Saturday Night Serenade–A Slice of Awesomeness

This has been a shit week, I’m not going to lie to you.

You know the kind of thing I mean.  Everything, and I mean everything, has been ten times harder than it needed to be.  Money’s unbelievably tight, Mr. R’s real estate clients have been ridiculously difficult, he has a dental problem and of course, we have no insurance.

The cherry on top is that Facebook, where I’ve spent the last three years building my Pandora Spocks author brand, has decided that because they are ‘concerned for my security’, they’re locking my account until further notice.  How’s a ginger supposed to sell books?  (By the way, you can follow my official Pandora Spocks website: PandoraSpocksAuthor.com.)

It’s getting to the point where when something else goes wrong, we just kind of laugh, because what else are you going to do?

Then along came this little slice of awesomeness, like comfort food for the soul.  Paula Abdul was on The Late Late Show with James Corden and she ROCKED Straight Up, her hit from 1988.  That’s 30 years, y’all.  80s music makes me so happy!

It was exactly what I needed to help me believe that there would be light at the end of this tunnel.  You know what I mean?

I hope you’re enjoying this September weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

P.S. I’m including a bonus.  Do you still gotta fight for your right to pity party?  Asking for a friend.  😉

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Saturday Night Serenade–Reflection

Michael Jackson would have been 60 this past week.
That’s hard to imagine.  He was 50 when he died, but he always seemed child-like to me.

I know…  There were all sorts of sordid stories and allegations.  And maybe they’re true.  Probably they are.  And we know there were drug issues.  The ‘King of Pop’, who literally had all the money to buy anything his heart desired, lived a sad life.

But for all of that, he struck me as a person of compassion.  Tonight’s song, Man in the Mirror, is heart-felt and touching.  He sings about making the world better by starting with yourself.  It’s interesting that in the official video, Michael Jackson, arguably the most famous man on the planet at the time, does not actually appear.

We lost another American icon this week, a rare man of character, honor, and conviction.  Whatever your politics, I don’t think it can be argued that John McCain is a true hero.  He served his country as a naval aviator, and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war for his trouble, refusing to accept an early release, choosing instead to honor the first captured, first released rule.

After he returned, he spent the rest of his life as a rare politician, voting his convictions over what was politically expedient in the moment.  He understood the concept of agreeing to disagree, and the value of working with those of differing opinions toward a common goal.

I believe that at the end, he was a man at peace with the man in the mirror.
He is an enduring reminder that we, as Americans, should aspire to more.

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

A l’il bonus, just because…

 

Saturday Night Serenade–R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for the Queen

We lost the Queen of Soul this week.
As sad as we are, the remembrances have been uplifting.  Who didn’t love Aretha Franklin?

She transcended musical genre, gender, race, and politics.  She was born in Memphis in 1942, but lived most of her life in Detroit.  She won 18 Grammys over the course of her career and was the first-ever female artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Tonight’s first song is Chain of Fools, one of my favorites.  It featured prominently in the John Travolta movie Michael, but I chose this 50 year old television performance of the song.

I also couldn’t resist this joyous version of Think from 1980’s Blues Brothers.

So how about you?  What’s your favorite?  Comment below and keep the respect going.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Down at the Twist and Shout

Hello, August!
It’s the middle of summer, but I always used to dread August, because that means Back-to-School.  But now, while my teacher friends are gearing up for battle, I’m ready to release my 9th book, and I’m 25k words into the next one.  There’s enormous freedom in giving up a steady paycheck for a career that nourishes your soul.

So this Saturday finds me feeling light and happy.  I’ve pulled up an older song that makes me feel the same way.  Mary Chapin Carpenter released Down at the Twist and Shout in 1991, and it won a Grammy the following year.  It just makes me want to go to a country bar and two-step all night.

Look closely–she’s backed up by members of traditional Louisiana cajun/zydeco band BeauSoleil.  I saw them perform once in downtown West Palm Beach as part of a free outdoor concert series, Sundays at the Meyer.  Then-Mayor of WPB (now US Congresswoman) Lois Frankel went through the crowd handing out chocolate chip cookies, which is the part my kids most remember.

