Monday, November 26, 2012

Lebanon, OREGON

Hey Everybody,

I have the whole day free until my concert at the Lebanon Public Library tonight at 7, so I'm catching up on things.
Yesterday's drive from Seattle to Lebanon, Oregon, was a nice one. The weather was good and the scenery was nice.  I was surprised to see this sign along the way:
Now, I'm from Maine, and...bragging a bit here.. I actually used to work for Stephen King...and I KNOW that Castle Rock is in Maine. Well, I mean, it's not actually IN Maine, but in Stephen King's mind it is in Maine, so this seemed a bit out of place to me.  But more on that later.

Along the way I stopped a few times and discovered that the press had already come in from the first concert on Sunday night, hosted by Jim Winder in Seattle, WA.  There was a great article online that even included video.  You can see it here:
I heard from Jim that the final count of the audience was about 300 people, and that sound about right. It was a huge crowd sitting at the base of the water tower across the street, in the street and on the sidewalks, and lots of kids and grown-ups dancing.  Jim did a great job getting the word out and it was a wonderful time. They had about a million lights twinkling and it was just gorgeous.  Thanks again, Jim and Debi!

THANKS ALSO to Jim for allowing me to use his Passport sound system and keyboard on this west coasts leg of the  tour. It would have been a nightmare getting my stuff over here (I've flown with it before and it's not fun) so I REALLY appreciate it!

An equally wonderful time was had by all last night in Lebanon, Oregon, at the home of the newly elected Mayor, Paul Aziz and his lady friend Dawn and her daughter, Taylor.  One of the things that's so fun about this tour is that I've been communicating with the hosts for months via email, and it's so fun to actually meet them in person.  You feel like you sort of know them already, and it's like meeting an old friend for the first time.  Mayor Paul is a really great guy and he and Dawn and his brother Steve and their friends went out of their way to help me get set up and feel comfortable.

I had some time before the show to take some pictures of the display:
 These guys were created by Dawn.
train and station
The gingerbread train station was also painted by Dawn. They do this stuff together!

Paul's display had several noteworthy features:  Giant Christmas balls made of lights in his huge pine tree, and an giant animatronic snowman who introduced me!  That was crazy!! And SO cool!! I hope Paul got a video of that, because I'd like to see it and I'd love for you to see it.  Paul is a computer repair guy, and he designed and built the snowman.  It's one of a kind!
Mayor Paul Aziz and me

Paul and I had been joking in our emails that, now that he is Mayor, he should give me a key to the city.  He suggested a lighted key and I thought that would be pretty cool, but I never thought he'd actually do it!

 After the concert and autograph signing I visited with the folks in their warm and cozy home for a couple of hours. We watched a little bit of the Disney "A Christmas Carol," which I had never seen, and ate delicious pizza.  Paul told me that nearby Brownsville, OR is where the movie "Stand By Me" was filmed.  Now things fit into place, but it's still kind of confusing.  Cause "Stand By Me" is based on a novella by Stephen King called "The Body," which takes place in Castle Rock, MAINE, as do many of King's other stories.  But the movie was filmed in Oregon and the movie setting is supposed to be Castle Rock, OR which I now know exists...but the movie wasn't even filmed there, it was filmed in Brownsville!!

ANYHOW, if you know me then you know that I just love visiting movie locations, so with my free afternoon I am going scouting in Brownsville to find the familiar settings from the movie!

I'll report back later!  Have a great day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Off to a Great Start!

It was a very early start this morning to get to Logan Airport for my 6:30 flight, but, thanks to United Airlines, the day of flying went off without a hitch and I arrived safely in Seattle at the expected time.  I had a snafu at the airport when I found out the car reservation I've had since August would not work because I was not allowed to take the car into California...but I went over to Alamo and got a better deal anyway, so it all worked out.  I came over to the hotel first because I was just a mess from flying all day, took a shower and got ready.  Had a giant mascara explosion on my face (don't get the Maybelline kind that is supposed to look as thick as false eyelashes) and had to wash everything off and start over..  Disaster! But at last I was ready and headed over to the house on Charlestown Street.
My host, Jim Winder, and his lovely lady friend Deb couldn't have been nicer people.  We did a mini sound test and then they took me to dinner at a great restaurant.  When we returned there was a local newspaper reporter there and also the local cable access station.  Jim did a great job getting the word out.  By 7pm when the concert started the street was just packed with people, and a lot of little kids which was great.  At times they were all dancing in the street and at other times, during the slower songs, just cuddling up.  I hope everyone had as good a time as I did.
Sometimes it is hard to know and you know I go through every detail in my mind afterwards over and over and think about what I did and how I might have done things differently.  But feedback was good, many autographs were signed, Jim seemed happy and I'm just TOO exhausted to think about it anymore.
Thank you to Jim and his family and friends for being my hosts tonight and allowing me to start off the tour with a great crowd and a wonderful time.  Now I'm hitting the pillow, hard!!  Tomorrow it's off to Lebanon, Oregon.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Where to hear "The House on Christmas Street" this Year

After battling for years to try to get traditional radio stations to play my music, and I am pleased to say that the internet stations are really where it's at, and where it's going to be for the foreseeable future. They have been much more open about playing my music and that of other independent artists and for that I am VERY grateful!
I do, however, want to thank one very special traditional "terrestrial" station in the US that has supported my music for several years now, and that's XTRA 99.1 in Gloucester VA. Their morning host Neal Steele has been just WONDERFUL in supporting my career, and (don't ever tell him I said this) he's a pretty good guy too. His co-host Reese Williams is also very nice, along with his revolving cast of characters who drop into guest star on his show every day.  This year will mark the fourth time they have hosted me for a live concert and I am really looking forward to returning to Gloucester and having fun with that gang on December 7th for the 2nd Most Funnest Christmas Concert E-V-E-R at the Lighthouse Christian Church.

You can listen to Neal and the rest of the programming on XTRA 99.1 from your computer anywhere in the world via live streaming.  Here's the link: 

Now, here are the internet stations that I know of that are playing my Christmas music this year:

The Sounds of Christmas!/more/accuholidays/

If you know of any others please let me know so I can properly thank them here and let my fans know about them!!

And remember, if a station allows you to "like" a song, please be sure to "like" and request my music!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Up Late

Well, I dropped the Sienna off at Grappone Toyota this evening and they are going to be looking at it in the morning.  I know for sure it needs a new timing belt, and I know it needs shocks, but beyond that who knows?  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't break the bank to get it ready for 8,000+ miles of driving on the tour.  The folks at Grappone gave me a $300 gift card to help defray the cost and they are now a "47,000 Twinkling Lights" sponsor of the tour.  Thank you Grappone!!
By the way, when I dropped it off the odometer had just rolled over 403,000 miles.  Yes, that's three zeroes on the end.
I'm up late because I've been trying to plow through and answer the 114 emails in my inbox. I've gotten through about half of them. There is so much involved in putting on this tour, and I do most of it!  My hosts are wonderful, though, and they are really out there working hard to create beautiful displays AND publicize the concert at their house.  I supplied them with posters and press releases and they do the rest. But I do have a secret weapon this year. I hired a real PR person who is helping with the publicity for the CD and the tour, and hopefully that will make a huge difference.

Speaking of the new CD, it is now available at three different places online:  my website, and CD Baby.  I'm very excited this morning to find out that I just made my first digital sale of the album on CD Baby to someone from Germany.  Hooorah!!  The CD will also be available on iTunes and many other legit digital download services very soon.  Keep looking for it!

Okay..gotta go to bed. I have a show tomorrow and preparations for the tour will continue. Thanks for reading this and for your interest in my adventures!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

First Concert in One Week

WOW! I can't believe that one week from tonight I will be performing the first concert on The House on Christmas Street 2012 International Tour.  I'm so excited that I will finally get out there and get to meet all the hosts I've been communicating with for all these months, and I'll get to see past hosts who have invited me back and who have become friends. I'm so lucky I get to do this...because it's such a wonderful experience to show up at all these different places and meet really nice people who are so happy to see me.
I'll be writing here pretty frequently to keep everybody up to date on my adventures out there, and I'll also be updating my Facebook page often.  If you live near any of the stops on the tour route I hope you'll come out to a concert and say "hi!"  There will be a meet and greet after each show.
I'm taking the Sienna to Grappone Toyota on Monday for a new timing belt and a tune-up and I just pray that they don't find anything else wrong with her cause she needs to be road worthy.  Other than that, I think I'm ready.  I've got a new red coat, some nifty boots...oh! I need to get gloves and a hat!  But other than that I am ready to hit the road!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Many THANKS to the Tour Sponsors!

I have been very fortunate to have eight businesses come forward to be "47,000 Twinkling Lights" Sponsors for The House on Christmas Street 2012 International Tour.   They are:


In addition, one individual has sponsored at the "47,000 Twinkling Lights and Santa Claus Up on the Roof and All That Other Stuff" level....thank you very much to  


I also want to thank the following individual and business sponsors:
THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of the sponsors who are making this happen!!!
 Here's the link for all the sponsor information,