An Interview with Musician Thomas Mastin; A Tale of Trials, Resilience, and Faith

Today I’m privileged to host, once again, nineteen-year-old singer/song writer Thomas Mastin. Some of you may recognize the name from a previous interview we did back in December of 2018. Please click on the link, if you want to read that one. Please note, that some of the links on that post are no longer available or relevant.  His current social links and some videos can be found at the end of this short interview.

Interview With Up And Coming Musician, Thomas Mastin

Thomas and I go a few years back, I remember a time when he needed two hands to swing one drumstick. Ok, maybe not that long, but it’s been a pleasure watching him grow from a young kid playing his heart out at church, into the talented musician he is today.

I’m offering you a brief glimpse into his journey. A tale of struggles, perseverance, Faith, life detours, and lessons. Thomas’s ‘can do’ spirit is an inspiration!

Me: You’re not a shiny penny to the music industry. You’re young, but you’ve already had a significant amount of experiences. Can you share some of those?

Thomas: Two summers ago, I was a drummer in a band called Arbour Season. We played a lot of venues in Florida including Busch Gardens, Splitsville in Disney Springs, and Mother’s Restaurant in Tampa. We’ve also done House Shows, which are exactly what they sound like. The band would do their gig at a residence either indoors or out.

Me: There’s been some ‘bumps in the road’ since those sunny Florida days. Can you share what’s happened and how the course of your career has changed?

Thomas: Well, as things go, we parted ways and I charted a course for a solo career, however, I’m a social guy and decided it wasn’t for me. I met Nathan Hardy, an amazing guitar player and fellow song writer. We formed Hello July. The name came to us one day, when we were in Nashville. I saw a poster for a band called Goodbye June. I jokingly mentioned Hello July. The agency that signed us, Brave Enough Agencies, supported it.

We began singing Blues, but our genre has evolved into a mixed style of rock and pop. It almost sounds a bit like Cold Play, and U2.

ThomasandNathan1

Thomas Mastin & Nathan Hardy

I’ve gone through an issue with my voice. As it turns out, I was straining my vocals, making them inflamed and they bled at times. Someone who knows more about singing than me, said to be careful, or there could be permanent damage. I’m taking some lessons and going a bit easier. I’m also learning certain diets that can help or harm your voice.

Me: I hope coffee’s okay!

Thomas: (laughs) “Oh yeah. I couldn’t do without it. I also couldn’t do without the ton of people reaching out to me right now. I didn’t expect that. It’s incredible! People have offered free lessons, I’ll have to choose which offer to take.

Pastor Dusty (Parkway Church, Amherstview, Ontario) has also been a huge inspiration. When I was eight, he told me, “If you can’t sing for five people, you can’t sing for 5,000.”

I’ve never forgotten that saying, even put it in the notebook that I use to write music. Those words remind me to be humble and with the trials of the past year, I’ve lost an arrogance. I’m no longer that high schooler who expects everything to fall into place.

Me: I think people can relate to struggles. We all have them and there’s an appreciation for an artist who is open about their challenges. They realize they’re not alone. Listening to music is often an emotional experience for most people. It can soothe, recall distant memories, and bring joy. You’ve been given a special gift.

Thomas: Yes, and now I’m in a place where people can relate to me better. This past year has taught me who I really am and that I sing, not for fame, but for God and to inspire listeners. It’s been hard for some to wrap their heads around the fact that I’m not pursuing a Christian music career, exclusively. I understand that, really, because when you grow up in the church and you say that you’re pursuing a music career, they expect Christian only. But I want to reach those who are struggling, both Christian and non. The band, NeedToBreathe, does this. They play worship songs on Sunday mornings, but festivals throughout the week.

We are planning a tour of Canada first, before eventually heading to America. We’re hoping to start with a few local House Shows. I’m willing to travel to the Toronto to Ottawa areas, and beyond. We have one booked, a couple from our church, they want to be the first.

Thomassinging

Thomas in action!

Me: Does Hello July have any videos?

Thomas: We’ve made four. Speaking of a humbling experience, one day I was in a line-up at the grocery store and a woman behind me recognized me from a video. I asked her how she liked it, expecting a positive answer.

“It’s a good thing you’re pretty!” she said.

(laughs) I was surprised but answered, “Well, I’m glad I’m pretty, at least.”

Me: We all get those. They’re great reminders that not everyone appreciates your work. Most of the time it’s a matter of personal tastes. Personally, I don’t pay much attention unless a particular issue is mentioned by several different people.

Check out Hello July singing Coldplay’s  song, Yellow.

 

 

Hello July on YouTube

My name is Thomas Mastin, I’m a 19 year old singer song-writer from Roblin, Ontario! Here are some links to my social media and one of the videos my bandmate Nathan and I have put out.

Find out more about Thomas and Hello July 

Hello July on Facebook 

Hello July on Instagram

Thomas Mastin on Facebook

Thomas Mastin on Instagram

 

 

Heed The Wise

sharpcurve

That road ahead, the warning signs placed by those who’ve gone before,

I sense deception, they cannot be trusted, they guide to the mundane

A life of fun, adventure, my way, anything else is a bore

Ignore their words, their banal minds have grown far too lame

Steer my life away from stoicism, only frivolity satisfies my core

Nothing untoward shall happen to me, it’s all a silly game

ditchdive

Help! Your advice had merit, should have heeded, mired forever I’ll be

Shake your heads, when I open my eyes, that’s what I’ll see

No? Wait! With rope and chain you’re all coming back for me

fixedroad

You rescued me, despite my mockery, set me on a clear road

My family, friends, because of you, I will live each day, gratefully.

Guest Post by Robbie Cheadle

Welcome back! As Christmas fast approaches and (some of us) are looking for that ‘perfect gift,’ might I suggest a great book? Today I have the pleasure of hosting talented author, Robbie Cheadle! I’m sure her books would make a wonderful stocking stuffer! Today, she will be discussing her children’s book, While The Bombs Fell. If you like what you see here, purchase and social media links can be found at the very bottom of this blog. Thank you, Robbie, for visiting me today, and thank you, dear reader, for your visit, as well. Enjoy!

While the Bombs Fell, a fictionalised biography.

What I intended when I wrote this book for children.

While the Bombs Fell is a fictionalised account of my mother’s life growing up in Bungay, East Anglia in England during World War II.

My mother, Elsie Patricia Eaton nee Hancy was only one year old when Britain declared war on Nazi Germany on 1 September 1939. This book commences in June 1942, when she was just over three and a half years old. My mother has some very clear memories of her childhood, but she cannot recall all the detail as she was too young.  Even if she had been a bit older, I doubt she would have known the name of the Dig for Victory campaign for example. She can, however, remember all the vegetable gardens her mother and their neighbours had in and around the town.  She can remember that the nearby city of Norwich was badly bombed during the war but she doesn’t recall specific details such as the  women and children evacuating the city in the early evening and passing the night in the countryside, away from the bombing. This was in May so the conditions would have been cold and miserable. It is for this reason that I say this book is a fictionalized biography. I have had to fill in the gaps in my mother’s memories with research and a bit of fiction.

I wrote While the Bombs Fell for children so that they could visit the days of this war in a fun and simple way and experience what life was like for children living in this time. My hope is that will remember the experiences and anxieties of Elsie and know that war is a terrible thing for everyone involved, not just the soldiers on the fronts.

I wrote this book along similar lines to the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder which give an account of her life growing up as a small girl in the United States of America in the late 19th century. Her books provide all sorts of interesting details about life at that time and how her mother did different household tasks on different days and made butter, cheese and bread from scratch. Food was very important for the settlers and Ingall’s books include detailed accounts of killing a pig and preserving the meat as well as hunting and killing deer and a bear in the woods. One day her father discovers a honey tree and the family delight in this unusual treat. Her mother also has to pickle and preserve of fruit and vegetables to see the family through the winter.

I aimed to share similar details about my mother and her family’s lives during World War II.

Is there a plot?

I have had a few readers comment that this book does not have a plot and that they expected a story along the lines of a thriller or a murder mystery story. There have only been two such comments out of over thirty reviews, so a lot of readers understood my intention which was to provide historical insight into the lives of people who lived through the war in an entertaining way.

There is a plot, but it is a subtle one, as with other books in this genre, like the Little House books and I am David. The plot of the Little House books is to illustrate how Laura adapted to the many changes in her life and matured into a competent and well-rounded person. The plot of I am David is his journey to find his mother while explaining how his life in the camp had impacted on his ability to trust other people. It is a story of survival and hope.

While the Bombs Fell is also intended to be a story about hope. The hope of Elsie’s family that the war will end and they will return to their normal lives. The hope that no-one in their lives will be killed in the war and that Britain would prevail. The respect and gratitude of Elsie and her siblings towards the American soldiers, called the Bungay Buckaroos, who were stationed at the nearby airbase, clearly demonstrated how the British appreciated the intervention of the US and the role they played in fighting, and ultimately winning, this war.

About While the Bombs Fell

The Blurb

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War II?

Elsie and her family live in a small double story cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often, they come and the air raid siren sounds signaling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite, the war raging across the English channel, daily life must continue with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its scary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic WWII recipes.

A recent review

Five-star Amazon review:

What a lovely, poignant book! It’s the only one I’ve read that describes what life was like for very young children growing up during World War Two. There is also quite a bit of English history included, which I found quite interesting. The wartime recipes are a nice touch.

It’s told from the perspective of a girl aged 4-6 years old and focuses mainly on the daily life of kids living through horrendous times, without truly understanding what was going on in the adult world. Many of the stories told reminded me of my Dutch father-in-law’s descriptions of growing up during WWII in the Netherlands.

About Robbie:

Robbiecheadle2

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

It’s appropriate for young children as well as young readers. Fascinating read.

Purchase links

https://www.amazon.com/author/robbiecheadle

OR

https://tslbooks.uk/product/while-the-bombs-fell-robbie-cheadle-and-elsie-hancy-eaton/

Follow Robbie Cheadle at:

Blog: https://robbiecheadle.co.za

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/blog/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/167743577260827/?source_id=362530197427007

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Follow Roberta Eaton at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Blog: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/openbook-research-resources/

Partial Excerpt from Chapter 1 of my Upcoming Novel

Happy Saturday! It’s one of my rare weekends off from work and I thought I’d share a segment of Chapter One from my next novel. I refrained from putting the entire chapter on here because of spoilers. No, I don’t have a title for the book yet, I always seem to leave that for the end. It’s just a quirk of mine, I guess. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy!

 

Chapter One

Seattle, Washington

June 6, 1889

 

“The tide’s out! The stream won’t reach!” cried a firefighter from Engine Company Number One.

The steam-powered Amoskeag chugged on as it sucked the frigid water from Elliot Bay, before sending it smashing against the only flameless wall of the Commercial Mill.

“Just push the dang thing into the depths!” A bystander suggested. He pointed a beefy finger towards the black smoke that poured from the pumper’s stack. “It’s only making things worse!”

This was the end of the mill, it was obvious, even to thirteen-year-old Danne Stromgren. The place where he’d worked with his father, Albin, for the past year, would soon be ashes. Mother had once told him that hope was the best cure for despair, but there was little of the former and plenty of the latter on the faces of Father and the other mill workers. Some of them shouted bad words at the firemen, the kind that would have earned Danne a mouthful of soap. Danne added one or two but Father squeezed his arm hard. The pain was far worse than the taste of Sapolio.

“It’s not their fault! Look around! Half the downtown is on fire! There’s not enough water in the pipes! We must get your brother from school and hurry home! Do you understand?”

The question was not meant to be answered, that became clear when Father pulled him into the street. Removed from the cooling wind of the bay, the sudden blast of heat gave Danne a new sympathy for melting candles. Smoke wasps stung his eyes and built hives in his lungs, he tried to cough them up. They dug in with lengthy stingers.

Swarms of people raced through the downtown. They fled from stores and businesses that had made their final sales. Piles of clothing and food had grown legs. Mr. Rennalls burst from his barbershop, with his latest victim at his heals. Half of the man’s face was still covered in shaving soap and blood. A young woman crashed into Danne from behind. The cobbletones beneath him sparkled with hundreds of orange, red, and silver stars. She dropped to her knees and hastily snatched up the necklaces and rings as she muttered to herself about stupid, clumsy boys.

Guilt overcame the “clumsy” boy and he stooped to help. He was yanked to a stand.

“Not worth dying for! Keep moving!” Father commanded.

Another block flew beneath their feet, and yet the inferno remained one step ahead. Heated tongues lapped greedily at an unused wooden fire hydrant in an apparent attempt to destroy the enemy. Danne’s expectation that water would burst from the hydrant in a counterattack, went unmet. His father’s words about the lack of water pressure came back to him.

A familiar, though blurry, sign came into view. Danne wiped away his tears. Wallack’s Seamstress Shop! Erik’s school was a stone’s throw away! A silent prayer for his younger sibling’s life was cut short by a loud explosion. He was shoved to the ground. The impact, along with a crushing weight on his back, stole what little breath he had.

“Stay down!” Father shouted into his ear. There was little choice, Albin was a large man.

Danne tried to scream for release. He pushed against the cobblestones, attempting to lift himself high enough to breathe and when that failed, was reduced to slapping the street in helpless desperation.

“Get up!” Father’s strong arms hauled Danne to a stand. His deprived lungs sprang into immediate action, filling themselves to the bursting point. Their good intentions were punished for failing to distinguish air from smoke.

