Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

 

I loved the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a kid (who didn’t?) and I loved watching the Rankin/Bass TV special. In fact, it’s still a Christmas tradition for me. I know all the lyrics and sing along. When they were young it drove my kids crazy, hey half of the fun, but now if I’m not singing they ask if I’m okay. ? Rudolph’s message of belonging, compassion, understanding, and everyone having something to contribute always hit home with me. I was a smart, liberal, knew-my-mind girl growing up in Dubuque, Iowa. I didn’t always fit in. I never went to homecoming or prom. In fact, I wasn’t even asked on a date in high school. I look back now and think I intimidated guys. Anyway, guess you can see why I identified with our little red nosed guy.

I was stunned to discover this classic Christmas tale that led to the Gene Autry song, was written by a Jewish man, Robert L. May. As a child, May skipped a couple grades in school, making him smaller and younger than his classmates. As a teacher, I can’t imagine how rough that was for him. Being physically smaller is difficult enough but add in developmental differences with his classmates, and  no wonder he didn’t fit in and viewed himself as a “nerdy loser.” Anyone else see foreshadowing here and a writer who would write what he knew? (Being an outsider and insecure?) Yup, me too.

Names considered other than Rudolph.

As an adult May dreamed of writing the great American novel but worked as a catalog copywriter in the advertising department for Montgomery Ward. (As an author, that sure hits home as I dreamed of writing novels while working countless other jobs to pay the bills.) In 1939, Montgomery Ward wanted to create a children’s book for its annual holiday promotion rather than give away purchased coloring book. May was given the job because of his talent for limericks and parodies. The only direction his boss gave him was to have an animal in it.

original cover of Robert L. May’s manuscript

May chose a reindeer for his main character because his daughter, Barbara loved the ones at Lincoln Park Zoo. When turned in the story of a red-nosed reindeer teased by his peers, who had exactly what Santa needed one foggy Christmas Eve, May’s boss asked him to come up with “something better.” (Okay, let’s admit May’s boss couldn’t tell an incredible children’s story from a hole in the ground.) May didn’t give up, and with the help someone in the art department and his sketches, they changed the boss’s mind. Click here to read May’s original manuscript. (It’s definitely worth checking out. 🙂 )

On its release in 1939, Montgomery Ward gave away 2.4 million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Yup, million. In 1939. Think about that. Despite the book’s success, May who was heavily in debt because of his wife’s medical bills, received no additional compensation. However, that changed in 1947, when the head of Montgomery Ward returned the rights to May. Another event that year that changed May’s life and impacted the classic Christmas song coming to life was May’s sister married Johnny Marks, a songwriter. Long before Marks married May’s sister he’d read Rudolph’s story, and jotted down notes in his song ideas notebook.

Robert May autographs copies of his bestseller, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” and a sequel, “Rudolph Shines Again,” on Dec. 11, 1969.

Marks added music to the story, and knew he had something special. However, Gene Autry apparently channeling May’s boss who “wanted something better” than Rudolph’s story, wasn’t keen on the song. Thankfully, his wife persuaded him to record the second biggest selling Christmas song of all time (White Christmas is number one) for the “B” side. (From my research, it appears If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas was the “A” side and who’s even heard of that Christmas song? I hope he thanked his wife for her foresight.) Click here to listen to the Gene Autry song

 

Some articles I read claimed May and the Rudolph story is sad. I disagree. Yes, May had a difficult life, but he channeled that into something truly special. No, he never wrote the great American novel, but he wrote a great American Christmas carol that still inspires children and adults today. A pretty great legacy, I’d say. Plus, as an added bonus, Rudolph took care of May and his family for his life and beyond.

 

Now that I’ve learned the history behind the song, I love Rudolph’s story even more and it’s message seems even brighter.

