Authors always talk about how music influences their writing, and some authors even create soundtracks that they write to. Four authors, Quinn Loftis, Amanda Havard, Amy Bartol, and Chelsea Fine took it one step further by creating original music to go with their books.


The UtopYA 2013 Convention took place at the end of June in Nashville, TN. For the UtopYA Awards ceremony, Amanda Havard worked alongside three other young adult authors to write a song for each one of their books, including her own. These songs were performed at the Awards Ceremony at UtopYA by Amanda Havard and Erica Erwin.

There was such a response from the attendees, asking if they could get a copy of the songs that the four authors decided they would get them recorded and available for their readers. Now, we have the finished product and they are available for download, as well as videos to go along with them, up on YouTube.

Along with the music videos to check out we also have interviews with the four authors and a really cool giveaway.

Describe your book in 5 words
Quinn Loftis: Romance, action, werewolves, best friends, victory.
Amy A. Bartol: Wicked, damn, sexy, angel, love.
Amanda Havard: Supernatural, dark, demented, adventurous, addictive.
Chelsea Fine: Fountain of Youth. Forbidden love.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
Quinn Loftis: First.

Amy A. Bartol: For me, the hardest line to write is the first line. It sets the tone of the entire book.  It’s the hook.  You should know if you want to read the story after you read the first sentence, so…no pressure.  I feel like the end always takes care of itself.

Amanda Havard: I’m sure it depends on the book, but I planned the opening sentence of each of the Survivors books in advance, so I guess the last lines are the ones that have taken a bit more effort to select.

Chelsea Fine: The first line! I’m always really nervous and careful about my opening lines.

What about music inspires you to write or what about writing inspires creating music?
Quinn Loftis: Music creates emotions, strong emotions and I’m able to use that emotion and put it into a scene.

Amy A. Bartol: Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.”  If that is true, then to me, music is the razor blade. When I listen to music while I write, I find different worlds between the notes. Each song has a new tale that builds like floodwater. It helps me to abandon the logical part of my mind for a more creative, visceral one.

Amanda Havard: Music is a particularly emotionally-charged form of storytelling, and so it’s a natural pairing to other forms of storytelling. I love that the right song is a soundscape; it’s the soundtrack to the movie scene going in my head when I write, and so it helps me set the tone, get the mood, imagine the faint but important details, and really situate characters in the moment. And when I write music for books, it works in reverse. I’m harnessing the scene and channeling it back into sounds. The whole thing is a cyclical kind of creative magic for me.

Chelsea Fine: When I listen to music, I can “see” my story playing out — kind of like a music video — and it makes my characters and setting come to life in my mind.

Best writing tip you’ve ever received?
Quinn Loftis: Write every scene so that when it ends the reader is thinking I have to know what’s going to happen next, the entire book should be written so that the reader is constantly saying this.

Amy A. Bartol: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. –Oscar Wilde.  (He didn’t actually tell me that personally, I sort of read into it.)  *wink*

Amanda Havard: Write the story you know you must. (A close second, an ever-important truth: Every debut writer makes the same point three times. Find the one way to say it best, and cut the others.)

Chelsea Fine: Write your heart out and be fearless! Both are hard to do, but incredibly important to my storytelling. I write what I feel, and then I have to trust myself enough to let other people read it — eeek! But it’s SO worth it!

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
Quinn Loftis: Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout, because it’s an extremely unique and intriguing idea and a wonderful escape with great characters.

Amy A. Bartol: I wish I had the novel I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak when I was a teenager. The story is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey. Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, is funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric. It reads like you can step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, and see what he is seeing. In short, it’s amazing. There is a message at the end of the story that when I read it, struck me as if it had been written just for me. It says: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

After reading it, I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of. If I had read that novel when I was a teenager, maybe I would’ve started writing earlier.

