One Chapter and Half a Song a Day (#FAWM)

In my last post, I was debating whether to FAWM (February Album Writing Month – write 14 songs in 28 days) or not. After all, I really need to finish editing draft two of my wip. But today is the last day of January. Tomorrow is February 1st. What will I do?

The first thing I’m going to do is “suit up and show up.” The other thing I’ve come up with for a little more direction than just showing up (which can be powerful) is to edit one chapter a day (seems doable) and write half a song a day. The latter is where I must trust that by showing up, the half song will come to me.

The real trick is not to over think. “Analysis is paralysis” as they say.

 

To FAWM or Not To FAWM (#FAWM #amwriting)

I’ve been gearing up for FAWM (February Album Writing Month) by immersing myself in tutorials, both on Logic Pro and Ableton Live. I’ve even been test driving the new OVOX by Waves, released at NAMM in Anaheim. I was thinking that now that the Blog Promo Tour for DejaVu at the Blue Diamond Saloon ended at the end of 2019, I’d be free to focus on music.

Well, since that tour, I’ve been noticing a resurgence in book sales. So now I’m wondering if I should finish my wip and skip FAWM this year. There’s so much pressure putting my music out there and in the middle of this in-between period, waiting for our new house to be built, I’m not sure I’ve got the energy for it. Writing may be more appropriate this year. But I’d hate to miss out – the FAWM music community is pretty awesome. And I’d like to create some new music.

Hmmm….

#1 EDM Artist in Las Vegas on Reverbnation

Wow! The thing I thought would never happen happened! Screamie Birds is now the #1 EDM artist in Las Vegas on Reverbnation.

I’ve bounced around between #2 and #10, but mostly keeping steady at #2. Last week I went from #2 to #3. But now, for the first time I’m the #1 EDM artist in Las Vegas on Reverbnation. I thought it would never happen! So stoked! Time to create some music!

He Threw Away His Life Today (#poem)

I knew I wouldn’t sleep
When buried thoughts are swirling deep
Knowing today that somebody threw their life away

Anger bubbles to the surface
Knots in my neck are certain to worsen
Gifts unused when others suffer abuse

Looks, talent, and charm
Can somehow do more harm
Conniving plans, using others on shifting sands

The loving embrace of a father and mother
Is more than what comes to many others
Betraying the Faith to turn away and become the snake

I searched for the family I never knew
I found love, hate, and ridicule
You and I were kindred spirits, writing songs with endless lyrics

We prayed and offered shelter
Your lies became helter skelter
I’ll cry tomorrow when anger turns to sorrow

Was the rush worth it?
The high of a hit to the lowest of pits
Killing love and all that is Sacred above

You lost so much when so small
The Devil chased you down the hall
I thought you’d outrun him, but the ending of the story is sad and grim

Tonight I won’t be sleeping
Tonight I won’t be weeping
Knowing today that somebody threw their life away

Book in One Hand, Transistor Radio in the Other

This is how I’ve been describing myself since I first started writing and publishing on my web site. The funny thing is, later in life I met my father and discovered this whole musical family of mine. In fact, several family members are friends with Metal Christian group Stryper and Michael’s mother told me that the first time she saw my grandfather, he had Uncle Steven in one hand, and a transistor radio in the other. Talk about coming full circle.

Anyway, I found this 50th birthday video with his parents, and I can see why they would be friends with my grandparents and family. Each discovery helps me piece together my identity and the connection I have with my musical family, taking it all in, looking for the path to my future.

Party Like It’s 1999: 20 Years in Review

Here we are waiting for our new home in Las Vegas to be built remembering how this same time of year twenty years ago, we were also waiting for our first home to be finished. We got the keys April 13, and that’s about when the new house will be finished. 1999 was also the year we went to Walt Disney World together in May, and were determined to move to Orlando, because we knew we couldn’t possibly do all of Disney World the way we wanted all the way from San Francisco.

We traveled a lot that year. Besides WDW, other highlights were celebrating a milestone birthday for Rich at Bellagio in Las Vegas (pool cabana), and then we took Rich’s parents on a cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary. What a year!

