Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hostile Takeover by Joey W. Hill and GIVE AWAY!!

The Power of Music to Tell a Story

In the movie The Holiday, Jack Black’s character writes soundtracks for a living. He sits at his keyboard, watching the movie scene unfold in silence, while he composes the music that comes to his mind, inspired by what he’s seeing. For an author (at least this author), it’s just the opposite. I use music to evoke the “visual”, to create the scenes I write. 
  In my latest installment in the Knights of the Board Room series, Hostile Takeover, I wanted a scene where Marcie, a natural submissive, is deliberately provoking Ben, a hardcore Master, in order to make him see her as a woman, not as the child he remembered from years ago. She decides to pay a visit to his very expensive car late at night on the company parking deck and give him a blatant reminder that she’s a sexually mature woman. He doesn’t know about it until the next day, when company security brings him the footage. This is a clip from Ben turning on the disc and beginning to watch, not knowing who or what to expect, since the security chief wisely didn’t give him any preliminary information other than that there’d been an “incident” involving his car.
He parked on the top covered level, the back corner. It was a secluded area, but one camera was focused directly on that section. Ben sat down at his desk chair, his attention sharpening on the monitor. And then everything else disappeared.
    She was walking toward his car. In five-inch heels that had a plethora of straps over her ankle and a little tassel teasing the back. She was crossing one leg over the other, putting a serious sway to her hips. As he watched, she unbelted the thin coat she was wearing, let it slide down slow, until it fell below her bare shoulder blades. Her hair was slicked back and in a tight knot on her head, the black and white of the camera making it look darker. But he already knew that hair was blonde and thick. With a faint scent of perfumed coconut.
    The garment dropped to her waist, the sleeves holding her elbows to her sides. She stopped in front of the grill of the car as if studying it, her back to the camera. Then the coat fell to the ground. Milk-cream skin, slim arms and legs, a gentle flare of hips. An Audrey Hepburn figure in truth. Completely naked.
“Fucking Jesus.” He snapped up straight in his chair as if he could throw a coat over her, ask her if she’d lost her mind, even realizing he was looking at something that had happened hours ago.
She moved another several steps toward the car, keeping his gaze glued to the swing of her ass. She didn’t play it up, just put everything that was female and perfect into the movement, the slight quiver of the buttock as her heel made contact with the deck concrete, the shift of hip as she moved forward. When she put her knee on the nose of the car, Ben stifled a groan as she braced her hand on the hood and then looked over her shoulder at him, right at the camera.
    The idea for this scene came to me while I was traveling, which is when I do most of my plotting for a book. I turn on my IPod playlist, and the music often inspires the brainstorming. Sometimes I’ll even put that in my recorded notes: “This scene inspired by so-n-so song. Be sure to play it while writing it.”

   When I sit down to write the scene, playing the same track will bring me back to the feeling that inspired the scene, and helps me flesh it out better.  In the case of the above, one of the songs that helped inspire it was “Insatiable”, by Darren Hayes. That song has inspired several key scenes in my books, and I even directly referenced it at the beginning of Vampire Trinity. If I’m working on a scene and I need to keep that mood maintained, I will put the song on repeat and may listen to it for a solid 2-3 hours while I make sure the scene is what I want it to be.
   Marcie and Ben’s story was very emotional, because he was fighting a lot of personal demons, and she was determined to win his heart, even though he knocks her back on her heels, again and again. So I needed a lot of passionate female ballads to stay in touch with Marcie’s resolve, her occasional grapplings with despair, a broken heart, etc.  For the lead song on that, I stumbled on “As Long As You’re There” by Charice, the one she sung for the Glee episode. It was the perfect blend of heartbreak, passion, fierce determination and straight-out love, to express who and what Marcie was and felt for Ben.  

