ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 1

The truth behind the story!

This is a 4 part mini series I wrote over the weekend as a companion to my recently published book. It will run over the next 4 weeks, every Monday morning at 8am!

Thank you!

Angel with a Broken Wing is my first work of fiction. It’s got all of my favorite elements in it. But where do these ideas come from? Well, I’m going to tell you.

I’m going to think back and try to remember some of the inspiration for this story.

I am obviously Christian Blackmore. Not anymore, but I was back in the 90’s. I was miserable in my marriage and my job, and I wished  I could just run away from the life I had created.

The Cover: I was an art major all through school. When I think about that now, it feels like a million miles away. I liked comic books growing up, and my first exposure to art was in comics. I always made art throughout my childhood, so art class was a natural progression for me in school. It was the only class that was effortless.

I loved to work in pen and ink. I liked its stark simplicity. I have several works from high school that I still retain in my collection. This one, The Angel is my favorite.

It was an incredibly cold day in February of 1980. I was in my double period, art major class. There were only two of us in the class that were any good. Me and Bill Polini.

I looked out the window as the snow came flying. I took pen in hand, and imagined a beautiful girl. In a warm place. She’s with me. We’re maybe riding horses…or camels. She turns to look at me, and the reflection of the oasis behind me reflects in her sunglasses. I long to kiss her.

“Yea. I should try to draw that.”

Uncle John: I had an uncle John on my mother’s side of the family. I share many of the same characteristics of my mom’s side of the family more than my dad. My mother had four brothers; Roland, Robert, Norman, and John. All of her brothers kept their hair and all died in their late 70’s and 80’s so maybe if my liver holds up, I’ll meet the same fate. John never left me any inheritance, but my uncle Rob left all of us kids some loot and it was substantial. He lived in Florida.

The Pinto: My grandmother, (My dad’s mom) We called her Grammy. I loved her. When everybody thought I was a piece of garbage in my early teens, she was the only one that had faith in me. So She will always have a special place in my heart. She was a cool lady, who liked a cold glass of beer and some good neighborhood gossip. Just an adorable lady. When she died, the last car she owned was a gold Ford Pinto. That car is my last memory of her. So I used it in the story. The car’s fate is based on stories I heard back in the 70’s about an engineering flaw in the vehicle.

Woodbury, New Jersey: I lived in Woodbury from 1992 to 2001. My wife and I owned a house on Barber Street. I modeled Christian Blackmore’s residence after my own house there. So when I wrote about him in his house in Woodbury, I could picture my own life there.

The Phoenix: I remember first hearing about the story of the Phoenix on an old record album. It was a collection of stories about superheroes. It was like an old radio show type collection of plays on one LP. I remember hearing about the Phoenix in one of those stories, probably back as far as 1973. When one of the characters describes the Phoenix, it is a verbatim rendition of what I heard on that record, nearly 50 years ago. I always felt like I could relate to the Phoenix in my own life. I always felt that no matter how many times I got destroyed in my life, I always came back better than what I was before. I think that’s why I have the characters make a stop over in Phoenix, Arizona on their journey to LA. There are some transforming moments for a few of them in that chapter.

Gloucester County College: When I was married back in the 90’s my then wife came from a very collegiate family. I never went to college, but had several college credits from the American Institute of Banking through courses I had taken through the bank I worked for. My wife thought I should go back to college at night and take courses to get my college degree. So I did. I took those classes at night after work, at Gloucester County Community College. I don’t feel that it was a waste of time, because it led to some interesting things. I’ll be getting to them shortly.

The Gun: Everything you read in Angel about the Bulldog .44 revolver is true. I never owned a gun, and like Christian Blackmore, I hate guns. But all of the info about that weapon is from real events. The story Christian tells Sheryl about the girl at the shore is all true. That happened to me in the summer of 1977. Funny thing is, I recently reconnected with that girl from New York on Facebook. (At 57, she’s still hot!) Oh, one last thing, I had to make a slight change in the action sequence involving that gun. During the final edits of the book I discovered that the bulldog .44 only holds 5, not 6 bullets like most revolvers! I guess because those bullets are so big!

Sheryl Stanton: Sheryl was inspired by a girl I met in one of the banking courses I took at Gloucester County College. I pretty much describe Sheryl as how this girl was in real life. We had a good friendship for a brief period and even had some romantic dalliances. She did break it off with me when she moved to California for a period of time. The real Sheryl never worked in a mental health facility. That’s completely made up for the story.

Karl Itzky: The first kid I met when I went to Frankford High School in 1978, was a guy named Karl Itzky. He was the only person I knew other than my older sister. I just liked his name. He is nothing like the Karl Itzky in the book. He was a nice guy, who I sadly lost touch with when I moved up the social ladder in high school.

Honest Files: The name of the bar/restaurant where Christian and Sheryl hang out is taken from a song by the band, Urge Overkill. There are many references in the book about music I was listening to back in the 90’s where this story takes place. It’s from their album, Exit the Dragon. Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Hey, hey I’m dead on arrival
Hey, hey I’m distant
Crawling right back
Yes, I’m crawling right back
‘Cause I’m honesty, don’t break my heart
Honesty won’t break it
Honesty won’t break you heart
Honest it won’t
It won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t…

I thought it was a cool song, and that bar is where I hung out with the real Sheryl back then. It’s where we would spill our guts to each other about everything in our lives. I used to say we were opening the ‘Honesty Files’ about what we were experiencing at that time.

The real place is exactly the way I describe it in the book. The animal trophies on the walls, all of the real bookcases all around the room, and the fireplace. We spent many a night there pounding martinis and smoking tons of cigarettes. (Yea, you could smoke in restaurants and bars back then!) It was a welcome repose from our chaotic lives.