I’m tucking in a little BeauSoleil just for fun.

I hope you’re having a relaxing summer weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–One Thing I Love About Summer

One thing I always look forward to in the summer is America’s Got Talent.  I was a reluctant fan, dragged to it kicking and screaming a few years ago.  It’s kind of what Mr. R would call ‘short attention span theatre.’  I mean, it’s just a nationally televised talent show, really.

You might see a kid ventriloquist, someone doing close-up magic, a stand-up comedian, someone pulling a tractor by rings through his nipples, and a singer or two.  But the little gems are what make the show worth watching.

This performance of Africa by the Angel City Chorale was show-stopping.  There’s just something magical that happens when people do something for the joy of it.  It actually moves me to tears.

Originally, the band Toto released Africa in 1982, incidentally the year I graduated from high school.  Which makes it an odd choice for a 14-year-old Weezer fan, who hounded the band on Twitter until they did a cover of the song.

And just because I can’t talk about Weezer without out talking about my favorite song of theirs…

I hope this last weekend of July finds you well, and that you enjoy tonight’s songs.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Left Asking Why

It was a rough week.  We lost two creative souls to the private demons we had no idea they battled.

Kate Spade created, among other things, handbags I’ve always admired and been too poor to own.  She always seemed hip and funky and carefree.  Who knew that she suffered from bipolar disorder and depression?

I’ve been a fan of Anthony Bourdain for a long time.  In fact, one of my characters mentions him in my first novel, Luke & Bella.  In the book, they create a travel program very loosely based on Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, No Reservations.  He always seemed to be an asshole, frankly, greeting the world on his own terms.  But he always conveyed a deep respect for the people and cultures he visited.  To hear that he’s gone, and by his own hand, is simply shocking.

We’re left with the inevitable question, why?  Why did two people who seemed to have everything just quit?  The fact that they each left a young daughter behind is heartbreaking.  That’s not something you get over.

Which brings us to this point: We have to start a conversation about mental illness.  Not talking about it is toxic.  It’s not some dirty, shameful secret.  Struggling does not make you defective, it makes you human.  Talk to someone.  Tell them what’s going on.  Seek professional help.

If you had heart disease or diabetes, you’d see a doctor.  Illness is illness, physical or mental.  There are those who will criticize.  Fuck’em.  Take care of yourself.

If you or someone you love needs help, please call this number.  I’ve been through some shit in my life.  But the thing I’ve noticed is that the sun still comes up every morning.  It’s a sure sign that you are loved, you have value, and you have hope.

I needed a little Sweet Baby James tonight.  I hope you enjoy.  Be sure to hug those you love this weekend.

Happy Saturday night!

Royal Romance

Because who doesn’t love a
modern-day adult fairy tale?

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Have you enjoyed the royal wedding as much as I have?  It’s so romantic, right?  Every girl’s fantasy!

And now that you’re in the mood, CHASING ORDINARY is my modern-day adult fairy tale.  Here’s what it’s all about.

Sculptor Petey Cavanaugh is too busy with her art and her work on the family sheep ranch in Montana to pay attention to celebrity gossip.  Which is why, when she meets the crown prince of Beruvia one rainy Manhattan night, she has no idea who he really is.  As far as she knows, he’s just Nik, wealthy Eurpoean businessman.

Nik is enchanted with her from the start.  She’s smart, funny, gorgeous, and she treats him like a regular person.  Petey’s his first ever taste of ordinary, everything he ever wanted.  If he doesn’t blow it.

How about a little teaser?

The moment Petey closed the apartment door behind herself, she burst into hot tears. Jules, who had been relaxing in the living room with her Kindle, immediately jumped up and came over to her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, reaching for her hand.

“I’m just so…fucking stupid,” Petey growled through her tears.

“But what happened?” Jules frowned deeply. “Did Nik hurt you? Because I will kick his ass!”

Petey was crying too hard to answer, so Jules put an arm around her and led her to the kitchen counter. While Petey settled onto a stool and continued to sob, Jules poured them both a shot of Cuervo Silver. “Here,” she said, handing a glass to Petey, “suck this down and tell me exactly what happened.”

