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Monday, March 11, 2019

Ten More Days Until Spring!!

Signs of Spring

This Monday in March,
I searched for evidence.
A comforting reassurance hidden behind turbulent clouds.
The garden fairies were sure to be shivering,
But the sound of tiny wings fluttered above.
Their voices subdued,
as if humbled by the weather.
Perhaps working overtime and exhausted,
paintbrushes dry,
canvases sodden with months of rain,
they hide in the wild clover.

Stitching petals in the overgrowth,
behind evergreens and tall grass,

on the other side of the gazebo,
they create the magic.

I noticed small hints.
Wee colorful scraps,
vivid shreds,
akin to short pieces of yarn,
swept into the dustpan after crafting.
They popped out near the rosemary.

Tiny bouquets of pink,

sprouting bulbs,
a single African daisy.
Each a smile bursting from the soil;
The promised harbingers of Spring.

Physical hope,
here in my garden.

--Eve Gaal

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Library Love!

So sorry that you weren't able to make it to our local library last Tuesday. My presentation took place in a large room filled with smiling faces and lots of hospitality. There were snacks galore, such as cake, sandwiches, appetizers, cookies, muffins, etc.  What a wonderful group of kind and generous human beings! I want to thank the Friends of the Murrieta Library for allowing me to speak. It was a huge honor. Of course I talked about my books and The Intangible Heart.
 Here are snippets from my talk:
My name is Eve Gaal and I’m a local author from Wildomar and a member of the Diamond Valley Writer’s Guild. My hobbies include reading, crocheting and walking my naughty chihuahuas.

One of my favorite books is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. Most consider it a children’s book but it has tremendous words of wisdom, which I’m sure most of you have heard: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
Which leads me to what I call: The Intangible Heart. Not the vessels, aorta and throbbing organ pumping blood throughout our body, but the biggest, best piece of equipment we have. Because even though we can manage anger, hunger, most of our tears and bodily functions, there are things we can’t control. And yet, we’ve been given this super power that allows us complete control of our non-tangible hearts. Total free will to love.
These hearts of ours prep like Olympic athletes because they feel our emotions. We have those bad days, and sad days that take our breath away. But like the song from the movie Titanic, “Our hearts will go on.” It’s part of our inner spirit. It is a gift. It can reproduce as much love as you want to give. The more we give, the more we receive.

Most everything I write is about a lost character who needs to find a way back, through an adventure of trials and errors where love saves the day!

I’m convinced everything happens for a reason. Not much is random. Maybe confetti.
Ask yourself. How much of your life can you control?
Have you ever tried to train a cat?
Nail jello to the wall?

Remember the Little Prince and how he wanted total control of his rose, so much so, that he placed it under a glass dome?
But we don’t live on Asteroid B612.
Here on Earth, it seems things can appear out of control. And that’s when we reach for love. We can let our inner riches flow and our heartfelt undying gifts spread like wildfire. Love is the shield that protects better than an iron umbrella in a rainstorm of negativity. Love is our weapon. People say, “Oh that’s impossible,” but then someone comes along and surprises everyone by doing it. Love is the footstool that helps us climb over barricades. Love is the reason there are miracles. Things we can’t explain.
When you leave behind a legacy of love, you will be remembered forever. Not because you have the biggest house, the fastest car or the prettiest hair. It’s your story. Create the ending you want.

And so on....After this I gave examples from my own life when I was not in control and yet still unafraid. Then I also read a paragraph from Penniless Souls. After that, we did an exercise to manifest love. We closed our eyes and imagined our intangible heart  producing heart shaped flyers we could pass out to everyone. I called it a slot machine/ copy machine combination. Everyone went home with a figurative jackpot of love. 

I ended with the following:
For me, love’s the reason I breathe, the reason I write and the reason I am here. And while I may not be the greatest writer, in my intangible heart, I am extremely grateful to those who read and review my books.  Please support your local authors. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Valentine Greetings!

“Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table.” ... (Matthew 4:4)

Happy St. Valentine’s Day from my little crumb catchers!

And by the way, please come see me talk about my newest novel, Penniless Souls at the Murrieta Library on February 19th!  My topics will include love and the mindful inspiration that springs from our intangible hearts!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Kidnapped by Great Books

Kidnapped by Great Books and
 Still Reeling from National Novel Writing Month.