Amanda Havard: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I doubt anyone marketed that as YA as it’s adult literary fiction, but it’s about a high school girl whose experiences were similar to my own at that age, and when her character was being an idiot, I probably could have used reading about it to realize I was being the same kind of idiot. I read it as an adult, and even then it still hit close to home. I wonder if I wouldn’t have figured out more about myself sooner if I’d had such an honest reflection in text. (Sittenfeld is my favorite author, by the way. If you haven’t read her, then you must. Every now and again, we all ought to reach our hands into the waters of literary fiction and see things through a different lens than we typically do.)

Chelsea Fine: Divergent by Veronica Roth. Growing up, I felt like Tris — like I belonged somewhere else, or could be awesome at something else, I just didn’t know what. When I read Divergent, I was like, “Yes, Tris! You don’t need to be Abnagation. You can be anything you want! Go for Dauntless!” I wish I had experienced that kind of bravery when I was a teenager. But I guess it’s never too late to become who you were meant to be… ;)

From Quinn Loftis’ PRINCE OF WOLVES
A Mate, A Match, A Mark
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/MateMatchMark
From Amy A. Bartol’s The Premonition Series
Darkness In the Light 
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/DarknessLight
From Chelsea Fine’s Archers of Avalon Series
Electricity
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/ElectricitySong
 
From Amanda Havard’s The Survivors: BODY & BLOOD
Human 
iTunes Download – http://bit.ly/HumanSong

GIVEAWAY
The giveaway includes 1 soundtrack and 1 signed copy of each book, to coincide with the soundtrack, and 1 ticket to UtopYA 2013 which Includes:
-3-day pass for Conference,
-fan admission to Public Book Signing event,
-general admission to Third Annual utopYA Awards & Afterparty,
-admission to Sunday Write-In.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are the 2017 Oscars winners and losers

8:25 pm EST, February 26, 2017

The 2017 Oscars took place Sunday night in Hollywood and found La La Land cleaning up with six wins. Here are the Academy Award winners!

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 2017 Oscars, which took place at the Dolby Theater. The event featured live performances of all five Oscar-nominated songs.

2017 Oscar winners list

Read full article

The 2017 Oscars took place Sunday night in Hollywood and found La La Land cleaning up with six wins. Here are the Academy Award winners!

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 2017 Oscars, which took place at the Dolby Theater. The event featured live performances of all five Oscar-nominated songs.

2017 Oscar winners list

Related: We asked our parents to describe the 2017 Oscar nominees

Below is a complete list of Oscar winner and losers.

2017 Oscar winner list

Note: The final winner of the night was originally announced to be La La Land, but the announcement was actually an error — Moonlight won Best Picture. Awkward.

Best Picture:
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land

Lion
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight

Best Actress:
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Actor:
Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Director:
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Arrival – Eric Heisserer
Fences – August Wilson
Hidden Figures – Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Lion – Luke Davies
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins

Best Original Screenplay:
20th Century Women – Mike Mills
Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
La La Land – Damien Chazelle
The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Manchester By the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Original Song:
“Audition” – La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
“City of Stars” – La La Land
“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

Best Score:
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Best Cinematography:
Bradford Young – Arrival
Linus Sandgren – La La Land
Grieg Fraser – Lion
James Laxton – Moonlight
Rodrigo Prieto – Silence

Best Live Action Short Film
Timecode
Sing
Silent Nights
Ennemis Interieurs
La Femme et le TGV

Best Documentary, Short Subject:
4.1 Miles
Extremis
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Best Editing:
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Best Visual Effects:
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Production Design:
Arrival
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Animated Feature:
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Best Animated Short:
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

Best Foreign Language Film:
Land of Mine, Denmark
The Salesman, Iran
A Man Called Ove, Sweden
Tanna, Australia
Toni Erdmann, Germany

Best Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester By the Sea

Best Sound Mixing:
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours

Best Sound Editing:
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Best Documentary Feature:
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

Best Costume Design:
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad
A Man Called Ove

Best Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Tags: 2017 Oscars

Lightning McQueen’s biggest enemy is himself in the new Cars 3 trailer.

