On to the holidays!


Halloween is over, and we’ve got a few weeks before the holidays get underway.  I took down my scary witch hanging on my front door and replaced her with an autumn wreath, which will soon be replaced by my sparkly Christmas wreath.

I’ve got to say, autumn has always been my very favorite time of the year. I love the sights (all those leaves turning to gorgeous fall colors!), the smell of woodsmoke, the crispness in the air and the first frost. It gets my juices flowing!

At long last, I have finally begun my new novel. What with everything else I’m doing, it’s going to take awhile. Oh that I had the luxury of only writing fiction all day long! But I am going to give it my best shot at taking less than a year to complete it. It’s my usual scary scenario stuff, only this time, it’s based in the reality of climate change. Hey – maybe a movie!

So stay tuned and enjoy this beautiful season.

That Took Longer Than Expected!

When I left my wine consulting gig back in May, I thought I’d get all of our books converted into a variety of eBook formats by July at the latest. HAHAHA! Guess the joke was on me! Because here it is, mid-October, and today I FINALLY was notified that the last of them has made the grade over at Smashwords and is now available on just about any eReader you can think of. Even iBooks.

Gotta say, I’m proud of myself.

Now I can get to interacting with people over at Goodreads, which I’ve only been able to do periodically amidst writing for Liberals Unite, updating this website as well as the ARK Stories website. Not only that, but I can now actually get started on my next novel.

Of course, there will be things that will take me away from my wandering inside my own head – a place I love to be when I’m making up my yarns. For one, I’ll be editing my daughter Kimberley’s new Young Adult novel titled Peyton’s Choice. It’s about a 17 year old girl who finds first love and then faces an unplanned pregnancy. I’ve got to say, Kimberley did a fantastic job and we’re looking forward to its release.

I took the plunge!


Last time I posted I said I was planning to leave my wine consulting gig and devoting my time to getting ARK Stories into a going concern rather than an expensive hobby. And I did! This is the end of the second week I’ve been unemployed. Scary. But at least I’m fortunate enough to be able to do this. At least for a while.

One thing I will most definitely miss about the wine gig, though – the tastings. In the 6 1/2 years I worked as a consultant, I got to taste some of the world’s best wines: stuff like Hundred Acre Cabernet and Shiraz, Cristal Champagne – I even got to taste some Lafite Rothschild. One really cool thing – when you’re in the biz, they’re always running contests and when I left I added a magnum of 2010 Tantara Solomon Hills Pinot Noir to my collection. I have the 2009 – won it last autumn and am saving both for when I have people over who appreciate a truly fine Pinot Noir. Because Tantara really does make some kickin’ wine! Now I shall be relegated to shopping for less expensive wine at my local Bottle Barn, but I must say, there are some great buys out there if you know what you’re doing and my tenure as a consultant put me into the category of people who know. Yay!

So, back to my new (old) venture. First thing I did was get the ARK Stories site up. Moved it from one server to another and that was a CHORE! Shouldn’t have been but my previous server people didn’t want to lose the biz so they kind of screwed around with me. Obviously, their efforts were to no avail, because I did change servers  As far as rebuilding the site, all I have to say it this: No wonder web designers charge an arm and a leg! I have a feeling I’ll be tweaking the site on and off for awhile before it meets my approval. But for someone who hasn’t a clue, I think I did a pretty good job!

I’m also editing my daughter’s YA novel, Peyton’s Choice. This is the third or fourth time I’ve been through it – one loses count after a while – and once she goes through this final time, we’re sending it out to some other editors to work on. Input is always good!

What else? Well, as usual, I’m writing for Liberals Unite. More now than before, of course, because hey! I have the time! And you know me – I ALWAYS have something to say!

So, reading, writing, planning and all that stuff. Today is Saturday, so I think I’ll stop working and go have some fun!


Spring Is In The Air!

Well, it’s in the air here in Northern California. Looking at the weather around the country, it seems that Old Man Winter has loosened his grip elsewhere too. Having spent the first 30 years of my life in Maryland – except for a short sojourn in Monterey (where I fell in love with California) and a half year in Pensacola, Florida – I know about cold winters. Although I have to admit, I never had to go through what so many had to endure this past winter. To all of you who are weary of shoveling snow and now have to deal with all of it melting, I send you my sincere wishes for a beautiful spring and summer and hope that the melt is slow enough to avoid any further disruptions in your lives.

