Before and after

I love, love, love seeing this sort of thing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a remodeled kitchen or a hairdo, I like “seeing” change. Doesn’t mean I like change, personally, but life doesn’t give you a lot of options where that is concerned, right?

Take for instance, this entry in the BHS Class of ’70 Directory that my pal Jackie Maxwell is putting together.

OMG. Remember “Summer Blond”? I told my mother it was an all natural product to bring out my natural highlights. The bleaching part and roots were an unfortunate afterthought. Sigh.

Here’s a Before and After that is an actual improvement. My remodeling contractor hubby and son just finished a whole-house Green Remodel. The homeowners did lots of research and picked out environmentally friendly products such as linseed oil paint from Sweden and zero VOC bamboo flooring. We helped them celebrate their housewarming on Saturday. Congrats, Dave and Carolin, on your fabulous new home.

Ack!. The only photos that will transfer from JP’s blog are micro shots. But here’s the link to the start-to-finish slideshow, if you’re interested.

Any big remodeling projects in your future?


Winner Week #3 and a new book club read

Oh….Donna, your name came up this morning. Congrats. Pick a card and let me know if you’re missing something from my back list. (I think you said you’d already found UNTIL HE MET RACHEL.) I’ll get this in the mail ASAP.

Last night the Wine, Women and Words Book Club met at Martha’s (thank you, Martha, for stepping up at the last minute to provide a beautiful setting and yummy menu) to discuss “The Gargoyle.”

LOTS of discussion. Everyone seemed to find the story interesting, the references to Dante’s Inferno intriguing enough to check out more, and, at times, very disturbing. We all agreed there were elements we’d never fully understand and were okay with the mystery–like was the female protagonist sharing past lives experiences or was she really crazy?

We also agreed that UNTIL HE MET RACHEL was a comforting antidote to the darkness of The Gargoyle–very different wounded heroes and outcomes. 🙂

Our next read is: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This science fiction novel has been on our TBR list for over a year. None of us are avid SF fanatics, but we are all looking forward to giving the genre a try.

Have a great week, everyone. See you tomorrow in DebLand.


Time travel

Today is Tuesday in Debland. Bet you thought it was Wednesday. Ha! Either you’re wrong or I lost a day.

My bet is on the latter. Does this ever happen to you?

I’m a planner (not a plotter). I make elaborate lists to keep track of the myriad demands on my time. One small, spontaineous change–like going to town on a rainy Monday afternoon to catch a movie with my son–and suddenly the whole week is cock-eyed. Where’d Tuesday go?

I’m going to lay the blame right where it belongs–at the feet of Robert Downey, Jr.

My son and I are huge fans. We’ve liked him forever–even during the bad times–and are overjoyed that he’s making movies again, even if we’re not always completely enamored with the movie itself. I’m talking Sherlock Holmes here, not Iron Man. We liked Iron Man 2. A lot. The fast-paced dialogue, the wit, the romance–even the over-abundance of characters. Can Scarlett Johansson kick butt or what?  I am not a movie critic. I don’t explore the subtext, the complexeties or lack thereof of plot, the shortcomings of scripts or directors. I really don’t care that much. What can you do? The darn thing is made. You can’t change it, right?

I feel the same way about books. Some books take you away, lift your spirit, provide complete and utter escape from your world for a few short hours–in effect, they let you time travel. But they don’t ALL do that. Some miss the mark.  Those books I rarely finish reading. Yes, I admit it, I’m a quitter. And I turn off the VCR/DVD player when a movie bores me, too. But the good part of walking away from a book or movie that doesn’t work for you is you then don’t feel obligated to write a scathing review of said book or movie.

Maybe my new slogan will be: Just Say No to Negativity. 🙂

Have a great Tuesday…um, er…Wednesday.


Winner Week #2

A very good Monday morning to you all.

This week’s winner is Karin.

Karin, please email me your mailing addy and which book you’d like. The previous two winners have let me know they loved their cards. (Thanks you, Linda and Ellen Too.) We still have the kitty, a heart and both wine goblets to pick from, cardwise.



Today we smile

May 11th is a very good day in DebLand. My oldest brother, Bob (or Bobby Bill, as Mom called him), was born on this day in 1935. Here’s a photo of him on my 4th Christmas. A silly shot, but I picked it because my middle granddaughter was born four years ago today.  🙂

Topper, Bob, Don, dolly, Deb

And, odd as it may seem, Bob’s eldest granddaughter was also born on this day. So, Happy Birthday, Bob-O, Elizabeth and Rya!

What does that have to do with writing? Nothing, but I’m working on my AAs (I think this alliterative abbreviation stands for Author Alterations) for my October book. When my first book reached this stage in the game, my editor called this “the printout.” I still call it that. Anyway, this is my last look at the manuscript before it goes into production, and reading the AAs is a slow, careful, some might say “tedious” process. I have to put the creative side of my brain on mute because there’s no room for big changes, only corrections. Others will read it and hopefully catch any typos I miss, but, as any reader knows, that isn’t always the case.

Because there’s a typo that bothered me a great deal in UNTIL HE MET RACHEL, I’d like to know: do typos bug you as a reader? Would it be guache to admit that I feel a bit smug when I see them in other people’s books but horrified when I see them in my own? Guess that makes me human. (Which also accounts for typos and mistakes, I think.)

May your Tuesday be filled with joy and many smiles…and, if you’re lucky, birthday cake!!!


first week’s winner

Linda Henderson,

Your name came up as first winner of a card and a book.

Congrats and thanks for reading!


PS: everyone who replies to any of my blogs this month will be entered in the drawings for the rest of the month!

Happy Mother’s Day

I’d planned to write a moving tribute to every mom today, but then I remembered–I’m a mom. This is my day to sit back, relax and do nothing. 🙂

So, I will keep this simple.

