This week’s blog, like last Monday’s, is something of a bonus. You get a two-fer. Meaning, this is an introduction to a stellar book and a fabulous song to act as its soundtrack. Win-win.

The book is The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller by M. Pepper Langlinais. M is a member of my critique group, The Beer & Bacon Babes, so I am very familiar with Peter and can truly attest to how special it is. It has that fabulous spy cloak and dagger thing working with a sensitive love story. Peter is a story of loss and betrayal, discovery and friendships- old and new. It defies guessing which makes it a super fun read. Here’s a bit more about it:

In 1960’s London, British Intelligence agent Peter Stoller is next in line to run the Agency—until he falls in love with cab driver, Charles, and his life goes off the road. When Charles is accused of treason, Peter is guilty by association. Peter manages to extract them both, but the seeds of doubt have been planted, putting Peter’s mind and heart at war. Is ignorance truly bliss or merely deadly?

The_Fall_and_Rise_of_Peter_Stoller_by_MPepper_Langinais-500

Peter is available for download via: Amazon (US and UK), Kobe, Smashwords, Apple, and Nook. Click here to purchase.

M chose this week’s Musical Monday tune. It’s a lovely song titled After the Fall by the group October Project. They remind me a bit of the prog rock band, Marillion. You can enjoy the song by clicking here.

 

Lyrics to After the Fall

In a city of faces
That never look back
Where doors never open
And eyes never meet
Someone behind me was tracing my steps
As I ran
Through the fog down a cobblestone street

In a city of crossroads
That never lead home
Where secrets unravel
And fates intertwine
Someone was calling my name in the night
As I ran
From a voice that was echoing mine

The farther you run
The more you recall
The loss of your innocence
After the fall

The farther you run
The more you recall
After the fall

In a city of magic
That spins out of time
Where God has no image
And Man finds no grace
Something inside me was seeking itself
As I ran
From a shadow who’d stolen my face

The farther you run…

23803878734_72acebf51e_m

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. To purchase Erika’s new release, The Dragon in The Garden visit her page at Tirgearr Publishing.

I am a Lost Boy. So I’m a girl. I still am a Lost Boy. I fell in love with Peter Pan on a summer night somewhere in my childhood. (Yes, that would be in the seventies… shudders. Where DOES the time go?)

But honestly, who doesn’t fall in love with Peter Pan? The story represents the best of our childhoods, combined with some of the worst. Our desire for love and sheltering, combined with that wild streak to run away, run far, run fast. Of all the fairy tales, with the possible exception of Cinderella, this one resonates the deepest. We sink back into it so easily, with relief and joy.

With such an iconic tale, eternal thank-you’s to the incomparable J.M. Barrie, it is a daunting task to imagine you might be able to add to this legend’s lore. My dear friend and critique partner, Wendy Spinale, has undertaken exactly such a Herculean endeavor and her forthcoming novel, Everland is the result of all her love and passion. Available for preorder NOW, her actual novel drops (and auto-downloads to all preordered devices) on May 10th. A steampunk retelling of Peter Pan, this time it’s Wendy, er, Gwen, who saves the day. But there are still pirates, crocodiles, and Captain Hook trying to foil the Lost Boys! Never fear! Bella, pixie dust, and clockwork wings are there to combat them! To live will be a very big adventure indeed!

Please preorder Everland here!

Here is what to watch for- my friend’s simply gorgeous cover. Look for it in book stores, on line, and in Scholastic Book Fairs everywhere!

IMG_0834

Please enjoy the video to Lost Boy

“Lost Boy”

[Intro]
There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

[Verse 1]
Then one night, as I closed my eyes,
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Peter Pan—that’s what they call me.
I promise that you’ll never be lonely.”
And ever since that day…

[Chorus]
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,
“Away from all of reality.”

[2x]
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

[Verse 2]
He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day…

[Chorus]
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,
“Away from all of reality.”

[2x]
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

[2x]
Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy Darling,
Even Captain Hook—
You are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so,
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

And for always I will say…

[Chorus]
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,
“Away from all of reality.”

[2x]
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

23803878734_72acebf51e_m

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Originally my intent was to write a blog celebrating and mourning the life and loss of the inimitable David Bowie. Then last Friday we lost Alan Rickman (one of my very favorite actors), next Dan Haggerty (aka Grizzly Adams), Glenn Frey, Dale Griffin, and Pat Harrington (aka Schneider). Not mention, for our northern comrades in the wilds of Canada the loss of Rene Angelil (Celine Dion’s husband) and Daniel Dion (her brother).

Am I wrong or is 2016 a bit rough on the male celebrity thus far? Sheesh, buckle up, folks

I mean, 2015 was no picnic. We lost Lemmy, Natalie Cole, Christopher Lee and, worst of all, Leonard Nimoy.

