Oct 1 2014

What Barry White Taught Me About Love and Other Anniversary Notes

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Me & Pete_1990

When I was a young girl, electric with sensuality and a burgeoning curiosity about all things lust, passion, and love, a song came out, sung by a man with a silky voice, that seemed an anthem to all three. I was working my first waitress job at the time, an Irish restaurant that had a juke box stocked with as wide a variety of music as you can imagine, and in the midst of milquetoasty 70’s selections (“Dancing In the Moonlight,” “The Morning After”?!) came… Barry White, with an undulating, unforgettable intro and that rumbling baritone crooning “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More”… remember?

Give it up, ain’t no use
I can’t help myself if I wanted to
I’m hung up, no doubt
I’m so in love with you, for me there’s no way out

‘Cause deeper and deeper
In love with you, I’m falling
Sweeter and sweeter
Your tender words of love keeps calling…

Eager and eager, yeah
To feel your lips upon my face
Please her and please her
Any time or any place

I’m gonna love you, love you, love you just a little more, baby….

I remember the suspense of that musical opening: the drums start it… then the keys set that iconic riff; Barry’s voice weaves in and out in that bedroom way he had… all combining to create this grooving, driving, layered paean to immutable love. I was smitten.

I would play that song over and over, all day and into the night shift, swooning around “section B” like a lovesick teenager to the point that the bartenders thought I was crazy and every drunk in the room wanted to dance with me. But this wasn’t about hook-ups and flirtations; this was about LOVE, true love so strong “there’s no way out.” That’s what I wanted: to be in love with someone who’d fall “deeper and deeper in love” with me right back. I was a young girl mesmerized by romance and poetry who now had my love theme.

But time went on, music changed, Barry put out other songs I liked but none quite as well. I grew up, fell in and out of love more times than my mother appreciated, and learned that the kind of passion Barry rhapsodized about wasn’t easily found. I still believed in it, didn’t give up on it, but stopped holding every relationship to the standard of “no way out.” I always seemed to find plenty of ways out… as did they.

Until I met him. Pete. The man I married, the man who, 24 years ago on this day, told me, by virtue of everything he was, everything he gave me, and everything he promised on that wedding day, that he was, indeed, so in love there was no way out.

This time it looks like love is here to stay
As long as I shall live
I’ll give you all I have and all I have to give

No, those weren’t his vows – I’m still quoting Barry here :) – but in the ensuing 24 years he did give me all he had to give, which was every joyful moment, every event, triumph, and memorable experience you could imagine. But life being what it is  – meaning, we weren’t living in a love ballad – we also hit some walls that were so damn hard I thought our heads would crack. His almost did. And those were the moments when “no way out” felt more like a sentence than a promise. We ebbed and flowed, ran away and came back; sought and looked and learned in every way we knew how and, somehow, some way, ended up full circle, back to where we started… back home. Where we healed and evolved and let go and forgave until we knew, once again, no doubt, “this time it looks like love is here to stay.” A vow coming full circle as well.

I’m sure you realize there’s a wink in how I’m framing this story, a clear understanding of my sweet, youthful naiveté in believing love could be defined by a ballad sung by Dr. Love. But still… certain ideas nestle, certain sensations and feelings become part of your cellular memory, and even seemingly trite words and melodies become connectors to grander ideas. And, to this day, whenever I hear “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More,” I’m back at that juke box, swaying to the beat, eyes closed and heart filled with longing, believing in life and passion and those “tender words of love.”

And today I celebrate the man I married, the one who spoke those tender words so long ago and speaks them still. Happy Anniversary, darling. Wherever we’ve been, wherever we’re going, know I’m always gonna love you, love you, love you… just a little more.

Thank you, Barry White…


 

LDW_BWFollow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Huffington Post. Her article archive can be found at Contently, her photos at Fine Art America; details and links to her other work @ www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.

Both her novel, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH (ebook and paperback) and her short story, “She Tumbled Down,” (ebook) are available via her Amazon Author page. To view the After The Sucker Punch book trailer, click HERE.

Be sure to stay current with her adventures in independent publishing at her book blog at www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com… and don’t forget to FOLLOW THIS BLOG (click box above/right)!

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Sep 27 2014

LAST SALE OF THE YEAR: After The Sucker Punch For Only 99¢!

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ATSP lemonade stand

The art of attracting new readers, readers who might not have already noticed your work, your book, your good reviews; your stellar prose, is a sort of balancing act that requires foresight, timing, social media skills, and, well, a willingness to throw up a good old “lemonade stand” every once in a while.

