Interview of the To Be Read Podcast

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Patrick Stemp, Michael La Ronn, and Archer Caldwell to discuss their latest endeavor, the To Be Read Podcast. As an avid reader, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching their show (and adding their fabulous recommendations to my own TBR pile!). Capture

First, tell us a little bit about what the To Be Read Podcast is all about?

Our show is all about books, from the perspective of three avid readers (Archer Caldwell, Patrick Stemp and Michael La Ronn). We talk about the books we’re reading and we make recommendations. Our show is spoiler free.

We also discuss topics related to books and reading in general, and we have a lot of fun with them. Our most recent topics have been “The First Books We Loved as Kids,” “Finding the Time to Read,” and “Paper vs. ebook”.

We have a wide variety of reading interests. Archer likes horror and crime, Patrick likes science fiction, and Michael likes fantasy and literary. We read across genre, and whenever possible, we try to read the same book together so we can provide different perspectives

What a great concept. What inspired you to start the show?

We love books. There are many podcasts for writers, and a ton of individual book review vlogs. We started the show as a way for us to connect with like-minded readers who like (and dislike) the books we do, so we can all find great reads together.

Are your shows interactive? Can fellow readers chime in on your live conversation?

We broadcast live on YouTube, and we encourage our live viewers to leave comments on our YouTube page because we read their comments live. Our viewers love to give their opinion on books, and they especially love to weigh in on our topics. We also welcome and encourage book recommendations.

Are you interested in having guests appear on your show from time-to-time?

Absolutely! In the near future, we will interview guest authors (both traditional and independent) about their books, as an avenue for helping our viewers find great new books that they might not have found otherwise.

What are your long-term plans for the show?

Our goal is to create a community of avid readers like us, and to ultimately be a trusted voice for book recommendations.

Lastly, when do your shows air and how can readers connect with you?

We broadcast live on Tuesdays at 9PM Eastern Standard Time. We are also on Itunes for podcast listeners. We also blog weekly about our reading topics on our website, www.tbrpodcast.com.  

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks for inviting us on your blog, and for watching the show. We appreciate it!

~~

You can watch their latest episode below. Yours truly was their very first guest!

Writing Prompt #22 – The Abandoned Glove

6a00e54fc42bb88834019b011ef563970c-500wiHolly gripped her father’s hand tight, squeezing it once, twice, three times. I love you. Her mother had taught her that. And Richard wished he could be that innocent again.

“I love you, too, pumpkin,” he said, barely able to get the words out without vomiting his worries all over the path.

Richard was trying his damndest to be optimistic. His body wasn’t cooperating. His legs felt like cement. Moving was hard. Everything was hard. He didn’t know if he could keep going. But he had to. So with each step he took a deep breath, attempting to soothe the unease and pain which gurgled deep inside of him.

They reached the bridge and he stopped. Dead in his tracks.  Her red glove lay on the ground. Abandoned. His worst fears confirmed.

“Isn’t that mommy’s?” Holly asked, pointing at the pile of red knitted fabric.

He opened his mouth to answer, but fear choked him silent. And he wasn’t sure it was sweat or tears which trickled down his face. Probably a mixture of both. The glove. It was hers. She was missing…

As always, if this prompt leads to a story, do come back and share a link with us.

Happy Writing!

Arthur

The streets were moist. Remnants of the storm hovered over the morning making it dark and gloomy. Heels and loafers smothered the sidewalks. A sea of forlorn expressions. Briefcases sliced through the bitter air. And horns cried out in protest to the end of the weekend.

Behind Joe’s on 53rd, Arthur sat, knees pulled to his chest. Ten wrinkled toes greeted the morning air, peeking out from the end of his dirtied and tattered cream Converse sneakers. He knew it was silly to keep them. They hardly provided any protection and certainly no longer kept him dry. But they hugged him close like two old friends. Made him feel not so alone.

“Arthur!” Frank bellowed out from the back door of the diner.

The elderly man cringed, his rickety old body attempting to move for the first time this cold and damp November morning.

