#FreestyleFriday “Musical Youth” by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Musical Youth cover


~ Award winning title ~

2nd place in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
#12 in Amazon Hot New Releases – Teen and Young Adult Performing Arts Fiction – in its first month of release

Featured in Essence Magazine February 2016

Music, Discovery, Love. Can one summer make the difference of a lifetime?

Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond, their passion for music, and Zahara finds herself a part, not just of Shaka’s life, but also that of his boys, the Lion Crew. When they all get roles in a summer musical, Zahara, Shaka, and the rest of the Lion Crew use the opportunity to work on a secret project. But the Crew gets much more than they bargained for when they uncover a dark secret linking Shaka and Zahara’s families and they’re forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about class, colour, and relationships on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

“There are no missteps in this tender coming-of-age romance, only an enthusiasm for love and life that reverberates triumphantly, as both Shaka and Zahara battle their demons with hope’s persistent chorus.” – CaribbeanBeat Magazine.

“Musical Youth is a beautifully crafted novel with the leitmotiv of music running throughout it. This is a powerful and credible story of young love between two likeable heroes.” – Burt Award for Caribbean literature.

“Musical Youth is a compelling read because Hillhouse has managed to make readers really care about the characters and their struggles.” -Trinidad Guardian.


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About the Author

Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean writer Joanne C. Hillhouse has six books – 2 adult novels, 2 teen/young adult novels, 2 children’s picture books – in the international marketplace. Several of her poems, short fiction, non-fiction, and other writing (play/screenplay) have been published in Caribbean and international anthologies and journals. She freelances as a writer, editor, writing coach, and course/workshop facilitator.

Find her online at http://jhohadli.wordpress.com. She coordinates a developmental writing project called Wadadli Pen; read more about that and access the Caribbean literary arts at http://wadadlipen.wordpress.com. Also look for Joanne on social media, especially on Instagram and  Facebook.   And check out her videos on YouTube as ‘antiguanwriter’.


#AudioBook “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” by Rita Williams-Garcia

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Digital Audio Edition
by Rita Williams-Garcia is $3.99 (Or FREE with Trial)

A National Book Award Finalist

From beloved Newbery Honor winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia comes a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family, and love that will appeal to fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.

Clayton feels most alive when he’s with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and the band of Bluesmen—he can’t wait to join them, just as soon as he has a blues song of his own. But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton’s mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that’s no way to live.

Armed with his grandfather’s brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Unabridged Digital Audio Edition is $3.99 at Libro.fm and Kobo now through July 1st.

What Good Music Can Teach Us About Writing


by Andrea Lundgren


I was thinking about this the other day while on hold. I was waiting for a break in the music that signaled that someone was going to rescue me from the unending monotony, so when the music would change from stringed instruments music to a pause, I’d get excited…only to have the music start another movement.

And it got me thinking about plotting. I realized there are three things we can learn from good music (and from bad music, in a let’s-avoid-doing-what-they-did sort of way).

via What Good Music Can Teach Us About Writing

The Year Was 1969


Last week, I was exchanging comments with James about Sugar, Sugar by The Archies. I’d posted a youtube video and the lyrics for a #SongLyricSunday music challenge in mid-December. For those not in the know… or not born yet, Sugar, Sugar was the number one song in the country September 20 through October 11 in 1969, and subsequently, the Billboard Top 100 Song of the Year (RIAA).

Needless to say, we heard it…a LOT! No one thought it odd that a song sang by fictional cartoon characters ruled the airwaves and won the year. The song’s co-author, Andy Kim, would go on to record, Rock Me Gently, a number one hit in 1974.

It got me to thinking—what else were we listening to in 1969?

I was the ripe old age of nine in 1969, with three older siblings and an extensive music collection. (Vinyl 45s were 69¢!) I pulled out paper and pen and listed the songs I could remember. The mister even added a few… and we didn’t even touch the surface. Giving up, we turned to Google… and ended up building a new playlist!


The Number One Songs of 1969

Heard it Through the Grapevone


January 4 – January 25 – Heard it Through the GrapevineMarvin Gaye




February 1 – February 8 – Crimson and CloverTommy James and the Shondells




February 15 – March 8 – Everyday PeopleSly and the Family Stone




March 15 – Aril 5 – DizzyTommy Roe




April 12 – May 17 – Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine5th Dimension




May 24 – June 21 – Get BackThe Beatles with Billy Preston




June 28 – July 5 – Love Theme from “Romeo & JulietHenry Mancini




July 12 – August 16 – In the Year 2525/Exordium and TerminusZager & Evans






August 23 – September 13 – Honky Tonk WomenThe Rolling Stones





September 20 – October 11 – Sugar, SugarThe Archies




October 18 – October 25 – I Can’t Get Next To YouThe Temptations




November 1 – Suspicious MindsElvis Presley




November 8 – November 22 – Wedding Bell Blues5th Dimension




November 29 – Come Together/SomethingThe Beatles




December 6 – December 13 – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him GoodbyeSteam




December 20 – Leaving on a Jet PlanePeter, Paul, and Mary




December 27 – Someday We’ll Be TogetherDiana Ross and the Supremes






Any Baby Boomer can tell you that’s a pretty amazing year in music. More than half of these songs are now classics and have been covered by other artists. Some… several times!

Do you have a memorable year of music?


“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Victor Hugo
Images from Wikipedia

“Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation” by Questlove

99¢ at time of posting!

Soul Train cover

“Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation

Genre: Music/Humor & Entertainment/History & Criticism

Release Date: December 3, 2013

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From Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the award-winning hip-hop group the Roots, comes this vibrant book commemorating the legacy of Soul Train—the cultural phenomenon that launched the careers of artists such as Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Whitney Houston, Lenny Kravitz, LL Cool J, and Aretha Franklin. Questlove reveals the remarkable story of the captivating program, and his text is paired with more than 350 photographs of the show’s most memorable episodes and the larger-than-life characters who defined it: the great host Don Cornelius, the extraordinary musicians, and the people who lived the phenomenon from the dance floor. Gladys Knight contributed a foreword to this incredible volume. Nick Cannon contributed the preface.

Throwback Thursday: Baby Boomer Edition!

Okay, Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, and Millennials – talk quietly amongst yourselves while Baby Boomers get in the WayBack Machine for a Throwback Thursday stroll down Memory Lane!