Aloha Winter Swell Blues….

Hippo Gnu Deer, everyone! It’s New Year’s Eve, and while I am going to put up a more serious post with a yearly wrap-up and natter on about writing (and dancing, because obviously) and such (probably tomorrow), I thought I’d offer up a little December silliness for all and sundry.

On Twitter (@frabjouslinz) and Facebook, I’ve been posting up a winter holiday song every day. Well, OK, I’ve been posting up a holiday song or six whenever I remember to do it. It’s ended up as quite a long list, so I’m gathering them all together (ha! Oh, I’m punny to myself (see first song title) and then I laugh out loud and everyone stares. Awkward.) for you, in case anyone following along really, really wanted to see all of them at once. If you didn’t, well, don’t look, is all I can say to that.

I had vaguely planned on posting Diwali songs, since that’s sort of a fall/winter holiday, but it was super early this year, I only know a few songs, and I wasn’t sure how disrespectful it might seem to do that. I know just a little bit about Diwali, and I want to learn more before I put that sort of thing out there. So although my list is Xmas-heavy, I’m adding more stuff in as I find it, and doing some research. I’m getting more Xmas and secular songs, too, from other cultures, mostly Mexican and Central and South American at this time. I do have some Hanukkah songs, and I’m learning more every year. I also am looking into Kwanzaa songs, but again, I don’t know much about it, and don’t want to be disrespectful. So – if you have info and songs you’d like to share with me about those or other holiday traditions, I’d be happy to listen! Otherwise I will keep researching on my own.

My informal and incomplete list of holiday songs you might not have heard of, but I think are awesome, as posted up during this month:

  1. We Gather Together – 16th century Dutch hymn celebrating beating Spain. Like you do. Called the Thanksgiving hymn among those who know it. My fam loves it.
  2. Candlelight – The Maccabeats. A cappella re-vamp of “Dynamite” and way more fun.
  3. Los Peces en el Rio – Mexican carol. Gipsy Kings or Tatiana are the versions I have. The fish are drinking and drinking and Mary is doing chores. Natch.
  4. The Rebel Jesus – The Chieftans and Jackson Browne. Jesus was a “long-haired brown-skinned homeless community-organizing anti-slut-shaming Middle Eastern Jew.” Among other things. It’s a really good, sort of mellow protest song.
  5. Pillsbury Cookie Dough – Paul & Storm. Because who doesn’t want to eat a whole damn tube of raw cookie dough? It’s holiday-ish.
  6. Fifty Kilowatt Tree – The Bobs. Lighting up my yard like downtown Las Vegas, baby.
  7. I Never Has Seen Snow – from House of Flowers, Audra McDonald singing. Because Audra. McDonald. And snow. It counts. Audra. McDonald.
  8. The Christians and the Pagans – Dar Williams. Who doesn’t love this song? I think everyone knows it but it’s one of my faves. And so is Dar.
  9. Christmas Island – Ella Fitzgerald. Who doesn’t love Ella? But the backup singer lyrics are kind of iffy. Just listen to Ella.
  10. Winter Swell Blues – Paula Fuga. All-holiday-encompassing island blues rock. Paula Fuga is so awesome. Dance it.
  11. Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Mabel Scott. Great 40s dance song, great singer.
  12. The Wild Goose – Kate Rusby. It’s only on the list because of the tv movie “November Christmas,” which schmaltz might choke you. But you’ll like the song; Kate Rusby is quite good. And if you watch the flick, enjoy Sam Elliot’s mustache and scenery chewing. I did cry. (See: Schmaltz)
  13. Nutmeg – John Legend and Stephen Colbert. We eschew the subtlety of the double entendre and make a single entendre into a club to beat you with. John Legend is a minor deity, and I would listen to him sing the phone book. Should phone books still exist anywhere.
  14. Happy Joyous Hanukkah – The Indigo Girls. Fun and stompy Woodie Guthrie song, performed by one of the best bands ever.
  15. Una Noche Se Oyo en Borinquen – Puerto Rican presumably holiday song, sung by Lucecita Benitez. My Spanish is terrible, but I think this is about parades and cheating. …OK? Not sure why holiday…? But it is a lot of fun to sing.
  16. I’ll Cover You – from Rent, sung by William Jermain Heredia and Jessie L. Williams. Love. (It’s totally a holiday musical. Look at it.)
  17. Shalom Alenu – Hebrew folk song about peace. I like the folksy “everyone gather around the campfire” version I have.
  18. Chiron Beta Prime – Jonathan Coulton. Avoid robot overlords, I mean protectors.
  19. Ocho Kandelikas – Sephardic Hanukkah counting song in Ladino, performed by Pink Martini, because fun.
  20. Bogoroditsye dyevo – Russian carol by Arvo Part. King’s Singers are gorgeous, as always.
  21. Light One Candle – Peter Paul & Mary. Classic lovely Hanukkah protest song.
  22. Podsafe Christmas Song – Jonathan Coulton. Because mocking The Chipmunks is just as funny, or funnier, than the actual original Chipmunks.
  23. Must Be Santa – 60s American carol. The version by Bob Dylan is fun, and the ridiculous video gives you a working definition of random. Which is why I love it.
  24. What Do Bad Girls Get – Joan Osborne. Joan is So. Naughty.
  25. The Holly She Bears a Berry – 19th century Cornish carol. Makes no sense, like most carols. The Chieftans are best.
  26. Winter Song – Ingrid Michaelson and Sarah Bareilles. So mournful and hopeful at the same time.
  27. How Do You Spell Channukkah? – The Leevees. Hilarious.
  28. Glow Worm/It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Rockapella. Come on, it’s Rockapella! I think this is one of the most cheerful songs in existence.
  29. Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas – Carla Thomas. Queen of Memphis Soul. (For some reason, Angie, this song always makes me think of you and your dad. Did Russ have this one?)
  30. I’d Like to Hitch a Ride with Santa Claus – the Andrews Sisters. Very sweet harmony, as is their wont.
  31. Mele Kalikimaka – late 40s Hawaiian carol. Turns out Hawaiian doesn’t have Rs or esses, so it’s the way you say the words ‘Merry Christmas’ using the Hawaiian alphabet. News to me. KT Tunstall’s version is my very favorite version of this song.
  32. ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong. Because Louis Armstrong. If you think Santa is creepy, here’s your song. Muppets Electric Mayhem version is also good.
  33. Aires de Navidad – Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe. As they tell us, whether you like it or not we’re coming to sing about Christmas. Good warning.
  34. St. Stephen’s Day Murders – The Chieftans and Elvis Costello. Finally GET RID OF THEM. Yes. Carcas of the Beast. Yes.
  35. The Wren in the Furze – Traditional Irish carol. Because Jesus is a bird, or something. But if you don’t kick up your heels a little bit you might be as dead as the Wren, and we’ll need a penny for to bury you.
  36. Una Limosna Para Este Pobre Viejo – the version I have is by Yuri. Why is Pancho Villa in a holiday song?
  37. Mambo Santa Mambo – The Bobs. Shake it, Santa!
  38. Good Morning Blues – Ella Fitzgerald. Because Ella is my favorite.
  39. The Christmas Blues – Dean Martin. Oh, Deano. So crooney, and so drunk.
  40. Santa Claus Baby – Joan Osborne. I find I like her more and more.
  41. The Princess Who Saved Herself – Jonathan Coulton. It’s not really a holiday song, but I put it on my holiday list anyway, because I forget why. There was a reason, though. And it’s a great song.
  42. The Hat – Ingrid Michaelson. Lost love, Xmastime, knitted hats. Much holiday. So Winter. Wow.
  43. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – 40s big band tune. I like crooney, so sue me.
  44. Christmas Everyday – The Temptations. I really like the bass guy. Hey hey hey hey. And what is a holiday without the Temptations? No holiday at all.
  45. Chad Ga Ya – One Little Goat – Uh, actually a Passover song. Turns out. Oh well?
  46. Hard Candy Christmas – Dolly Parton. I don’t care, I love this song and I love Dolly.
  47. Seasons of LoveRent. I love all of these shnuggums, and I love this musical, and it’s a holiday show, so there.
  48. Winter Weather – 1940s Fats Waller big band non-holiday-specific winter tune. You can find it performed by just about anyone, from Peggy Lee to Vanessa Williams. I love Fats, and so do you. It’s a fun song with which to end my list.
  49. Ma’oz Tzur – thought to be from the 13th century. A liturgical Hebrew poem made into a song. The version I have is by Craig Taubman. Very pretty.
  50. Chocolate – The Smothers Brothers. Not a holiday song per se, but still. If you don’t laugh at the line where he yells “CHOCOLATE!” I don’t know how you merry. Hooray, Chocolate! (Lara, this one is totally for you. Because SB, and Chocolate.)


OK, 49 and 50 weren’t posted up, but I can’t end the list at 48! That would be weird! And not in a good way!

So there you have it – lots of songs you can look up, and add into your own lists if you liketh them. If you don’t, well, no skin offeth my nose. I liketh them. And tomorrow I will playeth them all one more time as I taketh down the few decorations we put up, and packeth things awayeth. Thus we finish the holiday season on New Year’s as is MY wont. Others can end on the 6th, but I’m not a 12th Night holiday person. At this time. Things change; you never know.

Happy New Year, my lovelies! I hope your next year is full of love and happiness, and boogie. And singing. And chocolate.

Title is from “Winter Swell Blues,” which may be obvious, but I thought I’d just make sure.

This is my winter song to you ….

I’ve let the post I wanted to write languish for a few weeks, due to life stuff, general end of year busyness (as opposed to business), and the insanity that is this planet right now. And also for an editor approved reason – I’ve been working on book 2, and that writing is kind of more important. And it is on the move! It’s not done, not even close, which is what I was aiming for. But it is at the thick of the middle, which is better than nothing. My goal now is to have a finished (enough) rough draft by the end of January to send to Fabulous Editor Jak ™ so that we can look at the structure and discuss what comes next.

That will be the first time I’ve done that – handed off an entire rough draft, that has pieces missing, and weird tangents that I either will have to develop or take out but we don’t know which yet, and entire scenes of “[things totally happen here. Probably. It might involve explosions]” that I haven’t done anything with yet. So I’m nervous about that, because I like to rewrite and polish before I show my drafts. It’s one thing for your writing group to see a scene or two like that. It’s another thing to send your editor an entire draft of that, with bonus terrible dialogue that you know has to change BUT TO WHAT, and the occasional REALLY SPARKLING BRILLIANT LINE that you are afraid you’re going to have to cut, anyway. On the bright side, it is a step forward in this process, being a professional writer. I am going to aim for that like a steam train (chugging and occasionally having to stop for fuel, but totally going over that mountain) and ignore all the wailing voices of “it’s not good enough yet” in my head. Shut up, voices. I’m ignoring you.

The draft is going the way drafts go, I think. I mean, I’m writing this differently than I wrote the first book. But it’s still me, still writing, and I’m still the queen of “[whosits], [yaddahoodie], and [whatsherbucket] go to the town of [thatoneplacebytheriver] to [do super important things]. [maybe they stab someone?] [No wait! They stop that one guy stabbing that other person but [yaddahoodie] totally gets stabbed by mistake! AND HE’S SECRETLY IN THE PAY OF [DUKEOFSOMEPLACE]!]” So yeah, it’s me. Luckily, even when I don’t understand my notes to myself, I can usually make something out of them. Now I just have to get around to typing up what I’ve written so far. I’m almost out of another notebook, too, so it’s time. Since I’ll be taking 4 day weekends off of work for the next two weeks, I’m going to spend copious time at my desk. (Now that I’m not sick.) (Much.)

I did spend most of the last 5 days super sick with tonsillitis, something I didn’t get diagnosed but I had it so often as a kid, I should know the symptoms pretty well. Sharp, pointy rocks in the throat? Everything tastes bad? Headache? Hurts to swallow soup? Would rather drool than swallow? Able to hear esophagus from the inside? Checkity check check check. I didn’t take my temp, but if I had a fever it was pretty low. Still; aches, exhaustion, and a desire to numb my entire neck seemed pretty indicative. I’m feeling better now, only having a few mid-sized marbles rolling around in the tonsillar areas, instead of pointy rocks. And now that I’m getting better, the runny nose has begun. So this will morph into a sniffly cold, just in time for holiday food. Of course. Scott and I are both crabbily sick, but dealing well enough. I did have to miss two Dec bday parties for friends, and I’m super bummed about that, but what can you do? I held off getting sick through November, even after visiting plague-infested niecephews: it was bound to catch up with me.

Despite being sick I did write some, and had one 1000 word day where I got some cool character development sorted. Hooray! And set up some more plot. I’m going to set up some plot today, and introduce some new people, maybe. It’s a messy process, and some of the scenes I’ve written are only half done, and I’m scribbling away like a mad thing, hoping to keep ahead or just behind of my brain, which likes to wander. But it’s coming along.

So that’s the state of the sequel. I’m planning some more blog posts about other things, but this is the one I have the energy and brain power to write at the moment.

“A Ragged Magic” is out and about, and people are telling me they’re reading it, or it’s in their queue of TBR – which is fantastic. I heart you all! The most wonderful present for any writer is to hear that people are buying and reading their stories. The 2nd best present is to write a review and put it up where others can see and enter into a conversation about it. If you’re still looking for last minute holiday gifts for folks, ebooks are great presents, and reviews are a gift for everyone.

I hope all your various and sundry holidays and end of western calendar year plans are going well, and that everyone you love is happy and healthy. Take care of yourselves, and have a peaceful Yule/Solstice/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Christmas/(super late) Diwali/Arba’een/Saturnalia/Festivus/New Year.

Title is from “Winter Song” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles