Musical Influences I - A Guest Post by Amelia Gormley
I've offered posts about literary influences in the past, but how about musical ones?
My guest today is Amelia Gormley, who found great inspiration for her characters in music.
Musical Influences — Jim Croce
I think if there is one character or personality trait which Derrick borrows from his author, it’s a love of music from before his time.
I grew up surrounded by people not in my age group. Not only did I have very little exposure to people in my age group, but I always related better to adults than I did to other children. As a result, it is the generation before mine which most influenced my musical preferences. I couldn’t name you more than a dozen songs and their artists from the last decade. But I could recite for you most of the entire songbook of several artists who died when I was still in diapers, if not before.
Jim Croce (Jan 10, 1943 – Sept 20, 1973) is one of those artists.
My mother is a huge fan of Jim Croce and when I was little, she used to make me swear to have “Time In a Bottle” as the first bride/groom dance at my wedding. I didn’t end up carrying through on that promise, but I did end up absorbing her love for Croce.
Most people are familiar with some of the standards released in Croce short, seven-year career: “Time in a Bottle,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” “Operator” and “I Have to Say I Love You in a Song” are quite well known, though where our generation is concerned, they’re mostly well-known because they’ve been turned into marketing jingles.
What I like are some of his less well-known pieces. I love his complex dual, sometimes even triple, guitar harmonies. I like that his upbeat songs are catchy and always make me tap my feet, and his mellow songs are relaxing and touch something inside me.
When he’s funny, he’s funny. “Roller Derby Queen” and “Rapid Roy, the Stockcar Boy” and “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” never fail to amuse me. But when he’s introspective, he’s heartbreaking. Listen to “Lover’s Cross” or “Photographs and Memories” sometime and really think about what he’s saying, that gentle examination of love that has been lost or is in the process of fading away, sometimes edged with bitterness or tragic grief. And all of it carried on a voice that feels almost fragile, it’s so tender.
His songs are simple, beautiful, and heartfelt. You can’t ask for more than that.
One thing I very much regret about the writing of Acceleration was that there was no way I could afford the licensing fees to get the rights to reprint any of the lyrics of Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name.” If I had, I would have worked a couple of the lines into the last chapter when Derrick plays for Gavin.
To me, that is the quintessential “Derrick” song, both in terms of where he’s been and where he’s going. It’s a song about a person who has a great deal of pride in where he comes from and the legacy that his family has left him. But it’s also a song about a man who is trying to find a way to keep moving forward with his life, so that he doesn’t become mired in the past and begin to stagnate. It’s a song about respecting one’s past and heritage, while moving into one’s future. And that is really what Derrick’s journey is all about.
Since it would probably be illegal for me to quote the lyrics in this post, just as it would be illegal for me to quote them in the book, I’m going to simply link to the song on YouTube. Let them get in trouble for having it.
Quiet, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance has had
enough loss for a lifetime and he has no intention of ever risking his heart
again. Living alone in the old house his grandparents left him, with only his
dog and a few close friends for companionship, he has written off the
possibility of romance or even sex. He refuses to consider himself lonely, or
wonder what he might be missing. His life is organized, predictable, and, best
of all, risk-free.
Until the day he installs shelves for accountant Gavin
Hayes. With his contradictory combination of confidence and self-doubt, Gavin
draws Derrick in with an intensity he's never known. As undeniable as gravity,
Derrick finds himself falling for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and
methodical ways. But Gavin carries wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally
abusive relationship that ended with a dangerous betrayal, his future is far
from certain. Can Derrick choose passion over safety, and let himself believe
that Gavin is worth the risk?
It wasn’t the idea of sex that
scared him. He could handle that, and he could handle just being friends. It
was the somewhere in between, where feelings could happen, that he wasn’t sure
But Gavin felt good against him. Right. Closing his eyes for a moment,
Derrick drew a slow breath and laid his arm over Gavin’s shoulders, silently
inviting him to make himself comfortable. And Gavin did, slipping down a little
to make more room for Derrick’s arm, laying his head against Derrick’s chest,
where his heart hammered within the too-tight confines of his ribs.
Derrick had no clue what show they
were watching. He couldn’t hear over the drumming in his ears and he didn’t
want to even look at the screen, nor could he stop glancing down at Gavin’s
hair just below his chin. It took all Derrick’s willpower to keep himself from
leaning down and nuzzling his face in Gavin’s hair to try to get a better whiff
When Gavin lifted his head and
tilted it back to look at him, Derrick’s eyes immediately went to Gavin’s lips.
His fingers tightened on Gavin’s shoulder and when he finally managed to tear
his eyes away from Gavin’s mouth to meet his gaze, he knew Gavin had seen the
And then Gavin wet his lips with
Derrick caught a nervous breath,
torn between the impulse to act and
that tiny, nagging hint of uncertainty that maybe Gavin wasn’t ready for that
Gavin smiled, looking faintly
amused. “You really don’t know an invitation when you see one, do you?”
