Monday, September 22, 2014

The journey.... it's been a bumpy one.

Two years ago, when I sat down to write Izzy's story, I had no idea it would lead me here.  To this place where I have found who I really want to be, what I want to do.......  In a way, if Izzy hadn't shown up to drive me completely insane and pressured me to write her story, I never would've found that thing that completely fulfilled me.

Don't get me wrong, up until that point my life was miraculous.  I met and married the most amazing man on the planet... no really... he is seriously the most awesome person in the universe.  He takes me on grand adventures, helps hold me up when I am down, and is the very definition of what unconditional love should be.  And then there is our daughter, the Squish, who brightens my days with her voracious imagination and uncontainable energy.  My life was brilliant..... but I was missing something, something that I could call solely my own. 

Izzy fixed that.  She gave me an outlet for my creativity, a place to put all of my unspoken emotions, and a journey unlike any other.  In the course of writing this series I've found out a lot about the kind of person I want to be.  Izzy.  Plain and simple, she is brave, selfless, and loves without reservation. 

So this, this long and wordy post, is my thank you letter to her. 

Izzy, you showed up in my head and wouldn't go away until I told your story.  You put me through the ringer, made me drown in sorrow and soar on the greatest heights of happiness.  You were made flesh in my mind and I will always, ALWAYS remember that you were where it all started.  You gave me something that I never knew I wanted.  Now that it is time to say goodbye, to move on to other worlds and other characters......  I just wanted to take a moment and reflect. 

The past two years I've accomplished more than I thought possible.  I've met incredible writers, and found a community of supportive men and women unlike any other.  Through signings, facebook, and pretty much any social avenue, I've had the chance to meet incredible readers.  People that have fallen as much in love with Izzy as I have.  The letters I've received and countless messages telling me how much people love this series keeps me going.  When I sit down to write, I do it because I can't rest until the story is out in the world.  I do it for me, first and foremost, but I've found that sharing these stories with the world, with readers, is the cherry on top of an already awesome sundae.  Having people relate to Izzy, and fall in love with her journey, it motivates me to keep going!  I set out to sell 100 books when I hit publish.... I never in a million years thought it would lead to here.  So anything from this point on is just a really awesome bonus to an already fulfilling venture!

This journey, this incredible experience, is just beginning and I will never, EVER, forget that it is all because of you, Izzy. 

Thank you for reminding me to be brave.

Thank you for helping me to face my own demons and come out stronger.

Most of all, thank you for being so insistent.  You were just the nudge I needed.

I will miss you Izzy Boone....

Michelle Graves

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The end is coming and here is the music to get you through!

As The Chronicles of Izzy comes to an end, I'm feeling terribly nostalgic!  So, I am going to do a series of blog posts leading up to the release of Awakens that looks back on the journey this series has taken me on!  I feel like this will give me a little closure as I say goodbye to the characters I've loved so much! 

Today, it is all about the music behind the series!  I have tons of music that I downloaded just to inspire the series.  Y'all may have seen a post here or there about the music I've listened to while writing, but what you may not know is that each character has their own playlist.  The minute these songs play, my mind is drawn to a specific person and event.... so without further ado, I give you the music that made the characters!

Let's start with Izzy, shall we.  Our plucky heroine that is thrust into the deep end and struggles to keep her head above water for the remainder of the series.  I've put her through hell and she came out stronger for it.   So here they are, songs of Izzy!

1. Ashes by the Bengsons
2. Seven Devils by Florence and the Machine
3. Arms by Christina Perri
4. Comes and Goes (In Waves) by Greg Laswell
5. Medicine by Daughter
6. 9 Crimes by Damien Rice
7. Last Year's War by Sarah Slean
8. Come by Fire by Sara Jackson-Holman
9.  War Sweater by Wakey!Wakey!
10. The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol
11. Black/White by Wendy McNeill
12.  Words in Your Eyes by Brooke Annibale
13. Swelling by Sarah Jaffe
14. The Other Side by Woodkid
15.  Battle Cry by Imagine Dragons
16.  Fuel to Fire by Agnes Obel
17. Bogeyman by Johnny Hollow
18.  Feral Love by Chelsea Wolfe
19. The Devil Within by Digital Daggers
 20. Dark Paradise by Lana del Rey

Now let's jump on over to Kennan.  Surprisingly, or rather not so surprisingly, most of the songs for Izzy were also for him.... so he doesn't have too many that are all his own.  Poor Kennan :(.

1. Wave by Beck
2.  The Sun by The Naked and The Famous
3. Almost Lover by Jasmine Thompson
4. Do What You Have To Do by Sarah McLachlan
5. To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra
6. New Tricks by The Great Northern
7. Semi Automatic by The Boxer Rebellion
8. Dark Paradise by Lana del Rey <---- The Kennan and Izzy song.  :(

So, the last character I want to talk about is Aberto.  The man that showed up and changed everything I thought would happen in Izzy's story.  I know that most of you have very strong opinions about him... you either love him or hate him.... as for me.  Well, I love him.  He was what Izzy needed him to be at every point of her journey and well, he is just made of amazing.  Aberto stole my heart! There are a lot of songs that settle in my chest like a heavy but welcome weight and each and every last one of them leads straight back to Aberto. 

1. Stranger by Katie Costello <-----  Seriously, this should just be renamed Aberto's song.
2. Ghost in the Machine by The Fire and The Sea
3. Feel Me by Mecca Kalani
4. Stupid by Sarah McLachlan
5. Battle Cry by Imagine Dragons <----- this should be Izzy and Aberto's song.  ROFL!
6. Draw Your Swords by Angus and Julia Stone
7. Keep Me High by Adaline
8. Houses by Great Northern
9. Heavy in Your Arms by Florence + the Machine
10. The Leaving Song by Chris Garneau

And there you have it.... lots of songs to immediately rush out and add to your playlists....  Let me know what you think!  Do any of the songs resonate with you?  Are there any songs that you've heard that made you think of series?

Until next time!

Michelle Graves