One of my very favorite bloggers is a lovely, independent, sassy, intelligent woman who only goes by her blog name, Wind Up My Skirt. In her latest blog she pointed out that we are all simply going to have to get used to this state of affairs. After all, we are faced with an aging generation of icons. Not only that, many of them are Baby Boomers and that’s a humongous generation, lots to lose. So, look for many more opportunities for a good cry and an excuse to raise a glass in reverence of those gone ahead.

This week’s song is a David Bowie classic, and one of my very favorite songs by him, Ashes to Ashes. I also adore Cat People (Putting Out Fire) from the movie of the same name, but that will have to be another Musical Monday. Ashes to Ashes came out in 1980 from the album, Scary Monsters and Super Creeps. It proved to be Bowie’s quickest selling single to date and topped the British charts at #1. The song resurrected the long lost character Major Tom from 1969’s Space Oddity. Bowie said that Ashes to Ashes was a modern nursery rhyme bidding good-bye to the seventies. A song for farewell. How very appropriate today.

Clearly, for most of us, the phrase “ashes to ashes” evokes images of a funeral, a memorial, or a wake. Ultimately, again, a good bye.

Good-bye, dear ones. We’ll miss your humor, your talent, your songs, and your performances. God speed.

Click here to enjoy the video for Ashes-to-Ashe

Lyrics to Ashes to Ashes

Do you remember a guy that’s been
In such an early song
I’ve heard a rumor from Ground Control
Oh no, don’t say it’s trueThey got a message from the Action Man
“I’m happy. Hope you’re happy, too.
I’ve loved. All I’ve needed: love.
Sordid details following.”

The shrieking of nothing is killing me
Just pictures of Jap girls in synthesis
And I ain’t got no money and I ain’t got no hair
But I’m hoping to kick but the planet is glowing

[Chorus:]
Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom’s a junkie
Strung out in heaven’s high
Hitting an all-time low

Time and again I tell myself
I’ll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh, no, not again

I’m stuck with a valuable friend
“I’m happy. Hope you’re happy, too.”
One flash of light
But no smoking pistol

I never done good things
I never done bad things
I never did anything out of the blue,
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now

[Chorus]

[4x]
My mama said, “To get things done
You’d better not mess with Major Tom.”
Saying good-bye…
kf-labyrinth-film-hero
4addae8d8fd4eb07d28fde8a4cc0a631
Dan-Haggerty-Grizzly-Adams
CYHS8CWWwAAIjUt
176684449
glen1_thumb
Remembering you all always.
“How you turn my world, you precious thing.” – Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

23803878734_72acebf51e_m

Look at this- me, you, and on a Monday to boot. Big Smile. This could be a thing– a me being on time thing.

This week I want to discuss opposing views. While I have gotten pretty politically confrontational on this blog in the past- that’s not what today is about.

In my opinion, we are seeing a divisiveness in the American political landscape not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century when the gap between the have’s and have-not’s became almost irreconcilable. Today I see two different divides: one between the 1% and the 99% and the other the divide between the Left and the Right. The fact that I use capital letters to designate the sides should further underline the breakdown in communication.

In a nutshell, my biggest concern today is that people define themselves first by political party and THEN as American. Am I wrong in believing that our country should come first, and our political leaning second? We as a nation are being manipulated by those in power just as the Roman Emperors diverted their populace with grain (food handouts) and circuses (think gladiators then and TMZ ala Time Warner now). Both serve to keep those in power calling the shots and those without power sans recourse. There is very little difference between the members of the 1% whatever their political label may be, only lesser and greater degrees of evil. The current system is working just fine for them, thank you very much. In reality, why would they want change? Mind you, there are exceptions, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders kind of spring to mind in the federal arena while Zuckerberg, Buffet, and Gates giving away their billions stand out among the private sector.

Our first president, George Washington, took serious issue with political parties and never joined one, feeling the president’s role demanded someone above the fray. He recognized the shift in loyalties that these organizations created as our nation’s first two were formed: the Democratic-Republicans under Thomas Jefferson and the Federalists under Alexander Hamilton. After Washington declined a third term he addressed the nation in a farewell letter, saying that Americans needed to place their identity as Americans above their identities as members of a state, city, or region, and focus their efforts and affection on the country above all other interests or organizations. He also urged people to look beyond any differences between their fellows in religion, manners, habits, and political principles, and place their independence and liberty above all else, knowing the country needed to be united to survive and thrive. I can only imagine what he would say of today’s idiocies.

With the current taking of political sides and constant sniping at one another with Facebook posts, opposing news channels (think Fox versus MSNBC) and Twitter we cede much of our collective power. None of these pot shots changes anyone’s mind and we expend a great deal of energy in pointless, petulant rants. Energy that could better served on this country that we love. No, it’s not perfect. Yes, we have problems. But in the end, it’s all that we’ve got and it’s worth fixing. Worth saving. We need to stop bickering, find common ground, and vote out these people who serve only themselves and their donors, rather the nation and its citizens.

Your Musical Monday song this week is Paradise (What About Us?) by the Netherlands’ Within Temptation featuring guest vocals by Tarja Turunen (formerly of the Finnish band Nightwish). You can click here to enjoy the song and its video. Pay special attention to about the 3:20 mark when Tarja really lets go. Her voice woven with the guitar work is something to hear.

The words of the song sum things up awfully well, “No, it’s not paradise, but it’s all we’ve got and it’s all that we’re fighting for.” And my personal favorite is, “you’d expect the wise to be wiser.”

 

Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel- July 2013

Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel- July 2013

Lyrics to Paradise (What About Us?)

There’s no sense
The fire burns
When wisdom fails, it changes all
The wheel embodies all that keeps on turning

Blood red skies, I feel so cold
No innocence, we play our role
The wheel embodies all, where are we going?

All in all you’d expect the wise to be wiser
Fallen from grace, all and all I guess
We should have known better ’cause

[Chorus:]
What about us,
Isn’t it enough?
No we’re not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we’ve got
No, it’s not our paradise
But it’s all we want
And it’s all that we’re fighting for
Though it’s not paradise

You and us
Or I and them
There comes a time
To take a stand
The wheel is watching all that keeps on burning
The venom works
It’s like a curse
A Trojan horse
When will we learn
The wheel embodies all that keeps returning

All in all you’d expect the wise to be wiser
Fallen from grace, all and all I guess
We should have known better ’cause…

[Chorus:]
What about us,
Isn’t it enough?
No we’re not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we’ve got
No, it’s not our paradise
But it’s all we want
And it’s all that we’re fighting for

What about us,
Isn’t it enough?
No we’re not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we’ve got
No, it’s not our paradise
But it’s all we want
And it’s all that we’re fighting for
But it’s not paradise

What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough?
What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough?
What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough?
What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough!

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

 

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Yep, I missed Monday again… but I had an excellent reason for it. Originally, I prepared another blog, which will appear next week- on Monday in fact, when I spied a Facebook message from my friend Michael with the song “Sound of Silence” as covered by Disturbed.

Chills, my friends, absolute chills- much to my surprise.

Let’s be honest, the person with the cajones to cover Sound of Silence has to be an idiot. I mean, right? There are songs you cover, a la Dancing in the Streets, and there are songs you leave alone. They’re already perfect, they’re classic, and they are so ingrained in the listeners’ psyches that altering them is an act of sheer lunacy.

Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel

Sound of Silence by Paul Simon is an amazing song. It played often in my parents’ home as I grew up. I never imagined another version of it. The Disturbed rendition, released July 2015, hits a nerve though, so dark, as if singer David Draiman truly is speaking to a pervasive dark being, something he has done before and will do again. And with the darkness in our world at this time, this seems only fitting.

The song has meant a lot of things to a lot of people over the years.  It’s been tied to the assassination of JFK (it was released just months later) and the myriad of             different ways people fail to communicate with one another.  Art Garfunkel, who contributed on the lyrics, summed up the song’s meaning as this, “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”

Disturbed

Disturbed

At this time of year with the New Year’s promise and hope of betterment coupled with people’s tendency to hobble themselves with the mistakes of the past, the song takes on additional pathos.  A friend of mine and I once spoke of difference between living and passing time. To be completely engaged and in the moment is entirely separate from marking time toward the weekend, vacation, or retirement. If you are not careful then time has passed you by. People speak of mellowing as one ages and while that is true I would also say that we disengage. We begin to say good-bye to this world long before we physically leave it. The sound of silence intrudes upon the cacophony of the living.

I understand this, the withdrawing. Let’s face it, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says something differently is selling something.” While I would never pick a fight with the Dread Pirate Roberts, I would add this addendum, life is pain and joy. The two stroll hand-in-hand. The razor blade of loss is preceded and followed by the uplifting balm of ecstasy. By the two we know we are truly alive. We love people and they leave us- one way or another, be it death or abandonment, but I would never trade the exuberance of loving to avoid the agony of loss.

Here is the Disturbed version- haunting, chills, kudos. There are new things under the sun.

This year, whether you make a resolution or not, LIVE. Do not disengage. Be present. I do not want to hear the sound of silence. Give me giggles, give me sobs, give me life. Let me feel.

 

Lyrics to The Sound of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I
“You do not know, silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

Erika Gardner

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,288 other followers

Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller

Goodreads

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,288 other followers

%d bloggers like this: