Gleam Upon the Soundtrack

In the past, I’ve released my book playlists before the launch of the book. These tend to be inspiration playlists, not the music I find myself writing to. (If you’re interested in a “writing playlist,” let me know in the comments! I’d be happy to assemble something. There’s very much a “type” of music I listen to when writing a Bell Forging Cycle book.) Since Gleam Upon the Waves has been out for a little over a week, I thought I’d go a step further and not only share the playlist but give a few details, why I chose particular songs, and how I felt they reflected (and inspired) aspects of the story.

First, the playlist! Jam out, roaders.

Not a Spotify fan? The playlist is also over on YouTube.

⚠️ SPOILER WARNING⚠️

The following details will contain Gleam Upon the Waves spoilers. So, if you’re still reading, I’d recommend avoiding the rest of this post until after you finished the book. For the rest of you, let’s head deeper into the playlist.

Continue reading → Gleam Upon the Soundtrack

DEAD DROP Live now on YouTube

I’ve shared a recording of last week’s DEAD DROP Live on YouTube. (And it’s embedded below.) The fun starts at the 11:00 mark (otherwise, it’s just a chill “stream starting soon” countdown). This was my first attempt at streaming, and while I think it went rather well, I’ve already made some adjustments for the next stream to make it easier to watch after the fact. Next week I’m planning on giving a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into creating an Old Haunt. So come join me and watch live on my Twitch channel next Tuesday, from 6–7 PM PDT. Should be a good time.

I hope you enjoy the reading and the Q&A session. If you haven’t nabbed your copy of Gleam Upon the Waves you can do so via any of the links below. Signed-books are coming soon. (I’ll post when they arrive.)

Buy the paperback:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – IndieBound

Buy the eBook:

Kindle – Kobo – Nook – Apple Books – GooglePlay
Watching History

Watching History

When I was a kid, I adored The History Channel (now rebranded as just History.) I could (and did) spend hours watching various documentaries on a whole smattering of historical times and events. But as time went on, things changed. Reality television rose in prominence and infected every channel. Scripted shows became more commonplace even on specialty stations. And while Vikings is fantastic, many of the time slots once devoted to actual history are now focused on conspiracy theory or propping up stereotypes. The beloved channel from my childhood has lost most of its luster.

Lately, I’ve discovered several sources that have filled the void left behind from The History Channel’s slow demise. In particular, a pair of unrelated YouTube channels that have rekindled some of that excitement I felt when watching history documentaries the mid-90s. I’ve been enjoying them a lot, and I’d love to share them with you as well.


🗝 Townsends

Townsends is a great many things. It’s primarily a cooking channel hosted by Jon Townsend focusing on 18th-century cooking using period appropriate methods, ingredients, and tools. But quite often it goes far beyond food and serves as an exploration into the daily life of the people who lived in early North America.

With over ten years of videos there a lot here and it’s all fantastic. Jon is a wonderful and engaging host who clearly cares about the subject matter. I’ve including a few of my favorite videos below, but I highly recommend subscribing to the channel and joining Jon as he “savors the flavors and aromas of the 18th century.” (Hope you like nutmeg.)


Food. As I said, Townsends is primarily a cooking channel and for a good reason. Eating is a constant in human life and an easy connection for writers to make when it comes to connecting a reader to a world. It’s fascinating to see the small nuances between 18th-century cooking and modern day.


Beyond the food, Townsends explores living in the colonies. There are videos about camping, marching, scurvy, map making, and eyeglasses… and there are series like this one about how canoes were made.


Ship’s biscuit or hard tack crops up all the time in history, but what is it exactly? How was it prepared? And, most importantly, how was it eaten? Thankfully the good folks at Townsends decided to answer those questions for us in this handy video.


Want More Townsends?

If you liked Townsends’ YouTube channel be sure to subscribe they’re always producing new content, and it’s the best way to be alerted anytime they release a new video.  Be sure to check out all the goods they offer on their website, follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.



⚔️ Modern History TV

Businessman Jason Kingsley is one of the co-founders of Rebellion Developments, by day he makes videos games by night he is a historical reenactor who focuses on the medieval knight. (It also helps that he was actually knighted and holds an OBE title.) Along the way, he creates some fantastic videos that go into the details of everyday life for a knight with a focus on historical accuracy. He’s a great presenter, and the videos are full of heart and well worth your time. Here are a few of my favorites, starting (unsurprisingly) with food…

So yeah, I am including a lot of food-related videos, and for a good reason. As I mentioned above, food and our connection to it is one of the constant experiences in human lives. I think it’s vital for storytellers and world builders as well, after all… “what did they eat?”


The accurate medieval wardrobe is often ignored by movies and video games, focusing instead on our modern sensibilities and often ignoring reality. Jason’s dedication to exploring the truth is a refreshing change—if you liked this be sure to check out Jason’s video where he debunks the sword on the back.


Like clothing, armor is often overlooked. Many people don’t understand the time and effort it takes to equip a knight, and they rarely portray it accurately. In this episode, Jason walks through the effort required and how varied duties used different armors.


Want More Modern History TV?

As always subscribing to a channel is the best way to stay connected, but be sure to visit Modern History TV’s website where you can find out more about the project. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook where they share more content about medieval life.


💭 What about you?

Is there a show or channel or blog you like that harkens back to the classic era of The History Channel. The sort of content that you walk away from feeling informed and inspired and itching for more knowledge? Let us know about it by either leaving a comment below or sending me an email. I’d love to find more sources like these.

Watching History


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

It's a blabber egg!

Speakin’ Gibberish

I’m a sucker for language experiments. So when I read this little article in the New York Times called “How to Speak Gibberish,” I had to seek out the video mentioned. You can watch it below.