 

 

Musical Inspiration

Today I’m giving you an insight on how music occasionally influences my writing. But it’s not how you might expect. I don’t write with music on because if I like a song, then I start singing along. Then my train of thought is shattered. Like now. I’m sitting in Starbucks writing and “Defy Gravity” from the musical Wicked has come on. Excuse me while I sing under my breath…

Okay, I’m back. However, occasionally songs play a big part in my stories. In To Marry A Texas Cowboy, George Strait’s “Here For A Good Time” became my hero’s theme song. Despite knowing Zane’s backstory and him almost taking over a couple books in the series, when I started his story, I couldn’t grasp him. He put up a good front, even from me. But when I heard “Here For A Good Time” Zane’s personality and fears fell into place.

Zane had a rough past. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read To Marry A Texas Cowboy, but Zane’s dad was a piece of work and his mom wasn’t a winner either. To cope or survive really, he lived in the moment. Everything was about having a good time. That drove his actions and his life.

Here For A Good Time

Source: Musixmatch  Songwriters: Bubba Straight / Dillon Dean / George H Strait

I’m not gonna lay around
And whine and moan for somebody that done me wrong
Don’t think for a minute
That I’m gonna sit around and sing some old sad song
I believe it’s half-full not a half-empty glass
Every day I wake up knowing it could be my last

I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
So bring on the sunshine, to hell with the red wine
Pour me some moonshine
When I’m gone, put it in stone “He left nothing behind”
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time

Folks are always dreaming about what they like to do
But I like to do just what I like
I’ll take the chance, dance the dance
It might be wrong but then again it might be right
There’s no way of knowing what tomorrow brings
Life’s too short to waste it, I say bring on anything

I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
So bring on the sunshine, to hell with the red wine
Pour me some moonshine
When I’m gone, put it in stone “He left nothing behind”
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time

 

And speaking of Wicked, when attending that musical, the solution to the same problem with my heroine, Maggie in Bet On A Cowboy hit me. When Elphaba sang “I’m Not That Girl” I instantly knew everything about Maggie. I even whispered, “she’s Elphaba” right there in my Broadway seat.

Maggie believed love wasn’t in her future. She was just too plain, too average in every way to attract a man’s notice. As the director of a Bachelor type reality show, she’s surrounded by beautiful, outgoing, extraordinary women and is constantly reminded she doesn’t measure up. The mindset Elphaba shows in “I’m Not That Girl” guided Maggie’s actions and interactions in life.

 

I’m Not That Girl

Source: Musixmatch  Songwriters: Schwartz Stephen Laurence / Sandford Steve

Hands touch, eyes meet
Sudden silence, sudden heat
Hearts leap in a giddy whirl
He could be that boy
But I’m not that girl

Don’t dream too far
Don’t lose sight of who you are
Don’t remember that rush of joy
He could be that boy
I’m not that girl

Every so often we long to steal
To the land of what-might-have-been
But that doesn’t soften the ache we feel
When reality sets back in

Blithe smile, lithe limb
She who’s winsome, she wins him
Gold hair with a gentle curl
That’s the girl he chose
And Heaven knows
I’m not that girl

Don’t wish, don’t start
Wishing only wounds the heart
I wasn’t born for the rose and the pearl
There’s a girl I know
He loves her so
I’m not that girl

I shouldn’t be surprised songs have helped me grasp my characters and their relationships. Songs have always spoken to me and helped me make sense out of life. Why shouldn’t they do the same with my writing?

To be entered in today’s random giveaway for the car coasters, air freshener, and signed copy of Family Ties leave a comment on what song has or could serve as a theme for you?

The Origin of a Few Children’s Songs

We all grew up singing songs and some are quite old. Adam and Eve probably had some that they relied on if the truth was known.

In my current work in progress, my heroine and her sister start an orphanage for kids left without parents during a frightening yellow fever epidemic. The year is the fall of 1867. With the recent loss of their parents, the children are very distraught. Maura Taggart finds that singing is one thing that seems to help. So of course, I got curious and had to dive into research.

Here’s what I found.

