Content Warning!

This blog on occasion addresses depression, death, suicide and other sensitive themes. Continue at your own discretion in reading the content.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why do I participate in NaNoWriMo?

Hi All,

While NaNoWriMo ended weeks ago it's still lingering for a number of reasons.  The fine folks at NaNoWriMo are now encouraging people to edit it their November stories. This is something I can't do - at least not in the month of December.

There are plenty of articles online from writers and others in the literary world who hate that NaNoWriMo exists.  According to many of them, NaNoWriMo is the worst thing ever brought to life. The critics bring some convincing arguments to their battle cry of why this yearly writing pilgrimage is a horrible thing.

I have to agree with some of them because a few people will go out and self-publish their November writing without getting an editor, rewriting it numerous times or putting in the effort and endless hours to take what they created and bring it to its brilliance.  This makes the author look bad and just gives the critics more fire power.

I have nothing against self-publishing as I do it myself.  It's great, as it allows me full control of my work.  It allows me to find the right editor, the right cover, and graphic designer.  It allows me to work on my novel for as long as it takes.  That's what happened with my most recent novel that came out in October.  That story started back in 2011, sat for a good year before I went back to it again.  Then it was six months of rewriting, having someone read it for feedback, rewriting it again, then editing it and working on it a bit more. This process took a whole year.

I went through 50 different titles and numerous photos trying to find the one that captured the soul of the novel.  I spent a lot of time in the creation of this novel and in the end it was something that I was proud to have created and shared the creation with numerous other creative people.

That's the thing.  Yes, I wrote a novel but I wasn't alone in it's creation.  I was the main creator but I had other creative types help me.  I had a photographer whose photo caught my eye to use, I had a friend who was a graphic designer lend her talents and I had an editor who truly loves their job.  These people are creative in their own ways and they assisted me in bringing my novel to life.

I participate in NaNoWriMo because it lets me flesh out ideas that I may have.  It forces me to work the story idea out even though it's a rough draft.  From what I write during NaNoWriMo it will or will not speak to me in a way that suggests I continue on with it.  I have participated in NaNoWriMo for ten years and three of my stories have become published.

I think this is what people miss about NaNoWriMo.  It's meant to help all of us on some level.  For some, it motivates them to trying writing.  For others, it's the challenge that inspires them to try and write 50,000 words in 30 days.  Some people see the event as a chance to bring an idea to life, for others its a way for them to become better writers.  Its a chance to experiment. There are many reasons why people participate in this event.  There are good things that come out of participating whether you hit the 50,000 words or not.

I participate in NaNoWriMo simply because I love to write.  It is the most wonderful feeling in the world to liberate myself with the stroke of a pen or a clack on the keyboard. In an afternoon I can create a person, I can create a whole new world and at the same time I can destroy it all if I so choose and come back the next day and do it all again.

That's it for me, kids.  I leave you with "Straight from The Heart" by Bryan Adams as your musical treat.

Rock on!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

December Ramblings

I am currently on a break from writing anything new but continue to read my ramblings from November when I participated in NaNoWriMo.  I could add more detail to what I have written and could easily break it into two books.  I don't know what will become of this particular story as I don't always turn one of my NaNoWriMo manuscripts into a book.

I have plenty of other ideas swimming in my brain and write them down in notebook I have that contains story ideas, character names, locations and other interesting things. I have been toying with the idea of creating a special book for writers but who knows.  I need to iron that idea out a bit.

In recent weeks, I have been re-introduced to the world of comic books. The last time I read a comic I was a kid and it was Wonder Woman.  I wish I still had that comic.  These days I have been reading The Crow, Bodies, Hellblazer and Suicide Risk.  I only have one or two issues of each of these but comics have certainly come a long way from when I read them as a kid.

Comics are visual stories with interesting dialogue and dilemmas. It made me wonder if I could turn one of my stories into one.  It would be an interesting project to say the least and I may just have to give it a try one day.

For now, I will enjoy the outdoors after four days of continuous snow.  It has left a nice white blanket all around. In the early morning hours when the sky has a hint of pink and purple in it, it's quite beautiful to look at.  Today, I am leaving you with Bing Crosby's version of Walking In a Winter Wonderland as your musical treat.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo is here and I like many others are busy writing away for 30 days.

