker. A noun, meaning one who arranges relationships or marriages." She opened the next tab and gestured to the computer screen. "I am not a madam, although madams are also nouns. There is a very large, very cavernous area between matchmaking and houses of prostitution."
An Excerpt from CALL ME:
“Hello, Josh,” she said, echoing his tone from a few minutes before.
He blinked and then sat up straight. “What the hell are you doing in my car, Kat?” His smooth baritone slid over her senses and, just like that, she was pulling herself back from the abyss she’d been in five years before. This was just a one-night stand. Nothing to get excited about.
Okay, one thing to get excited about. He knew all her secret places. She knew how to push him to the edge. And in the past few years, they’d probably both learned a few new things.
“What do you think I’m doing here?” she countered, crossing her legs and spreading her arms over the back of the seat. “You practically invited me.”
The car began moving. Well, at least he hadn’t kicked her out of the limo.
“I said hello.”
“You told me not to leave on your account.”
“And then you did.”
“I thought you might want a little more privacy.” She slid across the side bench to Josh’s seat, bent her leg to sit sideways and rested her head against her elbow. “This is pretty private, I’d say.”
He watched her for a long moment. “You’re here for sex.”
Kat nodded. “I don’t usually go for casual, but since we have a history, this isn’t your typical one-night stand.”
“This isn’t what I expected when I came down here tonight.”
“This isn’t what I expected when I showed up for work tonight.” She reached out to trace her finger along his jaw. That contact zinged along her nerve endings straight to the butterflies flapping around in her belly, electrifying their beat.
“I’m headed straight to the airport.” He leaned toward her.
“LA traffic’s a bitch no matter what time of day it is.”
“You’re not the girl I remember.” This time he reached for her, his hand drawing a path of fire down her arm. “The girl I remember—”
She cut him off before he could get started on the girl she used to be. The girl who was of so little importance he felt no qualms about walking away from without a single word. Well, she’d grown up since then. Had other relationships. Sure, none of them as serious or deep as what she thought she’d had with him.
But then, she’d never really had him, had she?
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer's capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she's living her own happily ever after.
Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line! Website Facebook