Tuesday, January 30, 2018

RECORD REVIEW: Silvertung "Lighten Up"

RECORD REVIEW
Silvertung
Lighten Up
________________________

Simply put, this crisp and
concise acoustic collection
caught me by surprise. And
what a sweet surprise it is.
________________________

Since first blasting onto the national rock scene nearly five years ago, Silvertung has built an impeccable reputation. In fact, the Baltimore-based brigade is often placed stylistically alongside many of today's most prominent heavy hitters. However, as proven with the heartfelt 2016 smash, "You & Me," Silvertung's most impressive asset is not its high-energy, bone-crushing live performances — the mightiest weapon in Silvertung's arsenal is its well-crafted songs. And that point becomes abundantly clear in the grooves of its latest offering, the acoustic collection, Lighten Up.

Produced by Steven Wright (Slipknot / Avril Lavigne), the newly-released set possesses an authentic house party vibe, as it was recorded live in front of what sounds like a very intimate-sized audience — one can even imagine the band set up in a small studio, on a huge, groovy-looking rug, while surrounded by the glow of burning candles, with the sweet fragrance of patchouli permeating the room. Groovy, indeed!

SILVERTUNG
Arguably the record's strongest track, "Devil's Advocate" kicks off this six-song soiree beautifully. The warm and husky lead vocals from frontman, Speed, along with Codey Red's Latin-tinged guitar work make for an irresistible seduction. And when those contributions are pinned to the gorgeous violin and percussion accompaniment, the song transforms further — taking on an all-new identity from the original metal-charged version found originally on the 2016 Out of the Box record.

Similarly engaging, "Dig" oozes a vibe reminiscent of the chart-busting Unplugged album from Alice in Chains. And while residing stylistically somewhere between "Rockstar" and "Stray Cat Strut," the stripped-down version of the Billboard-charted single, "Face the Music" is an equally powerful showcase for the band's rock solid songwriting chops. 

In sum, the songs featured on Lighten Up are all allowed to breathe, shine and take on new life. And although it represents (for me) a surprise "left turn" for the band, it is once again, a sweet surprise — a record I recommend highly for modern rock fans everywhere.

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)
________________________

SILVERTUNG
_______________________


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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

DEAD SERIOS: 2018 Re-Launch Kick-Off

DEAD SERIOS
2018 Re-Launch Kick-Off
_________________________

After a necessary, extended
break, my veteran award-
winning rock band is finally
revved-up to roll out another
"psychodrama double-header."
_________________________

It was the mid '80s, and the hair metal craze was in full swing. Although we did attempt playing the lipstick and lacquer game for a brief period early on, my newly-created band just didn't fit the stylistic mold cast by the spandex-clad, aerosol-sprayed poster boys of the day. In fact, we realized that Dead Serios had to be different — we had to stand out from that glam-spackled pack if we were going to accomplish anything cool or memorable.

By the late '80s, we were building a growing and loyal audience throughout America (and beyond) by combining my old school Alice Cooper-inspired perspective with the current hard-core, garage-style metal that spoke to my bandmates. It was a unique and honest formula — one that was working pretty well for us.

Dead Serios - circa '88 / '89
Dead Serios had released several raucous, indie-level LPs, EPs and 7" singles. And having developed a "must-see" reputation while playing everywhere we could with such marquee acts as Faith No MoreGWARCircle Jerks, Dead Milkmen and Nuclear Assault, we definitely were on a roll by the early '90s. Dead Serios was generating national college radio airplay and winning various music awards — including being named Florida's "Entertainer of the Year" by JAM! magazine in 1991. We were young and fearless  brimming with nincompoopery. And people either totally LOVED us, or completely HATED us. Unfortunately, after a ten-year ride, the newly-embraced U.S. gloom-and-doom rock movement brought our seemingly unstoppable slapstick-charged momentum to a screeching halt in 1995.

But our often controversial reputation remained somehow relevant. Fans stuck with us through various reunion appearances during the late '90s. By the early 2000s, those original diehard followers were bringing their kids to see our semi-annual shows. And since 2010, they've even been bringing their grandkids — as if experiencing a Dead Serios concert was some sort of rite of passage for young rock enthusiasts.

Here I am performing with Dead Serios
at the 2014 '80s In The Park festival.
For various reasons, I finally needed to put Dead Serios to rest (for good) following our string of 2015 "30th Anniversary" performances. And with the exception of one single benefit show in 2016, we remained successfully in the grave.

However, after a recent band business meeting, we came to the mutual conclusion that there was perhaps more of the Dead Serios story still to be written — more shows to play, more audiences to reach and at least one more record to make. And before long, live appearances were booking up, studio time was being scheduled, and we'd signed on as an artist management client with a prominent industry vet.


In short, decades after our shelf life should have expired, 2018 is revving to be the biggest and best year yet for Dead Serios. We're kicking off our official re-launch with a very special, rather intimate hometown show at Open Mike's in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday, January 27th. Then, we'll be returning to this year's annual '80s In The Park festival in Cocoa Beach on February 18th. From there, it's off to the recording studio for most of March, where we'll be cutting our new album.

Feel free to help us spread the word — and if you're in the area for any of our upcoming shows, come on out and see us. They will typically be all-ages events, so bring the grandkids! 

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)
_________________________

DEAD SERIOS
(Online)

_________________________


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Saturday, January 20, 2018

3 SIDES OF THE COIN: Talking All Things KISS!

3 SIDES OF
THE COIN
Talking All Things KISS!
___________________________

Truth be told, my lifelong
KISS obsession has waned
over the years. However,
recently, I've discovered
a dynamite Internet talk
show that has rekindled
my kabuki-fueled fire.
___________________________

Growing up near Cocoa Beach during the '70s, I was that guy  the obnoxious KISS freak who got beat up in school for displaying too much "zeal." As an adult, my passion for rock's TRUE "Fab Four" continued burning brightly — through the band's less inspiring non-makeup period in the '80s to the well-publicized 1996 reunion tour featuring the original lineup and the subsequent super-hyped "Farewell" tour in 2000. In those days, I never missed a Florida KISS concert, expo or meet-and-greet. I just couldn't get enough of "The Hottest Band in the Land." Then, not so much. Honestly, since hitting the big 5-0 in 2012, I've either sold-off or given away most of my once-impressive collection of once-prized KISS memorabilia. Simply put, I'd checked out.

But a few months ago, I made a wonderful, unexpected discovery. While researching a related feature story I was writing, I stumbled across 3 Sides of the Coin — a uniquely engaging, unpretentious weekly online program boasting the intriguing tagline "Talking All Things KISS!" My interest definitely was piqued.

Featuring fellow KISS freak co-hosts Michael Brandvold, Tommy Sommers, Mark Cicchini and occasional appearances from the lovely Miss Lisa, I was drawn immediately to the show's lively, candid, and compelling conversations. "THESE ARE MY PEOPLE," I thought to myself right from the get-go. In fact, I recognized so much common ground with the "3 Sides" crew, I needed a compass to navigate through the dialog. Plus, as I learned in short order, the show's weekly special guests include an array of KISSworld A-listers. Now, I was hooked.

3 Sides of the Coin hosts, (from L to R) Mark Cicchini,
Miss Lisa, Tommy Sommers and Michael Brandvold.
Each episode finds marketing and digital strategy guru, Branvold leading the charge, while Real Estate mogul, Sommers typically rolls his eyes, trying desperately to wedge a word in between the exuberant non-stop musings of renown KISS collector, Cicchini. And bringing much more to the table than mere eye candy, Miss Lisa brims with equal knowledge and enthusiasm. They may enthrall some and enrage others, but the natural chemistry between the co-hosts is undeniable and irresistible— and it makes for much fun.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess to having become hopelessly addicted to 3 Sides of the Coin — like a junkie at a methadone clinic. I now start each day enjoying my morning coffee while burning through another of the show's nearly 300, two-hour episodes. And I'll confess further that in bona fide, drooling fanboy fashion, I like to imagine the hosts being friends of mine who are all coming over to my place next weekend for a crazy, crazy (over)night KISS video party. Yo, nice onesie, Branvold. Hey, Sommers  tell Cicchini to pass the S'mores, dude! 

