Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #3: Good to Be Alive

It’s been a busy week, friends.  We waved goodbye to my folks, who were visiting from the wilds of Pennsylvania for a few days.  Mr. R got his first listing–a little townhouse in a great neighborhood.  Fingers crossed, it sells quickly.

My former employer, the school district, reminded me why I left them prematurely.  They made my last paycheck about a quarter of what I was expecting.  When I called to inquire as to WTF, I was told that I’d receive the rest of my deferred salary on June 30.  “But we have to eat NOW,” I replied.

But it’s all good.  It’s the end of June, y’all.  And hot!  And that’s okay.  I love the free spirit of summer, the exuberance of it all.  It’s good to be alive.

Tonight’s serenade is Andy Grammer’s Good to Be Alive.  Which just feels cheeky and summery to me.  I hope you’re enjoying your summer evening.  Next week, we’ll be talking about the 4th of July, can you believe it?

Hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #2

Happy Father’s Day to you!  How’s your weekend going?  Mr. R and I just survived a visit from my folks.  They mean well, but it’s nice to have our house back to ourselves.

For this second week of Summer Songs, I’m pulling out REM with Stand.  I’ve always loved this song, and for some reason, it feels like summer.  Maybe it’s the travel vibe.  Given the proper amount of liquid encouragement, I could even join in on the line dance they do in the video.

I’m not sure we’ll be going out for Father’s Day–we did a great deal of running around with the parentals all week.  But Mr. R has a pop-up beach cabana coming his way.  Shhhhh…

This weekend, be sure to celebrate the dads in your life.  In addition to gifting your dad with the tacky ties, weed whackers, and golf tchotchkes, let him know how much he’s loved and appreciated.  A big hug ought to do it.

And dance along with me if you’re so inclined.  Happy Saturday night!

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #1

Isn’t June glorious?  Warm weather is back with a vengeance.  Our local drought is over, thanks to the nearly eight inches of rain we received in the past week.  Mr. R. and I spent an amazing Memorial Day at the beach a couple of weeks ago.  The water was cool, but calm.  We carried our noodles in and just floated.  I’m in the mood to hit our favorite outdoor hangouts like Square Grouper and Guanabanas, where I can sip something fruity/rummy/icy cold while gazing out over the water.

Tonight kicks off 13 weeks of some of my favorite summer songs.  Now through the end of August, I’ll be posting songs that feel like hot days and balmy nights, like lazy times spent doing what you like with those you like.  Recalling more innocent, optimistic times.

For me, The Go-Gos feel like summer.  I love this version, because it’s recent.  It’s encouraging to see the heroes of my youth still doing their thing.

I hope you enjoy this nostalgic summer romp.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

The Next Adventure

retirement1

I’ve been counting down the days and it’s finally here.  I am no longer employed by the School District of Palm Beach County.  I finished up my duties, cleaned out my room, brought WAY too much stuff home, and said goodbye to folks who’ve been my colleagues for the last thirteen years.  Okay, maybe not ‘goodbye’, we’ll be getting together over adult beverages on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.  But we won’t be working together.

Lots of people have asked the question, “What are you going to do now?”  Having left the District, I’m finally free to answer.

Two years ago, June 7, I (accidentally) published my first novel.  How I did that accidentally is a long story.  Suffice it to say, there has been a steep learning curve. And had I understood the depth of my ignorance about marketing, promotion, SEO, graphic design, formatting, etc., I would never have had the courage to try.  Ignorance can be a huge asset, it turns out.

Let me put in a plug for self publishing.  Indie publishing is a growing industry.  In the past, the large publishing houses have been the “gatekeepers,” determining what literature the reading public has access to.  That meant little variety–they’re only interested in a return on their investment.  But like iTunes and YouTube did for Indie music, and Sundance did for Indie films, Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital are allowing authors to get their work out in front of the reading public.  Buying an Indie book is the literary equivalent of ‘buying local.’

A few years ago, under the pen name Pandora Spocks, I started writing literary steamy romance just as a hobby, really, a creative outlet.  After a while, I began publishing chapters online, and I discovered that people liked what they read.  Eventually, I published the entire book, chapter by chapter, on a blog.  Along the way, I met other writers who independently publish their work and I began to wonder about doing it myself.

My books are spicy, y’all.  I promote them as ‘Smart, Sexy Romance’.  They’re heartfelt, deeply character-driven stories punctuated by the occasional steamy love scene.  Think of them as the thinking-girl’s romance.  Like Fifty Shades, but more literary.

Today, I have seven books available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and several other outlets you probably never heard of.  My goal by the end of August is to publish my next steamy novel, and to write a nonfiction book about classroom management, to be published under my own name.

I mentioned marketing.  I’m active on social media every day as Pandora.  You can find me in these places:

Website: PandoraSpocksAuthor.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2rwR5Lv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PandoraSpocksAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PandoraSpocksWP
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PandoraSpocksAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14080322.Pandora_Spocks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pandora.spocks.author/

Steamy romance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But if you enjoy a nice hot love story, I hope you’ll check it out.

Saturday Night Serenade–Saturday Night and We In the Spot…

It’s done.  I’m officially retired from education.  My last day was Wednesday, but I volunteered the final two days to maintain the continuity for my students.  My feelings about the whole situation are more complex than I’d anticipated.

The job is difficult, with rough kids and an Administration who bullies and abuses teachers.  Leaving to write full-time is a dream come true.  But having identified as a teacher for so long, it’s a little weird.  I’m sure I’ll find my way.

Mixed emotions aside, I’m still in celebration mode.  Which brings us to tonight’s serenade, Uptown Funk.  I love this performance from Saturday Night Live.

Hope you’re enjoying this summer weekend.  I know, it’s not officially summer yet, but the pace is slower, the days are longer, we’re cooking more outside and less inside, and vacation beckons.  Hug those you love and have a happy Saturday night!