Jaclyn Excerpt and 50/90 Track Peek (#50/90 #music #amwriting)

Because we’ll be on the road at the beginning of 50/90 (50 songs in 90 days challenge), I’ve done some prep work. And one of the songs I’m working on is called “Jaclyn,” who happens to be the leading lady in “Jaclyn,” the novel. I know, I know, I keep saying I’m no longer writing and then I can’t help myself.

Anyway, here’s a riff from the track followed by an excerpt from the novel.

Jaclyn
Excerpt

Chapter 1
Los Angeles
1965

Jaclyn watched Beau carefully, reading his deep set deep blue sea eyes, open, trusting, and his relaxed demeanor, all six feet two inches spread evenly over the recliner’s body. He didn’t suspect a thing. She was sure of it, and reading people was what had empowered her to do the things she did.

She almost regretted doing what she had to do next.

Finishing the last of her beer, something she indulged him in when it behooved her to garner his favor, she stood up and asked, “Want another?”

He flashed her his boyish grin the way he did when he was off duty, on one of the rare occasions when his head wasn’t full of the gruesome details he encountered on a daily basis as a police officer in Riverside, California, one of the roughest squads in Southern California outside Los Angeles, that is.

Fooling him was all the sweeter because it was his job to read people. She was that sure of herself, and that knowledge kicked her even higher than she already was when she was in the middle of one of her lies. But then, what wasn’t a lie when it came to Jaclyn? She was born to lie. She giggled whenever she floated that phrase around her head.

She carried the empties to the kitchen, popped the top on another bottle and handed it back to Beau. “It’s time to pack,” she said and sauntered down the hall to their bedroom, careful to wiggle her ass in the sexy way he liked it because she was pretty sure he’d turn to watch.

Another woman might have leaned down to kiss him, but she didn’t go for public displays of affection, even in their own home, unless it was necessary to achieve her end. Besides, Beau was more into using his mouth for kissing other parts of her body, something he excelled in. So why waste a kiss?

She opened her suitcase and carefully placed neat rows of clothing and toiletries, and was about to close it when she felt a presence. She looked up and might have been tempted to jump, except for being skilled in hiding her visceral reactions. Beau was leaning against the bedroom door frame watching her.

He took a pull on his beer, leaned his head back, and grinned a different sort of grin. It was a bit of a sick grin, the kind of grin a cat might flash a mouse when he was about to pounce.

For the first time, she felt shaken, willing the uneasiness coursing through her legs to stop. She almost acknowledged his odd look and insist on an explanation. Put him on the defense as she often did. But her cool head prevailed and she continued as if she hadn’t noticed a thing.

Jacklyn clicked the locks on the suitcase, turned to Beau with her usual sweet smile, “Honey, help me get my suitcase to the car,” she said, as if everything was as normal on this day as any other day, although she can’t remember when she last lived what might be considered a normal day. But, perhaps, this was how all people lived their days, in a state of concealed chaos.

“What’s your hurry?”

“Honey, I’ve got a plane to catch. You know that.”

He looked her up and down, put the beer down on the dresser, and pulled her by the waist toward him, his strong hands rubbing up and down her ass. He whispered in her ear, “One for the road?”

***

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Kathy

Synthwave Takeover Plus Addicted to the Alexandra Mallory Series (#amreading #amproducing #notwriting)

I’m now on book 10 (The Woman in the Storm) of the Alexandra Mallory series by Cathryn Grant. I’m hooked! Binge reading. This is so unusual for me these days. To find one book, let alone a whole series I can get so immersed in. That’s because Cathryn Grant is a brilliant writer. And it doesn’t hurt that we have such similar backgrounds. I can so “relate” to the character, setting, the writer’s voice, writing trajectory, Silicon Valley career, super strict religious background etc. (see Writing is Murder: Motive, Means, and Opportunity).