In sum, despite my self-proclaimed "aficionado" status, even I've learned a lot as a newly-minted "3 Sides" fanatic. And I'm absolutely convinced that Vinnie Vincent saved KISS!

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)
_________________________

3 SIDES OF THE COIN
(Find it everywhere)

_________________________


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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'80s IN THE PARK 2018

'80s IN THE PARK
2018
_________________________

Billed as "The biggest '80s
weekend since... the '80s,"
the annual '80s In The Park
music festival returns to
FL's sunny Space Coast in
2018 from February 15-18.
_________________________

The wildly popular retro culture event, '80s In The Park, first launched back in 2013. Since then, throngs of crazed enthusiasts have converged on Florida's sunny Space Coast to experience the annual weekend-long party — a super-sized celebration packed with an array of familiar faces, sizzling sounds and iconic images from the magical era of Rubik's Cubes, neon-colored fashions and sky-high coifs.


Having graduated from its original location at Melbourne's famed Wickham Park, this year's event will take place at the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach from February 15-18. In addition to more than 20 live music acts performing on various stages, the 2018 edition of '80s In The Park will also offer fans a VIP kick-off party, a one-day '80s-themed cruise and a two-day "Rock Con" meet-and-greet.



The 2018 main stage will be invaded by such gold and platinum-selling arena rock headliners as L.A. Guns, Winger, and original Dokken guitarist George Lynch's latest band, Lynch Mob. Other popular '80s-era MTV staples including Enuff Z'nuff, House of Lords, Every Mother's Nightmare, Junkyard and Danger Danger frontman Ted Poley also will be making main stage appearances in addition to Florida favorites, Dead Serios, Lillian Axe and Nova Rex.


While VIP and general admission tickets all are still available currently, seating in certain reserved areas is quickly becoming in short supply. Hence, fans are encouraged to get tickets NOW, while supplies last. 

*Daily band lineup schedules are subject to change.

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)

_________________________

'80s IN THE PARK
- Official Site -
- Facebook -
________________________



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Friday, January 12, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: "Waterski Girl Wonder" by Shellie Blum

BOOK REVIEW
Waterski Girl Wonder
A Journey of Perseverance
- Shellie Blum -
_________________________

A gripping personal tale
of tremendous triumph
over heartbreaking tragedy,
author Shellie Blum had
me hooked from page one.
_________________________

The challenge I face in reviewing the debut memoir from former waterski pro Shellie Blum is that her story is so riveting, it's difficult to convey my enthusiasm without offering spoilers. But I'll do my best.

What I found so irresistible about Waterski Girl Wonder initially was the common ground I share with the author. Shellie and I are nearly the same age. We both grew up during the 1960s and '70s, and have lived in some of the same parts of the country — from Missouri's breathtaking Ozark Mountains to Florida's world-famous coastlines to the seedy streets of Hollywood. We also share similar strong family ties. Hence, as I mentioned, I connected to her story quickly and easily.

Simply put, Blum is a survivor. And in an engaging, transparent and conversational style, she reveals in short order how she developed early survival skills — fighting to overcome the challenges of birth defects, while dealing with personal family struggles. A seemingly natural-born competitor, Shellie was beating the boys (and anyone else who dared to get in her way) from the get-go.

Shellie Blum (center) performing
at Cypress Gardens during the '80s.
I assumed correctly that Blum's harrowing account of her near-life-ending waterski accident while at the peak of her professional career was the arch of her story. However, I also assumed that she'd probably "coast" through the balance of the book, merely recounting her painful journey through the recuperation and rehabilitation process. I was totally wrong. Despite the severity of her accident, and her agonizing road to recovery, the story's "WOW-factor" NEVER lets up. In fact, I refer to Blum as the "Timex Girl" for enduring physical beat down after heartbreaking beat down.

