Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Story Songs: Love, Me

Collin Raye recorded a story song about lifelong love and devotion  in "Love, Me."

The tune, written by Skip Ewing and Max T. Barnes, tells the story of an enduring love between the narrator's grandparents. It topped the Billboard Country Chart in 1992, Raye's first No. 1 hit.

In the song, the grandfather tells his grandson story of planning to meet his future bride in 1923 so they can run away and get married. When he gets to the meeting place, he finds a letter nailed to a tree:

"If you get there before I do
Don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
I don't know how long I'll be

"But I'm not gonna let you down
Darling wait and see
And between now and then
Til I see you again

"I'll be loving you
Love, me"

The song moves forward to narrator's grandmother deathbed. The grandfather cries as he repeats those words to her.

I believe this song goes straight to the heart with its poignant  lyrics. I think of my paternal maternal grandparents when I hear this song and remember the strong bond and love they shared in their long marriages.
"Love, Me" lyrics

Friday, November 23, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update No. 3

Only a few more days remain in National Novel Writing Month.
So far I've written 37,000 words, which means I need 13,000 more to reach the targeted 50k. According to NaNoWriMo, I have been averaging 1,608 a day and need to produce 1,625 a day through Nov. 30.

I don't really see that as being a problem unless something really crazy happens in my life. I suppose I should cross my fingers, just in case.

This has been more difficult than I first imagined. I believe the main reason is that I'm writing in first person point of view. Everything piece of fiction I've written has been third person so this is an additional challenge for me.

However, when I finish and review the first draft, I will probably change it to third person. I've found first person to be rather confining in developing plot and sub-plots. But I have gained additional respect to those who write in the first person. You rock!

I may have one more update before I finish this NaNoWriMo. And to those who are participating in this month-long marathon, I wish you the best as we enter the homestretch. I hope we'll all be winners.

Until the next time...

(In the spirit of Black Friday and the holiday season, the digital price of "Laments: Short Stories" has been reduced to 99 cents on, B&, and  If you decide to purchase, please leave review/feedback).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Story Songs: On Broadway

I must admit that I love songs that inspire, and one of my favorites is "On Broadway."

Wikepedia provides excellent background on the song written by Barrry Mann and Cynthia Weil, in colloboration from Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller -- two of the great songwriting teams in pop music history.
The tune was first made popular by The Drifters, one of the legendary groups of the 1960s, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard chart in 1963. George Benson, a great jazz guitarist and vocalist, did even better, taking it to No. 7 in 1978.

For me, the song is about determination and refusing to give up, despite the odds:

"They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway (on Broadway)
They say there's always magic in the air (on Broadway)
But when you're walkin' down that street
And you ain't had enough to eat
The glitter rubs right off and you're nowhere (on Broadway)"
But the singer has a strong resolve to make a name for himself despite what others are telling him:
"Ha! They say that I won't last too long on Broadway (on Broadway)
I'll catch a Greyhound bus for home, they all say (on Broadway)
But oh! They're dead wrong, I know they are
'Cause I can play this here guitar
And I won't quit till I'm a star on Broadway (on Broadway)"
I think the message in the song is believe in yourself and not to get discouraged by detractors. And sometimes we can find our worst detractor simply by looking in the mirror.
And as the song proclaims, you can succeed with a positive attitude:
"I'm gonna make it, yeah (on Broadway)
I'll be a big, big, big man (on Broadway)
I'll have my name in lights (on Broadway)
Everybody, everybody's gonna know me, yes (on Broadway)"
"On Broadway" lyrics

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo Halfway (Almost)

I'm at the midway point in the National Novel Writing Month. Fifteen days down, 15 days to go
With a goal of writing 50,000 words in November, that means I should have written 25,000. I'm at 22,509.

According to the NaNoWriMo website, a writer needs to average 1,667 words a day to reach 50,000. So far I'm averaging 1,500. And to finish with 50k, I have to average 1,719 a day for the remainder of the month.

I don't think I'll have difficulty reaching that number unless some unforeseen things happen. My young-adult novel is taking shape and the words are beginning to flow off my fingertips.

I'll give you another update after 21 days.
Until the next time…

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Story Songs: Vincent (Starry Starry Night)

I'm not going to give any interpretations to Don McLean's  "Vincent," also known as "Starry Starry Night," a song about the tragic life of famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

What I love about this song are the sentimental thoughts about this great artist and the word pictures that McLean so eloquently expresses.

Consider this:

"Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land."

and this:

"Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand."

There are references to Van Gogh and his paintings throughout the song. This McLean website provides a history and inspiration for his timeless lyrics. 

"Vincent" reached No. 6 in the United States and No. 1 in the United Kingdom in 1972. 

McLean first gained fame with the unforgettable "American Pie," a No. 1 tune in 1972. He also penned other memorable songs such as "And I Love You So" and "Castles in the Air." His songs have been covered by such luminaries as Elvis Presley, Helen Reddy, Josh Groban, George Michael, and Perry Como.

Still an active performer, the 67-year-old McLean was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.

"Vincent" lyrics

Sunday, November 11, 2012

31st Kentucky Book Fair Memories

The 31st Kentucky Book Fair is history.
I had a wonderful time signing books, talking to KBF patrons, and chatting with other authors. My wife spent time purchasing books for Christmas gifts and attending most of the symposiums. She had a great time as well. 

Sales were down, according to the Frankfort State Journal, from $157,000 last year to $110,000. I'm not sure what accounted for the decline other than the beautiful weather (temps in the 70s) and other activities going on during the Frankfort's annual Candlight event.

The SJ listed the best-selling authors/artists as Mary McDonough, James Archambeault, Ryan Clark and Joe Cox, Stephan Pastis, Al Smith, Silas House, James Higdon, James B. Goode, Duffy Brown, and Wendell Berry. Nope, you don't see my name. Maybe next year.

I got to talk to McDonough for a few minutes. Her name doesn't ring a bell? She played Erin on widely popular TV show "The Waltons" back in the 1970s. Her book is "Lessons From the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton."  Mary had a great time in Kentucky, selling tons of books from Augusta to Lexington to Frankfort. She's a a lovely and inspiring person and I recommend her book, especially to girls and young women.

Proceeds from the KBF go to school and public libraries as well as literacy programs across Kentucky. In the meantime, support your local library!
Until the next time…

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing A Novel: After Seven Days

I've written every day so far in my first time participating in  National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to produce a minimum of 50,000 words in November.
So far I've written 10,913 words, an average of 1,559 a day. I should be averaging 1,667 but I'm not too far off.  Some days I write a little more than needed, some days a little less.

I must admit that writing this novel hasn't been that easy. Of course, it shouldn't be easy. And it's only a first draft. I hope by the end of the month that there will be usable parts that I can transform into a novel for young adults.

I wish I it was like being on a runaway train because I would at least be on track. Instead, it's been more like swaying all over a six-lane highway, unable to stay in a designated lane.

Perhaps as I progress along I will be able to steady my course and have a nice flow to the story. We'll see. I'll have another update at 14 days.
Until the next time…

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Story Songs: Please Come to Boston

Dave Loggins wrote about the struggle of being a performer and trying to have a relationship in "Please Come to Boston." As we learn from the lyrics, it's next to impossible if neither side will compromise. 

In the song, the narrator makes stops in Boston, Denver and Los Angeles, and pleads with his significant other to join him on the road.


"Please come to Boston for the spring time
I'm stayin' here with some friends
And they've got lots of room.
You can sell your paintings on the sidewalk
By a cafe where I hope to be workin' soon."


"Please come to Denver with the snow fall.
We'll move up into the mountains so far
That we can't be found.
And throw 'I love you' echoes down the canyon
And then lie awake at night until they come back around."

And L.A.:

"Please come to L.A. to live forever
California life alone is just too hard to build.
I live in a house that looks out over the ocean.
And there's some stars that fell from the sky
And livin' up on the hill."

But each time the lover says no to her "ramblin' boy" and asks "Boy, would come home to me?" And that is followed by:

"There ain't no gold and
There ain't nobody like me.
'Cause I'm the number one fan
Of the man from Tennessee."

No doubt many people have wanted to hit the road and seek fame and fortune but were held back for personal reasons. And, as Loggins wrote and expressed so well in his singing, some probably feel heartbreak from their decision to leave someone. It's a difficult decision many of us have made in our careers.

"Please Come to Boston" reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974. Loggins, who was born in Mountain City, Tenn.,  was nominated for a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance for the song.

Loggins was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995. His cousin is singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins.

"Please Come to Boston" lyrics