Header image

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (ver­sion 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Down­load the lat­est ver­sion here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I love writ­ing music as much as I love writ­ing books, and so it’s no sur­prise that I would want to put the two together. The fol­low­ing is the love theme I wrote for my Class Col­li­sion series, and was arranged for inter­me­di­ate pianists. I’ve included both an audio file and sheet music.

Audio file: Love Theme From “Class Col­li­sion,” by Annette Mackey To down­load this audio file, right click and click “save link as.”

Sheet music: Love Theme From Class Col­li­sion PDF Arranged for inter­me­di­ate piano.


All music on this web­site was writ­ten by Annette Mackey, and may be down­loaded or shared for non­com­mer­cial use. Copy­right 2011 by Annette Mackey.


If you want to write …

November 15th, 2011 | Posted by Annette in Books | Perspectives | Writing Tips - (0 Comments)

If ever I had a book to share, it would be If You Want To Write, by Brenda Ueland. I read this book at a time when I was feel­ing self-conscious about let­ting peo­ple read my work, and I must say, it totally changed my per­spec­tive. From begin­ning to end you won’t find a sin­gle page detail­ing gra­mar, punc­tu­a­tion, etc. For this isn’t a book about edit­ing. Instead, the focus is on the actual writ­ing process: how to get your words flow­ing, keep it real, and make your story honest. Her advice is so real that it res­onates deep down where your imag­i­na­tion lingers. Here are a few quotes that really got me going.

Every­body is orig­i­nal, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from him­self. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be.” If You Want To Write, Chap­ter 1, p. 4

Well, Van Gogh was one of the great painters. Dur­ing his life he made only 109 dol­lars in all on his paint­ing. They are now worth about two mil­lion dolars. He had a ter­ri­bly hard life-loneliness, poverty and star­va­tion that led to insan­ity. And yet it was one of the great­est lives
that was ever lived-the hap­pi­est, the most burn­ingly incan­des­cent.” If You Want To Write, Chap­ter 3, p. 23. — I par­tic­u­larly enjoyed this chap­ter since Van Gogh is my all-time favorite artist. I some­times won­der how sad it would be had the world missed out on his genius. Then I think of all the amaz­ing com­posers I met while I was study­ing music com­po­si­tion in col­lege. I know they prob­a­bly won’t ever make it big, but that doesn’t mean their art isn’t worth the effort.


Chap­ter 4 is enti­tled, “The Imag­i­na­tion Works Slowly and Qui­etly.” This reminds me of the famous line, “you can’t rush art.” And, you can’t. Some­times you just need time to think it over. And over, and over again. There’s noth­ing wrong with let­ting your mind play with an idea, try it on for size, then chuck or keep it depend­ing upon what you finally decide. The point is, let it fes­ter a while. This in no way negates the prac­tice that some­times you should just spill those words upon the page as fast as you can. Brain­storm in every way shape and form to find out what works best for you.

In Chap­ter 5 she talks about tak­ing a walk. Can you see me smil­ing? Walk­ing allowed her imag­i­na­tion to loosen, and once that hap­pened free thought took place. It was dur­ing these walks that she came up with some of her best ideas. I can’t tell you how much I related to this chap­ter, since I think brain­storm­ing is absolutely cru­cial. Although I enjoy walk­ing, I pre­fer to brain­storm in the dark with absolute silence, and I do it every sin­gle night before I go to bed. Such sim­ple tech­nics can bring about so much pro­duc­tiv­ity. Then she adds this thought so as to explain that pure imag­i­na­tion isn’t some­thing that requires painful work. “I tell you this so that you will stop think­ing of the cre­ative power as ner­vous and effort­ful; in fact, it can be fright­ened away by ner­vous strain­ing.” p. 47. Boy, isn’t that the truth! In my opin­ion, allow­ing the mind to flow is the sin­gle best tech­nic for cre­ative writing.