“Coming,” he grumbled beneath putrid breath.

Arthur’s left leg dragged as he walked. His limp, a permanent reminder of the war that had claimed his youth and in many ways his life.

Joe’s was a dilapidated little old brick building. One of those places nobody could ever remember being new. One of those places that looked like you might catch an incurable disease if you ate there. And yet you just had to eat there because the state of disrepair was charming and the risk a little exciting.

Frank stood at the rotten door jamb and Arthur couldn’t tell if the building was holding Frank up or if Frank was holding the building up.

“Come on ya old bastard. I ain’t got all day.” Frank winked and extended both arms.

Arthur flashed him his nearly toothless smile and took the rolled up paper bag and large coffee container.

“Don’t tell no one. Our lil secret. Frankie don’t need no trouble from the boss.”

The frail man nodded, unscrewed the cap to the coffee container, and took a drink. He smacked his cracked lips together after savoring the sip, before replacing the cap so the bitter nectar inside would stay piping hot.

“Mmmmmmm. So good it almost tricked me into thinking this here life of mine wasn’t so bad.”

Arthur pivoted and began to head toward the busy street, but paused and turned back. “Thanks,” he called out to Frank, but the short and stocky Italian had already disappeared back into the building.

 

It was a typical Monday morning and it was business as usual even for Arthur. He may not have had a family or a home or a job anymore, but it didn’t mean he didn’t have things to do. The military had taught him a great many things, like keeping to a schedule and staying organized and clean (although the whole shoe-shining bit had never quite stuck).

He looked left, then right, then left again. And in the not-so-tiny span of time it took him to hobble off the curb and begin his slow progression toward the opposite side of the street, a yellow monster was barreling toward him.

“Woah! Woah!” Arthur threw his right arm up into the air, the arm which gripped the rolled up paper bag, as a certain impatient cab driver nearly plowed him over.

The man inside the yellow monster went by the name of Aman, and he nearly murdered poor old Arthur at least a few times a week. Aman was Indian and sported a bright red turban. His brown head bobbled from side to side and he laughed before mouthing “I’m sorry” and shrugging his narrow shoulders.

At the corner of 54th and Main was another dilapidated old building. This one wasn’t a diner, but a building which once was a warehouse many, many, many years ago, and today was a home for the young and abandoned. The Main Street Orphanage. This was his first stop.

“Good morning, Artie!” A peppy redhead, ironically named Annie, pushed open the front door so Arthur could come inside.

Annie was young, although everyone was young in comparison to Arthur. She was a very pretty girl, but she hid her prettiness under dull liberianesque attire. She was the kind of pretty Arthur would have gone for if he was 50 years younger. The kind of pretty that reminded him of his late wife.

“Hello, sweet pea,” Arthur said.

He stopped briefly as he passed Annie, leaned down, closed his eyes and ever-so-gently kissed her on the cheek. And for the briefest of moments, he allowed himself to be transported back to a time when his life was filled with optimistic uncertainty and limitless dreams.

“You’re the sweetest!” Annie stood on her tiptoes and threw her arms around Arthur and kissed him back. Probably like she kissed her grandfather. “They are all waiting for you!”

Annie and Arthur made their way into the large eating hall at the back of the first level of the orphanage. Sitting on the linoleum floor were this week’s guests. Each week ten of the children would be randomly selected to join Arthur for coffee, muffins, and a story. The eating hall would have certainly housed all of the children who lived there, but Arthur didn’t do well with big crowds. He also knew there was no way Frank could get away with giving him a few hundred muffins each week. Ten was a much more reasonable (and undetectable) amount. Plus, this gave the children something to look forward to and hope for each week.

The children all stood when he entered the room. And some hopped from one foot to another in eager anticipation. And each week his heart melted. He felt bad for them. Being so excited. About plain old Arthur.

Annie passed out plates and cups, and shook her head as Arthur began to make his way around the circle of children, passing out muffins and pouring coffee.

