Recently, You and Me: Me, My Wife and Dave Matthews Band

dmbMy wife has this way of internally rolling her eyes, when she doesn’t want me to see she is rolling her eyes…. Yet, I still know she is doing it and she knows I know.

A lot of this eye rolling has been occurring because of another man. Well, technically, a band of them. For the last year I’ve regained my obsession with Dave Matthews Band and their music. The funny thing is this obsession was rekindled after a bad concert.

Yes, Dave Matthews Band is known for their amazing live performances, but my complaint was not with them. This guilt is all on the shoulders of the audience around me. During the show I almost wondered if my annoyance was because I am older and this is not a thing anymore (and really concert going can take a lot of energy). Nah. This ain’t on my shoulders. Honestly, the people around us were dicks.

There, I’ll say it again: “Dicks.”

Someone was selling beaded necklaces, another family was coming and going throughout the show (I think there were some drugs going on there), and a family sitting next to us brought their own bongos. Yes, you read that right- bongos. And of all of the members of Dave Matthews Band, Carter Beauford  doesn’t need any drumming help. The man is freaking amazing.

Yet, ever since that concert I have not been able to stop listening to Dave Matthews Band. I listen to the music while I am getting ready in the morning, having breakfast, when I am driving the kids to school, and going for walks. Dave is there always, and it feel very natural. Like a friend, just hanging out, catching up on memories. Continue reading

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Fiona Apple and the new book Permanent Spring Showers. A guest post on the Undercover Soundtrack.

Fiona Apple's New MasterpieceToday I have a guest post on the very cool site The Undercover Soundtrack. If you haven’t visit the site, you should. Writers discuss their musical inspiration and “soundtrack” in the writing of their work. I was on the site before, writing about the music behind A Jane Austen Daydream (which you can check out here). In this post I take on the soundtrack of Permanent Spring Showers, my latest book.

Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

Music can be like little time capsules. For some, they may return you to younger days, for me they return me to books. Whenever I take on a project, my creative psyche demands that I find the right soundtrack for it. And if I don’t, I might as well kiss that creative spirit goodbye. They flounder, gasping and dying like a fish out of water.

When I began work on my novel Permanent Spring Showers I knew I was doing something a little odd. It was a book very loosely based on a screenplay I had written years earlier, but this was going to be a very different work, not an easy adaptation. Also, I was going to present it chapter by chapter on my site. I liked to call it then a book in real time since you could enjoy the book and witness the creation of it as well. Yet, it was even more than that. Since I wasn’t bogging myself down in thoughts of sales, agents, and publishers, I was opening the door for sheer possibility. I could do anything, only limited by my own imagination.

It was so creatively exhilarating to throw off the shackles that so many of us feel when creating. And, adding in the danger that I could screw it up at any moment (for everyone to see) was just as thrilling. I was playing with literary fire. Luckily, I never felt alone in the flames.

In the article I break down the relationship between Fiona Apple’s most recent CD (which is awesome, by the way) and the book. You can check out the entire article here.

Permanent Spring ShowersPermanent Spring Showers was published by 5 Prince Books and is available on all online book retailers. Out in both print and eBook, you can find it on amazon.com here. The eBook is on sale for only $3.99.

You can read a sample and learn more about the book via this page. Grab a copy today!

 

“Belle & Sebastian Meets Jane Austen” A Guest Post on the Undercover Soundtrack

Belle and SebastianToday I have a guest post up on The Undercover Soundtrack. For those that don’t know, it is a unique writing blog where writers share the music that influenced and inspired their writing. My post is on the music of Belle & Sebastian (one of my favorite bands) and how it impacted my new novel A Jane Austen Daydream. Here is the beginning of the article:

There is usually nothing more important to me than the music I have playing while writing a book.  Music can inspire me, engage me, keep my energy up when I need it to be up. It sets the mood for me, and the right song can pull the right levers to get me to go from point A to point B in a plot. It has also been known to drive the people that live with me crazy since while I am writing I may play a CD a few too many times (Just ask my wife about the writing of My Problem With Doors and my nonstop playing of O by Damien Rice; an album I am forbidden to play in her presence again). But what I used for A Jane Austen Daydream was something surprisingly contemporary. This was not something for Liz Bennet to dance to (but she might if given the chance).