Sniffling, Petey tossed back the tequila and coughed as it hit her throat. Jules downed hers quickly, and repoured for both of them. “So talk,” she urged her friend.

“H-he lied to me,” Petey stuttered, trying to calm her voice.

Jules gasped. “He’s married! That son of a bitch.”

Petey shook her head miserably. “No. That’s not it. He told me he was in international business.”

“And he’s not?” Jules asked.

“No! He’s the fucking prince of Beruvia!” Petey’s tears started anew.

Jules blinked. “He’s the prince of Beruvia? Nik?” She shook her head. “Pete, that doesn’t even make sense. The prince of Beruvia is Prince Stefan. He’s all over the tabloids all the time. Here, I’ll show you.”
Cueing up Google Images on her phone, she chose a headshot of a handsome blonde man with stormy blue eyes, and she held it up to Petey.

“Hon, this is Prince Stefan of Beruvia.”

Petey peered at the image and bawled anew. “I know! He lied to me!”

Realization began to dawn on Jules. “This? This is your Nik?” Her eyes widened. “You fucked the prince of Beruvia in my guest room?”

She watched as Petey crossed her arms on the counter and rested her head on them, her back shuddering with sobs. Jules rubbed her back soothingly. “Petey, seriously, how did you not know he was a prince? I mean, everybody knows who he is. He’s like, Europe’s most eligible divorcé.”

Petey raised up her head slightly to scowl at Jules. “Well, thanks, because I wasn’t feeling stupid enough already.”

Jules shook her head and gazed out over the living room. “Geez, Pete, he’s always in the tabloids and on the gossip shows.”

“I live on a sheep ranch. In my spare time, which is precious little, I work on my sculptures. I don’t have time or patience for stupid celebrity gossip.”

“So how did you find out?” Jules wondered.

Petey, calmer now, sat up and swiped at her face with her hands. “We were jumped by a bunch of photographers outside of Paddy’s. Nik’s-” She paused, scowling. “Whoever’s people, they pushed us into a car and drove us away.”

“Paparazzi?” Jules glanced at Petey. “You realize you’re probably online right now.”

“Stop it!” Petey gasped.

Pushing away from the kitchen counter, Jules padded into her bedroom and retrieved her laptop. She returned to the counter and fired up the device. “Let’s see,” she murmured.

Watching over her friend’s shoulder, Petey watched as Jules entered Prince Stefan into the search bar. Immediately images of the man who’d introduced himself as ‘Nik’ filled the screen. Jules refined the search to ‘most recent’ and there she was, Petey Cavanaugh, gaping wide-eyed as she and Nik were pushed into the back of a black Mercedes.

“Motherfucker,” Petey breathed.

From deep within her purse, her phone began to ring. Jules glanced at her. “Are you going to get that?”

Petey shook her head. “It’s probably him.”

The ringing continued. Jules pursed her lips. “I think you should get it.”

“I’m not answering,” Petey said, crossing her arms defiantly.

“Then I’m going to get it.” Grasping Petey’s bag from the floor where she’d dropped it, Jules rooted around until she found the device. She showed Nik’s image to Petey before swiping to unlock the phone. “Hello?”

“Oh, thank God, Petey, I’m so sorry. Please allow me to explain,” pleaded a deep voice with a British accent.

“No, this isn’t Petey, this is Jules. Petey’s very upset. She doesn’t feel up to talking right now.” Quietly, Jules pressed the button for ‘speaker’.

“I beg your pardon,” replied the voice. “I know she’s upset, and I know she feels that I deceived her, but I need to explain everything. Is there any way she’ll talk to me?”

Jules looked to Petey, who flashed double middle fingers and mouthed a silent, “Fuck you!”

She frowned into the phone, “Yeah, Nik, that’s not looking too good right now. Tell you what, give me a few minutes and I’ll see what I can do.”

CHASING ORDINARY is a 5-STAR reviewed contemporary fairy tale for grown-ups.

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Live the fairy tale!

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