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and I am about to embark on yet another journey. As you may or may not know, I have been a wine consultant for 6 1/2 years. It’s been quite an adventure learning about the great wines of the world, not to mention tasting them! But my first love is writing. It is something I have never tired of doing and that’s saying something because if I’ve learned anything about myself, it’s that I get bored very easily. It’s the reason I’ve engaged in so many different lines of work, from working in advertising, to radio sales, to professional acting to a whole string of other occupations that are so numerous I have forgotten some of them! But I have never tired of the written word. So now, not without some trepidation, I am planning to leave my consulting days behind and devote myself to putting my books, as well as my daughter’s books, on the front burner. It’s a big decision and one I don’t make lightly – I, like everyone else, have bills to pay! So by the end of April, at the latest, I will be saying adios to my wine job and diving head first into getting our books out into the public eye in a way I’ve never done before. It’s a little scary and a lot exciting and I hope you’ll stay with me along the way.

Working On A New Project

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With the holidays looming – what a word looming is, conjuring up all manner of death and destruction – I am getting my house a makeover. Having four cats has accelerated the process and we won’t go into that here, but I’ve been wanting to paint the joint since I moved in over 6 years ago.

At first, I could live with the never-ending beige but now it makes me want to scream. I need color! So I’ve got painters coming to give the downstairs, the stairwell and the upstairs hall a coat of yellow (shade yet to be determined – that’s the project for this weekend). I have personally painted my bathroom – and it’s da bomb, if I do say so myself – and am gearing up to give my bedroom a makeover, but the thought of doing that stairwell, replete with a big ol’ tunnel over the stairs going up to the skylight gave me pause. All I could think of when considering doing it myself were those commercials with that old lady moaning, “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” Hence the hired painters.

Once the paint is on the walls – and I don’t know if I’ll get around to the office, but will definitely do the downstairs half bath (‘cuz it’s small) – I’m having bamboo floors put in. So if you see my mugshot on the news for knocking over the local 7-11, you’ll know that it was all because I wanted to spruce up the place for the holidays and really needed the $$.

If you’d buy one – or all of my books (hey! why not go for the gusto!), either for yourself or as gifts to your book loving family and friends – I might not have to rob the 7-11.

Just sayin’.





Kindle Countdown Sale For Cooper’s Grove!

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It’s Halloween! Or at least it will be this coming Friday. So I thought it would be a good idea to have a sale on my ghost story – no brainer, don’t you agree? I thought it’d be a good way to put you in the mood for one of my favorite holidays. The best way to do that is to give you a little snippet of the spine tingling events that are part and parcel of Cooper’s Grove. It’s available for just $1.99 from October 28 until the end of the day on October 31. Reviews are encouraged. So without further adieu…

Cooper's Grove

At first she thought it was the sound of the wind that woke her. The noise was a howling moan, mournful and angry at the same time. Lucinda pulled the blankets up around her head to blot out the sound, but instead of abating, the intensity of it rose until she was driven from her bed. Not wind, no, it now sounded more like the howl of a wounded animal, a wolf maybe. But there were no wolves around here, were there? And instead of being from the outside, the howling sounded as if it were coming from within the house. A shudder of fear engulfed Lucinda. Was there something in the house? And if so, how had it gained entrance? 

She grabbed the chenille robe that was draped over the chest at the foot of her bed and wrapped it around her, then crept from her room to the hallway. Still the howling continued, echoing off the walls and ceilings, filling the house with the awful sound. As she stepped into the hallway, she felt a rush of frigid air that seemed to go right through her, and she gasped in surprise. From downstairs she could hear the outer front door as it slammed against the jamb, buffeted by the wind of the storm outside.

Carefully making her way along the hall, she turned on the light, illuminating the dark corridor, then proceeded down the stairs. When she got to the bottom of the steps, she was greeted by the sight of the front door standing open, snow blowing in to form a white mound on the carpet of the foyer. She ran to pull the storm door shut, making certain the latch was secure, then closed the front door as well, turning the deadbolt and wondering how she could have left it unlatched. It was only when she had done this that she realized the howling had stopped.

