Such Is This Love - Video and Lyrics

Last week I released the second video from our live recording session at Lofish Studios. See my blog posts on the topic for details: Birthday Girl - live video now on Youtube and A Terrifying and Gratifying Experience

In this post I will share the lyrics to my latest song, Such Is This Love.
Click below to view the LIVE video, with Walter Fischbacher - piano, Evan Gregor - bass, and Jordan Perlson - drums.



Such Is This Love

M/W: Elisabeth Lohninger

There are days when I miss you
much more than I can bear
and although I've never met you
I can always feel you there

You took up residence
way deep in my heart
And when I see your shadow laughing
I simply fall apart

But such is this love
with nowhere to go
you will always be my angel
I just wanted you to know

I'm releasing your ashes
the ones I've never burned
to become magic beings
to be free and to return

to live in my words
and the songs I write for you
to hear your pearls of laughter
in the music that comes through

Such is this love
with nowhere to go
you will always be my angel
I just wanted you to know

© 2013 Elisabeth Lohninger




Birthday Girl - live video now on Youtube

Here it is: the first of two songs I recorded/videotaped live at Lofish Studios with my band. This one is called "Birthday Girl", it's a new song of mine hitherto unreleased. It will very likely make it onto my next album, slated to be recorded in 2014, but so far, this video recording is its first glimpse of the big, wide world (apart from the live shows). Watch it/check out the lyrics below! Stay tuned for the second song from that session, "Such Is This Love", which will be released in a few weeks. To view my Youtube channel, please click here: Elisabeth Lohninger Youtube Channel

Personnel:
Elisabeth Lohninger - voice/words/music
Walter Fischbacher - piano
Evan Gregor - bass
Jordan Perlson - drums

MP Kuo - audio engineer
Blake Drummond - video editing
Kathryn Ourlian - lighting/video assistant

Recorded/shot at Lofish Studios, NYC



Birthday Girl

The morning dawned, and it was gonna be a beautiful day
Butterflies were nipping at your heart
And you had trouble keeping them at bay
A smile was on the verge of bursting onto your face
And like a foolish child you pressed your nose
Against the window of your special day

But extraordinary things
Are carried on fragile wings
And the slightest winds of change
Aan blow them away

Birthday Girl
You wanted love
But the more things change
The more they stay the same

You thought he might be stopping by with flowers or a rose
Or send a kiss on rushing clouds to touch your cheek
And say hello
But as the day wore on your fancies left you one by one
He would never be what you had dreamed
And you were still one of the lucky ones

So you tucked your smile away
For another rainy day
And went back to work
On being OK

Birthday Girl
You wanted love
But the more things change
The more they stay the same

© 2013 Elisabeth Lohninger. All Rights Reserved


A Terrifying and Gratifying Experience

As a professional vocalist/songwriter I have spent plenty of time in the studio, recording with a band, overdubbing my vocals, editing and mixing my albums. This year, for reasons as of yet unknown, I decided to up the ante a bit for myself, and instead of simply booking the studio and laying down some tracks of new material I had recently written I went for the LIVE Video Recording route.

Now I consider myself a pro in the recording environment, having done it for about 15 years with two fistfuls of albums to my name, and even owning my own recording studio. But I could not anticipate the terror I inflicted upon myself by doing an audio/video combo WITH A BAND! The sensation of being placed under a microscope to be inspected and possibly dissected from all angles clung to me like a panicked chihuahua. And that was BEFORE the lights came on.

I still think it's a great thing to do, because it's as close to the real thing as the audience can get without actually being at your show. However, you can't overdub. If one band member makes a mistake, you have to do the whole song again. If you hit a bum note, forget a lyric, have to swallow in the middle of a word - you guessed it: back to the top. There is no editing, no tuning, no fixing of things. You gotta get it right, or the whole thing ends in the virtual bin, never to see the light of day. And since everybody is on the clock around the clock in New York City, you don't want to waste anybody's time and money. 

