My Brain is Weird: Confessions of a Musician

I have a weird brain. A music brain. The kind of brain that has me calling my husband by my son’s name, but which remembers just about every word of every song I’ve ever heard. Including operas in Italian. Yep. I gave up singing more than a decade ago, but I bet I could still sing “Tosca” from memory. I guess it’s no surprise then, that although I’ve given up singing, I can never give up music. It’s in my DNA, or at least, it’s imprinted on my aging brain cells!  And here’s the ultimate in weird:  no matter what I hear, whether I know the music or I hear it in a commercial or just in passing on someone else’s radio, that’s the piece of music I will hear over and over again in my brain until I hear something else.  No joke.  Makes me nuts!  Okay, so maybe I was there already….

My Blue Notes Series books are about music and musicians, so it probably would also not surprise you to hear that I do have “soundtracks” for each novel.  Usually multiple classical music pieces and some jazz or rock, depending on my mood or the mood of the part of the story I’m writing at the time.  The Melody Thief is no exception.  My “theme” for The Melody Thief is the first movement of the Dvorak cello concerto.  Yo-Yo Ma for this one – love that man!  It’s angsty, sexy and beautiful all rolled up into one amazing piece of music.

So what went through my brain yesterday, while I was at my real-life job, trying a child neglect case in front of a judge?  Not the questions I was going to ask my witnesses, not the “theme” of my case.  Nope.  The Dvorak.  I heard it when I was cross-examining witnesses, when I was making an impassioned closing statement to the judge, when I drove back home after the trial.  No joke!  It’s almost as if there’s another “track” in my mind that processes all the other stuff and the music just runs in a constant feedback loop.  And it keeps going until I hear something else, or until I sing something else to myself (a very helpful approach when it’s Justin Bieber singing “Baby, Baby” over and over again courtesy of my daughter!).

Okay.  Confessional over.  So when you’re reading The Melody Thief as I hope you will, maybe for at least a few minutes while you’re reading you’ll hear some of the music that haunts me through my characters.

You can win a copy of The Melody Thief!  Just comment on my blog until midnight, 8/23/12 to enter to win an ebook copy (format of your choice) of the book, which will be released on 8/24.  You can also enter on Goodreads to win a signed, paperback copy.  More contests next week to celebrate Thief’s release.




  1. Venona Keyes - Reply

    Really? That was the first indication that you were weird? This brings to mind a few radio pieces I’ve heard over the last several months about earworms. It is the tune that gets stuck in your head. Just a snippet of it too–like the chorus. Seems there has been an outbreak as of late, and reporters needed to write about those tunes that get stuck in your head.
    There were theories that it helped us survive thousands of years ago when we needed to remember certain important things to survive. Colors of plant or animals which are safe which are poisonous were in all likelihood set to music so it would be easy to remember. Those you wanted to get stuck on your head.
    Another theory is that it is triggered by stress- a song comes to mind every time you get stressed. Still another is when you come across a word, and the word leads you to a song that has the word in it. That explains why “Lips Like Sugar” by Echo and the Bunnymen was stuck in my head when I was writing a m/m short story about baking. Ugh. I had to download it onto my ipod to listen to it. Over and over again.

    Interestingly enough, women are plagued by earworms more than men, with music with words the stickiest. Shira–the classical music earworms is only 7%.

    Another theory, that is the most disturbing to me, is that people who are OCD are most susceptible to the sticky song syndrome. I never knew I was OCD. Great, another thing to worry about. Arrgh! Now I have the earworm of Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Shilling paying in my head.

    Oh yes to get rid of the earworm? They are not sure, but a few of the cures are: hear the entire song, as it is usually only the chorus that is on the infinite loop, or listen to another song to get it out of your head. I want to think ‘It’s a Small World’ or ‘Lips Like Sugar’?

    • Shira - Reply

      “It’s a Small World” is pure torture – been there, done that! Ack. I’ll stick with Dvorak or Sibelius. Imagining Cary or Alex playing them doesn’t hurt either. Better to have a gorgeous man stuck in my brain along with the music. -S

  2. Julia A - Reply

    That is exactly the same way my brain works, except that sometimes hearing something new doesn’t get the old out. (I heard Ize’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on repeat for 2/3 of a summer vacation a couple years ago… I haven’t been able to listen to it since.) And, now that you’ve mentioned Dvorak, I have the first movement of the American Quartet in my head. Thanks for that, actually–I haven’t seriously listened to it since I played it in ninth grade! ^_^

    • Shira - Reply

      LOL – and I thought I was the only one! But, honestly, if I had to listen to Dvorak (anything Dvorak) over and over ad infinitum, I’d probably be perfectly happy about it. I’ve just been working on book #4 and talking about his violin concerto (or one of them). What an amazing mind he had! Now I need to listen to the American Quartet. So I’ll be hearing that one for a few days, no doubt.

      Thanks for commenting, Julia – I’ve got you entered in the drawing. -Shira

      • Tina "The Book Lady" - Reply

        Shira – I love Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Paganini and I love Yo-Yo Ma particularly the piece he played throughout the film Crouching Tiger. I don’t have any favorite pieces – if it’s powerful and stirs the soul and the brain I’m sucked in. =D

  3. Ryan Loveless - Reply

    I wouldn’t mind if Baby was in my head. These days it’s usually One Direction.

    (Why do I feel the need to confirm that I’m old enough to be entering a giveaway for an adult novel after saying that? LOL)

    • Shira - Reply

      LOL! I think the fact that you can admit it publicly probably confirms your “eligibility.” 😉 Thanks, Ryan! I’ve got you entered.

  4. Tina "The Book Lady" - Reply

    Hi! I know exactly what you mean by having a soundtrack running in your head all the time. I’m not as bad as I used to be but I seem to “key” into things and comprehend them better if music is running in my head. I played the cello, bass and piano growing up and I’ve been whistling since I was about 18 months old – You can usually catch me whistling either something I just heard or a combination of 2-3 different songs.

    This sounds really interesting – good luck!

    Tina “the book lady”
    Kids books:
    Adult books:

    • Shira - Reply

      My whistling drives my family crazy! I’ve gotten better at controlling that (most of the time). That said, about 10 years ago I sang a concert where I had to whistle – the first and only time I didn’t hear, “Oh, Mom, do you have to whistle all the time?”

      Thanks for stopping by Tina – I’ve got you entered into the drawing!

  5. Manda - Reply

    It’s good to know that someone has music on the brain more than me! My favorite though is when I’m sitting at my desk at work, singing out loud without realizing it. Till a customer comes in. LOL!

    • Shira - Reply

      That’s like me with whistling, Manda! We have a few guys at my office who walk the halls singing. I can think of a lot worse vices to have!

      Thanks for stopping by – I have you entered in the drawing! -Shira

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