However, Waterski Girl Wonder isn't based simply on sensationalism. While Blum does share her personal experiences of enduring a multitude of accidents, injuries and other personal setbacks in graphic, edge-of-your-seat detail, what spoke to me most were the portraits she paints of the people who she encountered along the way. In sum, come for the sizzle, but stay for the story.

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)

_________________________

Shellie Blum online:
- Amazon -
facebook -
_________________________



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Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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Monday, January 8, 2018

GREATEST MOVIES OF THE '80s (Guest Feature)

GREATEST MOVIES
OF THE '80s
(Guest Feature)
___________________________

Innovative ice cream creator
and motion picture aficionado
Jesse Tanner Long returns
with another of his insightful
pop culture countdowns.
___________________________

"The 1980s brought us such fantastic
flicks as Caddyshack, Stripes, Night
ShiftTrading Places, Bachelor Party,
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Ferris
Bueller’s Day OffFull Metal Jacket,
Die Hard, Do the Right Thing and
so many more. Choosing my favorite
from each year of that decade proved
a rather daunting task. But all things
considered — here is my list."

-Jesse Tanner Long

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989


Get the full "scoop" on Jesse Tanner Long's
unique ice cream creations HERE

_______________________________

BE MY "GUEST!"

Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my website is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Chris
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com
_______________________________


Friday, January 5, 2018

THE TOP 50 MOST GLORIOUS RECORDS OF 1978

THE TOP 50 MOST
GLORIOUS
RECORDS OF 1978
______________

2018 has found me
reflecting — revisiting
some of my favorite
records from the past. 
______________

For me, it's absolutely inconceivable — 1978 was 40 years ago. I turned 16 that year. I also got my driver's licence and started my first job working at the neighborhood record store in 1978. Seems like just last Thursday. Many of my young, fresh-faced friends from high school have weathered the storm far better than I. Likewise, the music of 1978 remains fresh to me as well. Let's take a looksie.

50
WILLIE NELSON

A notorious hell-raisin' singer / songwriter
from Texas releases a surprising set of
standards — decades before cover albums
became an industry standard. The Grammy-
winning title ultimately sold over five
million units in the U.S. alone.
_________________________

49
JEFFERSON STARSHIP
- Earth -

Despite achieving Top 10 platinum
status and racking-up two hit singles,
Jefferson Starship was splintered, to
say the least, in '78. Earth marked the
end of their golden and organic era.
_________________________

48
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS

This Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-
selling crown jewel reached #1, spawned
three hit singles and put fans on notice
that The Doobie Brothers now belonged
to Michael McDonald. Oddly, after only
one more studio slab, the band imploded. 
_________________________

47
GERRY RAFFERTY

Even as a dumb 15-year-old, I recognized
from the first time I heard "Baker Street"
playing on the radio, that this record was
truly magical. 40 years later, it still is.
_________________________

46
JETHRO TULL

I'm not a big Tull fan. However,
this golden era live show makes
for a compelling must-have set.
_________________________

45
MOLLY HATCHET

A bona fide, southern-fried classic.
In retrospect, the band should have
"called it a day" before tarnishing
the legend of this iconic debut.
________________________

44
AEROSMITH

Marred perfectly by (seemingly)
drug-induced wretchedness, this was
the last authentic Aerosmith record.
_________________________

43
DIRE STRAITS

At the time of its release, the rumor
mill was that this debut Dire Straits
record was actually a secret Klattu-
type vehicle for Bob Dylan. Intrigued,
I had to buy a copy ASAP — along
with a couple of million other fans.
________________________

42
THE WHO

Featuring a slew of soon-to-be
classics, the final legit Who
LP remains a monster must-have.
________________________

41
ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION
- Champagne Jam -

A well-crafted collection brimming
with such signature staples as "I'm
Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight"
and "Imaginary Lover." And the title
track remains one of the band's best.
_________________________