Arthur could feel her beady little eyes gnawing a hole in his backside. He didn’t even turn to address her. Simply said, “They don’t have no families, no nice homes, and the little bastards have to listen to my crotchety ass for an hour. Let ‘em have some damn coffee.”

He turned to find Annie smiling. He smiled back.

Over the next hour he told a story to the children. Each week the story was different. And he wasn’t quite sure if what he shared was in fact all true. In actuality, he was pretty sure a large portion of what dribbled out of his aged mouth was made up. He was old. He was just impressed he was able to sit for that long of a time without soiling his pants or falling asleep. And it must not have been that bad because ten sets of eyes remained glued to his the entire time. They laughed and smiled and always had an infinite amount of questions for him after. He loved each of them so very much.

As a token of gratitude, the orphanage would allow Arthur to shower there and to clean his clothes. And as a kindness to the society which surrounded Arthur, he took the orphanage up on their offer.

After he was clean, Annie greeted him once again at the front doors. She held a coffee cup in one hand.

“It’s just warm broth. It’s not much, but…” she shrugged and handed it to him.

“It’s perfect. Thank you.”

Arthur kissed her on top of her head and left.

 

It was now early afternoon and the sun’s warm rays stretched out from behind the last of the clouds. Arthur walked into the Main Street Bank which was four blocks down from the orphanage. A petite African American woman sat at a desk in the front of the branch.

“There he is!” The woman hopped up from her desk and sauntered over to him.

Arthur smiled at Sheila and then hugged her, taking a deep breath and nearly getting drunk on her perfume.

Sheila’s mother, Barbara, had worked at the bank for 30 years before passing suddenly in the night a few years back. Sheila was a motivated and independent young woman. She went to school at night and worked two jobs during the day. Arthur respected her very much.

“Well,” Sheila said, grabbing a hold of Arthur’s hand and gingerly pulling him toward her desk, “business as usual?”

He nodded in agreement. Arthur was good at telling stories, but he wasn’t the best at conversing. He was both a man of many words and a man of few. A walking contradiction.

Sheila sighed. Each month she hoped Arthur would change his ways. Save and except beating his head upside a wall, she had tried everything she could to persuade Arthur to save up for a small downtown apartment, even going so far as to offer to pay the down payment for him. But he wouldn’t have it. He had argued back that there just wasn’t enough. That having a home would only stress him out more because then he would have to worry about everything that came with having a home – gas, electricity, repairs, etc. He was happier taking his money and doing what he could with it. After all, war had made him tough. Sleeping outside wasn’t so bad. And on the particularly bad nights he could always find a shelter to go to, although he avoided them like the plague. Other than his late wife, Arthur had always preferred the company of nature over that of most other human beings.

“Very well.” Sheila left her desk and walked over to the teller area.

While he waited, Arthur sipped his broth and watched various patrons in the lobby. Then he noticed a picture frame on Sheila’s desk. It was a picture of a young boy. He’d never seen it before. The boy appeared to be four or five years old. Wore thick glasses and a royal blue polo shirt.

“Ralph,” Sheila said, returning with a stack of bills and a pile of envelopes.

“Hmmmm?”

“His name is Ralph. That’s my son.”

“Oh,” Arthur said, unsure of how else to respond, thinking it was odd in all their conversations over the years she’d never brought him up.

“It’s complicated. It’s why I work so much. Why I am going to school. To get him back. He’s with his father. I get to see him on the weekends now.”

Sheila spoke the words rapidly and didn’t make eye contact with him. Like she was ashamed. And he thought that odd, an educated woman with a job and a home ashamed to speak to a homeless man.

“I see.” Again, he didn’t know what to say. “He’s cute. Like you.”

“Thanks,” she said, shuffling the piles around, shoving a few bills into each of the envelopes. “I think you’re all set. Sure I can’t…oh, never mind.”

He smiled a silent thank you at her and took the envelopes from her hands, her soft flesh brushing up against the harsh leather that was his own.