I’ve written about the “free book” trend in publishing (see Free Books: Marketing Genius or Devaluation of Writers?) and remain on-the-fence about the “genius” part. Reports from the field cover a wide range of opinions about its effectiveness these days, and certainly with other developments in the book industry (particularly Kindle’s new subscription option), the impact of “free book” campaigns may have lessened.

And beyond marketing algorithms, there is that weird emotional chasm that seems to exist between free and 99¢ (anecdotal evidence of “free book trollers” on certain sites has been shared, reports of spikes in negative reviews for free books, etc.). Since my goal here isn’t to stir the sleeping trolls of Bookville or inspire any kind of knee-jerk negativity, I’m setting up my stand with a big old dollar sign (or “cent” sign, as it were), a stack (albeit, virtual) of shiny new books, and an invitation to come enjoy the fruits of my imagination, which, to keep with the lemonade stand metaphor, offer just the right mix of tart and sweet! (I know, forgive me! :) )

The AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH 99¢ Sale runs from 1:00 am Sept. 27th (Sat) thru 12:00 pm Sept, 29th (Mon). Just click HERE to purchase your copy.

For a good sense of the book, please enjoy the following trailer; a synopsis is below.

 

And THANK YOU. My highest goal here is to share this story I wrote, this book I love, with a reading audience that will be moved by it, find it thought-provoking, funny, or in some way reflective of their own experience. That, really, is the whole point…

Synopsis:

They buried her father at noon, at five she found his journals, and in the time it took to read one-and-a-half pages her world turned upside down… he thought she was a failure.

Every child, no matter what age, wants to know their father loves them, and Tessa Curzio – thirty-six, emerging writer, ex-rocker, lapsed Catholic, defected Scientologist, and fourth in a family of eight complicated people – is no exception. But just when she thought her twitchy life was finally coming together – solid relationship, creative job; a view of the ocean – the one-two punch of her father’s death and posthumous indictment proves an existential knockout.

She tries to “just let it go,” as her sister suggests, but life viewed through the filter of his damning words is suddenly skewed, shaking the foundation of everything from her solid relationship and winning job to the truth of her family, even her sense of self. From there, friendships strain, bad behavior ensues, new men entreat, and family drama spikes, all leading to her little-known aunt, a nun and counselor, who lovingly strong-arms Tessa onto a journey of discovery and reinvention. It’s a trip that’s not always pretty – or particularly wise – but somewhere in all the twists and turns, unexpected truths are found.

Author and longtime Huffington Post contributor, Lorraine Devon Wilke, takes an irreverent look at father/daughter relationships through the unique prism of Tessa’s saga and its exploration of family, faith, cults, creativity, new love and old, and the struggle to define oneself against the inexplicable perceptions of a deceased parent. Told with both sass and sensibility, it’s a story wrapped in contemporary culture but with a very classic heart.

Thanks again… enjoy the sale and enjoy the read! And if you do, I hope you’ll come back to leave a few thoughtful words in the Review section of my page at Amazon (you know… those marketing algorithms again! :) ) I thank you in advance for that too!

UPDATE: Just a few of the places promoting the sale — places you should definitely check out and patronize, as they consistently promote the books offering sales, are KINDLE BOOKS AND TIPS and DIGITAL BOOK SPOT. Check them out!


 

LDW_BWFollow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Huffington Post. Her article archive can be found at Contently, her photos at Fine Art America; details and links to her other work @ www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.

Both her novel, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH (ebook and paperback) and her short story, “She Tumbled Down,” (ebook) are available via her Amazon Author page. To view the After The Sucker Punch book trailer, click HERE.

Be sure to stay current with her adventures in independent publishing at her book blog at www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com… and don’t forget to FOLLOW THIS BLOG (click box above/right)!

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Sep 20 2014

Start Your Autumn Reading: SHE TUMBLED DOWN “Welcome To Autumn 99¢ Sale”

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STD_Kindle 2

You know the fever pitch people get into once we hit June and the chatter starts about “summer reading lists” and the like? In fact, as soon as Memorial Day is over the buzz begins: press releases holler, “here’s this year’s best of summer reading list!” (I even made one of those!); bloggers question, “have you put your summer reading list together?”; friends on social media want to know “what are your reading recommendations for the summer?” It’s a literal literary frenzy filled with images of sand and shore and bikini-clad women reading on the beach…

....like this one! :)

….kind of like this! :)

Apparently summer is the one time people wear bikinis, read, and make lists… or at least talk about reading and making lists. In bikinis.

But what about after summer… that next chapter? Autumn. Golden leaves, hot cider, turtleneck sweaters… books lists? Not so much. Say what you will about the season, but there’s not quite the same exhilaration about “Autumn Reading Lists” as those summer ones. We either read less during the fall or we’re just less jolly about it. Probably something to do with “back to school” distractions or the rumbling of approaching holidays.

But whatever it is, I’m here today — as one who reads year-round with equal doses of interest and immersion — to change that paradigm. I’m inaugurating my very own Autumn reading event… the “Welcome to Autumn 99¢ Sale.” Books, Autumn, 99¢… what could be better than that??

And this will be a two-part party: one next week for my novel, After The Sucker Punch, and one starting today for my short story, She Tumbled DownA double feature, if you will; a cornucopia of literary celebration (and cornucopias are seriously Autumn!).

The She Tumbled Down 99¢ sale starts just past midnight, Saturday morning, September 20th and extends until noon on Monday, September 21st… 59 whole hours in which She Tumbled Down will be available for 99¢!

For those not yet familiar with the book’s premise, here’s a synopsis:

New Year’s Eve. It’s late, well past the midnight hour. A woman looking for respite from noise, champagne, and tensions with her boyfriend steps out to clear her head. She calls out that she’ll be back shortly and heads down the quiet neighborhood street… and never comes back.

A man with too much to drink and too fast a car roars by on that same darkened street and, in a flash of motion and impact, is stunned to see the face of a startled woman smash into his windshield. When the car stops he shakes in silence, waiting for… something. But when no one approaches, no cars go by and no inquiring lights flick on, fear and panic take over and he makes the unfathomable decision to drive away… and never look back.

“She Tumbled Down” follows the ripple effects of this tragic hit-and-run attempting to answer that unanswerable question, “Who could do such a thing?” From that first fateful moment through the months and years that follow, the narrative weaves through the lives of seemingly disparate characters, threading the initial event into another story, a love story, that ultimately links to the tragedy in unexpected ways.

It’s a dark, dramatic read inspired by a real-life story, one that touches on a number of powerful, unsettling issues. Some reader responses include:

“…pulls the reader in from the very first paragraph. The author has a fine gift of telling a story in a way that plays out in living color. There is an authentic life-force in her voice. Real heartfelt emotion that comes across as true as day.”

“I was engaged right from the outset, and this was one story I couldn’t put down. I liked how the author played with time, and covered a very sensitive subject that ended up being satisfying in its conclusion. Secrets have a way of tumbling out, and the results are not often predictable, as Lorraine Devon Wilke shows In this gripping drama.”

“So well-crafted, one is not wanting it to end, wanting it to go on in longer-form fiction (a book.) Achingly real characters, textured prose — you’ll get hooked.”

“This is a very well written story of a tragedy and how it affected so many lives forever. Lorraine Devon Wilke is an excellent writer.”

(Thank you, readers.)

I invite you to start your “Autumn Reading List” with She Tumbled Down for only 99¢ during the three-day sale. And be sure to check back next week for the After The Sucker Punch “fall extravaganza.” Heat up the cider, curl up with the orange and brown quilt, and have a couple of Autumn reads on me!


 

LDW_BWFollow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Huffington Post. Her article archive can be found at Contently, her photos at Fine Art America; details and links to her other work @ www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.

Both her novel, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH (ebook and paperback) and her short story, “She Tumbled Down,” (ebook) are available via her Amazon Author pageTo view the After The Sucker Punch book trailer, click HERE.

Be sure to stay current with her adventures in independent publishing at her book blog at www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com… and don’t forget to FOLLOW THIS BLOG (click box above/right)!

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Sep 8 2014

Then Suddenly There’s Music Again… Women Of Substance Radio

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And then there was music again

My rock & roll past is no secret. In fact, most who know me are aware of how all-encompassing music was, has been, for most of my life. It wasn’t a hobby, a little thing I did on the side; it was MY LIFE… in all caps.

I started singing professionally when I was a teenager, hit the road with a rock & roll band before I was old enough to drink in the bars we played, and I ate the LA music scene during the ’80s like it was the best damn meal out there. No matter what else I may do in my life as a creative artist, being a singer/songwriter, and being able to get up on stage or behind the mic in a recording studio with incredible musicians making magic around me is, seriously, one of the greatest highs to be had.

But rock & roll dreams tend to be built on the alchemy of youth, opportunity, contacts, and, in some case, sheer luck, and as luck (or destiny or fate or whatever it is that drives these things) would have it, and as much fun as I was having, I didn’t quite get to the mountain I had in mind. There was disappointment in that, surely, but still… what a journey!

So now, as I write my articles and books, take and share my photographs; do any of my beloved creative activities, I keep my Music Muse nearby, always ready to tap her shoulder and say, “Wanna come out and play?” And she still (I see my Music Muse as a “she”!), miraculously, does. A few months ago I was in the studio singing backups for the upcoming album of my friend, Ken O’Malley, and his new band, The Ne’er Duwels. Friend and frequent songwriting partner, Jason Brett, and I cut one of our songs this past year and will get to others when I’m in Chicago next. Occasionally people write to tell me they picked up my CD and, still and always, I sing my lungs out in the car. It may not be Madison Square Garden but damn if the acoustics aren’t good! :)

Then, out of the blue, a music colleague of mine shared some information from an Internet radio station called Women of Substance Radiothe music brain child of musician and entrepreneur, Bree Noble; they were looking for new music from female artists. I had not heard of the station but loved the name and mission statement:

WHAT IS A “WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE”?

Substance can be defined as “significant quality with the implication of a hidden or special significance.” Music of Substance is not just entertainment or fluff, but has an essential “core” brimming with heart, soul, and spirit.

Women of Substance are female performers who deliver high quality music that speaks to the listener through vocal excellence, depth of character and emotion, and lyrics that leave a lasting impression. This includes Label Artists, Indies and Unsigned artists alike.

Women of Substance Radio has been on the air for 7 years. We are an Internet Radio station garnering fans from all over the world. WOSRadio plays the BEST female artists, both label and Indie, in all genres. We hand-pick all of our music starting with icons of the past like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Tracy Chapman, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, Adele, Carrie Underwood, Amy Winehouse, Feist, Christina Perri, Ingrid Michaelson, and so many more.

As one who sings, loves, and – hopefully – writes the kind of music that has an “essential core,” I raised my hand without hesitation. And, lo and behold, one of the two songs I submitted, “Comfort Me,” was chosen for their new music playlist and will be put into rotation starting tomorrow (9.8). As the title says… then suddenly there’s music again!

I’d be delighted for you all to click onto the station, listen, vote, do that thing you do. The necessary information and links follows, and I sincerely thank you in advance for your ears and your support. Of course, I mostly hope you enjoy listening to my song and the music of other singing, songwriting “women of substance”!

COMFORT ME (written by Lorraine Devon Wilke, David Resnik & Rick M. Hirsch) will debut on the “What’s on my iPod” Show, our weekly new music show on WOSRadio. See the playlist HERE.

Show airs September 8-12, 2014 at 2 PM PT; same show airs every weekday this week.

Listeners and fans can tune in at: http://rdo.to/WOSRADIO (click on “Website”). 

You can also tune in on Mobile Devices by downloading our Mobile App. Just search for “Women of Substance” in your App Store or use these links to download:

iTunes Store (Apple): Women of Substance app on iTunes
Google Play Store (Android): Women of Substance app

After this week, COMFORT ME will enter heavy rotation on WOSRadio for 2 weeks. Fans are invited to vote “thumbs up” for your song by clicking the “thumbs up” icon while it is playing on our desktop player (and some Android devices). Fans can also request your song right from the desktop player top menu. Songs that receive votes and requests will remain in heavy rotation for an additional two weeks (possibly more depending on voting) and will be considered for the Top 20 which is posted on our website and linked to our player.

There you go… now go rock on!  :)


 

LDW_BWFollow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Huffington Post. Her article archive can be found at Contently, her photos at Fine Art America; details and links to her other work @ www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.

Both her novel, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH (ebook and paperback) and her short story, “She Tumbled Down,” (ebook) are available at Amazon, and you can follow her adventures in independent publishing by accessing her Amazon Author page and her book blog at www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com.

And don’t forget to FOLLOW THE BLOG!

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Aug 11 2014

The Kindness of Strangers… Meet Brenda Perlin

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Brenda Perlin

I don’t know Brenda Perlin. We’ve never met, we’ve never spoken; we’ve never even emailed each other (except for a Kindle gift book). I’ve connected with her through sites like Goodreads or Facebook, particularly a Facebook writers group called Master Koda, and though she’s a fellow writer, so far I’ve only read one of her books (a short story for kids called “Ty the Bull,” written with K.D. Emerson and Rex Baughman). Yet, despite this seemingly peripheral relationship, no one has done more to promote and raise a ruckus about my novel, After The Sucker Punch, than this woman. Which I find both astonishing and profound.

There are some artists so focused on their own work that they rarely look outside that narrow sphere to see what others around them might be doing. I have people in my Facebook circle who show up only to post their gig notices, theater schedules, release dates of their CDs/books/films/blogs, or calls-to-action for petitions, votes, and Kickstarter campaigns, but they rarely comment on or share similar posts of others and it seems clear they’re not paying one damn bit of attention to me! :) Which is fine. They don’t have to. But still… I always wonder why they’re there in the first place.

This “disinterest syndrome,” in fact, at least per countless conversations I’ve had with other artists on the topic, often extends outside social media to impact even our closer circles of family and friends. We’re all busy, certainly, but one can’t help but notice the repeatedly unopened or unanswered emails about the new site, the art opening, or the release of a new book; the forgotten promises to leave a review or share the book/CD/film/art piece with known contacts in the industry; the lack of response to queries, promotions, and candid requests to “check out my (fill in the blank).” We all have those people around us (and they tend to be the ones sending “sincere pleas” to donate to their Kickstarter campaigns!).

Then there’s Brenda Perlin.

When my book first came out, I was lucky enough to have some wonderful friends and colleagues who’d read advance copies and left reviews on the Amazon page… which helped greatly with marketing and promotion. But the very first “stranger review” came from Brenda. I didn’t know who she was; it just said “Brenda” on the Amazon page, but it was a thoughtful, impassioned, and very specific review… the kind you revel in as a writer (she even quoted lines from the book!). I later figured out she was the “Brenda Perlin” in the Master Koda writers group to which I belonged and sent her a private Facebook message in thanks. She responded with such sincere appreciation for the book that I was additionally touched.

But she wasn’t done there. She wrote another review on Goodreads, shared information about the book on Pinterest, Twitter and other sites, and within days, I stumbled upon a post from her blog titled, “After the Sucker Punch…a Novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke rocks… and then some!” in which she not only included her Amazon review, but extrapolated further on the book, using a few very clever photos with the cover embedded in random places like bus stop banners, door hangers and urban billboards… like this one:

after the

And, to top it off, before I could barely blink an eye after I’d posted my new short story, “She Tumbled Down,” at Amazon, Brenda had already downloaded it, read it, and left a review both there and at Goodreads.

To be honest, I was just blown away. No one before or since (at least not yet!) has made that kind of unsolicited effort to push my work out into the marketplace and I have no idea why Brenda was compelled to do so for me. But beyond her expressed appreciation of my work, I’ve come to realize it’s simply who she is, her very generous and thoughtful nature. She gets it. She has creative empathy for those who buy xanax online. She knows what artists need and want in terms of response to their work and she’s gracious enough to offer it. She has the consideration to step outside of herself to provide something of value to her fellow artists. And that’s a gift.

I’ve seen her reach out to many other authors to review their work, encourage them to keep going, and promote their promotions. She must read more than anyone on earth and always takes time to leave a meaningful review that focuses on the positive aspect of whatever she reads. She seems to know when a newbie need a boost, a journeyman could use a hand, or just how and when to tweet, click, share, or comment so that prime attention gets paid in all the right places. She’s like the Johnny Appleseed of indie writers!

I have not yet had the chance to read her other books beyond the short story mentioned above, but I wanted to do something to thank her for being who she is, to acknowledge just how grateful I am for her efforts on my specific behalf. That I can do by throwing a little light her way.

So please visit, “like,” click, download, or just say hello. She’s a rare breed in this crazy world of distraction and disinterst; one of those “strangers” whose kindness changes that status much more quickly than most!

Her blog: Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles

Facebook writer’s page

Twitter: Brenda Perlin

LinkedIn: Brenda Perlin

Amazon Author’s Page: Brenda Perlin


 

LDW_BWFollow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Huffington Post. Her article archive can be found at Contently, her photos at Fine Art America; details and links to her other work @ www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.

Both her novel, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH (ebook and paperback) and her short story, “She Tumbled Down,” (ebook) are available at Amazon, and you can follow her adventures in independent publishing by accessing her Amazon Author page and her book blog at www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com.

And don’t forget to FOLLOW THE BLOG!

Click to read & share!