Jaclyn Excerpt and 50/90 Track Peek (#50/90 #music #amwriting)

Because we’ll be on the road at the beginning of 50/90 (50 songs in 90 days challenge), I’ve done some prep work. And one of the songs I’m working on is called “Jaclyn,” who happens to be the leading lady in “Jaclyn,” the novel. I know, I know, I keep saying I’m no longer writing and then I can’t help myself.

Anyway, here’s a riff from the track followed by an excerpt from the novel.

Jaclyn
Excerpt

Chapter 1
Los Angeles
1965

Jaclyn watched Beau carefully, reading his deep set deep blue sea eyes, open, trusting, and his relaxed demeanor, all six feet two inches spread evenly over the recliner’s body. He didn’t suspect a thing. She was sure of it, and reading people was what had empowered her to do the things she did.

She almost regretted doing what she had to do next.

Finishing the last of her beer, something she indulged him in when it behooved her to garner his favor, she stood up and asked, “Want another?”

He flashed her his boyish grin the way he did when he was off duty, on one of the rare occasions when his head wasn’t full of the gruesome details he encountered on a daily basis as a police officer in Riverside, California, one of the roughest squads in Southern California outside Los Angeles, that is.

Fooling him was all the sweeter because it was his job to read people. She was that sure of herself, and that knowledge kicked her even higher than she already was when she was in the middle of one of her lies. But then, what wasn’t a lie when it came to Jaclyn? She was born to lie. She giggled whenever she floated that phrase around her head.

She carried the empties to the kitchen, popped the top on another bottle and handed it back to Beau. “It’s time to pack,” she said and sauntered down the hall to their bedroom, careful to wiggle her ass in the sexy way he liked it because she was pretty sure he’d turn to watch.

Another woman might have leaned down to kiss him, but she didn’t go for public displays of affection, even in their own home, unless it was necessary to achieve her end. Besides, Beau was more into using his mouth for kissing other parts of her body, something he excelled in. So why waste a kiss?

She opened her suitcase and carefully placed neat rows of clothing and toiletries, and was about to close it when she felt a presence. She looked up and might have been tempted to jump, except for being skilled in hiding her visceral reactions. Beau was leaning against the bedroom door frame watching her.

He took a pull on his beer, leaned his head back, and grinned a different sort of grin. It was a bit of a sick grin, the kind of grin a cat might flash a mouse when he was about to pounce.

For the first time, she felt shaken, willing the uneasiness coursing through her legs to stop. She almost acknowledged his odd look and insist on an explanation. Put him on the defense as she often did. But her cool head prevailed and she continued as if she hadn’t noticed a thing.

Jacklyn clicked the locks on the suitcase, turned to Beau with her usual sweet smile, “Honey, help me get my suitcase to the car,” she said, as if everything was as normal on this day as any other day, although she can’t remember when she last lived what might be considered a normal day. But, perhaps, this was how all people lived their days, in a state of concealed chaos.

“What’s your hurry?”

“Honey, I’ve got a plane to catch. You know that.”

He looked her up and down, put the beer down on the dresser, and pulled her by the waist toward him, his strong hands rubbing up and down her ass. He whispered in her ear, “One for the road?”

***

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Synthwave Takeover Plus Addicted to the Alexandra Mallory Series (#amreading #amproducing #notwriting)

I’m now on book 10 (The Woman in the Storm) of the Alexandra Mallory series by Cathryn Grant. I’m hooked! Binge reading. This is so unusual for me these days. To find one book, let alone a whole series I can get so immersed in. That’s because Cathryn Grant is a brilliant writer. And it doesn’t hurt that we have such similar backgrounds. I can so “relate” to the character, setting, the writer’s voice, writing trajectory, Silicon Valley career, super strict religious background etc. (see Writing is Murder: Motive, Means, and Opportunity).

Ironically, though, I think that is who I used to be. I’m now immersing myself in electronic music, my passion far stronger than writing, as it turns out. Cathryn inspires me to think about getting back to writing, but as soon as I sit down at my desk, I see my music keyboard and microphone and get totally lost in creating some music. Other than an occasional scene, my wips just can’t get any traction. Music has always been my first love and once I said that out loud, I had to ask myself why I was pursuing a career in fiction instead of music.

Speaking of music, as I prepare for 50/90, I’m also excited by Sonic Academy’s “Synthwave Takeover” going on in the month of June, starting today. Don’t think I’ll be able to participate in the remix contest, though, since we’re getting ready to move cross country. But SynthWave is an interesting, retro genre that I’m more than a bit interested in. Who doesn’t love 80s music? Especially in a new, fresh way.

Fantasy Studios: A Piece of My Berkeley Days (#music #producer)

So when I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area, at one point I was freelancing as a production editor at McGraw Hill Publishers in Berkeley, who were leasing a suite from Fantasy Studios, at least they were in the same building so I’m assuming that’s how it worked.

