Monday, May 2, 2016

Janis





Tomorrow night, May 3rd, PBS will air a documentary about one of my favorite singers, Janis Joplin. If you can get it in your area, I highly recommend watching it. Janis and I go a long way back, starting to when I was about 18-years-old. I had dropped out of everything and was living a nothing existence—I'd even quit my crappy retail job—and was feeling letdown, lowdown and very, very lonely when my friend's mom looked at me and said, "You know, you remind me a lot of Janis Joplin." At the time I wasn't happy about it. Why? Because Janis had never exactly been considered 'attractive,' in society's often short-sighted viewpoint, that is. Another thing is that over time she had been relegated to a dirty sect of the music world which consisted of hippies and hard-livin' drug addicts. I didn't want to be like her, I wanted to be all the things stupid young girls think they should be, so I brushed the comment off my shoulder and left it behind like an unwanted candy wrapper. Stupid me.

One night I was up late watching a news program when a story came on about Janis's old town of Port Arthur, Texas. A group of fans wanted to erect a memorial commemorating her life and, sadly, her death, but the townspeople said they didn't want it because Janis wasn't exactly what you would call a role model. My jaw dropped. I was in shock, total shock, and I literally started crying. Looking back, I can see so many parallels between Janis and myself. We both grew up in an environment where our quirky artistic ways were often teased and misunderstood; and we often felt alone and were often made fun of for our looks.

As soon as she could, Janis left Port Arthur. She traveled twice to San Fransisco in search of a freer lifestyle, taking Kerouac's On The Road as a lifestyle choice, not just a literary adventure. For her, life was an adventure: all to be tried, tasted, loved, sung about, and moved on from. She was a beatnik, not a hippie. And, oh my God, could she sing. Janis possessed a voice that could harmonize all by itself—she had the rare gift of being able to sing three notes at the same time. This gift led her from a life of great unhappiness to being hailed as one of the greatest singers ever born. All it took was a lot of determination and a balls-to-the-wall attitude. And boy did she have attitude.

And yet Janis remained insecure and stayed that way. Those close to her often comment on it, saying how much they wished she could reach some kind of inner security, I guess you would call it peace. Another thing I identify with. Janis's downfall was letting those demons lead her to alcohol and heroin, and mine has been allowing others to control me for their own needs because of my fears of not being good enough. I feel like Janis can teach us all a lesson about tenacity and self-reliance. People hurt her, but she didn't let them stop her. Her life was hers to live, and she carved it out every inch of the way.

Sadly, her addictions proved to be too powerful. Saddest of all was the fact that she had 'cleaned up her act' for nearly six months before once again succumbing to heroin. It was a freaky thing that happened, her usual drug dealer was out of town and Janis, alone and with too much time on her hands in an L.A. hotel room, went ahead and bought an untested batch of heroin from a trial dealer. Had she known a group of other users would overdose from the same dealer that weekend, she might have held off for a while longer. Janis died alone and was found hours later, too late to save. It is heartbreaking, and yet I guess it was meant to be. In time and all things of the Universe, it must have been part of the plan, but, seriously, what a shame.

A few weeks ago I was belting out Janis songs in my house and out of nowhere I 'felt' her voice sing through mine. It happened again a few minutes later.  Then a few days after that I felt a cold wet hand touch me on the shoulder and I thought to myself, it's Janis. I'd like to think I had spiritual contact with the beautiful rock star (and she was beautiful!). But, who knows? What I do know is I love her, and every day is a monument to the insecure girl with a voice of primal joy and and tenacity and hope and fire. God rest her amazing soul.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

New Cover Reveal: The Love Seekers

Finally getting to see the cover artwork for a new release is truly one of my favorite things on this earth to have happen. It never gets old. All that writing, the editing, the query letter, more edits, really difficult edits . . . it's all worth it to arrive at this day. My wonderful publisher WiDo has been producing some serious eye candy when it comes to their new releases, and I'm thrilled to be among their group of writers. So, without further ado, here is the new cover for The Love Seekers, last in the Seeker trilogy. It shows lovely Emma, and the snow encased Aspen mansion she finds herself trapped in--memories of lost love, children, ghosts and all. I hope you like it.

To carry along with this topic, I'll ask you this: What is one of your favorite things in the world that happens only every once in a while, and do you do anything special to celebrate the happy occasion?