Mary Had a Little Lamb was written and sung in 1830.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – 1838

Old McDonald Had a Farm – 1706

London Bridge – 1744

Hickory Dickory Dock – 1744

Frère Jacques – 1780

I remember singing in French “Frère Jacques” in the first grade and still remember a few of the words. It translates into “Are You Sleeping, Brother John?” I loved this song and I felt very grown up singing in French. HA! Doesn’t take much to impress a small child.

I was amazed at how far back these songs go. The children in my orphanage grow to love singing so Maura makes it part of a daily routine along with painting. Children love creating and they can forget the sad turns their lives have taken for a little while.

I’m really enjoying this story. I have no release date yet so I’m just having fun. Some of the children become very difficult to stay put. They’re not allowed around in the front but that’s exactly where they want to be. One day they find a puppy tied to a sign and insist it’s a gift from God to let them know their parents still love them and are watching over them. Then, they discover various other items that help make life easier for the orphans. But who is the mysterious benefactor? It’ll keep you guessing.

What other songs did you grow up with? A lot of these started out as poems or nursery rhymes before someone put music to them. I’d love to discuss this. I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card to someone who comments.

Game Day – Musical Word Play

 

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. It’s Game Day!!  Always a fun time. And since I love word games (I also love math games but I’m aware I may be in the minority there 🙂 ) I thought we’d play one that combines wordplay and music.

This is going to be super easy – take the letters in EITHER your first or last name (or both if you’re feeling ambitious!) and list a song that starts with that letter.  Here’s an example using my name – I used both my first and last names because I wanted to cover more songs (and yes I’m a BIG Randy Travis and Beatles fan 🙂 )

Whisper My Name (Randy Travis)
In My Life (Beatles)
Nowhere Man (Beatles)
Norwegian Wood (Beatles)
I Told You So (Randy Travis)
Eight Days A Week (Beatles)

Girl (Beatles)
Revolution (Beatles)
If I Didn’t Have You (Randy Travis)
Good Day Sunshine (Beatles)
Get Back (Beatles)
Somewhere In My Broken Heart (Randy Travis)

So now it’s your turn. I can’t wait to see what musical choices you make.

And everyone who plays along gets entered in a drawing for their choice of any book in my backlist

Jan Sikes Gets Lost in Music and Romance

You’re in for a treat. Jan Sikes is sitting in for Linda Broday today and she has a heck of a new book to tell you about. Oh, by the way, she’s also Linda’s talented little sister. Please welcome her to the Junction!

I’m so happy to be here at P&P talking about my first contemporary romance. Thank you for having me. I’ve written four full-length biographical fictions about my life with country/western performer Rick Sikes. But now I’m writing romance and it’s so much fun. My creative juices are flowing in a totally different way.

One of my greatest joys in life is going to hear live music. I loved it as a little girl and even more now as an adult. COVID-19 has put a halt to all live music for the time being, but I miss it and long for it to return.

In Ghostly Interference, Jag Peters plays an electric keyboard. Music is his passion. He loves every aspect of it. He longs to play on the big stages to sold-out crowds. It’s the dream he holds and protects deep in his heart.

In a scene early in the book, he confesses this desire to Rena, then questions himself at his willingness to share that secret.

So, when his mother sets up a benefit concert and brings a man out of retirement to perform that Jag has idolized his entire life, he is on cloud nine. All his life, he’s wanted to meet his idol and now he has the chance. Little does he know this will change everything.

BOOK BLURB

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

EXCERPT

A local radio DJ personality took to the stage and slipped a microphone off the stand. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ll all take your seats, we’re just about ready to get this show started. Are you excited to be here?”

The crowd applauded and some whistled.

“All right! But first, I want to say a word about the charity you’re supporting here tonight. The Exodus Project has helped women escape from abusive situations for over six years here in Cedar Springs. And without your contributions and fundraisers like this one, it wouldn’t have the outreach that it currently does. So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”

Jag grinned and winked at his mother when she slipped into the empty seat next to Rena. Again, he had a strong feeling something was up with her.