Everyone has an excuse but I have some good ones. Really. The best ones are listed below. There are links to each book so you can get sucked in too. Trust me these are worth it.
Sorry, that I haven't posted to my blog in a long time but once you read my reviews, you'll know why. First, there was that November Novel writing craziness. Then, add in some cooler weather, a few exhausting holidays, drops of rain, and not unlike Tom Hanks in Castaway, I had to crawl onto a couch with a book, or two or three. Okay, more like ten.
Help! I'm stuck in a writer's imagination

eBook or otherwise, help! I almost drowned in a sea of humor, excitement, fantasy and the clever turn of a phrase. Take a look at the following beauties, you won’t be disappointed. 

  Arch Font

Last Voyage is the final book of the Jerry Slider adventure trilogy. An escapade that will have you either laughing or sitting on the edge of your seat, probably both. This is a fictional journey that pulls you into the jungle and onto a sailing yacht while surprising you with ‘enough mishaps to last a lifetime’. Font has woven a humorous nightmare, using well-developed characters from his first two novels, but adding new, fascinating characters like Jonas, Koop, Mavis and Titus Attah.
As I turned the pages, I felt like a stowaway, eavesdropping on excellent dialogue, not wanting the book to end. I liked the creative characterizations, the quips, and the mere idea that something like this could possibly happen to people living on a quiet street in San Diego. This author has quite the imagination and yet, based on my own perils while travelling, this tale felt painfully realistic.
And while Rhonda, a close friend of Helen, Jerry’s wife, may have planned the Eco-cruise to South Africa without doing too much research, how can anyone blame Rhonda for the Ebola scare, the manic Vicar and his revenge-seeking wife, the wild chimpanzee in camp, the greedy owner of the Sea-Witch or the pirates holding Ak-47s? How are poisonous snakes, pygmy hippos and hungry leopards Rhonda’s fault? Ask Jerry, because he’ll be happy to share his innermost feelings over a dinner of oatmeal crepes while discussing his Last Voyage.
If you’re looking for entertainment, get on board, because your ship has come in.

Eileen Thornton

This is a novel about biological weapons, and how one family survives a giant leak in their neighborhood. Sarah is a witness to the catastrophe, which wipes out neighbors and animals grazing in the fields. Fortunately, her children are safe but Pete, her husband, is up in nearby hills tending to the sheep. When the military is called in to squelch any reports to the media, Sarah finds herself running from the law.
The author spins a believable, heart-stopping tale of intrigue and excitement with interesting characters, notable English landmarks and political larceny. A few horrific scenes might make you think of Stephen King, but the dark side is balanced with a story of unrequited love, such as you might find in Emily Bronte or Edith Wharton.
Eileen Thorton will take you through the English countryside on a fascinating journey that you’re sure to enjoy. Find out what happens to Sarah and the children. Will she be safe at her father’s house in London? Will she find Pete? Read The Trojan Project and find out!

Suzanne Saunders

What a delightful young-adult story about Shannon, an eleven-year-old and her cousin Jake’s pony. The author not only does a great job of immediately pulling the reader into the excitement of the upcoming Veteran’s Day parade but she also describes the unique qualities, characteristics of each horse, as a knowledgeable and consummate equestrian. If you’re looking for an easy-read as a gift for anyone who loves animals and wants to learn about horses, this is the perfect short book.

Stewart Bint

There are so many gems in this adult book of mesmerizing tales, that I can hardly select one to rave about. I mean how could you not want to be a fly on the wall at The Trial of Santa Claus? What if you found a brass lamp at an antique dealer and a genie popped out? It happens to Reginald Todd in The Fourth Wish. If you like collecting stamps, you’ll have to read Money to Burn. And I loved being fooled by Honest Don. A Timely Murder had a few great twists too. There are even poems in this book! Several stories are about aliens, time travel, lonely ghosts, even monsters who slurp up children and cyber bullies who deserve to be punished. Well, I’ll admit my favorites are the Silent Witness and Second Time Round, but I’m not going to tell you why. You’ll have to read this wonderful, entertaining collection yourself. Seriously, if you’re looking for a gift for someone who prefers short stories— science fiction, or fantasy, Thunderlands will be a hit!