You can read the rest of the article here, where I go into details on how Belle & Sebastian (especially their CD The Life Pursuit) changed my version of a certain famous novelist.

A Jane Austen DaydreamA Jane Austen Daydream is available via amazon.com where you can find it in print for just $13.85 in print and only $3.99 for the eBook. Here is the link: http://amzn.com/0983671923

And remember, my new experimental gothic novel Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare is a free eBook on amazon until June 15! You can check it out here.

My Wife Hates Steely Dan

So often when you speak to married couples you hear of the sacrifices that they have given for the sake of the marriage. Bad habits disappear, strange heirlooms from the past go into storage.

Luckily, for me my wife really married me for who I was and didn’t expect me to change…

Oh wait…

She did want one thing.

My wife hates the music of Steely Dan.

“Reelin’ in the Years”

I grew up on the music of Steely Dan. My dad loves this band, I can’t remember a time really when Countdown to Ecstasy or Pretzel Logic wasn’t playing while he was working in the lawn or around the house.

Over a decade ago I actually got him tickets to see the band live. And when he injured his leg, I gave him copies of their entire discography to help pass the time. They have always been a go-to possibility around my dad and presents… Other than Steely Dan and the work of Kurt Vonnegut, he is difficult to shop for, to be honest. Continue reading

Which Beatle am I? I have no idea anymore

I have always identified myself with The Beatles.  There was something about their energy, their creativity, and their artistic exploration that called to me.

I know this is not a unique thing.

Almost everyone feels some kind of connection to the fab four, but for me, I would mark my time based on theirs or I would relate myself to at least one of them from time to time, thinking something like “Wow that is just like John,” even though I knew it was never really the case… but it just made everything feel a little more important.

When I was a young struggling writer, I saw myself as a young John Lennon. I wore a sailor cap like he did all the time and wrote comic short stories. Yes, I connected to this early John in a major way.   I even dressed as him for Halloween once with the sailor cap just so over my bangs… strangely (thanks probably to my blonde hair) most thought I was the Dutch Boy from the paint cans as compared to the young rock god. Continue reading

John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Your Children

While it is not surprising I have written an editorial on The Beatles and parenting for Green Spot Blue, it IS surprising that it took me a year to get around to doing it.

Here is the beginning of my article:

John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Your Children

When you think of The Beatles today, it’s hard not to get lost in the image of the innocent and sweetly sarcastic four moptops running around while “Can’t Buy Me Love” plays loudly.  Yet, The Beatles were more than that; they probably were the most important artists to come out of the last century.  In only ten years, they created a wealth of music and cultural influence that is still impacting and inspiring people today… Basically, I am not saying anything here we haven’t read or heard before since their break up almost forty years ago. Continue reading

Introducing Your Child to Jazz- Some Recommendations

Green Spot Blue has printed a new article by me.  This one is about jazz and how to introduce your child to some of the great artist and records.  Here is an excerpt from the beginning…

As parents we all want the best for our kids, and our plans are filled with the best intentions.  Many times this relates to music and our desire for our kids to know more than just what is on the pop stations. Some parents may try to listen to classical more, but for me I have always chosen jazz. Jazz, above all other music genres, seems to me to sing of creativity, the thrill of thinking outside the box. Songs are filled with experimentations, expressions. You feel love more, you feel pain more. There is a story there that surpasses any you may hear in the lyrics of a country song.

The problem is that many times when we parents sit back and look at our own musical choices, we can’t help but feel guilty. Usually it is the same artists, the same albums; we return to the comfort of what we like the most, not realizing that our child is hearing the same thing again… and again… and again….

Well, for the parent that wants to introduce their child to America’s great original artform, might I recommend 7 classical jazz albums to share with the family. Consider this an opportunity to lose The Wiggles, this is an introduction to jazz.

You can read the rest of the article, as well as the recommendations here.