Before he was able to say goodbye to her, Sheila was called over to another desk to handle a disgruntled customer. He stood for a moment watching her patiently coax the overly dramatic woman down. Then he grabbed a pen from Sheila’s desk. And in the best writing he could, he wrote “4 Ralf” on the outside of one of the envelopes, left it on her chair, and walked out of the bank.

 

Arthur made his way back to the park at the very end of Main Street. The park was lined with trees that, if afforded the opportunity to talk, could have out-storied Arthur any day. It was dusk and the street lamps were confused and flickered on and off and then on and off again. He meandered down the winding path. And each time he passed a young homeless person sleeping on a bench, he would stop and tuck an envelope into their jacket. He continued walking and sharing until there was no light and there was only one envelope left. That envelope was his. That was what he would use to help to feed himself until his next check came through.

His leg was tired from a full day of walking, so he took the next empty bench that he saw and sat down. Watched the night swallow the last of the day. He leaned back into the seat, let his head hang back, and he smiled as he got lost in a deep and comfortable and peaceful sleep.

 

“Arthur!” Frank bellowed out from the back door of the diner the next morning.

There was no response. Frank waited about ten minutes before he shouted again. But his call was returned with nothing but the song of sirens off in the distance.

Frank walked over to the box behind the dumpster and found it to be empty.

Converse

The streets weren’t moist, but there were remnants of a storm which hovered over the morning making it dark and gloomy. Heels and loafers smothered the sidewalks. A sea of forlorn expressions. Briefcases sat ignored in living rooms across town, and the horns were silent, but there were cries that could be heard.

It wasn’t a typical Monday. And everyone on Main Street wasn’t sure if there ever would be such a thing ever again.

Arthur Jefferson had passed peacefully in the night the week before. He’d been found on a bench with a smile on his face.

His absence was palpable to everyone he had met and even those he had not. He’d been that one smile in the sea of forlorn expressions. He had been the hope of a building full of forgotten souls. He’d been the only friend to a lonely man named Frank. And he’d been the possibility to an infinite number of troubled youths who awoke each morning to find an anonymous gift in their coat pocket.

Plain old Arthur had indeed been old but anything but plain. All the businesses on Main Street had closed and the entire City attended his funeral, which had been paid for by donations. They had all arrived in white envelopes.

And a funny thing happened. A wave of happiness washed away the sea of forlorn expressions as strangers came together and shared Arthur stories.

A monument in the Main Street Park was erected in his honor – a pair of old worn converse sneakers. A reminder of how simple acts of kindness could change a city…and maybe even the world.

Book Review: Reconciled People by Michael La Ronn

81cqHwytxbL._SL1500_They say great things come in small packages. And the same can be said about La Ronn’s Reconciled People.  A compilation of short stories which will satiate even the most ravenous of appetites.

La Ronn’s effortless and lyrical writing style sends the reader afloat a river of literary brilliance. The ride is smooth and tranquil. And weaved into each morsel of a tale is a grand lesson. Every action and every choice in life comes with a consequence. La Ronn forces us to come face-to-face with these consequences, be they good or bad ones. I am an instant fan of books which leave you not only utterly satisfied, but wiser.

My first reading of Reconciled People was actually not a reading at all, but a listening. The audiobook version is stunning and Lori Faiella’s voice suits the stories perfectly, making the book come alive in unexpected ways. Only 1 hour and 38 minutes long, the lessons and beauty will linger on in my heart for much longer.

Therefore, I wasn’t quite done with these tales after just one listening. I then decided to sit down and devour the ebook version. And what happened? I took away even more from each of the tales. It was bittersweet to reach “The End” and say goodbye to all my great new friends.

La Ronn is anything but an ordinary storyteller and his words are sure to transcend time. I very much look forward to savoring more from this impeccably talented author.

 Reconciled People is available for purchase from
Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, and other fine retailers

La Ronn is a fantasy author, who also writes short stories and poetry. No matter what he is writing, his goal is to create well-written, interesting, and e91578a8dd930ac1d188bb.L._V362731133_SY470_entertaining stories. He can be unpredictable at times, but he likes it this way. He believes writing, along with reading, should be a journey that takes you to unexpected places. La Ronn will go anywhere his artistic spirit takes him in order to tell a good story.