Shivering, she switched on the foyer light and looked around. Nothing seemed to be disturbed except for the snow in the entryway. The echo of the howling was still with her, making her feel that she might not be alone in the house, and it was with trepidation that she went to the kitchen to get a bucket and some rags to wipe up the now melting snow on the floor. She proceeded slowly, watching as she went for movement. If there was some sort of wild animal in the house, she didn’t want to be caught unaware. Although if there was, she didn’t know what she would do about it. Run and hide maybe. A nervous laugh escaped her.

After cleaning up the snow, she took the bucket and rags back into the kitchen, then went from room to room to check and make sure no animal had sought refuge from the storm in her home. Her fear had abated by this time, for if there had been some dangerous beast lurking in the house, surely it would have made itself known.

It was in the living room that she found the mess. On the desk where she kept the lists of people to invite, caterer’s quotes and halls to contact, there was now only a pile of crumpled and torn paper. The sight of it stopped her momentarily and all of the fears she had felt coming down the stairs washed over her again. She took a deep breath to calm herself and went over to the desk. Not only were the lists destroyed, but ink had been spilled on them. It had leaked on to the wood of the desk and trickled down to stain the carpet. Slowly her eyes took in the damage, and then she turned and surveyed the rest of the room. A picture on the mantelpiece, one of her and Billy Joe, lay on the floor, the covering glass in shards on the hearthstone. Nothing else had been disturbed.

She went over and picked up the picture, taking care not to cut herself on the broken glass. The wind could have blown the picture down but no wind could have torn and crumpled the papers, then opened a bottle of ink and spilled it all over the surface of the desk. Someone had done this, and whoever it was might still be in the house. She looked around for some kind of weapon and grabbed a fireplace poker, the only thing at hand.

“Is anyone here?” she called, afraid of getting a reply.

Her only answer was the sound of the wind outside. Not a howling, just the hushed susurration of the wind through the trees.

Once again, she crept through the downstairs, poker raised and ready. In the kitchen she looked toward the door to the basement. It was shut, as it had been when she was in the room earlier. But that meant nothing. Someone could have escaped there when they heard her coming downstairs and shut the door behind them. They could still be there, lying in wait. They could just as easily have run out the front door, she told herself. She opened the door leading to the cellar below. Flicking on the light, she called out again with a bravado she didn’t feel.

“Is anyone there? You’d better answer! I’m locking the door and calling the police!”

Silence was her answer.

She slammed the door shut and latched it with the hook, then, seeing the flimsiness of the latch, she grabbed a chair and braced it against the door.

Upstairs! Someone could have gone upstairs when she’d come to the kitchen for the bucket and rags. She came out to the foyer again and eyed the staircase. Suppose there was someone up there? What could she do? They would hear her coming, would have the advantage. A million things raced through her mind. Maybe she should make good on her threat and call the police. After all, it was obvious that someone had been in the house, had vandalized it, even though the vandalism was confined to her wedding lists and the picture, and nothing seemed to be missing. But still, someone had done it for reasons unknown.

She looked at the clock. It was nearly two. Her stomach churned. Yes, she should call the police. Keeping her eyes on the stairs, ready to bolt if she saw someone coming down, she picked up the phone in the hall to dial the sheriff’s office.

A dead silence greeted her. The phone wasn’t working. Most likely the storm had knocked out the lines, she thought as she replaced it in its cradle. She was truly isolated now and the thought was unsettling. She went to peer out the front window to see if there were some sign of anyone being out there. But there was nothing, except for the unbroken expanse of new-fallen snow extending from the road up to her front steps and on to the porch. No, that couldn’t be right. There had to have been footprints in the snow if someone had come into the house. Maybe she was looking at the snow from a strange angle that fooled her eye. She switched on the porch light and opened the front door. The snow outside, both on the porch and in the yard, was undisturbed. It was windy and the snow was blowing around, but it had ceased to fall so heavily. Now just a few flakes drifted down from the heavens. If there had been footprints they may have been covered up, she reasoned to herself. But a little voice inside her head kept insisting there would still be some evidence of them, some smoothed over depressions on the steps and up the walk. But the front yard was an unspoiled blanket of white. Opening the storm door, she crept out on to the porch and looked to see if there were indentations in the snow that were hidden from sight from the vantage point of the door, but she saw nothing. She closed the door, puzzlement creasing her brow. Looking down at the hall runner, it occurred to her that there had been no footprints there either. Only the snow that had blown in from the outside. There should have been wet prints, shouldn’t there?