Exterior - Picture of Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, Woodbury ...

Here’s the real Honesty Files… It’s a place called Charlie Brown’s at 111 Broad Street, in Woodbury, NJ

 

More next week!

 

You can buy Angel with a Broken Wing on kindle and paperback right here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock: The Most Metal Album Led Zeppelin Recorded

When you look for the origins of heavy metal music, you’ll always find Led Zeppelin as part of the conversation. For all the sweet acoustic ballads and experimentation the band did over the years, the constant on every album was music that got heavy and very loud.

Just ask Geezer Butler, the bass player of metal pioneer Black Sabbath. “Zeppelin paved the way for us,” Butler said. “They were the heaviest thing, up until we came along. They very much started the genre.”

On Zeppelin’s first album, you got several different types of heavy. On “Dazed and Confused,” it was the ominous type that became so popular later. Then there was “Communication Breakdown,” which looked ahead to both metal and punk thrashing.

Led Zeppelin II got even heavier, and the band never shied away from the thunder on subsequent albums. But with Presence, the record that featured almost none of the keyboards and acoustic stylings of the other albums, Zeppelin had its most metal moment.

‘Presence’ contained the metal assault of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine.’

Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page perform live onstage in 1972. | Robert Knight Archive/Redferns

You don’t find tunes like “That’s the Way” or even “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” on Presence. In fact, you don’t find John Paul Jones on keyboard at all. Jimmy Page, who wrote the majority of the album’s material with Robert Plant, mostly kept his acoustic guitars in their cases, too.

By this point in the band’s life (late 1975), Led Zeppelin had already delivered masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir.” They’d also closed the book on heavy blues interpretations with “In My time of Dying.”

With “Achilles Last Stand,” you got what the title promised: a seasoned warrior not leaving the battlefield before thrashing almost everyone in sight. It was a full metal attack.

Between Jones’s heavy bass, Page’s crushing riff, and the thunder of John Bonham’s drums, there was no mistaking “Achilles” for anything short of metal. Plant’s vocals are the only thing you could describe as subdued here, and by the end he too gets loud.

Then there was the unbridled assault of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” On this tune, Plant joins the party in style with full-throated wailing and a sinister harmonica part. Bonham’s vicious drumming on these tunes heavily influenced drummers like Metallica’s Lars Ulrich (see: “One”).

The first record from ‘Physical Graffiti’ is also among Zeppelin’s heaviest offerings.

Led Zeppelin appears at the West Coast premiere for their concert film ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ Hollywood, October 21, 1976. | Frank Edwards/Fotos international/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin didn’t go all-metal for a reason: They considered their music far bigger than that. They never wanted to thought of as one-dimensional. You get a good look at the band’s philosophy on Physical Graffiti, the group’s only double album.

Five of the six tracks go straight at the listener, with Page and Bonham going in for the kill on every song. The exception is “Houses of the Holy,” which obviously came from sessions for the previous album. Had you replaced that “The Wanton Song,” it would be as heavy as Zep ever got.

Of course, the second disc from Physical Graffiti dulled the blow considerably with its acoustic tunes and “Boogie With Stu.” That was the point. And even with monster rockers like “Custard Pie,” the funkiness of Bonham’s drumming stands out.

Put it this way: Led Zeppelin went metal on several occasions (especially on Presence), and metal never got that good again.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

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If You Feel These 5 Things, You Don’t Love Him – You Love The Idea Of Him

“Am I in love with him or the idea of him?” is such a common phrase you probably hear people say all the time.

Until we are in the situation with someone we’re dating where we have to truly ask ourselves the question, we never really think much about what it means. And when we do, it’s usually hard to tell the difference between loving someone or loving the idea of them.

If you’re confused about how to know if you love someone, here are 5 signs you’re really in love with the idea of being in a relationship with him instead.

1. You’re trying to fill a void.

This requires a lot of thinking and a lot of soul searching so it may be emotionally draining.

Are you trying to find companionship or intimacy with someone because you miss having a body to be next to? Are you seeking validation from someone else? And are you just looking to fill up your time?

Regardless, if you think you are trying to fill an empty space, you probably are, which means you probably only like the idea of them to fill a void and that’s it.

2. The more time you spend together the less you enjoy it.

When you genuinely are romantically interested in someone you will quickly notice how much they enhance your life and how experiences become so much more special even if they are simple.

Love helps us learn to be humans and bring out or emotions the most. You can’t substitute that feeling with anyone else.

By seeing this person a lot and either feeling bored or not that excited about life, it’s a good sign that you are just interested in the idea of them. You should be thrilled to go shopping with your interest simply because you just get to spend more time with them.

3. You can’t seem to get over their imperfections.

Obviously, when you spend a lot of time with your partner you learn a lot about their quirks. If you truly love someone you can fairly easily accept them for who they are. Otherwise, those annoying traits, such as; angry, stubborn, negative, controlling, and selfish, will drive you up the wall.

If you sort of tolerate them but notice they are there all the time, you are probably interested in the idea of them.

4. You don’t feel like the complete you.

If you don’t feel like your partner is fulfilling your expectations of satisfaction and completion, there’s a good chance you aren’t interested in them.

When you’re with someone you should be complete on a deeper emotional level. But if there are roadblocks that keep preventing you from diving that deep together, then something is holding you back.

Yes, you need to feel complete as an individual, but you should also feel complete as a couple too.

5. You unknowingly expect them to do all of the work.

Relying on a relationship to fix your emotions basically means that your relationship is doomed from the start. Using someone else as an adjustment during a specific period in your life won’t work. On the flip side, you also shouldn’t rely on your partner for bringing everything into the relationship. While you just sit back and make them work.