You can connect with Michael on Facebook, Twitter, and his website.

 

I. Am. ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m writing this post for the one person waaaay in the back of the universe who hasn’t yet heard…

I’M ENGAGED!!!! And even as I type that I have to take a moment and close my eyes. Take a deep breath. My life, it’s a dream.

photo 1As many of you may or may not know, I have been working on a very special book over the past few months. This book is about how the most incredible man in the world fell in love with me. After all, I was living the greatest love story, how could I not write it and share it with the world?  But more than that, how could I not write a book to the man who gave me the most beautiful love and the most beautiful life? I was going to ask Buddy to marry me in the last chapter of the book. That was the plan.

But that’s the thing with plans, they just never are quite as good as the unplanned and they don’t always unfold the way you, well, planned. After all, Buddy coming into my life was not planned. And yet it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

We sat on my back porch sipping coffee and enjoying a quiet morning. And as happens so frequently with us, we ended up getting lost in each other’s gaze…for hours. Our hearts did all the talking. Our love and connection is crippling in the most wonderful of ways.

My book was still in the finishing stages and I hadn’t yet even finished the cover. It wasn’t ready. But I was.

And it might sound crazy but I felt like we were asking each other that question and answering over and over again. I couldn’t wait another minute… and, luckily, Buddy had a backup plan.

On June 22, 2014, hand in hand, we both stood and then kneeled on my back porch. Tears in our eyes and love connecting our hearts into one, we both, at the very same time, asked each other to marry each other. There were no flowers, no rings, no fancy photo 2clothes or fancy linens. No beautiful or exotic locations. There was just two people who were absolutely and forever lost in each other. Two people who wanted nothing more in this life than to share every waking moment with the other. Two people who were in love in the most sacred and deep and special of ways.

It was the best day of my life. So far. My best friend and soul mate, my confident, my partner, he agreed to spend the rest of his life with me. And he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

I can’t even begin to articulate how very happy I am. How honored I am that he wants me to be his wife. How honored I am that he wants to be my husband. I get to spend the rest of my life attempting to thank him for all the beautiful things he has done to my heart.

I love this man more than anyone has ever loved anyone or anything. And I can’t believe I get to keep doing that… forever.

So… I’M ENGAGED TO MARRY THE MOST WONDERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you hear something in the middle of the night, it’s me singing this from above the stars for everyone to hear.

As for my book, it’s still going to be published this summer.

Much love to you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have supported our relationship. We’re so very happy to share this unbelievable journey with you.

photo 3

Too Late

A warm and salty rain, his sweat danced along his chiseled jawline and dribbled down onto her face. She had called him over. Begged him, like she always had to. And she thought having him fill her would make her feel less empty. She had been wrong. Eyes scrunched shut, he grunted and used her flesh until he came, rolled off her, and walked out the door.

She felt even more empty and alone than before.

A cigarette hung loosely from her lips. She took a deep drag and relished the burning sensation which crawled its way down her throat and into her lungs. Pain. It was the only thing she could feel. Pain. It was her only friend.

She stood naked at the rear window of her flat, her long golden locks tousled and moist. It was gray out, just like it was in. And she saw her reflection in the dingy glass and suddenly felt sick. Running to the bathroom, she flung back the lid of the grimy porcelain bowl and her body lurched forward.  She heaved and gagged, gagged and heaved, over and over, choking on her inadequacies. But try as she might, the nothingness which filled her clung to her bones and refused to leave.

Atop the stained Formica counter stood a row of bottles. Shakily, she stood and picked one of them up, examining it closely. She smiled. And she swore it smiled back, whispering delicious promises to her.

Why hadn’t she thought of this before?

Everything suddenly making sense, she opened the bottle and dumped its contents into her other hand. And like a child feasting on Halloween candy, she greedily shoved all the pills into her mouth until she could fit no more, until some slipped out.

