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…

“Valuable things should be paid for.”

typewriterClosing out 2014:

Thoughts on Publishing

I begin with this quote by vocal artist Taylor Swift. While I am not a particular fan of Ms. Swift, I immediately identify with her reluctance and ultimate refusal to devalue her work by having it offered on Spotify. I won’t profess to know the details, nor have I made a study of the program or its workings. But I do understand that Swift has made a study and simply put, I trust her belief that she lost money in the process. Her thoughts could easily be applied to the book market:  “Everybody’s complaining about how [music] sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things.” Sound familiar?

I’ve long stood behind the philosophy that giving away one’s creative endeavors weakens the industry. As David Streitfeld discusses in “Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses.” (New York Times, December 27, 2014), the book business is already saturated and competition is enormous. The Kindle Store, he says, contains more than three million books, and free books were up by one-third last year*. Streitfeld focuses on Kindle Unlimited, a program that may help unknown authors gain followers but clearly penalizes established artists by reducing royalties.

While informational, the article doesn’t offer any solace or solution. For those of us hanging on to the edge of a sinking ocean liner, good luck. I feel like we are wandering around in the dark, occasionally gravitating toward a distant flashlight that dims and flickers out by the time we get there. Still, if we return to the real reason we (most of us unknowns and midlisters) write, we can rejoice in the modest following of happy readers we do have. We can be thankful that we are able to publish independently. There are still stories to tell and readers to read them.

Perhaps 2015 will see a balance in the cosmos, and indie authors will have a day or two in the sun.

*presumed to be 2013.

The Gypsy in Me – COVER REVEAL!

I know all two or three of you have been waiting… as you can see, this cover is a departure for me. It’s a little… hotter than my other covers, but hopefully the book will live up to it! Many thanks to Tell -Tale Book Cover Designs for this lovely masterpiece! Now, when is it coming out? Aiming for mid-December, so stay tuned!!

Book 3 of the StarCrossed Romances!

Book 3 of the StarCrossed Romances!

Gypsies, Tramps and… Cover Art!

I’ve just sent out the brand new cover art for THE GYPSY IN ME to my newsletter subscribers. I promised them the first look! But on Friday, I’ll reveal to the rest of the world, so stay tuned. In the meantime…. here’s a taste:


The Gypsy in Me Piece

My Take on the Big Apple


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.


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.

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.)