Friday, June 2, 2017

Pride, Cycles, Seattle and a Soundtrack

[Image via Instinct Magazine]

Since it's Pride Week here in KC, I thought I'd celebrate by sharing a bit about my lesbian coming-of-age drama/romance, Cycles.

Cycles is set in Seattle, where I lived from 2005-2007, getting my Master's Degree at the University of Washington. I did, actually, fall in love with a woman there, with tragic results. My experience there essentially informs much of the novel. Though it is filtered through a great deal of fiction, the story is, in some ways, true.

I used it as an opportunity to talk about a few of my favorite things in Seattle. Kris, the novel's heroine, frequents my favorite coffee shop (Sureshot); eats at several restaurants that I enjoyed in the University District, Green Lake, and on Capitol Hill; communes with my favorite painting in the Seattle Art Museum Museum (#10 by Mark Rothko); visits the museum I interned at for a semester (Bellevue Arts Museum) and sees a couple of exhibitions that I greatly enjoyed, and I could go on, but I'll stop there.

The novel opens as Kris bikes down The Ave, which is actually University Street, near the University of Washington. Here's an excerpt:

Kris pedaled down “the Ave” in Seattle’s University District on her still-shiny-like-new gloss white Simply City 8W bicycle. Her short blonde hair brushed her chin, and her wiry, boyish frame balanced delicately on her seat. A bus trundled along in front of her, stopping frequently to let passengers off and on. The morning rush to get to campus had passed and the lunch rush had yet to begin, so only a few people disembarked. Kris steered slowly down the street, weaving back and forth behind the bus until she reached Sureshot, her favorite coffee shop. 
Sureshot was owned by a local couple who also owned a bakery. They’d turned the everyday business of the shop over to their twenty-something daughter whom Kris liked for her brusque friendliness. Besides offering the most imaginative and delicious drinks (the Pink Elephant was a particular favorite of hers), Sureshot had perfect lighting, comfortable sofas, and a back room full of pin-ball machines that she had never used, but enjoyed knowing they were there all the same. Good music was always playing, but not too loudly, so she could study, people watch, or read a book from their little lending library, if she wanted.

Just for fun, I put together a "soundtrack" for Cycles, using a YouTube playlist, that starts, appropriately with The Blue Scholars singing "The Ave."

The playlist follows along and compliments the story, featuring many bands from Seattle, songs about Seattle, and also bands and songs mentioned throughout the novel by the main characters.

Track listing:
"The Ave.", The Blue Scholars
"Learn to Fly," Foo Fighters
"Pike Street / Park Slope," Harvey Danger
"Welcome to Seattle," Boom Bap Project
"Every Shining Time You Arrive," Sunny Day Real Estate
"Sadness Is a Blessing," Lykke Li
"Queen of Apology," The Sounds
"Loyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken," Camera Obscura
"Living In America," The Sounds
"Aurora," Foo Fighters
"Head Down," Soundgarden
"Mass Pike," The Get-Up Kids
"Lunatic to Love," Presidents of the United States of America
"Ringway to SeaTac," The Wedding Present
"Where Does the Good Go?" Tegan and Sara
"Don't Take Me Home 'Til I'm Drunk," The Wedding Present
"Seattle," Jason Walker
"This Scene Is Dead," We Are Scientists
"Claiming the City," Macklemore
"My Maudlin Career," Camera Obscura
"Sirens," Pearl Jam
"Fell on Black Days," Soundgarden
"Forests and Sands," Camera Obscura
"Sunny in Seattle," Blake Shelton

You can listen to the playlist here, and find Cycles on Amazon or in the Kindle store.

If you listen, let me know what you think of it. And even better if you read along!

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