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–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–Mamma Mia

I’m so excited!  Next Saturday, my best girl Mo and I are headed down to Ft. Lauderdale to see the farewell tour of Mamma Mia at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  Mr. R has graciously offered to drive us down, mainly because the thought of driving further south than West Palm Beach really makes me nervous.  And he has no interest in going to the show.  I can’t understand why, LOL!

I’m old enough to remember ABBA, although admittedly I was not that much of a fan back in the day.  But when they put the songs into the context of a romance, I was hooked.  I’ve seen the movie dozens of times and it just makes me happy.  The songs are catchy and fun, and I’m all about the ‘happily ever after’ ending.

For tonight’s serenade, I’ve chosen one of my favorite sequences from the movie.  It starts out silly, but toward the end, it’s a delightful street ballet that feels feminist and empowering.  I just love it, and I can’t wait to see it live on stage.

And it seems fitting to post a song from Mamma Mia right here at Mother’s Day.  Be sure to hug your loved ones tonight, especially your mom, who loves you more than she can say.  I know, because I’m a mom, too.  To all the moms, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day.

And happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Saturday Night in Paradise

It’s May, glorious May, and I couldn’t be happier.  We’re nearly to summer.  In a mere 25 days, I will be leaving the glamorous world of public education to become a full-time writer.  As I unexpectedly explained to my administrator this week (long story, but suffice it to say, the cat is out of the bag), with Mr. R starting his own real estate business, it’s time for a new adventure.

Having been in school in one way or another most of my life, for me summer is long lazy days spent relaxing, reading, going on vacation, hanging out at the beach…  This summer will be a little different in that I won’t quit working–my work will just be here at my computer.  Which isn’t different from the last few summers, but now there’s the added pressure of needing to see lots more sales so that this becomes a viable operation.

But I’m thrilled for the opportunity and for the support of my love, who says I should go for it.  That brings me to tonight’s serenade, Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffett in a joint venture.  Don’t we all wish we were knee deep in the water somewhere, finding our own kind of paradise?

I hope you enjoy a beautiful and relaxing weekend in your own kind of paradise.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Classically Cool

Happy long weekend!  I hope everyone’s doing well.  My boy is here from Omaha, so I’m a very happy mom.  We’re hanging out, catching up, remembering times past.  Later on, we’ll all head out to some of our favorite haunts.

One thing we’ve been laughing about is our recollection of carpool karaoke, the delightful moments on our way to and from school, the kids and I singing along enthusiastically with classic rock on the radio.

Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is among the best for an impromptu sing-along, but maybe we have Wayne and Garth to thank for that notion.  This version is by Pentatonix, the wildly popular acapella group.  See what you think.

From our house to yours, we wish you a very Happy Easter.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Of Dreams and Dreamers

It’s Mr. R’s birthday today.  A big one–he’s fifty!  You might recall a few years ago when I freaked out over turning the big 5-0.  That’s right, I’m a proper cougar, LOL!

Back then, we didn’t have money for a big gift or anything, but he made me this promise–one day we’ll take a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England.  Now, having nearly finished our extreme renovation, and being smack in the middle of a life re-set, we are in the same position.  My promise to him–one day we’ll take a trip to Spain.  He longs for Madrid and Barcelona.

Those trips will happen.  We’re just the kind of dreamers to believe.  For now, I’m content to add to my bucket list.  And one of those must-do items is: Pay a musician in a pub in Galway to play Galway Girl.  Did I ever mention the time Mr. R paid a guy at my favorite bar in the world, the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City, to play Dirty Old Town?  Another story for another day.

Tonight, I have two different Galway Girls, and I’m obsessed with both of them.  They were each posted by my favorite bar in the world (and yes, I have about five of those) Paddy Reilly’s in Manhattan.  Once on a business trip (and for teachers, those are RARE) I dragged my whole group from the upper west side where we were staying, to Paddy’s on the lower east side, just to hear The Prodigals play their home bar (Bucket List item #27, check!).  Follow Paddy Reilly’s on Facebook for great music, including the moments they go live.  Trust me, you’ll love it!

Anyway, from the pair of us dreamers, to you and yours, Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Love Shack

Can you believe February’s almost gone?  I must admit, I’m pretty happy about it.  I’m counting down the days until June 5, which, if everything works out, should be my last day as a ‘highly qualified professional educator.’  I’m planning on walking right out of there, the better to write full-time.

This week, Mr. R is taking his newly minted real estate license and joining a firm with a household name.  He’s thrilled to be out of the television news business and moving on to being his own boss.

Our massive home reno project is very nearly finished.  All that remains is my bathroom sink and vanity top, which should be in place by Tuesday.  And do I have photos for you!  But that’s another  post.

Yep.  Right here in the middle of our f-word years, Mr. R and I are reinventing ourselves.  Mid-life crisis, you say?  Maybe.  But the truth is, life is too short to continue to settle.  There’s no time like the present to actively pursue our dreams.  Will we succeed?  Who knows.  But we won’t succeed if we don’t try.  There will always be news stations that need video editors, photographers, and assignments editors.  And there will always be schools that need teachers.  So like they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Tonight I’m feeling all retro and funky.  Kind of like the B-52s.  I hope the end of February finds you well.  Kick back and enjoy a little Love Shack, baby.  Hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Love Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
“15 miles to the
Love Shack”
Love Shack, yeah, yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack
I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (a-Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)

Sign says (woo) “Stay away, fools”
‘Cause love rules at the Love Shack
Well, it’s set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the highway

The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at

Huggin’ and a-kissin’
Dancin’ and a-lovin’
Wearin’ next to nothin’
‘Cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
Yeah, the whole shack shimmies
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s
Movin’ around and around and around and around
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, baby
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, baby
Funky little shack
Funky little shack

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail
I got me a car, like, it seats about 20
So come on and bring your jukebox money

The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (a-Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at, yeah)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)

Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, baby
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, sugar
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby (Knock a little louder)
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Bang, bang (On the door, baby)
Bang, bang (On the door)
Bang, bang (On the door, baby)
Bang, bang
Your what?
Tin roof, rusted

Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at, yeah)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)
Love, baby, Love Shack
Huggin’ and a-kissin’,
Dancin’ and a-lovin’
At the Love Shack