I Write For The Next Generation

Whenever I look at this little guy (see the videos down below) I am reminded of why I write. His little innocent eyes will probably never read some of my racy love stories. I write so that part of me will be left behind for future generations, when they are old enough to understand them, of course.
The idea that one of my stories will be read by someone long after I'm gone kind of thrills me. I'm dying to know, since I write angels and other paranormal creatures, whether or not I will be notified somehow that someone is enjoying one of my books. Will I know when I have touched someone's heart? I mean, does some ringer go off in Heaven? A harp or a bell perhaps?
I write because it feels good to do it. It is a huge amount of work, and my hat goes off to those writers who have full time jobs, families to support. Having worked 12-14 hour days for many years, I'm now a full time writer, but that doesn't mean I can slack off or do it leisurely.
I recently discovered my statement of purpose:
I write sensual paranormal romance that inspires women to feel the rapture and power of true love.

Someone once told me that we always write the same theme every time, that every story has the same issues, with different characters and settings. In my case, it is always about forgiveness, finding redemption, about the healing power of love. Not just any love, but true love. My characters are transformed by the experience of being loved and loving another.
I like writing romance so I can contribute a little Happily Ever. I think the world needs a little more of it, don't you?
That's how little guys like this one get created, after all.
Let the healing begin.



Our house burned down in 2008 and in an instant, everything about our lives changed. I was reduced to only the clothes on my back at the time of the fire: a white nightie. Barefoot and cold, I couldn't believe I was actually watching the house burn, watched as memories and valuable things went up in smoke, taken away in less than twenty minutes.

We slowly began the painful process of arguing with the insurance carrier and negotiating our policy limits with our lender, who was also experiencing troubles of their own: they became insolvent shortly thereafter. We went from one fire to another.
In the meantime, I began cutting pictures out and looking at what I wanted the rest of my life to look like, what my next house would look like.
I stumbled upon a great book: Moving On, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. She talked about putting back together the pieces of her life after a painful and all too public divorce. I could relate. My life felt like one big ugly public divorce, even though my husband and I were still married.
She talks about how there is this special relationship between a woman and her house. She even suggests that some women don't really want a divorce, they just want a new house. How important it is to have a House of Belonging. A place where good things happen, a stage, a canvas, a blank page.

Soon after the fire, and during the creative endeavor of creating a new house, I began to write. And the writing healed me. Fed me. I stumbled, quite by accident, on my true calling.
I'm going to quote her because Sarah says it much more beautifully than I ever could. As a romance novelist, these words touch the seat of my soul:
“…meditating on the emotion women feel when they fall in love at first sight with men; I'm the one making the leap to house fever because I've succumbed to both. Suddenly, without warning (or so it seems) the trajectory of a woman's life changes, becoming “a vicarious route to some essential part of herself that she does not yet fully recognize or understand.” The Beloved becomes “the heroic territory she longs to occupy.”

She thinks she's found him–or home. Interestingly, the name of the greatest lover of all time, Casanova, means “new house.”


Gardens of the Heart

Gardening has always been an important part of my life for over forty years now. I actually discovered seed germination in biology class one summer school session in high school. We put corn and bean seeds in a competing lab team's soil bin during the 4th of July long weekend. And in that dark and warm place, they sprang to life. When the lid was removed, green shoots erupted. As everyone else in the class laughed, I looked at those shoots and knew I was hooked for life.

High school was filled with angst and pain for me, as I think it is almost universally. But I began to enjoy watching living things grow. I began to be the keeper of things that needed mending. A friend of mine had white rabbits he raised, and a jack rabbit got in one night and a few weeks later he had a bunch of halflings he was going to destroy. I took one, rescued it. His pellets of pooh made the corn I started to grow healthy, with ears of mouth-watering flavor we enjoyed for weeks. We had fresh lettuce, tomatoes, but drew the line at my father's favorite: brussels sprouts. Whomever invented those should be shot. No amount of cheese or mayonnaise or fancy French sauce makes them worth eating.
When I set up my own household, we gardened. It was great exercise, and as poor students, it was a great way to stay in shape and eat healthy on a dime.
I am overcome with the beauty of nature frequently as I walk through my gardens in the late spring and summer, when the blossoms are at their peak: full blooms of living color and lots of buds for later blooms. Nothing touches a gardener's soul than healthy plants giving back what they do so well. It is the essence of joy.
I took a collage class a couple of years ago at Book Passages in Marin County. They do for the public what only good independent bookstores can do: bring writers/authors and their books to life. The author was teaching us how to make something from scraps of pictures. She brought huge boxes of old calendars, magazines and scraps of things she'd saved, rescued, from things that would have been thrown away.

