I Thought I Loved Words…

I’ve been using the iPad so much that I now have sore shoulders, sore arms, sore neck, and it hurts to sleep. So I’m swearing off the iPad. I read that this is a thing now, especially for women, this difficulty using an iPad without pain.

I use it for so many things. What will I do with myself if I can’t use it? I even use it to read. Snap! Why not get some audio books? I tried some samples and I liked it. Not for fiction but non fiction. Listening to a book on writing craft was fun. Until they spoke of their love of words.

I remember when I thought I loved words. I love the idea of words. I love the idea of getting back to writing words. But I really love the *sound* of words. No wonder I’m enjoying audio books. But I shouldn’t be listening to audio books on writing craft. Not when I love the *sound* of words. No, no, this brings me back to my love for music, the thing I’ve been running from for so much of my life. And the thing I thought I’d been running toward in recent years.

Resistance. It’s still a thing.

Gearing up for 50/90

Fifty-ninety begins July 4th and lasts through September 30. The challenge is to create 50 songs in 90 days. I think it will be an awesome way to focus.

Yesterday, I posted on my travel blog some thoughts about my childhood and how when we visited my step dad’s family in California’s Central Valley, I would leave the women behind in the living room talking about babies to sit with the men on the front porch talking trash about drinking, the neighbors, and other stuff I can’t remember while making home-made ice cream.

Anyway, that got me to thinking about how hanging out with musicians in places like FAWM and 50/90 and Sonic Academy is like hanging out with the guys on the front porch. While there are women there, the majority are men. And that’s more than okay.

I also notice that when I’m involved in podcasts and live videos in these communities, we focus on the music. Nothing else exists other than a passing comment about having more time to create music. There’s no politics. And it’s so refreshing.

So I’m thinking that maybe if I focus on the next 90 days, that when it’s over, all of this might be over. Or in a better place than where we are now. And if not, October brings Rocktober and November brings National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo), the music version of NaNoWriMo (instead of writing a novel in a month, you write an album). Maybe *then* it will be over. If not, then there’s Christmas and New Year’s and then maybe it will be over or mostly over in 2021.

 

New Cover for “Real Women Sing the Blues” for New Release of Paperback Version

I’m excited to announce the paperback release of Real Women Sing the Blues, book 2 in the Real Women Wear Red series. With that comes a brand new cover, which I’m really proud of.

Now that Amazon’s Kindle program has widened the publishing options to paperback, I’m releasing new paperbacks for my Kindle books. Because Real Women Wear Red was published before this option was available, I’m looking at republishing it in paperback on Amazon. That will make the pricing much more attractive to readers.

REAL WOMEN SING THE BLUES

RWSB_new_cover_125“In that moment, I knew I could no longer be a Wall Street monkey, and somewhere out there Blue Hawaii was calling my name.” – Robin from Real Women Sing the Blues

When the women of Real Women Wear Red return from their Caribbean cruise, each woman must deal with the consequences of secrets shared onboard ship.

Millie’s secret sends Robin reeling all the way to Blue Hawaii, and she finds herself chasing Moondoggie and singing the Blues. This sets off the “Millie Domino Effect.”

Millie chases after Robin and Monterey Jack chases after Millie.

Cyn joins Robin and Millie on the cruise when her “Cary Grant” gets too serious too fast. And Sandy runs to Cyn for motherly comfort when her shipboard romance blows up.

Four women, four islands, and a seven-night cruise to Paradise. Is there life after they go Hawaiian or will they end up singing the Blues?

AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon.com for Kindle and Paperback.

#Blogtoberfest Day 26: Unplugging in November

Instead of doing #NaNoWriMo in November, I’m going to unplug – at least somewhat. What I will not be doing (or trying not to):

  • Blogging
  • Reading on Kindle
  • Watching travel videos on Youtube (okay, maybe once a week)
  • Sleeping with my iPhone
  • Playing gin rummy on my iPad

What I hope I will be doing:

  • Practicing the keys
  • Writing songs and/or fiction
  • Reading paperbacks and/or hard cover books
  • Going to Barnes & Noble
  • Visiting the Guitar Center

I also plan to delete my LinkedIn account. I only returned because the old Lynda.com was now part of LinkedIn and they forced me to rejoin LinkedIn to access it. Each time I renew for another month, they change how they work. Now you have to use iTunes to manage your payments, which I try to avoid as often as possible. iTunes – ugh! I”d like to delete LinkedIn immediately, but I still have access to classes for most of November.

Except for Twitter, I’ve deleted my other social media accounts. Even the word “social media” creeps me out – lol!

