How to Tell if You’re a Writer or a Musician

So I’m watching Miss Scarlett and the Duke, cheering on this super slow moving attraction between Miss Scarlett and the Duke, thinking, “If I was a real writer, I’d go off and write my own version of Miss Scarlett and the Duke.” Instead, what have I been doing?

Well, let’s say this. I absolutely love the opening song for that show. It is so unique. And thinking I’d love to create my own version of that song, I started playing around with different drum kits. I soon give up because there’s no way I could ever come up with something like that.

And as soon as I give up, the next thing I know, I’m creating a song that sounds so in the style of Miss Scarlett and the Duke, I can’t believe it. It’s my favorite song yet. I’ve yet to finish it but thinking I’ll save it for FAWM (February Album Writing Month) of 2023.

Still, I can’t quite give up on my writing. Wondering what I will work on now that She’s Not that Good is finally released this month… Maybe I can be a writer *and* a musician.

Here’s a sneak listen at the 8-bar loop I’ve come up with. If you’re familiar with Miss Scarlett and the Duke, do you hear a similar vibe?

The Courage of Making Art

In every book I read about the artist life, one thing in common is the idea that it takes courage to do it. Especially when you’re bold enough to tell the truth. And the truth makes the best art.

I remember how exhilarating and draining it was to write my novel Letters on Balboa Island. I played my Bryan Ferry album over and over again, putting me in the mood. Many writers have spoken of those scenes that break you into a million sobs. This came close. When my mother read the first chapter, she demanded to know, “What’s this all about?” in her usual accusing manner. My father called me and wanted to talk about it because he loved it so much!

It was especially hard to tell my story in Myths of the Fatherless. Back then, we still sent out Christmas letters and I almost sent my father a different version, omitting the part about publishing that book. In the end, though, I realized that if I was going to have the relationship I hoped for, I would have to tell him about it. And so I did. He told me he read it twice right away. After that, he became “dad.” After that, he read everything I wrote.

A friend said I was courageous to look for my father and to meet him. When I told him that, he said, “It’s not courage, it’s normal.” I think both may be right. My normal desire outweighed my fears. The courage came from admitting that desire to myself. But I do think it’s courageous to reveal parts of ourselves in our art, either through words or music or paint or whatever it is that makes us feel vulnerable. A comment on social media. Even this blog post.

Anyway, the inspiration for this post today is that while I await my editor’s feedback on “She’s Not That Good,” I’m starting to organize my other wip, working title: “Burying the Dead.” And it’s killer. The truth always is.

Episode 4 of “She’s Not That Good” Live on #Kindle #Vella

 “In that moment, I knew I could no longer listen to those who whispered ‘She’s not that good.’ “ From now on, I knew I was a normal, every day, real woman, and real women were good enough. – Brandi from She’s Not That Good, a “Real Women” series.

I’d gone back and forth about naming this book–I’d thought about “Real Women Are Good Enough” because She’s Not That Good is really book 3 of the “Real Women” series (Real Women Wear Red and Real Women Sing the Blues. But it’s also a standalone–you don’t have the read books 1 and 2 to enjoy book 3–and “She’s Not That Good” just sounds catchy to me – as if it was a song – lol!

On the plus side, if you really enjoyed the previous books, well, here’s the long-awaited Mexican Riviera chapter, or should I said episode? You needn’t wait any longer–it’s now being released episode by episode via the new Kindle Vella.

We’re all learning how to navigate this new Kindle Vella episodic fiction series, but what we know now is that the first 3 episodes are free. Starting with the 4th episode, you need to unlock the story via tokens. So now… the rubber hits the road with episode 4.

So, with excitement and trepidation, episode 4 of She’s Not That Good is now live. I’ve noticed that I’ve had a few reads on the free episodes. Will somebody spend their tokens on episode 4? Guess I’ll find out.

Read Episode 4, “Embarkation Station,” here.

 

“She’s Not That Good,” 1st 3 #Free Episodes on #Kindle #Vella, Are Live

Kindle Vella is Amazon’s new episodic fiction series (similar to Radish and WattPad), and nobody really knows how this thing is going to work. But I do know this: the first 3 episodes are free and after that, if you’d like to keep reading the series, you download them with tokens you purchase.