“Guess I don’t. Look,” he said
haltingly as he tried to form his racing thoughts into words that would
actually be intelligible when he spoke them. “You know, it’s been a while. And
I don’t really know what I should do here. What you need.”
Gavin looked up at him a while
longer, his eyes wide, pupils large and dark, before he pushed himself up. He
pulled his glasses off, his movement slow and deliberate as he laid them on the
coffee table, giving Derrick plenty of time to back out. Then he turned and
Derrick heard himself moan, his arm
tightening behind Gavin, sliding down to wrap around his back and draw him
closer. He tasted as good as he smelled, even the hint of beer on his breath.
It was strange; fulfilling the promise of contact that had been hovering
between them all day both relieved Derrick’s tension and made it ten times
worse. It threatened to send something ravenous to the surface that he hadn’t
known lurked beneath.
The touch of Gavin’s hand on his
face, stroking his cheek and jaw, felt good. Gavin’s cool fingers against his
skin both soothed Derrick’s nerves and brought them snapping to attention. And
when they moved down to Derrick’s neck it was even better. Derrick gasped into
the kiss at that touch on his sensitive skin. As his mouth opened on the
inhalation, he felt Gavin’s tongue against his lips.
Any thought he had of taking things
slow promptly dissipated. He wanted Gavin’s body against his, and they shifted
simultaneously. Derrick turned as much as he could without drawing his legs up
onto the sofa, and Gavin drew his knees under him, the motion giving him a
height advantage that he used to take control of the kiss. His hand buried
itself in Derrick’s hair, his mouth covered Derrick’s. His lips urged Derrick’s
open, his tongue sliding in, stroking.
Derrick’s other arm came around
Gavin, trying to draw him even closer. He wasn’t sure how Gavin ended up in his
lap, straddling his hips. Gavin loomed over him with a hiss of denim-on-denim
as Derrick, without any thought or intention, shifted beneath him, seeking
friction against the hard-on trapped beneath his fly.
He didn’t know he’d spoken, panting
the words between increasingly urgent kisses. He rolled his hips again beneath
Gavin, beyond self-consciousness, not caring
if it was too forward, too suggestive. Gavin didn’t seem to mind; his own body
moved to increase the pressure. As that first kiss had done for his nerves, the
rubbing of Gavin’s cock against his beneath the layers of denim both soothed
the insistent, throbbing ache in Derrick’s balls and made it far more
desperate. He groaned, his hands clutching at Gavin’s back, the kisses passing
beyond exploratory and heading
straight into demanding.
When Gavin’s hands closed in his
hair, gripping it, Derrick arched his spine, his hips lifting as he responded
to the pressure drawing his head back. The pull on his hair was tight, good,
skirting the edge of uncomfortable in an absolutely perfect way. He tore his
mouth away from Gavin’s with a whimper as the pull became harder; overwhelmed,
he tried to catch a panting breath and get a grip. With every response, every
sensation, Derrick felt closer to the brink of flying completely, insanely out
“Sorry,” Gavin murmured as his
hands released Derrick’s hair and Derrick almost groaned at the loss. He shook
his head in silent denial as his brain tried to remember how to make words.
“No… no… no need.”
ting felt intoxicating. He was high, beyond thought or reason, doubt or control.
Abandoning any further attempt at
speech, he pulled Gavin back to him, taking over the kiss. Hard, urgent, edging
toward rough as he tried to find an outlet for that plaguing need for more. He was aware, now, of the rise and
fall of his hips, knowing full well what it suggested. He wanted Gavin. God, he
wanted him, and just the wanting felt
intoxicating. He was high, beyond thought or reason, doubt or control.
his body demanded, gripping fistfuls of the back of Gavin’s shirt,
thrusting up against Gavin.
Gavin responded, pressing down to meet him.
Derrick leaned back, reclining as
far as he could against the sofa, no more concerned with the message he sent by
moving toward the horizontal than with the blatant grinding of his hips against
Gavin. He drew Gavin down tighter above him, picking up the pace, rubbing
against him urgently. The delirious thought occurred to him that he should be
thankful he’d jerked off that morning, or this would already be over.
He didn’t want it to be over. Not
nearly over. He wanted… God, he wanted Gavin’s skin. It didn’t occur to him to
ask first; his hands simply obeyed the imperative without thought or hesitation,
releasing their grip on Gavin’s shirt at the shoulders to seize it lower,
pulling it up.
The way Gavin’s body tensed didn’t
register, not at first, even when Gavin drew back and panted, “Oh, God. Wait…
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth
is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot
m/m erotic romance while her five year old is napping. When she’s not writing,
Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the
obstacles of life by turning into a everyday superhero. And that, she supposes,
is just like anyone else. Her first novella from the Impulse Trilogy is
available through Amazon, Smashwords and other retailers.