Saturday Night Serenade–Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Tonight on HBO they’re airing the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert.  Mr. R. and I look forward to this concert every year.  It brings together some of the greatest musicians of the age and suddenly magic happens.  Last year, nobody was surprised when Green Day, Joan Jett, and Ringo Starr brought down the house.  But a couple of years ago, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens blew everyone away with Peace Train.  Who saw that coming?  I love the unexpected gem.  Consider this a bonus track.

This year’s inductees include Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A., and Steve Miller.  Tonight’s serenade by Cheap Trick is from a 2010 SXSW performance.  It’s not as polished as the official video, but I love a live performance.

By the way, Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson was in the news this week.  The father of a child with autism, he and his wife Alison have started a program called Rock Your Speech, a music project designed to help kids “find their voices.”  This is from his website:

Rock Your Speech uses songs and lyric videos to build language skills in children with autism. Listen to the music, and you’ll hear useful phrases and sounds, such as “I’m hungry,” “What’s your name” or “I don’t feel good.” Repetition techniques teach language simply and literally, and since it’s truly rock and roll, the music appeals to all ages. Watch a lyric video, and you’ll see how words and images work in tandem to reinforce language skills and show the mechanics of speech sounds.

Tonight, Mr. R. and I will snuggle on the sofa and tune in to the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, watching for this year’s little surprise.  Hope you enjoy these tunes and have a very Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Purple Tears

We lost another one this week.  I’m left wondering if it’s happening more often or if I’m just getting older, as are the iconic artists of my lifetime.

I was never what I considered a huge Prince fan, never went to one of his shows.  But many of his songs are in the soundtrack of my life and I always appreciated his musical genius.  He sort of reminded me of Mozart in the movie Amadeus.  He was talented and quirky and unbalanced.

Television and the internet have been awash in all kinds of tributes.  Some of it is over the top in my opinion.  Those folks hanging out in front of his house in lawn chairs and stuff…What’s up with that?  Oh, fun fact I heard in one of the tributes–Prince wrote many songs for other people, including Manic Monday by the Bangles.

Many criticized and ridiculed the period of time he changed his name to a weird symbol, but I sort of got it.  The record company owned ‘Prince’ so he ceased to be that for the duration of his contract.  Big companies seem to think they hold all the cards.  I know an author who, in leaving a publishing company, has forfeited rights to two of her books until 2018.  It’s kind of crazy.

He kept a pretty tight lid on his work, too.  There have been several times I wanted to feature Prince here on SNS but it’s always been next to impossible to find a video of his to post or share.  My favorite song is Raspberry Beret.  For some reason it reminds me of summer.

I couldn’t find a satisfactory video of that song, but I did dig up this terrific performance from the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Watching it was a reminder of the talent we lost.  I hope you enjoy the clip.  Happy Saturday night!

Shameless Book Plug–Launch Day!

RR3 out todayToday launches Ransoming Redemption, the final book of the Rannigan’s Redemption series.  It’s been a long labor of love and while I’m thrilled that the whole story is now available, there’s a bit of sadness mixed in.  I’ve loved these characters and it’s hard to say goodbye.

But, neurotic soul that I am, I’m already hip-deep in two more projects to be released in the not-too-distant future.

You can get the entire Rannigan’s Redemption erotic romance trilogy at these fine online booksellers.

Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, & Smashwords


Saturday Night Serenade–Maybe I’m Amazed

Tonight’s song is Maybe I’m Amazed, written by the amazing Paul McCartney.  He wrote this song just before the breakup of the Beatles and he dedicated it to his wife, Linda, whom he credited with getting him though that difficult period.

Say what you will about Paul McCartney’s recent romantic history, Linda was the absolute love of his life.  This was evident in the songs he wrote, the way he spoke about her, even the way he looked at her.  Losing her to cancer was devastating to him.  They had an amazing love, one we’d all be blessed to find.

For tonight’s serenade, this classic Paul McCartney date night song is performed by two of my favorites–Norah Jones and Dave Grohl.  I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Saturday night!

Only In South Florida–Your Moment Of Holy $#!t

This unbelievable video was shot this week by a local paddleboarder.  The location is uncomfortably close to where we go to the beach.  It’s the beach where my boy and his lovely bride were married last May.