The DJ continued. “So, without further ado, I present to you a man who has graced stages around the world, and we’re honored to have him here in Cedar Springs on this stage tonight, Damien Blue!”

Jag held his breath. The band came on first kicking it off with the intro to Damien’s first big hit. The high-energy straight-ahead rock, heavy on the backbeat sound, they were famous for poured out of them. 

The crowd cheered.

Thirty seconds later, Damien strolled onto the stage, guitar slung across his back, both hands in the air greeting the audience.

Jag felt Rena shift beside him and glanced at her to see her eyes wide and mouth slack.

Mesmerized, he focused on the man he’d admired for a lifetime. Tall and lean, he had a commanding presence. Dressed in black pinstripe pants, white silk shirt open to mid-chest and matching pinstripe vest, he could have stepped out of a fifties gangster movie. The fedora pulled low over his eyes and sharp-toed shiny black Spats completed the look.

People were on their feet, clapping, whistling and yelling. One woman’s voice rang out. “I love you, Damien!”

He flashed a dazzling grin and stepped up to the microphone. “I love you too, darlin’.”

Even under the fedora, Jag could see streaks of gray in his brown hair. He was close enough to see small lines at the edges of his idol’s blue-gray eyes. Eyes that held intrigue, mystery, and power.

When Damien shifted his vintage Les Paul Gold Top guitar around to the front and delivered a blistering riff, the audience went wild before they finally took their seats. Damien’s soulful whiskey flavored voice filled the auditorium.

Jag knew every word and every chord. He immersed his entire being into the music, unaware of anything else. He never took his eyes off his hero. The electricity he’d felt earlier settled down to a low steady hum under his skin and rang in his ears along with the amplifiers.

***

Tell me about the most amazing concert you ever attended. Did you get to meet the artist? I want to hear about it! I’m giving away one ebook copy of the book to two people who comment.

 

BOOK PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON  |  B&N

You can contact Jan at:   WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  AUTHOR PAGE  |

Writer Takeaways from Disney Songs

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. 

I’ll admit to being a big fan of Disney’s animated movies and of course the music in them is always great – be it toe-tapping, whimsical, introspective or poignant.

So I hope you won’t mind today if I indulge myself a little bit by listing some of my favorites (along with links so you can listen to them if you like) and so that it’s not entirely frivolous, tie each of them to a writerly takeaway. .

Here they are, in no particular order

  1. You’ve Got A Friend In Me (from Toy Story)

    Writer Takeaway: Writing can be a lonely, solitary business. Savvy writers will take the time to make personal connections, to be supportive of other writers and to maintain connections with friends outside of the writing community.

  2. Bare Necessities (from Jungle Book)

    Writer Takeaway: Most of us are working with limited resources when it comes to finances and time. But we all bring special resources to the table, namely our creativity and storytelling abilities. That is what the true ‘bare necessity’ is that it takes to succeed in this business. As for the rest, work with what you have and know that, if you stay alert to opportunities, you can go a long way on your God-given talent.

  3. A Whole New World (from Aladdin)

    Writer Takeaway: 
    Take the time in your worldbuilding to transport your reader to someplace they’ve never been before or to see the familiar in a whole new light, and make sure there are things to make them feel wonder and surprise over.

  4. Let It Go (from Frozen)

    Writer Takeaway: There are things that will come your way – story ideas, promo opportunities, project participation offers, etc. – that you won’t be able to pursue/take advantage of. Hard as it is to let them go, you have to accept that they were not to be and don’t let regrets weigh you down.

  5. Go The Distance (from Hercules)

    Writer Takeaway: No one promised it would be easy or quick – persistence is key to making it in this business. And of course you want to add in the proper training, because the best writers know that they never reach the point where they know it all.

  6. Heigh Ho (from Snow White)

    Writer Takeaway: Similar to the takeaway from the prior song, this one reminds me that there is no substitute for putting in the work. As a previous mentor once told me BIK HOK is the only way to get the book written (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard).

  7. Reflection (from Mulan)

    Writer Takeaway: This is a hauntingly introspective song. One of my takeaways is that, whatever the cost, we have to be true to who we are, as a writer as well as an individual.

  8. Something There (from Beauty and the Beast)

    Writer Takeaway: I love this song and it is a great lesson on how to develop a love story between two mismatched people. It also provides a good example of how to show versus tell a character’s growth and transformation.

  9. Almost There (from The Princess and the Frog)

    Writer Takeaway: This song is all about having concrete goals and maintaining your focus on them. It’s much too easy to let distractions get in the way of your dreams or start looking for shortcuts.

  10. Into The Unknown (from Frozen 2)

    Writer Takeaway: As writers we sometimes get stuck in a rut of sorts, writing the types of stories that have worked for us in the past and that we are comfortable with. Or perhaps we have become pigeon holed by our editors or readers who are leery of supporting us in a new direction we want to explore. But, scary as it might be, stretching ourselves, even if we eventually decide it’s not working, is how we grow as writers and as people.
     

  11. Dig a Little Deeper (from the Princess and the Frog)

    Writer Takeaway: This is such a fun upbeat song – gets my toes to tapping whenever I hear it. But the writer takeaway is that I should always ‘dig a little deeper’ when I’m developing my characters and stories, that just being satisfied with what’s on the surface is not enough to really touch the reader I’m trying to reach.

 

I could go on and on, but as I said, I’m under a tight deadline, so I’ll stop there.

Did your favorite Disney song make the list? If so, which one is it?  If not, let me know what that missing song is and why you like it.  I’ll pick someone from the list of respondents to give a copy of one of my books to.

 

 

 

A Cowboy Song in My Heart!

This is the real life cowboy who inspired the first novel I sold.

I hate to admit this, but as a child, I wasn’t a fan of the country music my mother played music. But since I sold my first contemporary western romance in 2011, I’ve come to love it. The other day I thought about how many great songs have cowboy in the title. The first one that popped into my mind was “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” by Willie Nelson. For fun, I ran a searched to find others.

The first site on my search was http://www.myweddingsongs.com. The irony is the day before I wrote this post, I turned in revisions on To Marry A Texas Cowboy which comes out in September. In that book, my hero temporarily manages his grandmother’s wedding planning business! When I went to the website, I discovered the fourth Saturday in July is the Day of the Cowboy. If I’d known, July 25th would’ve found me in my recliner watching cowboy movies. Then I would’ve sat on the patio with a cool drink and listened to cowboy songs.

Since I missed this year’s day, I’m compiling my Day of the Cowboy playlist for Saturday July 24, 2021. Here’s my list so far.

Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell

Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys by Waylon and Willie

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? by Paula Cole

Should’ve Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith

Cowboys and Angels by Garth Brooks

Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) by Big and Rich

Cowboy Casanova by Carried Underwood

Cowboy Take Me Away by The Chicks

The Cowboy Rides Away by George Strait

Don’t Call Him Cowboy by Conway Twitty

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys by Willie Nelson

The Cowboy in Me by Tim McGraw

Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy by Chris LeDoux

Cowboy Love by John Michael Montgomery

Asphalt Cowboy by Jason Aldean

The Cowboy’s Hat by Chris LeDoux

Cowboy’s Back in Town by Trace Adkins

100% Cowboy by Jason Meadows

Cowboys and Angels by Garth Brooks

My Cowboy by Jessie James

Cowboys Like Us by George Strait

All Around Cowboy by Waylon Jennings

Cowboy Logic by The Charlie Daniels Band

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Trisha Yearwood (Oh, yes! Mine too!)