In it, Sara Forsberg experiments with the phonetics of languages. By doing so, she manages to replicate the sound fairly accurately, at least to my ear. It’s a fascinating experiment, and I can see why it drew so much attention and why Forsberg was tapped to create a conlang for The Force Awakens.

Since posting this four years ago, Forsberg has gone on to a musical career under the name Saara. She still posts regularly on YouTube, and you can follow her over on Instagram. There’s also a follow-up video with some quick Q&A.


P.S. I’m not sorry for that weird egg in the featured image.

Revisiting the Bell Forging Cycle Playlists

Revisiting the Bell Forging Cycle Playlists

My taste in music is… uh, eclectic. It’s not uncommon for me to be listening to southern gothic country, switch to hip-hop, move to bluegrass, then pivot to classical. I like variety. Often, songs serve as an inspiration for a setting or a character, more often I’ll find a song that captures the mood I am trying to evoke in a difficult scene. Over the years, I’ve created and shared playlists of songs that have inspired the books in the Bell Forging Cycle. I’ve posted them below (with new album artwork!) for your listening pleasure.


The Tunes Were RightThe Tunes Were Right

See the full tracklist  →

Listen on Spotify →

Listen/Watch on YouTube →

 

 

 


Old Broken PlaylistOld Broken Playlist

See the full tracklist →

Listen on Spotify →

Listen/Watch on YouTube →

 

 

 


Red Litten TracksRed Litten Tracks

See the full tracklist →

Listen on Spotify →

Listen/Watch on YouTube →

 

 

 


As I’ve begun preparations to write the fourth book (yep, it’s happening), I’ve been going back and listening to each playlist. It’s fascinating how each captures my emotional state while writing the individual novels. Introspection and discovery abound in The Tunes Were Right, there’s a root-inspired personal darkness that’s explored in the Old Broken Playlist, and the songs in Red Litten Tracks carry a frenetic punk-like energy that nails the dread that hangs over Wal. Of course, all of three have an undercurrent of jazz that runs like an artery through the soul of the Bell Forging Cycle.

How does music inspire you in your creative pursuits? Do you enjoy listening to playlists from authors? Which of these three are your favorite? Leave a comment below and let me know!

When you're feelin' it.
Jimmy Pesto Jr. is feelin’ it.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Red Litten Tracks - Music that inspired Red Litten World

Red Litten Tracks

We’re now one week away from the release of Red Litten World, so I figured it’d be fun to share a playlist of songs that inspired me during the writing of the book. If you’re a longtime reader you’ll know I have done this before with the other books in The Bell Forging Cycle. Personally, I always find it fun to see what music influences a writer. So I enjoy sharing these with everyone. You can listen to Red Litten Tracks using the embedded Spotify player, or visiting any of the links below.

Spotify | Rdio | YouTube

Aaaand… here’s the playlist. As with previous playlists, you can click on any of the names below to read about the band on Wikipedia. If you want to listen to the song, the song title links to videos on YouTube.

  1. Man ManLoot My Body
  2. Sleater-KinneyNo Cities To Love
  3. Echo & the BunnymenThe Killing Moon
  4. PixiesSilver
  5. Louis ArmstrongWest End Blues
  6. Dark Dark DarkDaydreaming
  7. Iggy and the StoogesGimme Danger
  8. Coleman HawkinsBody and Soul
  9. WintersleepOblivion
  10. WolfmotherNew Moon Rising
  11. The Temper TrapSoldier On
  12. Crooked StillAin’t No Grave
  13. Jack WhiteThat Black Bat Licorice
  14. Soko — We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow
  15. Bang Camaro — Out On The Streets
  16. The Cramps — What’s Behind the Mask
  17. Marvin Gaye — Inner City Blues
  18. Dave Brubeck — Unsquare Dance
  19. The National — This is the Last Time
  20. Phantogram — Black Out Days
  21. Polk Miller — Old Time Religion
  22. Jace Everett — No Place To Hide
  23. Run the Jewels — Blockbuster Night Part 1 (Explicit) 
  24. Kaiser Chiefs — I Predict A Riot
  25. Marty Robbins — Big Iron
  26. Snooks Eaglin — Saint James Infirmary
  27. Interpol — Evil
  28. The Bastard Fairies — The Earth Died Screaming
    (Note: This was a cover of a Tom Waits song by the same name. However, The Bastard Fairies don’t have a video for this cover. So instead I’ve linked to the original song.)
  29. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — Rival
  30. Four TopsSimple Game
  31. Death from Above 1979Black History Month
  32. Agnes ObelPass Them By
  33. Ben NicholsThe Last Pale Light In The West Lyrics

Did you enjoy this playlist? Check out the playlists that inspired the previous two books in The Bell Forging Cycle:

The Tunes Were Right

The playlist for my first book The Stars Were Right, starting off with a smooth jam from Marion Black and mixing in an eclectic mix of jams from Johnny Cash, Scorpions, Andrew Bird, and more.

Old Broken Playlist

You’ll feel the dust on your skin and the hard pan beneath your boots in this playlist for Old Broken Road. Featuring tracks from folks like Future Island, BRMC, Woodkid, and Louis Armstrong.


So there you go! The latest playlist for my soon-to-be-released novel, Red Litten World. I’d love to hear what you think, feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email with your thoughts.

Remember, you can still preorder Red Litten World on eBook for Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Kobo devices. Pre-order copies will arrive on your reader on launch day. There’s also still five days left to enter for a chance to win a free signed trade paperback of Red Litten World during the Red Litten World Giveaway. Super easy to enter, winner will be selected this Friday!

Seven days!