The two hours went by so fast I couldn't believe it. When finished, we were asked to stand up in front of the class and share our little works of art, give them a name. I had no idea what I was going to say and was in a panic, hearing all the clever titles other participants were coming up with, and how these pictures were mirroring what was deeply embedded in their soul. One woman had done a collage on how much she hated her husband. There was lots of pain and a few tears shed as each person told a slice of their life's story.
And then it was my turn. From somewhere inside me, I said, “Gardens of the Heart.” In the upper right you can see: or possibilities? I had also glued to the page, details. But as I told them this was the way my heart felt inside, I couldn't find the pasted word. And then, when I scratched my nose, there it was, on the end of my finger. Details.

What is a romance to a writer? A collection of details, the look, the smell, the touch of a lover, the way he makes you feel when he walks into the room. That look he gives you when he's been thinking about you when you look up. I can't paint or draw, but I can use words. Words that I hope will make people feel better. Find themselves in a world that causes misfits and strays. Come to the fantasy of my world.

Because, Love Heals in the Gardens of the Heart.

Fail Forward

Day 6 of A-Z Blog tour.

I love this concept of failing forward. Failure gets a bum rap. It isn't nearly as destructive as we think.
When you learned to walk, you fell down. In fact, I don't think you would ever learn to walk if you didn't. When I first learned to ride a two-wheeler, I had to have my Dad start me, and I would stop by crashing into someone's lawn. Just like flying an airplane, take off and landing is the most dangerous. Riding was the fun part, and probably the easy part, except when a car came along or someone's little brother decided to chase a ball directly in front of your trajectory. Then a quick decision was made, and it usually resulted in skinned knees and palms.
I learned to ski when I was 40. I figured if I didn't learn before I was too old to fall down, I would never do it. I took a week-long course in the Canadian Rockies, and after 5 days of lots of falling down, I learned how to ski. I could even ski the medium runs. I even fell on my ski instructor, who had barely missed an Olympic qualifier. But his great skill and speed didn't help him when it came to getting off the chairlift with me the first time. I sat on his knee, and he broke both bones in his lower leg. Oops.
I didn't decide not to ski, not to learn to ride a bike or to walk. I haven't even decided to behave myself all the time, and I'm always getting lessons about my mouth and my opinions, and sometimes I even listen.
Because I'm still out there, slugging away, writing and writing and getting rejected, writing and writing and writing and having someone like my work, and writing and writing and writing, and…well, you know the rest.
Or, like Babe Ruth is reported to have said, “You don't get 100% of the hits you don't take.” If there ever was a chance to make it as an author, and I don't mean writing for my own enjoyment but making some serious money, it is now. We have so many options out there. There are millions of discouraged writers who will throw in the towel just when they shouldn't. And we'll still be there.
I got an appointment with an editor I wanted to meet because I was sitting in a chair waiting for someone to not show up. And that's what happened. The other author didn't show up, so I got her spot, and got to pitch to my dream editor. That was a very solid at bat. And, although it didn't give me a home run, I created a base hit out of it by writing a story she didn't like, but someone else did.
If I hadn't sat there, having “failed” at getting an appointment with this editor previously, I wouldn't have gotten the base hit. It would have been fun to hang out in the bar with my friends. But my friends won't be giving me a contract.
No, I may not be the best writer I will be some day, and I certainly am not the most successful yet, but I'm going to outlast everyone.
That means I better be immortal.

ePublish It!

What a wonderful time we live in. Now as writers, we have choices, perhaps more choices than ever before. I think of all the writers who are gone and how they would salivate at the opportunities we have at present. And to clarify, the ePublishing I'm talking about is self-publishing.

