Beatles, books, music, Peace Love and You Know What, reading

Thank You So Very Much

I have been immersed in copyediting, reading the ms for The Sweet Spot forwards, backwards and forwards. Now I raise my head above this task and thank a whole bunch of people.


Andrew Heinrich and Rick Smith at Brodsky.

Andrew Heinrich is the first I will mention. A bassoonist, Andrew expanded his serious repertoire of classical music to grant my request that he play The Beatles at my Sept. 17 reading of Peace, Love, and You Know What at Brodsky Bookshop in Taos. He played more songs than I expected, including one of my favorites, In My Life, from the album Rubber Soul.

Andrew studied the instrument at the Cleveland Institute of Music and New England Conservatory. He hasn’t played in public for a while, so I am very grateful. The audience was delighted. I was, too.

He will have a return engagement when he plays at my next reading, unscheduled as of yet but likely later this fall. That would be for The Sweet Spot, and the natural accompaniment would be Country and Western — pre-eight track. I am talking about the likes of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Stay tuned.

Secondly, thanks to Rick Smith at Brodsky for hosting the reading and the attentive audience who came. They laughed at the funny parts. What can I say?

Next, I thank those who have bought my books — in stores and online.

I am further grateful to those who have taken the time to write a review on Amazon. The latest was my friend, Cindy Brown, author of the Taos Hiking Guide. (If you hike in the Taos area, you need to buy her book.)

Cindy wrote in part, “The characters feel real and we get to see into what they are thinking and feeling; really understanding their motivations and doubts. The book follows them through the end of college and their launch into real life — complete with surprises and mystery that makes for a compelling read.”

She messaged me when she filed the review. Then I found a surprise: reviews from people I didn’t know.

Eli Dunn titled his review: Don’t miss this gem! “Funny, funky, and fresh this fictional account of hipsters on campus during the sixties will draw you into their world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. With a ready-made soundtrack, this novel is sure to be a cult movie favorite someday soon.” (I like that idea.)

Joana wrote: “Well, that was fun. This novel rang true to college hippie life at the cusp of the 70s. I felt like I knew the characters to the point of faces popping into my head, because I met some of their doppelgangers back in those days. Sexy, druggy, yet still a hopeful story of young uncertain people finding their way through their ‘coming of age’ towards love and adulthood. The story is timeless in that sense. Hope we hear more from Ms. Livingston!”

An anonymous reviewer gave it five stars and the comment, “Great book.”

Here’s the link, if you want your shot: Peace, Love, and You Know What on Amazon

So it’s back to work. Later this week, Michelle, who designs my books, will give me a timeframe. Meanwhile I keep hunting for misplaced commas, typos and repetitive words  — now in 50-page increments, my latest device. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read The Sweet Spot, but I still love it. I hope you all will, too.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Andrew Heinrich plays the bassoon. Photos by Cody Hooks.

Entertainment, family, music

My Son Nate Livingston Makes Music

As a rule I don’t blog about my kids but I’m going to break it for Nate. My son just released his first album, Into the Madness, and I’m proud of him. Yeah, I’m his mom, but I believe it is especially good.

Let me tell you about Nate. He is one of six and the middle son. He was an interested and interesting kid, loved trucks and doing stuff with his hands. He grew up in the sticks and relished helping at the farm across the street. During the winter the town’s road boss took him along in his truck when he plowed during the storm.

Doing stuff with his hands includes making music. He started in fourth grade playing drums. We built him a drum set piece by piece. When he became an adult, he picked up the guitar and keyboard. His musical tastes changed, too, from hardcore/alt music — ah yes, there was the Nirvana phase — to indie. Like me, he loves The Beatles but his tastes are far more diverse than mine. He’s performed in public, solo and fronting a band. He plays music all the time.

Nate decided to create an album. He enlisted veterans in the music industry like brothers Charlie and Michael Braun, who have played — separately — with big-time performers like Billy Joel, Toots & the Maytals, Carly Simon, Phoebe Snow, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Hall & Oates … the list goes on. Then, there is Danny Bernini, who mixed the album with Charlie Braun. Danny co-founded Spirit House Productions after leaving The Hit Factory NYC. His production and engineering discography includes The Fray, Blondie, Notorious B.I.G., and now Nate Livingston.

Nate is joined by Cindy Bishop, who sings and plays music at her church; Jeff Olmstead, who creates “inspirational pop”; and Mathieu Perry, a versatile musician.

The end product is music with a rich sound — and an original one since Nate created each song. These days I play the album in my car to and from work. I marvel at the voice of my son, now a grown man.

By day, Nate is a union heavy equipment operator. But music is his true calling. Here’s a link to his website where you will get a taste of his music. By the way Nate’s older brother, Ezra Livingston, created the art. (Yes, I have very talented kids.)

Enjoy the music.