At the moment, I am at the 36,000 word mark which is pretty good considering I'm only 9 days into to the challenge which lasts all of November. If I can keep on top of things, I hope to hit the 50,000 word mark by next weekend but anything can happen.

NaNoWriMo ( is a writing challenge where you spend November 1 to November 30th trying to write 50,000 words.  This is the challenge that I and many others around the world are attempting to do.  This is my tenth year of participating in this challenge and I always have a blast.  I encourage people to at least try it once and join in the craziness of it all.  It really is fun.

As I noted on the main page of my website, my new book will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other book sellers soon.  If things go as scheduled it should be listed on those sites by Christmas.  However, I would encourage people to get a head start on getting a copy by buying it through  Not only that you might find some other gems to give as gifts.

While I am busy writing away for NaNoWriMo not much else is going on in the creative brain. I have plenty of story ideas and characters names which I'm sure I'll get to using at some point.

For my fellow writing buddies who are participating in NaNoWriMo, remember to sleep, eat well and stay hydrated to keep those creative ideas flowing.  The other advice I can share is to save often and make a back-up of your story because it will happen that you are working away and your computer decides to have an error and you lose almost everything.  It happened to me once and since then I made a back up copy so that I can keep working.

Best of luck to all of you and with that in mind I leave you with today's musical treat.  Gosh, I miss the 80's.  Here is Corey Hart with "Never Surrender".  I swear to you it's not David Duchovny.

Rock On!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Good Times

Good times are here as my book is officially available for sale!  It's currently only available through but will be available through other retailers over the course of the next few weeks.

A number of people helped make this book possible and reach it final destination.  I'd like to take the opportunity to thank them for their help:

George Tsichlis for his beautiful photo, Guitar Soul, which was used for my cover.  Please check out George's other amazing photos here:

Hannah Mosher for going the extra step for me and providing my back cover photo.

Jana Seitzer who designed my book cover layout. You can learn more about Jana's design work here:

Jessica Pointer, amazing co-worker and friend who edited my book.

Eric Small for reading through it and providing insight.

Tracy Simmons and Kate Simone who put up with my endless formatting questions, constant complaints about Microsoft Word not doing what the instructions say it can do, bouncing ideas off them and their feedback about my covers.

There are two people who helped me when I was dealing with writer's block and provided me inspiration without knowing it. I'd like to take the opportunity to acknowledge them.

I like to thank Lucas Wolf, a former co-worker and all around great guy who played a small role in shaping the character of Sutherland. Lucas inspired my my original book cover too.

I want to thank Joe Bonamassa, who I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing in concert back in May. I've been a fan of Joe's for a number of years but it was his music that provided the soundtrack to a number of chapters in my book. It was also his music that helped me break through a bit of writer's block.

So, there you are ladies and gentlemen, the cast of people who helped support me in this effort.

I think this calls for a flashback to the '80s. Crank it up!

Rock on!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Almost There

Hi All,

My book is almost done. I found a goof on my back cover so I have to fix that and wrestle with the page numbering in my document.  I'm sure I am not the only one who has pulled out their hair trying to get Microsoft Word to behave.  One of these days page numbering will work as described in their help menu.

I will be very happy when I send it off to the publisher, look at the proof and then set it out into the word. 

I hope to have the book out by the end of the month. Stayed tuned for more information.
Rock on!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Delay - Again!

Hi All,

I have hit another bump in the road to publishing my book.  My editor who I gave my book to over a month ago will not be done by the set deadline we agreed upon.  They're going to give it to me a week later which puts me a week behind to do a re-write.  A position I did not want to be put in as I try and get the book out in October.

Thankfully, some of the other pieces to my book such as my covers and blurbs are done.  I will give you all a sneak peak in the coming weeks.  I started this particular novel in 2011, it sat for most of 2012 and got a new life in 2013.  This novel has been difficult to get together from the beginning but the day it gets printed will be a good day.  I can't wait to make it available for all of you.

With my novel returning to me in about a week I may have to put my guitar lessons on hold.  It has been fun learning to play the guitar.  I'm so thankful for having played the viola when I was a kid.  The guitar is a big version of my viola but unlike when I was a kid I'm having a hard time getting my fingers to function and hit the frets.  I'm still learning and each time I take the guitar into my hands a little bit of my musical childhood comes waltzing to the present. 

