Friday Free-For-All #3

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s the first Friday in September!

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Have you thought about Christmas yet? No? Me either. But I was recently at Costco and was shocked to see Christmas displays already up. It’s not even Halloween yet!

Photo by Jan Sikes 8-18-22

My first response was in my head, but it was a loud, “NO!” Have we let all of our holidays become so commercialized that they are all about money?

We’ve been living the American dream for at least a couple of generations now, and I see the results in the youngsters coming up (my grandchildren in particular). They start making their Christmas lists in July. And it’s not like they don’t have plenty of stuff. Every nook and cranny of their playroom is filled. Something will have to go to make room for new things that will temporarily distract them.

Then there’s the pressure of picking the gift that will wow them. How do you even do that when they aren’t wowed by much? Over-stimulation abounds through media, school, TV, and videos. So, it takes a lot just to get their attention.

I’m always trying to think of something different for each of the five that they might enjoy. One year, I gave them gifts like a trip to the zoo, just one child at a time with me. That was fun, and they looked forward to their special day. But it was also a gift that had to wait for springtime before we could go, so maybe that part was sort of a letdown.

I have no solution to the dilemma. I’d love to hear your suggestions about how you approach gift-giving, especially with young children.

I’ve voted for several years to stop adult gift-giving, but I have one daughter who refuses to go along with that, which forces the rest of us to suck it up and search for something that might be special. I’m sure every family is different. As the children get older, I’d like for us to take the money we’d spend on ‘stuff’ and do a trip together instead. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get them to go along with that idea.

I suppose I should be thankful that some traditions are ingrained in my children. After all, that is also something that appears to be disappearing.

Remember when families sat down every night for dinner together? That seems to be something that is dying out. At one daughter’s house, the children eat their dinner by themselves. Both Mama and Daddy are still working when the children have their dinner. However, my daughter told me they are trying to have family dinners on the weekends, so that’s at least an attempt.

Again, I’d like your thoughts. Are traditions only created to be changed? Or should they be strictly adhered to? Are we losing an entire way of life in the next generations? Or do they have a better idea?

So many questions. So little time. 🙂

Let’s chat!

On a VERY different side note, how many of you reach for one of the reference books from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi when you are writing? Well, there’s a new one coming!!

There is no purchase link yet, but I definitely will be adding this book to my reference section!

The Conflict Thesaurus, Volume 2:
A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Releases September 6th, 2022)

Mountain Laurel Christmas On Tour – Day 1! #ShortStory #Christmas #FamilyDrama #Music

I am thrilled to take Mountain Laurel Christmas on a short blog tour!

Our first stop is at C.S. Boyack‘s place!

Boyack is a speculative fiction and fantasy writer extraordinaire! I have read most of his work and highly recommend it for great entertainment.

A series that is diverse and eclectic is Lizzie and The Hat.

Lizzie St. Laurent inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate. The hat had belonged to her grandfather. But this is no ordinary hat. Being from another dimension, the Hat has powers! Lizzie and her new partner embark on journeys to hunt and destroy dark entities such as vampires and werewolves. And all while playing music in a band.


Another fabulous series from Boyack takes place on the high seas aboard a ship known as The Lanternfish. I devoured these books and there is a brand new one I haven’t had a chance to crack open yet.

You can find The Lanternfish Series HERE!

So, pick up a book from this talented author, then head on over to the blog tour.

Leave a comment, share, and enter to win my Blog Tour Giveaway!

C.S. Boyack Blog Tour Post

Release Day! Mountain Laurel Christmas! #ShortStory #ChristmasStory #CountryMusic

I am SO super excited that release day is finally here for Mountain Laurel Christmas!

I want to offer a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who pre-ordered! It should now be on your reading device.

Since I am on a tight budget with Christmas so close at hand, I was fortunate to find the owner of this Gypsy wagon who allowed me to put some advertising on the side of it while we tour.

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So, hang on for a ride. This is going to be a fun tour and I hope you’ll join in on each stop!

There will be a Giveaway!

To enter, follow along on the tour, purchase the book, comment and share everywhere!

The prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card

Now for a little about this story!

A man with three names is deeply embroiled in a struggle within himself. He should be on top of the world. After all, he’s living his dream of making it big in the music business. But instead, he’s drowning and dying inside. A heavy blanket of guilt is his constant companion. He’s failed his family and himself.

Everyone has to find redemption in their own way and that is exactly what Cole Knight (aka Andy Roberts aka Norbert Angus Anderson) must do. So, journey with him on his quest…

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Book Blurb:

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family? 

PURCHASE LINK

Many Thanks to my fellow Story Empire compadres for helping me launch this new story!

TOUR STOP LINKS WILL BE SHARED DAILY:

11-22-21 C.S. BOYACK

11-23-21 GWEN PLANO

11-29-21 D.L. FINN

11-30-21 HARMONY KENT

12-1-21 STACI TROILO

12-2-21 JOAN HALL

12-6-21 D. WALLACE PEACH

12-7-21 MAE CLAIR

12-8-21 JOHN HOWELL

PLEASE NOTE: MY REGULAR BLOG POSTS WILL BE SUSPENDED WHILE I AM ON TOUR, BUT WILL RESUME FOLLOWING THE BLOG TOUR!

#SundaySpotlight – The Christmas Album @randymoorehwy59 Randy C Moore #Christmas #Music

It is not often that someone creates a new album of Christmas music that is refreshing and exciting. But Randy C. Moore has accomplished that with his new release he entitled simply, The Christmas Album by Randy C. Moore.

So what can be different about Christmas music? I’ll tell you.

It is the perfect eclectic mix of new and old songs. The album begins with “All I Want for Christmas.” Never before have the words been more relevant than the present day. “All I want for Christmas is peace….” Yep! Me too, Randy!

“Born in a Barn,” is an original by Moore and it is reflective and poignant. A beautiful melody and compelling lyrics make it an easy favorite. “The shepherds and wise men followed his star. They never thought he’d be born in a barn. Oh, the King of all Kings was born in a barn…”

A story song, “A Christmas Day in Memphis” tells of the never-ending heartache of missed love. “So I turn my back, my collar slowly to the wind, try to make it through another cold December day again. Oh, I could flood that Mississippi if I let go of the tears I want to cry. It might be easier to die. When I think about all the things I’m missing on a Christmas day in Memphis…”

Originally a poem penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860, “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day,” is a traditional song. But Moore adds “Ode to Joy” chimes and a vintage 1960’s groove to tell the story. It’s just beautifully done.

The inside Disc of Rancy C. Moore’s The Christmas Album

“I’ll Be Home Next Year” is another original tune from Moore. Taking elements from Moore’s own father’s letters written from overseas military duty, the song builds to a conclusion that brings our hero home for Christmas, but not in the way that we might have wanted it to. “She gazed upon the little card shining in her hand and she read the promise that he wrote one Christmas Eve ago. Next year I’ll be home for Christmas. Next year, you can plan on me. When you think of me this year, fill your heart with Christmas cheer…”

Taking a moment to reflect on the true meaning of the season, “Is This all that Christmas Means?” cuts to the chase. The song begs to ask the question, “have we lost our way to the meaning of Christmas?” The lyrics clearly illustrate how somewhere we’ve lost sight of the true message. Randy’s wish is to lift the heavy load off of Christmas and make it a time of peace on earth. He says, “Skip Black Friday, it’s only gonna let you down, folks.” Yep, I agree with you again, Randy!

On the traditional “Silver Bells,” written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Moore brings the song to life as a tribute to his mother, Evelyn. It was her favorite song.

”Stille Nacht, Silent Night” was composed as a Christmas carol by Franz Xaver Gruber in Austria for a Christmas Eve service in 1818. Moore’s arrangement mixes traditional Austrian/German singing with English. I cannot tell you how much this version moved me.

Just when I’m settling into the flow of traditional Christmas music, Moore takes it in an entirely different direction with a rocking “There Ain’t No Santa Clause.” Through the lyrics of this song, he gives a vast amount of substantial evidence to prove the existence of Saint Nicholas. “Well, all I really know is he left me this guitar, so I never will believe there ain’t no Santa Clause…”

Another classic, “The Little Drummer Boy” is the well-known tale of a poor child who wants to give the Christ child a gift at the Nativity. But all he has is a little drum. Moore’s arrangement of the song puts the drum beat front and center, emphasizing its importance. The video below is four years old, but it gives you a glimpse at the richness of Randy C. Moore’s voice.

So, if you are looking for some new Christmas music for the Holiday season, this album is a great choice.

You can purchase a hard copy of the album directly through Randy.

WEBSITE

Or digital copies via:

AMAZON

APPLE MUSIC

CONNECT WITH RANDY ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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