Ah, but then there’s YouTube. I subscribe to several travel Vloggers, but I’ve noticed that by watching their travel experiences, my travel experience is diminished. It’s helpful to read about places you might visit, but YouTube vlogs kinda take away the surprise, those things you stumble upon which make your experience so much richer.

And I really dislike all the begging to subscribe and share and donate money. I definitely think I need to avoid travel vloggers. At first I thought that might be the hardest thing for me to give up, but it’s getting old and I’m not enjoying the videos as much.

I have no idea how November might change me, but I hope to update you all in December.

 

#Blogtoberfest Day 18: Writing Lyrics (the Great Juggling Act)

I’m pretty sure I won’t really be doing NaNoWriMo – oh, sure, I’ll continue to write the tome I seem to be working on when the mood strikes, ie, a scene or emotion comes to me that I must write down. Maybe because these days music is my main focus. And that is quite a juggling act.

In Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, published by Berklee Press, it says this about writing lyrics upfront, right in the introduction, the first page of the book:

You will have no trouble learning about lyric structure. It is simple, just like juggling. When a juggler keeps four balls in the air at once it may seem like magic, but there is no magic involved. The juggler learned by throwing one ball up and catching it, throwing and catching, stopping and starting the motion; always gaining greater control over the movement of the ball. Then came two balls, then three, throwing and catching, stopping and starting, with greater and greater control.

As a lyricist, you must learn to juggle four balls.

1. How many phrases does it have?

2. How long is each phrase?

3. What is the rhythm of each phrase?

4. How are rhymes arranged?

And that’s just the lyrics. Then there’s the music, and music production. Each piece requires great skill, learning the craft, and practice. And then they all must work together – prosody, that’s what it’s all about.

#Blogtoberfest Day 16: #NaNoWriMo Prep

Ever since my first NaNoWriMo about 2004, I’ve run fast from any mention of “NaNo.” What a big mess of a manuscript I wrote – something I could never edit into coherence.

The writer of this post thinks people should stop writing and start reading – that writers get way too much attention at book stores. I agree, that it isn’t for everybody and there are reasons to do it or not to do it – only you can make that decision. But here’s why I’m going to commit to doing it this year:

I’m reading the revised edition of “No Plot, No Problem” and the author made this statement:

“The year was 1999, and I was working as a writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, drinking way too much coffee and watching the dot-com boom rewrite the rules of life around me”

That was me, too!  After moving around quite a bit since then, I love the idea of reconnecting with Bay Area people who were there back then and maybe still there. But NaNoWriMo also connects me to a writing community and after writing in isolation for too many years from moving around a lot, stumbling around in the songwriting community, which is nothing like a writing community, I’m eager to reconnect with a writing community again.

So, yeah,  committing to #Blogtoberfest is the warm-up to writing every day and so I’m preparing to writing a novel during November, no matter how short or long, as long as there is a beginning, an ending, and a middle.

#Blogtoberfest Day 5: Social Media Makes You Stupid

I believe that people aren’t normally stupid. Dysfunction, inauthenticity makes people look stupid. Social media actually makes people do stupid. It dulls your brain, your thinking ability, lessens your communication/people skills.

Take writing, for example. It’s often been said that you need to exercise your writing muscle and write every day or most days to stay strong. So inactivity weakens that writing muscle. And if you’re inactively writing because you’re sharing photos and likes on social media, your brain becomes lazy.

And so I sit here day after day this October unable to focus on writing a scene. It’s like when I first started writing, only worse. Back then, it took me all day to actually sit down and write a scene. I had good intentions of starting my writing day int he morning. But I couldn’t get anything out of my head until about 4 p.m.

Now I’d be happy if I could do that. Instead, my brain is jello, my attention span is ridiculously short. It’s easier to flip through youtube channels, peek into Twitter, and play a game on my iPad. I might read, but even that seems like a challenge – all of that focus on understanding content.

This is sad and must come to an end. I must sit down  and write every day to get that flabby writing muscle in shape. Even music has become a crutch – it’s easier to open up Logic Pro and start auditioning Apple loops or keyboard a few midi notes.

Maybe that’s what #Blogtoberfest is all about for me – getting my writing muscle back in shape. A daily blog post is the warm-up, hopefully leading to writing a sentence, a paragraph, a page, three pages maybe. That used to come so easily. But one thing I’m noticing is that I feel such peace when I’m sitting down and actually writing something… anything.

 

Happy Easter, #NaPoWriMo, and #CampNaNo

Wow! So much happening on April 1st! And I didn’t even mention April Fool’s Day.