Ironically, though, I think that is who I used to be. I’m now immersing myself in electronic music, my passion far stronger than writing, as it turns out. Cathryn inspires me to think about getting back to writing, but as soon as I sit down at my desk, I see my music keyboard and microphone and get totally lost in creating some music. Other than an occasional scene, my wips just can’t get any traction. Music has always been my first love and once I said that out loud, I had to ask myself why I was pursuing a career in fiction instead of music.

Speaking of music, as I prepare for 50/90, I’m also excited by Sonic Academy’s “Synthwave Takeover” going on in the month of June, starting today. Don’t think I’ll be able to participate in the remix contest, though, since we’re getting ready to move cross country. But SynthWave is an interesting, retro genre that I’m more than a bit interested in. Who doesn’t love 80s music? Especially in a new, fresh way.

Fantasy Studios: A Piece of My Berkeley Days (#music #producer)

So when I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area, at one point I was freelancing as a production editor at McGraw Hill Publishers in Berkeley, who were leasing a suite from Fantasy Studios, at least they were in the same building so I’m assuming that’s how it worked.

The three things I loved about that:

  1. Working for a publisher
  2. The sunset views of the Golden Gate Bridge where we stopped what we were doing every night to take a breathtaking look
  3. Fantasy Records (we would sometimes see big names arriving in limos)

Well, I hadn’t thought about any of this in quite a while until I was listening the other night to  KCSM, a San Francisco Bay Area Jazz station on the internet (my favorite Jazz station), and she mentioned Fantasy Records, the home to many, many jazz artists, not to mention bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc). And she mentioned one of the artists had recorded a particular song at Fantasy Records. It’s now gone, but the memories live on.

Who knew all these years later I’d be a published author and creating/producing my own music?

Sunset Behind the Golden Gate Bridge

Fantasy Records Lobby

When I Met My Father

When I met my father, I had to reorder everything I thought I knew about myself. About him. About her.

I sat in the back seat of his car, directly behind him as I listened to the timbre of his voice, not the rich baritone I’d become accustomed to growing up with the man I thought was my father, which was just one thing I could barely wrap my head around.

I stared at the back of his curly white hair, noticed the blond, freckled forearms, so unlike the brown skinned other dad, who I could never look like. Or be like.

As the weekend progressed, I saw more and more of myself, not just physically, but in our interests, the jam on our chin at breakfast, and the way we respond to the world, the impulsiveness, the quick but short-lived temper. But mostly the music. The music blasting from his headphones as he sat alone in his recliner, totally immersed in the sounds flooding his ears. Mostly jazz and RnB with an occasional pop song by Bobby Darin.

This week we inch forward to the overwhelming praise and worship of mothers, whose job is very hard, no doubt about that, but, still, things are not always as they should be. Far from it. So, I’ll pay tribute to the romantic, larger than life man who was and is my father who never stopped loving my mother. Who said, “I’ll always have San Francisco.” I believe she still loved him at the end, too, if it is possible for her to love at all.

So here I sit at 5 am, missing my dad, and thinking about these 2 favorite Bobby Darin songs.

Beyond the Sea Live version with a drummer solo

2021 Accomplishments, 2022 Goals

I couldn’t let this year pass by without acknowledging what I’ve accomplished artistically in 2021.

The top 3 accomplishments of 2021 are:

  1. FAWM (February Album Writing Month) in February – write 14 songs during the month of February. I believe this is the first year I met that goal
  2. 50/90 (write 50 songs in 90 days – I wrote 60) – meeting that goal was also a first for me – my top 12 (plus a bonus track) were uploaded as an album on Bandcamp.
  3. NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) – I managed to use all 12 of my membership feedback credits, which is another first for me

The top 3 goals for 2022:

Upgrading my Reverbnation account to Pro for 2022. As for the rest, I haven’t really locked this down yet. Under consideration:

  1. FAWM
  2. 50/90
  3. NSAI
  4. Ableton Push
  5. Fiction

As vague as usual when it comes to writing vs music. Some things I will just have to let unfold.

Wishing you all the best in 2022!

“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

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.