Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#BoTB Results: Band Aid vs USA for Africa

So sorry to be late with the results, everyone. It's been crazy days.

I'm still processing this result. Honestly, I expected USA for Africa to win by a landslide. But I'm (very, very) pleased to announce that IT DIDN'T HAPPEN:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#BoTB: The Christmas Special

If you grew up in the 80's, chances are you already have a favorite in this Battle of the Bands.

First up: 25 November 1984, Bob Geldof's Band Aid records Do They Know It's Christmas to raise funds for Ethiopia. (WARNING: tough, tough images.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#BoTB Results: ZZ Top vs Paul Rodgers on 'I Thank You'

Wow. I was really really not expecting this. Okay, let me start by saying I'd never heard of Paul Rodgers. And, also, I love ZZ Top. Not all their stuff—I don't even know all their stuff—but... well, enough of their songs have a place on my Anthem List. And my Feel-Good List. So... yeah, I thought this would be a shut-out.

Surprise, surprise...

ZZ Top: 11 

Paul Rodgers: 10

Elliptical Man

Yeah. Wow.

The other thing I thought was that my vote would go to ZZ Top. I love their rendition of I Thank You. Love, love, LOVE it. It makes me dance every time. It makes me happy.

But, like I said, I hadn't listened to the Paul Rodgers version. And, like I heard from many of the comments y'all left here, it blew me away.

So... My vote goes to Paul. Which makes this battle a tie. After all the see-sawing (one vote for ZZ, one vote for Paul, one vote for ZZ, two votes for Paul, two more for ZZ...), maybe this is the fairest of all possible results. But I sure hate the responsibility of making that happen. The only thing I'd have hated more would've been to be the one to break the tie. So thanks for not letting that happen :)

See y'all on the 15th! (And apologies for the late posting... Not sure what happened to yesterday. One minute it was Monday and then... it wasn't.)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Elevate Your Pitch!

Now that November is over, it's time to start editing the hell out of that NaNo manuscript. Getting rid of all the plot bunnies, the useless (yes, even if fun) tangents, the darlings and the indulgently purple prose.

And nothing helps focus on—even discover—the core of your novel like a cut-'em-to-the-bone pitch. Which is why Samantha Redstreake Geary, spectacular author and freelance writer for the music industry, has opened the Elevate Your Pitch competition.

Got a novel? Whether it's this year's NaNo project or something you've been working for longer than 30 days (and nights), you probably know that it's going to get nowhere without a brilliant elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch?
The way writers convey the promise of what reading their book will deliver on.
(paraphrased from Chuck Sambuchino @ WD)

He follows that with a tidbit of magic to illustrate:

"An unforgettable novel about finding a piece of yourself in someone else."
~ And The Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini

Think of the pitch as the teaser trailer to your book. You have 20 seconds to hook a potential reader; how will you do it?

The best part: for this contest, you get to do it with music (like the pros!). Sam's providing all tracks of the Elevation album on the contest page—and if these awesome pieces don't inspire you to take your pitch to the next level, nothing will.

So go for it. Take a listen to the Elevation tracks, choose one that feels right for your manuscript, polish that pitch (max 3 sentences!), and submit via the comments form. Remember to mention which of the tracks you chose, so the judges can listen to it while reading.

Speaking of judges, I'm one of them—and I'm in excellent company, with author Amy Willoughby-Burle and Really Slow Motion director Agus González-Lancharro. Contest is open from now until January 8th, and prizes include:

— For the top three favorite pitches, digital copies of the Elevation album and of The Miracle of Small Things
One lucky overall winner will receive a gratis license to one of the Elevation tracks for use in a book trailer, and a signed paperback of The Miracle of Small Things

Sound cool? Sign up here! (And check the contest site for guidelines.)

If, for whatever reason, you're not ready to participate, you might still want to follow along; several guests and judges will be providing pitch-rocking tips while the competition runs. (And Sam's blog is totally worth following anyway, for content and visuals. And music.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#BoTB: I Thank You (1979 vs 2014)

I'm still working through the whole gratitude thing...

The original belongs to Sam & Dave, American tenor and baritone (respectively) duo popular in the late 60's. I Thank You is from 1968, year that marked the beginning of the decline that ended with their split in1970.

ZZ Top covered it in 1979, to incredible success in spite of the change in genre. Show us how it's done, ZZ:

Bonus: this version comes with the lyrics.

And then, just last year, Paul Rodgers included it in his album The Royal Sessions, ten covers of soul, R&B, and blues (some good ones for future battles, y'all). Paul was named one of the top 100 singers by Rolling Stone (No. 55, to be exact), so I'm hoping he can give ZZ Top a good run for their money. Plus, Paul's version takes the song back to its soul roots...

Or this version, if the other one doesn't play (thanks for letting me know, Dixie!)

There you have it, folks. Who did it better? Who sucks less? Which of these would be more likely to find their way to your iPod? Which wouldn't you be caught dead listening to? Come back next Monday (7th) to check how the votes played out.

Thanks so much for the visit, all. Seriously.

You didn't have to love me like you did
but you did, but you did
and I thank you...

Enjoyed this? Go check out the other BoTB participants... Some epic battles being fought today. And thanks, as always, to FAE and Stephen for keeping the BoTB going.

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