As always, thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Saw this ad in an old magazine and thought it was looked just like Emma and William in a scene from the upcoming book, The Love Seekers. She's gone back to see him, or has she really? Maybe she's merely dreaming, of a time that is theirs alone . . . It's 1960-something, Greenwich Village, the wailing, soulful voice of Dylan is in the air, Kennedy is still alive, and there's love, love, love.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

So Romantic

Here comes a long string of self-flagellation (promotion) for my new novel The Love Seekers, which pretty much captures the sweet sensitive times (like a renaissance) of the 1980s. Big hair, eyeliner, neon socks. And guys who feather their bangs and stare into young girl's bedrooms? Ew . . . not sure that was ever okay, but you gotta love the way he tries. He even has his own carpet. Just a word for the ladies out there, if a guy's got his own mat, steer clear. It ain't gonna lead to nuthin' but trouble.



This guy can sing the phonebook, and Google. He makes it look so passionate and like, golly, we really want him to get his youngin'. Not really. I like his striped shirt though.

Sick. 

You know, if this song wasn't about what it's about, I'd really like it. He really can sing his tight jeans off. What do you think? Is there anything you loved so much, but couldn't have, that made you drop quarters in a greasy flying payphone all day?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Day the Music Died

In 1959 a small airplane crashed into an Iowa field just minutes after takeoff. Aboard that plane, one of music's greatest vocalists and visionaries. A cold blizzard scuttled across the wreckage, obscuring it; the silence was deafening. Back at home, a beautiful wife carried his child, yet grief would take the child as well. He wasn't just a rocker, he was a composer. A Mozart. But most of the world saw him as a stuttering clown in black-framed glasses. Buddy Holly, RIP.




Monday, February 1, 2016

Music and Life

Wanted to drop in and say that I'm STILL HERE. Currently I am working on what looks to be the last round of edits, fingers crossed, and so far things look good. The sun is shining today and it's not as cold as they said it would be. Are they ever right?

I was thinking the other day how much music, namely rock and roll, influenced my life growing up. Things are so different now, music is so different, but when I was a kid we had the radio on all the time. And it's like we were always thinking about music. I have to get that song, when's the DJ gonna play my song, I've got my tape ready, will he talk through the intro, will I hear it again in an hour or so? Every night we stayed up until 9 to watch music videos on our local channel. We didn't have cable, but at least we had that show. On Friday night we stayed up past Johnny Carson to watch Friday Night Videos, then the Saturday video countdown, then on Sunday we listened to Casey Kasem's top 50—once after church, then again on repeat. Before going to bed we'd listen to our favorite station and in the morning more and more and more. I don't know if it's even possible to love and consume music as much as we did back then, because the songs are so self-absorbed now. They used to be about life and relationships, and now they're just about . . . something else. There were real problems in music back in those days (not too long ago) . . . life problems. And when YOU had problems, it was like they all made sense. Once time I had my heart broken and every song on the radio in my car was a love song and it hurt sooooo bad. That's the power of a good song.

Anyway, sometimes I'd give anything to go back and be surrounded by a wallpaper of rock and my favorite bands. It was fun.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holidaze



photo credit: Piled High via photopin (license)


It seems unreal there's another book coming out. How weird. When people ask, "What do you do?" It's hard to admit that I'm a writer. It's like saying, I'm a big phony, or I love myself, or something cheesy like, I'm special. It just doesn't feel right. But I am a writer and love every second of it. Always been lonely, always been happiest by myself, and so writing is like that little ingredient of happiness where there's always been a void.

What do you love to do?

By the way, it doesn't look like we'll have much snow this Christmas. I feel bad because in my heart I wanted a mild winter and was enjoying the very spring-like temperatures, however, the kids were really looking forward to some of the white stuff coming down. I remember one year while we were doing our shopping I said to them, "Oh, look at all the snow! What a blizzard! We'd better hurry up and get into the store before we freeze our butts off." Then we sang "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" while walking through the parking lot, much to the amusement of passersby. There wasn't a flake in the air or a touch of frost anywhere to be seen, but for that moment it felt like we were in the North Pole. If there's one thing I want my children to have, it's a good imagination. And you can't cry over spilled milk if there isn't any milk in the first place. Or snow.

Here's another question for you: What is your favorite Christmas song? And your most hated? And . . . what is your favorite Christmas memory? Or any winter holiday memory . . .

I hope you're having a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping by.