What Does Music Mean To You?

In 1982, I discovered Van Halen. As far as music was concerned, I never looked back. I knew the words to every song on every album. I could drum solo right along with Alex. I studied everything I could get my hands on about them. (Oh, how the helpful the internet would’ve been.) I stayed up until all hours of the night listening to radio interviews. In my high school year book senior year, we had to list what we would be in ten years. I wrote married to Alex Van Halen. I was obsessed.  (The video above is “Respect the Wind” by Eddie and Alex Van Halen. Enjoy!)

As the years passed, and logic and reasoning formed in my brain (thankfully) some of the obsession died down. (I have seen every American tour since 1984.) I still enjoy their music, but mostly the stuff with David Lee Roth singing lead. Sorry, Sammy Hagar. He seems like a cool person to hang out with. I prefer the harder sound with Dave.

Growing up music made me believe anything was possible. Music sat right beside me while I wrote my first novel at twelve, and every novel since. (I have play lists for all my women’s fiction books.) Music soothed my heart the first time someone broke it. No one understands the broken heart better than a musician. Except maybe a romance novelist. Music makes me dance any place any time. Music transports me. Every time I hear AC/DC’s Hells Bells I’m at the start of a high school football game. High school was a long time ago.

I don’t play any instruments, but 2018 is the year I change that. I can’t sing, but I dream of being on stage in front of thousands singing my heart out. (Possibly in leather pants. And I’d love to do a duet with Jennifer Nettles. I love the quality of her voice.) If I had to go back and do it all again, I’d study how to play music. I love writing, and I wouldn’t change being an author for anything. (Though I’d like to make more than a cup of coffee for doing it.) But I also love the sound of an orchestra. And much to my son’s dismay, I love soundtrack music. The music in a soundtrack evokes emotion often times because the dialogue and the actor’s facial expressions can’t. Being in an orchestra is my kind of team sport.

An artist puts his or her mark on the world. The way rockers played guitar changed because Eddie Van Halen hit the scene. He revolutionized the way guitars were made too. I often hope with my books that I can leave my mark. I had a beta reader say to me recently, “I’m sobbing.” My words moved her. What an honor and a thrill to be able to touch someone deeply. Now I have to find more readers like her otherwise my mark is just one. That’s no easy job.

If I could go back to 1982, I think I’d sit myself down and say, “don’t give up. Don’t listen to what other people say. Deep inside you is a talent and a passion. Sing. Dance. Play. Write. I’ll be waiting for you.”

What does music mean to you?

What passion burns inside you to come out?

Who influenced you the most?

A Second Chance House is available for pre-order in digital format. The print version will become available March 7th from all major online retailers, and here on the website.

I’m hosting a Facebook party on March 7th from 7 – 9 pm in honor of the release. There will be games and prizes.

And since music is so important to me and my hero, Blaise Savage, I’m having a book launch concert at Patrick’s Pub, Neptune, NJ, March 28th 7 pm. I’ll be signing books and doing a reading. And right along side me will be fantastic bands playing awesome music. (I won’t be singing. Don’t worry.)



Book Launch Concert March 28, 2018

Some people describe the ’80s as the decade of excess. Big hair. Big music. Big concerts. Big shoulder pads. Van Halen landed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1984 for making the most money at one show.  Now, that’s big.

I was about fourteen when I decided going on tour with a rock band would be cool. I never did, but I still feel that way. I love to sing, which I can’t do, but that doesn’t stop me. Just ask the Noodges and the Coffee King. An item on my bucket list is to sing on stage in front of thousands of people. Might be helpful to learn to sing first.

So, it’s not all that surprising that the hero in my contemporary women’s fiction novel, A Second Chance House, is a drummer in a washed up rock band. When I started thinking about promotion for this book, I thought rock concert! Problem was pulling it off.

I found the solution thanks to my friend and author colleague, Karen Victoria. She sings (lucky woman) and knows lots of bands. Karen put in a good word for me, and my rock concert became a reality. I can’t thank her enough.

Because of Karen, Carol Barbieri with Patrick’s Pub in Neptune, NJ kindly agreed to allow me to be a part of their open-mic night on March 28, 2018 at 7 pm. (I won’t be singing, so you’re safe.)

This is Carol. She’s the Queen of the open-mic night. Isn’t she adorable? Thanks, Carol!

But I will be doing a reading from A Second Chance House, and I will be signing books. And there will be fantastic bands made up of some very talented musicians. If you’re in the area, please drop on by for a night of big bands, big music, and little ol’ me.

Singing at Patrick’s. The woman on the left in the red is Karen. Thanks, Karen!

Signing and Singing

Patrick’s Pub

116 3rd Avenue Rt. 35

Neptune City Shopping Plaza

March 28, 2018

7 pm.

Would You Want to Be Immortal?

One of the trends on Facebook and other social media sites is “Throw Back Thursday” or “Flashback Friday” where your friends post pictures of themselves or their families from a long time ago. It’s cute to see some of the old pictures, but really, do we need to be reminded of plaid polyester and oversized collars? I guess, if only to make sure we don’t repeat history.

I haven’t posted any old pictures, because frankly, I’m too lazy to dig them out, scan them, file them in a new folder in the picture gallery on my computer and then upload them. Nobody cares that much about the yellow, red, purple, and orange flowered pant suit I wore in the 4th grade except my mother and Mrs. Owens my fourth grade teacher. May she rest in peace.

But this week “Throw Back Thursday” had me thinking of long ago events like the first time I ever went to a concert. Van Halen, April 3, 1984. That was 30 years ago and 30 is a very large number. Wasn’t it only yesterday I pulled on my white jeans, red sweatshirt, and tied a red bandanna around my thigh as a testament to my loyalty as a VH fan? How can it be that my own children are now asking to see their favorite artists in concert? (Let me just say the price of concert tickets today do not resemble the price of my VH ticket in 1984.)

Not exactly Alex Van Halen’s drum set, but you get the idea.

How about friendships? I have friends I’ve known for more years than my Van Halen concert anniversary. I’m grateful for those friends and in my eyes they will forever be 14. I can only hope they see me the same way and not the middle-aged, lined face individual I have morphed into like a demon character in a sci-fi novel. I’m also grateful for my Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in Warm Beige. Just saying.

The alternative to having large numbered anniversaries is having small ones or worse, none at all. Even though many days I want to believe the date on my driver’s license is a lie, I still feel like that kid going to her first VH concert. There is so much I still want to accomplish like learning to play the drums or speaking Italian (the real Italian and not the dialect of my crazy family) fluently. I haven’t hit any of the best sellers lists yet and that goal might take me well into my golden years. Hopefully, air brushing technology will continue to improve so my author photo will resemble me and not that demon character I’m fighting off with my foundation stick.

Honestly, I’ve thought I might like to live forever like Dorian Gray, but minus the magic picture business. (Maybe just drink an elixir) Then I’d have all the time in the world to slay dragons while speaking Italian. And if I can’t live forever than 150 years would be good as long as I could still do yoga. If I could make it to that age, then I wouldn’t be mid-life but heck, maybe still a toddler with lots to learn. I’d want the people I cared most about to grow really old with me too otherwise, I’d have no one to go to Van Halen concerts with.

So, what about you, faithful reader, would you want immortality? Why or why not? What would you be willing to do to get it?

Noise Polution

The school year has ended and summer vacation has gotten under way. “Hooray,” I shout, but not before I cover my ears. With the kids in the house, all day long, the noise decibel is killing me. Holy cow. Daughter spends large blocks of time singing and playing the recorder. Do you know this instrument? It’s a plastic clarinet that sounds like a pig trying to shimmy through it. Dear God, who made that thing and gave it to elementary school children and told them it was music?!

As I’m desperately trying to put this blog post together Son is pounding away on the drums. He’s in the basement on one side of the house and I am on the second floor on the OPPOSITE side of the house. I’m too lazy or crazed, you pick, to shut the office door. And guess what? He’s a GREAT drummer. I say this, because if you’ll allow me a moment of bragging, Son played “Dance The Night Away” by VAN HALEN at his drum recital. Those of you that know me personally, know Son could have given me no greater gift. And guess what? He surprised me! I didn’t even know what he was going to play until he introduced himself. Thirteen years of yelling, “stop that, don’t touch that, go to bed, and get off the video games,” paid off. He loves his mother. Collective sigh.

And of course, because the kids are home I hear a lot of “Mom, can I, can you, when will we?” non-stop. It would be quieter if I took my lap top and tried to write on a corner in New York City. Don’t my children know an author needs quiet to create?

I remember the days when I longed for them to say, “mama,” to call to me instead of the undistinguishable screaming of a baby. Now all they do is scream at each other.

My mother tells me I’m going to miss all the noise in the house some day. Could she be right? Will I long again, but this time for the disruption, the fighting, the playing of the pig squealing recorder?

In the words of Gabriel Hunter, “As if.”