And Proud to Announce…

pam glacierIn my last post, I talked about how I’ve made changes in my life. One very important thing I forgot to mention is my new position as president of Circle of Hope, Inc. Some of my followers know I’ve been involved in the non-profit world for many years. Almost five years ago, I joined this small, local, charitable group at the urging of two of my friends. I was almost immediately elected to the executive board as Secretary, and two years later I move up to Vice-President. Now, as of July 1st, I’m the prez.

CircleofHopeCircle of Hope provides emotional, educational and financial assistance to those fighting cancer who live, work or are treated in the Santa Clarita Valley. But in a smaller nutshell, we raise money to help pay the cancer-related bills our clients can’t afford to pay. Our organization is 11 years old, and we have a board of directors of about 16 people. We have an ace Executive Director. We hold several fundraisers a year, and we derive a significant amount of our revenue from these fundraisers. Competition is tough, grants are difficult to come by, and big-money sponsors are few and far between. Still, we press on, as we assist women and men battling breast, uterine, cervical, ovarian, prostate, testicular and colon cancers. While it’s a challenge to constantly be looking for money, one look into the faces of our clients, one session of listening to their stories, one big, tearful smile of gratitude makes it all worthwhile.

VP Janice Murray, me, Past Pres Jill Bondy

VP Janice Murray, me, Past Pres Jill Bondy

I’ve been accused of being an idealist. But without those of us who believe in the goodness and the possibilities, there would be no Circle of Hope. I have lofty dreams and expectations for the next two years. I know there will be discouragements and disappointments along the way, but there will also be successes and joy. Here’s to seeking, finding and sharing the generosity I know is out there.

From the Bottom of My Heart

imagesClosing out 2014:

Thanks and Gratitude Part 1

I often think about gratitude without voicing it. I wish I’d taken time to even jot down those people who somehow made life easier for me this year. Generous, kind individuals here and there. Last Wednesday, for example, I was having a pretty terrible day due to some equally unkind individuals in a local imaging center. I went into CVS to pick up a few items, and the checker made a point of unloading my small basket for me. Huh? She didn’t know about my bad day. And it wasn’t just because it was Christmas Eve. She just didn’t want me to have to do it, for whatever reason. Thank you, CVS Checker!

To the Woman at Facey Medical, Radiology records who rushed a CD of my 2013 study last week. Thank you!! You didn’t have to do that, but you did.

The Guy at Valencia Acura who fixed all my tires on the spot without an appointment; you made my day.

The Waiter at TGI Friday’s in New York City, who somehow just knew I’d love a Cotton Candy Martini. You’re the bomb, bud.

To Quyen at The Nail Forum – you’re the best gel manicurist around. Wish I could afford for you to live with my nails; thank you for taking the time to do it right.

Oh! The librarians at Old Town Newhall LibraryMarie Risis and Erin Christmas – and Robin Clough at The Senior Center – thank you for your hospitality! I hope to return for more book fun in 2015.

All the Vets at Santa Clarita Animal Hospital, for your loving and compassionate treatment of Melie, Sandie & Dolce.

Pat News, for taking care of me off and on for almost twenty years.

My Circle of Hope and SCF Education Foundation families: you guys are the best! And to everyone who has supported these wonderful causes this year, applause and humble thanks.

Stay tuned… More to follow…

My Take on the Big Apple

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This summer I traveled with my husband and daughter to the Big Apple! My first time there. Just getting around to posting my thoughts.

New York is a very interesting place. I came back with a whole new perspective on the place. We Angelenos have a long history of impressions and images of NY, kind of a rivalry, right? They talk about New Yorkers being tough, indifferent, competitive, rushed?, etc. It’s partly true. But after having experienced the city, I now understand how this societal shift has occurred.

To survive in New York, you must (a) give up your personal space; and (b) form a hardened exterior because of it. A story I heard goes, a tourist (let’s say she’s from L.A.) is in a restaurant, and she asks the man at the next table what he’s eating because it looks so good. He answers, “you aren’t from here, are you?” She politely asks why he thinks that, and he says, “because here, we don’t talk to each other [strangers] in restaurants.” (We did, however, meet many nice and conversational locals!)

We visited all the usual places:  The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, The Top of the Rock, The Museum of Modern Art. We walked uptown and visited Central Park, FAO Schwarz, American Girl Place, and the Museum of Natural History. Being summer, the streets and exhibits were very crowded. Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorials were sobering.

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On our list and didn’t disappoint!

I would hate to be hurt or injured in that town. Ambulances sit in traffic, sirens blaring, waiting for cars to move that are waiting for people in the streets. Response time has to be 50% of what it is here. People MUST die in those ambulances all the time.

Street vendors. 4 or 5 identical on each corner. Times Square is like its own little amusement park, a cross between Disneyland and Las Vegas. We walked everywhere, taking in the sights, taking photos. Once, we got into a pedestrian crush so bad we couldn’t move for minutes.Street work was going on. Thousands of people traverse the area on foot, and it was just like the I-405, only human.

