Wingless Soundtrack

Hi guys,

A while ago, I posted soundtracks for Wingéd, Foiche Dé, and Dragon Wingéd. So, here are the songs that I listened to while writing Wingless. Some of them I did add later on, because they seemed to fit. If a certain song reminds me of a character, I put the name in parentheses next to it. Enjoy!

Radioactive – Pentatonix & Lindsey Stirling
Where I Stood – Missy Higgins (Emmy)
Skinny Love – Brooke Adee
Paralyzer – Finger Eleven (Kitane)
Shut Up and Dance – WALK THE MOON
Little Wonders – Rob Thomas (Logan)
Burning Gold – Christina Perri (Nora)
Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons (Dmitri)
Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park
Life Without You (Duett Version) – Stanfour
Come With Me Now – KONGOS
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift (Rin)
Broken (feat. Amy Lee) – Seether
Demons – Imagine Dragons (Cassius)
One Week – Barenaked Ladies (Daisuke)
I Can’t Stop Drinking About You – Bebe Rexha
Fall Behind Me – The Donnas
Let Her Go – Cole Vosbury
Say Something – A Great Big World
Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5
Bury Me With My Guns On – Bobaflex
Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
Crystal – Stevie Nicks

Colleen

Wingless Now Available!

044c copy copy blurred moon

Wingless is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle!

 Check out the entire Wingéd series from the beginning today!

 CH. 1

Thousands of years ago, the witch, Victoria, attacked the Hall of Wingéd, turning the reigning Seraph into a Demon, resulting in the quick extinction of the Griffon Wingéd. Attempting to put a stop to the destruction, her twin sister, Margaret, sought to purify her and failed. This act created the foiche Dé, living humans marked with magic and doomed to be forever reincarnated. In her despair, Margaret begged three Dragons, against Wingéd law, to put an end to her life and continue the long battle in her stead. While they agreed, this was not without its consequences.

Cassius lost his wings, becoming the first to be named Wingless. He was saved by the second, Emmy, a Moth. She gave up her wings using forbidden magic to free a Demon from his pain, and in the most controversial verdict to have ever been given in the Hall, Seraph Lerion decreed that the Dragons, Daisuke and Gabriel, should join the ranks of Wingless as punishment for their aid of Cassius. Although it sought to put an end to the chaos, the verdict only added to the unrest. But what has been done cannot be undone.

 

Every night, it was the same. When Cassius closed his eyes, he was locked in an evil ritual, afflicted by visions of his worst fears come to pass. They would start out as variations of the past, but each one led him to the same place, a desolate field. The ground was in such a parched state that the grass crumbled under his step into a trail of dust. He was always running, searching. “Emmy?”

Then, he’d finally find her. She was sinking in a mixture of mud and blood, surrounded by a ring of black fire. “Emmy!” he would yell again, but she could not hear him over the whipping wind. Pieces of her soul ripped from her, burned in the fire, and the ashes flew off into the sky. And through the smoke came a voice. “She will Turn,” it would say. “You cannot stop it. She will Turn.”

The heavens would darken until the sun was no more than a ring of fire in the sky, and an ominous red star shined in its stead. “No! I won’t listen! Emmy!” He reached out to help her, but his feet were petrified, mercilessly holding him to the earth.

The thunder would drown out his words, and Emmy would look up, her eyes red and her soul barely visible, shrieking like a Demon. “She will devour them, Wingless,” the voice would say. “She will devour them all. And you will have to slay her.”

Cassius awakened, shaking from the fear of his nightmares until he realized it was morning again and time to start the day anew.

Snow fell upon the Hall of Wingéd, the soft and silent flakes blanketing the sleeping mountains in its cold embrace. It looked peaceful from the single-room house the Wingless now called home, a couple of miles from the Hall proper. Hours before the sun rose over the peaks, Cassius pretended to be asleep as Emmy snuck out of their modest dwelling and ran out into the white. After the door creaked shut, he rose from his mat on the floor and looked out the window. His palms rested on the sill as he sighed deeply and shook his head. “She said she wasn’t going to do this today.”

“Let her go, Cassius,” Daisuke grumbled from his mat and pulled the linen over his head. “She does the same thing every morning. We can’t stop her.”

“She’s not allowed out without one of us. What if one of the Phoenixes sees her?”

“If you’re so worried, why didn’t you stop her when you heard her creeping around?”

Cassius shoved his feet into his boots. The truth of the matter was it was much easier to get Emmy back from going out alone than it was to stop her from doing it. “She should have honored our agreement.”

In a few hours, the first Leap since the verdict was to take place, and Seraph Lerion had specifically requested the Wingless’ attendance at the event. This meant that Emmy wouldn’t be allowed her daily rituals to control the pain that overwhelmed her, and she had agreed to this. It was most important that the Wingless remain in the Seraph’s good graces as their fates still rested in his hands.

