#ROW80 Round 3 Update for 8/22

All right, so here we go:


As of the end of yesterday, I have 12,710 words for Camp NaNo. The last thousand or fifteen hundred words have nothing to do with the first ten thousand. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

Ten years ago, I wrote a short story and published it to LiveJournal. A few of my friends thought that it was the first chapter of a novel and told me that they were looking forward to the next chapter. I told them that there wasn’t one, that it was a standalone story and there was nothing more. They insisted, so I thought that maybe it was worth a shot. So I tried, and I discovered that I had been right all along. Nevertheless, I kept all the pieces, and have used some of them in other stories.

Anyway, when I was planning the NaNo story for this time, I went back through my folder of failed attempts, found the pieces of the story, and thought that I might be able to resurrect it. In the spirit of NaNo, I started over again fresh, but with the same ideas and the same characters, and wrote an outline and everything. By Monday of this week, I had 10,557 words and again reached the conclusion that I should have stuck with the short version.

As I mentioned last week, Mary has been after me to write the stories of my childhood, most of which are very funny. So, I abandoned the novel that I had been writing and am now writing the stories of my childhood. (I kept what I had, though. You never know, it might come in handy.) I probably won’t have fifty thousand words by next Friday, but I’m having more fun with the new direction.


I got Brad Schreiber’s book, What are You Laughing At?: How to Write Funny Screenplays, Stories, and More, because I felt a need to refresh my humor-writing skills. I’m about a third of the way through it. I haven’t gotten back to Libby Hellmann’s book or the associated analysis; Robert Crais’ publisher put his most recent e-books on sale, and I hadn’t read Taken, so I got that one and have been reading it.


I’m still being my usual anti-social self, though I am visiting the blogs of other ROWers when they have updates and have been visiting Twitter a little more frequently. I have to limit the time I spend on Facebook, however. That has become a serious time-sink again.

So that’s the story this week. I’ll visit as many of the rest of you as I can.


Two For Tuesday: The Isley Brothers

Ron, Rudy, Kelly and Vernon Isley were a gospel quartet from Cincinnati, Ohio (one of my favorite places in the world). Their father, O’Kelly Isley, was a gospel singer and thought that the boys would be the next Mills Brothers. After a couple of years, they switched to popular music and had their first big hit with “Shout,” the first song here, in 1959. Their next big hit, “Twist and Shout,” reached #17 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and #2 on the soul and R&B chart, and inspired The Beatles to do a version, rekindling interest in the original. They had a breakthrough in the 1970’s, recording such hits as “Pop That Thang,” “Work To Do” (later recorded by the Average White Band), and “It’s Your Thing.” By now the band included younger brothers Ernie and Marvin and brother-in-law Chris Jasper. They also decided, since so many rock artists had covered their songs, they would cover some of theirs, including Stephen Stills’ “Love The One You’re With,” Eric Burdon and War’s “Spill The Wine,” and the second song here, Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze.” That’s Ernie Isley playing guitar in that one. That was taken from a 2005 DVD, Live in Columbia.

Many of the group have either passed on or stopped traveling, and The Isley Brothers are fronted by Ron and Ernie. They re-established the group in 2011, and are doing quite well.

Sorry this one is a little late, but there’s your Two for Tuesday.

#ROW80 Round 3 update: Revisiting Some Goals

This is the point, halfway through the roiund, when I’m pretty sure that people are starting to say “eh…maybe I need to rethink this.” I know I am. Things are going all right, but there are some things that I’ve been ignoring, and I need to find a way to work them in. So, anyway, a status report:


Having spent the better part of the last couple of months working on novel-length projects, I’ve discovered that I miss writing short stories, vignettes, short memoirs, etc. Mary thinks that I should work on stories of my family and childhood, of which there are many, some of which are pretty funny (such as the time my brother developed a fungus infection on his scalp because he was entertaining my cousins by walking around with a plunger on his head). The more I think about it, the more I think that she might have a point there.

I still plan on finishing the NaNoNovel that I’m working on this month and the Fast Draft novel I did last month. Those are significant pieces of writing that I should complete, and the NaNo challenge is still doable, provided I write in the neighborhood of three thousand words a day. Thanks to Fast Draft, I don’t see that as a problem; however, if I don’t quite make it, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. For the record, I am currently at 6,849 words on that.

Also, the “Thursday Ten” feature that I’ve tried hard to do every week will be a biweekly feature, at least until I get better at generating ideas for it. I might have one for tomorrow, but I wouldn’t count on it.


I started reading Easy Innocence, another Georgia Davis novel by Libby Fischer Hellmann. I’m doing something that I have intended to do with just about every book that I’ve read lately: I’m identifying each of the scenes and making a list of what happens in each one, and relating each scene to the basic structure as per just about every book on outlining I’ve read. There’s something that I’m missing, and I had better find it.


I’m doing what I usually do when faced with big projects: retreating from everything (and everyone) else. I’ve been ignoring Twitter and not being involved with the ROW80 community. That’s really a part of what ROW80 is intended to foster, maybe even the second most important thing next to the personal goals. I apologize for letting it slip as I have. So, I’ll be around more frequently than in the past. (I know: don’t threaten ME, Buster!)

Two for Tuesday: The Guess Who

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Guess Who in their heyday were Burton Cummings (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar, flute), Randy Bachman (guitar), Jim Kale (bass), and Garry Peterson (drums). A hit in Canada long before coming south, they were the first Canadian band to have a #1 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” (since The Crewcuts’ “Sh-Boom” in 1954) with “American Woman.” from the 1969 album of the same name. Randy Bachman left the group in 1970, and was replaced by Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw (Randy’s kind of a big guy). The group disbanded in 1975, reunited to close the Pan-American Games in 1999, and today Peterson and Kale own the name, are playing a few dates a year, and have a record planned.

Their music combined blues, jazz, and rock, gradually morphing into harder rock and progressive. These two songs were from the 1969-70 period. The first, “These Eyes” was their first hit in the US, released in January 1969. It was certified gold by the RIAA later that year. The second, “Undun,” never charted; it was from their American Woman album and has a definite jazzy flavor. This is a 1983 live performance, so it’s a little different from the record; I chose it because I like it better than the album.

The Guess Who: your Two for Tuesday, August 14.

The Thursday Ten: Ten songs about rain

It’s been rainy here in North Georgia, and it got me thinking of songs that involved rain. Here are ten of them.

“Rhythm of the Rain” – The Cascades (1963)

Originally released in 1962, it became an international hit in 1963. The Cascades started as The Silver Strands, a group of sailors stationed in San Diego, crew members aboard the USS Jason, in the late Fifties and called it quits in 1975. They have reunited on the oldies circuit.

“Raindrops” – Dee Clark (1961)

When Little Richard decided to drop out of music and study the Bible in the late Fifties, Dee Clark finished his tour and recorded with his band. This song has one of my favorite sets of changes in it. The verses start out in a sort of major mode, and take a jarring turn into minor. Then back into major. It finishes with some Little Richard-like falsetto singing at the end.

“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” – B. J. Thomas (1969)

The love theme from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, written by Burt Bachrach and Hal David. A talented rock, country and Christian artist, Billy Joe Thomas sang in his church choir then joined a local band, the Triumphs. Their first hit was Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which he also covered as a solo artist.

“Rain” – The Beatles (1966)

Dee Clark’s former label mates (Vee Jay earned the rights to release their first album in the United States when Capitol refused) recorded this as the flip side to “Paperback Writer.” As John Lennon says at the end of this, it was the first song recorded backward.

“In The Rain” – The Dramatics (1972)

Probably better known for their “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”, the Dramatics got their start in 1965, eventually joining the Stax/Volt lineup. They’re still going strong despite losing several members to heart attacks over the years.

“Kentucky Rain” – Elvis Presley (1970)

My personal favorite Elvis Presley song. It was written by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard and featured Ronnie Milsap (who, at one Grammy Awards, was referred to repeatedly as “Ronnie Mislap” by Burl Ives) on the piano.

“Walkin’ in the Rain” – The Ronettes (1964)

The Ronettes consisted of Veronica Bennett (later known as Ronnie Spector), Estelle Bennett, and Nedra Talley, three young ladies from Spanish Harlem in New York. The only girl group to tour with The Beatles, this song was the only one produced by Phil Spector to win a Grammy.

“Walkin’ in the Rain with the One I Love.” – Love Unlimited (1972)

Originally Barry White’s backup singers, this was their first hit, reaching #14 on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart.

“It’s Raining Again” – Supertramp (1982)

From their album Famous Last Words, the last one to feature Roger Hodgson. It debuted at #31 on the Hot 100, the highest debut in 1982, and peaked at #11.

“Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

It was tough to choose between this one and the earlier “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” This was recorded for Pendulum, the album immediately after Cosmo’s Factory, arguably their best.

And there’s your Thursday Ten. Hope you enjoyed it…