Music has enriched my life so much and most definitely has made a difference in my writing. Music is always playing when I write.  My stories have a soundtrack.  It's no wonder that I mention what I am listening to in my stories or the artists whose music speak to me so deeply at the time of my writing.

Classical music works for a lot of writers. I'm not one of them although I do listen to classical music now and then. As a treat for those of you who use classical music as your backdrop when writing here is a bit of Andre Rieu who I have seen on my local PBS station.  Not sure I could sit for two hours wearing one of those dresses but at least everyone is having fun.

Rock on!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Writer's Block and Adapting

Hi All,

I had a wonderful lunch with a fellow writer this past week and the topic of writer's block came up along with all the things we do as writers to prep ourselves to sit and write.  Every writer is different and some have a set process of getting into the zone.  They can't write unless they have complete silence, play classical music, have the TV on, write with a special pen in a certain colored ink, certain colored paper or a mug of coffee by their side.

The process in which we write varies and I too have my favorite things that help me get into the mood to write or help let the words that swim in my brain fall onto the page with relative ease.

In speaking with my friend, it came to me that as a writer you need to abandon your steps of process or at least alter them from time to time especially if they don't work.  Making a change or trying out something new is not bad, I think as writers we have to do it from time to time.  Over time you do learn all the things that help you in given circumstances.

My friend told me that she has her set process but it's not working for her right now.  I suggested she break from what she knows and just let inspiration come to her. Inspiration will strike when you're not worrying about the fact you haven't been able to write.

Writer's block is frustrating when you have an idea but can't get further than that no matter how hard you try. I have had writer's block but thankfully not in a way that crippled me.  I think what I suffered was writer's idea block.  How do I get this idea to work?

I don't have concrete advice to help those of you out there dealing with writer's block but here are a few suggestions:

1) Change your typical writing location.  If you always write at a desk try a different location.
2) If you write in silence, play music that moves you whether it's your favorite song or a artist.
3) If you write with noise, try silence.
4) Do you always write while at a computer?  Try writing with a pen and paper.

Not much for suggestions but they do work or at least they have for me now and then over the years. One other tidbit to offer up and that is not to beat yourself up and it's perfectly okay to starting writing and then stop to daydream and then come back.  In those moments distraction your mind is still working on your story.

That's a wrap for today.  I leave you with Karan Casey's Beat of My Heart as your musical treat for the day.

Rock on!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Writing and the Fear of Sharing

Hello My Happy Readers,

Another week is here and I thought I would share my thoughts on a topic that pops up quite often when talking to people who write. Fear.

I think all writers, even those who are bestsellers experience the feeling of fear.  I was talking with a co-worker who I just learned writes stories as well.  She says she writes but does not let anyone else read them.  She is is the second person I know who does not share what she writes.

I write many things that I don't share either and when you do share your writing, such as writing a book there is a bit of faith going on in doing it. You open yourself up to a lot of criticism which is often hard to take. People write for various reasons, some people are driven by greed and glory others for the joy of letting their creative mind speak. 

I look at writing as a way of allowing a part of yourself the chance to speak.  A part of yourself that is constantly buried but logging all your experiences and weaves a colorful tapestry of imagery that widens eyes and causes jaws to drop. Writing is a craft.  We use language to create adventures and pull readers in to go on these adventures with us.

To share what you write is a personal thing.  It is a trust issue but whatever we write does expose us.  It lets people into our minds and for some that is a scary thing to do. Writing is intimate in that if we do share, we are sharing something very sacred of ourselves. 

As someone who is relatively shy in certain situations, my writing is a way for me to say what I wish to say and express what I wish to express.  It is a form of communication and one that I love very much. It takes great courage to share what you write but it can be very rewarding to take that leap.

So for those that have fear in sharing, when you are ready, share just a paragraph with someone. The gesture will speak volumes and to the person who reads the words that you have crafted, one hopes they realize what a treasure they are in the fact that you trust them so much with something very personal.

That's it for me ladies and gentlemen. Until next time, take care of yourself and give writing a try.

Today's musical treat is Billy Thorpe - Simple Life (1979).

