By Pat Browning
Once upon another life I lived in a Victory Hall. World War 2 was going full blast. The only men on campus were soldiers, sailors and flyboys. Frat houses had been turned into Victory Halls for female students.
Every evening before dinner, we trooped downstairs and gathered around the piano to hear one of our girls play boogie-woogie. She played by ear and I can see her yet, smiling and tapping one foot while she pounded out Tommy Dorsey’s Boogie Woogie.
Another time, another place. I don’t remember how I surfed into a smokin’ video by the Swiss pianist, Silvan Zingg, but I live on the Internet so whatever I was looking for faded to black when I found Zingg. His video “Dancin’ The Boogie” snapped me right back to college days. Great piano work and two of the best jitterbuggers – William and Maeva – I’ve seen in action since those wartime college dances.
Back then, I had never seen jitterbugs like the sailors from New York and New Jersey. Maybe it was the cute bellbottom trousers, but whatever it was – they had it in spades. My one regret was that I was too bashful to get out on the floor and give it a try.
Silvan Zingg is still working on his web sites. “Dancin’ the Boogie” is on YouTtube, but the video is of poor quality. The best quality video is on his BoogieGroove web site under Gallery. The tiny url is http://tinyurl.com/c7sgl6
One YouTube video not to be missed by boogie lovers is Zingg’s twin grand pianos duet with French pianist Jean-Paul Amouroux. It’s at http://tinyurl.com/c3kt3n
It’s not just free music you’ll find on the Internet. Short stories abound, as authors look for new audiences.
One example: two delightful short stories by Carola Dunn, free for the reading at http://www.belgravehouse.com
Both stories feature Daisy Dalrymple, Dunn’s character from her novels. In “Storm in a Tea Shoppe” there’s foxglove in the soup at Daisy’s favorite tea shoppe. In “Unhappy Medium,” Daisy and a friend go to a séance in a story with a surprise twist at the end.
Earl Staggs is writer with a short story to be read at Mysterical-E, a free mystery ezine. The Staggs story, “The Missing Sniper,” features Adam Kingston, a psychic who’s called in by a sheriff to figure out who tried to assassinate a state senator. You can read the archived story at http://tinyurl.com/apnnzy .
Adam is the kind of character you wish you could know personally. Staggs developed him further in his mystery novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER. The novel was first published by Quiet Storm in 2005, and republished with an intriguing new cover in 2008 by Cornell Maritime Press.
In the current issue of Mysterical-E you’ll find “Becalmed in Hell” by I. Van Laningham, the latest in Van Laningham’s long-running series of Andi Holmes short stories. Opening line: “Viet Nam, like alcohol, gets into your blood; death is the only cure.”
Set in 1971, this story finds Andi at Fort Monmouth, married, and about to end her army career. An old Viet Nam regular named Phil tracks her down and hires her to find his car, which was stolen by a “pretty boy” he picked up in San Francisco. A gritty, well-written story, you can read it at http://www.mystericale.com .
One of my favorite writers is Peter Abresch. We go back to 1998 when he wrote his first James P. Dandy Elderhostel Mystery, BLOODY BONSAI. I reviewed it for The Hanford (California) Sentinel, and have kept an eye on him ever since. He has written five Elderhostel mysteries, going through publishers Quiet Storm, WriteWay and Intrigue Press in the process.
His latest, NAME GAMES, is available through CreateSpace. I read it in a downloaded manuscript and liked it very much. To those who don’t know, Elderhostel is a travel/study program for senior citizens, so the Elderhostel mysteries are set in different locales.
But Abresch doesn’t stop there. Along with free writing tips on his web site, and a newsletter with his poetry (which is quite good and on the spiritual side) he has “founded” Sidewalk Books. You can hear two humorous stand-alone mysteries free on his podcasts – CAPITOL COVEN and IF THEY ASK FOR A HAND, ONLY GIVE THEM A FINGER.
Those two books are also available in print, on CD – oh, heck. Just go to http://sidewalkbooks.com and let the author explain it all to you.
Words and music. They’re part of our makeup – the need to create, to communicate. They started with jungle drums and drawings on cave walls, perhaps even earlier. They’re going strong, out into space and beyond … someone playing boogie woogie, someone writing a few good words