Sample – “Take these words / don't let them go unheard. This is me reaching out/I hope you can hear me now. 'Cause, baby, my heart's at stake / Take it, it's yours to break. I'd rather try and lose/
than keep this love from you.” And of course, like most songs, it’s as much how it’s sung as the words themselves that create a picture in my mind. My husband is very much into the musicality of songs, whereas for me it’s the emotion – the rough, gritty ballads I often find drive him crazy (lol).
A handful of other songs like the Charice one became my Ben and Marcie “soundtrack”. “I Have Nothing” and “I Run to You” by Whitney Houston fell in that category, along with selections by John Berry (Change My Mind) and Randy Travis (Where Can I Surrender) for Ben. My readers jumped on the bandwagon when I posted the soundtrack at my fan forum and, as a result of their recommendations, I added “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine, as well as “You Look So Fine” by Garbage. 
    From the years when I had a demanding day job and very little time to write, I’ve taught myself to need no special environment, tools or props to write, other than a means of getting words on paper or screen, whichever one is more handy. However, there is no denying that putting in the ear phones and being swept away by music as the scene is painted takes it to another level. Which makes me wonder if, to the soundtrack writer, the nuances from the facial expressions of the actors, the scene’s physical dynamics, etc, serve the same function. Rather than filling their ears with music to flesh out the scene, they’re filling their eyes with the visuals and using that to “hear” the music, the same way I “feel” the words come when I’m listening to the music, letting it draw the scene in my mind. 
    It’s ironic to think the screenplay writer may have used music to do his/her job, so it becomes a repeating pattern, music or visual props interwoven into all aspects of the creation of a story, on page or big screen.
I’ll leave you with another clip, where the song “Crush” by Jennifer Paige played a key part, for both author and character.

     They were near Frenchmen Street, which meant there was always music in the air. He’d chosen a restaurant across the street from a hole-in-the-wall club renowned for local-band favorites. As a result they’d enjoyed the music while eating, but it hadn’t been so loud they couldn’t talk. Now she tilted her head, drawing his attention to the bluesy jazz piece playing. Giving him an infectious smile, she rose from the chair, tugged on his hand. 
“Let’s dance now. Just one song. I can’t believe I’m back in New Orleans. I’ve missed it so much here.”
He closed his fingers on hers, holding her in place. 
She leaned against his grip, trusting him not to let go as she swayed back and forth.
 “Are you worried about what people will think, us dancing on the sidewalk? Have you forgotten how to cut loose and have fun, Ben?”
He sighed, tossed down the napkin. Their outdoor seating was cordoned off with a painted iron fence hung with bright beads and fresh potted flowers. He delighted her by putting his hip on it, swinging over, and in the same motion, curled a strong arm around her waist and brought her over as well. He rolled her into an easy Cajun two-step, twirling her out and under his smoothly moving hands, taking her around his body.
She laughed out loud as he caught her hips, kept her in place as he stayed behind her, doing the footwork in tandem and out to the side, then bringing her back for the turns and the two-step basic again. It didn’t take much to get people in New Orleans to dance, so several couples joined them almost immediately. 
     Marcie reveled in the feel of his hands on her. She knew the steps, but not as well as he did, so she followed his lead. He more than met the challenge, directing her without hurry or hesitation, comfortable in that role as he always seemed to be. To the outside viewer, he was just a capable dancer, but anyone who had the craving in her blood as she did would see it, feel it.

    She knew he’d picked up on her ploy, having him order the meal for them both, but he had no idea what it did to her, watching him assume command of a situation where her only preference was to trust his direction. And now, how he took control of her movements so easily…she was content to stay in this moment forever.
    This man was meant to control and lead a woman in ways that would overwhelm her with pleasure, open the deepest wells of her heart, the places she was afraid to surrender. She’d put the white flag in his hands, happy to have him tie it around her wrists, binding him to her.
    They did two songs, going from the Cajun two-step into the faster jig, improvising some freestyle steps that had them both laughing. It brought her heart in her throat. Ben hadn’t laughed during dinner, not once. Cass had mentioned he’d gotten more serious these past couple years. Marcie had seen it when she first stepped into his office, in his green eyes, the tighter set of his mouth. He’d always been the jokester of the group. But even then she’d known what they saw now, that sometimes it was more habit than true levity. Whatever demons plagued him, she hoped she was helping to push them away. She wanted to do it forever. 
     On those turns and brushes, she took full advantage, making sure his grasp fell lower on her hips than he intended. She worked herself in closer to his body, pressing full against it before she stepped back for the next turn. He was solid and strong, so sure on his feet, his large hands bringing heat and pleasure even in a casual touch. She was glad for the nature of dance itself, the way it let worries be set aside for a little while, allowing what both dancers wanted to come to the surface.
     The band took a break, the club switching to a DJ. Recognizing the Jennifer Paige song, Crush, she bit back a snort. Perfect timing.
     It didn’t matter. Ben was a smart guy. Her feelings at sixteen wouldn’t have evolved and persevered this many years unless they were something else. The song actually illustrated the point, the lyrics suggesting the singer knew it was far more than a crush, that she was just trying to fool herself. Ben was probably doing the same, maybe even trying to convince himself he was the one suffering a crush now. She would love knowing that, that she was starting to be an inseparable part of his thoughts, the way he’d been of hers for so long. 


