Monday, December 21, 2015

Ho,ho,ho . . .

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a killer Kwanzaa to you all!!
To say that this has been a rollercoaster of a year would be a gross misrepresentation of the past 360 days, and an insult to understatement.
That said, I have great faith in the coming year . . . well, not so much in the state of the world, nor humanity for that matter, but in what I can do as an individual. And really, if we would all simply take care of ourselves while extending that same level of respect to those around us, this world would be a far more tolerable place. I personally try (and I emphasize ' try') to follow one universal truth; the one golden rule:
"Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence."
That was written somewhere around 372-289 BC by Mencius, a follower of Confucius; and the core essence of that statement has been repeated by every great philosopher or prophet from the beginning of recorded history. From the Taoist to the Greek, from Jesus to Confucius.
So, my Christmas wish is for you all to carry that simple thought into the New Year . . . .
However! my more tangible Christmas gift to you all is this.
Book 2 is finally finished. I wrapped it up this morning with the final text for the back cover and sent it off. And as happy as that makes me, I missed my publishing deadline by about two weeks, so my fantasy of being published, with copies available by Christmas is not gonna happen.
So, to make it up to those of you who have been (im)patiently waiting, I am making you this offer.
Go to my website and order Book 2. If it is a gift, I will send a personal email to the recipient, informing them of your gifting, and letting them know that they will be receiving a world-class adventure cleverly disguised as a book within the next 30 days.
This package will include a personalized, signed copy of Book 2 with your name listed as the giver of the gift. (and if you wish, include whatever personal message you would like, and I will transcribe it as well.)
Now here's where it gets better.
As the book is a Trilogy, I can include Book 1 with the package, and to go further still, if you so wish, I will put your recipient on my mailing list to receive Book 3 as soon as it is published.
( Remember! Book 3 has already been written, it only needs to be edited and adjusted accordingly.)
So the breakdown would be as follows:
Purchase signed copy of Book 2 as a gift w/ letter: $20.00
The above, with Book 1 included; $35.00
Signed copies of Books 1 and 2, with a gift card informing the lucky recipient of the impending arrival of Book 3: the thrilling conclusion of the Southwestern Songline series. $55.00
So there you have it Kids. A killer Christmas gift for your friends that can appreciate a great adventure, a good laugh, and a bit of philosophy all wrapped up in a light-hearted, yet thought-provoking armchair journey.
And, by the way, my aspirations for Kickstarter have not diminished. I've just been too busy as of late. But I'm winding down my day job, and with luck, will be requesting funding by New Years.
So, please, help Santa out. With your help, the trilogy could be done that much faster, and the sequel could be providing entertainment by Summer of 2017
Again, a hearty Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hi ...