To my daughter (in the photo above), my daughter-in-law, my sister and sisters-in-law, my nieces, friends and all the amazing women who touch the lives of children in a positive, loving way, give yourself a pat on the back. Keep up the good work–the future is counting on us.

But, I would like to recognize one very special mom: Diane Appelman. Last year, Diane contributed to my friend Brenda Novak’s online auction to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research by bidding on my “Your Name in My Next Book” auction item.  She wrote me a lovely, moving letter explaining that she wanted me to use her late son’s Stephen’s name because “He would have gotten a kick out of it.”  Stephen was a special needs child, who because of his mother’s love and devotion, grew up to lead a rich, full life despite certain health challenges that claimed his life at age 30.  Diane’s love and pride made this young man come to life for me, and I was honored to change my  hero’s younger brother’s name to “Stephen” in this month’s release, UNTIL HE MET RACHEL. Stephen’s story enriched my hero’s life and, I hope, gave my story more depth and humanity.

BTW, I celebrated an early Mother’s Day yesterday at the Tuolumne River Trust fundraiser in Groveland, CA, with both of my children, my beautiful daughter-in-law and all three of my most-amazing granddaughters. Life is good.

Be happy!


Come you-know-what or high water

Yesterday, I got an email from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville (where RWA was scheduled to hold its annual conference this July) telling me my deposit would be returned to me in full.

Say what?

A quick Internet search explained why.

That’s the first I heard about the devastation that had been delivered upon poor Tennessee. Yes, I’d heard about the storm, but I’d apparently missed the specifics. And I’m sad to say it wasn’t until the news impacted me personally, that I really took note.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nashville and other Tennessee communities as they begin the recovery efforts.

This wasn’t the actual topic I had in mind to write today, but every once in awhile something happens to remind me that it isn’t all about me–even in Debland. 😉 Like when I called to check on the status of a credit card application I’d filled out a few weeks ago on the phone with a most helpful young man named Sean from AMEX. Turns out Sean never bothered to hit “enter” when he had all my private, intensely personal information: SS#, DOB, CSDL#, etc.. Either that or he’s opened a dozen new cards in my name and is living comfortably in a small foreign country that doesn’t have extradition laws.

Can you tell I’m not handling this well? I’m headed off to call the Fraud Alert Hotline in a minute. Wish me luck.

But I can’t end this blog with two negatives. So, here’s the nice, happy thing I’m thrilled to share with you: I have a new contest going this month and I’m really excited about the prizes.

“Four weeks/Four winners”  – Each prize includes an autographed copy of one of my books–even the new one, UNTIL HE MET RACHEL,  and one of the handmade “iris” cards created by my friend and neighbor, Denise Dupertuis, who is the bravest, strongest, most determined cancer warrior I’ve ever met. Since, Rufus, the hero of this book is a cancer survivor, too, I was pleased by the syncronicity of the two gifts. Although my photo doesn’t do them justice, here’s a shot of the cards.

Two winners will come from blog replies and two from my mailing list, so either way, please let me add your name to the list.

Let’s the hope the merry month of May brings some joy, levity and relief to us all in the weeks to come.


Wine, Women & Words book club discussion

April’s meeting of the Wine, Women and Words book club took place last night (Sunday, May 2) at Carol’s home.

Yes, yes, I know. We missed it by a couple of days, but that’s what happens when your members are all busy, busy people with tons of commitments. But, regardless of the late date, we had a smashing good time–and even welcomed a new member to the group.

Susan. Not Sue. (I know because I autographed my book for her, and I always ask.) Welcome, Susan. We are happy to have you.

In case you’ve forgotten (several of us had), our book this month was: COMMITTED by Elizabeth Gilbert. We talked about it–sorta. You know, it’s one of those books that people seem to find interesting, but they don’t necessarily have a lot to say about it. Not sure why that is.

One of us felt the author was naive to think anyone could breeze in and out of a post-9-11 America without hitting some kind of security check at some point.

Another was intrigued by the idea that a committed relationship doesn’t need a marriage license to authenticate it. Not everyone agreed with that point.

We all applauded the author’s research and felt we learned some interesting facts about marriage, historically and from spots around the world.

NEXT MONTH, I mean THIS MONTH, we’re reading about two very different wounded heroes. Mine and Andrew Davidson’s.


and The Gargoyle

I’d be happy to share your comments with the WW&W members if you’ve read either or both.

Until next, month Happy Reading.

(Oh, and I’m posting information about my May Contest tomorrow in my regular “Tuesdays in Debland” blog.)


Decisions, decisions

Chocolate or handsome butts? I can’t decide which to blog about. You can see my dilemma below.

On left we have the ongoing debate about whether or not dark chocolate is good for you. A new study released says while it raises our spirits temporarily, it also adds to depression. What do you think?

Personally, I’m glad chocolate isn’t my vice. I think it’s one of those “everything in moderation” sort of rewards. Pigging out on anything–even carrots (my son turned orange once from drinking too much carrot juice)–is not a good thing. But, ooh, yum. I do have certain favorites. (And am always in the market for more, if you’d care to dish.)

Now, to the photo on the right. I have no idea how my friend Colleen always manages to send me just the right link/email on Tuesday mornings when I’m sitting at an empty blog page with an empty idea bank, but somehow she does. Thank you, Colleen. This photo accompanied a silly joke, but the photo has significance to my work because…you think this is going to be a reach, right? That I’m using gratuitous butt images because butts sell…well…wrong! There’s a connection. Really.

Rufus (hero of my soon-to-be-released May Superromance) was a famous underwear model before he became a hermit in the Black Hills. So there! 😉

Take your pick–candy or eye candy. My treat.

Happy Tuesday!