Everyone in the Hall now walked around on tiptoe, sensing the strong undercurrent Lerion’s decision had created. They’d become a people divided into those in favor of the verdict and those who believed it immoral. The dissent had started out as a whisper and evolved into a hum, but now, the Hall was buzzing with the angered voices of the Wingéd. So, Cassius needed Emmy back here as soon as possible.

He opened the door, but instead of being able to charge off into the snow, he stopped short at the presence of a skinny Bat Wingéd whose hands shook as he removed his hat. “Wingless Cassius? I am Bat Devram. I have a message from the Seraph. You are needed in the Hall.”

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Empathy: A Writer’s Greatest Tool

My creative writing professor once told me that you cannot be a fiction writer and hate people. It’s just not possible, because writing is people. The world is people. If you don’t like people, you cannot understand the world and cannot be a successful writer. It would be like trying to be a mathematician that hates numbers (or representations of numbers). It is paramount.

Now, I have been called a misanthrope most of my life. People bother me. You are chaotic and overwhelming, especially in large groups. I’m highly introverted and awkward in most social situations. I don’t understand the concept of “small talk” or how not talking about the weather makes me impolite or unfriendly. So, obviously, this meant that I was a horrible writer which led to another jaunt down insecurity lane, because at the time, I thought that he meant that I had to like people, like their personalities, and be a people person.

It took me a while to realize that I wasn’t listening to what he was saying. He was talking about empathy. Having empathy is one of the most important tools at an author’s disposal. There are two kinds of empathy: cognitive and affective.

Cognitive empathy means that you’re able to put yourself in the shoes of someone else. In terms of being an author, this would be your character. You must know likes, dislikes, fears, aspirations, experiences, and how the character feels about himself or herself. However, as an author, this needs to be taken a step further. It’s being able to see and understand how this character views the world around them, how they take in and process events and information, and what actions the character would take based on that view. At the same time, the author must also anticipate how these events and actions interact with the character’s preconceived notions and how the world view changes. It is a give and take that is constantly changing.

I liken it to this quote from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”

In order to make a character a whole person, the author must care. It’s loving a character as he or she would love him or herself. They’re like family. You don’t have to like them, but you have to love them. This is true for every character including your villain. That connection should be evident in everything that an author writes otherwise your characters will be flat and unbelievable. If the author doesn’t believe in or care about the character, why should the reader? Which brings us to affective empathy.

In the author/reader relationship, affective empathy is what you want from your reader. It is what occurs as a reader begins to care for your character. When a person sees another in distress, this causes distress (assuming you’re not, y’know, a sociopath or something). The reader isn’t going to care about the character in the same way that the author does, and we wouldn’t want them to. While the author is charged with putting themselves into their character’s shoes and expressing his or her point of view in words, the reader is under no such obligation.

How is this a tool for the author? Well, the reader’s affective empathy can be used to against them. The more that a reader cares for a character, the more easily they can be led. Readers are more forgiving of characters that they like or empathize with. In contrast, if you wanted to surprise your reader with a plot twist, such as a hidden villain, you can play with your readers’ emotions by making them care about a character before pulling the rug out from under them. (I’m sorry readers, but it’s all for your own good.) The bigger the reaction (other than one of “that’s totally unbelievable), the more successful you’ve been.

Oh, but I do have a word of caution though. An author must be careful when manipulating a reader’s empathy. Piss a reader off too much, and they might never pick up your novels again.

Keeping that in mind, what my professor said is true. If you don’t want to spend your time thinking about your characters or your reader, if you cannot empathize with them, there is no way that you can be a fiction writer.

In those terms, I actually enjoy people. From psychology to sociology or anthropology, history, art, and music, everything that humanity touches, I find fascinating. Humanity has a beauty and complexity that I just can’t stop exploring. Languages, landmarks, mythology, ethics, value systems: I can never get enough. It all stems from our relationships with others, just living. It’s magical.

Do You Have Any Creative Writing Advice?

I was asked for some of my own writing advice, but I don’t know that I really have anything concrete. I don’t like posts that tell you things like “never end your sentences with a preposition” or “don’t edit while you’re writing” or “only use dialogue tags ‘said’ and ‘replied'” all of which are ridiculous to me. Everything has a time and place, but I don’t want to be one of those annoying “follow your heart” people. So, I’m going to try.

* Certain narration styles drive me crazy.

1) The omniscient narrator. The omniscient narrator makes me feel like I have ADD. Well, I do, but it makes me cognizant of it. I find the thing most difficult about an omniscient narrator is that it’s difficult for me, as a reader, to find a focus. This narrator frequently jumps back and forth between the personal thoughts of one person to another, and it’s difficult to separate the overwhelming knowledge and what each character knows and sees.

2) First person present. I understand imminence, wanting to move the story quicker, but… it bothers me. I feel like if you’re a person telling a story, obviously, you’re telling it at a later date and past narration would be more correct. It’s just a pet peeve. The Hunger Games novels were particularly challenging to get through due to my thoughts on this.

