What do John Denver and Fred Stobaugh have in common?

They both wrote touching music for their wives.

John Denver's guitar at the MIM

Though probably not on “This Old Guitar,” displayed at the Musical Instrument Museum,” Denver did compose “Annie’s Song” for his wife. Just like Fred composed “Sweet Lorraine.”

One of my all-time favorite John Denver songs, “Annie’s Song,” he wrote for his wife at the time, Annie Martell Denver. It became Denver’s second number-one song in the United States, so ranked for two weeks in July 1974. [It carries a specific connection for me, too, as it inspired a pivotal scene for my Rhythms & Muse novel.]

Fred Stobaugh wrote “Sweet Lorraine” after the passing of his wife of 73 years in 2013. He entered it into Green Shoe Studios‘ songwriting contest, by sending in an old-school, hand-written letter. Touched by the heartfelt lyrics, Green Shoe brought Fred’s song to life through its generous creativity and production. The song reached #1 in the iTunes singer/songwriter category in August 2013.

For the whole story, see the sweet little documentary, “A Letter from Fred,” on YouTube.

I simply needed to share this, even if it is a year old. Prepare for inspiration and subsequent tears.

Can you share a similar story?

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Write on! (or in this case, “Far-r-r-r Out!)
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
avidean@videanunlimited.com

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#2 Writing Tip: Use your book cover as a profile picture

Rhythms & Muse’s back cover. You want to click on it so you can read it, don’t you? I’ll let you watch my Facebook page at Ann Narcisian Videan for the front cover to appear in a few days, or check it out at http://www.tinyurl.com/ANVamazon.

Change your profile picture to your book cover.

Twice a month I meet with a group of established Phoenix, AZ-area writers in my Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) “tribe.” We share writing tips, ideas and resources, which I pass along to you.

The authors attending our May 22, 2012, gathering came up with a number of great ideas, which I will parse out in the near future, but Eduardo Cervino shared a real winner, an easy way to gain a bit more visibility.

He suggested authors change their profile photo to their book cover every once in a while on their social media sites. You know when you see the same image over and over, you tend to ignore it? A change in scenery can pique interest and entice your friends and followers to actually click on your little image to see it in better detail, especially a book cover.

Just make sure you offer valuable information next to the photo, such as a photo description in Facebook which includes your Web site address.

Thank you, Ed! I’m going to do this whenever I’m running a special promotion or on the  verge of a big book event.

Do you have a savvy writing tip to share for authors or freelancers? Please post a comment. (And, don’t forget to ALWAYS write!)

Burger phenom: Hudson’s Hamburgers

Bob, Codi and Cutter help occupy the 23 counter stools available at Hudson’s. ©2011 ANVidean

One special Coeur d’Alene memory I somehow neglected to work into my Rhythms & Muse novel (half of the story takes place in the Idaho town) is Hudson’s Hamburgers. The joint is known worldwide for serving up – for the past 100 years! – a limited menu of simple, fresh, delectable burgers in a storefront on Sherman Ave., the town’s short main street!

I happened to grow up right next door to the Hudson family in the Fairway Hills neighborhood. Patriarch Roger was the fry cook in my day, but his sons Steve and Todd were in training on weekends. Now, they run the place.

I have very fond memories of conversations with the Hudson boys while sitting at their counter. How many times I watched them form my burger, grill it up on that savory grill, slap on the cheese, rapidly slice up thin slices of onion and pickle to place on the grill-toasted bun. The best part about a Huddy burger is the hot mustard and/or special sauce you squirt on yourself once the server plops your small plate in front of you. My mouth is watering right now, just thinking about the juicy goodness of that first bite.

It’s not a true trip to Coeur d’Alene without standing in line at least one, or two, or three times, at Hudson’s to enjoy a perfect “cheese, both” (i.e. cheeseburger with both onion and pickle). If you’re ever there in Cd’A, do not miss it. Any wait is totally worth it!

Check out this a great little historical PBS video about the local institution,  providing a number of fun facts, plus interviews with Roger and Todd.

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Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Dare! Find a small-town main street offering more than Coeur d’Alene’s.

While my family visited Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we spent quite a it of time in Downtown Coeur d’Alene, the lively little town which sets the scene for more than half of my Rhythms & Muse novel.

In addition to its most beautiful City Beach at the west end of downtown, Cd’A’s seven-block main street, aka Sherman Ave., offers a plethora of great experiences:

  • Hudson’s Hamburgers, with it’s 100-year legacy, is a destination for the most delicious, juicy burgers worldwide!
    (I very much regret I couldn’t find a good way to include Hudson’s iin Rhythms & Muse. Those burgers are one of my favorite reasons for visiting Cd’A. A point of interest: the Hudson family, including current proprietors Steve and Todd, lived next to my family in Fairway Hills the entire time I lived up there.)
  • Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, a great coffee venue right off Sherman on Lakeside Ave., where I held my book signing.
  • A number of charming retail shops, including:

    Looking west down Sherman Ave. from 5th St.(?) ©2011 ANVidean

    • Gallery Northwest, filled with lovely unique artwork crafted by local artists
    • Summers Glass gorgeous dichroic glass jewelry and art, beads, and more
    • Possibilities wine and gift-basket shop
    • Coeur d’Alene Chocolates, a family-owned shop with the most beautifully delicious treats I’ve ever seen.

      The sandy City Beach at the west end of Sherman Ave. offers a pristine view of the towering Coeur d’Alene Resort, and Tubbs Hill. ©2011 ANVidean

  • The Coeur d’Alene Resort, a lovely destination towering over the north end of Lake Cd’A right at the foot of downtown, with a  marina and one of the largest boardwalks in the world. It’s connected via skywalk to an indoor shopping mall featuring mid-to-high-end restaurants and shops.

I’ll be doing future posts to provide additional details on some of these distinctive hot spots, so watch the blog.

Do you have a Cd’A story or photo to share? Comment below, or send your .jpg image to me at avidean@videanunlimited.com and I’ll post it in the future.

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Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

One of America’s most beautiful downtown beaches

My family just returned from a too-short visit to the beautiful northwest. We hung out in Spokane, WA, and Coeur d’Alene, ID, for a week… seeing friends, tracking down old haunts, and visiting places and activities mentioned in my Rhythms & Muse novel.

Lake Coeur d’Alene    ©2011 ANVidean

One lazy afternoon, we strolled the Centennial Trail through the City Park, soaking in sights like this one. But what’s so uber cool about this…? Downtown Coeur d’Alene is just about two blocks to the east of this scene.

Can you see why lovely Lake Cd’A certainly served as high inspiration for a major portion of my novel? Who wouldn’t want to spend time near this blue water?

Do you have a Cd’A story or photo to share? Comment below, or send your .jpg image to me at avidean@videanunlimited.com and I’ll post it in a future blog.

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Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Spokane Trivia from Rhythms & Muse

The Spokane River ©2007 ANVidean

I held a Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD signing at Calypsos Coffee & Roastery, 116 E. Lakeside Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from 4–7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011.

Beforehand, I visited the coffee house, checking the place out, drinking a delicious tropical green iced tea, and posting this trivia blog about Spokane, Wash.

A number of events in my novel take place in 1970s Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash. If you know the area, or just want to learn some interesting facts about it, check out these questions and see how many answers you can guess?

Spokane Trivia Questions

22. What’s the name of the river on which the Cedar’s Restaurant floats?

23. The novel characters have dinner to escape the pressures of early fame at an oddly named restaurant specializing in Olde English fare and overlooking the Spokane River Falls. What is it called?

24. The former name of today’s INB Performing Arts Center where heroine Alexandra Lauren and her musical peers perform a benefit show for children’s music programs?

25. The name of the central city park, now the legacy of the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, Wash.

26. The bridge the main characters stand on, almost directly over the Spokane River Falls, connects to what island? For bonus points, what was the island named before the World’s Fair?

27. What three major landmarks in Riverfront Park can be viewed by the characters Alex and Matt while discussing their future together on the bridge?

28. What type of fish migration created one of the Spokane River’s true natural glories before Washington Water Power moved in to harness the river’s power?

Answers in comments below.

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You can find these, plus more Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., references in my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Coeur d’Alene Trivia from Rhythms & Muse, part 3

We’re nearing the date of my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD signing at Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, 116 E. Lakeside Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. (4–7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011). Excited! I’m so looking forward to seeing plenty of my friends there…including you?

Just for fun, these trivia questions are based on places and activities in Cd’A, and Spokane, Wash., especially during the 1970s. All the items are mentioned in the book. Do you know the area? How many answers can you get correct?

Cd’A Trivia Questions, part 3

15. What’s the name of the marina surrounded by one of the world’s longest floating boardwalks and with easy access from The Coeur d’Alene Resort?

16. How wide and long is the Coeur d’Alene Boardwalk?

17. When did the Cd’A Resort open?

18. Although the Lake City is now northern Idaho’s center for healthcare, educational, media, manufacturing, retail and recreation, the three main industries in the mid-1900s were…

19. Are there really cougars near Cd’A Lake?

20. Fireworks are set off over Cd’A Lake from a barge. Is the rumor that the barge catches on fire every year actually true?

21. What 23-mile-long improved path stretches in either direction from the City Park?

Answers in comments below.

See Spokane Trivia.

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You can find these and more Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., references in my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD: