Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guest Blogger Michael Mandrake

Welcome if you will my good friend and talented author Michael Mandrake, who is going to talk to us today about wriitng and music, as well as a little bit about his latest release! Michael, have a seat in the kitchen, while I pull breakfast out of the oven. How do you take your coffee?  Oh yeah, go ahead and start, that's fine.

Writing to Music
Part II
Michael Mandrake

Greetings fans!

At IRM this past Monday, I did the first part of the series, writing to music where me, Michael, muse 1, featured some of the artists or groups that have been inspiration to my stories.

I’m ending my part by talking about song titles and or lyrics. A lot of times, the words that are part of a song could be a big help when coming up with your characters feelings or emotions. At times, when I try to select what music to put on, the story that’s foremost in my mind will say, hey, listen to this and it opens the door to a new scene whether it be love or a stressful part in my characters world.

For example, in the story Rawiya and I share, Masquerade, part of the Down in Nola series, Derwyn James, the main character talks about how this song served as comfort to him when he and his boyfriend called it quits. It also provided the song title for the first part of the series since the tune, by George Benson, talks about losing a lover because they hid their true feelings.

The Masquerade is just that. A man who is gay, hiding behind a mask because he’s afraid to come out. The lyrics hit home for Rawiya when writing it and I was glad to be part of it.

In my own story, Only When I Lose Myself, I garnered some inspiration from one of my favorite bands, Depeche Mode.

The song speaks about a man falling in love with someone he most likely shouldn’t. Doesn’t give a reason why but this particular tune, though about 25 years old, spoke to me when writing the prequel to The Imperfect Lover.

In this one, Matthew and Adrian my MC’s talk about falling for one another and finding something good in themselves when doing so. I’m a big fan of the tune and even after writing the first part was done, the song spurred me on to write the rest of their story which should be released in the fall.

What about you? What songs have spurred something creative or what would you call your theme song? Leave your thoughts.

I thank Julie for having me here today. Let me leave you with a snippet of Only When I Lose Myself part of the My Sexy Valentine Anthology.

Video Trailer


Adrian Vanderguard is the hottest singer in the music business right now and is currently on tour supporting his third album. Now that the long journey is coming to a close, he is visiting his home away from home in New York City to play a string of six exclusive shows at New York’s famous Falcon Theatre in front of sellout crowds that include top celebrities.

 Adrian is also a loner who is in need of companionship. While on this lengthy trip, he has made up in his mind that he would like to be dating by Valentine’s Day of the following year, and he will stop at nothing to accomplish this.

 Matthew Gionapolis is the Falcon’s environmental engineer. A young, healthy, twenty- something, that takes his work very seriously. Matthew is one person who likes everything to be in place, and really is not into having much contact with people unless he has to.

 Not knowing this, Adrian decides that he would like to get Matthew to be his assistant despite the fact that the young gentleman was rather rude to him when he tried to introduce himself. Undeterred, Adrian even goes as far to point out the fact that Matthew must do as his managers say or else it could mean his job. This upsets Matthew but because he would like to be employed, he goes along with Adrian’s ploy, and while all this is going on, he develops a soft spot for the kind hearted, gorgeous crooner that may change his mind about wanting to be alone for the duration of his existence. 

“Excuse me, young man,” Adrian tapped Matthew on the shoulder.

Matthew shrugged and walked away.

Laura and Diana watched in horror at what Matthew might do while Bret observed with discontent.

“Matthew, my good man, listen, I…wanted to draft you as my assistant. Since your bosses didn’t see the email, I’m a little…desperate. This will turn out good after all since I really like what I’m seeing.” Adrian turned on the charm immediately.

Matthew however, was not moved.  “So, why can’t you get someone else? I’m not assistant material, you know. I’m sure there are, many a gay boy that would love to get your towels for you and tease your hair.” He rolled his eyes.

“Yeah but, none of them are holding my attention like you are, mate.” Adrian grinned, his brown eyes once more connected with Matthew’s emeralds.

“Yeah, well here’s a newsflash for your Mr. Vanderguard. You can take your affections elsewhere, I ain’t interested.” Matthew frowned and went back to working.

Matthew strolled to the next patch of carpet while shaking his head. He knelt down to trim more fibers.
Adrian licked his lips and stared at the janitor.

Laura, Diana, and Bret continued to look on.

Again, Adrian folded his arms. Although he should have been taken aback by Matthew’s reaction, he was determined to have his way. “Well, Matthew, even if you aren’t, it is a requirement of your job to do whatever asked and since I have told your boss that I want you as an assistant because she fucked this up, you have to do what she tells you to…” Adrian moved his hands onto his sides while tapping his foot.

Matthew stopped clipping loose hairs. “Seriously?” He looked at Laura and Diana who just nodded their heads.

“Shit…” Matthew mumbled under his breath, nodding. “Fine, whatever, I need the job, but I am telling you now I don’t like this.

While Michael and I relax and eat, leave us your thoughts and comments. What does music mean to you in  your life? We'd love to hear about it!

Have a wonderful day!

♥ Julie


  1. Thank you for having me here Julie!

  2. Thank you for coming, my friend! Hope the chocolate muffins were tasty! More coffee?

  3. Hi Rawiya-- Fun post! I'm one of that minority of writers who can't write while music is playing, so i'll enjoy your process vicariously. Sounds like a great story! : )

  4. Thank you Tara! It is a fun story. I love my Adrian and Matthew.

    I see more for them once the full story comes out too

  5. TY Julie. Yes please more muffins...hold the coffee