Chap­ter 7 was prob­a­bly my favorite: “Be Care­less! Be a Lion! Be a Pirate! When You Write.” She con­tin­ues, “Peo­ple are too scared, too self-conscious, too proud, too shy. They have been taught too many things about con­struc­tion, plot, unity, mass and coher­ence. (They write) to impress peo­ple.” I couldn’t agree more. That was my prob­lem for years. I was way too self-conscious. It didn’t really hin­der my writ­ing, because I chucked all those old nov­els in the trash, some­thing that has me kick­ing myself now. “I just don’t know if I can take that kind of rejec­tion,” said McFly in Back to the Future. Ah, who cares, is my tune now. I write because I want to write. You have to learn to say, this is my art. And as long as you are true to what you write, the beauty, or the hor­ror as it may be, will shine through.

Chap­ter 10, enti­tled “Why Women Who Do Too Much House­work Should Neglect It for Their Writ­ing,” reminds me that Brenda Ueland lived in a dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion than my own. And still, one of my biggest hangups to writ­ing are the house­hold chores. Being a mother is huge, and I would never want to neglect any part of that awe­some job. But the tedious work that goes with it can be so com­pletely over­whelm­ing. I would never get any writ­ing done if I had to be the per­fect house­keeper. That said, I took all day yes­ter­day away from my com­puter so that I could scrub and clean every­thing. It’s such a bal­anc­ing act to work, be mom, and have a writ­ing career on the side. Yikes! There’s no way I can get it all done. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try! I’d be crazy to say, it’s just too much, and throw up my hands in despair. Never. Keep going. Remem­ber the Lit­tle Engine Who Could. (Another book. Thank you beau­ti­ful writers!)

Chap­ter 13, “The Third Dimen­sion.” Yes! This is where the meat is. “You must never be an advo­cate of you char­ac­ters.” p. 122. In other words, just tell the story. Tell it true to life, espe­cially if you’re writ­ing fic­tion. Then in a foot­note on p. 123, she adds, “That is why you must not try too hard to be hon­est, sin­cere, in your writ­ing, for that too is a kind of false­ness. Why you are hon­est there is no try­ing about it. You are just qui­etly hon­est, and that is all there is to it.” Wow. What advice. So beau­ti­fully put, though some­times very hard to imple­ment, but absolutely vital in craft­ing a novel.

Chap­ter 15, p. 137, “Don’t be afraid of writ­ing bad, mawk­ish sto­ries for that will show you many things about your­self .… If you write a bad story, the way to make it bet­ter is to write three more. Then look at the first one. You will have grown in under­stand­ing, in hon­esty. You will know what to do to it. And to yourself.”

New to Twit­ter and hash­tags have you scratch­ing your head? Don’t worry. It’s really very sim­ple. Hash­tags begin with #. That’s all there is to it. On Twit­ter any hash­tag can be searched mak­ing this a won­der­ful resource when you are look­ing for infor­ma­tion or want­ing to share some­thing. Here are a few basic examples.

#SO — Mean­ing Shout Out. In other words, peo­ple use this hash­tag to bring atten­tion to some­one or something.

#WW — Won­der­ful Writer or Wednes­day Writer.

#amwrit­ing — Help­ing writ­ers connect.

#amread­ing — A way for read­ers to connect.

#FF — Fri­day Fol­low, which is a way to share your favorite tweeters.

Obvi­ously, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. You can even make them up. For more infor­ma­tion, or to clar­ify a spe­cific hash­tag go to the offi­cial hash­tag site.

It’s been a lit­tle over a year since my first book was pub­lished, and I find myself reflect­ing. Prior to pub­li­ca­tion, I spent about a year and a half try­ing to learn how the book busi­ness worked. And let me tell you, it turned out to be a lot dif­fer­ent than I thought. I guess I was stuck in 1985, think­ing in pre-internet terms. I had in my mind this glo­ri­ous com­pany … the pub­lisher. After all, it had been pub­lish­ers who had sup­plied my con­stant need to read over the course of my entire life. I had some­how asso­ci­ated every great story with these pub­lish­ers rather than the authors who wrote them. And I did not real­ize how dra­mat­i­cally times had changed. Drat, you may say. For that’s exactly how I reacted. But soon I came to see the changes in this topsy-turvy busi­ness work to my advan­tage. In the past three years I’ve seen ebook read­ers and inter­net pub­lish­ing change from trends into busi­ness as usual. While it is my sin­cere hope that big pub­lish­ers are not totally lost, I can’t help but join the ranks of authors who feel like they’ve been tram­pled by those com­pa­nies. But that’s a post for another time. In the past decade there has been an entire indus­try grow from the ashes of those who have been burned. John LockeAmanda Hock­ing, and about a gazil­lion more authors on twit­terface­book, and the inter­ent are in the process of chang­ing the world. Even pub­lish­ing stan­dards like Richard Paul Evans are reserv­ing their ebook rights. And they aren’t alone. Exec­u­tives too see what’s hap­pen­ing; such as Ruth Har­ris who left the pub­lish­ing houses behind to go out on her own. I could go on and on, and I haven’t even men­tioned big pub­lisher suc­cesses, such as Claire Cook who walked the red car­pet when her book Must Love Dogs was set on the sil­ver screen, and still do most of their own mar­ket­ing work, some­thing the pub­lish­ers are sup­posed to do. And yet, even with the writ­ing on the wall, there are still a few deter­mined peo­ple claim­ing that inde­pen­dent authors are more like rejects than the real thing. At the thought I almost start laugh­ing. Sim­ply put, all it takes to find out the truth is to join the indus­try. It’s a whole new world out there. And to tell you the truth, I kinda like it.

