When people read manuscripts of The Road Show, one of the questions I got most was "Who's going to write the song?"
In the road show that the characters perform, there is a song that describes the Savior's love and healing power. It's an integral part of the book and is described as being an incredibly moving and beautiful song.
My first impluse was to just let readers imagine it in their heads. I was worried that trying to turn it into a real song people could hear would diminish it. What if it wasn't as good as it is supposed to be?
My friend, Elisa (aka Motherboard) insisted that I talk to her friend, Sherrie Shepherd. So glad I did! Sherrie is a gifted composer and incredible all-around musician.
I sent her a manuscript a few months ago. Working on an impossibly tight time frame, she reached up into heaven and pulled down a sublime and lovely melody. She has poured her heart and soul into this song and has been an absolute rock--persisting in the face of some serious challenges.
We'll hopefully have the song ready to hear and download next week so stay tuned. You won't want to miss it.
In the meantime, Sherrie did a review of my book today on her blog. Go check it out--and listen to her music while you are there.
Without a doubt, one of the coolest things about writing this book is all the wonderful people I've met--many of them from blogging.
I'll be showing off some of these marvelous folks on my blog tour in the next several weeks. I hope you'll stop by--these bloggers are all really worth your time. Funny, poignant, insightful, faith-promoting...you'll see what I mean.
They are also generous enough to have me on their blogs to talk about my book. The complete itinerary for June is over on the sidebar. Check them out.
If you are a generous soul and you would like to be a stop on the blog tour, I would love to come by. Drop me a line here and let's talk.
Today, I am thrilled to hit the first stop on the blog tour. Sue, over at Sue's News, Views, and Muse is always fun to visit. Sue is a mother, grandmother, a perceptive observer and a wonderful writer.
She kindly read my book and gave me a review. Go visit her blog and read the first review for The Road Show!
Well, I just got an email from my editor. The Road Show hit the warehouse today. This means they could start showing up in stores and in the mail a bit sooner than I anticipated.
Since I don't live out West, and don't have any LDS bookstores near me, I wonder if I could ask a favor. I'm curious to see when it actually hits the shelves. If you are in an LDS bookstore, and you see my book, would you mind letting me know? If you ordered one from Amazon, would you mind letting me know?
If you are in a bookstore and you do not see it, please put the manager in a headlock, no wait, better yet, assume a "you-are-so-lame" look and make him or her feel completely foolish and worthless for not having it in stock. No wait, that might be too much. Maybe just ask politely if they have it?
While you are reading this, I have another thing to toss out there. I just wanted to thank everyone for stopping by. There were like 350 page views here on Sunday. I don't know, maybe my mom just had a lot of time on her hands? And thanks to those of you have put buttons up on your blogs. Ya'll are really great and I appreciate you!
Something wonderful just happened and I want to talk about it. I
I aspire to be a writer, but I know that there are no words I can find to express just how I feel.
Every year, our 8th graders vote on two teachers to whom the school yearbook will be dedicated.
I've written before (here and here) about just how much I love this 8th grade class. As individuals and as a group, they are unusually sweet, fun, and talented. They have left an enormous imprint on my spirit and healed my heart. Together for three years now, we have laughed and cried and laughed and grown.
If you have taught you know how deep and how beautiful the love can be between a teacher and students. If you haven't, then I don't know how to describe it. When it all works, then there is a profound connection that you feel soul-to-soul.
I dedicated my book to the Class of 2010 because I love them so much.
Well, they dedicated the yearbook to me. Today was the assembly where they announced it. They wrote and read a sweet little ode to me (Note: the dedication picture is of me during our fall play this year, Cats. If you wonder how a highly respectable almost-middle-aged-man came to be in cat makeup publicly, you can click here and scroll down.)
It would be an honor to be chosen on any occasion, but to be chosen by this group is immensely satisfying to me. It caps off a really wonderful year.
I'll write more about this later because there are actually some interesting theological points that occur to me. But right now, I just want to savor it.
Kind of a crazy weekend. I'm working on a post, but for the meantime, I have a favor to ask.
I am working on my book trailer, which is almost done. I need someone to volunteer to be in it. The character is Sister MacDougal. In the book, she's 60ish, but this could be done by almost any mature woman.
Here's what I would be asking: I need three or four still images. I would send you some demonstration pictures showing you exactly what I needed and then you would have someone take them with you in them and mail them back to me.
IMPORTANT: Your face will not show. We'll just see you hunched over a counter, sitting with your head in your hands, etc. You can do this and maintain your privacy.
If you are interested, please email me at braden at bradenbell dot com, or click here.
UPDATE: I think I'm covered now. Thanks everyone!
This morning, I noticed the text for one of the Google ads at the top of my email. It was advertising the services of a ghostwriter. Trying to write a health book? Well,
"Best Selling Health Writer Will Write It For You: Fast, Proessional [sic]"
Impressive, isn't it? I don't know about you but if I'm going to hire a professional writer to write my health book, I'd like him to be able to spell "professional." Just a thought.
By the way, does it creep anyone else out that Google scans your email and then directs ads to you that they think you might like? That just makes me feel a little weird for some reason.
They are struggling, though, since most of my emails involve Church stuff mixed with a lot of emails about my book--they aren't quite sure what to make of me.
Seriously! Is that good news or what? All the cool blog kids are doing it...
Just kidding. But I am not kidding about the fact that I now have code for buttons that you can put on your very own blogs. Thanks to Garrett Maudsley for doing a great job. If you click on the button, it takes you to the home page of my website and gives you a menu of truly exciting options: buying the book, reading sample chapters, and so on.
I thought about doing some kind of major giveaway to entice people to put these on their blogs. But I don't really have anything all that exciting to offer. And something about that just seems kind of, I don't know, fake and used-car-salesmanish. So, if you are interested and want to put a button on your blog, I would be very grateful to you. If you would rather not, that's just fine, too. No pressure.
I realized the other day that I have a large group of people I know solely through blogging--people I enjoy, admire, and consider dear friends.
I feel like I know so many of you, and feel that you know me, in spite of having never even heard your voices. That is kind of strange to me.
Also, I've always wanted to hear what an author sounds like when I read their book. Maybe that's a quirk of being a theatrical animal.
Well, since I would love to be able to hear all of you, I wondered if that feeling was mutual. Here's a link to a little narration I did for our school's Annual Fund drive. You don't HAVE to watch this, but if you are curious to hear what I sound like, go for it.
However, a cruel trick of the lighting seems to have made it look like I have a double chin. This is a vicious, visual lie. Ignore it.
I may send this in as an audition for our local PBS station....
This was kind of a busy weekend. Lots of drama. One of the most painful parts of my job, the thing about it that I hate, is casting the play. It is brutally hard for me to have to disappoint so many children, all of whom are anxiously harboring hopes that they will get "THE role."
It is hard to begin with and compounded by the fact that I have been an actor, so I know how much it hurts. I don't enjoy knowing I am hurting them.
Yes, it's a good life lesson, yes, it's something they need to learn, yes to all of those things. It's still hard. And I don't like it.
It was far more difficult than usual this time around. Call-backs for Fiddler on the Roof were Friday. Call-backs are sort of like the whole season of American Idol crammed into one long afternoon/evening. At the end, there are two or three finalists left. Then, I excuse them and go home and make my decisions.
I've done this for over 20 years, so the actual deciding is not usually that hard--it's generally very clear who is best suited for the roles.
This year the finalists for one of the leads were my daughter and one of her close friends.
I wanted my daughter to get the part. I hoped she would get the part. But she had to earn it on her own merits. I treated her fairly--she had no disadvantage or advantage. If she had been best for the role, I would have cast her and not blinked.
But she wasn't. She is good--very talented and promising. But she just didn't fit this particular role as well as her friend.
Saturday was a bit rough at our house. But good in the longish view. These kind of lessons are very important. I felt sorry and sad to see my daughter struggling--it hurt more than I can describe. But I knew it was necessary for her to have this kind of experience. I love her but allowed her to have a difficult, heart-wrenching experience. I think I learned a little more about the nature of God.
So that was my weekend. And Sunday was crazy busy as well.
The good news is that Sherrie recorded our song on Friday. So, that will be available soon. I'm so excited about that. She is very talented and you will definitely want to hear this song. There will be a short version on the book trailer and think I'll post a short clip here and then, if you are interested, you can download it or order a cd.
Sherrie was a hero because we found out at the last minute that we couldn't use elements of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," which she had masterfully woven into the accompaniment. So, with 48 hours to record, she had to rewrite it. Thanks, Sherrie.
First of all, Happy Birthday to my friend, Crash Test Dummy. Thank you for making me laugh and for bringing a bit of tropical excitement and energy to the blog world. If you don't know Crash you ought to go visit her blog. By the way, Crash, I haven't read your blog today. I found out about your birthday all on my own because of my superb internet stalking skills. Actually, it was on Facebook.
And, yesterday was another birthday, my other funny friend, Kristina P/SnuggieQueen who makes us laugh in her own posts and then leaves supportive comments on everyone else's all over the blogosphere.
To begin, I have a favor to ask. First of all, if you a) have already ordered your book and b) are signed up on Goodreads, would you mind shooting me an email? You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm looking for some people who would be willing to read a PDF copy of the book and do a review/rating on Goodreads.
Now that's out of the way. I want to talk about something. I think I may change the title of this blog to "Restating the Obivous." But alas, that's where I am in my personal journey--learning (or relearning the obvious). On the premise that there are others out there who are on this same circular learning curve, I am offering this instructive little tale. This is really not complaining, I promise. It's reflecting.
Before I was published, I thought, "Oh, I'll be happy when I'm published. That will bring me such joy that it will make all tribulation pale by comparison." And it was true for a week or two. Then, I found out about a group of Mormon writers. I wanted to join and be part of the club. But you can only join a month before you publish your first book. So, I waited and thought, "I'll be so happy when I join LDStorymakers." And so on.
This past week has been rough. Spiritually, I'm in one of those places you look back and say, "That was really good for me. Not fun at the time, but I really grew." (Not asking for sympathy here, just being authentic). Nothing critical, just the kind of internal struggles that come with trying to be a better disciple, better person, better husband, better father, etc.
It has also been disappointing. I got rejected by two agents for the same manuscript in the same week. I didn't get the copyright permission I has hoping to get for the song Sherrie and I are working on. And, marketing/promoting The Road Show takes a lot of time. A. Lot.
I know. Cry me a river, right? I'm senot complaining. I'm just making the point that no external event--publishing a book for example--and no future milestone really confers happiness.
I'm the same person I always was. To the extent I was happy before all of this, I still am. To the extent I wasn't, I'm still not.
The lesson I've (re)learned this week is this: be happy and focus on the things that are most important. Goodreads reviews, agents, blog tours, are all nice things. But they can only be enjoyed to the extent I'm already happy and grounded.
If I'm not happy and grounded, then there's no amount of agents, good reviews or contracts that will change that.
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