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Music Monday (Fairy Tale Edition)

Every Monday while I’m on book tour for Enchanted, I’m going to share a fun music video that features love, fairy tales, magic, or my inspirations.

Today’s song is “Presto” by Rush.

Back in the late 80’s, my best friend Casey and I heard a song on the radio with the lyrics: I am made from the dust of the stars and the oceans flow in my veins. We loved this so much that we wrote the quote on every notebook we owned and attributed it to Anonymous.

You can imagine my joy, many years later, the day a friend played this song in his car.

This video only a visual of the album cover, but the sound quality is decent.

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Life, Art, and Contrarywise

(I wrote this on Friday, but wasn’t able to post it until today–AK)

I finished reading Jude Deveraux‘s Heartwishes this afternoon. It was the very definition of a treat. Jude Deveraux is one of my favorite authors of all time, and when I saw her book on the New Arrivals table, I snapped it up. Her Knight in Shining Armor is pretty much the reason I fell in love with the romance genre (apart from those fairy tales I happen to adore so much). In the middle of crazy weather, stressful bosses, and a packed schedule (and since I’m ahead on my IGMS book reviews) Heartwishes was the perfect escape.

Almost like I’d wished for it.

My best friend Casey and I loved Jude’s books. LOVED them. We bought them all and read them multiple times. Her characters were just so incredibly brazen and loveable and her dialogue was so real and alive. We wanted to write just like her, and made several failed attempts at our own [horrible] romantic stories. We would discuss at length whether our perfect man was an aristocratic Montgomery or a down-to-earth Taggert. Casey was definitely of the brawny Taggert persuasion. I was a brainy Montgomery girl, no question about it.

Many diehard Jude Deveraux fans began to be disappointed not long after Knight in Shining Armor was released, as she began to stray further and further from her beloved Montgomery family. I stuck like glue to her books, bought all the short story anthologies, and then in 2003 I threw Holly against the wall. I was disappointed with The Summerhouse. The Endenton Series had potential, but still fell flat. I honestly began to wonder if someone else was writing her books.

It wasn’t until late 2009, when I picked up Lavender Morning and Days of Gold that I began to consider Jude’s return to her heyday. The books center around a place called Edilean, a small town just outside Williamsburg, Virginia. With a new origin story came new families, including that of the famous Edilean after whom the town was named. As before, Jude has all of time to play with. There is the settling of Edilean, and how that all came about. There is the ancestor who dressed as a boy and trekked through Key West as artistic companion to a naturalist. And there are the modern day families–the Fraziers and the Shaws and the Harcourts–about whom there have already been a great many adventures. Jude’s reader is treated once again to true love across time and, best of all, her fabulous snappy dialogue and crazy-stunt-pulling characters are as loveable as ever.

I can’t even tell you how wonderful this new series has been for me. But I thought maybe I could tell Jude…so I looked her up online, found her website, and wrote her a very long overdue fan letter. You can too. It’s easy! (When was the last time you wrote an author thanking him or her for thoroughly enjoying a book? Hmm?)

As I was writing my fan letter, I was telling Jude about Casey and me being her biggest fans, and I realized something. Casey dated a Taggert-type boy for a really long time, but if you ask me, she ended up with a Montgomery.

I, on the other hand, somehow missed out on boys of either persuasion, utterly failing in fulfilling a successful (or timely) romantic trilogy with Casey and our other Musketeer, Margo. They married a lawyer and a doctor, respectively. They have two lovely children, a boy and a girl, each. I have a failed engagement under my belt, and a shelf full of books with my name on them is my only progeny.

And yet, I am currently dating a very tall, very wonderful man who fought hard to win me. He has two amazing teenage daughters and has made me a part of a family I thought I’d never have. Coincidentally enough, his parents live in a town just outside Williamsburg, Virginia.

How about that…

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If I Could Wave My Magic Wand

1990. Ninth grade. Casey and I were in the midst of our writing heyday. We were churning out poetry and short stories by the truckload–I had a novel in the works, and between us (and Margo and Chris) we had a collaborative novel that was already a legend among our set. We were romantic young teens who bought matching silver rings and quoted Rudyard Kipling and wished on stars while lying on the trampoline after marathon sessions of Super Mario and pizza.

It was Casey who heard the song — she always listened to music while she read and I never could, so she was always a little more well-versed in music than I. Plus, she was one of those people who paid attention to the lyrics the first time around; I preferred to let the music grab me first and memorized the words later. But what a memory I had. If it had been me who had heard the song, perhaps the band who sang it wouldn’t have remained anonymous for so long.

But anonymous they were, and for years after that we wrote the quote on every notebook we had, because it was beautiful and everything we were. “I am made from the dust of the stars, and the oceans flow in my veins. –Unknown” The song never played again on any radio station I listened to.

Not until my senior year of high school — I was in the car with my boyfriend at the time–an artist and our DM–and his friend John–whom I remember mostly for being very tall and almost albino in coloring. John was driving, so we were listening to John’s music. Well, I was listening, because I was in the back seat. The boys were talking. So when I screamed, John almost drove off the road.

“OH MY GOD, IT’S THE SONG!!! WHAT SONG IS THIS?!?!?”

It was “Presto,” he told me when he regained control of the vehicle. “By Rush.” You can imagine my giddiness. I don’t remember if I called Casey first or went to buy the cassette tape. It had a cute little rabbit in a hat on it.

I had tons of friends who were Rush fans–I remember seeing the tour shirts all the time in high school, but I never put two and two together. I didn’t listen to any other song on the cassette but that one, nor did I purchase any other albums. Why would I? This was our song. For me, Rush was a one-hit wonder. And that was that.

In the past decade I’ve had boyfriends and friends–Kevin J. Anderson and Matthew S. Rotundo in particular–who were/are huge Rush fans (though admittedly I acquired the discography and learned the songs for the boyfriends). And I really loved the music. I realized that I have been a Rush fan all this time; I just didn’t know it. One ex-boyfriend worked lights for the 30th anniversary tour and offered me a ticket, but I went to see Soteria in Charleston instead. The next time they were to open their tour in Nashville, the amphitheater shut down. Forever.

Last night, the Fairy GodBoyfriend took me to my very first Rush concert. He’s been attending their concerts for thirty years himself. Like Casey, he’s one of those lyrics-hounds who can memorize the words the first time he hears something, so he appreciated my particular fondness for the band. We have similar taste in the albums and even have personal issues with some of the same songs. He had heard my story about “Presto” and informed me–from first-hand knowledge and Google to back up any faulty memories–that Rush never played “Presto” live. They hadn’t even played it live during the Presto tour.

My hat goes off to him. He knew the Time Machine Tour set list for months and never breathed a word. We had a great laugh when they played “Time Stands Still” for the second song–both of us have dated someone who wanted to sleep with Aimee Mann far more than us–and then he watched my face light up like Christmas morning. Three notes, and “If I could wave my magic wand…,” and I screamed louder than I did that day I almost crashed John’s car.

“I thought you said they never played ‘Presto’!” I said to FGB later, between songs.

“They haven’t until now,” he replied.

So that’s the reason — the reason that the universe got in the way of my seeing Rush before now. They hadn’t played “Presto” before now. By all accounts, this was one of their weakest set lists in the band’s touring history, but it was my first time and they played my favorite song, so to me, it was perfect. FGB even bought me a t-shirt.

It would only have been better had Casey been there with me to hear our song. Instead, I clutched my hands to my chest and closed my eyes and wished on a star for her. If I’d had a magic wand–a proper one–I would have made it happen.

(Dear Santa: for Christmas, I would like a magic wand. That is all. Thank you. And thank you for my song.)

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Like a Band-Aid in the Sun

Porcelain.
Chocolate.
Alabaster.
Cafe au lait.
Tawny.

At one point or another, you’ve read all these adjectives to describe skin tone. (Go on, I know I’m missing some. Feel free to add your own in the comments.) Every time I notice these same tried-and-true descriptions, it makes me wonder what words I would use to characterize my own skin. Tan? Olive? Casey used to describe herself as “unicorn pearl.” Silly, yes, but at the same time both apt and poetic.

Recently I stumbled upon the exact perfect thing.
Yeah.
Not quite as romantic as I’d hoped.

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Southern Wedding

Once upon a time there were Three Musketeers who grew up: Me, Casey & Margo. Each of us had a little sister: Soteria (Sami), Darra Dane (Dee or Brat) and Alison (only one “l”).

Last month, The Brat got married at the Lace House on the Governor’s Mansion grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. It was a perfect, gorgeous, sunny day, and a beautiful wedding. Our little Dee’s not so much a Brat anymore. But she’s still ours.

Click the picture to see the full album.

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