With changes in the publishing industry, the big houses have been described as, “a gate in the desert with no fence attached to it.” You have thousands, if not millions, of aspiring writers, “wanting to get in” and millions of readers who wanted to read good books, manned by this narrow gate of publishers, who were struggling with their business profits (no blame attached here), keeping all but a trickle from passing through. Well, not a trickle, but they've been selective which authors they chose to print, and careful about anticipating what titles would sell. From contract to shelf the timing is at least twelve, if not eighteen months. A lot can change in that period of time. They can't afford duds.
So now writers are going around the gate.
Readers want things, and they buy on impulse with their online purchases, provided they aren't too expensive. So pricepoint is important. Someone asked me if all these ebooks being purchased are really being read. My answer was, “Who cares? They bought the book.” Have you ever bought a book you didn't read? This great self-pub engine works because readers want to read, and they don't want to wait to get the books they love. That was a problem that was never anticipated, in my opinion. As soon as readers discovered this, they jumped on the ebook bandwagon and you are seeing soaring sales. And every boat in the water was lifted.
Um….but there's still the competition for readership. Will more books be read now that there are ebooks? I'm not sure. Instead of the vetting being done at the publishing level, it will be done with readers.
And I'm okay with that. Some great books will be bought and read that would never otherwise see a reader. And some will fall like a stone. Some good books won't sell because of lack of promotion and legitimacy the publishing houses give.
Still, the bottom line is the same: a good book is a good book. With more available to readers, and more of them will be poor quality, I think a writer should get a professional editor to help them with the finished product. There's some cost to that, but the writer takes the gamble because they get the lion's share of the profits. At over 60%, if your books are priced correctly, it's only fair, in my opinion.
Now the writer has to not only tell the tale with skill and craft, but has to be a marketing genius, select a correct cover, and know all the ins and outs of blogging, connecting to other writers and readers, and be fully responsible for sales. Now the writer is in the Business of writing, not just being an author.
So there's competition. Just like there always was. And there will be the resultant cat fights and ego-driven spats between authors trying to grab the same readers. It's a good time to be a good person, and rise above all that. Some authors will do so well, it will blow everyone's mind. Others, who are really good, will languish.
Both paths have road kill. But what I like about the path that is emerging for authors now is I have more control of the outcome than I did before. I can never match what a great publishing house could do for me, but I can promote and get my name out there, and get the buzz started. Maybe it is the first step to picking up a big publisher. Or maybe the self-publish phenom will be here to stay.
And for all the mid-list authors who haven't had an outlet for their backlist, now they can be dusted off, and brought back to life. Who knew? Vampire backlists! Back from the dead…
One thing is for sure. Putting all your eggs in one basket probably is not a good idea. Pushing to be one of the trickle that gets print published, may be a worthy goal, but may not ultimately feed your family.
I like the idea of burning the candle at both ends.


de·cide verb di-ˈsīd, dē- de·cid·edde·cid·ing Definition of DECIDE transitive verb 1 a : to make a final choice or judgment about <decide what to do> b : to select as a course of action —used with an infinitive <decided to go> c : to infer on the basis of evidence : conclude decided that he was right> 2 : to bring to a definitive end decided the fight> 3 : to induce to come to a choice decided him to help>
The most important part of this word is the ending. Decide means to kill off your options. That means, to make a choice, so that there is no going back.That's why making a statement of purpose is so powerful, because when you declare it to the world, you are asking for the world to support you, you are making a stand. Saying, “I will do/believe this.“Ah, but the fun stuff happens when the universe talks back. Don't click me off here, I haven't begun to hear voices, well, more voices, I mean. Haven't you decided to go on a diet and the very first day get offered your favorite red label food? Haven't you told someone you were a writer, to have them ask you how many books you've written and where you are published?This universe is testing you. Making sure you really decided, not just giving lip service to something.Having goals is a way of deciding. They have to be measurable and a stretch to what you would normally achieve. They should have a stop and start time, and they are best when you show them to someone, not keep them in your drawer or under the cat food.Decide today one little change you're going to make to get something accomplished you will feel good about tonight. Do it for yourself, but tell someone else you're doing it to make it more real, so you risk more.And kill off your other options.




