Saturday Night Serenade–Thankful

Where has the time gone? Seems like it was just summer, and here we are just days away from Thanksgiving. 2019 has been a wild year for us. We’ve battled a serious financial downturn, spent sleepless nights worrying, struggled to hang on to our house, realized we had to let it go before it pulled us under, faced the uncertainty of ‘now what‘…

Even so, I can honestly say that I’m thankful. I believe that everything happens for a reason–nothing is random or willy-nilly. There’s always something to learn, an opportunity to grow.

I’m thankful we were able to sell the house and walk away with a little money in our pockets. I’m thankful for the cute little apartment we found in a really cool neighborhood. I’m thankful for the possibilities ahead of us.

I suppose most of all, I’m thankful for us. Throughout this entire ordeal, the best thing we had going for us was each other. Turns out, we make a great team, even through thin.

So Thursday, when we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner (with my son who’s coming in from Omaha! 🙂 ), we have a ton of reasons to give thanks.

For tonight’s serenade, I had to go with Kelly Clarkson’s Thankful. I hope you enjoy it, and that your Thanksgiving is special. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Ladies’ Night

If you missed the Academy of Country Music Awards show this past week like I did, you missed some amazing performances. Thank goodness for Hulu, which has the show in its entirety. It’s just waiting for you to stream.

You don’t even have to be a country music fan to appreciate the talent assembled at this gathering. The show was hosted by country music legends Dolly Parton, Reba McIntire, and future legend Carrie Underwood. Performances included some inspired pairings like Pink with Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks with Blake Shelton, and Kacey Musgraves with Willie Nelson singing Rainbow Connection. Don’t even get me started with Ms. Reba bringing down the house with Fancy.

But to me, the most showstopping moment of the night was the opener, a medley of classic songs, many of which were performed by the legendary ladies who made them famous. The extended production number ends with all the ladies joining together to perform Martina McBride’s Independence Day, a rousing anthem of female empowerment and a lethal warning to those who would raise their hands against their partners.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Stay warm this cold November weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–This Takes Me Back…

Ever notice how you can hear a few notes of a song and suddenly you’re transported to a different place and time?

Mr. R and I are both fans of all kinds of music, but you could probably say that our hearts belong to the 80s. Not that we agree on the same 80s genre. I was always a fan of hair band anthems by groups like Bon Jovi and White Snake, while he preferred the cool tones of New Wave. We do a lot of teasing back and forth, but I have to admit that some of what was considered New Wave was pretty awesome.

Case in point, Der Komissar. The video above is the English version by After the Fire, but the original German version was by Falco. This song takes me back to my freshman year in college. You could hear it echoing down the hallways of the dorm, and it seemed everyone was singing it under their breath as they walked to class.

I’m including another classic, The Clash’s iconic Rock the Casbah. It’s a New Wave/punk gem, and I may or may not have witnessed Mr. R wailing it karaoke-style at a birthday party once upon a time. And a bit of alcohol may or may not have been involved.

I hope you’re staying warm this November weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

P.S.–Update–Our new apartment is a couple of blocks from downtown Lake Worth, a genuine small town just south of West Palm Beach. Today we walked up to the main drag to watch the annual Veteran’s Day parade. There’s a lot to love about living in a small town. I can’t wait for the Christmas parade!

Saturday Night Serenade–Side Effects of Research

Confession…
I’m a Girl Scout from waaayyyy back, y’all. I went to troop meetings, sold cookies, the whole nine yards. I even went to camp a couple of times as a young camper, then later in high school as a CIT (Counselor In Training) which meant that I attended for free and did normal Counselor duties without being paid.

One of the things I loved most about camp was singing all the old campfire songs. After every meal, we’d gather in the center of the dining hall and sing old songs like A Ram Sam Sam, Barges, and the Billboard Song among others.

One of my favorites was The Gypsy Rover. It tells the story of a wealthy young lady who leaves the comfort of her lord and castle to run away with her Gypsy love. Go figure, I was drawn to a song about love and romance.

Currently, I’m writing the third and final book in my Redheads & Ranchers series. It’s called ANNA’S HEART, and the hero of the story is a world-famous Scottish actor. As I envisioned the story, I saw a scene where Angus would play a guitar and sing a Scottish folk song by the campfire, and the song I kept hearing was The Gypsy Rover.