I Want a Cowboy by Reba McEntire

I Ain’t Her Cowboy Anymore by George Strait

Broken Down Cowboy

And two non-country music entries…

Put the Boy Back in Cowboy by Bon Jovi

I Wannt Be a Cowboy by Boys Don’t Cry

(This has a great video if you love watching Jon Bon Jovi!)

Since I was having a great time and in a wonderful mood after listening to many of the above, I searched for best songs about cowboys, and I had to include these.

Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi

Desperado by The Eagles

The songs that spoke to me as I compiled my list were “Cowboy Logic” by The Charlie Daniels Band, “I Want a Cowboy” by Reba McEntire, and “100% Cowboy” by Jason Meadows. To listen to those, click on the song title. Now I have another way to brighten the day when I’m feeling blue–listen to songs with cowboy in the title!

To be entered in the random drawing for the brand wine glass, the wine cover and a copy of Home on the Range: Colorado Rescue, leave a comment stating your favorite song with cowboy in the title and why you like it.

 

Fun with Western Swing and a Give Away

I’m so glad to be here during the Boot Scootin’ Special Week! Today I’m here to tell you that you can’t scoot those boots if you don’t have music to scoot them to, and I’m going to specifically talk about Western Swing.

What is the difference between Western Swing and good old country music?

All music evolves and changes over time as it is influenced by other musical genres and the people who play the music. Not everyone is satisfied with playing the same song the same way and look for ways to jazz it up a little. That is literally how western swing came to be.

Western swing evolved from the cowboy and country dance music played in dance halls and parties during the early part of the last century. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, classic western music played in the southern and western US states was influenced by the blues, jazz, folk, polka and eventually swing itself. The instruments started changing, too. Classic western music is played on a fiddle and or/guitar, but the western swing movement added piano, drums and, of course, the steel guitar, which gave the genre its distinctive sound.

Unlike big bands and swing bands of the same era, which tended to follow a set score, western swing bands tended to improvise, giving them a fun and unpredictable quality, but it was a quality people liked. Dancers loved western swing, which could be danced with a variety of styles. Thanks to its tempo, it was possible to do round dances, two-steps or even the jitter bug in later days. Before World War II, recording companies had a hard time coming up with a marketing name for western swing. They called it hillbilly music, old time music, and hot string music. Many of the bands that played it called it simply “western music”.

In 1933, Bob Wills organized The Texas Playboys, one of the iconic western swing bands, with two fiddles, two guitars, a banjo, drums, and of course the steel guitar, played by Leon McAuliffe. If you listen carefully to some of his songs, you can hear him call on “Leon” to play. Other western swing bands were The Fort Worth Doughboys, Brown and his Musical Brownies, Light Crust Doughboys, Spade Cooley and His Buckle-Busters and Billy Gray and His Western Okies.

In the mid-1930s Fort Worth was the center of Western Swing, but California would soon catch up. During World War II western swing reached the height of its popularity with promotors creating circuits of dance halls for the bands to travel to. Bob Wills played a dance at Venice Pier in Los Angeles attended by 15,000 people. Riverside Rancho, also in Los Angeles, had a 10,0000 square foot dance floor and hosted huge dance parties.

Western swing began to ebb in the 1950s, however the genre influenced rock and roll and rockabilly during that decade. One of Bill Haley’s early bands was known as Bill Haley and the 4 Aces of Western Swing. In the 1970s, western swing experienced a revival thanks to groups such as Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and Lyle Lovett.

In case you aren’t familiar with the western swing sound, some classic western swing songs are Pistol Packin’ Mama, San Antonio Rose, Stay All Night, Stay a Little Longer and one of my favorites, which you can listen to below, Big Balls in Cowtown.

Are you a western swing fan? If so what’s a favorite western swing dance song of yours? I’ll choose two commenters to receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

 

Favorite Lullabies

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.  Around our house we’re currently on baby watch. My oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child and it’s due in a matter of days. Her pregnancy has put me in a mood to reminisce, to remember when she was just a little one herself. And one of my very favorite memories is of tucking her (and later her siblings) into bed with lullabies.

 

Singing lullabies to young children seems to be something ingrained in all of us – it crosses classes, cultures, and generations. I sang them from an early age myself. I have a sister who’s ten years younger than me. When she outgrew her crib and moved into the king-sized bed with me and my middle sister I began singing her to sleep.  It was a ritual we both enjoyed and I continued singing to her at bedtime until I headed off to college eight years later.  I also did quite a bit of babysitting during my high school years, and I reached into my stock of lullabies when I had a fussy child that needed soothing. 

 

So when I had kids of my own, it became a much-looked-forward-to  part of the good night ritual. I allowed each of my four children to pick their choice of songs when I tucked them into bed.

 

But I rarely used conventional lullabies.  Our repertoire included silly children’s songs, show tunes, vacation bible school songs, hymns and even Christmas carols.  I thought I’d share links to some of this eclectic collection (I’ve starred their favorites)

Little Bunny Foo Foo   

       * The Ants Go Marching  

Flowers Are Red   

        * In My Own Little Corner   

Ten Minutes Ago 

Impossible  

White Coral Bells 

       * There Once Was An Ugly Duckling  

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes 

Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man   

Rise and Shine (Arky, Arky)  

       The First Noel

Gloria In Excelsis Deo

 

What do you think – Are any of these songs unfamiliar to you?  Do you have a favorite lullaby of your own?  Or perhaps special memories associated with lullabies? >
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for your choice of any book in my backlist.

Jodi Thomas Is Back in the Saddle Again

In this time of ‘house arrest’ we are all staying home most of the time.  Now I don’t know about other writers (haven’t seen any) but I started out the first two weeks thinking I’d write like crazy. 

Didn’t work.  I cleaned closets, cooked, watched TV, read books.

When the two weeks continued on and on, I made a list every morning of what I would do. Pretty soon I learned I could keep my Monday to-do-list all week and just change it to Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday.

THEN I discovered a box of old music, country of course.  I bounced out of bed, put on my sweat pants, didn’t bother with shower or makeup half the time, and flipped on Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison. We danced around the house.

I know it sounds strange but it cheered me up. By the time I played it three times, I was ready to write.

Then I found a CD of Riders in the Sky with a song Gene Autry wrote.  Back in the Saddle Again. I learned to sing Whoopi-ty-aye-oh. Dancing again. To hear the song click here.

I played it as I saddled up for work.  When I was a kid I loved nothing more than riding across open country and today (as I have for thirty years) I love writing.

I’ve stepped into fiction in good times and bad.  When my heart’s been broken, I fall in love with my characters. When reality gets too much, I make my own world. When I simply want to have an adventure, I travel in my mind.

During this time of isolation, I still feel connected to my readers and all the writers I know. We may be home dancing to Only the Lonely but we’re together. 

After I took a bad tumble riding in my teens, the hardest thing I ever did was climb back on a horse, but the strange thing was, once in the saddle, I wondered why it had taken me so long.

 

My advice for this time: 

  1. Be good to yourself.  Get lost in a good book whether you’re reading it or writing it. Have a party every night.  Popcorn and a movie or cookies and milk on the porch watching the rain.
  1. Be happy.  Sure you don’t get to see the people you love, but the upside is you don’t have to be around all those folks who bother you.
  1. Dance.  Personally, I never learned to dance, but I do it anyway.  I told Tom once that I may look like I’m standing still, but I’m dancing inside.  He smiled and said, “I know.”

I’m in the middle of a series and I’m loving it. Book One, BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ came out last week. It’s packed with action and love stories that will keep you reading through the night.

Please add it to your reading list and ‘if you have time’ leave a comment and tell me what you’re dancing to during this isolation. One reader’s comment will be selected to receive my first book out of the box. 

Joke of the day from Riders in the Sky.  “If the world was logical, men would ride sidesaddle.”