The second major preview premiered during the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon, where voice actor Owen Wilson served as grand marshal.

The new Cars 3 trailer finds Lightning pushing himself to compete with high tech cars that are engineered to win. The character suffers a serious accident during a race and finds himself back at square one, having to work himself back up to what he once was.

Read full article

Lightning McQueen’s biggest enemy is himself in the new Cars 3 trailer.

The second major preview premiered during the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon, where voice actor Owen Wilson served as grand marshal.

The new Cars 3 trailer finds Lightning pushing himself to compete with high tech cars that are engineered to win. The character suffers a serious accident during a race and finds himself back at square one, having to work himself back up to what he once was.

While Cars 3’s main setting is unclear, we do see Lightning at least briefly returning to Radiator Springs (Gotta keep Cars Land at Disneyland relevant)!. This appears to be the I-need-to-rediscover-myself-by-remembering-my-origins scene.

Cars 3 looks dramatic, emotional, and possibly targeting kids and adults? We’ll race into theaters for this installment when Pixar’s latest opens this summer.

A synopsis from Pixar reads: “Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!”

Tags: cars 3

We asked our parents to describe the 2017 Oscar nominees

It's because we love them that we use them for our amusement.

10:30 am EST, February 26, 2017

When your friends and family don’t know about the films of the 2017 Oscars, you just have to take advantage of their ignorance and laugh.

The title of a movie (usually) makes obvious sense when you know what that movie is about. But titles can be so vague, and when you have no prior knowledge of the movie, the plot isn’t typically easy to decipher. How fun would it be then, to ask our friends and family to guess the plots of the nominees for the 2017 Oscars?

The task was simple for us. We gave our friends and family a movie title from the 2017 Oscars, and asked them to guess what the movie is about. It’s not, however, such a simple task for them. They weren’t allowed to look it up. No cheating allowed! As you can imagine, we got some interesting responses.

Read full article

When your friends and family don’t know about the films of the 2017 Oscars, you just have to take advantage of their ignorance and laugh.

The title of a movie (usually) makes obvious sense when you know what that movie is about. But titles can be so vague, and when you have no prior knowledge of the movie, the plot isn’t typically easy to decipher. How fun would it be then, to ask our friends and family to guess the plots of the nominees for the 2017 Oscars?

The task was simple for us. We gave our friends and family a movie title from the 2017 Oscars, and asked them to guess what the movie is about. It’s not, however, such a simple task for them. They weren’t allowed to look it up. No cheating allowed! As you can imagine, we got some interesting responses.

Be sure to check out the ridiculous responses we got for the 2016 Oscars too!

Time to let her rip tater chip.

‘Lion’

Our participants start out on a high note. Well, they at least know who’s in the movie.

‘Arrival’

Success continues with Arrival, as they have the vague idea it’s about space aliens (although it’s possible one of them is confused with Passengers).

‘Fences’

There was a common general premise our friends and family had of Fences.

‘Moonlight’

They did well with Moonlight…until they didn’t.

‘La La Land’

Maybe La La Land will be better! Everyone knows La La Land! Right…?

‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Oh no, we’re starting to lose them!

‘Hidden Figures’

No lie though, I’d watch that.

‘Captain Fantastic’

We’ve officially lost them.

‘Hell or High Water’

Could these plots be any more varied?

‘Nocturnal Animals’

It might have been a good idea for Nocturnal Animals to change its name.

‘Silence’

They’re really losing it now. They’ve had enough!

‘Manchester by the Sea’

Someone needs to turn these ideas into full screenplays, they are gold.

‘The Lobster’

What did they expect people would think when they named it The Lobster?

Thanks to Ariella, Brandi, Donya, Karen, Kendra, Kyle, Matthew, Pamela, Selina, and the friends and family they may or may not have annoyed all week.

Which 2017 Oscars movie do you think has the most misleading title?