   Leave a comment or question, as well as your email address, and you’ll have the chance to win the book-of-your-choice from my available and upcoming titles. I’ll contact the winner a few days from now and announce it in the comments of this post.

Where to find me
Website: www.storywitch.com (free excerpts from all my work – including chapter one of Hostile Takeover, mentioned above! PS – all the books in the series can standalone)
Fan Forum: www.jwhconnection.com (lot of free reads, graphics, character interviews, etc. here!)
Twitter: JoeyWHill


burbanette said...

Joey, this book looks so yummy! I would love to get my hands on it!

Dotty said...

This book was just the perfect last piece to the series! Looking forward to new story about Max and Janet! Joey writes the best stories:)

Tabitha said...

So loved this book and one day I will visit the Big Easy.


elaing8 said...

Great post,I enjoyed reading it.Love Joey's Vampire books.Although I have a few of the boardroom books I haven't had a chance to read them yet.hopefully soon.

Sindra van Yssel said...

Hi Joey! Reading the first story in this series now, and really enjoying it. :)

sindra at gmail.com

Moira said...

Loved Hostile Takeover. It's interesting to know that your write specific scenes to specific music.

paradise7 said...

I've always wanted to learn filmmaking because I've always got "music videos" running in my head for songs I hear. In turn, I also run music through my head as I read stories. Joey's always had a knack for matching music with the scenes in her book. As such, I can no longer listen to "Destiny" by Zero 7, "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders, and anything by Foreigner without thinking of Lucas, Cass, Ben & Marcie because I've made that permanent connection (in my head and my heart) between that music and her stories.

I'm glad to know I'm not alone when pairing music to all the other things going on in my life.

Gardnsun said...

Music is a powerful motivator. They make you feel more than you realize. I have to say Joey I often wonder how you wrote a story so well that when I read them, I feel I am there with the scene. I heard the most recent song, book/match is from Darren Hayes Secret Codes and Battleships, The Sirens call for Mermaids Kiss. I can't wait to read Hostel Takeover in hard cover, any idea when that will be released?

paradise7 said...

Whoops! Forgot my email address --- paradise7 @ gmail dotcom

Michelle said...

Thank you for providing me endless hours of entertainment reading your books! Are you planning on writing a story for Leland Keller, the cop that rescued Rachel from Club More in Afterlife?

Thanks again!

Joey W. Hill said...

Tabitha, thanks! When you do go, be sure to talk to those of us who've been there first, because it's the type of place if you go and you don't have a sense of the places to check out, you can be left feeling "hunh? what's the big deal?" Had a friend who recently went and all she did was take the bus tour, so her impression of NOLA was this kind of trashy, crowded city. She didn't see the Garden District or Audubon, the French market, or walk the Warehouse District, etc. I was fortunate in that before I went, Sandy, one of our forum admins, gave me so many great tips on what to see and do. She goes about every year!

Joey W. Hill said...

Paradise7, that sounds like a great bucket list item. Whenever I receive the local community college course list, I find myself scanning it and thinking, "When I have time, I'm going to take that class." I've always been very goal-driven, probably to the point of obsession, so my counselor in college wisely suggested I take a course that had nothing to do with my goals. I took painting, and as a result, to this day, I have a deep appreciation for that process, such that it's integrated itself frequently into my work through sculpture pieces and characters who are actual artists (like Thomas in Rough Canvas). I hope you take your filmmaking class some day soon, and thanks for the comment!

