Friday, December 23, 2011

The Time In Between

I had heard some buzz about this book, THE TIME IN BETWEEN by Maria Duenas and was intrigued. I was ready for a little heavier read, with historic and social issues and this did not disappoint. It is a runaway hit in Europe. This English translation retains the beautiful prose and  richly textured descriptions of war torn European and exotic African worlds at a crucial time in history.

In a time of unrest and civil war in Spain, the life of a young Spanish seamstress, Sira, shatters when the man she loves betrays her. Abandoned in Morocco, she is determined to pull her crumbling life back together. She finds herself sewing and designing couture clothing for the wives of powerful and influential men. 

The political intrigues and power plays in Europe as Franco and Hitler rise to power leave no one untouched- including innocent, grieving, Sira, who at first becomes an unwitting participant in espionage as a means of survival. Over time and circumstances Sira becomes a practiced spy and a woman of the world. 

Extremely well written. The deep research that must have gone into this historical novel blows my mind. The characters are interesting and many are actual figures from this time period. You see huge growth in the main character from beginning to end. A satisfying read.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SHIFTING by Bethany Wiggins

Maggie Mae is an orphan with a tragic and obscure past. She has so much to learn about herself and her new found "curse" or powers. Now she is in a new foster home in a small town where small minds and superstitions thrive.

As if the perils of high school and being the new girl were not enough, something evil seems to be stalking her.Enter, Bridger. The ultimate, dark, mysterious hottie to baffle and bewitch any female. Can he be trusted? What is his secret?

It's been awhile since I've read a YA novel with a  main character as likable as Maggie Mae. Her character strikes that balance between vulnerable,damaged girl and determined, gutsy heroine. I found myself liking her and sympathizing with her right away. Maggie struggles with how to accept herself, how to trust and how to let herself love and be loved. The human condition can be a real b*#@%-- especially when you are constantly shifting--out of it.

The story is a page turning, supernatural/mystery/suspense/romance that will capture your interest and keep your imagination churning. Bethany Wiggins combines ancient Native American lore with the life of modern teens-- making a fun and compelling concoction. Her writing is clever, creative and well paced with skillfully sketched characters and an emotional pitch that rings true. It delves into darkness and reaches up to redemption in a well crafted roller coaster ride. Smooth and thrilling.

Read.It.Now. (=

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Little Sister

When I was in kindergarten my little sister, Alesandra was born. I was so excited and I remember looking at her little pink body through the glass at the hospital thinking I'd just hit the jackpot. Best. Doll. Ever.
Over the years our relationship has changed from one thing to another and grown into an amazing friendship.
Ali and I are not really alike-- but compatible and simpatico. 
We are raising our kids together-- living just up the street from one another. She's an actress, my husband is in the film business. We are both health nuts and spiritually minded. We like travel and good books, old movies and new insights... We get each other.

Laughing until our tummies ache
Listening and supporting
Cooking, Cleaning, Singing
Sisters are such a blessing.

Friday, December 2, 2011


If you haven't ever watched a Julian Smith skit on YouTube... are you an earthling?
We love this guy. My sons love his funny songs and characters. My hubby, Clark has made a prop or two for him.
Then Clark sent him this-- just for fun. And he loved it! Who wouldn't want a custom made bobble head of themselves with interchangeable hand props all based on inside jokes. Supah! Julian is about to have his own TV show. Go, Julian, Go!

Click to see Julian's thanks tweet.

Big thanks to visual effects artist, Clark Schaffer (Ironman ... on Twitpic

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hide your kids, hide your...snicker?

So, everyone knows the  "hide your kids, hide your wife guy", Antoine Dodson. I met him recently at a party. He is soft spoken and coy. We talked awhile and he said his new-found fame scared him. My sister, Ali, who is a saucy actress, straight asked him if he had talent to back up his fame and he informed us that he sings. His new album comes out soon. When we asked if he would give us a sample Antoine obliged-- and he can sing. Without auto-tune. (=

As I watched him I thought how odd fame is. This shy, effeminate, sweet man became famous because everyone mocked his heartfelt and worked up response to a rapist entering his house and attacking his sister. The Youtube video was kind of funny-- but after meeting him and talking with him, I sorta see it different. While there is nothing really wrong with being able to laugh at ourselves, I think we don't always sympathize the way we should.
So, although I can still laugh (like when you see someone wipe out) I do care. Really, I do. Teehee!
 And Antoine-- you are a brave guy. Good on you for rescuing your sister! Run and tell that--homeboy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

An interview with author, Jessica Bell!

