Saturday, October 31, 2015

Timely Music As We Turn Back the Hands of Time

Those of us in the U.S. will be turning back our clocks one hour on Nov. 1, officially at 2 a.m., as we switch from Daylight Savings Time to standard time. 

Since time is on our minds, here are a few tunes from that I like from years past that deal with passage of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks....

One of my favorites is "Time Has Come Today" by the Chambers Brothers. The song was written by Joe and Willie Chambers and released in 1968, reaching No. 11 on the charts. 

I love the lines:

"I've been loved, pushed (put) aside I've been crushed
By tumbling tide and my soul has been psychedelicized"

The "cuckoo" is kinda cool, too.

Another "timely" song from the '60s is "Time of the Season" by The Zombies, from the great "Odyssey & Oracle" album in 1968. The Rod Argent-penned tune topped out at No. 3 on the Billboard chart.

Another great '60s song of time is The Rolling Stones' "Time Is On My Side," a No. 6 charter for the super group in 1964. It was written by Jerry Ragovoy.

The Outsiders, a band from Cleveland, reached No. 5 on the charts with the horn-driven,  "Time Won't Let Me," written by Tom King and Chet Kelley. 

One of the great time songs was written by Pete Seeger (and the Book of Ecclesiastes) and made famous by The Byrds -- "Turn! Turn! Turn!" It was a No. 1 song in 1965.

A few others that come to mind are "No Time" by The Guess Who, "Crying Time" by the legendary Ray Charles, and "Time Is" by It's a Beautiful Day. (Videos below)

And finally, when we get up on Nov. 1, "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?" That's what supergroup Chicago asked in 1969, a No. 7 song written by vocalist Robert Lamm.

Until the next TIME.....

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fall Into the Music

For me, autumn is the loveliest time of the year in Kentucky with the bold palette of green, gold, yellow, red and brown leaves on too-soon-to-be bare trees dominating the landscape before the cold winds sweep in from the North.

The fall season also brings to mind some music I've listened to through the years. Most of the songs are rather melancholy, perhaps because the season represents to many as a time to let go, as in the falling leaves. 

Here are some of my favorite songs for the season:

Justin Hayward, the lead singer of the legendary Moody Blues, recorded my fall favorite, "Forever Autumn." Some believe it's a Moodies' song, but actually it was from Jeff Wayne's musical, "War of the Worlds," from the late '70s. 

The first verse sets the tone for the song:

"The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near
The winter winds will be much colder
Now that you're not here."

Frank Sinatra sang about autumn in Ervin Drake's unforgettable "It Was a Very Good Year," a No. 1 song on Billboard's Easy Listening charts for Ol' Blue Eyes  in 1965

"But now the days are short, I'm in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year."

Another memorable tune is Bobby Goldsboro's "Blue Autumn," written by Andrea, Caroline, Sharon and James Corr, from the '60s.

Again, the opening verse sets the tone for this song of lost love:

"Blue autumn
Falling leaves of red and gold
Pretty colors, I am told
But I see only shades of blue
Because I'm losing you."

Goldsboro also recorded, "Autumn of My Life," another break-up song, a hit from 1968:

"But in the autumn of my years I noticed the tears
And I knew that our life was in the past
Though I tried to pretend, I knew it was the end
For the autumn of my life had come at last."

But not all autumn songs are sad. 

Singer-songwriter Neil Young sang about being in love with a special lady in his "Harvest Moon."

"Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon."

And the great Van Morrison with his timeless, "fantabulous" song  "Moondance" that speaks of love and romance:

"Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low."

Do you have any favorite songs of autumn?

Until the next time...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Coming-of-Old-Age Novel

Some folks have asked me what my latest novel, "Old Ways and New Days," is all about. The quick and easy answer is that it's a coming-of-old-age novel. 

That's the gist of it. The novel deals with older folks although there are youngsters of all ages who populate the chapters. 

I crossed the threshold to old age a couple years ago. Being in that demographic doesn't bother me. It's all part of the life cycle -- birth, childhood, young adult, middle age, old age, and then, well, let's not go there now.

While the story focuses on John Ross, a recent retiree, it encompasses other issues that older folks face in their twilight years -- from intangibles such as respect (or the lack thereof), mental and physical problems, and trying to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

And the novel touches on other aspects of growing older, such as being parents to adult children, old and new friendships, faded careers, personal security, tolerance and intolerance, and even connecting with a pet. 

Basically, the joys and perils and everything in between, of reaching old age and trying to accept things as they happen.

"Old Ways and New Days" is the first in a series of coming-of-old-age novels. It should be an adventure, in many ways, as the characters navigate the twilight years.

Until the next time.... 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back to the Manuscript -- Part 20 (Promote, Promote, Promote)

My novel, "Old Ways and New Days," has been out in the marketplace for about three weeks. But that doesn't mean the publishing process is over for the novel.

While I wish it was over, to some extent, it's not exactly on cruise control at this point. Now the focus has turned to marketing and promotion.

Simply trying to get the word out about my most amazing, inspirational, nail-biting, grand, sparkling and awesome coming-of-old-age novel (how's that for hyperbole!) is occupying a lot of my time. 

Since publication, I've mailed (yes, snail mailed) postcards to various libraries, book stores, friends and others), set up a promotion on (see widget at bottom of page), used Facebook and Twitter to tell the world about the book, provided the novel to reviewers, and did some old-fashioned, word-of-mouth promotion. 

I'll also be attending the 34th annual Kentucky Book Fair on Nov. 14, in Frankfort. I've also be going to the Authors Fair in Madison, Ind., on April 2-3, 2016. Between November and April, I hope to line up a few more events and speaking engagements. 

I've also provided my publisher with some keywords for my novels that are offered on Amazon, hoping to boost sales on all seven titles. 

Have I started on a new novel? Well, yes and no.

My next novel is a sequel to "Old Ways and New Days," and I've already written about 30k words. I'll get back to that task after the book fair, if not sooner. I'm on the book fair's executive committee so that takes up a lot of my time with compiling the catalog, TV interviews, news releases, and more. 

So, as you can tell, I've been a busy writer the past three weeks. I think I'll need a vacation very soon. 

Until the next time...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Back to the Manuscript: Part 19 (It's Alive!)

My manuscript is now a published work -- "Old Ways and New Days" was released on Oct. 1 by Wings ePress

It took a day for it to show up on and other websites for downloads. The print version is available from the publisher now and will be on other sites in the next day or so.

Although this is my 11th book, it is still an exhilarating experience to see the finished product. And that's a reason I'll start working on the sequel in the next few weeks (I owe myself a little break to catch my breath and re-energize the tired gray matter and flimsy fingers).

But as all authors will attest, it takes more than words to cross the finish line. It took a great team at Wings -- editors, proofreaders, graphic artist -- to make it happen. I am grateful for their assistance.

I'll be promoting the novel the next few weeks,  mailing postcards to libraries, bookstores and friends, handing out book marks, participating in the Kentucky Book Fair, and various and sundry other things that come along.

What's the novel about? Here's the teaser: "John Ross is retiring after many years working as a journalist. He contemplates about what he wants to do with the rest of his life. But along the way he finds out that there are some things you simply can't control. Life simply happens."

That's what I'm going to do the next few weeks -- let life happen. 

Until the next time...