THE POWER OF MUSIC




My Dad's Guitar


Ever since I was a young girl, music has made a difference in my life.  Until I was five, my parents and I lived with my grandfather and aunt.  After that, they lived next door and I was back and forth continuously.  I come from an Italian heritage and my grandfather was an immigrant.  He played the mandolin beautifully.  On weekends, friends would stop by with guitars and an accordion, and he and his friends made music.  That music brought into the house fellowship, fun and a sense of well-being.

Also in my grandfather's house was a player piano.  We inserted what was called a "roll" and a melody magically played while my mother and I would sing along.  She played the piano herself, and I would accompany her, too.  It was natural for me to learn to play the piano.   Although my dad didn't feel he was musically inclined, he taught himself how to play both the organ and the guitar when he was in his fifties. So throughout both my childhood and adult years, I learned to express emotion through playing, and I found joy and inspiration in music.

With this history, I never just listen to a song.  I feel it.  I like all kinds of music from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Chad and Jeremy, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell to Josh Groban, Il Divo, Charice, Brad Paisley, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Jason Castro, Blake Shelton and Scotty McCreery.  I listen for artists and music which can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountaintop, soothing pain and stress away or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene.  Music lifts me over the writing bumps...and life's bumps.

That is probably why I felt I had to write a novel about the power of music.  I'd wanted to do this for a long time, but the time and plot had to be right.  Recently, it was.  I've written about high school sweethearts who were separated by life.  My heroine Mikala Conti, a music therapist, reunites with Dawson Barrett at their 15th year high school reunion.  There, he asks if she can help with his son who has gone through the trauma of being in an accident with his mother who died.  No one has been able to break through Luke's barriers.  But his ten-year-old loves music and when Dawson realized Mikala is highly recognized in the field of music therapy, he knew he had to ask if she would take on Luke as her client.  This is one of my most emotional plots that surrounds Luke coming to terms with what happened.  Because of Mikala and her love and use of music, father and son heal.

I believe in the power of music to lift us above the pain and reinvigorate our spirits.  I hope you are touched by its power in life...and in this book.

THE CEO'S UNEXPECTED PROPOSAL was just released in print and will be available in e-book format July 1.



©2012 Karen Rose Smith





 

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MISSING A DAD





In May I wrote about positive ways to navigate Mother's Day if your mom had passed on.  Father's Day is the matching holiday that can bring bittersweet reminders from Hallmark commercials to Father's Day movies. To bring up the "happy" and deal with the "sad," I start by remembering the gifts my dad gave me. I'm not speaking of material possessions, but rather qualities I inherited or absorbed by simply being around him.

My dad was from a large family of ten children.  Most weekends, especially in summer, brothers and sisters would visit each other,.  I remember the park benches that sat on the corner around my grandfather's house under the shade of tall elms.  My aunts would bring food--after all, we were Italian--and my grandfather would pour the wine.  I would be spending time with my cousins.  Even when we all didn't gather at my grandfather's house, we'd visit a nearby aunt or uncle for an evening chat session.  The main quality I absorbed from my dad was the loyalty he felt toward his brothers and sisters, the joy in their company, the need to stay in touch.  So loyalty and the importance of family are at the top of my gift lists.

My father was generous.  He and my mom grew up during the Depression and knew what life was like when a family had to stretch what it had to survive.  He didn't want others to suffer that way.  He and my uncle grew corn.  Every summer they'd give lots of it away to anyone who wanted or needed it.  When my husband and I were first married, on each of our visits to my childhood home, my dad would send home with us anything he thought we'd need, from canned goods to garden chairs.

My dad was artistic.  He worked with wood, making beautiful plant stands and benches.  He taught himself how to play the organ and, after he retired, began painting in watercolors and acrylics.  We have his paintings hanging in my office and the kitchen.  His plant stands remind me of the care he took with each piece.  I learned from my dad that I could learn or begin something new, whatever my age.  I also learned to search for the creative spirit inside myself that could bring me fulfillment.

I don't know if I ever heard the words "I love you" from my dad.  That was a different time when men didn't feel comfortable expressing affection.  But after he passed on, I realized I didn't need the words.  I felt his love each day in the way he provided for his family, worried about me, sent me a card on Valentine's Day.  Most of all, I remember how when I was sick and home from school, we'd build model ships together or play blackjack.  My dad was a man of few words, but as I grew older I could read the meaning and affection between the words.

So on this Father's Day, if you miss your dad, think about the intangible gifts he gave you and use them to make the world a better place.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.


©2012 Karen Rose Smith

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Mystery Website for KAREN ROSE SMITH


                                           Meet Karen Rose Smith's Sleuth


Writing the first book in my mystery series has been challenging, exciting and absolute fun. When I developed my sleuth, she took shape so quickly I could hardly believe the process was so easy!  The plot wrapped around her and as I complete this first book, I'm hoping the second will plot as smoothly.

Many readers are familiar with my http://www.karenrosesmith.com/ website where they can find info, excerpts and news about me and my latest romance release.  Now I'm launching a new website in addition.  My mystery website will post the latest info about my mystery releases.  Although I've finished the first Caprice De Luca mystery in the home staging series, a title for the book as well as the series title are still in development.  In spite of that, I wanted to give my readers a taste of the book and the series.  My working title for my premier mystery is KNIFE-EDGED.  I sold the series under the title STAGED TO DEATH.

In creating the website with Rox from Designs by Delaney, my talented webmistress, I wanted something unique that expressed immediate references of my sleuth, Caprice, as well as the mystery.  Since Caprice takes in stray animals, her cat Sophia--named after her nana's favorite actress Sophia Loren--has a prominent spot.  The color palette expresses Caprice's career an an interior designer and home stager.  Since Caprice is unique, I asked Rox to add a Meet Caprice page along with the usual bio and contact info.

A feature of the front page of http://karenrosesmithmysteries.com/ website is the availability of my Twitter, Facebook, E-zine and blog feeds.  Readers can easily read my latest social media messages and access them from the buttons.

As soon as I have the title of the first book and the series name, I will post them.  Likewise, after the book is edited, I will post an excerpt for a reader preview.  I'm delighted about this fresh mystery branch of my career.  I'd like readers to accompany me as I plunge into this genre with its murders, clues and family dilemmas, as well as my personal touch of romance.

Enjoy the new website and remember--I like to hear from my readers!

©2012 Karen Rose Smith



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