Sunday, March 26, 2017

How Music Inspires My Writing #OpenBook Blog Hop

The wind sweeping through the cluster of aspens in the fall, rustling the yellow-gold leaves. The gurgle of a mountain stream as water rushes on its way downhill. The calls of birds as they hang in the sky and flirt with the clouds. The chirping of crickets as they look for mates as the sun sinks in the west. These are the sounds that inspire me and my writing.

Thanks to juskiddin at FreeSound for the wav.

Then there are the times when I need to shut out all exterior sounds so I can listen to my interior voice. That's when I slip on a set of headphones and cue up some old favorites.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know there's a lot of John Denver in the mix, depending upon my mood. You might not have expected Pink Floyd and the classic 'Dark Side of the Moon' to be on my list of favorites, but it is. Next toss in some classic rock and songs from the Woodstock era, Don't forget any number of female vocalists and singer songwriters from the 1970's and onward.

It's not only the music itself that inspires me, it's the words to the songs. So many of the songs are poetry when you take a look. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band comes to mind.

From Ripplin' Waters (by Jimmy Ibbotson)

And you made my world a warmer place
By the sparkling of your diamond face
On a frayed spot put a little lace
And you make me feel fine
Warm as the mountain sunshine
On the edge of the snow line
In a meadow of columbine

Many songwriters are gifted at making emotions come through not only in the words to the songs but in the music as well. Joan Baez comes to mind. Here's a sampling of the words from 'Diamonds & Rust.'

Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

The words and music of those talented folks help me to find the mood and words I need to express the emotions of my characters. Listening to their songs also helps me concentrate on my own words.

I'm interested to see what our other authors listen to. You can find out by following the links below.

March 27 – How music inspires our writing
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Favorite Poem- #OpenBook Blog Hop

What's your favorite poem? That's the question we're answering this week. Those of you who have followed me for awhile know that I've written a bit of poetry myself. I've also read a lot of other poets' work and I own more than the normal amount of poetry books. (Poetry books used to be my go-to answer about what gift to buy me.) It's going to be difficult to narrow it down to one poem. So I won't!

I'm not sure who introduced me to Dylan Thomas's work, but I've run into it time  and time again throughout my life. Although this one is well-known, it remains one of my favorites.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

It still amazes me how the poet was able to express such strong emotion while still sticking with an extremely strict form. I still get chills reading it.

For the next poem, I debated between Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, both masters of free-form poetry. The margins and indentation of Howl don't format well on this blog space, so I'm giving you America by Ginsberg instead.


America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over from Russia.
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that jetplanes 1400 miles an hour and twentyfive-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor the Silk-strikers’ Ewig-Weibliche made me cry I once saw the Yiddish orator Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.
America you don’t really want to go to war.
America its them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Berkeley, January 17, 1956

If you've hung in so far, here's one more.

Ain'T I A Woman? - Poem by Sojourner Truth

Wall, chilern,
whar dar is so much racket
dar must be somethin' out o' kilter.
I tink dat 'twixt de nigger of de Souf
and de womin at de Norf,
all talkin' 'bout rights,
de white men will be in a fix pretty soon.
But what's all dis here talkin' 'bout?

Dat man ober dar say
dat womin needs to be helped into carriages,
and lifted ober ditches,
and to hab de best place everywhar.
Nobody eber halps me into carriages,
or ober mudpuddles,
or gibs me any best place!
And ar'n't I a woman?

Look at me!
Look at my arm!
I have ploughed,
and planted,
and gathered into barns,
and no man could head me!
And ar'n't I a woman?

I could work as much
and eat as much as a man --
when I could get it --
and bear de lash as well!
And ar'n't' I a woman?

I have borne thirteen chilern,
and seen 'em mos' all sold off to slavery,
and when I cried out with my mother's grief,
none but Jesus heard me!
And ar'n't I a woman?

Den dey talks 'bout dis ting in de head;
what dis dey call it?
(whispered someone near).
Dat's it, honey.
What's dat got to do wid womin's rights
or nigger's rights?
If my cup won't hold but a pint,
and yourn holds a quart,
wouldn't ye be mean
not to let me have my little half-measure full?

Den dat little man in black dar,
he say women can't have as much rights as men,
'cause Christ wan't a woman!
Whar did your Christ come from?
Whar did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothin' to do wid Him.

If de fust woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn de world upside down
all alone,
dese women togedder ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!
And now dey is asking to do it,
de men better let 'em.

Bleeged to ye for hearin' on me,
and now ole Sojourner
han't got nothin' more to say.'
Sojourner Truth

Now I'm off to see find out what everyone else's favorite poems are!