My first priority is Easter liturgy followed by an amazing brunch – details later on my other blog.

Then it’s my first poem for my first #NaPoWriMo and I might even work on a novel for #CampNaNo, although unofficially. Hubby signed up for a screenwriting challenge and I’m getting caught up in those exercises for my novel.

And then there’s sweet blessed music that pumps though my veins. I won’t be able to stay away.

 

April is Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo #CampNaNoWriMo)

I’ve been gearing up for writing 30 poems in 30 days for #NaPoWriMo this April but I’ve just learned of #CampNaNoWriMo (April version of #NaNoWriMo–Novel Writing Month). Something has got to give! After #FAWM (February Album Writing Month), I’ve decided that perhaps I should give my ears a break and write a novel and poetry instead. I can gear back up for 50/90 (50 Songs in 90 Days) from July-October.

I’ve never been a fan of these writing challenges before but, somehow, where I am in life is leading me to loving them.

I’d just joined TAXI, I still have two months of NSAI membership, recently enrolled in a Logic Pro X Music Production class and got some new killer speakers, so I am feeling a bit guilty about putting music aside to focus on other writing. But, I tell myself, it’s only for one month. I still have time for 50/90, and I still have time for the TAXI Road Rally in November.

Let’s see how this year plays out.

#NaNoWriMo, #NaPoWriMo, 50 Day Blog Challenge

Thankfully, today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, something I participated in once and never again. This year I was tempted to do something to feel part of a writing community but nothing quite attracted me. But when 3 things converged: NaNoWriMo, my subsequent discovery of NaPoWriMo (similar to NaNo but for poets), and a writer friend posted her 50 Day Blog Challenge, I decided to do a combo of all three.

Why poems? It started when I started feeling overwhelmed during this time of transition, selling our home in Las Vegas, moving back to Florida but living in temporary housing while waiting for our new house to be built. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep in the middle of the night, so I grabbed my iPhone and started expressing myself through poetry, thinking it could all be fodder for future songwriting.

Then I started getting addicted to expressing myself through poems. I also realized that those who advise you to do object writing as a songwriting exercise have it all wrong. It shouldn’t be about an object – it should be about a feeling. Certainly for me.

I think I ended up writing about 55 poems and so the challenge ends with the ending of NaNoWriMo, which ends today. I’ll probably continue to write poems because I find it quite a satisfying way to express a feeling or an idea or an observation. And it was a wonderful way to discover other poets and bloggers in the WordPress community who stopped by to follow my blog and/or “like” my poems. There are some really talented people out there.

Advent (#poem)

Her belly leaps with joy as he feels a mother’s love
And the presence, a promise of a loyal companion
A long ago story come down from above
And the reason for the season

Advent gives us hope in the midst of sin
The tragic results of a broken world
For we must repent before we can be forgiven
To do any less would negate the yes of a teen-aged girl

When a mother-to-be resists the gift
She inflicts a lifelong wound
When she cries every day, she creates a rift
One felt from within the womb

Whatever happens, we are not alone
Questions unanswered we hold in our hand
God is there and the light is shone
Someday, my child, we shall understand

A Young Girl’s Dreams (#poem)

A young girl dreams at ten or eleven
Of riches and fame, singing on stage
Elvis matinees and Beatlemania she starts writing songs of her own
She can see it now who she wants to be when fully grown

A young girl dreams at sweet sixteen strolling the streets in the city
A storefront window peeks her interest as she catches a glimpse in the mirror
The cradle beckons offering an inkling of what might become her future
Laughter, Love, a handsome man, a happily ever after

Looking back she wonders how she veered off track
Was it a lack of choice, the choices she made, or just circumstance
Whatever it was doesn’t matter now cuz there’s no going back
It wasn’t meant to be anyhow, not the dance she was meant to dance

So she picks up a guitar, a keyboard not far and she starts writing songs
Some dreams disappear and others appear
Revealing which were right and which were wrong
Following her heart all along

I Swore I Would Never Forget (#poem)

I swore I would never forget
What it was like to be young
To stay out late
To play loud music at the guard gate
Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and ‘girls just wanna have fun’

I swore I would never forget
What it was like to be a child
To wake up early
To play with my brother’s cars instead of dolls
Beatles and Elvis and ‘born to be wild’

I swore I would never forget
What it was like to feel desire and love
To risk it all
To be with the one I could not stop thinking of
A look, a touch, a ‘kiss is still a kiss,’ a sigh, a smile, and everything that makes life worthwhile

I swear I will never forget…

Pain (#poem)

Pain fills the earth like a landfill on the outskirts of town
You can hide it, deny it, dull it, or spin it around
Food, drink, plastic, sex, beauty, fame
Marketing and big business using us, making money off our name

As the pain lessens, the poems weaken
The good news is, there’s been some healing
We scratch our heads, we begin to wonder
How can I profit from my blunder?

