Category Archives: music

Turn, Table, Turn

A few weeks back, I’d put in my earbuds and was planning on listening to a podcast while I cleaned the kitchen. Somehow (because, apparently, I don’t know how technology works), I loaded my old Apple Music library instead.

I hadn’t listened to these songs in ages, these relics from back in the days of my old iPod.

The first song made me smile. The next sparked a particular memory. The third was from a playlist I’d created for a long-ago novel. I kept listening even after I’d finished up with the kitchen.

And it struck me—hard. There’s a significant difference between a curated playlist and one generated by an algorithm.

So much so that a few days later, I went out and bought a turntable.

I’d been planning on doing this for a while, but I was hemming and hawing over what to buy. Then I found this little fellow:

It does everything. It plays records, CDs, FM radio. It even has a cassette tape deck. (Somewhere, I still have mix tapes.) And if I really want to, I can stream via Bluetooth. (And I might. See above re: Apple Music library.)

The sound is lovely, and its size is nice and compact. It now lives between the kitchen and the living area, so I can hear it while I’m cooking, then turn the volume down for reading in the evening.

Then I unearthed some actual records. We have more—somewhere—but these are the ones I’ve found so far. An eclectic mix, to be sure. These particular records belonged to my parents. Except for the Sesame Street one. Pretty sure that was mine.

After my surprise Apple Music encounter, I realized that I hadn’t been listening to music lately. I miss it. What I also miss is doing it myself. Streaming is fine (I guess). But sometimes, all you want to do is pull a record from the stack, blow off the dust, and hear the telltale scratch and hiss of the needle before the music plays.

Sometimes, you don’t need perfect.  

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But not a real green dress, that’s cruel

Bloganuary: If you had a billion US dollars, how would you spend it?

Ideally, here’s what I’d do:

After ensuring my immediate and extended family was settled and secure (and paying my taxes), I’d set up a foundation to manage the rest. I’d look for places and organizations that are doing the most good in the world and support them.

As I said, ideally.

Would I do that if a billion dollars suddenly landed in my lap? (Figuratively speaking—literally, that would probably kill me.)

I don’t know. But history (recent and not so recent) is filled with cautionary tales of people who have (or had) extraordinary power, or fame, or wealth. Some may look at that situation and say: those are good problems to have.

Again, I’m not so sure that’s true. I’m not convinced I could be an exception to all that history. I’m not talking about money can’t buy happiness platitudes. Because having enough resources for safety, security, and comfort is vital. And I’m acutely aware that not everyone has those things.

This brings me back to why I don’t need a billion dollars. That being said, it might be different if I had a million dollars:

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Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 3

Week 3! This week I finished a long short story. Word count says it’s a novelette, but I think it wants to be a novella when it grows up.

This coming week I would really like to work on some shorter stories.


  • Aliens & Invisibility ~ 11,800 words. Aliens & Invisibility is not its title, just a reminder (to me) about its content. Although I feel compelled to say that the aliens in the story aren’t invisible. You can see them. Or could, if they weren’t a fictional construct. You know what I mean. 


  • Long Distance Charges May Apply, another super short story (80 words) that I sent to a postcard fiction site.
  • The Burden of So Many Roses, normally I don’t send stories out so soon after writing them, but this was in response to a prompt call for submissions with a deadline, so out it went.

Rejections, etc.:

  • Cash or Check (that 44-word story) was a finalist but did not make the winners’ list. Which, if you recall, I was totally fine with since part of the prize was reading on stage. 


Filed under music, Write 1/Sub 1, Writing

Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 2 is untitled

Week 2! This week I worked on a longer short story and I think I have about 5,000 words. It’s on my Mobile Pro, which doesn’t have a word count function, so I’m guesstimating by its file size. (And yes, I’ve written so many scenes/stories on my Mobile Pro, I can do this. Certainly a skill I can apply to other areas of my life.)

I completed an untitled (for now) flash fiction, which I managed to write without a single line of dialogue. However, it does have neck tattoos. So, you know, there’s that. It’s Desperate Housewives meets Breaking Bad. In 600 words. Without dialogue. Yeah. This one’s going to sell.


  • Untitled flash fiction, ~600 words
  • Untitled longer short story, not complete ~ 5,000 words

That longer short story? Another dream-inspired one. I crawled out of bed and scribbled down the notion, even though I had some note cards and a pen on the nightstand.


  • Two Hammers, a persona poem I wrote during a poetry class last year. I found a lit journal that focuses on historical topics, so I sent it there.

Also in this week’s writing news: I did some revising and wrote several pages on a story that only wants to be written by hand.

Be sure to check the Write 1 Sub 1 Satummary page each week. It includes links to all the published stories from the Write 1 Sub 1 participants for the week. Not only is it some good reading, but if you’re a writer, it’s a great way to get a feel for the market as well.

Highlights: UFO anthology editor Alex Shvartsman has a really cool story up at Daily Science Fiction, and my friend Von has a lovely New Year’s story at Every Day Fiction.

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Filed under music, Write 1/Sub 1, Writing

Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 1

Well, did I do it? I think so! Here’s my tally for the week.


  • Fire and Ice, a novelette, ~8,500 words
  • The Burden of So Many Roses, flash, ~1,260 words

Here’s the crazy thing: I totally dreamed the start of the novelette. And in dream-like fashion, I was both writing the story and in the story. This never happens to me. I never dream stories. But since the universe offered up this gift, I decided to go for it and the whole thing tumbled out of me in a matter of three days, no planning, no outlining, nothing but words. It. Was. Glorious.

The flash I hope to cut down a bit, to about 1,000 words. I suspect a good 200 or more are throat-clearing anyway and this won’t be too tough.


  • Cash or Check, a 44-word story (hey, it counts) to a local flash fiction (100 words or less) contest. I am actually hoping not to win or place, since the prize includes getting up on stage and reading your work. The introvert’s nightmare. This will be my happiest rejection ever.

And, thanks to that novelette, I’ve had this Pat Benatar classic running through my head all week. Now, it can run through yours. You can thank me later.


Filed under music, Write 1/Sub 1, Writing

Musical interlude: Ode to Kindle Fire (with apologies to Bruce Springsteen)

I’m browsing on the ‘net, I click on the Add to Cart
I think I should delete, but this is just the start
I say I won’t like it, but you know I’m a liar
‘Cause when we surf
Hmmm, fire

Well late at night, I’m tapping your screen
Well you say I wanna an app, I say free Angry Birds is just mean
I say I don’t love you, but l can’t hide my desire
And when we surf
Ohhh, fire, fire

You had a hold on me right from the start
It’s a grip so tight I couldn’t tear it apart
My nerves all jumpin’ actin’ like a fool
Your graphics they burn, but your case stays cool

Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah
But Kindle you can bet their love they didn’t deny
My words say quit, but my words they lie
‘Cause when we surf
Hmmm, fire, fire

Burnin’ in my soul, my Kindle’s out of control

So. Do I love my Kindle Fire? Yes, yes I do. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the back-lit e-reader vs. e-ink, but so far I think I’ve actually been reading more, not less. Of course, being able to adjust the brightness helps.

Oh, and streaming content? Yes, please. Right now, I’m working through all of Ken Burns’s documentaries. (Civil War first to complement the War Through the Generations reading challenge.)

And I can check my email, go on Facebook, and, and, and …

And … check out the book between Pasta and Tina Fey. Could it be Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay? Why, yes. I think it is. See, even the 2009 Debs are on fire.


Filed under 2009 Debs, Books, Misc, music, Reading, Video

Musical Interlude: Strings and Clocks

The First Time Trivia: Although I don’t mention the song the cafeteria string quartet is playing in my story The Trouble With Firsts, I spent a lot of time listening to Vitamin String Quartet trying to find the perfect one.

Didn’t know there was such a thing as a cafeteria string quartet? Well, the answer to the why and how is somewhere in The Trouble With Firsts.

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Filed under 2009 Debs, Books, music, Promo, Reading & Writing, Video, Writing, YA

Conversations with my son


[INT. SUV, weekday morning, on way to school]

Son: Mom, is this the real life?

Mom: Or is this just fantasy?

Son: I’m caught in a landslide.

Mom: You know what? There’s really no escape from reality.

Son: Open your eyes.

Mom (pointing): Look up to the skies and see.

Son: I’m just a poor boy

Mom: You need no sympathy

Son: Because I’m easy come, easy go

Mom: Little high, little low.

Son: Any way the wind blows

Mom: Doesn’t really matter to me

Son (dramatic): To me!


Daughter: What are you guys talking about?


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Filed under Kids, music, Video

Nerd news

Around the web this week, in case you missed it:

Great blog post by literary agent Nathan Bransford on the television show Lost and the High Narrative Price of WTF. And if that title doesn’t tempt you, I don’t know what will. Good message for writers–good message for all of us.

In Nerd News: Remember Windows 3.1? Or maybe you’ve never even seen Windows 3.1 (!). Why not take a stroll down virtual memory lane with the Windows 3.1 online emulator. Prepare yourself for a visual shock, and while you’re there, you can even play Mine Sweeper. (Go on, click through. You know you want to.)

And what post would be complete without a YouTube video. From the fine, fine people who brought us Do You Wanna Date My Avator comes this new music video:

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Summertime …

With apologies to George Gershwin.

Summertime, and the writing is easy,
Verbs are jumping, and the word count is high
Your agent is quick, and editor forgiving
So, hush, little writer, don’t you cry.

Yes, Darcy and I have been busy writing. Will anything come of that? You’ll have to stay tuned … it’s kind of like a cliffhanger, isn’t it?

Oh, and here’s the real version of that song:

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