I decided to go ahead and make the first 3 free episodes of She’s Not That Good available on Kindle Vella now with new episodes uploaded once a week. I still haven’t decided which day of the week that will be. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about:

She’s Not That Good (A Humorous Romance Novel)

Failing to launch an adult career, Brandi Redwine searches for something she is good at. After chasing music and an ex to Nashville, she returns to San Francisco feeling like a loser. Her best friend steps in and recommends her for an opportunity to compete for a job onboard a cruise ship in Mexico. Her high school sweetheart is also on board, and his girlfriend is also in the competition. Will Brandi’s future rest on one final performance, or will she realize she is good enough as she is?

Available Episodes (remember, the first 3 are free):

Episode 1, “She’s Not That Good”

Episode 2, “An Unlikely Job Search”

Episode 3, “Cruising for My Future”

Words to Live By

I’m often torn between focusing on writing novels and producing music. As if I must make a choice. And even though I know I don’t have to choose, not choosing does present a challenge of focus. Sometimes it’s difficult to be good at anything if you’re not focused on one thing.

However, my husband reminded me of this Erma Bombeck quote:


These are definitely words I want to live by.

“Everybody Lies” – Sneak Peek Short Story and Song Now on Amazon and YouTube

After my “Everybody Lies” House Remix, I created a video highlighting the song and the short story called “Everybody Lies,” which is a peek into a novel called Everybody Lies. The short story that kicks off the novel was super hot with agents. When I was making the submission rounds, that opening often garnered full manuscript requests, which was pretty exciting.

The novel is now being edited but if you want to know when it will be released, you can sign up here.

EVERYBODY LIES

Forty-year-old Sherry Boyd has never really grown up. She’s living life in a fantasy, in a world where life is played out in a Hollywood musical. The stories she heard about the father she has never met, how her parents met when her mother worked as an usher at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and of her charismatic father performing on stage have fed her own dreams to follow in her fantasy father’s footsteps.

Trouble is, Sherry is dreaming her life away instead of following her passion. When she finds herself floundering in Florida after following her latest lover, Matt, from San Francisco to Key West, she knows that something has to change. Not knowing how to dig herself out of her latest mess, she continues to repeat her mistakes of singing in jazz joints and hanging out with musicians until she finally realizes she has to confront the lies from the past to face the future.

Guest Appearances:

Monterey Jack from the Real Women Wear Red and Real Women Sing the Blues

Babs from Letters on Balboa Island

“Uncle Frankie” from Letters on Balboa Island

EVERYBODY LIES Now Available as a Short Story peek for your Kindle.

Taste of Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival and More of “The House That Built Me”

Interesting thing about that song “The House That Built Me” – it took, I think, 9 years before it became a hit. It was originally written for a male singer but none of the male artists in the Nashville scene were interested in recording it. It wasn’t until a woman (Miranda Lambert) recorded it (with one line change), that it became a hit.

I feel that song every time I visit my childhood home in Southern California, halfway (8 miles) from Disneyland and the beach. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the beach were huge influences on me (not to mention Hollywood not that far away). I used to fantasize about being discovered singing on my redwood picnic table in my backyard – like some big producer was going to be cruising down the alley behind my house, hear my voice, and say, “Stop the car! That girl is a star!” – lol!

Recently, we were at Knott’s Berry Farm’s “Taste of Boysenberry Festival” and I captured a few pics and vids on my iPhone. The best part was sitting by the stage where a DJ was playing so many songs from my “childhood playlist,” which was so awesome! I never forgot those years growing up in Southern California (Orange County).

We’re going to “A Touch of Disney” later this month, and I’m thankful to be able to get into both of these parks before they actually open because they won’t be open to non California residents, which so pains me because I grew up there and now am only 30 minutes from the California/Nevada border. Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the video (and, yes, those songs triggered copyrights claims but that’s okay. They’re important to the feel of the video and my channel isn’t monetized anyway so it doesn’t matter).

For some reason, I can’t embed it here but can link it to YouTube (maybe because it’s blocked in some countries due to the copyrighted songs).