These wonderful, big fluffy chickens are perfect brooders. I've taken eggs from other hens, and given them to these Cochin mamas, and they smother them with love until they hatch, and then are some of the most attentive mothers a baby chick could have, even doing battle with some of my randy roosters and other hens looking to damage their young.
Cochins were imported to England from China in about 1845. Queen Victoria was given a pair as a gift, and, until then, were only found in the orient. Raised by royalty, and, just like the Panda, they were rarely seen outside of the mainland.
Well, someone in England figured it out, and soon chicks were hatching and were presented to important persons by the Queen, who was said to be very pleased with her little brood. They were all the rage. Until they figured out what they would do to gardens. When Cochins go after things, like roses, peonies, lavender and even rosemary, well it's not a pretty sight. My chickens even ate all my asparagus roots, rhubarb, artichoke and yes, horseradish. One chicken can do a lot of damage to a well-tended garden, in spite of the fact that they eat almost their weight in snails, slugs, bugs per week.
I have one golden feathered one, like on the left, several black ones, and one blue Cochin, really a beautiful silvery grey color.
Now why would I bring up Cochins on my stop at C on the blog tour? Yesterday, as a matter of fact, one of my Cochins was beside herself, clucking, looking for an egg she probably thought got eaten or stolen by another hen. She was grumpily pecking all the other hens in the yard while she continued to search for it, having conducted a thorough review of the henhouse.
I only know this because of what happened next. Normally this very sweet hen is no problem, but I knew she was miffed about something.
When she turned around, I saw her egg had gotten stuck in her feathers, and she was wearing it, carrying it around the yard while she told everyone else about her distress. She couldn't feel it, couldn't see it, so it had disappeared.
I laughed when I thought how often I have been clucking around about something, you know the drill, the muttering under the breath, sure someone else had done something to cause me this distress, only to later find out I did it to myself all by myself!
And how many times did I not listen to advice or feedback, or pay attention in a craft class or workshop, and suffer for it later on?
When I removed the brown egg from her feathers, I showed Ms. Cochin her progeny. She looked at it, pecked it, and then went on and I never heard another cluck all afternoon. Even chickens can be enlightened with the right teacher.
Who knew?

Be Positive

Day two of the A-Z Blog Blitz. Be positive. One of the things I learned while being a business coach was that often people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Just seemed like people got tired of failing every day, not getting done everything they were “supposed” to. And they doubted they would achieve all their lofty goals, constantly put themselves down for even having them in the first place.

I remember reading a speech Nelson Mandela gave at his inauguration, (but was written by someone else), and I paraphrase: IF YOU MUST DOUBT SOMETHING, DON'T DOUBT THAT YOU WILL SUCCEED. DOUBT YOUR LIMITATIONS NOT YOUR ABILITY TO ACHIEVE INCREDIBLE GOALS.

Sort of like blogging in the dark, right? Blogging and they will come? Is that it? It holds hands with “Do the right thing even when no one is watching.” Putting one foot forward. Work as if you couldn't fail, instead of expecting to fail. Everybody is a failure, until we win. Then we are winners.
I read today a comment by Seth Godin (and again I paraphrase): When should you start hyping your book? The answer is 3 years before it comes out.
Brian Tracy would say act like a success and you will be one. Zig Ziglar would say fake it until you make it. It goes beyond positive thinking. Positive action, as Tony Robbins would say, be IN ACTION. Be consistent with your long term goals of success (like don't eat a cheeseburger right before you run a marathon).
You might laugh at this, but I once saw a world-famous natural-foodie speaker and diet planner, who actually had a Big Mac in his car and was about to take a bite. He even had sunglasses and a hat! And he was a phoney!
Everyone gets tired of being on the same treadmill day in and day out. Writing our hearts out and getting rejected. Having someone say, “I loved it, but didn't love it enough.” Excuse me, but would you ever say that to your kids?
So let's all be phonies together: whomever reads this post, I declare you a success! Let's fake it, and then make it together, shall we?
Sure beats being Chicken Little. Big time.

Anytime Now: Success

I'm ready for it. I've prepared my whole life for a successful writing career. Unlike anything before, the measurement tools are complicated, the standards are illusive. I've written my 1,000,000 words Stephen King says we have to do to get good. I've finished several full length novels, written as much as 92,000 words in 30 days, and edited more than I care to remember (until my eyes crossed). I've re-written one book 43 times in the first 10 chapters.

