Looking for a good rock n roll read?

Louder Than Love

Louder Than Love, my debut novel, releases 9/17/13!

Coming September 17, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

Imprint: Berkley/InterMix

ISBN: 9781101634790

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband…and discovers a love that defies classification.

It’s been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth…the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian “Digger” Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids’ TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it’s unclear whose past looms larger: the widow’s or the rocker’s. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

LOUDER THAN LOVE e-book can be pre-ordered from:

Amazon

BN.com

iTunes

Google Books

Louder Than Love

Blogging on the Brink

Short public service announcement for you lovely souls who follow I’ll Blog When I’m Dead – change is in the air!

I’ve got a cool new web site launching, and my blog will have a new home there. You can find me at jesstopper.com or jessicatopper.com, so pop on by and say hello! I’m honored to have you pay the first visit.

Along with a new address, my blog will have a new name: BLOGGING ON THE BRINK.

Because aren’t we all on the brink of something? Some days it might feel like the verge of madness and other days, genius. I enjoy and embrace the delicious possibilities, and the ups and downs of managing a fledgling writing career, running a chaotic, happy household and juggling the rock and roll of my day job.

While all my old blog content will migrate, my followers (you, my friend) will have to re-subscribe through the new site. So please consider this your All Access invitation to re-join the party over at jesstopper.com/blog!  (We’ll be speaking English over there real soon.)

I hope you will join me there on my journey to the brink and beyond, and continue to enjoy my posts.

C-O-F-F-E-E

C is for Coffee

Gimme some sugar

  As part of L’Aussie Writer’s APPRECIATING THE ZEALOTRY Challenge, I am re-posting one of my favorites from the April A-Z Challenge.

Pour yourself a cup, sit back and enjoy!

38 seconds.

That’s the time it takes from pushing the button on my Keurig to taking my first morning sip. I know this because I timed it. Yep – 38 seconds. That’s about as close to instant gratification (instant caffeinification?) as one can get. Unless someone invents an IV-drip.

I’ve actually perfected a method of sloshing in a dollop of milk from the jug while my cup is still brewing so as not to waste an additional precious 2 seconds. Full-on fast-fix coffee junkie.

The Keurig is a cool little vampire of a machine. It neatly and efficiently impales the K-cup and sucks the lifebrew out of it. Sweet black ichor drains into my cup in 38 seconds!

cup o' caffeine

cup o’ caffeine

Lately there’s been a lot of brew-ha-ha (LOL) in the New York Times and other media regarding the actual price of coffee per pound for single-serve machines. “You’re paying $50 a pound using that thing,” according to my mother-in-law.

Did I mention…I get my coffee in 38 SECONDS?

I am the only coffee drinker in the household. This is my luxury. Still under a dollar a cup. Show me the person who can walk into Starbucks and spend less than a dollar. I’ll admit, I did buy the little fill-your-own filter thingy because I am feeling slightly guilty about all my empty K-cups piling in the landfill. I haven’t used it yet, but I plan on trying it soon…as soon as I wake up one morning and find I am out of K-cups!

Yes, I have allowed convenience to compromise my coffee-consuming rituals. I used to grind (burr mill is better than the blade types) and scoop and measure cold filtered water and blah blah 38 SECONDS blah. And most likely I will do so again, once summer comes and I can make and store iced coffee to drink whenever. But for now…it’s K all the way, baby.

Please don’t tell my dad. He is a freshaholic coffee freak. He not only grinds each cup as he goes, but he also roasts his own beans. In a popcorn popper. True story. He orders the raw beans online (they are green, for the record)  and researched this home roasting method. It takes a very specific kind of popper that isn’t as easy to find on the market anymore. He’s burned through a couple of them already. The coffee tastes great, but let me tell you, the smell while it’s roasting is foul. Like burning tires. It’s got to be carcinogenic. (Now there’s a C word!) Once he grinds it, it releases the wonderful “coffee” smell that even non-coffee drinkers admit smells pretty darn good. And there’s no denying it is the freshest cup around.

But it ain’t no 38 seconds.

Enjoy this catchy coffee-sipping song…I’m off to brew!

Around the Web in 26 Days

Congrats to all my fellow Blogging from A to Z Challenge comrades – we Arrived, we Blogged, we Commented. And we conquered – 26 alphabetical posts in 26 days! We are a crazy and creative bunch.

A to Z Survivor

When I created this site last October, I chose the tongue-in-cheek title “I’ll Blog When I’m Dead” as a play on the phrase “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”. I had a mountainous to-do list prioritized, and blogging seemed like a frivolous afterthought. The sold-my-soul-for-rock-and-roll day job often seeps into my off-hours, the 10-year old has a social schedule to rival Zani Gugelmann’s and the book, as they say, ain’t gonna write itself.

I also thought – who wants to read my ramblings? As I wrote in my very first blog post: My pearls of wisdom are costume jewelry at best and I’m like a little kid playing dress-up. I write FICTION, not State of the Union. How could my site possibly contribute to the blogging pool at large? It will be just a drop in the bucket.

After completing A to Z, and discovering so many amazing and entertaining blogs, my reflection has changed. I still see a drop in the bucket…but I also see the ripples, widening in the blogging pool with each click, post and comment. Very cool.

The A to Z Challenge reminded me a bit of an Around The World party in the college dorm – but with less vomit in the stairwells and no one’s dorm furniture on fire outside in the middle of the quad by night’s end. But seriously, it was like a big party where you move from room to room, sampling different party foods and drinks and meeting all sorts of people as you traveled through.

One of my favorite parts of the month was landing in a “room with no guests”: arriving on a fresh blog post with zero comments. You know the host behind the post is a lot like a host at a party – nervously hoping people show up and have a good time. No one wants their visitors just standing around, not talking or sampling the spinach dip. So it was always fun to make the first comment on someone’s post, and come back later in the day to see how the party had grown.