Relationships are about balance and if this sounds like you, you might just want someone to fulfill you specifically in any given way rather than being in a deep-rooted commitment to them.

It’s super hard to determine if you are interested in the person or just the idea of them, but these tips should help you dig a little deeper to figure out your situation a little easier.

Obviously, if you find yourself mentally making excuses or having to deflect any of these points I think the answer is obvious you’re in love with the idea of them, not the person.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

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Every Man Needs These Two Things

And sex is not one of them.

There are certain things you need in life – food, shelter, clothing, sleep. There are certain things you may want — a new car, a better body, more hair. But there are 2 things that you must have, if you are ever going to live your best life.

We all want to live our best lives right?! If you do, these 2 things will go along way to getting you there.

  1. A life worth living
  2. A love to die for (it’s not necessarily what you think)

A life worth living

Living a life of purpose and meaning would seem to be intrinsic to us all. Why else would there be thousands of books, seminars, conferences, programs and events you can go to, that promise to help you discover these things.

But do you need to spend thousands of dollars to do so? I’m sure the zen monks of 300 years ago didn’t. Not saying those things are a waste of time or money. I’ve done some myself. But what can we simplify it down to?

Meaning and purpose comes down to this — what lights you up from the inside? What do you love to do, where time seems to pass so quickly that 3 hours feels like 3 minutes?

What gives you a reason to get up in the morning? And by that, I don’t mean, because you have to go to a job you hate and pay the bloody bills, though that may feel like your reality at the moment. What really makes you want to have another day so you can keep doing what you love?

Show me a man who has ‘something to live for’ and I’ll show you a man who is alive with meaning and purpose.

The inner man

To have a life worth living, you must first and always cultivate your inner man. So who is he?

Your inner man is the you that only you know. Others may feel him, see him, hear him or experience him, but only you truly know him. He is the voice inside of you. He is you. Sound like hippy bs?

Your inner man is the essence of who you are, and the reason you do what you do, good, bad or ugly. He is your operating system. He is made up of a combination of your innate humanness, your beliefs, your values, your spirit, the very core of who you are.

Your inner man is the man who stands up for what he believes in. He is the strength to your inner boy, when that boy wants to kick, scream, sulk, punch a wall, run or hide.

When you get your inner man on, you allow him to stand and be present. The boy inside of you no longer needs the attention, and no longer has anything to prove.

Imagine if you showed up as that man in your personal relationships, in your work, in your day to day living – no longer scared to move, no longer seeking attention, with nothing to prove. In other words, a calm, confident man.

That’s your inner man. You’ll find him when you’re still. You’ll find him when you meditate. You’ll find him in nature. You’ll find him when you seek him.

A love to die for

From Shakespeare to The Bachelor (love it or hate it), the notion of unrequited love has always been a powerful force throughout history.

From lovers to kings, movies, songs, books and poetry, humans seem to forever be in the pursuit of ‘love and romance’ – to ‘love’ and ’be loved’.

But let me take this on a slightly different tangent for today. A love to die for typically conjures up the stuff between lovers. But what if we viewed it through a different lens.

Lets not dumb this down to Hollywood style illusions about love, sex and romance. It’s not about ‘You Got Mail’ or ‘Sleepless in Seattle’.

Let’s put a real spin on this, and look at it through the portal of something deeper – personal sacrifice, dying to the self, renunciation of the ego, and detachment from ‘wanting’. Woah, that’s getting heavy right?

Buddha says that “attachment’ is the root of all suffering”. I tend to agree. Let’s think about this for a minute.

If you are so attached to something that you can’t let it go, or are so worried about losing it, what is that going to do to you? It might be a person or a thing or a job or an opportunity or anything really.

To detach doesn’t mean that you become numb and stop caring or trying. It just means that your self worth is not wrapped up in that thing.

In some circles it’s called dying to the self (the ego). All that simply means is, not being ‘attached’ to other people, or trivial pursuits like riches, sex, material possessions, power, lust and greed. You get where I’m going?

But if you’re busting your gut to get and have these things, can’t live without them, can’t stop thinking about them, then they have a grip on you that’s not healthy.

A wise man knows what he lives for and he knows what he needs to die for.

So when I say “a love to die for” — what I mean is, a love that you will not let yourself become so attached to, and dependent upon, that you lose yourself in the process. But when you let go, then you have everything.

Whether that means you literally lay down your life for someone else, or whether that means that you lay down what you think you want – to focus on the first thing in this blog – the inner man – doesn’t really matter.

The most important thing is, removing the obstacles within you, that then create the space and the capacity to be the best version of you, you can be.

So go ahead. Get your inner man on, put your ego aside, and live your best life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Why Everyone Should Celebrate Fathers & Men Who Mentor Like Dads, On Father’s Day

HAPPY FATHERS DAY!

Thank you to all the men who care for children who aren’t biologically their own.

Not every child grows up with a father in their life. That’s the sad reality of today’s society.

Although some may say having dad not around is better when the example is unhealthy, children are curious by nature. Growing without experiences that they see their friends having raises questions. Some children DO grow up with a dad or step dad in their life. So when a kid doesn’t they wonder what it feels like to have a man in their life?

And this is where the role of a father figure comes in: a man who is old enough to be a child’s dad, but isn’t. A man who is acting just like himself, but also points in the direction of personal responsibility and what it means to be a good human being. From a (fatherly) perspective.

What makes someone a father? Of course, the simple answer is biology. But father figures can be a fill-in dad for kids who don’t have one.

They can provide an image of what father’s do: protect, exhibit a different version of strength, problem-solving and fun.