Interview with Billionaire David Bastien

September 24th, 2011 | Posted by Annette in Books - (0 Comments)

New Year Press Radio

In an unprece­dented inter­view with bil­lion­aire phil­an­thropist David Bastien

Hosted by Bob Witherspoon

New Year Press: First of all, Mr. Bastien, we appre­ci­ate the time you have taken from your busy schedule.

Bastien: No problem.

NYP: What made you decide to go pub­lic with your story?

B: That’s a good ques­tion, Bob. I didn’t want some­one else to come out with a biog­ra­phy or some other mem­oir before I had a chance to explain what really happened.

NYP: Did you ever worry that peo­ple might mis­un­der­stand? See you in an unfa­vor­able light?

B: Sure. Of course. Most peo­ple see what they want to see, and when you’re a pub­lic fig­ure, that’s truer than ever. Which is partly why I hired an inde­pen­dent author. I wanted some­one who wouldn’t be swayed by cor­po­rate ideals. Some­one who would keep our inter­views con­fi­den­tial, and write what hap­pened based upon the facts, rather than sensationalism.

NYP: But why put your­self under this kind of scrutiny? Espe­cially when you so jeal­ously guard your privacy?

B: The scrutiny was there either way. My kid­nap­ping made such spec­tac­u­lar head­lines in the thir­ties, and with my reap­pear­ance last year, the con­stant press and pho­tog­ra­phers have been … well, let’s just say, it’s dif­fi­cult to read­just to the lime­light once you’ve lived an anony­mous life.

NYP: I’m sorry, I didn’t quite under­stand your answer. You risked every­thing to pub­lish your story, which could have been so eas­ily mis­un­der­stood by mil­lions. Why?

B: Mil­lions?


B: I wanted to tell what hap­pened before any­one else did. Call is self­ish­ness, or call it hon­esty, I’m not sure which, but I needed to be the one to bring my story to light.

NYP: In the time since your return, have you attempted to con­tact the men who kid­napped you?

B: Actu­ally, yes. Willy, as I’m sure you know, died in prison.

NYP: I heard about that. An elec­tri­cal accident.

B: You could call it that.

NYP: What about the other one, a Mr. Beez?

B: I did see Beez again. By the time I searched him down, he had been released from prison and was liv­ing in Brook­lyn. It’s strange what time does to a per­son. He was so much smaller than I remem­bered. And frail. (He) didn’t look like some­one who could fill the mind with ter­ror … any­more. He looked old. Broken.

NYP: Do you think he should have been incar­cer­ated for life?

B: That is the sen­tence he was given.

NYP: I under­stand that he was released after the court learned you had sur­vived the event.

B: Yes, that’s true. Appar­ently, the por­tion of his sen­tence for the kid­nap­ping was con­sid­ered time served. The rest of his sen­tence was for my mur­der. And once it was known that I was still alive ….

NYP: Were you angry that he was released? After all the pain he cause you, and your fam­ily? Why should his life return to nor­mal when your fam­ily will never be the same?

B: Let’s move on.

NYP: Fine. Accord­ing to the book, Class Col­li­sion, to which you have given your seal of approval, your wife was raised on a ranch in Wyoming. Is that correct?


