Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #4: A 4th of July Two-fer

Happy July!  Here in the States, we’re celebrating the long Independence Day weekend.  It’s the ultimate summer holiday, with cookouts, picnics, trips to the beach, and fireworks.

There’s a lot that divides us Americans these days–politics, ideologies, and hateful, vile rhetoric, to name just a smattering.

But I’d rather focus on what unites us–good food, fun, pride as a nation, and good old rock ‘n roll.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous this weekend, rather than getting baited into some pointless social media debate, we put down our electronics, went outside, shared a hot dog and a cold beer with a neighbor, and enjoyed fireworks set to a soundtrack of great music?

Mr. R and I will be in lawn chairs on the driveway, watching all the neighborhood fireworks.  I hit the bargain bins, so we’ll be the dorks wearing the blinky jewelry.  Actually, I’ll be the dork wearing the blinky jewelry.  He’ll be sitting next to me, rolling his eyes.

But maybe that’s what it’s about.  Agreeing to disagree, embracing our differences, and appreciating that variety is, in fact, the spice of life.

I’m bringing you a two-fer for week #4 of Summer Songs.  I couldn’t pass up John (he’ll always be Cougar to me) Mellencamp, despite the fact that they’ve commercialized the crap out of this song lately.  And Phil Vassar’s American Child is a sentimental favorite.

Be careful out there.  No drinking and driving.  No holding a firework and blowing off your hand.  Haven’t you seen them do that on all the morning talk shows?

Enjoy your holiday, and hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

The Next Adventure

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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–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!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We’re having a quiet holiday here at Chez R.  We went out yesterday and bought a new Christmas tree, all pre-lit with the option of clear or colored lights at the flip of a switch.  We also got strings of colored lights for the outside.  This morning, I spent an hour or so decorating the tree while Mr. R. risked life and limb hanging lights on the front of the house.  That’s right, we’re getting all festive up in here.

Dinner will be later in the afternoon, just the two of us.  My sons are out in the mid-west living their own lives.  Matter of fact, my Airman daughter-in-law is deployed this holiday, so if you think about it, maybe shoot up a little prayer for her safety and a swift return.

We have lots to be thankful for, Mr. R. and I.  First of all, we have each other.  We’re reasonably healthy, we have enough, and we’re realizing we’re at a point in our lives where we have options.  In the new year, we’re planning on exploring a few of those possibilities, and we’ll be sharing with you along the way.

I’m also eternally grateful for your friendship and companionship throughout the year.  While the world seems to have lost its mind, I’ve met the nicest, kindest, funniest, smartest, strongest folks right here on WordPress, and I want you to know that I appreciate you all.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!  ❤

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