Blast from the Past: A Book Under My Pillow

Facebook informs me that I wrote this little essay 12 years ago today. Enjoy!


When I was a little girl, sometimes I would sleep with a book under my pillow. This book was generally one that was special to me; perhaps I had it from the library. Perhaps it was being read to me by my mother at bedtime. Perhaps it was one that I just loved and made me feel good. I remember one night getting very upset when one of my parents (I don’t remember which one) wanted to take the book away … I remember being quite distraught and saying “Don’t you dare take No Love for Schnitzel away from me!” The story was about an older dachshund given to a teenage girl who wanted a show dog, and how she grew to love the little dog. I still get kind of choked up when I think about this book, to tell you the truth … it’s been out of print for years, and sometimes I would like to read it again. (I think I will check my library.) Two other books, which I read repeatedly, spent a lot of time under my pillow: King of the Wind and Born to Trot

Lately, there have been two books under my pillow. The first is Byron Nease’s Behind The Mask … No More, which I have passed on to my husband with a recommendation that he read. Mr. Nease is a performer whose work I admire, and whose grace under pressure is something to which I aspire. The other is Homer’s Odyssey, about which I have written previously.

I realized that the stories that moved me the most … the books that stayed under my pillow … were about people and creatures who had some difficulty to overcome. Something that they had to get through to blossom … and that was what made them special to me. Seeing struggles to which I could relate … and seeing successes that gave me hope.

I hope there are always books like these to put under my pillow.

Blast from the Past: 50 Bands I’ve Seen Live

Hi, everyone. This came up in my Facebook memories from 12 years ago, and I thought it would be fun to share here.

So, here’s the deal. The idea is to list (from memory) 50 bands/musical acts that you have heard live. This apparently tests your memory *and* demonstrates your music appreciation. My added twist is that I will put an asterix next to any act I’ve seen two times or more. 🙂 So, without further ado and in no particular order:

1. David Bowie*
2. U2*
3. Rod Stewart
5. Billy Idol
6. Theatre of Sheep*
7. Billy Rancher & The Unreal Gods*
8. Flesh & Blood*
9. A Family Restaurant*
10. Radio Silents*
11. Arctic Sun* (I managed them … this probably is unfair)
12. Ordinary Hero* (I was their publicist …)
13. Jon Gon* (Publicist …)
14. Miracle Workers*
15. Paul McCartney*
16. Stray Cats
17. INXS
18. Marty Balin
19. Lee Presson & The Nails*
20. John Belushi Memorial Blues Band*
21. Reggie & The Rebels*
22. Glenn Walters & The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils*
23. Buddy Holly’s Original Crickets
24. The Boxtops
25. The Drifters
26. Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s*
27. Bangers & Mash*
28. Brassworks*
29. Baguette Quartet
30. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
31. Nine Inch Nails
32. The Receivers*
33. The Ventures
34. Ringo Starr*
35. Bryan Ferry*
36. Roxy Music
37. Ian Hunter*
38. Mick Ronson
39. Seamus Kennedy*
40. Alex Beaton*
41. Tempest*
42. Brother*
43. Wicked Tinkers*
44. Golden Bough*
45. Zazu Pitts Memorial Orchestra*
46. Laurence Juber*
47. Al Stewart*
48. Rufus Wainwright
49. Pearl Jam
50. John Entwistle*

(I could have kept going, to tell you the truth …)

Music Monday: “Tattooed Love Boys”

smartmockups_kheyk71gHi, everyone. I’m back with the program of sharing music related to my books. Today’s song is a chapter title in my music business memoir, Music, Mayhem, and Bad Decisions. Here’s the snippet to which “Tattooed Love Boys” relates. Enjoy this blast from the past by The Pretenders!


There are very few things in my life that I regret. I have learned something from each and every experience. There are times, though, that I wish I’d never even said hello to Jim Beaton*.

Theatre of Sheep had played their set and I was hanging around in my “primo” position at the front of the stage. I’m 5’1” in my stocking feet, and I hate not being able to see the band. Anyway, I was standing there minding my own business and watching the roadies set up for Billy Idol’s band. Someone bumped into me from behind, and I turned around.

“Excuse me,” he said as I looked up at him, and I do mean up. Jim was 6’5” tall. He was also one of the hottest looking guys I’d ever seen, with his Black Irish coloring (fair skin, thick-lashed blue eyes and a shock of dark hair) and a pouty mouth “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I responded.

“I’m Jim.”

“Sharon.”

We shook hands, I swear to God.

“You live around here, Sharon?”

“On the other side of the bridge.”

“Yeah, I just moved back here from San Francisco.”

He may as well have come from Mars. San Francisco was impossibly far away and exotic to me.


 

Frequently Asked Question: What Would Make You Quit Writing?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so it’s time for a question from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

This question sounded familiar, so I went back into my archives and found an IWSG question with a very similar theme. Here’s a quote from that post which will answer this month’s question:

What happened was this:  I was a newspaper editor, which was the job I had aimed for with my career since I was 18 years old.  I had just written my first book, a work for hire called Born of War … Dedicated to Peace.  I had been assured that my role on the military base was safe, but that had proven untrue; the organization for which I worked was being inactivated.  The Dept. of Defense had found me another job, but it was one in a role I hadn’t held for well over a decade … and for a boss who turned out to be abusive.  That’s a story for another time.

To make a long story very short, I stopped thinking of myself as a writer, because my day job no longer entailed developing stories, researching the news, and all of the other things that I thought made me a writer.  I didn’t pick up the proverbial pen again for almost a decade.


So, now you know.

Blast from the Past: What Time Is It?

Facebook tells me that I wrote this twelve years ago, but it’s still pertinent to me as an author. Enjoy!


For today’s entry, I want to focus on the importance of timelines. As a historical fiction author, I find that it’s important to know what happens when.

Timelines matter for more than just world events, of course. You want to make sure you know where your characters fall into the scheme of things as well. If your character is four years old in 1895, she can’t very well be 5 years old in 1902, for example.

Timelines are crucial for continuity. I’m working on the second book of a trilogy, and the main character from my first book will be in all three of them. I need to know how old Claire will be during the events that I’ve planned for the third book so that I can figure out realistically what actions she can take. In other words, I can’t have a 79-year-old lady doing the same kinds of things she did at 29 in many cases. It’s just not reasonable.

One author friend keeps a notebook with her timeline written in it, as well as various details about what is in a given room, etc., so that her continuity is flawless from chapter to chapter. I’m not nearly that formalized, but that’s what works for her.


How do you keep track of time for your stories? Please feel free to share your comments.