Father paid no heed to his son’s coughing fit and pulled him forward with the power of a locomotive. The boy managed a quick glance backwards and saw that a fiery fist had smashed through the wall of the liquor store.

“Don’t look back, Danne! Faster!”

They were almost at the end of the street when the liquor store exploded. A fiery storm rained over the entire block. Falling embers landed around and on the two of them, but they’d escaped the worst of it.

“Keep up boy!” Father snarled.

Danne was yanked around the corner and onto Marion Street. This street, for the moment, was untouched by flames, but the smoke was beginning to creep in. Madrone Elementary, a half block away, came into hazy view.

They reached the school and were met inside the main entrance by Erik’s teacher. Her name always escaped Danne’s memory, but it sounded something like sausage. That’s what he called her, Mrs. Sausage. Leave it to him to think about food at a time like this. He could be forgiven for her name, he’d skipped a grade due to his intelligence and extraordinary vocabulary. He’d left the school a year before she’d arrived.

At the moment, Mrs. Sausage was frantic. She white knuckled the handle of a large-cloth bag and spoke quickly. She declared that Mother and Charlotte had already taken Erik home.

Danne was jerked backwards by Father’s hand, twisting his torso and causing a momentary twinge of pain.

The door opened to a scene from Pompeii. Pillars of soot moved over the neighborhood, like ghostly serpents, dropping bits of ash onto gingerbread trim and turning greenery into slate.

The boy’s stomach wanted to empty. If it were not for the strength of Father, he would already be lying in a pile of vomit, gasping for that last breath. A two-legged fish in a hostile world that he once called home.

Unlike Pompeii, this volcano actually moved! And with freight-train speed! The boy dared himself to look back but refused his own challenge. There was no need for him to see it. The wall of heat that toasted his back combined with the crackle of wooden bones splintering was proof enough. There was no outrunning or avoiding an iron horse that required no track. All seemed lost until they reached the intersection of Abbey and Thorn. A quick turn onto Abbey and they’d arrived! Mother, Erik, and his younger sister, Charlotte, stood anxiously in front of the fourth rowhouse on the left. A two-storey Gothic-Style that had been home to Danne from birth.

“Thank you, Lord!” Mother cried in relief. She embraced them both.

There was little time for a happy reunion. Abbey street would soon be a memory.

“Grab anything of reasonable size and value. Put them on the front yard!” Father ordered, “I’ll be back soon.” During their dash through the chaotic downtown, Father had noticed people hiring wagon drivers to move belongings onto ships docked at the wharves. The idea had yet to be generated in this neighborhood. The patriarch rushed off, not waiting to ensure that his orders were carried out. There was no reason for him to do so, his commands were always obeyed.

This is only a segment of the first chapter. To include more would include spoilers.

 

Guest Blog Post: Happiness for author Mark Bierman

Not too long ago, I had the privilege of being hosted by talented blogger, DA-AL, on her wonderful blogsite Happiness Between The Tails. I encourage everyone to visit her site, there is a variety of topics, it’s well crafted and there’s something for all! Thank you again, DA-AL for this opportunity.

Thrills — and reading and writing — have always been important to Ontario blogger/author Mark Bierman. Here he describes his favorite sorts of adventures!…

A special award from Grandma to commemorate Mike Bierman’s bike ride with his daughters from their home to the city of Kingston, a distance of about forty kilometers.

* * “Bonding with my kids is what I love to do!” by Mark Bierman * *

Time has a way of slipping by way too quickly. It seems that only yesterday I held my oldest daughter, Amanda, in my arms when she was a seven-pound, ten-ounce newborn. I was both overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time. That was back in February of 2007! Two years later, our second, Isabel, was born. Today they are a pair of beautiful, smart, and fun-loving girls with whom I’ve had many adventures. This fits well with both my lifestyle and writing style. I love to write action/adventure, and you can go to my website to find out more about it.

I won’t take up too much of your time here. I know we all have busy lives, so I’ve compiled three of my favorite photos that show the type of activities we do to bond. Thanks for reading! Thank you, Da-Al for opening up your blog today and allowing me the privilege of being a guest!

We were at a waterfall, and the rocks were slippery. I “wisely” cautioned the kids about the slippery algae, but then decided to jump a small puddle, yup, I slipped. Amanda must have been feeling empathetic because she slipped soon after.

In this photo, we are proudly displaying our slimed pants.

On a recent trip, the writer in me was annoyed by this sign. Rather than spray paint “for” between the words, I had Isabel pretend to be a ‘Watch Child.’

She watches and reports ALL to Mom!

I think most parents will agree that spending time with your kids is worth more than anything you can give them.

What’s your favorite way to spend time?…