I have rejections. I have new friends. I have people laughing at me that I even consider writing as a career. I have people cheering me on. I've loved chapters I've had to cut. I've killed off a whole bunch of bad guys. I've created a bunch of new beings like my half vampire half angel Gideon. I've dated my hero and made him real. I'm guilty of driving around in my car with my favorite music up full blast. I chose the reality of my own fantasy life.

Heck, I'm doing this blog at midnight and not missing my sleep!

It's coming. Anytime now. The novel called Best Selling Author is about to be launched.

Something Tasty This Way Comes

Jimmy Thomas Interview This is a reprint of a guest post I did last November. I thought I’d bring you a tasty treat – something to keep you warm on those cold nights. Well, for those of you down under, something to think about as you sit on the beach and drink your bubbly. I interviewed romance novel model Jimmy Thomas, who has graced over 1000 book covers, on his way to obliterating the competition. He is not only a model, but is a personal trainer, an actor, and has studied extensively and competed in several martial arts disciplines. I wanted to present a different glimpse of the man, his passions, and some funny stories about his photo shoots. What do you look for in a woman? JT: Confidence, sincerity, non-jealous, respect, beauty. I want someone who takes care of herself internally (eats healthy) and externally (exercise or is active in something physical), who is passionate, someone who loves animals and children. I love women who are fun, adventurous, spontaneous, easy going, down to earth, a bit tomboyish. Prefer a Cancer, Scorpio or a Virgo… my most compatible zodiac signs Would you consider dating an older woman? JT: About 50% of the women I date are older than me What would be your max age difference? JT: It’s not about age, it’s about maturity, how well they take care of themselves, how we get along, if we have great conversations, etc. What would a date with you involve?

