Guest Blog: Shannon Delany

Music, Muse and Mayhem

A writer’s life is seldom dull unless the writer tries to make it dull. For an open mind and an adventurous spirit the world is full of things to explore and diversions to keep your attention split from fascinating opportunity to fascinating opportunity. Having recently completed my debut series of five YA paranormal novels, something’s always going on.

It’s mayhem. And, in its own way, it’s absolutely marvelous.

Recently I’ve spent some time interacting with musicians and my world has been enriched by hanging out with the band Autumn Fire. They’re a relatively young original rock band from the Utica, NY area just readying to launch their second album. I may be an award-winning author, but they’re very talented in ways I’ll never be; I have a huge appreciation for music but no discernible skill of my own and Autumn Fire’s the whole package with strong lyrics, powerful vocals, great guitars and terrific drums. Getting to see them live is awesome and inspiring. I leave concerts with a grin and a fierce need to write.

My Muse loooves her music.

And that music definitely influences my writing. Each of my main characters gets a playlist of his or her own. Certain scenes or types of scenes (like fight scenes or sexy-times scenes) get playlists that are specific to them. These playlists don’t have to be long (Maximilian Rusakova’s has five songs that loop because Max is a pretty simple, straightforward guy). In those moments in the morning before the writing begins I load up a CD or fire up iTunes and I soak up the soul of music, letting it sink into my bones.

Then, most days, I shut off the music, open my manuscript file and let my Muse channel my characters while still riding on the amazing tide that only musicians seem capable of mastering. Although Autumn Fire only plays so many gigs (and I’ve developed a bit of an aversion to driving in bad weather which hampers my attendance) I still have a bit of them (and any other band my Muse is obsessing over) because of owning their CD.

In the midst of the mayhem of my life, music has become something I depend on. If you are an aspiring author I suggest that you delve into music—listen as widely as you read broadly. Try a little of it all like you’re indulging in an alphabetical buffet of musical talent.

Why alphabetical? Because I personally would love you to start with A. For Autumn Fire.

Feed your Muse with music and you’ll be amazed at the worlds and characters that emerge because your mind has opened differently for a while!

Shannon Delany
Author of the 13 to Life series by St. Martin’s Press: 13 to Life, Secrets and Shadows, Bargains and Betrayals, Destiny and Deception (Feb. 2012) and Rivals and Retributions (Aug. 2012); as well as being author of “To Hel and Back” in the Spirited anthology (Leap Books, 2011).



Autumn Fire has been together for 2 years now…3 if you count while the band was together without a singer.The band consists of 2 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a singer. Autumn Fire has played in Syracuse,Utica, Albany, Rochester, Herkimer, and still expanding. With one album out entitled “Endless”, they have recently played and won the MONSTER ENERGY DRINK BATTLE OF THE BANDS in Syracuse Ny, at the Westcott Theater. Autumn Fire is currently working on album number two!

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Check out Shannon’s 13 to Life Series!!!!

Synopsis: A Bonus 13 to Life Prequel Story.

Meet Jessie Gillmansen as she realizes that things might not be what they seem in the town of Junction.

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Synopsis: Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing.  Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town.  It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…

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Synopsis: Nothing’s simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she’s seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she’s suspected. With Jess’s realization that the Rusakovas’ mother is still alive and imprisoned, the group’s choices become harder and trust more important. Lines are drawn and relationships change as the broken Rusakova family struggles to reunite long enough to free their mother and people who Jess always just took to be normal people show themselves to be much, much more.

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Synopsis: Locked away at Pecan Place, Jessie finds her situation to be even more dangerous than she feared. While she struggles to maintain her sanity and discover answers about the group that seems less and less like any legitimate government agency, Pietr fights to keep their relationship alive. But very aware that his mother’s time is running out, Pietr makes a deal he doesn’t dare tell Jessie about. Because the deal Pietr’s made could mean the death of far more than his tenuous relationship with the girl he loves.

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Misty graduated from Capital University in 2005 with a degree in English Literature. She is an avid reader and is the owner of The Top Shelf

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