40
BILLY JOEL

Fusing rock, pop and jazz, this was a
truly special record — especially for a
teenager like me, who at the time, was
consuming a musical diet comprised
almost entirely of KISS and Nugent
________________________

39
THE BLUES BROTHERS

Given my Partridge Family-focused
upbringing, this record served as my
introduction to the blues — albeit a
rather sterilized version. It remains
one of my all-time favorite records.
________________________

38
THE CARS

I remember a buddy of mine describing
this record to me shortly after it was
released — it was the first time I recall
ever hearing the term "New Wave."
The music did sound "new" — even a
little bit odd at the time. 40 years later,
The Cars debut stands tall, simply as a
crunchy collection of great rock songs.
_________________________

37
PAUL McCARTNEY
AND WINGS

Even when not firing on all cylinders,
Paul McCartney could still clobber the
competition back in the day. Simply
put, London Town ain't Band on the
Run, but it aint Broad Street either.
________________________

36
ROD STEWART

Despite the inclusion of the cheesy,
disco-charged chart-busting single,
"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" this actually
 is a rock record — and a darn good
one at that. One of my faves from
Stewart's iconic spandex-era catalog.
________________________

35
ANGEL
- White Hot -

From their poster boy looks to their
hook-laden songs, Angel should've
been hugely successful. White Hot
is arguably their strongest effort.
_________________________

34
THE OUTLAWS
Playin' to Win -

Coming off the Top 30 success of the
double-record Bring it Back Alive
concert set earlier in the year, Tampa's
"Guitar Army" was positioned to "close
the deal" with their fourth studio record.
Despite the involvement of ace producer,
Mutt Lange, Playin' to Win missed the
Top 50. Yet it remains a personal fave.
_________________________

33
JIMMY BUFFETT
- Son of a Son of a Sailor -

Boasting an array of impeccable
singer / songwriter treasures, Son
of a Son of a Sailor was Buffett's
first Top 10 album — and his last
truly magnificent collection.
_________________________

32
HEART
- Dog & Butterfly -

The final record to feature Heart's
original line-up is arguably the best
work of the band's storied career.
_________________________

31
TED NUGENT
- Double Live Gonzo! -

The definitive hard rock record
of the glorious double-live era.
Anybody whats to get mellow,
you can turn around and...
__________________________

30
RAMONES
- Road to Ruin -

Authentic punk attitude meets
major label polish. The "Abbey
Road" of the Ramones' catalog.
___________________________

29
QUEEN
- Jazz -

Freddie and the gang were burning white
hot in 1978. One of my all-time favorites,
 Jazz would be the last great Queen record.
__________________________

28
STYX
- Pieces of Eight -

The final taste of pre-"Babe-Boto" magic.
_________________________

27
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
- Darkness on the Edge of Town -

Prior to becoming a pontificating
blowhard, "the Boss" made great
records. This is one of his best.
___________________________

26
BLONDIE
- Parallel Lines -

Poppy, crisp and edgy, Parallel Lines
was a personal game-changer. And
Clem Burke is still the man!
___________________________

25
WARREN ZEVON
- Excitable Boy -

Zevon had been the darling of LA's
singer / songwriter scene for years.
Excitable Boy introduced him to the
rest of us. A timeless piece of work.
_________________________

24
STEVE MARTIN
- A Wild and Crazy Guy -

Along with Destroyer, Van Halen
and Frampton Comes Alive, this
record influenced me profoundly.
__________________________

23
LINDA RONSTADT
- Living in the USA -

As a teenage boy, little mattered to me in
1978, other than Linda Ronstadt. While
Living in the USA isn't my favorite
Ronstadt album, track #2, "When I Grow
Too Old to Dream" is unequivocally her
all-time strongest single performance.
__________________________

22
THE POLICE
- Outlandos d' Amour -

Although it took a while for me
to "get" this one, when I did, it
made an incredible impact. Still
one of my all-time go-to favorites.
__________________________

21
ELVIS COSTELLO
- This Year's Model -

Produced by Nick Lowe, Costello's
sophomore set hit me like a ton of
bricks. Master pop songwriting.
__________________________