I mean, you always know sharks out there, right?  But seeing this is a huge reminder.  They’re OUT THERE.  Which is why I prefer to enjoy the ocean from the sand.  Yep.  The sand is just fine for me.

Saturday Night Serenade–All In The Name Of Progress

Last evening, Mr. and I spent a lovely date night at one of our favorite places, Guanabanas in Jupiter.  I’ve mentioned Guanabanas before.  It’s a little outdoor restaurant/bar along US1, between the road and the Loxahatchee River, all lush tropical plants, sail shades, and tiki huts.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening; the sky was a crisp, clear blue, there was a light breeze, and the temperature was in the high seventies.

We had what we decided was the best table in the place, a high-top in the bar area across from the tiny stage and backing up to the waterfall.  Settling in after a long work week, we nibbled on their smoked fish dip and shrimp fritters as he sipped his Arnold Palmer and I opted for their Cat 5 hurricane, which, like its namesake, will knock you on your ass.

It was such a pleasant way to end the week, but I couldn’t help but feel worried.  Making our way to the place was quite a hassle.  There is extensive roadwork being done in the area and we found ourselves dodging orange barrels and road workers as they were ending their day.  It seems that someone finally realized there is a shit-load of money to be made by developing the waterfront area there in Jupiter.  And to that end, they began making road improvement (read widening) efforts even before their plans to purchase a huge chunk of property and build a massive commercial abomination were ever approved.

The developers don’t seem worried.  It’s the old Golden Rule:  He who has the gold makes the rules.  And while the fate of Guanabanas is uncertain at this point, there’s another Jupiter waterfront treasure which seems destined to become what was.

The Square Grouper* is a tiny outdoor tiki bar hidden away down a back street, a stone’s throw from Guanabanas and right on the Jupiter Inlet.  It’s a place where locals hang out, maybe because it’s not easy to find.  I love this bar.  It’s completely outside, right on the water.  The floor is sand, palm fronds from a small forest of trees shelter patrons from the sun, and there is a tiki stage that almost always features live music.  You can sit listening to music, sipping on something rummy, and watch pelicans and stingsrays and paddleboarders…  It’s paradise.  For now, anyway.

I’ve seen the proposed plans for the urban monstrosity developers want to build there.  It will be all concreted over and there will be shops, restaurants, and high-rise, high-rent condos.  If there is something left of Square Grouper, I can guarantee locals won’t darken the door again.  We made a point of taking my son there when he was home a few weeks ago, mostly because, as I told him, there’s no guarantee it will still be there next time he’s home.

Which brings me to tonight’s song.  I’m pretty sure I’ve posted Five O’Clock Somewhere before; it’s a great song.  But if you’ll notice the part where Alan Jackson is at a bar, it’s Square Grouper.  The video is old; they’re spruced up the place a bit since then.  But having once been a resident of Jupiter Island, Alan Jackson was known to just show up at the place and play a set every once in a while.  It’s that kind of place.  That’s what we’re losing.  Which is sad.

But for now, pour me something tall and strong.  It’s five o’clock somewhere.  Happy Saturday night!

*Square grouper–a bale of marijuana found floating in the water or washed up on the beach, having been tossed overboard to avoid legal entanglements.

Shameless Book Plug–Ransoming Redemption

Book 3 3DIt’s that time again, friends.  Thanks so much for indulging me.  My newest book, Ransoming Redemption, the third and final chapter in the Rannigan’s Redemption series, comes out on April 18.  It’s the story of the complicated relationship between Manhattan attorneys Michael Rannigan and Maggie Flynn.  The advance buzz is very positive.

Here’s an excerpt.

Standing in the empty parlor three steps down from the entry, Maggie’s gaze traveled from the intricately designed hardwood floors to the crisp white crown molding, halting in amazement on the ornate stone federalist fireplace.  Winnie was giving a running narrative though Maggie only half heard her.  “Now you’ll notice lots of original details throughout this property.”

“When was this house built?” Michael asked.

“Got to be late 1800s,” Maggie murmured thoughtfully.

“1890 to be precise,” said Winnie sounding pleased.  “You know your architecture.  It’s believed that it was originally built to be the home of a gentleman’s mistress.  He set her up in grand style.”

Maggie giggled.  “Ooh, how scandalous!  What an interesting history.”  She walked the perimeter of the room.  “Michael, do you see the wood inlay in the floor all around the edge?” she asked, stooping to lightly caress the design.  “This is just exquisite.”

She turned to Michael suddenly.  “You’re not seriously considering moving?”

He shook his head.  “Nah, this would be an investment.  I wanted your opinion on the place, though.”  Crossing to a bay window that overlooked the sidewalk and street, he sank onto the seat and put his oxygen back in.  “How about you look it over for me and see what you think.”

Winnie nodded.  “If you go on back, you’ll see they’ve upgraded the kitchen while keeping the original style of the place intact.”

Maggie continued down the hallway past a formal dining room and into the kitchen.  As Winnie had said, it was spacious and open, boasting high end stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops, but nothing overpowered the original stone floor and fireplace.  At the end of the room was a space for a breakfast table and beyond that, tall vintage French doors.

“Oh, Michael, there’s a yard back here,” she called, letting herself out into a small gravel courtyard dominated by a huge old oak tree and edged by landscaping beds.  There are probably tulip and daffodil bulbs that pop up in the spring, Maggie mused.  The brick walls of the garden were covered with ivy.

She returned to the parlor.  “Michael, this is absolutely amazing.”

“You like it, then?” he asked, seeming pleased.

“It’s beautiful.  Maybe you should think about moving,” she said.

“You haven’t seen the upstairs yet,” Winnie reminded her.  “This house has four bedrooms and four and a half baths.  The master suite takes up the entire second floor.  Two bedrooms are on the third floor, and there’s a smaller attic bedroom at the top.  Oh, and the basement is finished.  It’s perfect for a home office or a gym.”

Maggie had just started up the stairs when Michael called from the window seat.  “Hey, Mags?  Do you have a couple of dollars?”

“A couple of dollars?”

“Yeah.  I want to buy a newspaper.”

“Michael, I’ll buy you a paper on the way home.”

“There’s a little store on the corner,” he hooked his thumb toward the window, “I just forgot my wallet.  Can you loan me some money?”

Maggie returned to the living room.  “Oh, for fu-,” she glanced at Winnie, “I mean, for Pete’s sake,” she muttered as she dug though her purse.  “Here’s five bucks.  Honestly, I would be happy to get your paper when we’re finished here.”

Michael flashed his best grin.  “Thanks, Mags.  By the way, can you sign as a witness?  I’ve decided to buy the house.”

Maggie frowned at the document in his hand.  “We haven’t even looked at the rest of it yet.”

“I’ve seen the pictures.  And judging by the way you like this floor, I’m thinking this is a good deal.”

She took the document from him, her brow furrowed in thought.

“Maggie, wait until you see the claw foot tubs in the bathrooms,” Winnie said.  “And they’ve maintained the vintage tile on the floors and walls.”  Maggie looked up from the contract.

“Just sign below me, Mags,” Michael said, pointing to the line.  Distractedly, she took the pen from him and quickly signed her name as Winnie continued talking.

“And the master suite has its own original fireplace similar to the one down here.  Let me show you.”

Taking one last look at Michael, Maggie dutifully followed the realtor up the stairs.  Michael smiled smugly to himself.

On the ride back to the east side, Maggie couldn’t stop talking about the house.  “Michael, it’s an amazing find.  A townhouse from the 1890s in such pristine condition?  It’s absolutely beautiful.”  She looked at him sharply.  “What about your newspaper?”

Michael waved dismissively.  “Oh, I changed my mind.”

Maggie shook her head.  “Unbelievable.  And I can’t get over you making an appointment to buy a house on Christmas Eve.  Who does that?”

Michael and Maggie shared a Christmas Eve dinner of Chinese take-out on the living room coffee table in the sparkling glow of the tree.  Following dinner, Maggie completed her preparations for the next day, including an inventory of the bar.

“Michael, what is all this champagne for?”  With her head in the cabinet, her voice sounded muffled.

He waved a dismissive hand.  “It’s left over from your birthday.”

“That’s a lot of leftover champagne.”

