It has been too long since I’ve been in a throng of people having a good time. Not that I’m a partier or one who gets out a lot in the first place, but after three years of pandemic life, hibernating in front of my computer writing, and this year, being restricted by an unusually harsh and long winter, I realized that even infrequent participation in society is better than none, and it’s good for the soul.
So, my friend had tickets to Elle King and needed a buddy to brave the snowy mountain highway with her to Lake Tahoe, which is thirty minutes from our neighborhood, and another ten to South Lake.
I like Ms. King’s songs. I hoped for a good show. She was okay. Seemed like she’d been partying a bit hard before coming on stage. She was quite sassy and tossing out the f-bombs liberally while toking on a joint. A little of that goes a long way. What can I say? As a writer I cringe at demonstrations of limited vocabularies. We also waited a long time for her to start after her amazing opening band concluded. And she left abruptly with no encore. But that’s okay. I still had a great night out.
We enjoyed a fabulous dinner and service at the Sapori Italian Kitchen at the top of Harrah’s with an amazing view of the famous emerald lake surrounded by snow and clouds any artist would dream to paint. I loved the opportunity to indulge in good company, lots of conversation, and people watching. Even the room at the Quality Inn was cozy and the perfect place to crash before heading home the next morning.
But there are a few other highlights that made this outing special. I have an entire scene in book one of my series, The Starlight Chronicles, where Andras takes Selena for an evening out at Harvey’s. It’s a pivotal point in the plot, Andras’s big reveal, and precipitates a critical action scene. It was good to see that my impressions from previous experiences were spot on, and I felt like I was walking around in my book. The people-watching was a much-needed opportunity for character ideas. What a blast! Getting outside my head for stories is kind of amazing.
The Red Clay Strays
The second highlight was the opening band, the Red Clay Strays. I’d never heard of them and I always love an opportunity to be introduced to new music. If you haven’t listened to them or seen them live, I recommend both. If you like Country mixed with Rock, the energy of Jerry Lee Lewis mixed with a Chris Stapleton-like voice, you’ll dig this band.
First off, I am in no way saying Rock and Roll is noise. It was on my am radio blasting me from the headboard from the time I was young enough to think Speed Racer could be my boyfriend. Even before that, I sucked my thumb as I fell asleep to Golden Earring’s Radar Love. Okay, TMI, but it illustrates my love of the genre.
But you have to admit, some voices in rock music don’t always leap out of the noise, and all you end up with is noise. That’s what it’s like trying to keep up with social media. A necessity if you’re an indie writer trying to leap out of the noise and get your books noticed. It’s been quite a journey navigating the crescendo, trying to be friendly, then weeding out the bot lurkers from the ones who are truly sharing their creative endeavors and interested in yours. But this isn’t about the challenges of marketing and sharing posts.
What I’m noodling over tonight is that there are some amazing voices that do leap out from time to time on Twitter, Instagram and yes, even the bizarre world of TikTok, really nice people who share tweets or posts because they believe in paying it forward. Creators helping creators. Some even giving free advice. My wish is to share those bits here as often as possible. When a TikTokker makes the effort to give great editing tips, or share how they made the decision to self-publish, I’m going to pass it on, because it’s fabulous stuff!
Another way I will be sharing is through featuring writers, artists, and all kinds of creatives in interviews on my blogs. I’m excited to bring you my very first one in a couple weeks. So, stay tuned for my conversation with swords and sorcery fantasy indie writer from Down Under, Douglas W. T. Smith. He has lots of experiences and tips to share from his own writing journey, and we both hope you will find it useful and inspiring.
This is a shout out to all the ones out there giving as much as they’re getting. Here is some Radar Love to fall asleep to… whether you suck your thumb or not.
Do you insert references to your favorite music through the lives of your characters? (I fondly refer to them as my pod people. After all, they’re extensions of my alien-seed-planted mind, so why wouldn’t they love my music?)
I love doing this. It plunges me into the atmosphere of my scene, and I hope it does the same for the reader. I have extremely eclectic tastes in music, so it’s a lot of fun peppering my writing with just the right note to insert at the right moment. Check out book one, Ursus Borealis, for a great scene with Andras and Selena, while she’s wearing a t-shirt with SRV’s beat up Stratocaster stretched across her… chest.
My husband and I were going down memory lane over breakfast and discussing the concert-going highlights of our youth. He has vivid flashbacks of “Terrible Ted” at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in ’79. Yes, decades later, he is still grateful for witnessing in person Ted Nugent leaping 15 feet off stacked amplifiers as they swayed precariously under him, landing in clouds of backlit smoke, while tearing out “the riff of all time.”
As we talked and he described it just today, I found this newspaper clipping and it reports it just like he remembers. Made his day. Who said music doesn’t leave a life-long impression? Of course, our parents did not in any way think this was music. “You’re going to see Terrible Who?” (Actually, I think that moniker comes later in his career. His personal life was as shocking as his music. If it still is… I wouldn’t know. But he’s still killing that riff.)
Granted, our combined excursions weren’t extensive, which makes the handful we managed to partake in more special. I think my highlight was David Bowie at the Oakland Coliseum in ‘83 for his Serious Moonlight Tour. We were smack in the middle of the huge field, and Mr. Bowie was a speck, but his penchant for drama came through… Bowie performing MacBeth… and singing? Oh yeah!