- Spending some solo time with various members of my family.(We tend to turn everything into an epic adventure.)
- Spending time with everyone in my family.
- Playing Guitar
- Going to the Movies
- Going to Concerts
- Going to the Theater
- Playing Tennis
- Going to places I’ve never been before.
- Hanging with Friends
- Going to Disney World.
Tag Archives: rock and roll
A few years ago, I was on tour with my first book when I was asked to speak at a small parochial grade school just south of Indianapolis. The audience was a group of junior high students who were thrilled to learn that I was not some 80-year-old, gray-haired nun waxing poetic about some long dead saint from Terre Haute, but I could also speak fluent Classic Rock as well.
After a half-hour chat about the book and answering questions about what it was like to be a “real” author, a boy near the back raised his hand. I expected him to ask one of the typical questions I usually receive at this type of thing such as: “Have you written anything else?” “Who were your favorite authors as a kid?” “Are you famous?” or maybe, “What is your favorite Zeppelin song?” but instead he surprised me by asking, “What was the most important lesson you learned in college?”
It was an inquiry that put me back on my heels for a minute. My first instinct was to talk about my craft and how my education helped me improve my writing style or balance my life with the demands of academia (keep in mind I was 30 before I pursued a college degree,) but something in the back of my mind told me he needed something more…profound. In that moment, I decided to shoot from the hip and give it to him straight and this month, instead of my usual humor, I’ve decided to share that answer with you, dedicating it to every reader who is going back to school this semester, or contemplating an education in the near future:
The most important lesson I learned in college is that a college education is a venture in the only sure thing there really is in life…you. Let’s face it; there really are no guarantees. None of the major milestones we achieve are a one-sided proposition. We may grow up, learn to drive and buy that first car, but it will break down, may be involved in an accident and will ultimately need to be replaced. You will get jobs and you will lose jobs. You will buy a house only to have to replace the roof, furnace or call in a plumber on a Sunday morning for an outrageous fee. Some of you will get married but unfortunately, statistics say approximately 50 percent of you will end up divorced and I promise you your children will not do everything you expect them to so the only thing you can control in life is you and that begins with your college education.
You see a college education isn’t just more of the same old grind. It’s the time in which you see how everything fits together. Until now, you have been immersed in theory, but college is all about practical application and gaining experience in those areas that you are passionate about. If you are like me, you may have asked, “When am I ever going to use…?” but I assure you, there was not one class I took in college that I did not use in the real world. (Aside from Algebra, of course.) College helped open my eyes to the world in a whole new way, made me a well-rounded, confident lifelong learner and gave me a transferrable skill set that will help me land on my feet no matter how rough the road gets.
But it only works if you devote yourself to it, remain committed and have the right attitude, because you are the only sure thing you have. Your success or failure rides on you. Not your major. Not your professors. Not your advisor. You. I make very few guarantees in life, but I promise you this: your college education will be the greatest investment you will ever make and the one thing you can truly bank on, or your biggest financial mistake. The choice is yours. Which will it be?
Good luck to everyone going back-to-school this year. My thoughts and best wishes go with you. Stick with it, never give up and know that I am rooting for you!
I’m sorry to see 2013 go. Last year at this time, I vowed that it would be the best one since 1986 and I have to say, in the end…2013 is going to be a hard one to top. On New Year’s Eve, I was at dinner contemplating what the best moment of the year was. I had to be the only one at the table with a true Top Ten list but I couldn’t help it. It was all so amazing! So with no further ado…here are some of my favorite moments from what has truly been a spectacular year!
Seeing/Meeting Heart. It’s always exciting to go to a concert, but it is even more exciting to see your favorite band, meet them and listen to them do a 30 minute encore of your OTHER favorite band. Top that off with an exclusive interview with the lead singer and a press pass for the show and you have a recipe for an unforgettable life event!
Getting my masters degree. I firmly believe that education is the key to making all of your dreams come true and it was incredible to be able to complete my masters program in a year and to secure my degree with a 4.0 GPA. It seemed like such a long journey but in the end, it was well-worth it. Hopefully in 2014, I can secure a teaching position at a local college or university and enter into a new phase of my already amazing career!
Going to Disney World. I don’t take vacations, so after completing my degree I decided that the Monkey and I would take off for the Happiest Place on Earth and trip the light fantastic for an AWESOME week. The Disney people do not disappoint, I must say. Everyone was so pleasant and accommodating and I literally cried when I had to leave and go back to the real world. Getting to spend that vacation with my teenage son was also fabulous, especially when I asked him what the best part was and hearing him say, “Meeting the mouse!”
Singing on the American Idol Stage. OK, it was the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but still…I had to go through a blistering audition process, impress the production people and give the performance of my life in 90 seconds. Hands down that auditorium had the best sound system I have ever encountered and even though I didn’t take home the Golden Ticket, having some of my “fans” come up to me afterward and want their picture taken with me made me feel like a rock star!
Attending the Western & Southern Open. I am a tennis junkie. I admit it. I love the sport and there are a lot of top players worthy of watching. It had been years since I attended a live match so what better way to spend your birthday than to go to Cincinnati and see the top players in the world. Seeing Venus, Roger and Vika was so wonderful and having one of them wish me many happy returns was even better. Can’t wait to go back in 2014! (I’ve got my eye on you Andy Murray!!!)
Meeting “Doctor Who.” There is something truly exciting about helping your kid reach a goal of meeting one of his idols. It’s even better when you get to interview that idol as well! For my young “whovian” there was nothing as special as meeting Peter Davison even though when I asked him about his top moment of 2013…Doctor Who surprisingly didn’t make the list. LOL
Releasing FAMOUS FACES of WTTV-4. I am always honored and proud to release a new book, but this one was extra special considering that the subjects of the book were the television heroes of my childhood. I was thrilled when “Janie” came to the launch along with the Puppet Master Brian Reynolds, and Commander KC. We were able to Skype briefly with Peggy of the “Popeye and Peggy” show and the book has received some wonderful reviews on Goodreads!
Signing the FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME contract. At long last my first novel is coming out and I could not be more excited about it. I am so appreciative of Rocking Horse Publishing for taking a chance on MonAmi’s madcap journey into manufactured superstardom and I can’t wait to beef up the buzz as we approach our 4/1/14 launch date!
As for what is coming in 2014? Well if you know me, there will be plenty of weekly book reviews and Fabulous Fridays. I plan to start an “Author Spotlight” feature and of course, don’t forget to check out MonAmi’s Tour Diary which is the companion blog to FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME and full of sneak peeks, deleted material and whatever MonAmi feels like sharing. I guarantee there will be plenty of the unexpected along the way and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Let’s rock the new year!
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People are always surprised to hear that I can’t write to music. I guess they figure that as a musician, it would only be natural for me to surround myself with tunes but in actuality-its distracting. I get too into what I am listening to and the next thing you know I am up singing and dancing and then I can’t get anything done. ha ha. Occasionally I can listen to classical or instrumental because that is more of a “soundscape” but that’s about it.
However, when I was writing FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME, there were a number of songs that inspired the plot line, set the rhythm and tempo as I wrote certain scenes or that were going through my head as I wrote MonAmi’s lyrics. I’ve never told anyone what some of these songs were, but I thought it might be fun for readers to learn the lyrical backstory of FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME. this is hardly an inclusive list…but it will give you all a little more insight into what was going on in my head at the time:
“Perfection” by Cher: It seems that I heard this song about the same time that the idea for FMoF came into my head. I liked the desperation that this song evokes and that no matter what you do, no matter how big you get, it will never be enough. Favorite lyric: “Worked so hard…made a name…but the loneliness inside stays the same…”
“Rockstar” by Nickelback: I originally wanted a snipped of the lyrics inside FMoF and I still need to do some research on the legalities of that, but the refrain of this song pretty much sums up how Megan feels about becoming an entertainer and just how far she would go to get there. Favorite lyric: “I’m gonna change this life for fortune and fame, I’d even cut my hair and change my name…”
“Shot in the Dark” by Ozzy Osbourne: This choice probably makes no sense to anyone who isn’t me, but the pacing of this tune was the driving force of a certain scene and I literally found myself listening to it in order to mark out certain actions. Favorite lyric: “But just like the wounded, and when it’s too late…they’ll remember, they’ll surrender…Never a care for the people who hate, underestimate me now…”
“Not a Dry Eye in the House” Meat Loaf: Meat’s songs provide the perfect fodder for writing material because they all sound like musical numbers. Unlike a traditional ballad, most of his tunes always seem like they are trying to propel a story along. While I am sure there were several of his that helped me out along the way. This one stands out. Favorite lyric: “It was almost like a movie, those nights we touched the stars, time stood still for you now it’s sad enough to make you cry.”
“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion: Ah, the mighty Jim Steinman! I can spot one of his opuses at 40 paces because they are longer than long and seem to repeat choruses more than necessary. Meat Loaf eventually covered this one as well, but I like Celine’s version better. However I must confess, both videos inspired a scene in the book. Favorite lyric: “When you see me like this…when I see you like that…we see just what we want to see…it’s all coming back to me…”
“I Drove All Night” by Celine Dion. OK, for the record, it’s not her voice that gets Celine Dion a double shot on this list…it is truly the lyrics, which in this case were written by Cyndi Lauper. This is an awesome road song and something to get the inspiration going when you need to get through a scene. Favorite Lyric: “I think about you when the night is cold and dark….nobody moves me the way that you do…nothing erases this feeling between me and you…”
“There’s No Easy Way Out” by Survivor: I watched a lot of montage scenes to create Megan’s transformation into MonAmi because they are always backed up by a clever little song that somehow encapsulates the feelings and emotions of the main character. Rocky montages are some of the best in terms of pacing. Favorite lyric: “Some things are worth fighting for…some feelings never die…I’m not asking for another chance…I just want to know why?”
“Radar Love” by Golden Earring: This is my stamina song. If I need a burst of energy, this is the song I turn to in order to get me through. It’s long enough to help you think and has a driving beat that makes you want to keep going. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite lyric on this one, but if I had to…I would have to say, “When she gets lonely and the longing is to much…she sends a cable coming in from above…we don’t need a phone at all.”
“Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi: It’s no secret that JBJ somewhat inspired the character of MonAmi. I wanted to base her on someone I admire rather than a train wreck, but I also wanted her to go through the hell of the music industry and somehow come through it even when there were people who wondered if she could/would. Bon Jovi as a band had similar problems in their career. When you get to be so big, your career can be like a machine that gets on top of you and nearly crushes you. Favorite lyric: “We gotta hold on, ready or not…you live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got.”