Lynne Spreen

I’m convinced that everything this author writes is interesting. These stories are riveting. Some gritty, splashed with a dirty painful truth and others have surprise endings, hidden secrets and laughs. They are intended to entertain and to inspire. To make sure we are on the cover of our own magazine. Many of the locations, such as Palm Springs, Newport and Laguna Beach pulled me in immediately. These were my stomping grounds and I could relate while turning pages. The stories have amazing characters such as Doris in Boarding House or Amanda Westfield in Bad Advice. Each one has a sensible lesson or piece of advice woven into the narrative and all of them remind us to do something before it’s too late.

Mari Collier

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” -Martin Luther

There’s a thread of unity amid battles, gunfights and arguments that is woven through this Sci-Fi Western novel from the beginning until the end. These factions are Silver or Green, something the inhabitants of Tonath find disheartening, because the disagreements about the correct star path leads to war and suffering. One character by the name of Brother Amos persists. As a Seeker, he’s rather impartial to war. In his opinion, a good map of the stars will provide clear answers and the best Pathway. Only time will tell which side, is correct about their assumptions. There are so many stars that need to be charted and many things to learn. We find him traveling with a group of Wayfarers, moving as far away from danger as possible. Among the Wayfarers is Venta, a single woman with a dream about building a refuge for divorced women called the Haven--and Jack Donald--a man with two hearts--from Thalia—another planet--who loves her. They need to escape the Green Marauders, Bentz and the Mechs so that Brother Amos can build an institute of his own and say, “We are neither Silver, nor Green. We are the Silver and the Green.”

There’s also a baby named Marika and unexpected plot twists that kept me reading until the last page.

Collier paints a Western diorama for her readers about life on a different planet. Having grown up watching Western shows such as Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza, some of her story almost sounds familiar and made me forget about our everyday troubles on Earth. Near the end of the book there’s a sentence that says ‘We are all Tonathians,” and I almost believed it. This gifted author will take you on a world-building journey that will leave you hungry for more if not thirsty for hot chicolet.

Barbara Roman
Rarely does an uplifting story for children seem equally adequate for adults, but 'Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory Thirteen' touched my heart this holiday season on many levels. As fate would have it, I read it on Christmas Eve and our responsorial psalm in church was about the great light which came upon the Earth, on this day!

But don’t worry, even though it’s about lights and light-bulbs, this isn’t a religious book at all. It’s a story about characters like Flood, Three-way and Twinkle and how they might fulfill their dreams to become stars. The author’s creative style makes it a good book to read out loud as a non-scary bedtime story.

Alicia is a little girl shopping with her mother in a department store when she notices a beautiful Christmas tree on display. The brilliant display of colorful lights and the breathtaking star on top create a magical portal to a special place, where it’s always today. ‘Because, as soon as it’s tomorrow, it’s today.’ That’s where she meets Carelia and the other characters who are working on getting ready to open another mysterious door. But they have to be ready.
Magnificent artwork contributes to the otherworldly aspect, creating a fantasy world that will make you want to reread this adorable story every holiday season.

Have you read a great book lately? 
Those of us looking for more excuses, I mean books, would love to hear your latest suggestions. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Focus On Love

Last month, a friend persuaded me to take part in National Novel Writing Month or NaNo, as it’s called by those who like to suffer. (Sorry, I’m joking.) While I love writing, I feel a goal of fifty-thousand words in one month is unreasonable. It’s a big deal to finish and miraculously, I finished. At first, I didn’t think I could do it. Plus, I started three days late. Things looked hopeless.

Finishing however, had to do with the fact that I had a story running around in my head, which had to get out. So, even though I complained about the thirty-day deadline, in some ways I feel lighter. Free from a heavy-duty tale about world peace. Half way through, the topic felt enormous. In the mornings I did research and, in the afternoons, I typed away. I had to write like the Dickens to make sure my version of War and Peace came to a resolution at fifty thousand words. And so, by the grace of God and of course His legions of angels, who give me ideas and help me write, I completed my next novel. Hooray!

Speaking of angels, it’s almost Christmas. A time to reflect on the year, to remember others, and to share delicious snacks and special moments with friends and family. It’s also a time that can be hectic and filled with tension, traffic and old-fashioned traditions that seem overdone, almost ridiculous. The best we can do is focus on what’s important. 

