Category Archives: Book Series Blog

Surviving and the In-between

It’s World Autism Awareness Day! It’s a beautiful morning out here in the Lehigh Valley so “light it up blue” and enjoy the day.

Lisa Malabanan

It’s been a while since my last post…and a very long while with my writing project.

My kids seem to need me more as they grow up, especially on how to survive life in general. So they will always be my top priority, and I’ve put aside my writing for the time being.

Trifold Book Report on ASDUntil now.

Since it’s the end of Autism Awareness Month, I decided to write a post about my son. He’s 10 years old and I have not told him about Autism Spectrum Disorder, or that he has it. I didn’t want Ray to think he was “broken” or “flawed” because of his condition. I only wanted to explain his “uniqueness” to him.

For this school year, Ray must do a book report on different book genres assigned for each month. There is a different theme for each report to make it interesting for the student. For the month of…

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Happy New Year!

Have a happy and prosperous 2016!

New Year

 


Harmony – James’ Movement

I’ve been quiet for the month of August and there’s a good reason. My second installment of the Dia-Matic Keys Series needed editing and copy-editing after a few revisions. The copy-editing took longer than expected. I wanted to enjoy what was left of the summer with my family.

So I want to thank all my beta readers, and all the wonderful musicians who gave me insight about playing the bass. Without your advice, I could not have shined the much deserved spotlight on James.

Shutterstock image 92659966

Shutterstock image 92659966

Everything seems to be falling apart for James Roberts. It’s time for Dia-Matic Keys to record their debut album, yet there is no band to record one. A bad decision affects the group and James pays the price. Everyone depends on him to save the day. But what happens if he can’t even save himself?

James is the bassist and leader of Dia-Matic Keys. Of course, being a strong leader means taking on responsibilities. For every action, there’s a consequence. Right now, nobody in the band wants to follow him. When James makes a difficult choice to sacrifice love for a chance at fame, the group’s recording contract is at stake. Elle no longer wants to be part of the band, and James is at fault. Without her, there is no Dia-Matic Keys. Relationships and friendships are about to end if he doesn’t make amends. James must fight to redeem himself, especially to Elle.

Secrets and betrayal are dividing the group. James struggles with his own fears, desires, and loyalties to prove his worth as a leader, a brother, and a friend. Will he gain the band’s respect once more? Can James win back Elle’s love?

It’s been a long journey to discover James for the amazing character he really is. So I hope you want to get to know him as well.

Harmony is now available:

 


Asking for a Re-Blog

Marketing/Blogging Consultancy


Turn up the Bass!

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question in the guitar community, “What are the main reasons for being a bass player?”

8tracks.com

8tracks.com

I received a variety of responses ranging from the humorous, to the practical, to the soulful. To better understand the reasons, I listened to various genres like Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, Blues, Latin, Reggae, Metal, and Rock, mainly to pick out the bass lines. I have yet to check out Classical.

Discussion in Guitar Community

Discussion in Jazz Music Community

It wasn’t hard for me to identify the low and heavy pitches, but I had to focus on the different styles of playing the bass. The more I listened, the more I found myself with a deep appreciation for bassists.

The bass is a member of the rhythm section. The bassist locks in with the drummer to create a “groovy,” or “head-bouncing,” or “foot-tapping,” or “swaying side-to-side” rhythm. The bass player not only provides the rhythm, but also lays down the harmony. In fact, he or she has two important functions for a song.

The bass is one of the easiest instruments to learn, with the most common being 4 strings (E, A, D, and G), yet it can also be the hardest to master. The bass is versatile. You can play the root notes, to chords, to arpeggios. Or, you can use diverse styles like slap, pop, palm-muting, double thump, two-handed tapping. Those walking bass lines or complex riffs, while linking the harmony to the rhythm, as well as, improvising is difficult. A good bassist just makes it look so easy.

I notice that bassists are often overlooked compared to the lead guitarist or drummer (another member of the rhythm section). But a solo performance makes a profound impact, whether it’s a fast and syncopated rhythm or an intricate and funky sound.