I’m a stats junkie, so it was also fun to watch my April stats skyrocket in views – over 2,500 views for the month! That kind of high puts you on a high.

Some of my favorite discoveries and personal highlights: Bibsey, a UK new mum living in Spain – her blog posts were so clever and once, when she was at a loss for an “R” topic, she took inspiration from my blog. What a compliment!

I also became totally enamored with The Death Writer. She’s a non-fiction writer who truly has a gift for writing clearly and elegantly on all different aspects of a topic many may consider morbid or uncomfortable.

Another blog I found myself landing on almost daily was the whimsical Clay Baboons. I have a droll love for clay people making weird facial expressions that dates back to old SNL Mr. Bill skits. Oh no….! Clay Baboons’ ABCs in clay were killer!

Finally, I was totally blown away by the sheer number and quality of the “writer’s tips” blogs out there. Some were informational, others merely inspirational. But they all reminded me that I was never alone in my quest. Moody Writing was always very thought-provoking. And Steven Chapman‘s blog always gave me a kick in the writing pantaloons when I needed one. Plus, he’s a good one to have your back during the zombie apocalypse. Through comments, we agreed: he’s bringing the crossbow, I’m bringing the sandwiches.

If I am up for the Challenge next year, I think I will develop a theme. It was certainly a good exercise to pull a random topic out of the air each day, but after seeing so many cohesive themes this year, I feel inspired to come up with one and stick to it!

Out of my random ramblings, I had a few personal favorites, if you care to peek:

C – Coffee

G – Got Gray?

H – Helium

L – Library Lions

R – Rock and Roll Riders

X – Xigua

A final thanks to all the folks behind Blogging From A-Z, and to Stephanie Haefner over at The Writer’s Cocoon for bringing the Blog Hop to my attention in the first place!

Zoas…?

I had the best intentions to write my Z post on William Blake’s The Four Zoas.

If I had had a brain in my head, I would have written that “Z” post during that first, fresh week and squirreled it away. But I didn’t. And I didn’t.

And now I have zero idea of where I wanted to go with that post. Zip.

So here – I will at least show you a pretty picture of his Zoas – Tharmas (sense), Luvah (love), Urthona (imagination), and Urizen (reason).

The Four Zoas

Literary scholars have spent their lives’ work studying this unparalleled yet uncompleted prophetic vision of Blake’s. So I’m not sure what I thought I was going to accomplish with one small blog post, coming on the heels of 25 other blog posts about random crapola:

A – Author

B – Butterfly Kisses

C – Coffee

D – Details

E – England

F – Fact or Fiction

G – Got Gray?

H – Helium

I – Idiopathic

J – Jesters

K – What Writers KNOW

L – Library Lions

M – Meat

N – Ni! and Neee-wom and Noodles 

O – Operation Organize Office

P – Playing the Part

Q – Quixotic

R – Rock and Roll Riders

S – Sun Kink

T- Training to be a Dirty Girl

U – Review of Amanda USEN’s ‘Scrumptious’

V – whose post has VANISHED into thin air – creepy!

W – Writers’ Retreat

X – Xigua

Y – Yodelittle

Z – wasn’t really about the Zoas at all. MAYBE NEXT YEAR!

I hope everyone had fun blogging and reading from A to Z! And I hope to see you on the blog hop next year. Until then, feel free to stop by this little corner of the web to say hi.

Zee ya latah!

Yodelittle

I almost got tripped up on letter Y. One day away from the finale – I can’t be fresh out of ideas! All I kept thinking was yogurt. But I didn’t want to write about yogurt. I do eat it every morning (greek non-fat vanilla mixed with non-fat plain to cut the sweetness) but that is WAY more info than you need to know about me and yogurt!

Then I thought – Yodelittle. It’s like a yodel, in that it’s a song that easily gets stuck in your head. (I’m sure most of us are all guilty of crooning  “Ricola!” at odd times in our lives, am I right?)

Yodelittle is a ditty about a little lady, written by Al Schnier and performed by his band moe. It’s a charming folky-funky earworm, with a chorus that warbles:

Yodelittle lady who

Yodelittle lady that I love

Yodelittle was one of the first songs I ever heard moe. play live, and I thought it was so catchy and clever. It made me fall in love with them. As I started researching it today, I was astonished to realize 2 things:

  1. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of this song – if first appeared on their debut album, Fatboy
  2. I was in the audience at the first known gig where it was performed

According to Phantasy Tour, an impressive website that tracks a crazy amount of stats on jambands, Yodelittle has been played live 303 times to date. It debuted on 2/15/92 at the Scrapyard in Buffalo, NY. And was played most recently at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore on 3/10/12. It is still a crowd favorite, and I love hearing the fans roar in approval when they recognize those opening notes being picked out.

The show list was fun to peruse. I had forgotten about that little gig at the long-gone Scrapyard. I love that it was played at 14 of their 24 shows at the legendary Wetlands Preserve in NYC (if I’m counting correctly.) In the early days, it was played at Frat house parties, like Pi Kappa Alpha at RPI in Troy, NY. But it’s also been played at venues as large as the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto, Canada.

How cool that it was played in the middle of the ocean twice – once in 2004 aboard the Norwegian Sun, and again in 2007 on board the Norwegian Jewel; two fan cruises that moe. orchestrated.  Fans in Yokohama and in London have heard it live in their cities.

It was also played on 4/23/01 at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. This holds a special memory for me, as it was the night I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. (No wonder my legs felt so tired while I was dancing up a storm to Yodelittle!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little stroll down Yodelittle memory lane and the song’s ongoing legacy. Do you have a “Y” song, or any song, that you love and would like to share?