A live audio/video recording experience appears to come down to this:

You have to make sure your make-up doesn't run.
You have to plead with whoever does the lighting to be kind to your face.
You have to ascertain which of the five (that's right, people: FIVE!) cameras is actually pointed directly at you.
You have to make sure the musicians know the tunes, have the right sheet music with the right chords etc.
And that they are actually in the frame of their very own cameras.
Do not wear any noisy jewellery! (Been there, done that.)
And THEN - you have to perform the song. Sing with feeling, with authenticity, with the correct lyrics, and on key. And make sure not to pull any weird faces while you do it. 

Sounds easy, right? Hmmmm...

In the end the session went really well, my musicians were stellar, and I got one take of each song in the can that I was reasonably happy with. Here's a shout out to Walter Fischbacher on piano, Evan Gregor on bass and Jordan Perlson on drums. These guys are top notch, excellent musicians who can lay it down like nobody's business and look good while doing it :)

I will let you know once the videos are up on Youtube. Should be soon!

Here's to new songs, and to stepping out of one's very own comfort zone!


The Platform Dilemma

I have always struggled with saying I was just one thing. Like - "I am a jazz vocalist." And then a voice in the back of my head would say, "Yes, but I am also a..." This condition has only been compounded by my book endeavor, or, as my husband calls it - a whole new front to fight at (as in: Art Is WAR!). And yet, somehow I can't help myself. I find that life is simply too short to be doing one thing only. I'm not saying that this is true for everybody. But for me this works. Sort of. Until I get into the realm of social media and the dreaded "Platform Building" that everybody in the blogosphere seems to be going on about. Well, here's the hitch I've encountered with that thing:

For obvious reasons I cannot stay on message.

When I write about my life as a musician the bibliophiles lose interest and start unfollowing me on Twitter. And when I describe my trials and tribulations as a first time novel writer I can just about see my fellow musicians' eyes glaze over with boredom, their attention pulled to something else, more exciting, more relatable.

What to do?

To be honest, I haven't sussed it out yet. For the moment I have resigned myself to a somewhat schizophrenic online presence: Facebook for the musicians and Twitter for the writers, with some overlapping occurrences. That's the best I can do for now. The blog does lean more toward the writer side, since I started to chronicle that journey here. But it is and very likely always will be a crossroads between these two passions of mine, because trust me: when that new album drops in 2014 you'll hear about it here!

So how about you? Are you in the same boat as me? And what's your solution to the Platform Building Dilemma, or PBD? Do you have a working strategy in place? Or do you just ignore the whole thing and get on with your life? Sound off below, I would love to learn from you.

A Case for the Manuscript Evaluation Report

After my vacation induced hiatus from this blog I'm back with an update on the process, the grand adventure that is the creation of my novel "Billie Lupescu: Wormhole".

After I finished this latest rewrite I submitted my book to an editor for a Manuscript Evaluation Report. The lady I found on the Editorial Freelancers Association website was very accommodating in squeezing me in to give me my report as soon as possible. Her name, by the way, is Lynnette Labelle, and you can find out more about her services HERE

What is a Manuscript Evaluation Report, you might ask. Here's what Ms. Labelle's website says on the subject:

When you order an evaluation report, I’ll peruse your manuscript, taking notes along the way.  I’ll look at your character development, the GMCs, plot structure, pacing, dialogue, narrative, voice, mechanics, and more.

The evaluation report states the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript.  It doesn’t offer solutions to the problems, but that service is available under manuscript developmental copyediting or fiction writing coaching.

This service is perfect for the writer who has a hard time identifying flaws in his work but is capable of fixing the problem areas once they’ve been identified.

After I'd sent off my book, I went on vacation and tried to forget all about the manuscript, and the report, and the rewrites that would surely be a consequence of the report. 2 weeks of Mexican sun and an interesting intestinal virus later the report came via e-mail. I have to say, it was all that I needed it to be. Which doesn't mean that I liked what it said. But after I let Ms. Labelle's feedback gestate a bit in the back of my mind and got over myself and my aversion of yet another lengthy edit I cracked the manuscript open again and started looking at all the things she pointed out. Boy oh boy, did I need that report!

So now I'm back in there, changing things, adding things, deleting things, going through the check list from that report and generally improving my writing skills. I hope.

Bottom line is: I can only recommend this process, or using an editor even earlier in the game, if you can swing it financially. I got my book to the best place I could with the tools I had in hand. But Lynnette's feedback took the blinders off, so I could get a much better idea of what works and what doesn't.

Thank you, Ms. Labelle!

Billie Lupescu: Wormhole - Progress Report

Deadlines are great! Love'em! They really do challenge me to get my time management in order and focus focus focus. Anyhoo...I just submitted the last chunk of my freshly edited manuscript to my editor, a lady I found via the Editorial Freelancers Association. Needless to say I am silly proud of myself for submitting my manuscript a day ahead of schedule, and - to make my pride swell a tiny bit more - I would have submitted it yesterday, had my laptop not come down with a serious case of the Harddrive Crash.

In the 2.5 years that I've spent working on 'Billie Lupescu' so far I've done several cycles with an editor regarding language, spelling and some story edits. And I hired an editor to do a manuscript report in late 2011 (jeez, what was I thinking? I was nowhere NEAR done and still looking for the actual genre and age group!) With each cycle and that tough love manuscript report came a huge jump in my learning curve. It seems I best learn to do things by doing them - and making every single mistake in existence.

As it stands today, the book clocks in at roughly 75.000 words - the minimum word count needed for an Urban Fantasy Novel according to my editor, should I attempt to go the Traditional Publisher route. And I get a kick out of seeing the page count in my word document, which is 362, if you must know. Now I can step away from the story for a few weeks until my editor gets back to me with her manuscript report. I can start thinking about the next book and - the excitement!!! - read a few books in the meantime. I don't know about you, but I have a very hard time reading fiction when I'm in the middle of writing a book. Which means my quota of books read has dramatically dropped, much to my dismay. But I simply don't have the mental energy to invest in a full blown story. And I'm afraid I might end up stealing stuff - words, phrases, or even plot points. So only non-fiction for me for the most part.

I will keep you posted on where this cycle of editing takes me. Will I burn the damned thing because it sucks? Will I just have to do some minor plot corrections and then finally have it proof read (PHAT chance of that)? Or will it be something between these two (most likely)?

I'll let you know. In the meantime, tell me about your reading habits while writing. Do you not read at all and only watch silly TV shows? Or are you capable of separating your writing from what you read? Feel free to discuss below.

Robert A. Heinlein: Rules for Writing


1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

See the full post on Heinlein's article from 1947 here:
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com

Werepyre

When the main character of my novel presented itself to me as a werepyre I envisioned her as a creature that could fluctuate between vampire and werewolf, separately, kind of like a seriously bipolar fantasy creature. But when you do a search on the web, you get a pretty different picture. In my mind Billie Lupescu simply doesn't have wings. Ever.

Image credit: www.3vildead.com

A Sales/Downloads Report for "A Walk in the Park"

As my experiment with self-publishing continues here's my first report of how things are going. Well: during my freebie give-away days on Mother's day and Mother's Monday my story actually got downloaded 131 times - definitely quite a bit more than just friends and family. So that's nice. However the sales side looks a bit more dire. In short, so far the thing doesn't sell. Which was to be expected. I am not spending a huge amount of time or money on promoting my short story. I love it and do believe that with time it will find its readers. I also really love the cover! It captures the mood of the story so nicely and completely, that I fell head over heels in love with it when I first saw it.


I will continue to do some promotion for the story, make use of all of my 5 free days I have via KDP Select and see if more people will download and hopefully read it. For me, this small endeavor has already paid off. Not financially - oh well - but from an experience standpoint. I had never published anything before other than my music CDs, and the process there is somewhat different.

Here are some of the mistakes I made:

1. I didn't realize it takes Amazon about 12 hours to process a newly uploaded book.

2. I didn't check what category my book worked in best, especially considering that the categories on Amazon are not the same for print and kindle books.

3. My links at the end of my e-book were not clickable.

4. The first round of uploads I accidentally entered my editor's name as the author, so that wasn't going to work.

And before that it took me about a day to figure out the conversion of my Scrivener file into a .mobi file exactly how I wanted it to look. My tip for anybody who has never done this: Get the kindle app on your computer, and look at the book there, on your actual kindle AND your smart phone. Different things show up in different devices.

Hopefully you will learn from my mistakes and avoid some while you come up with your own set :)

If you did download "A Walk in the Park" and read it, please swing by Amazon to leave a review. It's much appreciated and extremely helpful.

What were some of your pitfalls the first time around? Please feel free to share below!

"A Walk in the Park" Now Available on Amazon!!!

Yes, it has happened! After a couple of false starts my very first e-book is now available on Amazon.com! Needless to say I am immensely happy about it.

There is so much to learn in this whole e-book self publishing arena, and I am thrilled for every obstacle that I overcome, every new lesson I learn. Oh, the formatting, the cover, the uploading, the blurb!

To celebrate this very first e-book release I am giving A Walk in the Park away for free on Mother's Day and Mother's Monday. Instead of flowers, give the gift of freaky stories! You know it makes sense, don't you?

Make sure to swing by here to pick up your free copy tomorrow.

Below I am posting the first paragraph of each of the 2 short stories contained in this book. Enjoy, spread the love, and, if you like, leave a review on Amazon.

Regarding news for my full-length Urban Fantasy novel Billie Lupescu: Wormhole I am glad to say that I have entered the editing stage. At the moment it clocks in just shy of 300 pages. I am shooting for a release on that one latest by the end of the summer, so stay tuned for updates.



A Walk in the Park

The creature came out of nowhere. I was taking a late night stroll through Central Park. Once again sleep eluded me, and my restless spirit would not abide a full night indoors. The moon had just set. The only light in the park came from a handful of feeble street lamps and the stars high up in the sky. It was a warm night, without a breeze to ease the humidity that was already blanketing the city, the oppressive herald of a full-fledged summer.

Without warning the dead leaves on the side of the pathway erupted in a mini tornado. 

I stopped. I stared. 
Saw nothing but the usual side-of-the-road bouquet of trash, dirt, and sticks. My imagination was getting the better of me— again. I chalked what I had seen up to my massive lack of sleep in recent days and pressed on. 
“Please do not be afraid of me."


Bonus Story:
One Memory

The only memory I have left is that of my wife convulsing on the kitchen floor, the blood from her slit throat staining the linoleum, the serrated knife clattering from my bloodied hands. The rest of my history is a tingling echo, like an amputated limb that shudders you awake at night with its phantom pain. Apart from that I am a clean slate. I exist in the moment only, with no future on the horizon, and the worst thing I have ever done, planted into my brain to keep me company.

© 2013 Elisabeth Lohninger. All Rights Reserved.








Cover Art for "A Walk in the Park" - a short story

As my mad scientist experiment with self publishing and writing continues, I have decided to release two short stories bundled together on Kindle Direct Publishing. Decision made, I set out to transfer my stories via Scrivener into the adequate mobi format (native to Kindle) and get a cover made.

I'm thrilled to announce that the cover art is done, thanks to the fabulous Laurie Hardjowirogo. The story will be released early next week (I apologize for my vagueness but this is all new to me, and I'm basically going with the flow on this one). I will, of course, announce, once the short story is live on Amazon.

Below is the description for the two stories, as it will appear on the Amazon page:


A Walk in the Park is a collection of two fantasy/magic realism/science fiction stories. The title story is set in New York City. Adriana, a sleep deprived woman with a serious case of writer’s block is roaming Central Park at night when she has a surreal encounter with a magnificent creature from another universe.

The bonus story, One Memory, is set on a tropical island that serves as a virtual prison. X, incarcerated for the murder of his wife, is sick of living with a blank mind and only the other inmates for company. As he tries to escape the island, his resolve is tested to the extreme.

These two inspiring and unsettling tales have a combined length of 5200 words, or about 21 book pages. 

Cover Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Koryaba
Cover design by Laurie Hardjowirogo

My Cellphone - A Trusted Songwriting Tool

Used to be I would plunk down in front of the piano with a piece of music paper and a pencil, start improvising and scribbling down whatever I liked. And  if I got lucky I would end up with a song at the end of my writing session. Most times these efforts didn't amount to much, and I would end up discarding 9 out of 10 songs after revisiting them a few days later and deciding that they were utter garbage.

I still write lots and lots of crappy songs. Songs that I toss off in order to de-clutter my mind, or ideas I play around with; ideas that I might revisit sometime later. Usually though, those ideas end up in a folder, never to see the light of day again.

Then there was the period when I slept with a notebook by my bed, in case an idea struck in the middle of the night. Trouble was, sometimes I would dream of the most beautiful song, and a part of my mind would urge me to wake up and write it down. But another part would calm me down and encourage me to stay in dreamland. Surely a beautiful concoction such as this song would stay with me far into the waking hours. Wrong - unfortunately. These dream songs were lost to me the minute I opened my eyes the next morning. All I had left was the aching beauty of them, an ephemeral echo of a thing so tender it could not be captured.

So, no more journals next to my bed.

And sometimes ideas for songs, phrases, hooks would hit me at the most inopportune moment. At the gym, in the steam room or shower, while walking down a busy street with not a shred of paper on me, let alone a pen. Or at a party. Those songs, too, were lost to me. Funny thing, the memory of songs. It doesn't work, at least not for me. Once an idea passed me by and I didn't grab it by its tail and smite it onto the page it would float away, probably on to some other poor soul in search of inspiration. 

Lately though, with the advent of the oh so smart cell phone, I have been able to hold on to my ideas by recording them right away. Even if it was just a line that I liked. Nowadays I don't really care anymore if people look at me funny when I walk down the street, singing into my phone. It's always with me, and it dutifully saves all my ideas - the good and the bad.

I have also taken to recording everything I write on the piano. Unfortunately the fancy cell phone is no substitute to showing up for songwriting duties and tickling the ivories. But again my phone is by my side, and when I have a groove, or a chorus, or a verse done, I record it. Because, people, nothing is more frustrating than to revisit a song the next day, only to discover that you don't remember how it went, because you, lazy being that you are, only scribbled down the words and chord changes. No rhythm, no bars, nothing.

So, here's a shout-out to the creative potential of the smart phone! It has become a vessel to my ideas, the pensieve (thank you, J. K.) to my thoughts. I still have to write charts in the end, because I do work with other musicians. But at least I can wait with that until the last minute, until I'm sure I actually like what I have written and played it about 100 times. By then the song has either made it into my set or not. But it exists, it is there, in my phone. It is real.

Beyond the Procrastination Hurdle and Into Excitement

There are days when the daunting task of writing the next chapter or the next scene looms larger than the cliffs of Dover. I set my starting time for writing, the moment comes and goes, and Scrivener is still firmly closed. In fact, the more I write, the more I come to the conclusion that I better get used to the procrastination hurdle, because it is simply there. Maybe it's time for that second cup of coffee? (It always is.) Or maybe I need to click on my e-mail inbox a few more times to see if any news has come in. (Apart from the latest spam? Not really) But I have also found strategies that help me get to that first sentence faster and with more joy than before, and I stick to them with vigilance.

The first strategy is so obvious, it's ridiculous how long it took me to impart it:

Disconnect from the internet and silence your phone!

I shut down my e-mail page, facebook page and skype, so I don't get tempted to answer when one of my nieces wants to chat. And my phone needs to be silent because all those alerts - facebook, twitter, e-mail, test message - make different sounds that pull me out of my story. This has obviously been discussed in various books on writing. But reading about it in a book and actually taking the step to withdraw from the world this way are two very different things. I do stay connected to my online dictionary - English being my second language, words sometimes elude me, and it's easier and quicker to jump start my mind with the use of this tool. I have it bookmarked prominently.

The second strategy was a bit less obvious to me, but it came up in two separate books on writing, and so I went ahead and tried it:

Connect to your creative joy, to the spark, the delight in the creative process.

Rachel Aaron writes about psyching yourself out about the scene you are going to tackle before you hit your first key stroke in her thoroughly helpful book 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. Having spent over two years on writing and rewriting my book I can relate to that. I must have rewritten some of the plot points in my novel about fifteen times, so it gets harder and harder to be excited about writing the same scenario AGAIN, only better.
(I'm far from done. My third page-one rewrite draws to a close, hopefully by the end of this week, and then I have to start editing the thing and basically find out if my new draft is just a pile of garbage or worth spending another couple of months on. So yeah, I need every ounce of "psyched-out-ness" I can get.)

Brooke Warner, in What's Your Book? A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You from Inspiration to Published Author describes a quick meditation before you start writing that I have adapted for my purposes: I visualize  holding a crackling ball of pure, joyful creative energy in the palm of my left hand. In my right hand I hold the weight of "I have to write". As I envision spinning that fireball of creativity in my left palm, the pull of "Obligation" in my right loses some of its weight. This is the essence of Brooke Warner's meditation, not verbatim, but you get the idea. I added an end bit, in which I toss the fireball up in the air and let the drops of creativity shower down on me. It makes me smile every time, and the whole thing takes maybe 30 seconds.

Over the years I have learned that procrastination is not going anywhere. It's part of the deal, the pull away from the page the minute I sit down to it. The question is not so much how to avoid it, but how to deal with and get past it.

 What are some of your strategies to get over the hump of procrastination? Do you have to do the dishes first? Empty the litter box? Water the plants? Or do you not suffer from this affliction at all? In which case I say: Congratulations! And how do you do that?

Why Do We Do What We Do?

It's a heady question, isn't it? Why indeed?

Why do we follow the call to create something, write a song, perform on stage, write a novel? And why do we keep going even after a myriad of set-backs? After being told that there's no money in this, no future in that? The market is dead. Jazz is dead. Too many people are releasing crappy books, etc. The winds of adversity do blow harsh and unrelenting.

As a jazz vocalist and writer I have questioned my choices many, many times. Am I wasting my life chasing after the impossible dream? Should I settle down, get a job somewhere, have a family? While there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing such a life, I simply can't do that. I don't have it in me. The older I get the more I want to go for what interests me, what challenges me. I want to listen to that nagging voice in my head that keeps yakking on about this melody, or that story.

Don't get me wrong. I am not sleeping under a bridge, sifting through garbage. In fact, my life circumstances are pretty comfortable. I make enough money to have food on the table, go out to the occasional dinner and buy new clothes at some discount store. But I do spend a very large chunk of my time working on my voice, my novel, my new songs. Time I could spend doing things that don't interest me quite as much but hold the promise of a whole lot more steady income.

However, I find myself shrinking away from fully committing to the money gig. Every day is a challenge to carve out enough time for my creative endeavors while making rent, working out how to balance what I need with what I am passionate about.

 How is my quest relevant to the world at large? How do I contribute with my particular circus act of plate spinning? I think, looking at the bigger picture, as artists, we strive to speak and live our truth. To follow the call of the heart, the flame of creativity that burns, sometimes a roaring fire, and sometimes barely a flicker. I think the world would be utterly dull and boring, if we didn't allow or encourage such a pursuit. And while I follow my very own set of follies for purely egotistical reasons - having created gives me great satisfaction, and performing is thoroughly energizing - I do believe that by doing so I might blaze a path for another to follow. For one more person to listen to their very own call and get going on that long, winding journey with impossible odds and an unclear outcome.

At the very least, it beats watching TV for 4 hours every day.

It's All Chris Tarry's Fault

Yep. If somebody is to blame for my foray into writerdom it's Chris Tarry. Look him up. He's a cool dude who writes killer short stories and is a phenomenal bass player and dedicated Brooklynite. Here's his website. http://www.christarry.com

Anyway...he gave me an early draft of his novel to read in the summer of 2010, I think. And unwittingly rekindled an old, old passion I had for writing. Like so many other people on this Earth, I have been a closeted fiction writer all my life, starting with fairy tales at the age of 10, continuing with poems throughout my teenage years - and be honest here - who hasn't written love drenched ditties at the age of seventeen?

But my love for music pulled me toward songwriting, which I incidentally also started dabbling in at age 10. I love love love music and anything to do with singing, so I went down the musician road. Of course, when you're a musician, you never really stop writing. There is your bio, your press release, your husband's bio, your husband's press release. The whole thing translated into German, etc.

But then Chris Tarry came along with his brand spanking new novel, and it blew my hidden writer's existence wide open. Suddenly I looked more closely at that book idea that had been ruminating in my head for years, and I started fantasizing about writing it down. But I was frightened pantsless. How could I possibly write an entire book? I was used to song lyrics, some maybe 8 lines long.

But with much encouragement from my friend and formidable writer CO Moed (check out her wonderful blog here: http://myprivateconey.blogspot.com/ ) who kept cheering me through my very, very first draft, I did come up with the origin version of "Billie Lupescu: Wormhole". Needless to say, the book has gone through several massive transitions, and I am now on my third tabula rasa page one rewrite. But it's a fascinating journey.

So, thanks, Chris! Now I have another baby to fret over at night.

Who inspired you to create? To dance, to act, sing, get over yourself and shine a light on that long festering idea of yours?

What If It Sucks...?

I sing, write songs, own a recording studio, teach voice. And I write. Just because I can't help myself.
Over two years ago, after many years in the music business, I embarked on this book writing journey that hasn't let me go since. The main character, by now my good imaginary friend who goes by the name of Billie Lupescu, popped into my head one day, and I found myself starting a sentence with, "Wouldn't it be funny if..."

As in: Wouldn't it be funny if somebody wrote a book about a hybrid private eye who goes after supernatural evildoers in New York City? And what if that hybrid was in fact a 500-year old woman who had the great misfortune of having been attacked by both a vampire and a werewolf back in Wallachia in the old days? That would be crazy, wouldn't it? And wouldn't it be funny/completely insane/ridiculous, if I was the one who wrote that book?

Naturally, the story has morphed from the private eye angle to reluctant "guardian of the night", among other things. And she has acquired a sidekick, who, of course, is a demon from a parallel universe. And then there is a villainous plot (we gotta have one of those) that threatens the existence of every single human being in New York City.

So, here I am, two years later and well into my third page one rewrite. I have been coy about this here dark secret of mine for several reasons, starting with the fact that I don't have formal training, i.e. a college degree, in creative writing, continuing with the fact that English is my second language. But I think it's time to, you know, come out.

So brave, so forward was I with my decision to make my writing a somewhat more known and public affair (at least on my facebook page), that I posted freely about my progress over the last two weeks. Then, one night, I woke up in a state of panic, with a question screaming at me from the beyond. "What if it sucks?" followed by several variations on the topic.

There is a very strong possibility that my "Billie Lupescu" novel will, indeed, suck. However, by now I have a couple of beta readers who are kind enough to provide the necessary feedback for a writer who is just way too close to her story. So - hopefully it won't suck. But even if it does - the opportunity for failure is great - , is that reason enough not to pursue it? I've released eight albums so far, many of which contain original songs of mine. And each time there was the potential for pure, full on, calamitous suckage. But I did it anyway. Otherwise life would be awfully boring, and I wouldn't grow as an artist and human being.

And, honestly, I'm not going to stop NOW! I've invested two years of my life into this baby already. When I'm done with it the time spent on this thing will be more than I ever needed to birth an album.

Over the next few months until it's (hopeful) publication in the fall of this year (everybody needs a challenge, right?) I will keep you posted on my progress, my triumphs and failures, the hanky moments and the set-backs. I plan to self publish, because I'm a control freak and don't like to wait. I'm giving this thing my best shot, and I hope you'll hang in there with me and maybe even pick up a copy when it's finally done.
And if it does suck? Well, then at least I didn't let that possibility keep me from trying.