When the World Shouts…

I pull back and get quiet. Perhaps because I’m an artist, an introvert, independent, intelligent, and prefer long, deep conversations over wine with one or two people. I don’t need the world to shout at me to “get it.”

Growing up in Orange County, California in the 60s/70s, I lived in neighborhoods filled mostly with White people, a few Mexicans, a couple of Asians, but no Blacks. In high school, there was one Black girl, who was quite popular. It was during that time that I was exposed to the book Black Like Me and that’s all it took for me to be touched in a big way. But, as the author says, “Whites will probably never fully understand the Black experience.”

My mother was proud of me for my attitude, maybe because my step dad’s family was from the Central Valley via the South and didn’t speak well of Blacks (I won’t say what they called them). As an adult, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and was exposed to cultures from all over. Often I would talk about my friends to my mother and when she met them, she’d say, “You didn’t tell me she was Mexican” or whatever. I never saw my friends that way.

But let’s not deny that in certain circumstances, we also become afraid of people who are different than us. When you’re afraid, that’s when you notice the differences: race, culture, gender, class, etc.

I totally dislike the mob mentality, and the bullying that goes along with it on social media. Half demand you “stand” with them or you’re complicit. And if you do “tand up,” then the other half say you’re doing it for show. I’m starting to see pressure on YouTubers to “stand” with then and not post. And then people on Twitter, well, nobody’s happy with how you’re doing it if you’re doing it or you’re not doing it.

I hope when we come out of this, we realize what a waste social media is. It’s all just a bunch of noise. And that makes everything worse.

 

Stuck in the Middle With You (#stayhome #OpenAmerica #BlackLivesMatter #protests)

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

One day social media-ites are shouting #Stayhome on Twitter, outraged on YouTube if anybody even thinks about going out as we begin to #OpenAmerica. And then, the next minute, just as theme parks, Las Vegas, and churches are allowed to crack open a door, going through triple flips to adhere to strict precautions, swarms of people standing shoulder to shoulder (with/without masks) are protesting not only all over America, but in several parts of the world, too. Yes, it’s horrendous in the middle of this bizarre time of our lives. But really? This boggles my mind. No wonder the lyrics “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” from “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel, 1972 come to mind. (Yep, that’s me, circa early 70s, in my redhead phase).

[No intended meaning about this song beyond a 1970s teen-ager’s interpretation of the lyrics “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.”]

Getting My Publishing Rights Reverted for “Lucky’s Last Chance” (formerly known as “The Tom Jones Club”)

After five years, I was finally able to get my publishing rights reverted for my romance novel, The Tom Jones Club, now released as Lucky’s Last Chance. As a hybrid author (traditionally published and self-published), I can say that it’s pretty awesome to finally have control over this book. It’s now available for Kindle, but will be expanded to include other formats.

Let me know if you’d like to review it (leave a comment here or use the contact form). The previous reviews will be lost now that the original version has been taken down.

LUCKY’S LAST CHANCE (previously published as The Tom Jones)

“I can tell what kind of man he is by the wine he drinks.” – Lucky

 

International wine director Lucky Stryker, the “Lucky Lady,” is lucky in the boardroom, but unlucky in love. But the last thing she expects is to land in the arms of a cowboy one hot night in Vegas during the Tom Jones Club convention. A hot week with a cowboy in Las Vegas is one thing—eternity is another.

Fearing that any woman will leave him the way his mother left his father, Eric Blake chooses women who are guaranteed to fulfill that prophecy. And Lucky Stryker is no exception.

When Lady Luck spins the wheel of love, Lucky and Eric cash in on a red hot sizzling romance. So when their pasts catch up to them, and neither is who they appear to be, they are forced to answer these questions, “Can their hearts keep the promises their bodies have been making?” and “Will they finally get lucky in love?”

READ Review.

AVAILABLE NOW on amazon.com for Kindle.

Broken (#poem)

Broken into many pieces
My identity is lost
How can I be put back together
Will anybody fight my cause?

The house of cards has many dads
I wander from sea to sea
I place my deck on the table
Searching for someone to believe

Coming home is a dream come true
Has that much time really passed?
The feelings I hold are strong and old
To out play, out wit, and out last

Back Off Boogaloo (#Covid19 #Music)

Another song that’s been playing in my head is Back Off Boogaloo by Ringo Starr. At first, I couldn’t remember where I’d heard that phrase. Thinking it might be a song, I then searched on YouTube, and sure enough, found it.

I think this song came to mind because so many of our rights and freedom were taken away by false data. And, in my opinion, governors overstepped their power, at least without going through Legislation, especially for a lengthy amount of time. Several states are suing.

Doncha sometimes just wanna say, “Back off Boogaloo?” Now that gives real meaning to “social distancing.”

Nowhere to Run (Official Song of “The Bob”) #Covid19 #FlashbackFriday

We all react to this “thing” differently but sometimes the same. We’re not “in this together,” but we are all “in this.” Who can escape it? No wonder the song that’s also been playing in my head is “Nowhere to Run (Nowhere to Hide).” I know I sometimes prefer to run away. I certainly like to have the option even if I don’t act on it.