Our mall Santa
Once we’ve tuned out the mall-muzak, perhaps we can hear the little bells, the song of the bird in the yard, the trickle of rain on the window. We will hear the excitement in the child’s voice upon receiving a gift, a tone of gratitude in the shopkeeper’s ‘thank you for your business’ and the delightful sound of wrapping paper ripped off packages.
I know it's hard to see the singing yellow bird
in the middle of this tree but he almost looked like a canary!

Beyond the bustling crowds are families baking cookies in cozy kitchens and elderly friends wearing bizarre sweaters, gathering for a social at the Senior Center. There are childless couples, empty- nesters and those who are alone but still volunteer and try to be part of the festivities. The intangible gifts are everywhere. Every new day is a memory tomorrow—every moment is yours. If you focus on what’s important, (like I did with Nano) you can do anything!  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends and family!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thank You Lord!

Thank you, Lord, for this day.
Thank you for sunny skies this morning.
Perfect for our walk.
Send us rain while we sleep.
Thank you for the roof over our heads.
Thank you for keeping us safe from raging wildfires.

That includes friends and family.
The morning glory that twists around the bottle-brush tree,
The hummingbird that greets us at the park.
The reassuring pitter-patter of tiny paws.
Thank you for holding our hand during trying times.
Thank you for faith, hope and most of all love.
The gift of laughter and smiles we share.
Delicious home cooking,
unlimited dreams.
Thank you for today,
thank you for tomorrow,
and all the incredible blessings you bestow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thought I’d write a small Thanksgiving post about mindfulness and gratitude. After all, I live in California, home to the Hollywood lifestyle. A place where not too many people take things seriously anymore. I look around at the way people dress for work or even church and it’s obvious this is the land of casual living. We also know that Hollywood is the land of Max Factor cosmetics, face-lifts and plastic surgery central.
I feel sorry for those movie stars because even though they look slim, all they want to do is portray regular humans like us. And we rock!! Yes us--the regular people with lives filled with real drama. Real lives that have tension and excitement. Lives that are impossible to duplicate. Let them try. We are originals. One of a kind.

First off, we have less troubles Probably less taxes. Under those fancy clothes and all that makeup are zits and skin imperfections. Even famous actors and actresses suffer from bunions, STDs and hemorrhoids. They are imperfect humans. In fact, you—most likely—have less imperfections.
Make Every Day An Imaginary Movie
Turn on the radio. Try a classical channel. That’s the soundtrack to your wonderful life. When you look out the window that is your movie set. Your family is your cast and you are the director. How will you approach this beautiful day? As the camera pans the neighborhood and the sound technician picks up the barking sounds of the neighbor’s annoying pooch, how will you respond to the cues? Will a telephone call pull you into a melodramatic scene or will you attempt to keep things neutral until the final moments of the day?

We all get the sad texts or the shocking emails about plans changing. We all have those sinking moments that create pain in our heart. Like commercials that blare into the middle of a great show, they are expected. They are akin to the twists and turns of a harrowing plot created by screenwriters and fiction authors. Except your pain is real. What you feel inside your heart is the hardest thing to describe. It’s your special emotion. Your salty tears, your real blood and your family. Hopefully, the pain will pass quickly.
I can be watching an exciting movie and all of a sudden, they break for a long string of annoying ads. I am jerked from the make-believe into the here and now.  Do I have time to run and grab a bottle of water? Go to the bathroom? Make some popcorn? Not usually—hurry up. Our film is back and we feel relieved.

Tonight, you might want to set the stage for a lovely evening. The sun is setting earlier now. I love those sparkly ‘faux’ candles that use batteries and can’t burn down the house. We have solar lights lining a pathway by the garden and twinkling lights throughout our home. A pot of soup simmers on the stove, filling the air with a wonderful aroma. It’s also cooler and we might have cocoa with marshmallows for dessert. Next week is Thanksgiving. A time that can be filled with family angst. Except this time:

The camera pans over the valley and zooms into the kitchen where you're helping with the holiday dishes. Make it sweet. Warm and cozy. It can be nice. Closeup on your smile. Remember, you're the star. Breathe.

Whether life is a romantic Hallmark movie, ending with a kiss, or a comedy where everyone falls asleep on the couch. Keep in mind, you are in charge. Make it a blockbuster, a bestseller. Make every day the best movie ever!