Of course their frequent spot on the side near the drummer, instead of center stage, doesn’t mean they’re not a star. Some bassists are lead singers in a band, such as Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Geddy Lee, Sting (who are great songwriters). Some are notable for their craft like Charles Mingus, John Entwistle, Cliff Burton, John Paul Jones, Bootsy Collins, Flea. The solo artists who inspire like Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten, Michael Manring. Let’s not forget the beauties such as Carol Kaye, Kim Deal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kim Gordon, Esperanza Spalding. I’m missing so many other honorable mentions but I don’t want to sound long-winded.

So why do this short research on bass players. I needed to brainstorm.

I need some type of inspiration to write about my favorite one (he’s fictional). I want to make him awesome, just like a bassist must play perfectly for the song’s progression. I also want him to impress, just like a powerful buildup of a bass line that you can feel. Most of all, I want my character adored since I’m shining the spotlight on him.

Bassists will always be in demand, simply because they are one of a kind.

webstrings.com

webstrings.com

Thank you to everyone in the music community for giving me your insightful feedback. For those initially reading my follow-up post, list your top reasons or favorite bass players and I’ll check them out.


A Day in the Life of a Writer (Even if it’s Part Time)

How do writers deal with the day-to-day routine of life and still have time to write? I often wonder about this from other self-published authors. If you ask me, I think it’s mentally and physically exhausting.

With all the duties of family, a profession, school activities, homework, social functions, and financial responsibilities, finding the time to write is difficult, especially if I am writing a series. The constant interruptions of everyday life is distracting. I can lose a thought, that descriptive word to relay an idea, or a chapter revision for structure and flow. Why is the second I sit down, the chance for someone else to ask something? Once I’m ready to do my thing, a person wants some advice about stuff that can wait until later. It never fails, and those distractions become frustrating (I was venting, but I’m done).

I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in the past month. Yet in retrospect, I’ve done a book blast tour, worked on guest posts, and author interviews. Perhaps September was just draining because of my other obligations and guilt in neglecting Harmony, the next installment in the series. I’m remorseful and afraid that James Roberts, my protagonist in this novella, is angry at me for abandoning him.

Harmony edit 1

I read an article about Hugh Howey and his writing: http://www.copyblogger.com/how-hugh-howey-writes/

After reading the article, I feel less tired, frustrated, regretful, and more motivated. The first thing I need to do is inhale serenity and exhale agitation. Next, I must prioritize my schedule. Family and home are at the top of the list. Everything else, I’ll fit in between. During my timeout, I can read, listen to music, or play the piano.

The point is that I should grab a moment to write. Like when I started writing. My iPad is with me almost everywhere. It’s my writer’s desk on the go thanks to Apple. I’ll daydream about storylines and themes. Allow my surroundings to influence ideas for plots and conflicts. Interact with people wherever I go because conversation offers possible dialogue, setting, action and reaction, or scenes.

Those encounters contribute to writing a paragraph or more. During my breaks, I may elaborate or revise and soon, I have a page or two. I will dedicate any opportunity to writing something. The more I write, my content gets better, and I improve as a writer.

Those little routines have motivated me to write Consonance. If I get back my inspiration, maybe James Roberts will discuss Harmony with me. There are two sides to a story, and his is just as important. He wants to show his character as the dashing bassist of Dia-Matic Keys.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
― Lao Tzu

So a weekend is over. A birthday party has passed. My family finishes dinner and the evening is winding down. The dishes are clean, I did most of the laundry, some tidying up around the house, paid off a couple of bills, and hopefully the kids are going to sleep. My husband settles in too. After a shower, I have a moment’s peace to think and write.

That quiet break allows me to type up content for a chapter. I have creativity flowing. I’ll stop after an hour because I need sleep for work the next day. The office schedule doesn’t look too bad. Maybe I’ll get a full lunch, and escape to the cafeteria to read or continue writing the ideas of another storyline.

Traffic is inevitable, but I’m listening to some great music. My mind is free to imagine, as long as the other drivers around me are careful too. Finally, I make it home. Homework is waiting for my review. I make some corrections and help the kids understand the subject. Dinner is ready; thank God because I’m starving. Now it’s time to wish everyone goodnight. I didn’t have an hour to write, only half an hour. Still, it’s enough to type a scene for another chapter.

Another day begins. With some perseverance, I’ll keep the momentum going, and soon I’ll have the first draft of a manuscript, and if I’m lucky, a bestseller.

What is your writing routine? Any hobby or interest of yours, how do you find the time to fit that in between a busy schedule?


Writing, Therapy in Session a Touching Guest Post by Lisa Malabanan

Writing, Therapy in Session a Touching Guest Post by Lisa Malabanan.


A Diatonic Review of Lisa Malabanan’s Consonance

A Diatonic Review of Lisa Malabanan’s Consonance.


My Eyes Are Closed, a guest post by Lisa Malabanan

My Eyes Are Closed, a guest post by Lisa Malabanan.


Salsa, My Spice on Promoting

salsa sauce

I’m not talking about the sauce, although I love the hot and spicy kind. I am referring to Salsa music and dancing. If you’re familiar with Latin American music, then you’ve probably heard that “call-and-response” chorus of a song. The call-and-response pattern is common in music. Usually, there are different musicians who perform two distinct phrases, and the second phrase answers the first.

I chose to use Salsa as an example, because this particular music gets me dancing. My first novel, Consonance, has many references to songs and music terminology. In fact, one of the main influences in writing the story is my love for music.

The art of dancing is another way of expressing an appreciation for music. If you know how to Salsa dance, or have watched everyone dancing at the Latin clubs, it’s easy to see why this style of dance is exciting. Salsa is full of high energy, composed of foot patterns, leg work, timing, and body movements just to mention a few.

Marketing a book is not as fun as listening or dancing to Salsa in my opinion. Yet I wanted to incorporate the characteristics of Salsa music and dance to the idea of promoting. Simply phrased, I am calling for the audience to respond to a question, “What is Consonance about?” The only way to answer my call is to find out.

Let me kick it into high gear, and throw in some spice with a dance. I did my share of legwork by participating in a book blog tour. This required me to answer interview questions and write many guest posts on several tour hosts’ websites. It was tiring but exciting at the same time. The questions were all interesting, and the guest posts were a challenge.

Like the different styles of Salsa, they’re challenging to do. If one loves the art of dance, then he/she will perform to the best of his/her ability. The platforms of the various tour hosts entailed me to switch up the foot patterns and body movements, and write something worthwhile for their blog.

Similar to music, if a person loves the songs, that person will listen and sing their favorites. I’m hoping my interview answers and guest posts are well-received by the tour hosts and their followers. Maybe this will prompt readers to buy Consonance and hopefully, the book becomes a favorite. A girl can dream, and this is mine.

However, my book promotion doesn’t end when the tour finishes, which brings me back to the call-and-response question for Consonance. Look at the book blurb and excerpt. Learn why the rock group, Dia-Matic Keys, is intriguing to some readers. Discover or rediscover life from the tender age of eighteen. All the demands of school and a band, coupled with friendships and loved ones, impose a decision that can change everything for one unique college student.

Like the call-and-response chorus in music, sing with me. Similar to those common three steps or points of Salsa, dance with me. First, consider buying the book. Second, put your feet up and enjoy the story. Third, if you like the novel, spread the word. Word of mouth is a great form of promotion, and a wonderful compliment to an author.

Perhaps you’ll want to follow me throughout the Dia-Matic Keys series. Maybe reading this post is enough to stir your interest. Either way, I’ll appreciate any show of support, whether it’s telling me your favorite songs, or dance style, or if you also like eating Salsa: the spicy kind.

SalsaClipart

I want to thank Literary Quill Promotions for arranging the Consonance Book Blast Tour, and all the tour hosts for having me as a quest.


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