NYP: That’s quite an answer.


NYP: Well … I guess that’s it, then.

Sud­denly an announcer breaks in: NYP has just learned that Mrs. Linda Bastien, wife of the famous David Bastien, has just been kicked out of the Man­dolin Man­sion this morn­ing. We have a reporter on the scene.

NYP reporter, Megan Call­ton: Bob, it looks like there has just been a major break­down in the fam­ily. While her hus­band, David Bastien, was in the stu­dio, Mrs. Linda Bastien has been thrown out of the house by Eliz­a­beth Bastien, the matron of the bil­lion­aire fam­ily. Reports are com­ing in from mul­ti­ple sources, stat­ing that prob­lems arose quickly between the two women shortly after David Bastien’s return a year ago.

NYP Bob: It must have started right after the wed­ding extravaganza.

NYP MC: Exactly. At this point we don’t know what has hap­pened, though sources point to the low social stand­ing of Linda Bastien. That com­bined with the strong will in both women has been a recipe for disaster.

NYP Bob: How soon until we know more?

NYP MC: Sev­eral of the ser­vants have left the man­sion with Linda Bastien, and as soon as we catch up with them, we’ll make the infor­ma­tion avail­able. This has been Megan Call­ton, report­ing for New Year Press Radio.



Liebster Award — Bloggity Fun!

September 5th, 2011 | Posted by Annette in Books | Writing Tips - (2 Comments)





I’ve been work­ing on nar­row­ing down a few writ­ers to share. Believe it or not, this isn’t all that easy. There are so many amaz­ing authors try­ing to make their way in the crazy world of pub­lish­ing, and I can only send this to five!

Before I make my list, here’s how it works:


1.Show your appre­ci­a­tion to the blog­ger who gave you the award by link­ing back to them.
2.Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leav­ing a com­ment on their blog.
3.Post the award on your blog.
4.Bask in the cama­raderie of the most sup­port­ive peo­ple on the internet—other writ­ers.
5.And best of all—have blog­gity fun and spread the love.

Okay, here we go …

As was posted pre­vi­ously, the totally awe­some Wendy from Scrib­blings of Wendy Jane sent this honor my way. To see just how great she is, refer to my pre­vi­ous post.

And now for my top five pics .… dun, dun, dun, dun .…

1) C. C. Jack­son  - Who is not only a great nov­el­ist, but just plain fab­u­lous in every way. Her book Stay was a final­ist this year in the Read­ers Favorite Book Awards in the Young Adult Sci-Fi cat­e­gory, a very com­pet­i­tive cat­e­gory by the way. Way to go Stacey!

2) Tia Bach at Depres­sion Cook­ies - Next Gen­er­a­tion Indie Book final­ist and fab­u­lous tweet­ing friend.

3) Melissa Fos­ter —  A five times award win­ner from Read­ers Favorite. Wow! That’s a lot!

4) Sarah Ket­ley - Who is just all around fab­u­lous. Make sure to visit her website.

5) Kath­leen Shoop - Who is a total inspi­ra­tion to me, but prob­a­bly has no idea that I think she is amazing.

There you have it: my top five pics. Now it’s time for blog­gity fun. Love that!



Liebster Blog Award

September 5th, 2011 | Posted by Annette in Books - (1 Comments)





This morn­ing when I checked my inbox, I found a lit­tle bit of sun­shine. The totally awe­some Wendy from Scrib­blings of Wendy Jane had hon­ored me with the Lieb­ster Blog Award. For those of you who may be scratch­ing your heads in won­der­ment, the Lieb­ster is designed to bring a lit­tle atten­tion to note­wor­thy blogs that have less than 200 fol­low­ers. Need­less to say, the smile on my face is still beam­ing. Thank you Wendy!


1.Show your appre­ci­a­tion to the blog­ger who gave you the award by link­ing back to them.
2.Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leav­ing a com­ment on their blog.
3.Post the award on your blog.
4.Bask in the cama­raderie of the most sup­port­ive peo­ple on the internet—other writ­ers.
5.And best of all—have blog­gity fun and spread the love.


While I’m work­ing on Num­ber 2, let me just add another link for your read­ing enjoy­ment: Where To Belong by W J Smith, avail­able in ebook and print.


