Superheroes, Eternal Odysseys, and Paranormal Sinners
I write paranormal romance. Creating worlds and unusual characters to populate them is great fun. My stories have included psychics and resurrected mummies, but soon there'll be elemental beings and fae as well, in my upcoming stories. But whatever tale I'm crafting, I rely one vital technique to fuel my writing—music.
Over the years, music has become an integral part of my writing routine, and certain songs evoke characters, emotions, and story elements for me. For my first published romance, Willpower (the first book in the Psychic Crossroads series), I created a special playlist of songs that embody the story for me. Now, I have three main playlists I switch between while writing—a general playlist of movie scores, an action-oriented selection of movie music, and a very special playlist for love scenes. You've got to achieve the right mood to compose those!
Movie scores provide mood and energy without the interference of lyrics. I have a broad range of orchestral scores from blockbusters and lesser-known films, as well as a few TV series. When I really need a boost to write a pivotal, epic scene, I load up the superhero movie scores. For these moments, nothing beats Thor: The Dark World by Brian Tyler or Captain America by Alan Silvestri. When it comes to paranormal spookiness, my absolute favorite is Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Jerry Goldsmith. The mix of synths and orchestra creates the best creepy outer space music ever written. I also love Fringe: Season 4 by Chris Tilton and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV series) by Chrisophe Beck. Buffy runs the gamut from action to lighthearted to somber, with a bit of romance, providing the perfect backdrop for almost any scene.
One score that's probably unknown to most people is the amazing music from Cutthroat Island, written by John Debney. The best pirate music ever!
Naturally, love scenes require a different sort of music more conducive to getting my characters to get it on. How can they feel sexy if I'm listening to The Mummy Returns? I mean, Rick and Evy share some sexy kisses in that movie, but the score is more about action and half-reborn mummies. So when I start a love scene, I turn on my special playlist. It includes an eclectic mix of songs:
· Delerium: "Awakening" and "Eternal Odyssey" in particular, from the albums Music Box Opera and Chimera, respectively.
· Emma Shapplin: "The Lovers" is awesome for couples with trust issues, but "La Notte Etterna" has an operatic, paranormal-y vibe; "The Lovers" is a single, and "La Notte Etterna is from the album Etterna.
· Emmy Rossum: "High," from the album Inside Out, for anticipation.
· Jewel: "2 Become 1," the version from the album 0304; a very romantic song.
· Kylie Minogue: Lots of her songs are great for love scenes, but my favorite is
"Sensitized," from the album X.
· Sarah Brightman: "You Take My Breath Away" and "Until the End of Time," both from the album Harem; epically romantic songs with an exotic flavor.
· Taylor Dayne: "Original Sin," from the soundtrack to the movie The Shadow; this may seem an odd choice for love scenes, but when your couple is paranormal, it fits!
If I had to choose one song to represent my new book, Intuition (the sequel to Willpower), it would be Rom Thomas's "All That I Am." For me, that song epitomizes Grace and David's relationship and their willingness to sacrifice anything for each other. Their story may end in Intuition, but the Psychic Crossroads series goes on.
These are just a few of the songs that inspire my stories. To see more of my music, check out my writing playlist on Pinterest.
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Jacobsville Books
Date of Publication: 6/15/2015
Number of pages: 270
Word Count: 106,000
Cover Artist: Lisa A. Shiel,
Five Rainbows Services
Book 2 in the multi-award-winning Psychic Crossroads series
Ultimate power comes at the ultimate price.
Torn apart by their haunted pasts, Grace Powell and her fiancé David Ransom are struggling to reclaim their passionate bond. She yearns for a normal life — one without danger and paranormal powers — but David can't renounce his obsession with hunting down rogue scientist Karl Tesler, who abducts and tortures psychics. David endured Tesler's tactics himself, but despite what Grace believes, he's not out for revenge.
Tesler covets her unprecedented abilities and her connection to a vast and mysterious source of psychic energy known as the Golden Power. He will stop at nothing to possess her, and David will do anything — even abandon and lie to her — to protect Grace from the mad scientist.
With a psychic stalker on her trail, Grace charges into a desperate mission to uncover the truth about David's obsession and his secret past. But Tesler's agents are closing in on her, and a terrifying new enemy is rising…
As events drive Grace and David toward a battle of epic proportions, they must risk everything — their relationship, their lives, and even their souls — to defeat an enemy who wields unspeakable psychic power. Can a bond borne of true love save them, and the world?
Grace Powell slammed the front door. The cool air inside the house flushed away the sultry October heat pasted to her skin. She stalked across the living room, down the hall, and into the bedroom. She fumbled for the light switch, her fingers slipping off the plastic. Dammit. No one but David Ransom detonated her temper like this. She flicked the switch, and light flooded the room. The bed stood empty, the sheets crumpled at the foot.
They'd fled the house in a near-panic, racing from their home to the Cincinnati airport with tires screeching, all because of a thirty-second phone call David received at one a.m. Another tip from a questionable source. Another threadbare clue in his quest for vengeance. Another search that yanked him away from Grace. Away from their home, their life.
The emptiness of the bed tore at her heart like tiny claws. Sharp. Hot. Fresh tears pricked her eyes, and she gnawed her lip to stave off the downpour. No crying.
She fingered her engagement ring. A tear sneaked out of her eye to roll down her cheek, painting a hot trail on her skin. No crying, dammit.
She resisted the impulse to tap into their telepathic bond and check on her fiancé. It was an invasion, one she understood all too well, but how else could she know David was all right? She had to trust their latent connection, however faint, to warn her. If he stumbled into trouble, though, what could she do from here, over a thousand miles away?
Her heart clenched. Losing her parents ripped her world asunder. She could not lose David too. Her head told her she wouldn't, yet the fear chilled her down to the essence of her being.
She trudged into the bedroom, kicking off her shoes. The lonely tear crept into her mouth, infecting her tongue with a salty tang. She tugged the cell phone out of her jeans pocket and tossed it onto the bedside table. Her muscles, stiff and sore, begged for a rest. She collapsed onto the mattress on her back. Her gaze hit the ceiling, where little acoustic balls clung to the paint, stuck there against their will. I know the feeling.
When they'd reached the security checkpoint at the airport, she'd longed to plead with David to stay. Instead, she cranked her lips into a smile, pecked a kiss on his cheek, and all but shoved him through the gate. Her stomach wrenched into knots recalling that moment, as he strolled into the main terminal. When he paused to glance back, she prayed he would change his mind. But he simply waved, then strode out of sight.
Grace rolled onto her side. Her nose bumped into David's pillow. She drew in a long breath. The spiciness of his aftershave flooded her senses, along with another scent—a subtle, masculine smell unique to David. Indescribable. Delicious. Warmth suffused her, seeping into her heart and mind, smoldering in parts of her that ached for him. She inhaled another draft of his scent, her body responding as if he were there, caressing her. He may drive her nuts at times, but…
Oh, the way he kissed. Her lips tingled from the memory of it.
A chill whispered over her skin. Every hair on her body stiffened. Her sixth sense burst out of its slumber, clanging alarm bells in her psyche. Someone is here.
She bolted upright and whipped her head left and right. Nobody there. She swung her legs off the bed and pushed up onto her feet, nabbing her .357 Magnum revolver from the bedside table. A chill trickled down her spine. Eyes watched. Invisible, ethereal, but real. She turned toward the doorway. Nothing lurked there.
Why couldn't she pin down the source of the sensation? Her paranormal radar was blanked out, as if overwhelmed by input.
Psychic energy crackled through her. Behind you. She whirled around, thrusting the gun up, clamped in both hands, and confronted—
Hell. She'd let her unease blossom into paranoia. Nobody hunted her anymore. Probably. Tesler wouldn't find her here.
Her cell phone buzzed. A text message had arrived.
David. She snatched up the phone, tapping the screen until the message popped up. As she scanned the words, a shiver rattled through her.
"Come to me," it said, "I can help you. 1325 Meroz Road."
She didn't recognize the phone number the message came from, and no name was given. Oh sure, she'd rush right out to the address texted to her by an anonymous whackjob.
The phone buzzed again. Another text message: "Your lip is bleeding."
Her lip? She dabbed a finger on her mouth. It came away wet. Blood stained her skin. How did the texter know she bit her lip? Her heart pounded. Without moving, she searched the shadows for a figure, a camera, something to explain this, though she knew she'd find nothing. A thick curtain shielded the window. The person sending the messages could either see through solid objects or had another means of viewing her. Extrasensory means.
The phone tumbled from her hand, clattering on the floor.
No, she was jumping to conclusions. An intruder must've stolen into the house. With the revolver in hand, she sprinted out of the bedroom, down the hallway, through the kitchen, and into the living room. Vacant. All vacant. She rushed back to the bedroom and dug through the closet, scoured the dresser, even dropped onto her belly to investigate the space under the bed. No cameras. No stealthy intruders. Not a damn thing. Which left her with one unthinkable possibility.
Maybe she should call the police.
What for? They couldn't help her with this kind of problem.
"You belong with me."
She jumped. Her head smacked into the bed frame. She clutched the gun tighter. Where had the voice come from?
No, no, no, not again. Nausea swelled in her stomach, bile rising high in her throat. The voice did not originate in this room, or from outside. The source was much, much closer. Someone rammed the words into her mind.
A psychic intruder just hacked her brain.
About the Author:
Anna Durand is a multi-award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in sexy romances, both paranormal and contemporary, featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.