If others take advantage, why shouldn’t I?
A book deal, record label, a business online
Go for the numbers, that’s the big secret
Sell your soul, sell to the idiots

 

The Fool (#poem)

If a fool babbles like a baby, like a child gone wild, flaunting social conventions to speak the truth
Then I guess I’ve been in awe of a fool since the days of my youth
For the fool is the ultimate storyteller, risking it all to tell the tale only he can see
After all, it’s his POV

I never heard a song about a fool I didn’t like
One of those words we no longer hear, perhaps it’s unPC, when truth is considered unkind
Perhaps because today there is no right, there is no wrong
But that’s what made us survivors, that’s what made this country strong

Idiots will always be drawn to what’s being sold to the masses
These are not fools, there are clowns in sunglasses
The rest of us must idly stand by, holding our sides, shaking with laughter
The morons calling the fools names, as we are helpless to stop the latest disaster

Mothers & Daughters (#poem)

Mothers and daughters can love and can hate
The relationship can change from age to age
Some things remain the same and this is what the world knows
But only those in the know can know and this really blows

To be so close yet never know them at all
The facade they show their mother and at the Kingdom Hall
Years later a clue leads you to truth you resist
Nothing makes sense until you see through the Narcissist

These daughters of these mothers are their own special breed
For most of their life they’ve been down on one knee
Until this moment when they seize the day
Leaving behind chaos and walking away

Dear John (#poem)

I did not know you, no you were not the first man to break my heart
The sadness came when the other man, the one I knew first turned out not to be who he claimed to be
But once I knew you, I couldn’t understand how we’d been kept apart
Once I knew you, I couldn’t understand how you could walk away, once you knew me

She wrote you a letter with ink and a feather that started with “Dear John”
You were fighting a war so far from home, and she threw you over for another man
You got drunk on bad rum screaming about the stranger who stole your wife and baby – would it be a son?
But daughters need fathers and didn’t you think she’d grow up some day with a hole in her heart where you should have been?

She heard many stories of a tall handsome hero with charisma who sang and danced
She came looking for you with a heart you held in your hand
On the day that she met you she was too late to impress you for your heart to someone else it belonged
She sent you a letter with ink and a feather that started with “Dear John”

The Promised Land (#poem)

Tiny little towns lie in the Valley paved with gold
Pickup trucks and cowboy boots lined with filth
Rickety shacks and outdoor houses she didn’t have to choose
Coats catching fire, coffee burns or so I’ve been told

Two families from the same place take different paths to the Promised Land
One chose north, the other chose south, but it didn’t really matter
Picking fruit or Hollywoodland, mine chose the latter
I ended up with the one that was fake, but I played in the sand and got a nice tan

Too young to understand what true love is, it’s not for me to say
It’s not what I would have wanted for her, but others wouldn’t have changed a thing
It’s their version of the Promised Land of sun and Golden grain
Muscle beach, curly hair, eyes of blue, and a quick roll in the hay

They hold on tight to the lie he didn’t give her a ring
Those are the same who like to say I have no legitimate claim
This is about my life, I say, this is not some twisted game
Close to my heart for so very long, it’s my God-given dream

Another Kind of Freedom (#poem)

Getting your driver’s license when you turn 16
Some wanting it more than anything
I don’t know why I resisted
I surrendered when my mother insisted

Parents terrify you when you’re learning to drive
White-knuckled and buckled, praying to stay alive
I remember a story about a girl barely surviving
Those teen-age years with more worries than driving

The first time I solo’d in that blue Chevrolet
On Oregon back roads once we left L.A.
I knew then my first taste of real freedom
Cars would forever beckon like a beacon

California Screaming (#poem)

Tom Petty sings about it, where life is messy
A world without dads and cold spaghetti
The California dream has its limitations
In a land of make believe and illusions

They looked at me with awe and envy
I couldn’t complain, every day was Thanksgiving
Seen through their eyes beyond their reach
Me living a perfect life at the beach

It came as a surprise when I realized
My dad was not my dad but a dad in disguise
I had to smile and hide my real feelings
Wondering about my “real” dad and if I had other siblings

Years later I found him with other children
They didn’t want to know me for I had been hidden
Don’t believe what they say when you’re California dreaming
You might just end up California screaming