She wanted to swallow them. Wanted to allow all her new friends to fill her and make her better. But her throat clamped shut and denied her of what she so desperately wanted – an end to the perpetual misery that was her so-called life.

Pacing in circles like a rabid animal, she foamed at the mouth and cried, spitting some of the paste from the semi-dissolved pills onto the weathered wooden floors. A part of her – the part which kept her from swallowing – waited for the person she never called to come and rescue her.

Grabbing at her hair, she tugged and pulled. And the room began to spin and the walls danced closer to her. Had it not been for the mouthful of pills, she would have screamed, would have cried. And, who knows, maybe someone would have heard her.

It was all too much –this life. And this end which she’d dreamed of, this end which she’d prayed for every night, seemed always just beyond her reach.

And just like that, like an over-used rubber band which had been weakened, she snapped. She fell to the floor. She gave up completely. She let the pain feast of the sparse remnants of her lonely existence.Too Late

Exhausted, her throat finally opened up. And the demon inside smiled.

Thrashing and rolling about, she wheezed and took her last few breaths, and her eyes met those of her grandfather in the picture frame on the table just above her. Panic tickled what was left of her heart and a pain with which even she was unfamiliar skipped across her soul.

She wasn’t really alone. There were people. People who cared. She’d once had a life. She once knew how to smile. It was all foggy and unclear, but she could see a part of herself she’d forgotten existed.

Why hadn’t she thought of this before?

Her body shook and trembled, softly at first, then violently, and then softly once more. And as she choked for the very last time on her bitter disappointment, she realized what a horrible mistake she had made. But it was…

Too late.

#Music Monday ~ Three Great Songs You May Not Know By Asia (via Buddy Gott)

L.M. Stull:

Another great #MusicMonday post by Buddy! He’s recently turned me on to Asia and I love them!

Originally posted on Buddy Gott:

Asia has been one of my favorite bands since their self-titled debut album came out in 1982. The group was often labeled as a “super group” because of the bands that its members had previously been with. Guitarist Steve Howe had been in Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes had been in both The Buggles and Yes, lead vocalist and bass player John Wetton had been in King Crimson, and drummer Carl Palmer had been in Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

The ASIA album was fantastic and one of the biggest hit albums of the 1980′s.  It contained  two of their biggest hit songs: “Heat Of The Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell.”

They’ve had some other very popular songs since then, but here are three fantastic songs by them that you may not know.

“Wishing” is from their great third album, ASTRA. By this time, guitarist Steve Howe had left the band…

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Excerpt of Waiting for a Song by Mariam Kobras

1376084_10201438612779684_1304077167_nToday, we celebrate the release of WAITING FOR A SONG by my dear friend, Mariam Kobras.  Waiting for a Song is the prequel to Mariam’s STONE TRILOGY. While I have not yet read this, I am currently about three-quarters of the way through the Stone Trilogy, and to say I love it would be quite the understatement. It is a storyline that will grab you and hold you close right from the very first line. The writing is lyrical and reads like a beautiful song; your eyes will feel as though they are making love to the page.

So without further ado, I share with you an excerpt of WAITING FOR A SONG:

It was as if she’d opened an entrance to a secret realm, as if she’d found a small, hidden door somewhere in a dark corner of her closet and, like Alice in Wonderland, had slipped through it before she knew what was happening.

There she was, a confused, overwhelmed child, while all around her the words danced, spilling down mossy hills, tumbling over stones like a frothy brook, coiled around the wind and dancing among the flowers in a meadow.

As soon as her pen touched the paper the sentences and phrases flowed out of her as if she’d never done anything else in her whole life.

Songs, there were songs, so many of them, as if every moment had one of its own, each one held secretly and she alone possessed the key to set them free. Everything was a song: the tinkling of the ice cream van, the spill of the great fountain in the lake, the drone of the planes swooping in to land at the airport. The birds in the trees, the voice of a child, her mother calling her for dinner—everything went into the red journal.