Maybe whoever it was had come in from the back. She hurried to the kitchen and checked the back door but it was securely latched, just as it had been when she went up for the night. Still, she flicked on the floodlights to the back yard and peered out the window. There was nothing to indicate that anyone had come up the steps. Could they have come up over the side railing and stuck close to the house? Hands trembling, she opened the door and looked out on to the small porch and saw there were no footprints there either. Wrapping her robe tightly around her, she edged out on to the porch and walked to each end of it, looking for telltale prints in the snow, but there were none.

The beating of her heart sounded loudly in her ears and she shivered: from cold, from fright, she couldn’t tell the difference. No matter that she hadn’t found any evidence of someone in the yard, someone had been in the house, had made that mess in the living room. Still clutching the poker she went to the kitchen phone and grabbed the receiver from the wall to see if by some miracle the lines had been fixed in the last few minutes, but there was still only silence. As she replaced the receiver she saw the stains of ink on her fingers. She hesitated. Had those stains been the result of her cleaning up the ink? Or had they been there all along? Maybe she had sleepwalked. That had never happened to her before but now, in the face of the fact that there was no indication of anyone coming up to the house, she began to wonder if it were possible. Besides, by this time, if there were someone inside, she was certain they would have made their move, whether to attack or escape. What would the sheriff see if he came out here? Some crumpled up papers and a broken picture. Nothing missing. No footprints. No signs of forced entry. Just one woman alone with ink stains on her hands and a wild story to tell. Was she going crazy?

She wished Billy Joe were here with her. She needed the feeling of his arms around her, his warmth, his smile. She needed him! But he was over a hundred miles away in Baltimore, and it was the middle of the night, and she was alone.

She was not crazy! No matter how it looked, someone had been in here, and she was calling the sheriff as soon as the phone was working again.

The snow had stopped completely now and the wind had died, making the night as still as death. Lucinda turned off the porch light and turned to go back to the kitchen. It was nearly three in the morning, and although she was exhausted, she didn’t think she’d be able to fall asleep easily. A cup of tea might help to calm her frayed nerves.

Maybe she was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the fact of her and Billy Joe making plans to get married and fueling the town’s gossip mongers. Maybe she had walked in her sleep. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Sitting at the kitchen table, sipping the tea, memories came to her unbidden. Memories of hearing someone calling her name just after she’d moved into her house, just after Billy Joe had come over for the first time. Memories of the coldness that seemed to stalk her wherever she went, especially when Billy Joe was around. Memories of the lamp falling for no reason in Billy Joe’s house, her front door blowing open this past Christmas. The feeling that there was someone in bed with her when there was no one there. A cold dread clutched at her.

Involuntarily she looked quickly around the kitchen, seeking—what? She was alone in the house, she was sure of it. So why did she feel as if there were someone or something there with her? Watching. Waiting. She shivered violently and almost choked on the mouthful of tea.

No. No. She was merely having a nerve attack. She was tired and it was the middle of the night and she missed Billy Joe and…again she looked over her shoulder, sure that she would find someone—who?—standing behind her, ready to pounce. She looked down at her ink-stained hands and found they were trembling.

There was a thought in her head that she didn’t want to confront, but it would not be denied. The voice that had called her name. She’d known that voice and hadn’t wanted to admit to it. But now the admission was screaming to get out. The last words of John Dawson echoed in her ears “You watch out for Billy Joe Dean. He’ll be coming around you now. But never forget, Lucinda—you are mine!”

No, this was crazy, this was absolutely insane, but even as she thought it, she knew it was true. The things that had been happening, all those odd occurrences, and now the destruction of her wedding lists and the picture of her and Billy Joe as a couple, now it made some terrible kind of sense. John was here with her. She drew in her breath and swallowed hard. He was with her, and he had been with her ever since the day he died.