JT: Depends on the date, could be dinner and a movie, a day at a theme park, hiking, camping, a picnic, or cuddling up to a movie rental and a bottle of wine. What type of covers/photo shoots do you enjoy doing most? JT: Sensual and Erotica. They have the most passion in them. I’m VERY passionate and love it when a woman expresses her passion in the physical form and facial expressiveness. What do you like to read and why? JT: My emails, lol. I read only one book throughout high school (Old Man And The Sea), just to see if I could finish. I read Jurassic Park before the movie came out–was hounded over and over again by a friend that I read it. I thought it was GREAT. I’ve never had the patience for reading though. I’d much prefer watching a movie made from the book instead. I read books when I’m on a plane. I’m so busy now with my career, I don’t have leisure time to pick up a book and start reading it cover to cover. I nibble on them. What are your favorite movies, TV shows, types of music, etc? JT: Action adventure, sci-fi blockbuster thriller movies! For TV… House, Chuck, Two And A Half Men and True Blood. I DVR and watch them when I can. For music, anything upbeat, full of energy, high/fast-paced, dance-type music. Music like that motivates and energizes me.
What’s the most erotic cover you’ve ever done? JT: MANY! Sexathon, Whenever We Meet, Simmering Seductions, A Christmas Interlude, Afterlife, many, many more! Were you ever embarrassed about taking your clothes off, or nearly naked? JT: During a photo shoot? Embarrassed no, shy? Yes. Sexiest song? JT: Chris Isaac’s “Wicked Game”
How did you get started? JT: My sister did a few photo shoots that came out great and she suggested I should as well. I thought “Hmmm???… Nah!” My ex-girlfriend taught Taekwondo and cardio kickboxing classes and we ran into each other. I was heavy into weight-lifting, mentioned that I wanted to lean-up but hated cardio, and she suggested I take her cardio kickboxing classes. I thought “Hmmm???… Nah!” Then I was out at a night club and the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen in my life (still to this day), walked up to be with a huge smile, (I instantly looked behind me to see who she was looking at, lol…) and her first words were, “Tell me you model?!?!?” I chuckled, looked behind me again, and said “Ahhh, no. Why?” She said, “You need to and should!” We hit it off, began dating. She fell in love with me but, for some strange reason, I couldn’t fall in love with her… bad timing I guess *shrugs*. But, her suggesting, or rather insisting, that I model, had me take my ex’s cardio kickboxing class to lean up. I shot with my sister’s photographer, and that is where it all began What is your favorite cover–? Why? JT: This changes almost monthly as new covers come out (I’m currently on about 30 new covers each week). Initially, my favorite cover was my first one Solar Heat, then Seducing The Sheriff, Lucas. There have been so many I really liked, but recently I was sent Carly & the New Foreman which blew me away. A few more that really stood out: Love Immortal, Who’s Been Sleeping in Her Bed, Tatiana, Solstice Seduction, Dying Assassin and Araton’s Destiny. There are so many more between the beginning and now, and I know there will be plenty more. Just like how we all had a favorite movie in high school. May not be our favorite movie now, but it is still in your “favorites” category. I could never have just one favorite cover–I’ve been on nearly 800 covers. Have you ever been so turned on during a shoot you got an erection? How did you deal with it? JT: Only if/when a girl is um, groping my junk. Otherwise, my mind is so much on getting great images. I have to focus on us both being in our key lights, not shadowing each other. Our hand and arm placement being correct, our hair not being messed or blocking our faces, her hair length as well as mine always showing. Wardrobe not being wrinkled twisted or messed up. Our expressions being together, while still staying in a romantic, sensual, seductive, sexy character. There’s also stopping often as my photographer adjusts his lighting when we move into a different position. It’s not like we turn on a few lights in our direction and he just clicks non-stop as we do whatever we want. As for how did I deal with the times I have been aroused, I simply went with it and let her do what she wanted to do I’m single, who am I to stop her… she’s in character dammit! How many disciplines of martial arts do you study? What’s your favorite and why? JT: Kenpo Karate was my first and foremost style, but I’ve also studied Jujitsu, Shotokan, Taekwondo and Kickboxing, with Kenpo and Kickboxing being my favorites! What makes a sexy cover? Erotic cover? JT: Chemistry, passion, a strong and real connection between the two models. It’s not just posing in a position that looks hot. That chemistry can be shown in the facial expressions, in the body language, hand positioning, head tilts, etc. So many different variables make up great couples’ images… those variables I only give away to my co-models so that they do them What was your most romantic date? JT: Hmmm, how can I answer this on an “Erotic” blog? All my dates are romantic. I don’t label being romantic necessarily by specific things you do that are listed as romantic (romance 101 things). For me it is about how I converse with a woman, hold her, look at her, caress her, kiss her and move with her. These are the reasons why I am told I am romantic, as well as the little things I do; although those things are then seen more as sweet What makes a woman sexy? At any age? JT: Confidence! A woman who knows what she wants and voices it, expresses it. What about the male form is sexy, in your opinion? JT: Holding his sexiness in a great, confident posture. You could be thin and toned or big and broad, but if you stand and walk with sincere confidence, not arrogance, then you are very appealing to others. Can you share with us your hottest or raciest cover? Photo? JT: I guess that is in the eye of the beholder. Look on my facebook page in my Cover Albums for your favorite raciest cover (www.facebook.com/JimmyThomasDotCom), or through all my images on my stock image website www.RomanceNovelCovers.com. You tell me THE raciest photo of me is not publicly shown anywhere, nor will it be (Ed note: good answer, Jimmy. He’s such a politician.) Thanks,
Jimmy Thomas Jimmy Thomas Fitness, Print & Romance Novel Cover Model (794 covers)
NASM Certified Personal Trainer (since 1998)
Self Defense & Kickboxing Instructor (since 1992)
www.JimmyThomas.com www.RomanceNovelCovers.com www.modelmayhem.com/jimmythomas www.facebook.com/JimmyThomasDotCom

Days of Wine and Chickens

This is a great day. Any day I get dirt all over my body is a great day. I love to garden. I even love tending my chickens. So, today is my first day to begin planting my garden – one I haven’t had for over 2 years now, ever since our house fire that pretty much sunk us in every respect, not the least of which is financially. But I digress…

I’m thinking about posting “Ode to Spring” things, but I can’t wait to get out there and get my hands and face dirty. For over 2 years my chickens have had their way with my garden—ate all my rhubarb, asparagus and artichokes—things I had grown for years, and things they told me at Western Farm Supply they wouldn’t touch. They even ate remnants of catnip and ALL my horseradish, although it took them 2 years to do the latter. I don’t think any of them could ever carry a disease—it’s been burned out of them.