Joey W. Hill said...

Michelle, yes, Leland is definitely on my future story radar. The muse is starting to point toward Celeste as his heroine, the reporter who gave the Knights of the Board Room their name. I recently finished a "prequel" vignette on the jwhconnection.com fan forum that featured a memorable evening between Ben and Celeste at Club Surreal, and at the end I foreshadow that connection between her and Leland. I wrote the prequel as a 5-part serial, but the forum admins just kindly combined it into one download you can access under the Vignette section.

Now as far as when that story will happen, I'm not sure. I have two vampire books and likely Max and Janet's story to write first, but maybe sometime next year unless the muse shifts priorities on me (smile). Regardless, whenever it happens, I'm looking forward to giving Leland his happily-ever-after. :>

Joey W. Hill said...

Burbanette, thanks for coming out to visit! Good luck in the giveaway. :>

Joey W. Hill said...

Dotty, thanks! In fact, on my latest trip, I started recording some notes/story pieces for Max and Janet, so the outline is starting to take shape. I think they'll definitely be the contemporary I write this year, unless that male/male romance that's been percolating in my head for awhile elbows it aside. I'm happy with either storyline, because I think they're both going to be great stories to write.

Bella said...

Music does evoke emotion! New Orleans has its reputation because music is a part of it. I have often mused about how much easier it is to make smells part of a story than music because you can describe them. How do you describe music if the reader is not familiar with it? I admit, I have looked music up and played it to get into the story! But only for stories that grab me, like yours :)
skylark918 at ymail dot com

Joey W. Hill said...

Gardnsun, I agree. It makes perfect sense that music is referenced as a form of magic in many practices, cultures and stories. Even in A Witch's Beauty, the angel David uses certain notes to conjure power.

Thanks for that recommend. I of course love his "Insatiable", as noted, but what great words to The Sirens Call. I can see that one applying to Jonah and Anna very well. You all enrich my music playlists so well, so thank you for that.

HT should come out in print sometime by or before October. The publisher, Ellora's Cave, always releases their books in digital format first, with the print usually following a few months afterward. My understanding is that the book should be available in print by the time of their October Romanticon. Whether or not it will happen closer to the date or earlier, I'm not sure, but I'll keep you all informed through my monthly newsletter, the forum, FB, Twitter, etc, so no worries! :>

Joey W. Hill said...

Elaine, glad you stopped by. Hope you enjoy the Knights when you reach that point in your TBR stack! :>

Joey W. Hill said...

Sindra, glad to hear you've taken the plunge with Matt and Savannah. If you enjoy them and want to know more about Matt, there's a great character interview with him on the fan forum, done with Mistress Kat (brief appearances by some of the other guys as well).

Joey W. Hill said...

Moira, sometimes I'll just put on the MiscEmote playlist, which probably has 100 songs (lol), and just let it roll, but if I really need to zero in on a particular feeling, that repeat button is very helpful! Thanks for the kind words. :>

Joey W. Hill said...

Bella, when I actually bring the music into the story, I try to describe it in an integrated way - not just what type of music it is, but how the character reacts to hearing it, kind of like Marcie's reaction above to The Crush. It gives you a sense of what the song is about, sounds like, how it makes you feel, even without hearing it. At least it does if I've done my job right (lol).

In some senses, even odor has the same issue. I can tell you a hero smells like freshly baked bread, but if a reader has never smelled that, how do you describe it? And even if you have smelled it, it can mean something different to everyone. So in order to make it mean something, it has to have context. The heroine might say she felt comfortable, reassured, or the smell takes her back to a childhood memory, etc. and those things give you a sense not only of what freshly baked bread smells like, but what emotions/feelings it provokes.

Yeah, that was probably a dumb example, because who hasn't smelled baked bread (lol), but it worked for the illustration. Still early, need more wakeup time... :> Thanks for that wonderful compliment - I'm glad my stories grab you enough to go check out the music! The Internet makes that nice now - I've added to my playlist significantly by searching out just snatches of songs.

Yvette said...

The book sounds wonderful! Would love a copy.

Joey W. Hill said...

Thanks, Yvette! Good luck in the drawing. :>

leisa said...

I now have Joey W Hill books on my wish list...I cannot wait to start collecting these books to read...Thank you!!!!lprater@modweldco.com

Delilah @ Riverina Romantics said...

Joey this was such an great post. I love hearing from authors that music inspires them in their writing. It is amazing the emotion that just one song can pull out of us isn't it? I really enjoyed learning the songs that inspired you for certain scenes in Hostile Takeover. I'm not sure if you are familiar with Sarah McLachlan but she does amazing ballads and I always thing of Ben and Marcie when I listen to Possession, Sweet Surrender and Fallen. Good luck everyone in the drawing!

Kallypso Masters said...

Oh, I love May-December romances! How many years apart are they? (My M-D couple is 25 years apart. I love a challenge!) lol

I'm looking forward to reading this--as well as Natural Law which a number of my readers have said is an excellent FemDomme story! And I can't wait to meet you at upcoming conventions!

Have a great week--no need to put me in the drawing if it hasn't been done yet. I've added it to my Kindle already. :)


Cathy M said...

Hi Joey,

Love this quote about Ben, "This man was meant to control and lead a woman in ways that would overwhelm her with pleasure, open the deepest wells of her heart, the places she was afraid to surrender. She’d put the white flag in his hands, happy to have him tie it around her wrists, binding him to her."

As usual, I shed tears with Ben's story, and my heart went out to Marcie, at how very much she wanted Ben to overcome those demons and allow himself to love.

Thanks for the heads up about the soundtrack,those songs you mentioned are spot on, and I want to go check out the rest you selected.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Music seems to be a universal way for authors to get in the mood to write. Some authors will publish their playlists in the front or back of their books. I think it is a great way to give credit to the musical artists that helped the author feel their way through the story.

geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

lwaites said...

Just started reading the series and really love it. I guess now I should go and check out the song list too :)


Dianne said...

Finished reading Hostile Takeover on the weekend. OMG - what a ride! Between cheering for Marcie & crying (yes, tears streaming done my cheeks) I couldn't put it down. I was feeling all the emotions in this book & am so glad to hear that a few more will be written. Great series!

Dianne said...

oops, forgot my email: dianne.mertz@gmail.com

Joey W. Hill said...

Leisa, I'm delighted to hear that. Thakn you! Hope you enjoy them.

Joey W. Hill said...

I love Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" song. It was a key part of my soundtrack for Ice Queen/Mirror of My Soul - that song just wrenches the heart. Every time they use it as the backdrop for the ASPCA commercials, it just kills me. I can imagine it's helped inspire tons of donations - at least I hope it has! I have Fallen and River on my MiscEmote soundtrack. I'll have to check out Sweet Surrender and Possession. Definitely sound like songs that would apply to Ben and Marcie, as well as my future projects (smile). Thanks for the recommend, and for coming by!

Joey W. Hill said...

Kally, they're eleven years apart - Marcie's 23 and Ben's 34, so based on their current ages, it's not a huge gap, though it is in Ben's mind...at the beginning (grin). In Afterlife, the previous book in the series, Jon was 30 and Rachel was 43, and I enjoyed writing that one as well. I wouldn't classify it as a "cougar" story, because it was more about Rachel learning to value and love herself again under Jon's Mastery, and the age issue was just one of many insecurities she was addressing. That was a tender love story - Jon ended up being one of my favorite Knights as a result of it.

Your M-D story sounds lovely. I like storylines that break the mold. I'll have to check that one out. I'll also be interested in your reaction to Natural Law. Hope it meets or exceeds expectations. As far as the drawing, it's for the book-of-your-choice, not just Hostile Takeover, so if you win you can choose one of my books you don't have!

Joey W. Hill said...

Cathy, you're very welcome. I feel like it's an even trade, because you all have turned me on to so many good songs, inspired by the books, like Delilah did just now with the additional Sarah M songs.

One of my favorite quotes in the book (paraphrased), was when Ben was grappling with Marcie's age (this keys into Kally's comment as well). Jon and Peter pointed out that Marcie was mature for her age, and Ben was immature for his - actually so immature that Ben was technically "emotional jailbait". lol...a way to smile through the tears, because the boy did have some serious issues to resolve, and as you said, Marcie was determined to help her Master get there. Glad you enjoyed their journey. Hope you like the additional music!

Joey W. Hill said...

Stacie, I agree completely. I like knowing that I've contributed in some small way to their success, particularly these days when a lot of musicians are choosing to launch their careers through single titles on Itunes, YouTube, etc. Whenever I look down through history at the overlap between music, storytelling, dance - all forms of artistic expression - it makes me feel like we're part of one big bardic guild (grin).

Joey W. Hill said...

Luisa - you gave me a chuckle, because it reminded me how they're now trying out the digital "soundtrack" idea, where, when you read an ebook, a soundtrack is cued to play as you're reading key scenes. Don't know how well that's going to work, since musical tastes/preferences are so different, but they're trying it for some of the bigger names. Will be interesting to see how things evolve in this digital revolution for books. As noted above, hope you enjoy some of the musical choices that inspired Ben and Marcie's story. And if you're left thinking "what is this crap?" then just ignore those songs and substitute music you feel is more appropriate for them (lol).

Joey W. Hill said...

Dianne, at least one of my readers has told me she's going to bring a tissue box for me to autograph at the next book signing. I'm a big fan of the deep emotional romances, both as a reader and an author. I'm pleased it sounds like you enjoy that kind of roller coaster as well. Hope you continue to enjoy my work and the new upcoming books with Max/Janet, Leland/Celeste, etc...

Delilah @ Riverina Romantics said...

My son actually donates to the ASCPA every month because we were both balling our eyes out to that commercial one night. Angel is a very powerful song. I also like one of her other songs, Stupid, for them as well!

Deborah said...

I have all the others so I can't wait to read it. uagurl@gmail.com

Joey W. Hill said...

Deborah, glad to hear you've enjoyed the other stories. Hope you enjoy Ben and Marcie just as much.


Hey huge new fan..just found you and then bought and read all your books in 6 weeks. I also love writing and reading to music. I was listening to alot of Beth Hart during Hostile Takeover. I though World Without You especially fit for after Ben and Marcie split and her brother died. I wish I could find the story of Cass and Peter on Kindle. THANKS! Now what do I read? Courtney copgirl168@yahoo.com

Joey W. Hill said...

Courtney, delighted to meet you! I'm thrilled you enjoyed my work so much you went out and found all of it. As an author, I couldn't be more flattered/pleased. And thanks for the music recommendation. I'll go check out Beth Hart. I'm always seeking music to add to my playlists, and since most of my storylines deal with emotional intensity/obstacles, the right song can often cover more than one book (wink).

I'm also glad to let you know that Honor Bound is available on Kindle. Like Controlled Response (Lucas's story), it's just available digitally only as part of an anthology. If you go to Amazon, list "Laced with Desire" in the URL line and it should bring up both Kindle and print format. For Controlled Response, it would be "Unlaced". Both anthologies were written with Jaci Burton, Jasmine Haynes and Denise Rossetti if you need other key words. Jaci's name of course pretty much calls it right up (laughter). Hope that helps!

As far as what to read, if you note earlier comments, there's a bunch of novella-length free download vignettes on the fan forum, jwhconnection.com. These revisit the characters from the full length works, so you have stories about Ben, Daegan and Gideon, Tyler and Marguerite, etc etc etc... Jus go register to confirm you're not a spammer, navigate away from the site, come back and log in, and go to the vignette section. There are also some great character interviews and graphics inspired by the books. Have fun!

Joey W. Hill said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments and discussion this week. It was a pleasure to be here at Redz World! Thanks for having me, Redz. :>

The random drawing winner of the book of your choice giveaway is Sindra! Congrats, Sindra, and I'll be sending you a direct email. Hope everyone has a wonderful March-April! Happy reading!