So I began to do a little research. Copyright law is very particular when it comes to music. And unfortunately for me, that song, which is actually called The Whistling Gypsy, was composed and copyrighted by songwriter Leo Maguire.

But as it turns out, that song, and a handful of others like it, are based on a traditional Scottish border ballad that dates back to around 1720 called The Raggle Taggle Gypsy. Which makes this song public domain, meaning I’m free to use it in my book.

And to be honest, I actually like this song better. I found there are various versions. I chose this one because it includes all the lyrics. But I’ll add the Celtic Thunder version below, because it’s very good.

I hope you had a happy Halloween. Hello, November! I guess we’re heading full-tilt into the holiday season.

Be sure to hug those you love. Happy Saturday night!

For Your Halloween Reading Pleasure…

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They say still waters run deep.
In the little lakeside town of Midnight Cove,
still waters harbor dark secrets.

When writer Bree Blaylock rented the lakeside cottage in the small town of Midnight Cove, she didn’t count on staying in a haunted house. But she doesn’t mind sharing quarters with a restless spirit. She learned long ago that the living are always more dangerous than the dead.

She also didn’t count on falling for local lawman Jake Hanson. But life often has other ideas. Can Jake keep her safe when the past comes calling?

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Read a little teaser from MIDNIGHT COVE.

Together, Bree and Jake sank into their camping chairs.  “I suppose this crowd can be a little overwhelming,” Jake said quietly, “but they’re really nice.  You’ll see.”

Bree sipped her wine and watched as people shared embraces like long-lost friends, chatting and laughing as they did. 

The whine of outboard motors announced that another couple of boats had pulled up onto the beach.  Bree recognized the cashier from the market among the new arrivals.  Despite the cool fall evening, the young woman wore denim cut-offs so short, her ass cheeks hung out.  In the thin white camisole she wore, her pronounced nipples attuned everyone to the fact that she was cold. 

Immediately, she zeroed in on Jake.  “Hey, there,” she drawled, eyes locked on his.  “I’m glad you made it.”

“Hi, Darlene,” he answered, his tone friendly.  Bree watched him carefully, but he didn’t seem impressed by Darlene’s obvious display.  “You remember Bree from the other day.”

The woman flicked her gaze in Bree’s direction, her lips pressed together in contempt.  “Oh, yeah, hi.”

“Hello.”  Bree tried for friendly, but she felt her irritation rising.  It was the second time she’d met this Darlene, and the second time the woman had both dismissed her and fawned all over Jake.  It was sickening.

“There’s plenty of beer over there,” Jake nodded toward the collection of coolers.  “Help yourself.”

“In the Publix bag, there’s everything you need for s’mores if you like,” Bree offered helpfully, smiling.

Darlene looked at Bree for a second, then returned her attention to Jake.  “I believe I will have a beer.  Talk to you later.”

During the exchange with Darlene, another boat had arrived.  Dragging their own chairs and a cooler, a ragtag assortment of people approached the others.  Bree recognized the young woman from the bookstore.

Her smile was friendly.  “Hey, how are you?  I’m April, from the Peacock.  How’s the book?”

“Yes, I recognized you.  I’m great, thanks, and I’m loving the book.”

Space around the fire was filling in, and April slid her chair into a small gap at about Bree’s three o’clock.  “It’s one of her best if you ask me,” April said.  “How do you know Jake?”

Eyes wide, Bree looked to her left at Jake.

“We’re neighbors,” Jake said quickly.  “Bree’s a writer.  She’s renting old man Meyer’s place for a couple months.”

“Wait!”  April leaned forward in her chair and squinted in Bree’s direction.  “You’re not Bree Blaylock, are you?”

Bree nodded.  “I am, actually.”

“Holy shit!” April squeaked.  “Bree Blaylock!  I should have recognized you the other day.  I mean, your red hair should have given it away.  Holy shit!  I loved your book!”

Blushing, Bree glanced over to see Jake watching her.  “Wow, thanks so much.  I’m really glad you liked it.”

“No, seriously, Nothing Much, are you kidding me?  It was life-changing.  I read it three times.”

Aware that conversation around the fire had paused as April gushed on and on, Bree felt herself blush even deeper.  “That’s really nice of you to say.”

“Oh!”  April popped up out of her chair, waving her hands expressively.  “We should do a book signing!  My bosses are always looking for ways to get more customers in the door.  A signing with Bree Blaylock!  That would be amazing.” 

Sheepishly, the young woman looked to Bree and sank back into her seat.  “If you were interested in doing it, of course.”

Bree smiled warmly.  “I’d be happy to do a book signing if the owners of the store wanted to do it.”

April grinned from ear to ear.  “They’d love it.  I’ll ask them as soon as they come back.”

“So, Bree Blaylock, what’s it like staying in a haunted house?”  The disdainful drawl came from directly across the fire ring.

“Come on, Darlene,” Jake objected softly.

Darlene dismissed him with a wave of the Budweiser in her hand.  “We’ve all heard the stories.  There’s a ghost in that cottage.  How many summer renters have come running out of that place like a bat out of hell, never even bothering to look back?”

Determined not to let the woman get the best of her, Bree leaned back in her chair and smiled.  “I’m very comfortable in Mr. Meyer’s house.  It’s nice and quiet, and I’m able to get a lot of writing done.”

Eyes wide, April leaned forward.  “Have you seen a ghost?”

“Oh, come on,” Jake objected.  “You two can’t be serious.”

“There are stories, Jake,” Rusty commented.  “Years ago, they supposedly found a dead girl out here floating near the island.  They say they never caught her killer.”

“Every summer, a handful of Meyer’s renters leave before their week is up,” someone else added.  “They tell some weird stories.”

“That’s what it is,” Darlene purred, narrowing her eyes at Bree.  “It’s the ghost of the murdered girl, looking for revenge on the one who killed her.”

Picturing Steven, Bree tried to suppress a smile.  “Again, I’m very happy at the house.  And by mid-November, I’ll be finished with my book and out of your hair.”

Determined, she held Darlene’s stare until the other girl finally dropped her gaze.  Keeping her outward expression neutral, inside, Bree rejoiced.  You’re being ridiculous, she chided herself.  You just won a staring contest with a local grocery clerk.

Still, Bree was happy when the conversation moved on to other topics.

MIDNIGHT COVE by Pandora Spocks

MIDNIGHT COVE is currently available exclusively in fall’s hottest anthology, DARK SECRETS. Available for just .99, and free with Kindle Unlimited, this boxed set includes nine brand new romantic suspense novels that make for perfect Halloween reading.

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Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Halloween!

It’s that time of year again, time for ghosts, ghouls, and goblins to come knocking on doors, panhandling for sugary treats. Okay, there are probably precious few ghosts, ghouls, and goblins these days. More likely, we’ll see Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, and Baby Shark.

I’m excited because for the first time in years, we might actually have trick-or-treaters. Our old house was in a rural equestrian community–we haven’t had any Halloween visitors in eight years.

And while I’m not digging out my ghost stories this year, I am sharing one of my favorite Halloween songs (okay, the song isn’t really Halloween-y, but that video, though). Who doesn’t love the Backstreet Boys all dressed up for Halloween?

What’s on your go-to spooky playlist?

I wish you and yours a very Happy Halloween! Be sure to hug the ones you love. Happy Saturday night!

P.S. If you’re interested in the ghost stories, this LINK will get you started. 😉

Saturday Night Serenade–Guilty Pleasure

I’ve confessed it before. My guilty pleasure is boy bands. It’s a sickness, I know.

But when I heard about King Calaway, a country boy band, I was IN. Six good-looking young men with the harmony of angels? Oh, hell, yeah!

This video has them performing a cover from one of my all-time favorite bands, The Eagles. It’s a set they did at the Grand Old Opry, and they’re joined by the legendary Ricky Skaggs.

I know what you’re thinking. You hate country music.

Doesn’t matter. If you’re ever in Nashville and you have the chance, you MUST go to the Opry, if only for the cultural experience. It’s amazing.

Tonght, I hope you enjoy this new take on Seven Bridges Road, and I hope you’re open to giving King Calaway a chance. It will be our little secret, lol.

Have a wonderful weekend, and be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

PS: It’s my birthday this week. My Love surprised me with tickets to Les Miserables down in Ft. Lauderdale. We have discovered that while he thought he was buying them through Ticketmaster, he inadvertently used a sketchy site instead. There is the better-than-even chance we’ll get down there only to discover that our tickets are bogus. Keep your fingers crossed. We’ll let you know…