They’ve given me a bumper crop of colorful eggs I trade at the local Farmer’s Market, for veggies and veggie/flower starts. Okay, fruit, and organic sheep sausage, English pot pies, fresh fruit turnovers, hot sauces, lemon and orange-flavored olive oil (try using it in your favorite corn bread recipe and they’ll never figured out how you did it) and occasionally cheeses and fresh crab. I’ve also traded for wind chimes that drive my brother crazy (he hates noise) tablecloths and cutting boards.

So my beautiful soil, with all the chicken poop and sawdust shavings from 2 years of henhouse cleanout, the virgin soil every gardener loves, rich with compost, and free of a single weed, rototilled to perfection (it was my valentine’s present from my hubby) is ready for my touch. I am orgasmic! So, if you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m in the garden, caked with mud. Entertaining my chickens.

Oh, and here’s a little secret I’ve learned about chickens, lest you think I am a Pied Piper or witch or something. They line up for certain things. One of them is $1.00 loaves of bread from Bimbo Bakery. God bless Bimbo.


End of A Love Affair

Somewhere in the green countryside, in the bucolic hills of Sonoma County, my car is dreaming. It hugs the road, as only a $70,000 car can. It has more horsepower for the dips and valleys than it has a right to. It owns the road. It owns the driver. It used to own me.

Not any longer.
I truly loved this car. I loved it the day I picked it out at the showroom. The faded blue fed my need to buy a car that wouldn't do well at resale. I wasn't going to re-sell it. I was going to keep it forever. Some day I was going to be a very spry senior citizen, driving her little antique sports car, hitting people with her cane when they touched it, unwilling to let anyone else drive it. Certainly no future grandson or daughter, God forbid. Maybe not my husband, if he didn't improve his driving habits and need for spine-tingling speed.
Sound system was superb. The stylish sporty chrome dials and buttons were specially designed for the AMG package. The dealer told me how wonderful the car was every time I took it in for service, that I should run the wheels off of it, that I should take it out, like a good racehorse and let it rip.
And I did. I explored the roads of Sonoma County, drove to and from Los Angeles a couple of times and did a trip up to Portland and Las Vegas. Fun to let your hair fly in the breeze. Suntan your face. Let them watch you go by in that one of a kind car, and say, “Wow. Look at her.”
In the process, I hit every pothole between here and LA, most of them in Northern California. I hit the parking barriers, even ran into the valet parking sign at the hospital the night my granddaughter was born, and nearly took the thing home with me. Twice the front low-lying bumper cost us $2900. I once had to duct tape it on my way home from a writer's meeting in the East Bay. Although the duct tape was metallic silver, it didn't quite match.
At a whopping 9,000 miles on it, new tires were needed. All around. It cost almost $1800. I've gone through four of those now. Sets. The front passenger seat sticks. The windshield cracked a month ago. The registration is due in April, for another $500. The services are at least $600 twice a year.
And I'm done.
Oh, this car has been fun, don't get me wrong. I've loved nearly every minute driving it. But we don't live in Germany where you can go 120 mph, and, with the state of our freeways, even if you could, it would be worth your life. One of the other beautiful cars I bought, about five years ago, the one I thought I would keep the rest of my life, my husband picked up from the dealer. Five minutes into his ride home on the freeway, he got rear-ended at 34 mph and what was once a sleek, beautiful 4-door sedan suddenly became a compact Peugeot – 70's style small. We didn't get to drive our “new” car for nearly two months. The 120-point owner education session had lasted twenty times his ride home that day.
So maybe God has been trying to tell me something. It's been a wonderful lover. But it makes me choose between my pocketbook and my ego. I could have it as a trophy lover, someone to parade around in front of everyone. But I kissed him goodbye.
Like an unfaithful lover, he wasn't worth the real cost of ownership. It's been one of the best things I've ever done for me.
Happy Valentine's Day.

Writing about Dark Angels

I have a thing for dark angels, brooding, sensuous, mostly males but some females, on a collision course with their own nature and against most forms of authority. As in all my stories, the basic theme is: Love heals in the gardens of the heart. I believe in the power of redemption through true love, that in loving another it brings out the very best in ourselves. True strength is measured in strength of character. Believing in something outside ourselves, whether it be spiritual or of this world, is the highest calling. I love to write stories about how people discover miraculous gifts within themselves to overcome impossible odds.

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