So I had to track down the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas “Nowhere to Run” song on YouTube. Interesting one of the commenters said “this should be the official song of the Coronavirus.” Another commenter said that when “there’s nowhere to run, you turn around and fight.” We see this happening now as things are starting to open up. Dine-in restaurants are opening (with protective measures in place) here in Nevada, but today the governor also granted permission for restaurants inside casinos to open (with protective measures in place).

But have you come to totally dislike the idea of the governor’s power? Before, he (or she), seemed more like a figurehead, or certainly harmless (unless you’re totally political, which I am not). I’m watching with interest those who are suing their governors (like the Wisconsin case). There’s having the power to call a state of emergency, and then there’s infringing on people’s rights, because it’s a perceived threat. Oh well, I’m not really political so I should stay out of it, but I just have this feeling that this has not been handled well.

Like church. I’m a bit angry that I can’t participate in church right now. It’s true, I can “watch” liturgy and mass and various services online, but after a while, I feel like I’m an observer, not a participator. I, at least, want to be a passive participator, not just an observer. Some Orthodox churches (Greek and the OCA) are allowing a few members (10) to participate, as long as you sign up with the priest. But Catholic churches are still shut down until the end of the month at least.

I have to give kudos to a bishop of the Orthodox Church of America (OCA) who said “the governor didn’t shut us down, and it’s not his place to open us again. That’s on me.” I kinda wish the Catholics would say the same, although those churches are so huge, not sure how they will open up. At least, the Roman Catholics, but not the Byzantine Catholics, which are usually quite small.

I’ve discovered I’m feeling more peaceful about having my own prayers with incense around my home church and choosing my own studies than I am watching somebody else perform/participate in the liturgy/mass. At least I’m participating. Watching isn’t good enough. Watching doesn’t count.

And now, here it is, the official song of “The Bob.” Oh yeah, that’s lifting me up!

While we’re at it, why not this song, too?

Wake Me Up When It’s Over

After way too much “exposure” to “The Bob” as my writer friend Pat Bertram calls this current situation, I’ve decided to take a break from social media (for me, that means Twitter and LinkedIn) for the rest of the month. Or longer. Okay, then, just wake me up when it’s over – lol!

I’ll be writing, producing music, and blogging. I’ll be far happier and productive. I just can’t stand the many layers of stupidity and politics everywhere I turn.

“Miss You” by the Rolling Stones has been playing in the jukebox in my head for several days now. Maybe because I do “miss you,” meaning I miss the world doing so many interesting things, I can’t even begin to know about them all. Because it’s obvious too many are doing nothing. Hiding under their bed. Counting meaningless numbers. All to prove something I don’t need proven in order to live my best life. It’s serving somebody else. Not me.

Listening to and creating music, reading and writing stories, and visiting places – that’s what home is to me, that’s what family is to me. And I miss them all.

Or maybe this song is apropros today.

Freedom, Vinyl, and the Power of Music

So we’re moving into a new home in the middle of this “thing” and I run across my box of old vinyls from the 60s and 70s. Including the Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” which is ironic because I’ve been trying out the Abbey Road Studio plugin.

The whole vinyl thing took me down memory lane, my childhood in SoCal, summers at the beach, Disneyland, or listening to 33s in my garage with my sixth grade “boyfriend.” This made me so very happy with much emotion and longing, I had to stop working. I had to sit down and immerse myself in that era and I began to listen to the Rolling Stones – on YouTube, not vinyl. I no longer have a “record” player but I need to get one pronto.

The irony is all my vinyls are either Elvis, the Beatles, or Tom Jones – lol! No Stones in sight. Why, I don’t know because they were a favorite. Anyway, here’s the playlist I’ve been grooving to.

“Gimme Shelter” really stands out, which may seem like an odd choice, but maybe it’s because we’re been going through this whole “shelter in place” thing, which is so depressing. Not that I’m not getting out as much as I ever did. But it’s the mental prison that’s the most debilitating. I applaud the rebels. It’s time to find a way to live our lives amidst a crisis.

So, instead of staying too tuned into Twitter or LinkedIn, etc., well, it’s no wonder I’d rather reach back into the past to better times, even during a war of a different kind. At least we had our freedom. Even if it was an illusion, because, for all intents and purposes, it was real.

At least, I can touch the past in the present when I play the music. That’s freedom. And that’s the power of music.

Adding Music to Las Vegas Strip Video

Las Vegas seems to be getting busier (certainly the traffic is picking up), and there’s some conversation about opening in mid- to late-May. So maybe there are people out there working on preparations. It’s hard to say, but I certainly hope so. Let’s learn to live with this, taking precautions but taking steps toward opening up.

Anyway, I chose to upload some video I’d taken of the Las Vegas Strip before Covid-19, and I added some Screamie Birds music to it as an experiment (the music is added sporadically throughout). It was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to making more music to video.

Chasing Moondoggie (Real Women Sing the Blues)

I was thumbing through my Southern Califiornia beach videos this morning and thinking about my childhood and the movie, Gidget, I created a video of some of that footage. Gidget was one of my favorite movies (definitely swooned over Moondoggie), so inevitably, one of the storylines in Real Women Sing the Blues is a new character, Robin, joining the characters of Real Women Wear Red, to chase after her Moondoggie.

REAL WOMEN SING THE BLUES

“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 Kindle and Paperback.