The glamorous life of a musician

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“I wish I was a musician. It’s such a glamorous, romantic life…”

Or is it? Let’s have a look at a day in the life.

6.30 am: Drive to the guy who owns the band van

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7.15 am: Load stuff and leave for the venue

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8.30 – 10-00 am: set up the equipment and test the sound

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10.00 – 11.00 am: Wait

11.00 – 11.45: Play (note that the actual gig starts four and a half hours after we left home)

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11.45 – 1.00 pm: Wait, possibly buy a hamburger

1.00 – 1.45 pm: Play again

1.45 – 2.15: Wait

2.45 – 3.00 pm: Play one last time

3.00 – 5.30 pm: Load all the stuff in the van again and drive home.

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And that’s a daytime gig – imagine if all this happened at night. Because of course musicians always work when other people are free, just like cooks and cinema operators.

And all this doesn’t even take into account the hours and hours of rehearsing, or the money you spend on petrol, strings, pedals, speakers, lights, and other equipment. It’s like Michael says in the fourth book about Pax, Cutting Edge:

Sometimes he wanted to explain to people how much work went into a gig, that it wasn’t something you just pulled out of your sleeve, but that was the one thing he could never do. The whole point was that it had to look easy. If it didn’t, no one would be seduced by it. After all, who wanted their entertainment to look like hard work?

The Subjunctive Mood

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Worn-out teacher Jack has just about had it with this life. But just when he’s ready to give in, cute temp Alexander unexpectedly helps with his class. Is the man just abnormally altruistic, or is there something else going on here? As the lesson progresses, Jack’s barricades slowly crumble. Even as he struggles to retain control over the class, he’s losing it over his heart.

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Seven Thousand Minutes

Seven Thousand MinutesWhen Leo goes into a closet for a mock “seven minutes of heaven” session with his best friend Jakob, a ball starts rolling that he never even knew existed. Kissing Jakob just seems like a funny joke, but the joke quickly gets out of hand. Worse, Jakob seems to enjoy it. As Leo battles his growing curiosity, he shies away from the big question: should the two of them remain best friends, or should he let his body lead them into something more?

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Beneath the Mask

Beneath The Mask

Matthew and Peter have always been best friends, but lately, something is wrong. Whenever they come too close to each other, things get weird and Peter withdraws. Mourning the loss of his friend, Matthew doesn’t really want to go to the masquerade party in Peter’s new house. But when he agrees and dons the disguise, he discovers a part of himself that he has denied. Perhaps during this one night of masks and fancy dress, the truth can finally come out.

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Strings Attached

Strings Attached

Conductor Jeremiah is having a shitty day. He’s late for his concert, the hotel missed his booking, and touring is making him lonely. Things improve when violinist Tony arrives and offers him a room. But Tony wears a wedding ring, and tomorrow they’re booked to perform on opposite sides of the world. Will their one night in the same city lead somewhere, or are the odds too stacked against them?

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Cutting Edge (Pax Cymrica #4)

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

Cutting Edge cover

After ten years of hard work, rock band Pax are enjoying a stable career, but not everyone rejoices in their success. Just weeks into their first holiday in years, a family files a complaint against them for causing their son’s death. Their lawyer assures them the lawsuit will go away quietly – after all, a rock band can’t be blamed for some poor kid’s fate on the streets.

Or can they? This is the eighties, at the height of the moral panic surrounding heavy metal, and no accusation is too ridiculous. When Jamie takes on a guitar pupil who pushes the boundaries of artistic freedom, he starts to question his own responsibility for what he puts out. At the same time, Michael meets a former bully who insinuates that Michael wasn’t as innocent a victim as he thinks.

While Michael fights his personal battle against demons from his past, he also prepares to give evidence on the part of the band in a court of law. The question isn’t just whether Pax will survive this latest blow – it’s whether Michael will.

“The clear star of the show was the tension was between Michael and Jamie. Their internal conflicts were incredible and intricate.” (The Novel Approach)

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Release (Pax Cymrica #3)

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

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Things are moving forward for Pax. At 35 miles per day, to be exact. Their new tour may be unorthodox, but they do have fans, tucked away in the backwaters of England. Besides, there are whispers about bigger gigs, maybe even another album. But there’s something wrong with Jamie. Michael doesn’t want to believe it, but on the eve of their big break, the truth threatens to destroy everything.

“Ingela Bohm did an excellent job with all her characters and this story but Jamie’s character in particular. I didn’t feel like I was just reading words on a page but I was actually in his head with as scary and as hard as it was to be there sometimes it made this series one of my favorites.” (World of Diversity)

“It’s almost impossible to read it with a dry eye … Ms. Bohm is such a lyrical, masterful writer that, at times, she takes my breath away. There are moments of unmatched tenderness, breathtaking first-love, depths of despair and betrayal, broken hearts and soaring hearts, evil, beauty and love – and above it all, music.” (Sinfully Addicted)

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Not Safe For Work

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

NSFW

It’s Jakob’s birthday, and boy is he getting a surprise. His friend Leo has written a sexy blog about the two of them — all untrue, of course. Or is it? Identity hijacked, fake love life laid out for the world to see, Jakob is devastated. He should deny it all, but he can’t stop reading. Soon, he’ll have to confront Leo, but he’s afraid — can there be a tiny grain of truth in those stories?

“Quite brilliantly executed … An absolutely unique plot … Be sure to have fully functioning brain cells before you start to read this story because you are going to need them.” (Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words)

“Like nothing I’ve ever read before … part fantasy, part mystery, part romance with some very erotic scenes. It’s so suspenseful it had me on the edge of my seat right up to the end.” (World of Diversity)

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Shakespeare, Marlowe and the pageboy guy

So the world is talking about Shakespeare’s collaborations, and this girl couldn’t be happier. We’ve long known that Will’s plays are full of interpolations from other writers, but to have Kit be specially credited warms my heart.

Because the whole point of Rival Poet is that Will needs help. His hand, his country manners, his lack of brashness, his dialect, his tendency to give up… he wouldn’t have got anywhere without his best friend Richard, his loyal company from whose voices he crafted his characters, and above all, without Kit.

And neither would I.

You see, Kit is the person I never can be, but sometimes wish I could. He’s my secret animus and the man of my dreams – literally. When I was eighteen, I started having this recurring dream about a tall guy with a pageboy cut – which was sometimes a bright green – who just sort of moved through the dream and was cool and mysterious and intelligent and wore a Sherlock style coat. Irresistible. I always woke up with a feeling of yearning. I wanted that man to be real. I wanted him in my life.

But not as a partner. I wanted to be him.

So for me the “pageboy guy” has become the symbol of a side I never reveal. He’s the part of me that speaks through my less-than-considerate characters. He’s Becca in Pax, and maybe Nathan. He’s Laila in All You Can Eat and Garangjas in Last Communion. But above all, he’s Kit Marlowe.

MAJOR RIVAL POET SPOILERS AHEAD. If you want to avoid them, scroll until you see the cover and then continue reading below it.

SPOILERY STUFF:

There was an earlier version of Rival Poet where Kit actually died for real. A non-romance version, obviously. But he continued haunting me. There was a niggling doubt at the back of my head. I didn’t want him dead. I also didn’t want to buy into some stupid conspiracy theory and ruin the part of the plot where losing Kit was the breeding ground for all of Will’s tragedies. To say I had cognitive dissonance is an understatement.

And then finally, I brought him back. I sometimes wonder if it was the right thing to do, but the answer is always the same: yes. Because he does live on. Just like Shakespeare, Marlowe is as alive today as he was four hundred years ago, and I needed that scene, that (slightly twisted) riding-into-the-sunset-and-living-forever scene that can be taken as face value, but which also has a more symbolic meaning that nudges the reader and says, “You know? Wink, wink.”

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OKAY, NOW IT’S JUST NON-SPOILERY STUFF 🙂

So yeah, seeing people today be all excited about how my two favourite boys collaborated on a bunch of plays is a joy for me, because I’m personally convinced they did. Will and Kit go together like the two halves of my soul: the middle-aged woman who guards her tongue, and the devil-may-care shadow with the artsy coat who laughs at everything.

I even wrote a song about it. Now, I’m not a flawless singer, and I’m definitely not a pianist, but I do consider myself an amateur composer. (Can’t write novels all the time, you know?) So here it is, in all its do-I-really-remember-the-chords glory: my tribute to Kit Marlowe.

Lyrics below.

 

PAMPERED JADE

He steps out of the shadows like
An impish sprite on the lookout
For a narrative to hijack
’Cause he didn’t have enough time
In his own lifetime
To fill the world with his words
And he will not be able to sleep soundly
In his grave until

He has conquered all the world
Like the pampered jade he is
He’s been made immortal by
Another Helen’s kiss
His cry will be Come live with me
All through the night
’Cause whoever loved
That loved not at first sight?

So here I am, in this song
I suppose it’s about me
But if you look, I’ll be gone
’Cause I’m strange and elusive
Now you see me, now you don’t
I’m the Magus, I’m the Puck
I am Mercury, I bring a message from the gods

I have conquered all the world
Like the pampered jade I am
I’ll be made immortal by
The kiss from another man
My cry will be Come live with me
All through the night
’Cause whoever loved
That loved not at first sight?

I am back from Hades
And I know you can’t resist
So come with me and we will get
Fictionally pissed

’Cause you can conquer all the world
Like the pampered jade you are
You’ll be made immortal by
The kiss from a shooting star
Your cry will be Come live with me
All through the night
’Cause whoever loved
That loved not at first sight?

The Ace of Wands

That feeling… I think all authors must know about it. You empty your glass and you’re convinced that you’ll never write another word, because what is there to write about? You’ve said everything you want to say already.

And then there’s this thing – a movie, a smell, a view, something someone says – and it gets stuck on your mind like an autumn leaf clinging to a wet fence. And as it sits there, just shining brightly against the dull grey of the wood, another kind of light begins to creep up on you.

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It inches closer, slowly, whistling innocently… and then BAM! You’re bathed in the light of an inner dawn.

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You have to write. You have to write this new character, this laugh, this landscape, this perspective. You’ve described a hundred different smiles in your other books, but this one is different, and it needs to be set on paper. Come hell or high water. Otherwise that light will burn you up from inside.

You’re in love, and you want to shout it out to the world.

And then it ebbs. Sooner or later, it ebbs and peters out, and you look at the smile or the view or the funny dialogue, and you just go “Meh”. Because it’s done now. You’ve spent your ink again, and poured that light onto your keyboard, and there’s nothing left. Not even a couple of mixed metaphors.

You have a result: a few twinkling phrases, or a whole fragile structure with a series of flimsy, glittering strands of story clinging to it… and now comes the work. The editing, the fleshing out, the careful crafting. In Tarot terms, the spark of inspiration from the Ace of Wands have chosen a direction, gathered the input it needs and celebrated the first stage of the journey. And now the battle begins, where things will not always be so bright.

But you’ve got your flimsy strands, and look at them: they might only be lichen, but they’re beautiful.

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