Here’s a quick blip:

Madi­son, an ex-con artist, has lived by the rules for eight years fol­low­ing the death of her fiancé. Her world flips upside-down when she runs into the best friend she left behind in attempt to escape their dan­ger­ous lifestyle. When not only her way of life, but also the life of her dear­est friend is threat­ened by an old asso­ciate, will it be enough for her to con­tinue as a law abid­ing citizen?

I’ll return shortly with my top five picks!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

September 1st, 2011 | Posted by Annette in Books | Movies | Perspectives | Reviews - (0 Comments)

There are few books that I have enjoyed as much as I enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stock­ett. And, to top it off, the movie was amazing.

The set­ting takes place dur­ing the civil rights move­ment in Jack­son, Mis­sis­sippi. With such a polit­i­cally charged plot, I felt my emo­tions surg­ing and swelling through­out the book. To put it in the words of Min­nie, one of the black maids, “We liv­ing in hell,” just seems to sum it all up. The only thing I didn’t like was the “ter­ri­ble awful” that Min­nie finally explains. I just about gagged in response and still do when I think of it. Even so, clearly a neg­a­tive emo­tion is what the author was going for, and I must say she cer­tainly achieved it! Shudder …

From the first sen­tence, the book trans­ports you to another time and place. One of my favorite seg­ments was when Hilly, the bath­room seg­re­ga­tion ring-leader, tells Skeeter, “There are racists liv­ing in this town,” com­pletely obliv­i­ous to the fact that she is one of them. I love that because I think most peo­ple are blind to their faults. I know I have had my eyes opened once or twice.

Another thing I loved is that the book is full of flawed char­ac­ters that become endear­ing as you get to know them. I love that! In real­ity, peo­ple are flawed. Pre­sent­ing the char­ac­ters in such a way brought so much real­ism to the story.

It is not very often that I feel my socks have been knocked off, but this was one of them. Thank you Kathryn Stock­ett for your won­der­ful work. This is def­i­nitely the kind of novel that I would like to aspire to write. Talk about depth. Wow. Def­i­nitely 5 out of 5!

Book club discussion questions

August 16th, 2011 | Posted by Annette in Books - (0 Comments)

Class Col­li­sion: Phoenix Ris­ing dis­cus­sion questions:

Genre: Fic­tion, YA Fic­tion, His­tor­i­cal Fic­tion, Amer­i­can Drama

  1. At the begin­ning of the book, Linda real­izes that David has been less than hon­est with her. Do you think she should she have post­poned the wedding?
  2. Was David jus­ti­fied in his secrecy? Is dis­hon­esty ever appropriate?
  3. In Class Col­li­sion: Fall From Grace, David spent years try­ing to return home. In Phoenix Ris­ing he is an adult. Why doesn’t he just go home?
  4. At what point do you think Linda real­izes that she is still in love with David?
  5. Dur­ing World War II, the entire coun­try seemed to back the war effort. Have things changed in the United States in this regard?
  6. When David returns from the war on fur­lough, he and Linda go to the ranch for Lucy’s wed­ding. It becomes appar­ent that Lucy believes David is a hor­ri­ble, cruel, sorry excuse for a human being. Have you ever known some­one to mis­un­der­stand another per­son so completely?
  7. Why did David take such a dan­ger­ous job in the war? Did he want to be a hero? Was he in it for the glory? For the pay?
  8. Is David a prod­uct of his envi­ron­ment? How much of his per­son­al­ity was set at birth?
  9. When David and Alex argue out­side the man­sion by the foun­tain, Alex seems to be speak­ing to his brother, even though he doesn’t believe in David. Do you think Alex is jus­ti­fied in his anger?
  10. How did you feel about Elizabeth’s ini­tial reac­tion to her long lost son?
  11. Why does Alexan­der wait so long to tell David that he believes in him?
  12. Would David have been inter­ested in Linda had he not been kidnapped?
  13. What kind of per­son would Alex have become had David had not been kidnapped?
  14. Why do the ser­vants rec­og­nize David when his fam­ily does not?
  15. At the end of the book, Gor­don is finally hum­bled. Do you think David should have rubbed his nose in “it” and made a pub­lic spec­ta­cle of him?
  16. The premise of the book seems to ask the ques­tion, “Can money buy hap­pi­ness?” What do you think?