March 20 - Tell us about your favorite poems
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Pros and Cons of ... #OpenBook Blog Hop

The challenge this week is to pick a subject and talk about the pros and cons. Sort of like being on both sides of a debate. Or trying to make a major decision.  So many possibilities.

I picked a subject near and dear to my heart. Living in Wyoming.

First the Pros.
1. Mountains. Big mountains that flirt with the sky. Mountains where it can snow in the middle of July. Mountains covered in wildflowers and golden aspens.

2. People. Not that many of them. So you can find a place to be by yourself. (And be yourself) Wyoming really does have more cows than people.
3. Wide open spaces. Anyone who has ever driven through the middle of Wyoming knows what I'm talking about. There's a lot of flat-ish land out there and it has its own beauty.
4. Yellowstone and the Jackson Hole area. 'Nuff said.
5. Devil's Tower. (There's some beautiful countryside in the area too)

6. Longmire
7. No state income tax
8. Lots of small towns. That can be either a pro or a con depending upon how you feel about small town life
9. Friendly people who are willing to lend a hand when you need it.
10. Did I mention mountains?

And now for a few Cons.
1. Wind. Wyoming is windy. Really windy. Like close down the interstate windy because trucks will blow over windy.

2. Because there aren't that many people, store choices are limited unless you are in one of the bigger cities. Even then, there are times when you have to go out of state  to buy something you want. (Or order online)
3. Job choices are also limited, but that's changing as some of the bigger companies figure out that Wyoming is a good place to do business.
4. It can get really, really cold. Like -20° cold, and that's before wind chill. Did I mention it gets windy in Wyoming?
5. Depending upon where you live in Wyoming, it can be really dry. High plains desert dry.
6. Also depending upon where you live, winter can last well into April. Or even May.
7. Did I mention it's windy?

As you can tell, the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. But if you've ever been to Wyoming, you may have a few things to add. You can share them in the comments.

To find out what the other authors on the loop are weighing in on, follow the links below.

March 13 – Pro / Con post - The pros and cons ________________.
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Introducing Melissa Storm -Love's Promise & a Giveaway!

She's waiting for her prince to come ... but was he right beside her all the time? Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairytales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she's willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest. Jeffrey Berkley can't bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him... no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process. Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord's feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave? Don't miss this sweet tale of faith, love, and gastric bypass–get your copy of Love's Promise

Adult Apple iBooks ~
Amazon Kindle ~
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Amazon UK ~
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Paperback ~

Love's Promise Launch Giveaway

Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa's way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us. Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. When she's not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Because priorities.

Website ~

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Favorite Job #OpenBook Blog Hop

This week we're talking about our favorite non-writing job. Before I begin, I have to disclose that i know my current manager frequently reads this blog. (Hi, bossman!) Although the job I have now is way up there on the list of good jobs, I can't honestly say it's the best one I've ever held. There are two others that compete for that honor.

At the top of the list would be the summer I spent as a counselor at a Girl Scout camp. Although the girls attending camp came and went in one or two week cycles, the staff that ran the camp stayed all summer long. We slept in tents, cooked over open fires, (and ate in the mess hall) and spent our days hiking and swimming and making crafts along with the girls we were in charge of. The best part was we got paid for it!

My fellow counselors were a great group of ladies and young women. Some were returning and old hands at the experience, others were young and untested like me. Two were from overseas—one from Nigeria, one from Holland. Working together, we found ways to overcome the obstacles we ran into, including the language barrier, to give the girls at the camp the best summer they'd ever had.

The weekends when no girls were in camp we got to play. Maybe that meant going to the nearest small town, doing laundry and picking up snacks at the store. Or maybe we went home for a visit. Or maybe we just hung around camp, swimming and canoeing without having to worry about keeping our eyes on anyone. At night, we'd hang around a campfire, singing songs we could never sing around little kids.

The other job at the top of the list was when I worked at a 'road warrior,' traveling through the United States doing computer networking jobs. I'd hop on a plane early in the morning and head somewhere in the Unites States. Sometimes my trips only lasted a single day. sometimes I'd be in one place for three or four days. One trip in particular I went with a small group. We got to our destination at 10:00 at night, went to the business we were contracted to at 8:00 in the morning, and took a red-eye home. Although I think I visited thirty-five different states, I got to see very little of each location. Still, the time I spent in each city was enough to give me a 'taste' of the local flavor.

What was your favorite job? Tell us in the comments. And to find out what the other writers have done, follow the links below.

March 6 – What was our favorite non-writing job and why?
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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