Posted in contest

Contest Alert!

Trent Harrell blames himself for his best friend’s death.

Contest Alert! I need your help. If you are a poet or song writer, would you like your work to be featured in my novel? Trent Harrell is a song writer and the main character in Trent’s Melody.

Brief synopsis: Trent is a down-on-his-luck singer/song writer. His band almost made it but lost it all when their band mate overdosed. Trent blames himself for his friend’s death. They were both in love with the same woman. He walked away from Melodie, the band and the promise of his music career.

The author of the song or poem that best fits the story will win a $25 gift card and will be named in the book credits and I will also add in their links.

Send your submissions to the link below with your name and email address. Finalists will be chosen April 24th, 2022.

Not a poet but still want to help me with Trent’s Melody? How are you at naming TV shows? Trent and his brother, Cole are competing in a reality renovation show competition against the all-female construction crew 3Ms of Melodie, Maddie and Morgan, in a men versus women renovation of Main Street, Leeward. They will each have to renovate two stores to help bring good publicity to the town after all the bad news.

$5 gift card, named in book credits and if applicable, a link in my book matter.

To submit your show name, just click on the link below, don’t forget your name and email. Finalists will be chosen April 10th. You can submit as many times as you like but only one title per submission.

Posted in inspiration, my books, Thoughts

Christmas Favorites Part 2

Favorite Holiday Song

Okay, now we’re really getting into difficult territory because I love Christmas music both old and new stuff. I don’t know what it is about Christmas music, but it always touches my heart. I’ve even been known to sing it when it’s not even Christmas.

I have to break this down into categories because I truly love Christmas music

  1. Religious:

Oh Holy Night, I love to sing this song though sometimes I cannot get it just right. It was one played at church and is still one of my favorite songs. When a good soprano sings it, it can give me chills.

Go Tell it On the Mountain, another song I love to sing. I have great memories of doing this in church with the kids walking up the aisles of the church getting louder and faster as we neared the altar. It’s a joyous song to sing. I miss doing the Christmas programs. I started performing in the Christmas pageants when I was a little girl even before we moved to North Carolina, but afterwards I didn’t miss a one. As a young teenager I began writing or altering plays to fit our small church and later as an adult I wrote or assisted in the writing of the plays.

Mary Did You Know, when my oldest son and my niece sang this as a duet one Christmas it became my favorite. I wasn’t familiar with this song until I heard it at one of their band concerts, but it could not compare to this duet. His bass and her soprano were a beautiful blend. It’s a memory that plays on repeat in my heart.

What Child is This? I love to sing this song or hear it sung. I’d not heard it until I was a teenager, but it became one of my favorites.

Sweet Little Jesus Boy I remembered this one after I started this blog, I love to sing this song. I learned it for a program, it’s best done acapella.

Silent Night this is so pretty sung outside on a winter’s night under the stars with only a guitar accompanying. I loved going Christmas caroling and this was probably my favorite song to sing.

We Three Kings in a small church with very few boys or men to play all of the parts, one year I was a King. As a contraltro, I can sing in the lower register and sang with the guys on this song. My dad and I would often sing it together while my mom sang the higher parts.

Away in a Manger when my babies were little, I’d sing this as a lullaby not just at Christmas. This is one of the purest and sweetest songs. I can imagine Mary singing to Jesus and wondering what the future held.

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem we sang this often in church as a congregational song but I love to hear it sung with harmonies.

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem this is beautiful when done in the old bluegrass style. I love to hear my friend sing it with his bluegrass band, but I also enjoy singing it.

Oh Come Emmanuel the first time I remember singing this song, I was part of a choir in Goldsboro’s Adamsville Baptist Church. We did a human Christmas tree and I had to climb up several stories and stand on a small platform. At least I didn’t have time for stage fright being I was so scared of heights!

2. Broadway/Hollywood:

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen the first time I remember hearing this song a friend of mine was in a production of A Christmas Carol at the community theater. I wished I’d been able to be involved in theater, but we lived so far from the city.

All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey is younger than my youngest son but has already become a classic. It’s one of the most played Christmas songs on the radio and I think old and young, rockers and country lovers enjoy it. I know it’s one of my favorites and it lends itself well to the holiday romance genre.

Hard Candy Christmas I was surprised to learn it wasn’t written by Dolly Pardon but instead by Carol Hall. It’s from the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Dolly played Miss Mona in the film version. My dad saw the movie before I did and embarrassed himself telling me about it. I’ll never forget his discomfort when he suddenly remembered I wasn’t his friend but his daughter.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas from Meet Me in Saint Louis, I loved it as a movie with Judy Garland I’ve never had the opportunity to see the play. I’m an old movie nut. My son and I love the history channel and the classic movie channel.  

We Need a Little Christmas the first time I remember hearing this was on The Facts of Life, I guess that dates me. I loved that show, and their holiday specials were always full of heart and music.

Baby It’s Cold Outside this song has been done and spoofed so many times it’s become a tradition in itself. I love to hear it and gladly listen to any of the new versions for a chuckle.

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Here in eastern North Carolina, it rarely snows until after the new year but every once in a while we have a white Christmas. One I remember with my daughter-in-law Chanthou that was really special. We all played in the snow and made snow cream. Even though it’s doubtful we’ll get snow for Christmas, I cannot resist singing this song.

White Christmas Irving Berlin was one of the greatest song writers of all time. I love to watch the old movies White Christmas and Holiday Inn, and when I was writing my story, Only in My Dreams, I thought about all the WW2 era movies I loved to watch such as these. The title for my holiday WW2 novella is from the song I’ll be Home for Christmas, which I cannot listen to without tearing up.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas I sing this in the stores when the Christmas decorations come out, but I truly feel it after our small-town Christmas parade.

Snoopy and Red Baron I had this on a forty-five and played it over and over again until there was a groove in the vinyl. That and Alvin and the Chipmunks singing Christmas Don’t Be Late.

Posted in inspiration, Thoughts

Where does the music take you?

During this time of upheaval music is a balm for the soul. I find myself singing old gospel songs to comfort myself. Weird songs pop into my head and strange moments. This has always been a problem for me, it’s like I have my own playlist in the background of my life.

Has anyone seen the new television show “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist?” I’ve not seen it yet but often think, this could be my life. As a kid, and even as an adult, it was not unusual to be talking to someone and their words, or even my own, would trigger a musical response. I have a couple of daughters-in-law who understand this and can even have conversations laced with songs.

Music has always been a large part of my life. I sang in church as a little girl. I was the loudest, not necessarily the best one in the crowd. Years of smoking damaged my voice but I still belt one out either for my own pleasure, exercise or when I get the chance, in church. I still love to sing. My mom and I often sing while traveling.

When my children were small and we had to go places we would sing or play games, this was before iPhones and computers were popular. My older grandchildren also grew-up singing with grandma. They have also influenced the playlist in my head.

When I think of songs that reflect my mood they run the gamut of old gospel, rock and country but interspersed amid these oldies are also some newer songs, songs my children and grandchildren have gifted me with.

This week I’ve tried to write. It has come in fits and starts but a conversation with my oldest son, my granddaughter’s birthday and a determination to keep my chin up and count my blessings has me on the computer this morning. I’d like to challenge each of you to send me your playlist. What songs lift you up when you are down? What songs make you feel sexy, silly, sad, nostalgic? What songs remind you of your spouse, your best friend, your parent? Share your songs and a little story. Let’s get through Covid-19 together. Let’s lift each other up with our stories and songs. Send a smiley face emoji or GIF, send a card, make a phone call, whatever you can do, let others know you care. God Bless and I hope this is over soon!

Posted in Thoughts

What Christmas Means to Me

I am a child at Christmas. No matter how old I get, I am still excited by the Christmas lights adorning houses and stores, intricately woven onto boats and stylishly fashioned on business marquees. I stare in wonder and awe at displays of homemade ornaments and family heirlooms, delicate glass balls, wrought metal sculptures, paintings, and nature crafts.

I hum along with familiar songs, belting out the chorus and breaking into dance. I twirl around light poles like Fred Astaire and imagine myself kicking like a Rockette on Broadway. I watch classic Christmas movies and gorge on Hallmark and Lifetime’s sweet romances. I inhale the scent of pine, cinnamon and brown sugar, cocoa and warm apple spices, and I feel the years slip away until I’m a little girl waiting for Santa to arrive.

Christmas, to me, begins at Thanksgiving. It is a reminder of what is truly important, family and friends. Thanksgiving gives us a moment before the hustle and bustle of the rest of the holiday, to stop, thank God for all that he has given us and rejoice in our blessings. It is also a time to reflect on those who are no longer with us.

During the holiday, I find myself thinking of my Granny Berry and my Aunt Martha. These two women were the matriarchs who influenced my life. My dad’s mother, Grandma Anna died when I was six, Aunt Martha became my surrogate grandmother. From our church program on Christmas Eve to our family dinner on Christmas day, they taught me Christmas was more than presents. It was about Christ’s birth, death and the gift of life. It was about our duty to church and family, about community. Christmas was a celebration of love, a wish for peace, and a dream of hope. Some of that is missing from my Christmas this year. I have gotten so caught up in buying gifts and sending cards that I have forgotten to be thankful for God’s greatest gift, his son, Jesus, the reason we celebrate Christmas. I am also thankful for my own sons, my husband and family, my friends, my community, I know that I am blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas and remember the Christmases of my past. I am so thankful for all who have taught me the true meaning of Christmas.

As you swim through the chaos of last-minute shopping, wade through ribbons, wrappings and decorations, stop a minute and look around at the reason you are celebrating. Reach out to a friend or neighbor who doesn’t have family or the blessings you know. Share a little of the love and joy of the holiday with a card, a gift or a just a smile. Let this time of year reflect in how we treat others. That is what Christmas means to me.