Rock On!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Digging in the Music Archive

I was recently listening to songs on-line that I hadn't heard in awhile.  The wonder of listening to one song is that it links to another - thank you recommendations!  That was a few weeks ago and I had mentioned Marshall Crenshaw to one of my co-workers and she told me she found a vinyl album of his in her collection.  She dug out her turntable and gave it a spin.

I don't have room to dig out my turntable but in speaking with my co-worker I mentioned how my parents bought me ABBA.  That was my very first vinyl record.  Not sure why my parents bought ABBA for me but they were huge at the time.  The other album they picked up for me was a K-Tel album that had various artists on it - Kool & The Gang, Nick Lowe, John Stewart, Rupert Holmes, ABBA and a young Michael Jackson. I should dig it out and get the track listing. I'm sure it would be a nice shapshot of the seventies.

After these first two albums, the next vinyl albums to hit my collect were Michael Jackson's Thriller, Prince's Purple Rain, Whitney Houston and maybe a Pointer Sisters album but I'm not sure anymore. I'd honestly have to go look because I remember getting them for Christmas from my parents.   When I was old enough to buy my own vinyl albums my music collection took a definite turn!

Getting back to ABBA though, it must have been 1976 or 1977 it might have been later than that but I remember going to the local fair and they had ABBA cranked for all the rides.  I remember one ride that I think they called the Himalayan.  You sat in these cars and rode up and down while it was spinning.  It was enclosed but it spun fast and was slightly tilted.  I still see that ride or something similar show up these days but this song I always associate with the ride.  Enjoy the time warp!

Rock On!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Current and Future Writing

Hi All,

I've received my book cover mock-ups this week.  They need a few touch-ups and they'll be good to go.  I am not sure how my editor is doing with my book at the moment.  A part of me wants to know and the other part of me is happy to be in the dark.

While my current book is being edited, I have begun fleshing out new story ideas in anticipation of NaNoWriMo in November.  I have some basic character names and several story ideas. Not sure which story idea I will go with but I'm sure I'll have it figured out by November.

Is it just me or has 2014 flown by?  Already there are stores with Christmas displays which makes me cringe only because my favorite holiday is Halloween.  I love Halloween.  If you go back to reading why we carve pumpkins and bob for apples, it's all very interesting on how everything came to be.  It really is fascinating.  I like I like Halloween because I get to decorate the section I sit in at work. It's a lot of work but I like it doing it.

It's too bad I'm allergic to chocolate because if I could get away with trick-o-treating I would.

Okay that's it for me.  Today's musical treat is Paul Rodgers feat. Donna Bonham singing "Oh I Wept" which was recorded by Free around 1970.  Gosh, I wasn't even born yet!

Rock on!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book & Guitar

Hi All,

My book went into my back-up editor this week.  The story and the blurbs are now in another person's hands. The original cover I wanted for my book was denied permission by the owner. I get why but at the same time disappointed.  I scrambled this week to find a new one and emailed several people but no no responses at all.

Thankfully, a co-worker saved the day and went out and took photos similar in nature to what I was looking for mid-week. They came out very nice and I have several options I can go with regarding the cover.  I sent my photos off yesterday to a friend who is doing the cover design.  I hope to have some mock-ups in the next two weeks to pick from.

With my book out of my hands for a bit, it allowed me time to take my first guitar lesson.
My guitar instructor is really nice and easy to talk to. It's nice to talk to someone who not only loves playing the guitar but is willing to help others learn to play the guitar. I may have only played four notes today but my fingers certainly are feeling it.

I used to play the viola when I was a kid and so a bit of that old memory was starting to surface. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge and FACE came to mind. I couldn't quite remember their importance but obviously my mind is try to do a bit of recall.  Do Ray Me Fa So La Ti Do raced through my mind and movie snip-its of Close Encounters of the Third Kind came attached to it.  You'd think I would have thought of Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music but no...It's Close Encounters of the Third Kind that came traipsing in.  Funny how our brains make associations.  The movie came out when I was six I think and the fact that I can remember it so well after all these years is pretty amazing.

Music is a universal language so let's talk to some aliens.  Enjoy folks.

Rock on!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Publishing Setback

Hello All,

This month my book was to be edited but my editor is now unavailable after being told he was going to be available for August. All is not lost as I have a back-up editor who I'll hand my book to next week.  I'm behind schedule and my buffer zone is pretty much gone now.  I'll be lucky to get my book out by mid-October but if I can get it out before November 1st I'll be quite happy.

I hope I can get my cover done soon too.  I finally finished writing my book blurb and my author blurb.  Choosing a cover is not an easy task but I hope with the ideas that I have and the ones my designer has that we can cook up something wonderful.

I do not have much to report except that I finally have scheduled my first guitar lesson which happens in a week.  I'm looking forward to it and hope that I have better luck with the guitar than I did with playing the viola when I was a kid.

It should be interesting trying to read sheet music after all these years. It's been so long I'm not sure if I can remember what everything means.

Today's video fun is My Mind's Eye from the band Sirenia.  There was a time in my music exploration of symphonic metal that I came across them.  It's hard to believe this came out in 2006.  I honestly didn't think it was that long ago that I was listening to this song.

Rock On!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Writing is Not One Size Fits All

I had the pleasure of speaking with someone about writing earlier this week.  It was nice for a change to really talk about writing.  I very rarely get the chance.

After the conversation, my mind as usual went into reflection mode and I started to pour over the many do and don't lists that I have read over the years.  I have learned that writing is customizable. Writing is not one size fits all. There are so many do this and don't do that, I think many people who want to try and write - anything - get discouraged because of all these lists. Let's face it, rules suck.  Yes, there are the basic grammar rules and all that goes with it but there is some leeway to express what goes on in our heads that drips down on to paper (or keyboard).

For the longest time I feared handing my work over to an editor because I thought they would destroy the voice of my characters and the overall feeling of my writing.  I have been lucky in not experiencing that and hope I never do.

I will be the first to admit that my grammar is horrible and even I get tripped up on where words should go in a sentence but if it comes out the way it does, that's the way it is.  It is the truth of the story.

For those of you sitting out there who have longed to take pen to paper or fingers to keyboards - DO IT!  There is no rule that says you have to share what you write.  I have written a novel every year for the past ten years and am only managing to publish my third.  Write my dear friends, write. Let the words fall where they may on the paper and enjoy the worlds they create.

Today I offer you a bit of humor from Weird Al and then a slow song from Beth Hart.

Rock on!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Where Ideas Hang Out

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”  - John Steinbeck

A friend of mine once asked, "How do you keep track of your ideas?"

Personally, I like to write them in my journal book or on a sticky note and slap it into my journal book.  I do keep a small leather notebook on a bookshelf.  Each page has an idea, a potential character name, careers for my characters,  a potential book title, a plot idea, etc.

I have ideas all over the place but they eventually end up in one place.  I'm slightly disorganized with my ideas but they tend to grow.  For instance, the book I'm working on now was written in a certain way but I didn't like it.  So I changed it but still didn't like it.  I put the book down trying to figure out the best way to tell the story I wanted. It sat for weeks and months.  I'd tackle it here and there and then nearly gave up on it.  It was during a journal write that inspiration struck.  I had come up with an interesting idea.  It meant ditching what I had written and starting completely over but it was worth it.

An idea is like a seed.  You have this baby idea and then it starts to grow and mature into a great idea.

When it comes to keeping track of your ideas there is no right or wrong answer. As writers, we all have our ways of dealing with our ideas.  Find what works best for you.

Ideas can be like a runaway train - in a good way!  With that in mind, it seems only appropriate that today's music treat is Albert Lee performing Runaway Train

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Update

Hi All,
I have recently completed six chapters of formatting my book. I have a ways to go as it's a mess and I need to tidy it up before I hand it over to my editor in a week or so.  While I have been working on the book my mind has come up with new ideas for other stories.  My mind just doesn't quit.  I have been writing down notes so that when I'm ready to begin writing a new story I'll be ready to do.
I spent a good hour or two listening to music at Amazon as my mind went on a trip down musical memory lane.  I couldn't believe I found the song "On The Loose" by SAGA.  I loved that song when I was teenager but now not so much.  It was fun to listen to it though and it then triggered me to think of the song "Cry" by Godley and Creme.  I loved that song!  I then thought of Kajagoogoo - remember them? Then came thoughts of Kim Wilde and OMD. 
While I did enjoy pop music as a kid, I do have a rocker in me and started rolling back the other way looking up songs but then I started listening to music by people I don't have in my music collection.  I enjoy discovering music and following the thread of one artist leading to another.  So I listened to Spirit, Audra Mae, Albert Lee, Alvin Lee, Great Big Sea, James House, Jane Child, Marshall Crenshaw and Rickie Lee Jones.  Some of these people I've heard of but don't own anything by them but that changed today.  I splurged a little.
I'm glad I have a musical brain in that if I think about one artist I am reminded of another.  Today's little music treat is nothing too old but something fun.  So enjoy the guitar playing of Lee Ritenour, Joe Bonamassa and Steve Lukather.
Rock on!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tough Times

Hi All,

Your music treat today is the musical styling of Gerry O'Connor.