The three things I loved about that:

  1. Working for a publisher
  2. The sunset views of the Golden Gate Bridge where we stopped what we were doing every night to take a breathtaking look
  3. Fantasy Records (we would sometimes see big names arriving in limos)

Well, I hadn’t thought about any of this in quite a while until I was listening the other night to  KCSM, a San Francisco Bay Area Jazz station on the internet (my favorite Jazz station), and she mentioned Fantasy Records, the home to many, many jazz artists, not to mention bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc). And she mentioned one of the artists had recorded a particular song at Fantasy Records. It’s now gone, but the memories live on.

Who knew all these years later I’d be a published author and creating/producing my own music?

Sunset Behind the Golden Gate Bridge

Fantasy Records Lobby

“The Woman in the Water” Excerpt (#amreading #bookreview)

I’ve recently discovered a fascinating psychological suspense author Cathryn Grant. She makes some interesting insights into the human psyche through her characters. And I love her writing (although she may use “shoved” a bit too often – lol).

This passage from The Woman in the Water (the second in a series) especially spoke to me. Maybe because right before Covid, we had downsized and the smallness is really getting to me, especially now that we’re both working at home full-time. But I’m not as comfortable leaving the house, pushing through crowds and being around people as much as before Covid.

The Woman in the Water
by Cathryn Grant
(Excerpt)

“A large home provides a chance to lock yourself away from the chaos. Inside your house, surrounded by a decent-sized piece of property, there aren’t any panhandlers or solicitors. There aren’t any madmen ranting extreme political views, unless you choose to turn on the TV. You don’t have to smell loathsome perfume and cologne, or hear music that rips the nerves right out through your skin. There aren’t any people talking in loud voices, drowning out your own thoughts or quiet conversation with your dinner companion. There’s no litter and filthy sidewalks, no dog shit and broken glass, no threats to your physical safety.

All of those things are more or less first-world problems but that doesn’t lessen my aversion to them. With a quiet, well-secured, spacious home, you encounter the world on your timetable, your terms. Instead of having humanity shoved down your throat, you can brush up against it as you please, taking small sips. Humanity is like a martini—nice if sipped slowly, knocks you on your ass if you absorb too much too fast.

The world is a crowded place. It’s overrun with traffic and barking dogs, unimaginative strip malls with unkempt facades, cars sitting in front yards, screaming children, and unwanted odors.

But a beautiful home isn’t just about what you want to avoid.

Human beings were meant to possess space and beauty. We feel that in our souls.

Sure the crush of people going to a baseball game has a certain excitement—the sheer mass of humanity with all their thoughts moving in a similar vein. There’s energy and connectedness. The crowds surging through Times Square or down Bourbon Street, a giddy appreciation for the variety of living souls and the noise of conversation—a thousand minds verbalizing their thoughts, small bites of the things they have to say caught as you pass by, usually forgotten, sometimes remembered as clearly as if they were speaking directly to you.

But overload causes frayed nerves. Lack of control over your environment leads to despair.

When there’s adequate space, breathing becomes relaxed and comfortable. You don’t feel the crush of your possessions piled on top of each other, towering over you, moving closer as if they want to swallow you alive. There’s room for closets filled with shelves and cabinets and drawers. When the space is too small and all your things are exposed, it begins to feel as if insects have invaded your home. You hear their jaws grinding as they move ever closer. Your skin crawls, and your limbs twitch with a frantic desire to escape the sense of confinement.

Despite the thrill of crowds at sporting events and inside bars and clubs, the human body needs space like it needs water and food. Standing in a park or at the peak of a mountain gives a feeling of calm and freedom. A large house does the same thing. A spacious bed where you can stretch out, even when someone is lying beside you, even a tall man who takes up a lot of room with his height and the heft of his muscle. A shower large enough for two, and a long counter with an enormous mirror where you can dry your hair and put on makeup without tripping over each other, a mascara wand shoved in your eye.”

Kitten Loves Logic Pro, Too! (#music #production #logicpro #ableton #push2

Well, you saw our new kitten being totally fascinated by Push2 in Ableton Live in this video, but now it looks like he loves Logic Pro, too. Even he can’t decide which one to use – lol!

Mastering with BandLab (#music #production)

Pete (Studio Live Today YouTube Channel) has been doing a series on BandLab, an online music creation tool and community. Today’s video was about the free Mastering that BandLab offers.

So I decided to check it out by signing up and doing a comparison with the unmastered version “Golden Hour,” I wrote about here vs the mastered version below.

Unmastered Version:

Mastered with BandLab:

I think BandLab improved it – it’s not perfection, but it’s better. Well, it’s louder, anyway. But it’s got me thinking about what else I need to do to my music to get it to perfection.

 

Golden Hour #Cruise #Music #FAWM

Thinking about 50/90 starting this July and with our cross-country move happening in the middle of it all, I thought I’d do some prep work. I’ve been thinking about using YouTube this time (instead of Soundcloud or BandCamp), so I started experimenting with creating a video for a particular song.

My iPad suggested a “Golden Hour” collection from some footage of sunsets at sea from our November Panorama cruise. I wondered what song would work with that.

I dug through my recent songs I created for FAWM and “Waiting,” although still in raw form, seemed like the perfect song, waiting for that Golden Hour before starting the shipboard nightlife. Btw, a great way to listen to your song with fresh ears is by changing the context. You will hear all the imperfections.