As the thought formed in her mind, the sound of a distant laughter filled the house and she knew she was right.



My Brand New Short Story!

Sometimes you just want a quick shot and that’s what short stories are all about. I hope you’ve taken advantage of the FREEBIE on my home page. If not, please join my mailing list and let me know whether you’d like a Kindle or an ePub version (that will fit most other eReaders like NOOK).

Today, I’m announcing the release of my newest short story, A View From the Meadow. It’s on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble and I hope you decide to take the plunge and spend 99¢ for a strange little tale that I think you will find entertaining!

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They Say You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

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Not that I’m a dog, but I’m no spring chicken either! But I do love learning how to do new things. Over the summer I learned (1) how to build a website – and you’re looking at it! and (2) a new writing program so I can do my own eBook conversions. Woo hoo! I converted Kimberley’s new book American Woman  The Poll Dance: Women and Voting to both Kindle and Nook formats and will also get it up on Kobo in the near future. I’m also converting our other books to Nook and Kobo in the coming weeks.

I do have a thing for learning new stuff. I once decided that I wanted to take the LSAT (to get into law school). So I went to the now defunct Crown Books, got myself a guide, studied up and paid the fee to take the test at USC. I passed and was accepted into the Glendale University College of Law, whereupon I decided that I really didn’t want to study or practice law. I just wanted to see if I could pass the test! Did the same thing with real estate when I lived in Arizona. Took a course that I loved and passed the test on the first try. Then I thought, man, I don’t feel like tramping all over the place showing homes to people. I just wanted to take the classes and see if I could pass the test. Which I did and it came in handy because I sold my house all by myself just before the real estate market took a nosedive. Just lucky, I guess!

I like taking tests. I guess that makes me kind of weird. But weird in a good way, don’t you think?

Crazy End Of Summer Stuff

Well, I did my CRAZY Kindle countdown deal and lots of people took advantage of it. Thanks! Now I’m going to work on getting CRAZY into other online venues in eBook format because I realize that not everyone has a Kindle! So pretty soon, all of the ARK Stories books will be more widely available. Woo hoo!

I’ve been so busy all summer long doing websites, editing Kimberley’s FABULOUS new book American Woman The Poll Dance: Women and Voting, learning a new writing program and doing my wine consulting that I haven’t had time to write. But I’ll be getting back to that as soon as I return from my trip back to my roots – Baltimore, Maryland. I’ll be seeing old friends and most exciting, seeing Kimberley speak on the west lawn of the nation’s capitol building on September 13. It’s gonna be GREAT!

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to relaxing at least a little bit this Labor Day weekend, although I still have a lot to accomplish before leaving for my trip next Friday. I’ll miss my kitties! And I’m also looking forward to all the colors of autumn – my very favorite time of the year.

Gotta run. Have a terrific holiday weekend!


CRAZY Kindle Countdown

So here we are on my new website. I decided to launch it today because I have a promotion that starts at the stroke of midnight Pacific time tonight and runs from Saturday, August 23 through Tuesday, August 26, when it will end at midnight Pacific time. I thought it would be a great way to end the summer because hey! Who doesn’t love a stalker Satanic serial killer novel with a dash of Hollywood glitz thrown in?

Starting price is a tiny $1.99, then $2.99, then $3.99 and end up at the retail of $4.99 by the time the whole thing is over. I’m thinking the smart money is on the $1.99, but it’s a bargain at any price (if I do say so myself!) Click on the title to go to Amazon and buy yourself some thrills and chills to keep you company on the beach (or at the office when the boss isn’t looking!)


I know, I know, I’m the author and you’re thinking, “Well, of course she’s going to tell us her book is all that and a bag of chips.” So don’t take my word for it. Read the reviews before you buy. Or go on over to my CRAZY page and check out the YouTube review.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to JOIN MY MAILING LIST. I promise not to fill your inbox with a bunch of nattering junk. I’ll just send you stuff from time to time about my meandering thoughts, or promotions or new stories and books or things I think you might find interesting.