The incomparable, Jessica Bell over at The Alliterative Allomorph has released her debut novel, String Bridge. Here's the Goodreads description:

Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage--and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits, and she realizes she's been seeking fulfillment in the wrong place.

Sounds like an awesome and thought provoking story. It definitely peaks my interest in the book and its author! Let's learn a little more about Jessica...

1.  How do you feel when you perform your music?
A lot like Melody, actually, but perhaps not so exaggerated. Ha. You’ll just have to read the book to find out J

2.  Deal. (= You seem like a poetic sort.   Do you have a favorite poem?
Sea Anemones, by Gwen Harwood

3. Beautiful poem! I love "seasidey" poems. Vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon?
Cinnamon! Actually, I don’t eat it on much more than the Greek sweet called “risogalo,” which means “rice milk.” It’s like custard, but white and made from, you guessed it, rice and milk. But vanilla and chocolate are such plain flavors that I can’t bring myself to choose one of those.

4. Sounds scrummy! Greece or Australia? And what have each contributed to you?
That has to be the hardest question anyone has ever asked me. They are both my home, having spent a great deal of my childhood in both countries. Greece has taught me patience. The bureaucracy here is hell. Australia gives me a sense of security. I know that if I ever choose to go back, I will be safe.

5. So much of who we are is where we grow up. Do you dream in color? In your dreams are you mostly an observer or do you play a role?
Yes. Full color. Do you really want me to answer this? … Ack! I am more often than not, either a victim, or a perpetrator. Hmm … I wonder what this says about me! :-/

6.  Ah- ha! Quite a bit actually! Thomas Moore said: “Far beneath the many thick layers of indoctrination about who we are and who we should be lies an original self, a person who came into this world full of possibilities and destined for joyful unveiling and manifestation.”   What do you think?
I do truly believe that we are conditioned do behave and think in particular ways, but I also believe, that if our character is strong enough, we are able to differentiate between what is ‘real’ and what is ‘expected,’ and make choices accordingly. I think we all live our lives in fear of not being accepted. If only we could over come this fear and just be ourselves ... But imagine living a life free of environmental influences? The possibility of us all becoming serial killers is as big as us all living an unconditionally content existence. Don’t you think?

7. Hmm... Society, with its checks and balances does have its perks.  If you had one piece of advice for your children what would it be?
Everybody’s opinion counts.

8.  I like that. (= What people in your life have most shaped you for good or bad?
I think my mother has shaped me the most. I don’t think I could have asked for a more supportive parent. All she ever wants is for me to be happy. Though she is proud of what I achieved, I think she’d even be proud if I spent my life working as a waitress, as long as I was happy doing so.

9. She sounds like a wonderful, validating woman. How would you describe Jessica Bell to a stranger?
Oh no! I hate these questions! Hahahaha … Um … Apparently my aura color alternates between orange and blue. So you can Google the aura colors and find out. J

10.  So--confident, creative and spiritual. Cool. What brings you the most pain? Joy?
Pain: Seeing animals going through pain or suffering
Joy: Loving and being loved

I totally enjoyed this interview and am eager to read Jessica's book. Best of luck, girl!

Friday, November 4, 2011


When writing a book, so many things have to come together: Plot, character arc, setting, voice--and it has to blend into a harmonious vibration that rings true. Like a song.

One of the advantages to a writing group is that you you find people who "get" you as a writer--people to bounce ideas off of and to collaborate with. And sometimes this kind of symbiotic relationship fosters a harmony and synergy that can really be bonding--and FUN!

A few of us in Writers Cubed realized that we like to sing together and have had the opportunity to perform together. Here we are doing our thing ... wish I had a nice mic to capture our sweet blends!

We all have a different voice and style-- but together it somehow works! Speaking of harmony-- here is our Writers Cubed compilation, THE STORM -- now available for kindle!
We all wrote a short story based on the scenario of a freak storm in the Bay Area of California. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

If I had all the magic in the world, I'd...

Welcome to this stop on Elizabeth Mueller's Darkspell Launch Spookfesta . (Click the link to see other participants.)

If I had all of the magic in the world... I would wave a wand to make everyone be NICE. That would solve most of the problems in the world.
 And on a more selfish note... This guy, this castle...and all the time in the world.

Elizabeth's magical book in is now available to buy!

Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary . . .until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.
As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.
Will love prove thicker than magic?

I'm looking forward to reading this soon myself. Congratulations, Elizabeth! It's a book!
Buy it on AMAZON!

Order your own signed copy on her website:

Visit Elizabeth on her blog!

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Short Story... White Lies

As a writing group we thought it would be fun to all write a short story based on the same premise: A freak storm in the California Bay Area. Here's mine!

Now available for Kindle on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.
Yay! Just throwing this out there!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bethany Wiggin's book SHIFTING

Bethany will be one of the author's presenting a class at Teen Author Boot Camp 2012 put on again by my fabulous writing group, Writers Cubed! We are excited to have her join us!

Check out Bethany's BLOG!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What the? And WHY??? LOL

Just a little something to boggle your mind and possibly make you smile...

Have a great day. FREEEEDOM!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hm. Sigh.

It has been a rough month. Breathe.
 Don't know what to write about. Maybe I'll just post some pictures of things that keep me going- in no particular order. (=

What keeps you going when the going gets rough?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If I Could Be Anyone...

Talli Roland, author of the snarky, fun and romantic book, The Hating Game, has a new book out now! Watching Willow Watts is available on Kindle! This is one I will read for sure!

Talli's awesome launch party is themed "If I could be anyone, I would be..."
I thought about this and since I like being me, I decided on the next best thing...

Buffy Summers. She kicks trash, battles evil and has awesome friends. I kinda relate. (;  

Buffy: "I'm going to give you all a nice, fun, normal evening, if I have to kill every single person on the face of the earth to do it."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You have bewitched me...body, soul and BRAINS!

Quickly girls-- the pentagram of death!

I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I never really thought I'd read P&P&Z... but I am.

 Basically the same story--with excerpts and quotes from the original-- except that Elizabeth Bennett is a martial arts warrior who kills "unmentionables" with skill and viciousness.
 Since the outbreak of the "plague" many people of society are trained in the arts of zombie battle. Zombies break into social events and balls, attack travelers in the carriages and cause mayhem wherever they go.

 Darcy is a great warrior and proud of it. Elizabeth is determined to defend her honor when he slights her at the dance and plans to behead him. Gonk!? She roundhouse kicks him when he confesses that he cares for her. Hiyahhh!

 Oh, and she fights ninjas and eats their hearts out.

Yeah, it's weird. Not sure what I think of this gimmick yet... sometimes entertaining and funny but mostly an eye roller so far.

Read anything different and strange lately?

Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm sorta baaaaack!

Spent two fabulous weeks on vacation with family on the west coast. Sigh. A week in the luxury of Mayacama resort in California's wine country. Bliss!

Our "casita"-- it was gorgeous and huge and had an indoor and outdoor living room.

The golf course

The clubhouse where we would get delicious food.

Our friend, Michael, aka Cognito came out to the resort to eat dinner with us. He has an awesome rap career and he and Clark will probably be collaborating on some cool projects. Check him out:

After California we headed to Southern Oregon for a family reunion. It was awesome!

Here is only part of the gang...

One of the fun things we did as a huge group was play Hunger Games in the woods. We were separated into districts and had to find water balloons and water guns in the woods to kill everyone off with. There were a bunch of rules and stuff like the book-- it was cool and way fun! I love my family!

Got home and hit the ground running... literally-- did a 5K. Been busy and crazy-- trying to find time to write. The boys are back in school so I'm hoping to get some great stuff done on my new book. (=

Summer is OVAH! How was yours?