I am still hoping to release my book this fall but I am experiencing more set backs. The set backs aren't too bad. I'm managing them and doing the best I can to stay on my schedule. I have some wiggle room so we will see.

For those that have been following me from the beginning you know that I have swings of depression from time to time.  I continue to function and go to work doing all the things I'm supposed to do. I typically get hit hard when fall comes around but it seems to have set in for a summer session this year.   Music helps me in managing it as it speaks to me on so many levels and aids me in releasing pain that I have not fully shed from my younger years when I was suicidal.  You can't get rid of depression like a cold.  It just doesn't work that way.

When the hard times hit, what song are you listening to to? It could be more than one but what is the first song you reach for when things go to pieces?  Please share your song in the comments section.
There are so many great songs out there so lets share! 

Rock on!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Black Country Communion "An Ordinary Son"

Today's video is from Black Country Communion.  When I am writing I usually have music playing in the background.  This is one of the songs that sometimes plays.  It's a great song and I hope you like it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kalani Peace

This video was put together by my friend Zenne who is having a grand time in Hawaii. She's in a place called Kalani and it's absolutely beautiful.

Writer's Crisis

Hi All,

I have done my last edits for now on my book and need to hand it off to an official editor soon.

I am still struggling with writing my book blurb which I shouldn't be surprised about since I've been working on this book since 2011. This book has gone through six incarnations and has had at least 30 different titles.  It has been a struggle since day one to get this book to come together in a way that truly worked.

I have also been looking through photos to use as my cover but nothing has jumped out at me. Thankfully, I have an idea I just need to make it come to life.

That is where I currently stand with my book. Hopefully, I will have it out by the end of the year. I was aiming for end of summer but I doubt I'll get there but you never know.

Music is and has always been a huge part of my life and I decided after all this time that I should take acoustic guitar lessons.  There is something about the guitar and the sounds it makes that speaks to me. Mind you it's the electric guitar that speaks to me but for myself I'm just not ready to crank the knobs to 11 and secondly, I just don't have the room for an electric.

I did meet with a potential teacher but decided not to go with him.  I was fine with him not knowing who Joe Bonamassa is - the running joke amongst Joe and his fans is that someone will always say - Bona Who?  So I let that fly with this potential teacher.  I then mentioned Steve Clark of Def Leppard.  He was not familiar with Steve Clark or had heard of Def Leppard.  I mentioned Peter Frampton and he lit up like a kid at Christmas so there was some hope. I mentioned Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and he seemed to know who Dave was, he wasn't sure if he knew Rory Gallagher or Vince Gill and admitted flat out he did not know who Richie Sambora is.  When I said I wasn't a fan of Clapton he gave me a sad face.

Let me clarify, I like Clapton's music it's just that his guitar playing does nothing for me.  It doesn't speak to me on any level at all.

It was a good learning experience for me but for him to not know who Def Leppard is kind of irked me. I realize there are artists I don't know but I didn't mention anyone to obscure on my list of favorite guitar players. I left there very puzzled and a little deflated.  Seriously, how can you not know who Def Leppard is or Richie Sambora for that matter? 

The guy was nice and was more than happy to teach me Fleetwood Mac's Landslide which is a good song but there was nothing that made me want to take a class with this guy.  I'm still looking for a teacher and perhaps I may just go the route that so many of my guitar greats have gone and teach myself.

For now, guitar lessons are on the back burner as I really do need to finish my book.

Today, I will leave you with the video of my favorite Def Leppard song so you can tell all your friends you've heard of them.

Rock on!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

I Survived a Joe Bonamassa Concert

Joe Bonamassa 5/16/14 Hampton Beach, NH
Hi All,

A co-worker and I took yesterday off from work and went on a road trip to Hampton Beach, NH to catch Joe Bonamassa in concert. 