They were stories: she could see them everywhere. Open-mouthed, astonished, she watched life pass by below her window, and it seemed to her that everyone carried their own bubble of stories on their shoulders, visible only to her.

Some were bright and shiny, some colorful as a rainbow, and some gray and heavy, bowing their wearers down with their load.

Lucia caught her staring at a woman in an expensive convertible driving past as they left the house one day and asked Naomi if she was all right. Was she running a fever, or had she eaten something that hadn’t agreed with her?

No, Naomi said, shaking her head. She was still staring at that woman, at the way she had coiled her golden hair at the back of her head to look like an intricate knot of braids, and how her neck seemed so fragile and elegant under that mass of hair. There’d been a big, white poodle on the seat beside her, a well-groomed and exalted dog staring back at the people on the sidewalk, his tongue lolling in laughter, his collar sparkling with what seemed suspiciously like real diamonds.

“Im fine,Naomi said, “really, fine.

She could hardly wait to get back to her book and pen, and to share her thoughts and impressions with the creamy paper.

This was the seventh stop in Mariam’s Book Launch Blog Hop & Giveaway to celebrate the release of Waiting for a Song, Naomi’s Story. Don’t miss the next stop on June 17th on Susan Spann‘s blog where you’ll get to meet rock superstar, Jon Stone, in an interview!

Photo on 5-2-14 at 4.37 PM #3

GIVEAWAY: ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive a red leather journal with cream pages and a ribbon marker—like the one Naomi used when she wrote the lyrics that won Jon’s heart. To enter, just leave a comment below (US and Canada residents only please). Prize courtesy of Buddhapuss Ink LLC.

For more chances to win, please visit the Buddhapuss Ink or Mariam’s author page on Facebook and click on the Giveaway Tab! A Rafflecopter Giveaway

#MusicMonday ~ Three Great Songs You May Not Know From The Monkees (via Buddy Gott)

L.M. Stull:

I had started to write my own #MusicMonday post for this week, but haven’t yet had a chance to finish it. *sigh* So…. even though it is Wednesday, I wanted to share a GREAT #MusicMonday post by the wonderful, talented, and BRILLIANT Buddy Gott. Buddy is exceptionally knowledgeable about movies and music. In fact, I could listen to him talk about movies and music all day long. Okay, OKAY, I could listen to him talk about ANYTHING all day long. But, Lisa, enough with your swooning!

This week, Buddy shares with us three of his favorite rare songs from The Monkees. And he doesn’t just simply share the links with us, he also gives us a little background on each.

I hope you’ll take a few moments to check out this great post and also check out more of Buddy’s site. He’s a sweet guy and a writer everyone should follow.

Cheers!

Originally posted on Buddy Gott:

The first group I really got into when I was a kid was The Monkees. I loved them then and I love them just as much now.

Everyone knows “I’m A Believer” and “Last Train To Clarksville” and many of their other big hits, but here are a few far less popular songs by them that you may not know. I think each of these songs is great.

“Come On In” is a rarity by the group that was never released when they were together. It showed up decades later on the fantastic rarities release called MISSING LINKS: VOLUME TWO. Another thing kind of rare about this song is that the lead vocals are done by Peter Tork. He did a few songs here and there with the group, but they were few and far between on the albums. This is one of my favorites that he sings.

“Don’t Call…

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#FridayFlash –> Luigi’s Lemon Suey by Buddy Gott

For today’s #FridayFlash, I wanted to share a recent (and quite hilarious) little tale written by the amazingly talented Buddy Gott.   Buddy is a gifted story-teller and his tales never disappoint.

Below is a link to LUIGI’S LEMON SUEY.  Stop by Buddy’s site, give him a little read, and say “hi.”

Look for my weekly short fiction to return next week.

Have a great weekend!

Luigi had just moved into what some would call a seedy part of Castle City. The crime rate there was a little high and the residents of the area weren’t exactly the classiest of people. Luigi assumed that if he wasn’t seeing them hanging out on the street, they were most likely hanging out at the Walmart across town…

Luigi’s Lemon Suey.