* Do the Work

So, I lied to you. This is one of the rules. It’s not really a writing rule, but a preparation rule. Do the work. Know your characters inside and out. You have to be able to put yourself into their shoes and see things not only from their perspective, but how each character views your other characters. Know your villain. Know your world and its rules. It’s easiest to answer the big six: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? There shouldn’t be a question that you can’t answer. And “just because” doesn’t count as an answer.

* Dialogue tags

Occasionally, I like the peruse some of the writing blogs on WordPress, and I’ve noticed something interesting. Whenever anyone is giving advice on how to write dialogue, I see this bit of advice: only use the dialogue tags, “said” and “asked”, and use “replied” sparingly. In the years that I’ve been taking writing courses, this piece of advice has never come up (at least not while I was paying attention). In fact, it always seemed to me like the exact opposite was required. So, I had to wonder, were these people on crack?

As I’ve begun to dig a little further, asking both writers and readers, the logic of this advice began to come out. A reader told me that if the novel was full of other dialogue tags, it tended to sound amateur. A writer described a class where the teacher berated him for sounding like a fourth grader, who just discovered dialogue tags.

So, my problem with it is this. “Said” and “asked” convey virtually nothing. From a communication standpoint, it’s a nightmare. I’ve brought up communication before when I discussed author intent. When encoding a message, only ten percent of that communication is verbal. Everything else is nonverbal. How many times has someone told you, “It’s not what you said, but how you said it”? That means, when writing, ninety percent of the message isn’t being received and must be replaced. Use of other dialogue tags such as “muttered”, “groaned”, “whispered”, and “whined” are more efficient than a long description.

Also, dialogue tags have other uses other than indicating who is speaking. Sometimes they provide a longer more literal pause affecting flow and pacing. It provides negative space in dialogue. Any artist knows that the negative space is just as important as positive space. I do agree that having a dialogue tag for every piece of speech is ludicrous, but if there is a change or greater purpose for it being there, I say knock yourself out.

* A Little Bit of Poetry Can Go a Long Way

Be creative in your descriptions. I’m not talking a constant “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” or giant extended metaphors, but saying that someone waddles away like a penguin dancing on hot coals can offer a strong mental image for that extra punch. Why a penguin would be dancing on hot coals? I don’t know, but it’s the best I can do off the top of my head.

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion

Are you looking for Action? Adventure? Romance? Redemption?

Venture into the world of Wingéd and the trilogy that will change your view on life and the afterlife.

Seek redemption with Friedel…

“When Friedel McBride was taken to the realm of the dead, everything changed. Follow Friedel as she is thrown into a new, divine world, filled with winged spirits who guide the living. They are the Wingéd, and they are in danger. In order to earn her wings, Friedel must take the Leap, a long dive off the highest cliff in the mountains, but this cannot be done unless she confronts her mortal coil. As she prepares with her Candidate class, the secrets of her past begin to arise. If she is unable to face the crimes of her past, she’ll be lost to the abyss forever. Meanwhile, lurking within the hallowed corridors, something sinister is causing them to lose more candidates. Friedel is their only hope, and she must find out why their numbers are diminishing before they discover the truth about her. But how can someone whose life reveals such evils ever be redeemed?”

Find serenity with Kapera…

“The sequel to Wingéd tells the story of Kapera, a rebel foiche Dé, a weapon of God, in her fight to save the life of Grace, a target of the Demon Wingéd. However, Kapera is a reluctant participant. In spite of her feelings, Kapera will risk everything she holds dear to save the millions that would die if the Demons get theirs hands on this one child. Can Kapera put aside her anger long enough to defend Grace against certain death? And will she ever find the peace she craves?”

And discover that your greatest weakness can also be your greatest strength with Cassius…

“Thousands of years ago, before the age of Friedel and Kapera, there lived a soldier and harbinger of death. When Cassius and Emmy meet as Candidates, they are instant friends, but their friendship is threatened as the Cassius rises in the ranks of Dragons and fears for her safety. As his world is torn asunder by witches and Demons, he cannot shake the love of a Moth, who longs to be more than what she is. The third installment of the Wingéd saga tells of the rise and fall of the most notorious figure in Wingéd history, his ultimate disgrace, and the Moth who would do anything for him.”

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards says, “I read [Wingéd] in one night, and that is a compliment. I liked the plot and the mythology. There are a lot of “angel” books, and this takes the genre and gives it a new, fantasy-like spin,” and “I LOVED the story of Cassius and Emmy. I was engrossed by the connection between them.”

Readers say, “The thing I like most about the Wingéd series is how each of the novels stands on its own, but it also transcends each individual character’s personal journey for we’re all flawed beyond measure. That is what the Wingéd series is all about. It’s truly about the fall and rising up out of the abyss. It says the only way to stop the descent is to accept yourself for everything that you are and to have enough compassion for others to help them do the same.”

Available on Amazon for the bookworm on your list!