Unfortunately, my camera failed miserably but then again I was third row center and the memories of lasts night show are not going to fade anytime soon.  I think my photos could be labled "An Ode to JJ Abrams" because of the lense flare except mine aren't as pretty.  (If you don't get the joke ask a Star Trek fan).

The photo I put up does have an interesting flare to it but then there's something a little extra.  Do you see what is behind Joe on the left?  If so, leave a comment or send an email. I'm curious if you all see what I see.

It was my first time seeing Joe in concert and as a bonus I met him too!  It was brief but I met the man, shook his hand, had my photo taken with him and spoke a little. He was very nice and humble.

There was some humor in the show too.  Lenny Castro must be the life of the party.  The poor guy broke one of his sticks during a solo, shrugged and kept going! The audience was behind him because he was so non-chalant about it.  We were laughing and so was he.

Gerry O'Connor was so serious at the start of the acoustic set but then he was making faces with the front row which was funny.  Between him and Lenny it was a sight to see and the thing was it didn't detract from show at all.  It was a clear indication of how well these guys get along and what chemistry they have together on stage.  Joe had some lines in the show which had the audience rolling and I loved the fact that he wore a suit with sneakers.  Both the acoustic and electric bands were amazing.  They were a well oiled machine and fed over each other so easily.

I have admitted before that I don't play a guitar and I haven't a clue about chords and a lot of the technical aspects of playing.  I just know what I like when I hear a guitar.  My favorite guitar player list is rather short and Joe is on the list.  All guitar players are not created equal and I think what I enjoy most about Joe is his willingness to explore music and evolve it, whether it's his own or a song by someone else.  Some of the songs in his catalogue have at least four different versions.

Joe's passion for music is very evident if you watch him play. The past comes with him to the present.  Some people don't get that from him but sometimes you need to listen with your soul and not your ears. I think I may have mentioned Joe's foundation before but I'm going to mention the Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation again.  A lot of schools cut music programs which is unfortuante and Joe's Foundation tries to give schools the resources it needs so kids can continue to be enriched by music.  Music is a universal language, it is something we all understand no matter the genre.

Okay, that's it for me.  I'm off to crash a bit as I didn't get any sleep last night.  I swear the concert moved to my hotel.  If you're going to be rowdy then it might as well be due Joe Bonamassa.

Rock on!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Little Stuff

Hi All,

My full-time job is in super busy mode and I won't see a lull again until about October or November.  It's full throttle for the rest of the year.

I have been trying to craft my book blurb which is proving to be more difficult than writing the book! I've have managed to write 16 different blurbs and none of them quite work.  I may need to take a little from each one to get what I'm after.  It certainly wouldn't be the first time I've had to piece things together.

I'm still stuck on finding a cover for my book.  The issue is that the story I have crafted can be approached from many different avenues.  There is one overall story but focusing on that for the cover in my mind detracts from everything else.  There is a lot going on with my main character  so finding the right cover that represents the journey is important.

While my story lingers in my mind and another edit looms ahead of me my thoughts have been focused on a mini-road trip with a co-worker.  Six days from now I will be sitting in Hampton Beach, NH listening to the amazing guitar sounds of Joe Bonamassa for an evening. I will be watching him share his craft with an audience of blues/rock fans and guitar enthusiasts.

I am not a fan of Blues music. It's not for lack of trying and listening but I can't get into most of it.  Joe blends his love of the blues in a way that appeals to these ears that have grown up listening to Def Leppard and Megadeth for 30 years.  He guitar playing appeals to me too which is why I am a fan.  It's due to Joe that I've delved into Free, early Whitesnake (pre-Tawny Kittan dancing on the car years) and then rediscovered Rory Gallagher, Peter Frampton and Gary Moore. 

Paul Rodgers is an amazing singer but we all knew that, right kids? After listening to the Free album I recently bought I started to think it would be cool to have Paul Rodgers, David Coverdale, Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey sing on an album together or do a concert.  That would be one hell of a show!

So in honor of Mr. Rodgers (won't you be my neighbor?) being an awesome singer, please enjoy him having a good time with Joe Bonamassa, an awesome guitar player doing the Free song "Walk In My Shadow" from the Beacon Theatre in 2012.

Rock On!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Back to Normal

Hi All,

Sorry for the silence but things have been busy!

My book has been in the hands of an acquaintance who has finally gone through it. I am still on the hunt for a decent photo for the cover and have little things to do yet and at least one more major rewrite and tweak.

I am currently wrapping up a very intense class on software testing (it's for work) which is why no updates for while on here.  My brain has been getting used a lot!

I have a road trip coming up next month to Hampton Beach, NH with a friend and co-worker.  If all goes well *knock on wood* I will hopefully meet Joe Bonamassa.  We're attending his concert - a first for both of us.  I've been a fan since 2006 and my co-worker is just getting into him.  Should be fun and I do hope I get the chance to meet the man face to face. 

As someone pointed out to me recently, for all my creativity, I tend to grab other creative people to help me with my creative projects.  The number of people I have reached out to regarding my book are all creative in their own ways whether they are into photography, editing, design, etc. 

Honestly, it seems only right to have other creative people help you with your creative project.  It becomes more like a group thing and each individuals creative spark is represented. It may be my book,  my words, my story but to have my ideas for a cover and how a page design should be well, that comes from other people.  The help me get my creative vision out there.  Music is a big part of that too.  There are certain chapters that probably would not have come out the way they did had I not been listening to Joe Bonamassa or Richie Sambora or any number of other people that put me in the right frame of mind.

To all the creative people out there - DON'T STOP!

With that, I leave you all to your creative endeavors and the video of a song that has been stuck in my heads for days.  Now it can be stuck in yours too!

 Rock On!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mix Tape Track Listing

Here is the track listing for the mix tape I put together today. I hope you find something interesting as there is a bit of everything - blues, jazz, rock, pop, country, folk and alternative.  I am a classic rock/metal listener the majority of the time so I'm sure if anyone came looking at my music collection they'd wonder how any of these ended up in my collection.  All I can say is - GUITARS! 
India/Mountain Time - Joe Bonamassa
Give Me One Reason - Lee Ritenour feat. R. Cray & J. Bonamassa
Given More Time - Vince Gill
Nothing - Dwight Yoakam
I'll Admit You're Gone - Rory Gallagher
Weathering the Storm - Richie Sambora
Bent - Matt Nathanson
Collide (Acoustic) - Howie Day
He Got Away - Noah Gunderson
An Ordinary Son - Black Country Communion
The Lost Boy - Greg Holden
Utopia - Within Temptation feat. Chris Jones
The Unclouded Day - Audra Mae
That River - Jim Byrnes
Slow Train (Acoustic) - Joe Bonamassa
Feel free to comment about making mix tapes.  I'm open to music recommendations too!
Rock on!

Book Crisis Averted

If you are working on a document, save it and save it again!  I had recently finished my story and thankfully saved it onto a CD.  A horrible thing happened ladies and gentleman, the version that was on my laptop disappeared!

My laptop was fine when I was logging off and noticed a Windows update was happening before my computer turned off.  Panic set in when I returned to my laptop, turned it on and found EVERYTHING gone!

No pictures, no music, my favorites, new Internet browser, six years worth of stories, notes and research related to them and other pieces of information relating to my stories were gone.  This is the worst feeling in the world when all of your hard work just vanishes.

Thankfully I was able to do a restore but my book did not return.  The very first version of it returned but not the copy that I had just finished.  I had two versions of it - a main version and the original version.  I would always work in the main version and make a copy of it because Word goes a little wonky on me now and then.

The restore brought me to the version I started two years ago and not the version I had finished at the end of December.  I am so thankful that I had a copy on CD as it would have been huge set back. 

So crisis averted and I feel better although I am a bit sad that some documents relating to a friend of mine who passed several years ago did not return.  It's a hard lesson to learn and thankfully the stories that I had on my laptop had been backed up so even if they had not returned I would have been okay. WHEW!

On the lighter side of things, a former co-worker sent me a CD as a Christmas gift.  I haven't received a mix tape in awhile from anyone so it was a welcome surprise. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed making mix tapes in college and making covers.  I have a rather large music collection and so I went digging through and playing CD's I haven't touched in some time.  As a thank you I decided to put a mix tape together to send them.

I rediscovered this gem from my music collection.  It's from Vince Gill's High Lonesome Sound CD.  Enjoy! - Maynard