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Central Park is a haven, a respite for when you’ve just had enough. Lush, huge, quiet(er), cool. You just have to get there and go inside and find a bench. Street musicians, mini-events, lakes, picturesque spots. Amusement park, playgrounds, carousel, rowboats, the Zoo, horse-drawn carriages, youth sports, Strawberry Fields & Imagine, bridges, and ice cream. When you emerge from the Park, it’s like, “Oh, yeah. This place is still here.”

A Public Diary?

typewriterI recently realized that I haven’t been posting to my blog for some time. Putting it off in favor of other, more important activities like eating M&M’s by the handful, watching my tire pressure gauge blink repeatedly and shopping for a Halloween costume. A few days ago a colleague posted a question to her Facebook friends:  “What would you like to see on my blog, if anything?” The few that bothered to answer admitted to not reading other peoples’ blogs, but lamented that their own blogs amounted to little more than an online, public diary; that no one reads their blogs, either. So why do it, they pondered? Is it more a self-serving activity, a place to organize our thoughts and occasionally announce an achievement, a new release, a personal appearance?

I also recently set up a newsletter mailing list. It took some time to get it all set up, with a signup page on this website, a sample “first” newsletter, the collection of a few names. And yet, I never sent it out.

Another thing I noticed is the Facebook connection. Like most people, I have my blog “networked” to automatically post to Facebook, my Amazon page, etc. Most people that do read a few lines of the blog post do so via Facebook. They don’t often click through and read it here. Therefore, is there even a benefit to posting it here to begin with?

I believe that as self-promoters, authors and indie-authors in particular have a long row to hoe, so to speak, when it comes to marketing and promotion. We tend to periodically throw things at a wall to see what will stick, never delving very deeply into any one area for fear of missing something else. Trends come and go quickly, too. By the time we try something “new” it’s often already run its course.

Still, for whatever reason, I like to blog and talk about things that are important or fun, so I will continue to do so. If anyone is actually reading this, give me a shout out and tell me what you’re doing with your blog.

And by the way, it’s a gypsy. My costume. (My next StarCrossed Romance is called, “The Gypsy in Me.” Don’t worry, I’ll be doing a cover reveal soon! Here. On the blog.)

 

California’s Lighthouses: The History…

…and the Mystery!

In honor of National Lighthouse Day

and in celebration of the release of my third romantic lighthouse mystery,

ANGEL’S GATE, I’ll be presenting a talk on our beautiful

West Coast beacons at Santa Clarita’s newest library!

 

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Free event, free parking, free refreshments and a drawing for a lovely gift basket!

Saturday, August 9, 2014  –  11:00 am

Join us in the Community Room! 

The BIG EASY BLOG Hop!

The author relaxing in the warm California sunshine

The author relaxing in the warm California sunshine

Hello all!

Many thanks and welcome to all my new followers. It’s gratifying to be a part of such a wonderful, diverse business!

Today is the BIG EASY BLOG HOP! I was “talked into” this lovely tradition by author Cheryl Norman, an old pal and wonderful author. Thanks, Cheri! Check out her terrific list at Amazon. Cheryl’s books range from the romance of the road (Route 66 locales), Florida mysteries, a cruise ship full of nudists… and cookbooks! Take a moment to check out her diverse stories!

So, here are my answers to the posed questions.

What am I working on?

What am I NOT working on! I seem to have a lot in process right now, from introducing and marketing my Beacon Point Romances to writing the second half of THE GYPSY IN ME, the third novel in the StarCrossed Romance series. GYPSY takes places a few years after the ending to A HERO’S PROMISE, and involves the lives of the now grown children of romantic rivals, Mac & Dane; these big-screen heroes were introduced in StarCrossed Hearts.

Coming on June 19th is the third in the Beacon Point Romance series, ANGEL’S GATE. This is a great follow up to both POINT SURRENDER and CAPE SEDUCTION, all paranormal romantic mysteries that take place in California lighthouses.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Well, I’ve never much cared to worry about genres. I guess you could point to the lighthouses as a “different” aspect. Then there’s my Paulie & Kate duet, books about the tumultuous relationship between a bisexual glam rocker and his very straight make up artist. UNMASKING PAULIE BINGHAM has garnered rave reviews all around. I call this story “alternative romance.”

Why do I write what I do?

Good question. When I figure that out, I’ll let you know! Next?

How does my writing process work?

When I have an idea for a story, I am always writing. Early morning, late at night, driving around town…the characters are building the story in my head. I’m really no different than any other author in that respect. I do tend to edit as I write, which might make me a bit slower.

 

I think that’s enough for today! I’ll be back tomorrow to share a little more, including any authors who might be following me in this “hop!”