20
BOSTON
- Don't Look Back -

Corporate, commercial cock rock at
its most pretentious, the band's second
LP was even better than the first.
___________________________

19
ALICE COOPER
- From the Inside -

Reflecting Cooper's personal
hospitalization experience for
alcoholism, this collaboration
with Bernie Taupin gave me
chills back in '78. It still does.
We're all crazy! We're all crazy!
___________________________

18
THE
OZARK MOUNTAIN
DAREDEVILS
- It's Alive -

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils was
an authentic Americana roots rock
act, long before those terms existed.
Captured live in concert, this double-
record collection captures the band
and songs superbly. Not only one
of 1978's best records, but also one
of the best live albums — ever.
__________________________

17
FOREIGNER
- Double Vision -

See commentary for #20.
___________________________

16
THE ROLLING STONES
- Some Girls -

Dirty, gritty and raw — the
last dangerous Stones record.
__________________________

15
JOE WALSH
But Seriously Folks -

The Eagles album you got when
you couldn't get an Eagles album.
__________________________

14
GENE SIMMONS
- Gene Simmons -

The most eclectic collection of the four
KISS solo efforts, Simmons earned
enormous accolades for producing an
intriguing record that resided far
outside of his perceived creative box.
__________________________

13
PETER CRISS
Peter Criss -

Delivering EXACTLY what dedicated
fans should have expected, Peter Criss'
1978 solo record is a rock solid slab.
__________________________

12
CHEAP TRICK
- Heaven Tonight -

Cheap Trick's ultimate songwriting
and production blueprint. Although
1979's Dream Police came darn close,
the Chicago-based combo has been
floundering — struggling to recapture
Heaven Tonight's magic ever since.
__________________________

11
VAN HALEN
Van Halen -

The most influential rock record
since Zep I. There wouldn't be
another game-changer of this
caliber until 1990, when Pantera
dropped Cowboys from Hell.
__________________________

10
THE PAT TRAVERS BAND
- Heat in the Street -

Whether on stage or in the studio,
there was no mightier rock force
in 1978 than The Pat Travers Band.
This record remains fresh and brutal.
__________________________

9
REO SPEEDWAGON
- You Can Tune a Piano,
But You Can't Tune a Fish -

The greatest record from
America's greatest band.
_________________________

8
TODD RUNDGREN
- Hermit of Mink Hollow -

The iconic singer / songwriter,
musician and producer dropped a
doozie with this 12-song set 
a collection that still hurts too
good to consume in one sitting.
__________________________

7
JOURNEY
- Infinity -

This is the record that first revealed
to me that KISS was NOT in fact,
"The Hottest Band in the Land."
__________________________

6
ACE FREHLEY
- Ace Frehley -

KISS' unsung guitar hero shocked just
about everyone (especially his "day gig"
colleagues) when his solo record received
universal acclaim  hitting the Top 30 and
even scoring a monster-sized hit single.
___________________________

5
FOGHAT
Stone Blue -

The single hottest 8-track EVER,
Stone Blue delivered what matters
most — great songs. "It Hurts Me
Too" and "Stay with Me" prove it.
__________________________

4
BOB SEGER
- Stranger in Town -

An American rock and roll
treasure at his creative apex.
________________________

3
NICK GILDER
- City Nights -

Name a better pop / rock
songwriter than Nick Gilder.
I know, right? I can't either.
_________________________

2
PAUL STANLEY
- Paul Stanley -

The best KISS album they never
released, this one remains as fresh
and strong as ever — 40 years later.

________________________

1
VARIOUS ARTISTS
(Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Featuring contributions from such
biggies of the day as Peter Frampton,
Aerosmith, Earth, Wind & Fire and
the Bee Gees, this much-maligned
soundtrack served as my personal
introduction to The Beatles  way
more legit than the silly movie.
________________________

Thanks for joining me on this lil' stroll down Memory Lane. Please feel free to share your personal observations and recollections in the "Comments" section below. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Christopher Long
(January 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)