Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Singing Pumpkin


Here in NH the leaves are doing their fall thing and it's starting to be really beautiful this year. In my own yard things look pretty dismal. I haven't taken the summer stuff in yet, and my perennial garden looks sad. I'm the dummy that managed to plant everything to bloom in high summer, and nothing is blooming fact things are turning brown. Maybe I'll just put up a sign that says "Garden of the Dead" for Halloween this year!
Speaking of Halloween, I will be officially putting up my display outside and decorating inside over the next few days. I refuse to put anything up until the first of October, and then I go nuts!
Does your family get in the car during October and go around looking at the displays, like folks do at Christmas time? A lot of the same people who go nuts with the lights at Christmas also like to do it up at Halloween, and there are some pretty creative things going on out there. In fact....take a look at my next post to see what one ingenious decorator did with one of my songs!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Love it Here

I'm happy to be featured among the NH celebrities on the "I Love It Here" website for Visit NH. You can check out all the pictures here:

It's exciting to be featured with such NH notables as Tomie dePaula, Sarah Silverman and Tom Bergeron.

And it's true...I DO love it here in New Hampshire....and one of my favorite NH places is The Milford Drive-In!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Getting to Know the People on the Tour

Just thought you might be interested in seeing the web pages for some of the places I'm going to be visiting on the "The House on Christmas Street International Tour 2010!"

In Tennessee:

In Wyoming:

In Texas:

Also in Texas: and

In Georgia:

In North Carolina:

Also in North Carolina:

In Washington:

In Minnesota:

In Pennsylvania:

Also in Pennsylvania:

In North Carolina:

In Virginia:

In Indiana:

And in New Hampshire:

I can't wait to meet all these folks!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm happy to say...

If you read my post the other day about the lovely and delightful waitress my husband and I met the other night who has musical aspirations then you will understand my excitement at receiving a link from her to a couple of videos she has on YouTube. They showcase her beautiful voice very well and I thought you might like to watch them, so here's the link:

Isn't she great? Now she needs a band!!

Updated Tour Schedule

I just updated the tour schedule yet again and I believe this will be the final itinerary. Still to come..details on the big finale in Orlando on CHRISTMAS EVE!! Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 27th


The Mitchell Homestead

16 Francis Street

Claremont, NH 03743

Wednesday, December 1

The Toole Castle

Manning Close

Wells, United Kingdom

Friday, December 3

12 noon

The Factory at Franklin Shopping Experience

Food Court

230 Franklin Rd
Franklin, TN 37064-2256
(615) 791-1777

Saturday, December 4

Christmas by the Tracks

Elgin, TX

Several performances at the gazebo throughout the day

and that evening a performance at

The Dennis Residence

806 N Main St.

Elgin, TX 78621

Sunday, December 5


The Brown Residence

6607 Avenue S

Lubbock, Texas 79412

Tuesday , December 7

The Hurlle Homestead

1003 N.W. 24th St.

Fruitland, Id 83619

Wednesday December 8

The Zembruski Residence

23620 NE 183rd St

Woodinville, WA 98077

Saturday, December 11

The Bicknase Homestead

1027 North Hampton street

Fairmont, Minnesota 56031

Sunday, December 12

The Jeffries Homestead

2112 NE Waterfield Drive

Blue Springs, Missouri(east side of Kansas City)

Monday, December 13

The Home of Indiana Jones (been dying to say that!)

11720 Gatwick View Dr.

Fishers, IN 46037

Tuesday, December 14


The Reph Homestead

198 Firehouse Lane

Nazareth, PA. 18064

Wednesday, December 15


The Moyer Residence

117 West Penn. Ave.

Cleona, PA 17042

Thursday, December 16

12 noon

Special appearance at Paul's Bakery in Fredericksburg...more details to come~


The Shank Homestead

9410 Deep Creek Lane
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Friday, December 17

Annual Driveway Party at the Joyce House

Sponsored by XTRA 99.1

Gloucester, VA

Saturday, December 18

The Bottomley Estate

8010 Glade Valley Road

Ennice, NC 28623

Sunday, December 19

The Brown Homestead

4019 Lake Charles Way

Indian Trail, NC 28079

Monday, December 20

The Charpiat Mountain Home

2 miles east of Old Highway 52 on NC Highway 268 East in Pilot Mountain North Carolina.

Tuesday, December 21 (the first day of WINTER and the official RIBBON CANDY DAY)

The Greer Residence

114 University Drive

Conway, SC 20526

Wednesday, December 22

The Drum Compound (Larry and his neighbors)

4730 Bryn Ridge Ct.

Cumming, Ga. 30028

Thursday, December 23


The Walker Residence

1013 Mare Bello Dr

Winter Park, FL 3279

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"The House on Christmas Street International Tour" CHARITY

One of my other goals for the tour is to somehow improve each community I visit along the way by doing a concert there. To that end, I present the list of charities that my tour hosts are collecting for along the route. I'm honored to be a part of their efforts to make the world a better place:

The Mitchells, Claremont, NH: Children's Hospital at Dartmouth

The Browns, Lubbock, TX: South Plains Food Bank.

The Hurles, Fruitland, ID: Food drive for two local Senior Centers and CASA, Court Appointed Special
Avocates for children.

The Zembruskis, Woodinville, WA: Special Olympics of Washington

The Jones' of Torrington, WY: The ALS Association

The Charpiats of Pilot Mt., NC: The Pilot Mountain Outreach Center

The Greers of Conway, SC: St. Jude's Children's Hospital

The Drums and their neighbors in Cumming, GA: Family Haven a local Forsyth County battered woman's (and children's) support center, shelter and legal aid group. We will be collecting cash and supplies for their shelter.

The Bicknase's in Fairmont, MN: The Salvation Army

The Moyer's of Cleona, PA: Shining Light

The Jones' of Fishers, IN: Humane Society for Hamilton County, a non-kill humane society that is very

The Bottomleys of Ennice, NC: Glade Creek Volunteer Fire Department

The Walkers of Winter Park, FL: Give Kids the World where a lot of the Make A Wish Children go when they
wish to go to Disney World

The Jeffries' of Blue Spring, MO: The Salvation Army

The Browns of Indian Trail, NC: the Union County Christmas Bureau:

XTRA 99.1 in Gloucester, VA: The Peninsula Food Bank.

And the Holiday by the Tracks event in Elgin will help to support various local non-profits through the sale of decorated Christmas trees.

And coming soon, an announcement about how YOU can help a major children's charity during this tour....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Fall-Back Plan ...a Fear-based Notion

The other day my husband and I were enjoying a dinner out and got into a conversation with our lovely waitress (it was rather late in the evening and the restaurant was quieting down). Turns out she is an aspiring singer who dreams of making it big. She's waitressing in Manchester, NH and trying to decide what her next move should be. So I asked her if she had a demo, and she's going to work on one. And I asked her if she had a pro FB page, or a website, and she doesn't. And I asked her if she writes songs, and she said she used to but hadn't in a while. So I said, "What are you doing to make your dream come true?" and she said not much, really because, she said, she is afraid to fail. And right now she is stuck in the day-to-day of waitressing, seeing her friends and her boyfriend, paying the bills and so forth. She needs desperately to get unstuck before today's choices become tomorrow's stumbling blocks.

I've had conversations like this with young people before, and it always drives me kinda crazy because I wish that someone like me had spoken to me 30 years ago. What I mean is...I wish someone older had really encouraged me to GO FOR IT in a big way and not be afraid.

I was not raised to GO FOR IT. Without disparaging my parents, who did, in fact, give me the gift of piano lessons, I have to admit that they were not the type of people who thought of the possibilities outside of our home. I was discouraged from going to college ( I went anyway, thanks to my sister) and the first time I was invited to go to another town to sing (at a church) was when I was 19 years old and my mother absolutely refused to let me go because she was afraid something bad might happen to me. I don't want to go any more into my upbringing than that; I just want to say that I wasn't raised with "wings." I was raised with fear. Wings were something I had to grow on my own, and it took me a looooong time to develop the confidence that is needed to make it big in the performing arts world.

When I did get the chance to go to college, I was told by several of my high school teachers that I should study Music Education, because I should have a "fall back plan." I wish I'd never heard those words, because (as I've learned later in life) they are based on fear. You're afraid you're gonna fail at what you're good at and what you love, so you plan something solid for when you do fail. You know what? If you have a fall-back plan, you fall back. You never work hard enough at your dream to make it come true.

It ended up that though I spent three years in the Music Ed. program, I never got a degree in Music Ed. I dropped out after my Junior year when I accidentally became a radio deejay (that's a story for another time). I worked at a radio station and sang at a piano bar for a year, and when I went back to school and got my degree it was a Bachelor's in Music. I still had a fall-back plan, but now it was radio and not teaching.

At the age of 26, having worked in radio full-time for several years and singing "on the side," I finally got up the guts to leave Maine and move to Nashville and try to make it there. I had radio as my fall-back plan (oh, and a husband by that time too!). I was so terrified and intimated by all the excellent musicians around me that I hardly dared to open my mouth to say I was a songwriter, let alone go on auditions. I finally did audition for the famed Bluebird Cafe, got a slot on open mic night and was received well enough that I was invited back. Meanwhile, the radio station I worked for went bankrupt and, in a panic because I needed that fall-back plan, I got another radio job outside of Nashville which involved our leaving the state and I never got that chance to play at the Bluebird again. Fear, fear, fear. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have lived on the street to get the chance to play at the Bluebird again. Who knows what might have happened?

I'm not sure if I'm expressing myself eloquently enough here, but I guess the real point I'm trying to make is that if you are reading this, and you have a dream, you need to be courageous, not fearful. Forget the dang fall-back plan. Yes, you need to earn a living, but do something (like waitressing, if need be) that you are not invested in and spend ALL of your free time working on your passion to make your dream come true. There is no blueprint for making it in the performing arts world, but if you are dedicated, courageous and willing to take chances, you will find your way.

So I never got to be as famous as Madonna (who I believe does not have a fearful bone in her body) but I finally got the guts to make the leap and go into music full-time just 15 years ago...and I have never regretted it. My only regret is that I was not courageous enough when I was young to really go for the gold. Now, however, I've learned how to take risks and go out on limbs to try to make my career bigger...which is why I'm going on this nutty tour in December. I'm still hoping for that hit record, and if it never happens then at least I will know when I'm 97 years old that I tried as much as I could and I never gave up, and that's the legacy I leave for my children and maybe my grandchildren.

I'll probably never be invited to speak at a college commencement, but if I did I would say to the graduates: Don't have a fall-back plan!! The world is filled with gifted people who have fallen back. You are young, you are talented and you have no encumbrances....put all of your energies into developing your talent into a career and take every chance and every risk and never sit by the phone afraid to pick it up and make that call, and never be afraid to walk through that door or ask that person for help. BE COURAGEOUS.

I would end that speech with my favorite quote in the whole world, and I hope you take it to heart....
"Of what use is a dream if not a blueprint for courageous action?"