A father figure could be the principal at school who recognizes that a child needs a bit of encouragement and they are there to listen in between classes or say a kind word just before they go home.

A father figure or mentor can be a football coach or a baseball coach who stays a little longer to practice throwing a ball or giving a bit of advice when a game didn’t go the way as planned and a player needs to improve their team attitude.

A father is someone that brings life to a child, but mentors, father figures, stepdads, and all types of men in different leadership roles can play a small or large role in the upbringing of a child these days.

They can be the person who motivates a kid when there is no father at home.

The child doesn’t even need to know that man in person. In fact, television has given us a few male role models that have shown the other side of fatherhood.

We don’t often talk or think about that, even on holidays where dads are celebrated on Father’s Day, but it’s there.

A few father figures on television that have helped shaped the idea of what it means to take on the role of dad, when a father couldn’t be around include:

  • “Bachelor Father”, Bentley Gregg raised his niece, Kelly after she lost her parents in an auto accident.
  • “Boy Meets World”, Mr. Feeny was a mentor to Cory. He wasn’t just a neighbor but he was the principal at his school.
  • “Breaking Bad”, Hank Schrader was there for Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) his sister.

I loved watching the movie, “Daddy’s Home” where a stepfather and the biological dad have to learn to set aside their differences in order to be there for kids they mutually love. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it!

Even in the movie “The Lion King”, when Simba lost his dad, it was Rafiki took on the fatherly role as a mentor and helped him to heal his heart, and find his courage to take on Scar and become the real King of the jungle!

Kids are smart. They understand the difference between a biological father, a legal parent, like a stepdad, and a man who just feels good to be around and the only way to describe it is with the word, ‘dad’.

There’s enough love in the world for all these types of roles men can play in the life of a child. And, if it takes a village to raise a one, then it can take many men (and women) to teach a boy what it means to be a man.

As a single mom of three boys, I’ve seen a few men mentor them in one way or another. None of them ever tried to take on the role of a real father, but I found a similarity in the way they described these men in their lives. They often used the term ‘my other dad’.

For example, I have a brother-in-law, John, who is as goofy as a guy can get. He is the one who they love to hang out with, listen to him jam on his guitar or play video games.

Although he’ll never be their biological dad, he does a lot of dad-things, and in a way, that makes him more than an uncle in their hearts. One of my sons has jokingly referred to him as the ‘other dad’ because he’s not only played with him but he’s helped him understand what it means to be an adult.

My youngest son had a man in his life, who is the dad of one of his childhood friends. Even though they weren’t related, he made a positive impact in his life.

He helped to teach him how to see things from a male perspective and helped him get over his fears. Those memories will last a lifetime.

There are a lot of kids who grew up with men in their lives who they considered to be a type of father figure who was there helping them learn what it means to be a good human being. A male role model doesn’t have to be a stepdad, or a biological dad, either.

It honestly doesn’t matter how you are related when it comes to playing a role in the life of a child.

Of course, no one should ever take the place of a real dad in the heart of a child, but mentors can certainly fill in the gaps when a parent can’t (or won’t) be around by being a friend.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads, mentors and male role models, including the nonbiological ones.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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Tales of Rock: The Night Rob Halford Saved Black Sabbath

When Metal Legends Collide…

In November 1992, Ozzy Osbourne was about to wrap up his supposedly final concert tour in support of the massively successful No More Tears album. Two “farewell” shows were scheduled at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California.

To make these “retirement” concerts into an even bigger must-see event, the Osbourne camp reached out to Ozzy’s former band, Black Sabbath, with an offer to open the Costa Mesa shows. At the time, Sabbath was touring in support of 1992’s Dehumanizer album, which featured the return of vocalist Ronnie James Dio—the man who’d replaced Ozzy in Sabbath in 1980. Everybody thought this was a fabulous idea—except for Dio, who suspected that the invite was merely a back-door method to plant the seeds for a full fledged Sabbath/Ozzy reunion. Dio refused to do the shows and announced that he was leaving Black Sabbath for the second time.

No, sorry. I have more pride than that. A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So, by them agreeing to play the shows in LA with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out ‘reunion with Ozzy.’ And that obviously meant the end of our particular project.

— Ronnie James Dio

Various bootlegs of the Costa Mesa gigs. Note that the one on the top right says "with Rob Ralford." Ha!
Various bootlegs of the Costa Mesa gigs. Note that the one on the top right says “with Rob Ralford.” Ha! | Source

Enter Halford

In desperation, Sabbath’s Tony Iommi reached out to a fellow son of Birmingham to replace Dio for the two gigs: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fame. Rob was a free agent at the time, having split from Priest the previous year. He was also a massive Black Sabbath fan, so naturally he jumped at the chance to be their temporary front man. Legend has it that Rob only had two days to familiarize himself with Sabbath’s set list prior to the gigs.

Metal news traveled slower in those pre-internet days, so I imagine much of the audience in Costa Mesa must have been quite surprised to see Rob Halford take the stage with Sabbath on November 14th, 1992. By all accounts, the Metal God absolutely killed it, in spite of the short amount of prep time.

I’m sure that the bootleggers who were already there in force to capture Ozzy’s “last shows” on tape must have been absolutely thrilled to get the Halford/Sabbath combo as an added bonus. Their grainy VHS videos and scratchy audio recordings of the two gigs immediately became popular items in trading circles. For a brief time after the Costa Mesa shows, rumors circulated that Halford might be joining Black Sabbath full time, but obviously that never came to pass.

Night #1, Nov. 14, 1992 (Full Set)

Call for the Priest…

I own a CD of the second night’s show on November 15th (entitled The Priest Comes to the Sabbath), which seems to be the more common of the two nights available via bootleg. It’s obviously an audience recording (occasionally someone yells out “YEEEAAAAHHH!” or “WOOOOOO!” close to the recorder/mic and drowns out the music!) and unfortunately it’s missing the first song of the set (“The Mob Rules”), but aside from that it’s a decent quality recording of an amazing night in Heavy Metal history. Rob’s lack of rehearsal is most obvious during “Children of the Grave,” when he comes in at the wrong time and then has to repeat the first line of the song a moment later (whoops!). However, he quickly redeems himself with a fine rendition of Heaven and Hell‘s “Children of the Sea” (one of my all time favorite Sabbath tracks).

As the set goes on, I’d say that Rob’s singing style is better suited to the Dio era songs like “Neon Knights” and “Heaven and Hell,” but on the other hand, he does turn in some killer performances of Ozzy-era classics too, especially “N.I.B.” and “Into the Void.”

The crowd is clearly having a blast throughout the set, and it sounds like Rob himself is pretty damn jazzed to be singing for one of his favorite bands, too. I guess even Metal Gods can still have fanboy moments!

Night #2—November 15, 1992 (Full Set)

The Aftermath

Ozzy’s planned “retirement” didn’t last long. He was back out on the road again only a few years after the Costa Mesa shows, and Black Sabbath kept on truckin’ as well. Their paths frequently crossed with Ozzy’s during the late 90s at the man’s annual OzzFest attractions. Sabbath also managed to mend fences with the estranged Ronnie James Dio, releasing 2009’s The Devil You Know album with him (under the moniker “Heaven & Hell”) before Ronnie’s tragic death in 2010. A full fledged Ozzy/Sabbath reunion resulted in the 13 album, released in 2013, and a farewell tour.

Rob Halford spent the rest of the ’90s dabbling in street-level groove metal with his solo project Fight and electronic rock with the band “Two.” He returned to Priest style traditional metal with his Halford solo band before he rejoined Judas Priest in 2004.

Amazingly, Halford’s association with Black Sabbath wasn’t quite over yet. Judas Priest was taking part in the 2004 OzzFest tour, headlined by an Ozzy-fronted Black Sabbath, when Ozzy came down with a bout of bronchitis at the Camden, New Jersey date. Rob was asked to step in for Sabbath once again, and even though he had already performed a full set with Judas Priest that day, he was still able to belt out an additional set of classics with Sabbath that night! “Iron Man” indeed!

“Paranoid” With Rob Halford—2004

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now on sale at Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is Now On Sale on Amazon! (kindle and paperback)

PUBLISHED!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

The day is finally here, and I couldn’t be happier! This has been a long time coming and a labor of love. I’ve been working day and night to get this baby written, and I think it’s my finest work yet! I hope you enjoy it!

Please buy my book!

 

I wanted to create something new. Not a non-fiction, compilation of stories from my blog. Something new. A story. A fable. A love story that included all of the elements of all the films I liked. A thriller, road movie, romance, mystery, an action yarn, that would be full of twists and turns.

The world had gone a bit mad, and I wanted to create a world I could control. I wanted it to take place in a time before there were smart phones or social media. A story about a boy and a girl trying to fall in love, during extraordinary circumstances. Let’s put a fancy car in there. Have them drive across the country on a road trip. Let’s throw a bad guy in there. That’ll keep them on edge. Let’s make it a mystery too. Let’s ‘David Lynch’ it up a bit with some interesting, unique characters. Let’s make them all flawed in some way. They all have the potential to be good, but they’re all struggling with themselves. They all want something, but they don’t know the right way to get it. A collection of misfits all trying to find themselves. All broken in some way. They want to fly, but their wings are broken, so they choose to run.

What if you could just run away from your current life?

Christian Blackmore works as a manager at a local finance company in New Jersey. He’s burned out from all the bad loans, and making collection calls every night. He spends his days laboring at a job he hates, and his evenings drinking at a local bar with his best friend. 

When his favorite uncle dies, and leaves him a unique inheritance, he begins to question the path he’s taken in life.

He decides to take a road trip across the country with a woman he just met. She’s a mysterious beauty, who may hold a dark secret. 

What begins as a romantic journey, becomes a nightmare, when he realizes he’s being followed by an elusive stranger. What does he want? Is it Christian, the girl, or something far more sinister?

Angel with a Broken Wing, takes you on a terrifying, coast to coast thrill ride across America. Can one man fall in love, and stay one step ahead in a cat and mouse game with a killer?

You can check it out here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

I want to first thank my daughter. Thank you for coming into my life. You are my inspiration. I love you! I can always come to you with an idea and you make it perfect.

Scott Macintosh. You’re my best friend. You’ve been with me since the beginning. Thank you for staying on the ship, even when it was sinking. 

Will Ball. Thank you for your friendship, the films, the laughs, and of course, the cocktails. I’m honored to have you in my life as a friend. 

A.M. Homes. Thank you for answering my letter with a personal note so many years ago. I was so inspired by your words, it gave me the courage to write my story the way I wanted to tell it, without fear.

Thanks to the amazing team at Amazon Kindle. Without you, I’d be lost in a sea of technology. I can write the words, but you guys help me turn them into books.

Thanks to everyone at Amazon. I became a member over 20 years ago when you were just a giant bookstore. After crawling on my hands and knees to agents and publishing houses for years, Amazon finally gave me the biggest platform on Earth to bring my literary work to the world!

A special thanks to everyone at WordPress. Without you, I couldn’t publish Phicklephilly everyday for the last four years! Now we’re a dot com and I’ve monetized the site with ads! You gave me a home to bring my work to everyone! Thank you!

Thanks to all the folks over at GoDaddy. You made the transition from just another blogger, to a dotcom look easy. Thanks for always being there when I needed you. You’re the best!

Thank you, dear readers, and subscribers for all of your support over the years I’ve been writing this little blog. I appreciate you all, and try to respond to all of your comments. I love your comments!

Please buy my new book. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. It’s quite a ride!

This is a great book to read at the beach this summer!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

 

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, EVERYONE…EVERYWHERE!!!

 

Zoolon Forever!

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is now On Sale at Amazon! (kindle & paperback)

PUBLISHED!!!!

The official announcement will come out at 6am today!

But in the meantime…

Sneak Peek!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is available now!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

My New Book, ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is Now on Sale at Amazon! (kindle & paperback)

Get it here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

We’ve been in quarantine for months here in Philly. My daughter and I have been making the best of it. She’s been recording new music in our home studio, and I’ve been holed up in my office working on a book.

I like to work and be busy. But there’s been nowhere for us to go, since March 14th. Everything’s shut down. There was nothing we could do about it, but collect unemployment like the other 40 million people out of work in this country.

At first, we both slept in and enjoyed being off from work. It was a welcome repose from the daily grind of being on our feet all day, both working in restaurants in this city. I think we both had hangovers from working in a tough industry.

I remember putting in 55 hours a week at my last job, and some days thinking… “I wish this would all just stop.”

And it did.

It was like a miracle. It’s as if we rubbed a lamp and were granted just one simple wish.

I remember in the beginning, I rested and sometimes didn’t bathe because I suddenly didn’t have to be anywhere.

But after a week, I began writing like mad on my blog. I wanted to respond to what was happening with my words. I was posting up to 6 times a day just to give my readers content on ways to deal with these extraordinary circumstances.

I went to bed earlier, and woke up earlier. Most days between 7 and 8am. It was nice to want to see the day. The full day. I let my hair and beard grow. I liked that I started to resemble the Big Lebowski, or a fat Thor, from not having to be running around all the time.

I would get up early, shower, eat breakfast, run any errands needed for the house, and then write.

But something was itching at my brain. I needed to create something of value during this sudden vacation. A time where I didn’t HAVE to go to work to meet my obligations. My daughter felt the same. We both realized we couldn’t squander this gift.

Lorelei bought some special recording equipment and decided to start recording her own songs. She did a cover of a cool song by Doja Cat and she and her friend shot a video. Then she started working on an original composition. She wrote the lyrics and the music for a new song. Her song. An original composition.

I was blown away that this feat could be accomplished. Because I come from a world where I had to pay thousands of dollars to go into a studio to do the very same thing thirty years ago. But technology rocks!

I wanted to create something new. Not a non-fiction, compilation of stories from my blog. Something new. A story. A fable. A love story that included all of the elements of all the films I liked. A thriller, road movie, romance, mystery, action yarn that would be full of twists and turns.

The world had gone a bit mad, and I wanted to create a world I could control. I wanted it to take place in a time before there were smart phones or social media. A story about a boy and a girl trying to fall in love, during extraordinary circumstances. Let’s put a fancy car in there. Have them drive across the country on a road trip. Let’s throw a bad guy in there. That’ll keep them on edge. Let’s make it a mystery too. Let’s David Lynch it up a bit with some interesting, unique characters. Let’s make them all flawed in some way. They all have the potential to be good, but they’re all struggling with themselves. They all want something, but they don’t know the right way to get it. A collection of misfits all trying to find themselves. All broken in some way. They want to fly, but their wings are broken, so they choose to run.

You run away in an attempt to find yourself, but in the end, maybe you realize that what’s important, is you’ve been there the whole time.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

So I started writing this book. I worked on it every day. 7 days a week from 10am to around 7pm everyday. Literally keeping those restaurant hours without having to be on my feet.

I wanted to create something completely original. Not a collection of stories from all of my dating adventures here in Philly. Something born from my mind. That’s how, Angel with a Broken Wing came about!

What should the cover be? A picture of an old statue from ancient Rome with one of it’s wings broken off? No. A photo of a fallen angel? Please.

Then it struck me. How about a pen and ink drawing of the female lead wearing a white pashmina on her head and a cool pair of sunglasses? There she is, fresh from a sumptuous dinner with her romantic suitor in Palm Springs. It’s dusk in the California desert, and she looks at the horizon. The palm trees reflected in her sunglasses, she turns to him and allows him a kiss. Has she made a mistake?  Will she yield to him? Probably not… but maybe.

That could work for the cover. That could be the very essence of the book. So I decided to create the artwork for the cover myself.

But I drew that back in 1980, when I was 17 years old,and an art major in high school.

What if you could just run away from your current life?

Christian Blackmore works as a manager at a local finance company in New Jersey. He’s burned out from all the bad loans, and making collection calls every night. He spends his days laboring at a job he hates, and his evenings drinking at a local bar with his best friend. 

When his favorite uncle dies, and leaves him a unique inheritance, he begins to question the path he’s taken in life.

He decides to take a road trip across the country with a woman he just met. She’s a mysterious beauty, who may hold a dark secret. 

What begins as a romantic journey, becomes a nightmare, when he realizes he’s being followed by an elusive stranger. What does he want? Is it Christian, the girl, or something far more sinister?

Angel with a Broken Wing, takes you on a terrifying, coast to coast thrill ride across America. Can one man fall in love, and stay one step ahead in a cat and mouse game with a killer?

Get it here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is available now on AMAZON!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock: All The Cultural References In The Song ‘American Pie,’ Explained

I love writing this column every Sunday! Enjoy!

