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!”

NOW I Understand

F85When I first got my driver’s license, I was 16 and ready to take on the world. My parents, bless their hearts, found a $400.00, 1963 Oldsmobile F-85 (predecessor to the Cutlass) for sale at a finance company and bought it for me. I, of course, had begged for the 1965 Ford Mustang at the car lot on Topanga Canyon. It was a special edition, with tooled horses on the seat covers. My boyfriend had a 1966 Mustang, and we could have been almost twins. It was my pipe dream; the Mustang was $1800.00.

That Oldsmobile was a bit of a dog. My dad bought new seat covers (the kind you stretch on over the old ones) in black and white tweed. At some point, seat belts (lap only) were installed. The boyfriend installed cute little round mirrors out of the front fenders (trendy at the time). Unfortunately, that little maroon four-door also had a cracked engine block. What that meant to me was, I had to carry around a couple of gallons of water at all times, because the engine would routinely overheat.

CoinJarStill, I was thrilled to be driving to school. I parked on the street within a block or two of Van Nuys High. My mother, ever the nervous wreck, required that I call her every morning when I arrived. Remember, this is WAY before the days of anything like a portable phone. So, beside the front door at home was a cup full of dimes. As I left each morning, I took a dime from the cup. Once at school, I made a stop at the payphone booth in the lobby of the administration building and I called Mom.

I’m here.”

“Okay. See you after school.”

“Bye.”

Ugh. Grr. Hrmph. Didn’t see any other kids lined up at the phone booth in the morning.

Some days, either because I was late or just distracted, I forgot to call. On such days, I could count on there being a note on my windshield when I got out. “You forgot to call. –Mom”. Yep, she’d drive all that way and look for my car. Mortifying.

Forty-four years have passed.
SAMSUNGMy daughter is getting ready to take her driving test. Soon, she’ll be out the door in the morning, rushing, distracted, anxious to get a parking spot at Hart High. There is no cup of dimes by the door, and even though she’ll have a cell phone in her purse, she won’t be bothered to call me.

Feeling a very strong connection with Mom right now. I’m sorry, Mom, for being cranky. Sorry for the times I forgot to call. Sorry if I ever made you worry a day in your life.

Now I understand. I know there will be days when I’ll be tempted to take a little drive down Newhall Avenue, when I might happen to glance to the side, when I might glimpse the blue Highlander in the “Q” lot.

I also understand it’s not just about worrying over traffic and safety. It’s also ALL about letting go of the dependence. For eighteen years I have been her wheels (and her tether), logging countless miles and countless hours of mostly uninterrupted talk, confidences, laughter. The good news is, someday she’ll be driving me around, and hopefully, the confidences–and laughter–will continue…