Friday, May 24, 2013

Writing: "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell and The Drells

I can tell that I'm in a major transitional phase of my life.  As with all things in life, in general, there is a natural ebb and flow.  But lately I feel that my usual gentle ripple is merely the start of a roaring tide.  How do I know this fact?  Well - I've been receiving more and more interest in my WIP (work-in-progress) manuscript.  And this interest is not just from any 'ole body, it's from some pretty heavy hitters in publishing.  To say that I feel GREAT about all of this attention would be the understatement of the year.

Note: I do have a finished manuscript that is slowly (SLOWLY) making the rounds.  But what folks seem to REALLY want is the book that isn't written.  I have large account sales in my day job CV, so I can say with authority that customers always want the product you don't have.  To paraphrase my old boss, "there is infinite demand for the nonexistent or unattainable." So true....

I am making progress on my WIP, though.  And I received some AMAZING feedback on the first five pages from a well known agent.  This person is uber-busy, so the fact that they gave me line edits was a shockingly pleasant surprise.  In short, their advice was "Tighten Up."  Which led me to this week's entry for my mix tape.

"Tighten Up" by Archie Bell and The Drells

Ok, so I know that The Black Keys recently released a song named "Tighten Up", but I had to go back to this 1960's track!  First, it is more fitting for my post message.  And second, when given a choice, I prefer the lesser known (more obscure) song.  I will be honest and say that I haven't done my research on Mr. Bell and The Drells to know if they were more than a one hit wonder, but I can say that I dig on their overall vibe.  They were an integrated band, in Texas, in the 1960's - how interesting and FANTASTIC is that??

Overall the song is meant to be danced to....mostly, because it is in the tradition of songs intended to launch a new dance craze.  (Think Chubby Checker's "The Twist" or Digital Underground's "Humpty Dance" or any other number of examples.)  For this reason, the song is catchy.  Specifically, I love the bass and drums, but it is the lead guitar and horns that really make the tune stick with you.  In fact, I will randomly find myself humming this song or repeating Mr. Bell's humble words at the start of the song:

"We don't hardly sing, but we dance just as good as we walk...."

Looking good, girl...but I gotta get to writing!!  :D

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Peeps : "Girls" by Santigold

I am back and recovered from my vacation in Kansas City.  I know you all just paused..."Kansas City??"  Yes, KC!  Two wonderful things unfurled in KC, MO: 1) I visited my cousin Clara and we are embarking on a new project, 2) I hung out with my CRAZY writing friends and readers at the 2013 RT Booklover's Convention.

My Family Peeps: Cousin Clara

My dear cousin Clara is a retired RN.  She is also our family historian.  Like so many families, so much of our history is relayed via stories passed down from generation to generation.  My sister and I came to the sad conclusion that we don't remember half of the stories told to us over the years.  As we watched my three year old niece run around the room, I vowed to make an effort to put all of our stories on paper and combine them with the many shoeboxes of pictures stored in homes across the country.  Forutunately, my family is concentrated in six cities: Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Dallas, and Kansas City. Each city has a key matriarch or patriarch that is the keeper of key bits of history. 

Clara and I set a target of having our book launched to the family by 2020.  It's going to be a long road to finish this project, but it is important work.  I really want to give this gift to future generations.  Thank God I have a job that requires travel.  I'll be able to take some side trips to meet with folks face-to-face.  I'll keep you posted on our progress. 

My Writing Peeps: RT 2013

The RT Booklovers Convention has become my annual trek and one of the highlights of my year.  This was my third time attending and each year I make new friends and reconnect with old ones. 

My dear friend, Lacey Falcon, flew in from Germany.  We had a lovely 'getting caught up' brunch.  Megan Mulry co-hosted a Lime Party where Dark and Stormies were free flowing for all to consume.  I FINALLY got to meet a ton of my Twitter Peeps like Victoria Dahl, Eric Ruben, and Sabrina York just to name a few.  I roomed with Gina Fluharty, Maire Claremont, and Delilah Marvelle.  And I gave big hugs to Karina Cooper, Gina Lamm, Terry Won, the lovely ladies of St. Martin's Press - Monique Patterson and Holly Blanck, and one of my submittal agents - Alexandra Machinist.

Ok - enough of the name dropping.... Like Gina, I feel like I found my peeps and for the first time in a really loooonnnnggg time, I felt utterly in my element. A few days of learning more about writing craft and hanging with group of fun women and men was exactly what I needed.  Needless to say, it took me three days to fully re-hydrate - but it was soooo worth it!

"Girls" by Santigold

My bestfriend, Gerry, turned me on to Santigold.  Though Shove It is perhaps my favorite Santigold song (followed closely by Lights Out and it's funky 80's vibe), Girls is worming its way into my heart.

Why? I love the message of empowerment and FUN! With lyrics like "So legit, I don't quit when I fall", "I'm a fighter so I know that I won't retreat", and "I'm a winner though I am not afraid of defeat", the girl power message is made clear in rapid fire verse.

With regards to the video, I LOVE the diversity depicted!  Girls and woman of all colors, ages, and nationalities are featured at work and at play.  If you follow my blog, you will know that I have a soft spot for video shoots where the participants are clearly having fun with both the artist and their peers.  But what I adore most is that all the 'girls' are just being themselves and acting silly for the camera.  Loads of positive energy here.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Who be the queen of the ball....

Some of my Peeps: Linda Mercury, Lily Santana, and Mahalia Levey at the RT Ellora's Cave sponsored Disco Ball