Eight minutes long, starting with “A long, long time ago,” Don McLean’s “American Pie” is a slice of cultural history. Since the song’s release, fans have been obsessed with answering one question: what is “American Pie” about?

“That song didn’t just happen,” McLean said of his 1971 hit, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and named a Song of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America. The classic folk-rock anthem, known for its expansive lyrics, is filled with cultural references related to American life in the 1950s and 1960s.

“I saw the implication of America going bye-bye, since by 1971 we were a horribly divided country with tremendous anger being directed at the government over… Vietnam,” McLean said in Alan Howard’s book The Don McLean Story, hinting at the song’s larger meaning: the disintegration of the American ideal McLean romanticized in his youth.

McLean’s ambiguous writing style lends itself to all types of interpretation, and that is how he wanted it. “People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity. Of course I did,” he said. “I wanted to make a whole series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the state of society at the time.”

McLean officially verified only one reference in the song: that Buddy Holly was a key influence in his life. As McLean put it, “I can say that Buddy was a huge part of my childhood dream. Long before I decided how I would use music or what kind of artist I would be, Buddy was there.”

Fans have pulled apart and analyzed the rest of the “American Pie” lyrics and references through context clues, research, and finding historical parallels to the decades that inspired the creation of McLean’s ballad.

‘Bye, Bye Miss American Pie’

Some fans believe the “American Pie” in the famous first line of McLean’s chorus refers to the name of the plane Buddy Holly perished on, but according to the federal Civil Aeronautics Board incident report about the aircraft’s demise, the plane didn’t have a name.

Jim Fann, creator of the Understanding American Pie website, argues the line has a potential two-fold meaning: a nod to the phrase “as American as apple pie” and an allusion to the Miss America beauty queen. The phrase “evokes a simpler time in American life when these icons held more meaning,” Fann said.

‘Drove My Chevy To The Levee But The Levee Was Dry’

McLean imbues his all-American song with all-American iconography, like the Chevy automobile or truck. The dried levee (which rhymes with Chevy) adds a sense of barrenness to the current landscape in the song.

Also, an advertisement for Chevrolet in 1953 featured a jingle sung by Dinah Shore that includes a reference to a levee.

‘Singin’ This’ll Be The Day’

This line likely refers to Buddy Holly’s song “That’ll Be the Day.”

Holly, along with singers the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, and pilot Roger Peterson, perished in a plane incident February 3, 1959. Their small aircraft went down on a snowy late night after a concert in Clear Lake, IA.

‘A Long, Long Time Ago’

McLean released the song in 1971, but “American Pie” focuses on the 1950s, thus the exposition.

‘But February Made Me Shiver’

This is the first reference in “American Pie” (before the chorus) to Buddy Holly’s demise on February 3, 1959. He hopped on a plane after playing a show in Iowa, and never made it to his next stop: Minnesota. Instead, the plane’s remains were found in an Iowa cornfield, where all the passengers, including the pilot, perished.

It’s believed the plane flew into a blizzard and the inexperienced pilot lost control.

‘With Every Paper I’d Deliver / Bad News On The Doorstep / I Couldn’t Take One More Step’

McLean apparently worked as a newspaper delivery boy. And on February 3, 1959, the “bad news” was Buddy Holly’s demise, on the cover of every paper (the afternoon version) that McLean distributed.

‘When I Read About His Widowed Bride’

Buddy Holly was married to his young wife, Maria Elena Santiago-Holly, for only six months when he perished.

His widowed, pregnant new bride was so traumatized by the news of his demise that she had a miscarriage.

 

‘The Day The Music Died’

Buddy Holly was not the only musician who perished in the plane incident. He was on a 24-day, 24-city tour with the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. The Big Bopper was known for his song “Chantilly Lace,” and Valens for “La Bamba.”

The loss of all three rock musicians in the same incident was seen as a tragedy, and in McLean’s mind, marked the end of a musical era that would never be reclaimed.

‘Did You Write The Book Of Love?’

“The Book of Love” is a famous doo-wop song by The Monotones, a group from Newark, NJ. The song was released in 1958, topping pop and R&B charts. It must have left an impression on young McLean. As the lyrics to the song go:

I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, who
Who wrote the book of love

The track actually made it to Woodstock 1969, where it was covered by Sha Na Na.

‘If The Bible Tells You So?’

“The Bible Tells Me So” was a gospel pop adaptation of the Sunday school song “Jesus Loves Me” written by Dale Evans in 1955 and recorded by a handful of singers the same year.

Versions from Nick Noble and Don Cornell were especially popular, soaring high on Billboard charts.

‘You Both Kicked Off Your Shoes’

This is likely a reference to sock hops, beloved teenage dance parties in the ’40s and ’50s that involved playing popular music in gymnasiums or community halls. Sock hops coincided with the rise of rock ‘n’ roll as the ’50s progressed.

Participants were told to take their shoes off to protect the varnish on dance floors.

‘With A Pink Carnation And A Pickup Truck’

In 1957, Marty Robbins released the heartbreak song “A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation)” about a young man “all dressed up for the dance” and “all alone in romance.”

‘And Moss Grows Fat On A Rolling Stone’

A year after Bob Dylan released “Like a Rolling Stone” in 1965, he was involved in a strange motorcycle incident that made him lie low for a year or two at the height of his career. He’d just transformed himself from a folk singer to an electric guitar-playing rock musician, which caused a lot of controversy within the American music scene.

Some fans believe McLean’s intention with this line in “American Pie” is to highlight the evolution of music between the ’50s and early ’70s while also pushing the action of the song into the ’60s.

‘When The Jester Sang For The King And Queen’

According to one fan theory, Bob Dylan is the jester, Pete Seeger is the king, and Joan Baez is the queen. All three were influential and politically motivated folk singers in early ’60s, and it’s not a stretch to suggest their music influenced McLean’s own folksy sound. Dylan, Seeger, and Baez were all on stage together at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, where they sang Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in unison.

Another theory is that the king and queen refer to President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy.

‘In A Coat He Borrowed From James Dean’

This line could be another reference to Bob Dylan.

On the cover of his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Dylan wears a red windbreaker similar to the one worn by James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause.

‘And While The King Was Looking Down’

If the king is Pete Seeger, the godfather of folk, this could be a reference to him looking down upon the way Bob Dylan experimented with music in the 1960s.

‘The Jester Stole His Thorny Crown’

Bob Dylan the jester became the king, taking the crown when he won hearts with his brand of folksy rock ‘n’ roll.

Who did he take the crown from? Some people believe it’s Elvis, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Others stick with Pete Seeger.

‘The Courtroom Was Adjourned / No Verdict Was Returned’

Returning to the JFK theory, after he was slain in 1963 , the man accused of the slaying, Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself slain.

Therefore, “no verdict was returned” because no trial actually occurred.

‘And While Lennon Read A Book On Marx’

While some fans think McLean is singing about Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, the more popular theory is that he’s singing about the Beatles becoming more political with their music as tensions soared in the ’60s. The Beatles, adored by American youth, were deemed inappropriate by older generations who thought their music was too rowdy.

As their sound evolved, the Beatles released songs like “Revolution” in 1968, whose message is in line with the Communist philosophies of German writer Karl Marx, known for The Communist Manifesto.

’The Quartet Practiced In The Park’

The quartet is likely the Beatles: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

‘And We Sang Dirges In The Dark’

A dirge is a funereal song of mourning, and there were plenty of lives to mourn in the ’60s: President John F. KennedyMartin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy among them.

The line could also refer to the Vietnam conflict; many drafted service members sent overseas never made it back home.

‘Helter Skelter In A Summer Swelter’

“Helter Skelter” is a song the Beatles released in 1968, a year of political and social turmoil in the United States.

The next August, “in a summer swelter,” followers of Charles Manson brutally slayed five people, including the actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time.

‘The Birds Flew Off From A Fallout Shelter’

Some fans speculate this is an allusion to the ’60s rock band The Byrds. A fallout shelter is a euphemism for a treatment center, which one of the band members checked into after being caught with illicit substances.

‘Eight Miles High And Falling Fast’

Eight Miles High is the title of a 1966 album by The Byrds, considered one of the first real trippy records.

The groundbreaking sound of the album was influenced by plenty of experimentation with illicit substances, particularly acid.

‘It Landed Foul On The Grass’

Grass. Herb. Dope. Pot. Doobie. All of these slang words refer to one thing, a certain illicit (and some consider foul-smelling) substance favored in the ’60s counterculture on display in “American Pie”: weed.

‘With The Jester On The Sidelines In A Cast’

Fans believe this is another homage to Bob Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle incident.

‘While Sergeants Played A Marching Tune’

The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, and this is likely an allusion to that significant album.

With this release, the Beatles amped up their innovative approach to rock music, including sitars and sound collages.

‘ ‘Cause The Players Tried To Take The Field / The Marching Band Refused To Yield’

Fans see this as a remark about the protest movement that seemed to peak in the late ’60s and early ’70s, from Chicago to Kent State.

Young people demonstrated en masse against prejudice, military conflicts, and economic injustice.

‘Oh, And There We Were, All In One Place’

McLean could be making a statement about the unifying power of the Woodstock 1969 festival in Bethel, NY, which brought together more than 400,000 people in one weekend.

Many of the most well-known rock musicians of the time performed, including Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. The festival is viewed as the height of American hippie culture.

‘Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick / Jack Flash Sat On A Candlestick’

This line could be a mash-up between the “Jack Be Nimble” nursery rhyme and the 1969 song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones, released on their album Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be.

Fans think this is an insult to the Stones for not coming up with a good comeback to the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. According to their theory, “Jack” is Mick Jagger.

‘Cause Fire Is The Devil’s Only Friend’

According to one theory, the “Devil” could be Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, representing rebellion and estrangement, and the pull away from a more innocent time perceived earlier in music and the world.

‘No Angel Born In Hell / Could Break That Satan’s Spell’

“No angel born in Hell” could refer to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, which instigated a riot at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert in California.

The Hells Angels agreed to provide security during a performance by the Rolling Stones, and an 18-year-old black man perished at the hands of a member of the motorcycle group. The events of the day are considered by some to be the day the “free love” movement ended.

‘I Met A Girl Who Sang The Blues’

The “girl” could be Janis Joplin, the rock singer with a singular bluesy voice who perished from taking illicit substances in 1970.

Her hits “Piece of My Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee” were considered anthems for the hippie generation.

‘I Went Down To The Sacred Store / Where I’d Heard The Music Years Before / But The Man There Said The Music Wouldn’t Play’

McLean is possibly bemoaning the loss of interest in ’50s music at record stores.

When he released the song in 1971, perhaps he was suggesting no one cared about music from this bygone era anymore.

‘And In The Streets The Children Screamed’

This line could be an allusion to all the turmoil that occurred in the years leading up to the song’s creation.

Thousands of young people across the country were involved in various protest movements, which led to confrontations with law enforcement or other groups.

‘And The Three Men I Admire Most / The Father, Son, And The Holy Ghost’

McLean was apparently raised Catholic, so bringing religion in at the end of the song makes sense.

The sacred holy trinity, however, catches “the last train for the coast,” likely a sign McLean believes America lost its moral foundation in 1959.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on June 20th, on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly