“She’s Not That Good” Goes Cruising…

I just returned from 7 nights on the Carnival Panorama still in her inaugural year that was cut short due to, well, you all know. She’s a beautiful ship, the cruise fare was a bargain, and no flights were required. Besides all that, I was hoping that freshly back from a cruise experience, I’d be overflowing with ideas on how to finish She’s Not That Good. I think I’ll have to wait. Why? Too much reality interferes with my imagination – lol!

What I will say is that my favorite part about cruising, besides being at sea, is being able to casually drop in and listen to a live band. Our favorite this cruise? The House Rock Band that played in the Ocean Plaza Bar, the best kept secret onboard the Panorama. We grabbed a couple glasses of wine and sat outside where we could take off our masks and still enjoy the music. I listened to the beats and my muse can’t wait to get back into the studio to write some new music.

But first we kicked off the cruise by indulging in the tasty “Orangesicle” (think “Pina Colada”) at the Tides Bar in the aft pool area.

The other favorite spot was actually the Atrium, a redesigned space on the Panorama that I wasn’t too fond of at first. Until I had a Tequila Sunrise, an old favorite cocktail from my youth, at the base of the Atrium. The atmosphere was much better, to me, lower rather than higher.

And I think that’s another favorite thing I like about cruising, Carnival cruising, in particular. I feel young again. And now I may be inspired to get back to writing.


Aft Pool, Carnival Panorama

Orangesicle, Tides Bar

Prosecco and White Wine, Ocean Plaza Bar


Tequila Sunrise, Bahama Mama, Panorama Atrium Bar

Using Push with Logic Pro 10.7

Torn between Ableton Live and Logic mostly because of my investment in Push, I started playing around with the Drum Sequencer in Logic using the new 10.7 record feature, and Push as the controller. It was a little wild, but so freeing and fun! Here’s a little clip of me jamming on the drums.

“Don’t Judge the Past by the Present” and Other Advice for Writers

“Don’t judge the past by the present.” – The wisest thing my mother ever said.

Today there’s a lot of judging about the past in the media. As I mentioned in my previous post Writing for Today’s Reader, there is also a lot of rewriting of history in today’s movies, TV shows, and plays.

The thing is, if you haven’t lived it, you might not know the true meaning of it. So often I see this on “The Voice.” The younger singers, even if they’re not that young, weren’t around when the song was first around and so they don’t get the nuances or know how to fully emote. Their technical skills are incredible. But the song falls flat because they don’t know how to convey the emotional meaning of the song.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. And one of the books is Dawn Eden’s The Thrill of the Chaste. We’re both Catholic converts and I’ve enjoyed two of her other books (My Peace I Give You and Remembering God’s Mercy). In “Chaste,” she mentions the song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles. She says this:

“She’s not looking for affirmation so much as absolution. All her man has to do is say he loves her–then a night of sin is transformed into a thing of beauty.”

“If the Shirelles tune were to be written today, the singer would likely have to lower the bar down to “Will You Respect Me Tomorrow?”–if even that.

Dawn is a talented writer but how did she miss the meaning? Perhaps because she wasn’t around when the song was first around. All she knew were the facts of who wrote it, who recorded it, when it was released, etc. But having lived through that time, even though I was just a kid, I knew–we all knew--that the real meaning behind the question of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” was really “Will You Respect Me Tomorrow?”

I don’t know how old “John from Nashville” on Songfacts is, but he got it right when he said, “This song is a clever way of saying ‘Will you respect me in the morning if I go home with you tonight?’ ”

My advice to writers? Talk to people who actually lived it, if at all possible. Instead of quoting tweets, for example, dig deeper to find the real meaning and the work will stand out.

Writing for Today’s Reader

“Even if you write historical, you must write for today’s reader.”

I recently read something like, “Even if you write historical, you must write for today’s reader.” And that, my friend, is why I find it so difficult to find a book to read or write. I never thought I was old-fashioned until now. The world’s values have changed so greatly, and I’m just not into it.

I’m often drawn to watching historicals on TV, but I’ve noticed how they’re pretty much rewriting history for today’s viewer with today’s values. That is such a turnoff for me. But I get it, I really do.

For example, I read a sample from Good Enough: The Myth of Success and How to Celebrate the Joy in Average by Eleanor Ross where the author stated that Millennials have felt so much pressure to excel their entire lives and it’s all become too much. So now they just want to be mediocre and that is good enough.

I get that, really, I do. Because it’s swung all the way to the other end from when I was growing up. And why my generation, so many of us repressed and told we couldn’t do things, decided to stand tall and say, “I’m amazing and I can do anything I want to do.” Then, perhaps, they pushed their kids and the next generation or two to be all you can be. And that’s too much pressure for anybody.

This whole write for today’s reader idea is why, I’m thinking, I cannot finish writing She’s Not That Good or start something new. Because if the story question is how she’s struggling to achieve anything and finally when she does, she’s feeling pretty awesome, well, that’s going to turn off those Millennials who are struggling with the opposite problem.

Then, again, I have no problem writing music, at least not dance music, for today’s generation. Music seems to reach across generations so when somebody calls my track “dope” or “smokin,” I’m quite pleased. (They used to say my characters were “fabulous.”)

I really haven’t been able to write much ever since social media took over the world. So many thoughts and ideas battling around, I feel like I have nothing to add, like I’ve said everything I have to say, and it’s time for music now. Or at least express my thoughts in sound, poems and lyrics.

 

What’s Your Story Question? My Top 5 (#Preptober #NaNoWriMo)

We must write or paint or make music that pleases us, and,  we are fortunate, what we love will be loved by others, too – Writing the Novella by Sharon Oard Warner

Thinking “She’s Not That Good” may make for a better novella than novel, I’ve been reading “Writing the Novella” by Sharon Oard Warner. The current chapter I’m reading is “What’s the Story Question?” This, of course, has led me back to my previously published novels/novellas and those story questions. For example, here are my top 5:

1. Real Women Wear Red – Is pink a woman’s favorite color from childhood to grave?

It was the chick lit heyday and pink was hot – not only were covers in pinks but one Bachelorette had a completely pink wedding. And while I have worn pink many times, I never forgot those candy apple red shoes I just had to have when I was about 8-years-old. So, naturally, just to be different, I had to write Real Women Wear Red.

This was my third novel but the first to get an agent and publishing contract.

Btw, one woman told me, “Real women wear whatever color they want to wear.” Of course, but for my book, I chose to highlight red, considered to be a power color.

2. Real Women Sing the Blues – What if you left your corporate job to pursue your dream?

The sequel to Real Women Wear Red where I explore the idea of leaving behind the corporate life to pursue your dream, something we probably all think about. Personally, I started with writing and moved into music.

3. Letters on Balboa Island – What if a woman regrets leaving behind the one who got away? What if she could have made a different choice?

This book was a very personal story for me because it was a fictionalized version of my mother sending my father a “Dear John” letter and then marrying somebody else, who I grew up calling “dad.” I liked to think she’d had regrets.

4. Myths of the Fatherless – What if you meet your father for the first time that you can remember as an adult?

The story idea in #3 was so strongly-felt for me that I had to write a nonfiction version of my search for my father.

5. Déjà at the Blue Diamond… – What if a psychologically abused woman imagines her second husband is her first husband in disguise?

Okay, so this one is a little far-fetched. In fact, the opening scene came to me in a nightmare. I couldn’t let the story idea go so I had to write the book. Originally, it was called “Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon” but some thought the word “saloon” made it sound like a Western so I left off saloon, even though my ear liked the lyrical rhythm of it.

So what is the story question for “She’s Not that Good?” Is not knowing her true identity getting in the way of pursuing her real dreams of career and romance?

Do you often consider the story idea before writing your book or does it just unfold as you write?

End of September #Free #Book #Kindle #Deal

To celebrate the end of September, my parents wedding anniversary (the 25th) and the end of 50/90, Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond… will be available to download on Kindle for $0.00. This #Free promo runs from Sunday, September 26 through Thursday, September 30.

I’m also hoping this will get me in the mood to finish my romantic suspense novel in progress. 🙂

To find out all the juicy details and to watch a sneak peek video, check it out – Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond…

“Girl on the Run,” Song #51 (#50/90) or Musicians Gotta Make Music

Just when I thought I was finished with 50/90, having created 50 songs in 55 days, I just couldn’t stay away from music. I took some time off and wondered why my week sucked. So I had to get back into the studio. And here’s one of the versions of what I created, “Girl On the Run,” song #51, an exercise in Logic Pro Future Bass experimentation and remixing.

Hope you enjoy.

July (#Lyric #Poem)

And July goes on and on and on
Hot days, long days
Never been a fan
Except for

Birthday parties, frilly pink ribbons
Angel food cake and pink frosting
Ice cream on a fancy plate
Pink candles lit on the cake

And July goes on and on and on
Hot days, long days
Never been a fan
Except for

Playing catch in the street
Disneyland fireworks in the sky
Roy Orbison on the hifi
Ice clinking in the glass
After Shirtless dads mowing the grass

And July goes on and on and on
Hot days, long days
Never been a fan
Except for

Koolaid, popcorn and Beatles 45s
Never heard the F word or “Not gonna lie”
Motown, Photoplay, days at the beach
Coppertone, skates and surfboards,
all within my reach

And July goes on and on and on
Never been a fan
Hot days, long days…

#Free Download of “Real Women Wear Red,” the Prequel to “She’s Not That Good”

When 40-something Kate “Cyn” Francis changes her name, her hair color, and her age in order to snag a younger man on a Caribbean cruise, the last thing she expects is to fall overboard for a Cary Grant look-alike.

Sandy Brown, 20-something and eager to get over a broken heart, is also looking for love.

Millie Evans, having recently sold her publishing empire, is on a succession of one-week cruises, looking to reconnect with a past love.

But this is no ordinary love boat. Three women, three generations, all connected in an unexpected way. And it’s more than sharing the same motto that “real women wear red.”

Free download for the next 5 days.

Read She’s Not That Good on Kindle Vella 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”