When she finished checking on the turkey brining out on the terrace, she returned to the living room and sank onto the huge leather sectional.  Michael poured bourbon for both of them and they sat in comfortable silence, sipping and admiring the holiday lights reflected in the windows.

“It’s pretty,” Michael murmured, nodding toward the tree.  “I can’t remember the last time I bothered to get a tree.  Can’t remember the last time I stayed in town on purpose for the holiday, come to think of it.”

Maggie sipped her drink.  “Yes, the tree is beautiful.  And it’s nice, having Christmas at your place this year.”

He smiled.  “It is.  But I say that before we’re overrun with guests.”  They both laughed.

Michael’s expression turned contemplative.  “Are you happy, Mags?”

Bobby’s face popped into her mind and she turned to him, smiling.  “I am very happy, Michael.”

His eyes narrowed thoughtfully.  “I mean everything.  Bobby, work?”

Her left shoulder came up and she tilted her head.  “Well, work, you know.”  She pursed her lips and looked down.  “I realized something recently.  Since my time in law school, I wanted to be a prosecutor because I wanted to make sure that justice was served.”

She snorted, shaking her head.  “How fucking arrogant is that?  I’m going to right all the wrongs, protect the public from the bad guys.  I’ve been so full of shit.”

Michael smiled sardonically.  “Yeah, I wasn’t going to bring that up, but…”

“You’re an asshole, you know that?” she laughed, tossing a wadded up napkin at him.

“It’s just who you are, passionate about everything.  I’ll never forget Mary Margaret Flynn, marching herself into my office and telling me that we should support local business instead of corporate greed.”  They both laughed and resumed watching the tree in silence for a while.

Michael retrieved the bourbon bottle to top them off again.  “Ever think about finding a different job, maybe with a firm that doesn’t do criminal law?”

She shrugged lightly.  “Maybe, I don’t know.  Bobby and I have talked about it a little.”

He met her eyes, his gaze intense.  “He’s a good man.”

“Yes, he is,” she agreed.  “I’m a lucky girl.”

Michael looked into his glass and swirled it gently.  “When I go, I want to know that you’re happy.  It’s important to me.”

“Stop it!  I hate it when you talk like that.”

“It’s going to happen,” he said softly, not looking away from his drink.  “Not talking about it doesn’t change anything.”  His eyes met hers.  “You deserve to be happy, to have everything you want.”

“Well, I can’t think of anything I need.  I’m gainfully employed, I have a man who loves me, I have friends who support me.  In a week Bobby’s moving in with me and we’ll start looking for a place together.  I’d say I’m pretty much set.”

He watched her thoughtfully for a moment then lifted his glass.  “Merry Christmas, Mary Margaret Flynn.”

Maggie smiled ruefully at his use of her full name.  Again.  “Merry Christmas, Sean Michael Rannigan.”

Ransoming Redemption is out April 18, and it’s available now for pre-order at these fine online booksellers.

Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, & Smashwords

Not all caught up on Rannigan’s Redemption?  No problem.  Resisting Risk and Running Rogue are available now at those same retailers.


Saturday Night Serenade–Yeah! Oh Yeah!

It’s Saturday once again.  What a difference a week makes.  Different week, different mood.  Last week I was feeling all mellow, in a James Taylor frame of mind.  This week I’m feeling punk.  And a little something else.

I’ve always said that I want to be Joan Jett when I grow up.  She’s fierce and unapologetic, breaking gender stereotypes and boundaries since she started her career. Consider a tiny sample of her playlist: I Love Rock & Roll, I Hate Myself For Loving You, Bad Reputation?  Please!

Mr. R. and I have had the good fortune to see her twice in concert.  If you ever have the chance, run, don’t walk, because she’s amazing.  The first time, we were probably twenty feet from the stage.  One of the first things you notice is the way that she constantly engages her audience.

“She’s totally flirting with me,” Mr. R. said.

“No, babe, I’m pretty sure she’s flirting with me,” I replied.

Obviously, I had to include the official music video featuring Ms. Joan Jett herself.  But I couldn’t resist posting this version with classic 80s and 90s movie clips.  Different week, different mood. Hope you enjoy.

Oh, Mr. R……

Happy Saturday night!