It's been awhile I know . . . . much happens, yet nothing of great import occurs.
I have been working tirelessly on the books, and although slow, I am pleased with my progress. I do wish I had done this before I released the first book, but then life is a learning process and I know so much more, (as well as being better at the craft) than I did a year ago.
But my plodding efforts are producing a much better book overall, so in that I'm happy.
Book two should be available by mid-September, and I hope to have the boxed set out by Christmas; and really, that is how it should be read. It was written as one long stand-alone novel, with the sequel being a second set of books . . . It is, however, still a fun read one at a time.
Okay; now for the personal note.
Last week the son of a dear friend of mine and his girlfriend were on their way to Maui to attend her sister's wedding, and as they were in the neighborhood, they worked out a stop on the Big Island to visit JJ and I. Now, company is always fun, but this one put an oddly nostalgic spin on the week.
These kids; and I refer to them as kids because they are in their mid-twenties, and that makes 'em kids . . . they were a treat, but as I mentioned, their being here brought back memories by the boatload.
First let me say that they were charming, incredibly polite, and wonderful house guests, who also happen to be very talented musicians.
Now, I'm a bit jaded. I have been around great music most of my life and I've worked with some of the biggest names in show biz.
I am also quite selective in my likes and dislikes. Therefore, I am rarely impressed with the direction or the quality of the music I hear, whether it be live or recorded. I absolutely despise rap and am, on the whole, equally unimpressed with hip-hop.
But these guys are doing something newly retro, interesting, and fun. As a matter of fact, I recommend you go to their website and check 'em out, You'll find the link at the end of this post.. . .
As I was saying, we don't often hang with people this much younger than ourselves. And since we have no children of our own we aren't reminded by said prodigy how quickly we are growing old.
So it was refreshing to talk with smart and talented people who have not yet been beaten into submission by reality's blunt hammer, nor soaking in egos bouillabaisse.
Anyway, the conversations were grand; but left me with mixed feelings . . .
Now, I suspect Jessies father had given him a little insight to my past, and having stuffed a lot of living into a handful of decades, they allowed me to draw from my river of experience and offer them not so much advice, but perspective. And of the two, I feel perspective is often the more valuable.
So in that, I felt I provided a minor service.
But also, in talking with them I realized how much I miss the open innocence of youth, the unfettered hope, and boundless energy that being twenty provides; and perversely, how blissfully unaware we are of the fleeting nature of those magical years . . . Yet when spoken as warning/advice, the words sound both trite, and cliche'.
Ahh well, I have also found that one of life's greatest ironies is that while we may hear the wisdom in words; in the end, time is the only teacher we truly listen to.
So, having dropped them off at the airport last night so they might continue their own amazing adventure, I was left thinking of just that; the elasticity of time . . . .
Jessie, the handsome young fellow with the mustache and the red tie, is the same age I was when I met Jeudi, and we celebrated our 34th-anniversary just yesterday. And Lauren, the lovely vocalist was born the year after we moved to Hawaii . ..
With these things poking my memory cage like a child with a stick,
I spent some time this morning searching for quotes with 'growing older' in the title, and I discovered ( with no surprise) there to be no shortage on the subject.
Many were witty, others profound. But as I studied them, trying to find the one that would work well in this post I remembered a quote that Teller lifted from a song I wrote for my Grandfather before he died.
It's in Book One, and says it all in one simple sentence.
"To sacrifice youth and replace it with truth seems an unfairly high price to pay."
Oh, and one last thing. I know this is a good book, and if the reviews have any validity, many people agree.
But understand, if no-one else knows about it, well, that's as far as it goes. So please, tell people about the book! share your enthusiasm with others . . . Everyone I've ever met appreciates being turned on to a good read, and I can't tell you how many times I've been thanked for it, or thanked others for the same.
As for marketing, I am exploring all avenues and am beating my head against the wall trying to figure out how to market this on a nonexistent budget.
For those who are thinking of suggesting one of the funding sites such as Kickstarter, I'm putting together a video now, but still, I am a firm believer in word of mouth being an incredibly powerful form of promotion. So, please, open up!
I would also like to say many, many mahalo's for following my adventures. I truly hope you are enjoying my slightly skewed views on life, as well as finding humor, and perhaps an occasional bit of enlightenment within these pages.

Soul-Jive & Gypsy-Blues

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hi everbody!

Okay. An ongoing question/discussion I have with my readers, and more so my yet to readers, is the concept of a "Songline."
Now, the book is not so metaphysical as this, nor is it a dry. But the concept relates to the book, and the book encapsulates the concept. . . . So, that said, here you are.
Songlines are about singing where you've been or creating a map with words. The literal concept of Songlines is to "sing the trail", to "sing the place", to recreate and remember the physical landscape in song. And, it should be noted, this doesn't just apply to a literal landscape. Since few of us rely on a literal landscape for our sustenance anymore this concept can be extended to any figurative landscape. We all yearn for a sense of place and this is one way to achieve it.
Songlines in Australia can extend thousands of miles. Aborigines can unerringly find their way across terrain unknown to them simply by knowing the land's song--the songline. The Navajo Deerway Chant is a healing ceremony based on a songline of a couple hundred miles which circles a particular valley in Arizona.
Ones immediate purpose of Songlines is to introduce them as a concept which sums up or encapsulates your particular experiences of a specific location. Using words and drummed "phrases," these Songlines are the equivalent of maps of experience which, whenever they are played and sung or said, will guide you back to and through the places you walked. They will return you to (or to you) the feelings and events you experienced each night. Like all maps, the more specific Songlines are, the more useful they'll be for you and others.
To create Songlines:
1. Take the time to recall the feelings specific to the particular places you've walked/frequented. Each environment is very different from any other. In order to create a Songline one must be aware of that difference.
2. Retrace the course of the travel in your mind, what you saw and felt what occurred, and what was heard .
3. Remember details such as the texture of the sand, the profile of the mesa you saw while walking along the arroyo, the chokecherry trees growing along the stream, etc.,etc.
4. Start attaching words to these images. As is often true in poetry, the fewer words it takes to describe and evoke your experience of place, the more powerful the description will be.
5. The final step is to fit the words of your memories and impressions into a "song."
Go take a walk around the block. Then come up with several images of that walk. Add what you hear and felt. Try to make them combinations of experience and details of place. What makes this block unique from other blocks? Begin putting your experiences into lines and verses that match the rhythms and patterns of your walk/block.
Creating Songlines isn't as hard as it might sound. Don't think about writing poetry, certainly don't think about making art. Do your composing in the peripheral state, the same state you used to recollect details, the same state you were in while dreaming.
The whole existence of Songlines is based on the fact that in the peripheral mind, there's little difference between what you see and what you feel, little difference between who you are and where you are.
Songlines were once common to all hunter-gatherers. All peoples who wandered needed these Land Songs. The Aboriginal peoples of Australia have undoubtedly created the most complex and comprehensive Songlines. They combine mythology with family and clan history and literally follow trade routes from one side of the Australian continent to the other, passing through as many as twenty different language groups. The common element of such a long song is the melody, and its melodies that literally hold the Australian continent and its people together. So important are Songlines to Aborigines that unsung land is dead land, and if a song is forgotten, any land which is no longer sung over, will die. To allow such a thing to occur is the worst possible crime for an Aborigine. To be able to sing a Songline indicates an historically unbroken, intimate knowledge of the land. In short, it marries people to place. This is called ownership.
In the Southwest, the Navajo are known for the lyrical beauty of their Songlines. The following lines are from a Bringing Home Ceremony.
I fly around the edge of Fluted Rock
Now I being Early Morning Boy, I walk around the edge
The Black Mountain, hogan at sky center, I walk around the edge
These being Wind People, young men, I walk around the edge
With the Sun being still there I encircle it, I walk around the edge
I walk around the edge, I walk around the edge, I walk around the edge.
The sum of a Songline when we write about a journey becomes our communal map of that journey, of the place and our experience of and in that place. Songlines reinforce our unity with the land, and express's the same oneness we experience while engaged in the peripheral mind.
Well, I hope that helps.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hi -ho Kiddies!

I awoke in a grumpy mood this morning . . .. I have been working too hard (as we all must) my cars are broke (again) and my dog was in surgery yesterday. (she'll live, but it's an expensive deal)
I know there is a country song in there, and when I find the time I'll squeeze a tune out of this week's sh*t hammering.
 So, as I mumbled into my morning coffee, fumbling with the buttons on my keyboard and cursing the gods for not having allowed me the good fortune of being born to a wealthy family; a rarified group of folks whom I refer to as; "The lucky sperm club,"
I turned on my trusty Mac to check out the dailies on my book.
Lo and behold, there before my tired, bloodshot eyes was the latest review of Book 0ne in Amazon reviews. . .
What I saw, so eloquently stated turned my frown upside down. For
knowing that people are finding my novel this enjoyable helps to soften my hardships, and reinforces my belief that my years of effort were not in vain.
So, I've now had my coffee, (sweetened with local honey) and having reluctantly, and temporarily, forgiven the gods their cruel oversight, I am off to work; lighter of step, and with the metaphorical feces wiped from my mug. For altho' I've paid my dues, suffering does not cover the rent. And besides, I must make the moolah to get my pooch out of medical hock. ( after all, it's not her fault)

 Here is the review that brightened my day.

By itoldalthea

If you're looking for a good, action-packed, adventurous book to read this summer, or fall, or winter...heck, this spring, this one is it!

Author Denver Davis his knocked it out of the park in his debut novel, Southwestern Songline: Book 1 - The Fall.

Set in SW Colorado and the canyons of Utah, the story follows the exploits of Teller, a man's man that also has a way with the women. Teller leaves friends and admirers in his wake, and has a lasting impact on everyone he encounters. The Fall takes us from Telluride to Lake Powell and the journey is full of action, plot twists, romance, intrigue, and suspense. Along the way Teller dips into the realm of the supernatural and brings you, the reader, in with him.

Having grown up in Colorado (but since long removed) the author's narrative brought me back to a time long ago in my life. While reading his descriptions of the various mountain ranges in SW Colorado, I could easily envision the different locations and return there in my mind's eye. Whether running rapids in a raft, finding refuge in a cave, or stepping into Teller's dreams while he sleeps, the author makes the reader feel as if they are a participant in the story rather than an observer. There were times I swear I could smell the river, the trees, and a character or two in desperate need of a shower.

Without giving away the plot I will say the adventures of Teller involve beautiful mountains (and one beautiful mountain woman in particular), raging rivers, Anasazi ruins, hair-raising helicopter flights, ancient spirits manifested in the present, long-lost treasure, music and booze-filled nights in the bars of Durango, and some old-fashioned western justice along the way to boot. The final two-thirds of the book were a very fast read; in fact, I couldn't put it down. The only disappointment for me was in the finishing of the book and the realization that I'll have to wait for the release of the second installment to pick up the story again.

As someone who has been an avid reader for 45 years I would rank this offering in my Top 15 of books I've ever read, and I recommend it to others without hesitation. The read is worth your time and you'll be rewarded with a story for the ages for your effort.

Yeah!! Thank you itoldalthea, and folks, read the book; apparently it's pretty damn good.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

       With another tug at his hat Teller stepped towards that upraised stone finger, favoring his right leg and cursing his reckless soul.
That he had not been kind to his body over the years was a colossal understatement, and that he was now suffering the consequences was certainly no surprise, for Teller was not a man who observed life, he absorbed it. He fought, drank and danced with it. He was a man of great appetite, and having partaken fully the banquet, was now paying dearly for his hunger.
    Thinking back to a song he had written for his Grandfather before he had died, Teller sang a prophetically appropriate line: “To sacrifice youth and replace it with truth seems an unfairly high price to pay.”
And so it seemed.
That was an excerpt from Book One: "The Fall"
I decided to drop this in this morning as I find it particularly poignant. I had a birthday earlier this month, and I am feeling every one of my years.
I would write more, but I'm late . . . it's time to go out into the world and take my daily beating.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ahhh, Life . . .

            Last week I got a wild hair and called a buddy of mine, (a pretty good guy who is not only blessed with a sense of humor, but aint too bad on that ole’ six-string box.)
Any old hoo, I talked him into flyin’ us over to Oahu for the big Fourth o’ July Fireworks show in his little Grumman Cheetah aero-plane, where, for lodging, we got to stay on his 40’ sailboat. Now, this is one of those deals where altho’ I may not have the toys, I have still have friends who do, and I sometimes get to play with them. (when they are willing to share of course)
It was a blast, and I tell you this not to provoke jealousy, but to emphasize the vagaries of our existence; for, as fun as it was, I missed my humble home and the small pleasures it provides . . . which leads us to the point of this post.    
            These are men who were not nearly as foolish in their youth as I; for while they have managed to acquire and retain such wonderful things, I have managed only to hold on to a few fine treasures; a Woman, a Dog, a Guitar and a bottomless Chest packed with songs and stories. (I have capitalized these on purpose to indicate their incalculable value.)

            It seems my friends, bless their souls for loving me as they do, and sharing their toys, were lucky enough to have metaphorical cotton stuffed in their ears at birth, muting the siren song that called to me from the day I first opened my ears.
For those who've not heard the sweetness of that wicked refrain, there are no words capable of describing the delicate fishhook that imbeds itself into one’s soul, convincing the unlucky recipient to run themselves repeatedly onto the rocks; only to be left to salvage the contents of your ship from the flotsam and jetsam found in the surrounding waters of your being.
            Now, with the illness that befell me in 2004, I've spent the past decade and a half crawling across the sharp reefs of survival, the worst of me left in bits and pieces, caught on the razors edge for the scavengers to feast upon. But with love and luck, and blessings from above, I have not only survived, but have come back with a vengeance, scarred and beaten, but a better man for it all, with the talents that had lay snubbed for so long being wrestled to the surface where at last, they see the light of day.
            I could go on with the observations and witticisms that a lifetime of livin’ has shown me. (As a matter of fact, I've a song by that title, and it will soon be included on this site, and on FB through a service called; Sound Cloud.) But I feel that by reading my novel; ‘Southwestern Songline’ you will find Teller walking you through a world still tinged with magic.
            So, as I'm beginning to ramble, I will leave you with a fun little tune I wrote awhile back that seems to fit the general concept of my reality. It’s a simple thing, but beneath all of my complexity, so am I.

Ahhhh, Life . . .


Denver C. Davis  Copywrite 2004

It came as no surprise to me
 When I turned off my TV
         F                                                     G
That everything I thought I knew was wrong
Like Alice down the rabbit hole
The whole damn things out of control
               F                     G                    C
Now the best that I can do is just hang on

 Well it seems a few decades have passed
Since the days I thought I had a grasp
On what at the time passed for reality
Now looking back in retrospect
The one thing that I most regret
Was betting that I’d keep my sanity

        * CHORUS *
Barre F        Barre G          Barre F           Barre G
All bets are off now, all bets are off now
Barre F             Barre G         C
All bets are off now you bet!
Barre F                              Barr G
I’ve been played by the best of fools
       Barre F                                Barre G
But you learn the game, they change the rules
      Barre F                      G         C
So roll those dice but, all bets are off!

Life’s a lot like countin’ cards
Except twice as fast, and twice as hard
And there’s at least a dozen jokers to every Queen
Be you Jack a’ diamonds, or Ace a’ Spades
The dealin’ slows and the money fades
So you best have somethin’ hidden up your sleeve                                                                                                                                          
Win or lose, the results the same
So it’s all in how you play the game
You can play it crazy or play it crazy fun
Between lunatic and the slightly strange
The little off, full blown deranged
There’s always someone to show you how it’s done

All bets are off now, all bets are off now
All bets are off now you bet!
When I was young I could have sold my soul
Now the dang things worn all full of holes
But it’s all I got, so, all bets are off

It’s academic anyway
Tomorrow will be yesterday
And you’d think by now I might have had enough
I would’a bet a leg, tossed in an arm
By fifty I would have bought the farm
But here I am so, all bets are off

All bets are off now all bets are off now
All bets are off now you bet!
 All bets are off now; it’s a losin’ game anyhow
But I have not lost it all no not yet;
I have not lost it all no…..
Not yet!