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!

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy!

Welcome to the unofficial start of summer!  It’s a three-day weekend, and I’m only two work days away from retiring.  Starting June 1, I’m a full-time writer.  Hopefully that means that this neglected little blog will get a bit more attention.

We’re taking a big chance, Mr. R and I.  His fledgling real estate career is just beginning to bear fruit.  By retiring early, I’m walking away from a sure paycheck every two weeks.  But life is short, getting shorter every day.  So we’re seizing the day, taking the opportunity to try something new.

For now, that means he’s selling houses in Palm Beach County.  And I’m working from home, writing and promoting steamy romance.  On the other hand, we may consider selling everything and taking to the road.  Recently Mr. R showed me a video of the island of Mauritius.  “Here.  Let’s move here,” he said.

I can write from Mauritius, y’all.  And I imagine someone has to sell houses there.  Or work in television news.  Or whatever he decides he wants to do.  It’s thrilling to know that we don’t have to settle for the status quo.

Confession:  I’m hedging my bets.  I’m packing into the garage everything I’d need to start a first grade classroom again.  Worst case scenario, I end up going back to teaching at some point.

But it’s a beautiful day today, I’m in love with the love of my life, and dammit, you know what?  I’m happy.  Hence tonight’s serenade.

I wish for you all the happiness in the world.  Hug those you love and enjoy your weekend.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–I Don’t Get It

It’s happened again.  We’ve lost someone who seemed to have it all.  At his own choosing, apparently.  And so we wonder why.

Tonight’s serenade is footage from that last night, that last performance, and as we watch, we know now that these were his last few hours on earth.  We search his eyes for clues.  Did he know?  Was it all part of a plan?  Or was it just an impulsive thing?

We search the lyrics.  Was there some underlying message of despair?  All grunge songs are pessimistic, aren’t they?

The reality is, there’s no way we could have known, no way we could have realized what was going on inside.  Deep down in the pit of our souls is where each one of us faces our own worst enemy, ourselves.  If we’re blessed, we have people around us we can trust and confide in, those who won’t judge us if we cop to being less than fabulous all of the time.

We’ll probably never know the whys.  The best we can do is hope that Chris Cornell has finally found the peace that eluded him in his day to day life.

And we can remember that life is a fleeting thing, to be grasped and appreciated.  We can remember to say the things we need to say, mend the fences that need mending, and hug those we love.

Happy Saturday night!

Black Hole Sun
In my eyes
Indisposed
In disguise
As no one knows
Hides the face
Lies the snake
And the sun
In my disgraceBoiling heat
Summer stench
‘Neath the black
The sky looks dead
Call my name
Through the cream
And I’ll hear you
Scream again

[Chorus:]
Black hole sun
Won’t you come
And wash away the rain?
Black hole sun
Won’t you come?
Won’t you come?

Stuttering
Cold and damp
Steal the warm wind
Tired friend
Times are gone
For honest men
And sometimes
Far too long
For snakes

In my shoes
A walking sleep
And my youth
I pray to keep
Heaven send
Hell away
No one sings
Like you anymore

[Chorus 2x]

(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)

Hang my head
Drown my fear
‘Til you all just disappear

[Chorus 2x]

(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
(Black hole sun,
Black hole sun)
Won’t you come?
Won’t you come?
Won’t you come?