Since then we moved to Oregon 3 times, Florida 3 times, California for the 3rd time, and Las Vegas 3 times. We’ve built 4 new homes (1 was a spec), and this will be our 5th. Oh my goodness! When we first left the San Francisco Bay Area in search of our own home, we had no idea we’d own so many and have such adventures. Not always easy, but they’ve made our life interesting and memorable and I can’t imagine missing any of it.

But besides the homes, we’ve loved and raised 7 kitties, said good-bye to 5 of them, met my father, wrote and published 6 novels, and am now writing and producing music.

It’s time to party, and we’re gonna party like it’s 1999 (counting down to the new house), dreaming of a Disneyland AP and a cruise in 2020!

Happy New Year!

Blogmas, Day 31: Unplug, Cut the Cord (Resolutions for #2020 #blogmas)

Today is finally the end of Blogmas (for those of us who kept blogging past Christmas), and the last day of 2019. It’s been a lot of fun discovering new bloggers who are also doing Blogmas. Which brings me to today’s post and unplugging and cutting the cord.

We already cut the cord when we dumped our cable TV for streaming services. First we tried HuluTV, which really sucked. We also tried DisneyPlus, which was fun for a few weeks until we caught up with all the new shows. And then we switched HuluTV to YouTubeTV, which is really cool, which is so funny, because as a content provider, I so dislike how YouTube works. But as a TV and music consumer, I’m really loving it.

I already unplugged from most social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc) but was still pretty active on Twitter. But it’s becoming so dissatisfying. So I’ve decided for my 2020 resolution to unplug from Twitter – at least take a break. I’ll keep the account (many of my Reverb contacts are on Twitter), but maybe not post or hang out there much. I prefer hanging out with other bloggers or even vloggers, for that matter, for those moments when, as an artist, you feel the need to connect with the world in an interesting but introverted way.

For example, while I’m writing this, I’m watching the latest vid from Best Life and Beyond on YouTube, giving me a peek into Disneyland, the next best thing to actually being there, while working on a song and some writing. Social media is mostly a time waster.

 

Blogmas, Day 30: End-of-Year Ableton Live Progress (#blogmas)

Many of you blogging this blogmas have mentioned the books you’ve enjoyed reading over the holidays. And in the past, that might have been me, too, especially if you mean fiction. But this year I’ve been cramming learning Ableton Live, taking tutorials and reading non fiction books. Gearing up for FAWM (“February Album Writing Month”), I guess

Logic Pro X is my DAW of choice but as an EDM producer, I wanted to learn Ableton Live. It seems so suited to the music genre. But it’s been quite a struggle in some ways, in others it’s been a breeze. I think that’s because each DAW specializes in different areas. I can sit down and start creating a song right away in Logic Pro, in Ableton, it seems the simplest things are the most difficult. But when it comes to mastering more of the advanced features in music production, Ableton seems to do it much more easily.

And while I’ve been madly applying myself to music tutorials for Ableton, I stumbled upon some really cool ones for Logic Pro, too, and have learned some interesting things I’m quite excited about. What to do, what to do? Ableton Live or Logic Pro? Well, I suppose I really don’t have to choose because I imagine it’s good for a producer to know more than one DAW. The real choice is which one do I use in the moment? lol!

There are a lot of tutorials out there, but it can be challenging following along. Sometimes they use third party plug-ins that you don’t have or their techniques zip past you so fast, you can’t possibly keep up. I’ve probably tried dozens just on one site. Anyway, here’s a sample song I managed to figure out in Ableton Live (via Groove3) from programming drums and synths to mixing and adding special effects such as EQ, reverb, and automation.

Blogmas, Day 29: Best Elvis Tribute Artist (#blogmas)

So I guess I’m going to do this thing until the end of the year – lol!

Today’s Review Journal was a reminder of those we’ve lost this year and the photo of Trent Carlini, my favorite Elvis Tribute Artist, caught my attention. I saw him years ago in the “Legends in Concert” show. Afterward, he hung out with everybody, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Blogmas, Day 28: Winter Wonderland in Las Vegas (#blogmas)

When it snows in the surrounding mountains, the Las Vegas Valley takes on a beautiful hue. The only downside is that it can make  travel to/from Vegas a a bit of a challenge, often resulting in being stuck due to road closures. We usually don’t make travel plans this time of year or book a flight if need be.

From today’s Las Vegas Review Journal: