Please Make this the Last Christmas for the song “Last Christmas”

I was riding in a taxi in Athens, Greece on Thanksgiving day. The driver was listening to the radio and on came a the song “Last Christmas” by Wham!  Of course, I had heard this song many times in the past, but it really stuck out to me that day, sitting in a taxi, being surrounded by the song’s words, realizing that it was the first Christmas song I heard this year.

I quickly came to one adamant conclusion: this is a terrible song.

There are many great Christmas songs – hundreds of them  both secular and sacred – and this is not one of them. If Santa ever got in a habit of wrapping his gifts of coal in song lyrics, I would highly offer this as a worthy companion to coal.

“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, and the very next day, you gave it away. This year, to save me some tears, I’ll give it to someone special.”

Really? Please, save me some tears and stop playing this song.

What struck me in the taxi in Athens was the fact that this song was going to be prominently heard on the airwaves of that station and thousands more around the world for the next six weeks. The radio station was willingly lowering the standard of their content in playing this inferior song.

Just because someone writes a Christmas song doesn’t mean that it’s a good one. It was released in 1986. It should have been retired in 1987. But no. It was covered by Taylor Swift 20 years later and Ariana Grand six years after that. It’s like a song which has cast a spell on people in the industry and it has created a holiday monster which chews into playlists and keeping you from hearing superior songs.

This is probably why I don’t like suggested playlists because too many people without taste select the songs.

What would I suggest instead? Well, try the Christmas album by little-known artist David Ian, for starters. It’s terrific, and it will put you in the holiday mood, something “Last Christmas” has never done for me.

So please, let’s make this the last Christmas for “Last Christmas.”

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PS: Shoot! I just found out that there is a Christmas movie coming out in 2019 called “Last Christmas” and it’s inspired by the song.

We are doomed!

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99 Cent Sale! THE AFRICAN CONNECTION – Limited Time Only!

For the first time ever and for a very limited time, THE AFRICAN CONNECTION – Book 2 of THE FORGOTTEN CHILD TRILOGY is only 99 cents on Kindle.

Book reviewer Michelle Clement James calls The Forgotten Child Trilogy “Fabulous.”

Pick up your copy HERE!

THE AFRICAN CONNECTION

In part two of The Forgotten Child Trilogy, enigmatic beings from the realm beyond—Bee & Ash—team up once again with old Manhattan businessman Francis Frick. Joined by a mysterious new recruit, Frick must fight to bring Ulrich to justice and continue searching for the truth about the forgotten child.

A child has been saved, but with international master criminal Heinrich Ulrich still on the lam, no one is content—not Bee, not Ash, and most certainly not Francis Frick. As the FBI closes in on Frick’s dealings, Bee decides to recruit young Hatty Parker to help Frick exact revenge on Ulrich and search for another child to save. But when Bee’s actions begin to worry the realm beyond, her old nemesis returns to earth to thwart her plans and pit her against her beloved companion Ash, leaving Frick and his new side-kick to play dangerous time-travel games with a genocidal maniac.

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Finally – Christmas Drama Collection Coming in 2019

I love writing Christmas plays, and I’ve written thirty of them over the last few years — including a couple Christmas mini-musicals.

Now, finally, I’m going to be pushing hard over the next few months to get them out into the marketplace.

Tales of Wonder is a three-part series of full-length Christmas shows which premiered at the Penang Performing Arts Centre from December 2015 through December 2017.

The collection is a mix of secular and sacred, silly and serious. I had so much fun producing two of these shows. There’s something about the Christmas season which lends itself extremely well to the dramatic arts. There’s no greater time to focus in on family-drama with societal implications.

I love this collection and I’m super excited to finally getting this project off the ground. These shows (or individual sketches) are great for a variety of settings such as community theater, schools (both public and private), and churches.

I’ll keep everyone updated on the project’s progress. Hope to have them out by spring so folks thinking about Christmas shows will have plenty of time to prepare for something truly special.

Oh, and I even have a first-draft mock-up of the book’s cover.  Let me know what you think!

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If It’s a Fad, It’s Not a Lifestyle

A few years back I was getting a check-up at the doctor’s office. Weight-wise, I was not where I wanted to be at that particular moment, and she spoke the truth to me: “You have to do the hard work.” In other words, you aren’t going to lose weight without making the right choices, without being disciplined, without making sacrifices.  No-one can do it for you!

Boy, we hate to think that the things we want require hard work. Let me win the lottery! Surely an agent will discover my talent! World, please. Notice how awesome I am. Make it easy for me!

Ah, no.

You want to get into a top-flight college? Hard work.

You want to write a novel? Hard work.

You want to be a movie star? Hard work.

You want to lose weight? Hard work.

But here’s the difference between something being a fad and being a lifestyle. We all put hard work into particular things at certain times in our lives. I remember a particular diet I was on in 2005. I put in the hard work. I achieved the success I wanted. Then I stopped putting in the hard work. You can imagine the results. My fad faded. And my waistline, well, … yeah.

Same with writing. How many people are enthusiastic to write their first novel? They work and work and possibly even get it done, but when instant world-wide fame isn’t bestowed on them, they move on and never write again.

Hard work is needed. But sustained hard work, over years, without giving up, even in the face of little success or many unpleasant bumps in the road — in other words GRIT – is the only way that your hard work season becomes your hard work lifestyle.

I wasn’t ready to listen to that doctor about a decade ago. But more recently, her words are sinking in.

In 2002, when I started my first great novel, I wasn’t ready to make a lifestyle change and become a writer. I put in a minimal amount of hard work and abandoned it. It took another ten years before I was ready to put in the hard work of being an author for the long haul.

You aren’t going to reach your goals overnight. Or in a month. Or maybe not in a year. But much is achievable with a steady hand on the plow, ignoring the criticism, pushing back the doubts, and keeping your eyes straight ahead on what’s important to you.

Only you can do the hard work.

Are you ready for it?

Successfully Built Dictator 2.0

Last night ended another show. We had two successful showings of HOW TO BUILD A DICTATOR 2.0. It was loads of fun and had two great, responsive audiences.

The premise of the show is a political rally where people show up to nominate THE ONE for world leader. I can’t get into the gist of the show without giving away the punchline, but it’s a tremendously fun evening which includes a full party with food and drinks, with the venerable Wael Sedky gracing us on the strings. Yours truly even had an on-stage role which I clearly loved. I got to scare two boys with my loud voice. They were talking, so they deserved it.

This is experimental, black box, interactive theatre at its best.

Now I’ll give myself a month break and get ready for our next show in April.  Here are a few shots of the evening.

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Amazon Giveaway: Enter and Win a Book!

I have a new Amazon giveaway UNDERWAY!

Win yourself a copy of book one of my trilogy. It’s super easy to enter. And super easy to win! But hurry. Limited copies available.

ENTRY LINK HERE!

Click the above Amazon link and you’ll know immediately if you’ve won or not. I’m thinking you will!

Thanks for playing. Thanks for reading!

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Pre-order for “JOLLY OLD ST. HICK” now available!

‘Tis the Season!

My brand-new Christmas short story is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be delivered to the reading device of your choice on December 1st.

A couple things about it:

  • It’s funny.
  • It’s silly.
  • It’s great for kids.
  • It’s touching.
  • It’s a Christmas story, after all.
  • The story: On Christmas Eve, in the midst of the worst winter storm of the century, two lost travelers are found by a jolly old country bumpkin, who shows them that Christmas miracles do come true.
  • So if that sounds like your kind of story, it’s only 99 cents!

Pre-Order JOLLY OLD ST. HICK HERE!

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