My personal beauty standards

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Don’t judge a book by its cover? Ha! Well, I’m not strong enough not to. Not when I choose what to read, and certainly not when I choose my future husband (been there, done that). Longish hair and a leather jacket had me at hello, but that’s another story for another day. Suffice it to say that I have my own personal beauty standards, like a stain on my moral compass, and it won’t come out for love nor money.

The above picture sums them up pretty nicely – and don’t kid yourself about the turtle neck: it’s not optional!

I drew the picture for a course book in French that I once wrote and never got to use, but I still have the picture. Funnily enough, when I saw it again today I thought of Michael Vaughan of Pax fame. Now, he wouldn’t agree with me because he thinks he’s hideous, but if he was I wouldn’t be writing about him, would I? Especially not passages like this:

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Jamie’s hair swung in time with the music, a few strands sticking to his temples. Green and gold stage lights flitted in and out of his vision. Everything on the stage glowed: brass, steel, cufflinks, white shirts, even gold. Michael was chained to his harpsichord as usual, but when their eyes met, it felt like they were just inches apart. As Jamie lost himself in that lion tawny colour, the world came loose from its moorings and floated around in a shimmery mess.

Release

Shimmery mess? Yeah, that would be me. And look, I know Michael doesn’t actually exist, in that boring, concrete sort of way we call real. But if I’m to write about a character, they have to exist for me. If another character falls in love with them, I have to fall as well. Otherwise, how could I know how they’d feel when evening sunlight pierces amber eyes?
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“There.” Michael struck a match and Jamie started at the tiny explosion between his fingers. The flame leapt up and quickly ate its way through the dry bark and twigs. Shaken, Jamie watched Michael as he watched the fire grow. The setting sun painted his face and hair in copper shades, and when he looked up, his eyes burned with an elusive lion tawny colour.

Thiiiis is weird

Just Playing

But it’s kinda shallow, I know that. To allow yourself to hold one type of appearance above all others. Still, don’t we all? And I comfort myself with the thought that we all like different things. A friend of mine likes bald men, for example, whereas I fall in love with the hair before I fall in love with the actual person (again, hubby being the prime example).

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And Michael is cute. He is. Jamie is charming, so he can get away with scruffiness and goofy grimaces and stringy, unwashed hair. But Michael has this ethereal quality that “might not beteem the winds of heaven / Visit [his] face too roughly” (Hamlet 1.2.144). If that sounds oddly feminine, I guess it is. I do like my men androgynous. Sensitive. Vulnerable. Pensive.

In a word, musicians. 😀

Not many need apply. Hubby asked me while we were binge-rewatching Game of Thrones which one of all the characters I found to be “the bee’s knees” (sic!), and I still haven’t come up with a reply. Some are interesting, others are charming and fun, and yet others have symmetrical features that I guess would qualify for western hemisphere heartthrobdom. But me? Nah. Most leave me cold. Yes, even Jon Snow.

Rival Poet AReBut when I do find a face I like, I get a whole book out of it. Or, in the case of Pax, a whole series! And so Sam Claflin inspired All You Can Eat, Ricky Wilson (yes, I’m admitting it!) was the template for Henrik in The Seventh Flower, and Ian McNabb (even bigger splash there, I’m really having an overly honest day!) will forever be my very own Kit Marlowe in Rival Poet.

And while we’re on the topic, I know I should be working on (the newly christened, yay!) Chains of Being (I’m keeping schtumm about that one, by the way, because I don’t want a defamation case to cut my career short, and anyway I’m changing absolutely everything about the two guys before hitting ‘publish’ so no one’ll ever know), but I have a messy old WIP about a PhD student that’s slowly morphing to accomodate Robson Green and Ben Mendelsohn! Just imagine the shy and lonely professor with Asperger’s whose world is turned upside down by a sloppy upstart who wears flip-flops to the office! Mmm… 🙂

So, shallow? Yup. But it’s a prerequisite for my authorhood.

Fly by night

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

More documentation than art, but it was really nice to see these guys again. We think they live in the attic of our cabin. Normally we only see them in August when it’s darker, but this time we were treated to a display against a bright July sky. 🙂

Orphan Bats

Lyrics: Vaughan
Music: Vaughan/Gardiner

We are unwanted but loved
We are the scary squatters
We hang hidden in black
We won’t go back where we came from

And we won’t die
Even though you turn us away
We will keep crawling
Out of attics everywhere

And come twilight
You can see us
Winging our way
Hunting our prey
Through the horrid night
You can join us
Seeing with your ears
Knowing no fears

We are the children of chance
We are the brainy critters
We see your world upside down
And we are blind to progress

We may seem silent
And our flight random and queer
But we’ll keep on sending
Our voices everywhere

And come twilight…

There is something in the night
Something seems to move
A band of orphan bats
That don’t need you to approve

Dark and gruesome exteriors
Sprung from fevered dreams
But in the heart of darkness
There’s a light that ever gleams

(From Just Playing)

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?

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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Blog posts:

Forgiveness – but for whom?

If you don’t like it, don’t watch it

Symbols and opposites

Unicorns in the office

Should art be censored?

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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Blog posts:

Jamie Gardiner: a charming chameleon with hidden pain

Michael Vaughan: a study in contradictions

“One, two, three, four…” A band comes to life

A musical love affair

Just Playing (Pax Cymrica #1)

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

Between two passions, which one do you choose?

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Michael has never really had any friends, so when Jamie starts spending time with him, he’s suspicious at first. Sure, they share a passion for music, but Jamie’s golden good looks seem destined for something bigger, better. Not that Michael is noticing Jamie’s beauty or anything…

Jamie is the first to realize that something is happening. Spellbound by Michael’s talent and fey-like softness, he’s powerless to resist. The thrill of playing together slowly turns into something else – something that, in 1975, has only been legal for eight years.

They have to stop it. The pleasure of touches as blissful as they’re terrifying can only end in disaster. When things finally start moving for Jamie’s band, it seems like the perfect way out, but the choice he faces is brutal: what’s more important – Michael, or the music?

Angsty and poetic, this slow burn romance charts every push and pull of a young love that isn’t exactly forbidden – just not allowed.

“ANGST, ANGST, ANGST, galore! My heart hurt reading this story but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for anything!” (World of Diversity)

Just Playing is a novel, but in its most basic form it’s a love letter written by both Michael and Jamie. It’s excruciatingly breathtaking in its simplicity and it’s excruciatingly breathtaking in its complexity.” (Joyfully Jay)

The writing is superb. Superb, I tell you! Poetic and full of meaning. It’s like the author hand picked each individual word for a specific purpose and it so worked for me.” (Boy Meets Boy Reviews)

 Author’s note: contains a cliffhanger.

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Posts about the Pax series:

Pax playlists

Pax demos

The original story (scroll down a bit)

The glamorous life of a musician

Fly by night

Pax demos

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Did you ever wonder if those snippets of songs under the chapter headings in the Pax series were just cosmetics, or if they really existed? Wonder no more. Here are a few Pax demos, inexplicably sung by a lass who’s neither a guitarist nor in all honesty much of a singer. Also, the originals were on a cassette tape, you know, those things that you used to turn over after listening to one side? So the quality is, well, demo-like. But hey, at least the songs exist, right?

Orphan Bats (1975)

 

Upstart Crow (1976)

 

Return of the Prince (1979)

 

Endless Summer (1986)

 

Live In Love (2014)