Saturday, December 27, 2014

Recent Book Reviews and Recommendations

The Most Uncommon Cold I - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Kevin Turner is a reporter on the run from...Yikes!
As if the world isn't weird enough, this author
creatively invents a horrific setting full
of human ‘shells’ that/who(?) follow him to the Gerald
Ford school where his wife works and a
church where he intends to find solace, only to end up
at the police station where Detective Lawrence
wants to know what’s going on. The flashbacks and memories
kind of tangle with the action but the characterizations and
descriptions are great.

Fast paced and graphic, it’s not the stuff I normally
read but someone recommended it and I’m glad to have read
it. For some strange reason my favorite part
had to do with a giant burrito. Perhaps recalling my own days
at a newspaper when I had to hurry in to a
store for lunch, grab a burrito and eat it in my car before
deadline. Something about deadlines does sound
zombie-ish and the terror of missing a deadline is worse than
any growling hunger. Anyway, that part made
me chuckle and sympathize with Kevin. I liked this book but
it seriously gave me nightmares.

White Fang

17 used & new from $2.84

Perhaps I’m late in the game having finally read
 JackLondon’s storyWhite Fang and yet I feel that now that I’m older
I appreciate the hardship this
combination wolf /dog endured. White Fang’s trials are
interpreted with eloquent, yet graphic detail.
The miraculous transformation is almost mortifying for
the proud son of a she-wolf.
Lured into many bloody battles, the story winds from
Northern tundra, to forest, camp,
river, cabin and finally a stately home in California....
London’s instincts and soulful accounts of
feelings, dreams and travel from White Fang’s perspective
made me reflect on my own rescue dogs
and how they must have felt when they faced commonplace
situations and obstacles in their lives.
If you are a dog lover, then you owe it to yourself to read
this book!

Eula May and the Flim Flam Nun

10 used & new from $7.40

Eula May is in big trouble and every
chapter will make you want to find out how she’s
going to get out of that trouble. Just when you think, 
you've solved the crime in your head
there’s another twist to the story and pretty soon, you
feel like you’re playing Clue and losing, 
all while having a great time. This is Amy Fremgen’s first
novel and I have to say it’s well written
and hilarious. If you enjoy the classic who-done-it,
interspersed with a lot of humor, you’ll love this
book just like I did. I recommend it highly!!

LOVE SHAKES: A ROMANCE (BOXED SET) (New Adult Seduction Series)

The story starts out with the characters literally being 
tossed together during a California earthquake,
while riding in an elevator. After they're rescued, 
the story gets pretty steamy and they come face to face 
with some major issues involving trust. Once I got past what
I personally thought sounded juvenile--things
like `popped my cherry' and `boy toy'--I tried to understand
the writer's focus about psychology
and how important therapy can be to people who have suffered
abuse. It's a good message--but back to the story: 
Will Tristan go back to his prostitutes?
Will Joanne run into Michael's arms while at the conference and
forget about Tristan and his insecurity?
Read Love Shakes and find out!

Learning at Home

This book surprised me with tons of resources, links and
fabulous advice for teaching children
not only how to learn but to have fun while learning. At first,
I thought it was going to be about
home schooling but instead it was a plethora of parties, games 
and hot chocolate, crafted to be less
about the classroom and more about the family. The author takes
a monthly look at all the possibilities
that might intertwine with the lessons taught at school and 
embellishes the teacher’s groundwork with deeper
questions and fun projects that even the parent’s will enjoy.
It’s about how to keep children engaged,
entertained and interested in reading, learning and spending
time with others.

If you know a parent who worries about video games and mobile
apps taking control of their child,
then you need to get them this book right now!

Corpus Delectable (Marcy Pantano Mysteries Book 1)

She’s a crime reporter turned consultant.
She lives in a seaside condominium and dresses in khaki pants
when her boyfriend’s out of town. Of course, when he’s around
she’s wearing something sheer but not for long. 
After all, he’s a very busy, good-looking photographer who can
skip out in a heartbeat.
Thank God, he’s in love. Meanwhile, Marcy is the coolest chick
in literature—kind of a female
and very perceptive, Clint Eastwood.
Billington writes this character
as if he knows women inside
and out--not just any woman-- 
but the tough and beautiful kind that
get things done.

If you enjoy exciting stories with 
mounting suspense then you’ll love
Corpus Delectable.
Reminded me of those puzzles where you connect all the dots. 
There’s a lot going on and a lot of dots
but Marcy plans on stringing
everything together so
she can figure things out. When her friend, 
a restaurateur by the name
of Paul, goes to jail for a crime
he couldn't possibly have committed, Marcy
becomes ‘Dirty Harry in a
dress.’ Well almost. 
She’s asking a lot of questions and getting 
deeper and deeper into a
dangerous situation. 
Will she figure out what happened? Will she live
through this ordeal?

Billington pulls you into this mystery until you’re worried sick
about Marcy.
I loved the author’s smooth and easy writing style and dragged 
it out as long as I could, 
but alas, the book ended and now I know what happened and since
you don’t, I recommend you order your copy today!

Chaysing Dreams (Chaysing Trilogy Book 1)

Have you ever started a great book and thought,
“I’m not sure I’m going to like this?”
Maybe it was the use of the first person or
the fact that it seemed too familiar. Was I scared?
The author begins the tension slowly with detailed 
descriptions of the main character’s daily routine,
her friends and her volunteer work.
Very cleverly, her book pulled me right back into high
school,reminding me of my own volunteer work and my own rotten
In other words, I connected with Miss Williby’s character.
Furthermore, my wonderful husband swears he saw me in his dreams,
as a young man and knew he had to find me!
 Miss Williby’s writing is so believable
that I could feel the emotion and her pain.
Every time I came to the word “I,” it made me worry. No, it’s not
me but could, don’t worry...yet 
Perhaps that’s how I define great writing.
It became apparent that I LOVED this book and looked forward to
reading more. 
The more I loved the book, the more I hated the boyfriends.
I’m still mystified about Jack and perplexed about Jim/ Chris.
Truth is I still don’t trust Chris but Tessina did—big time—in fact,
those are some embarrassingly juicy love scenes.
Meanwhile, it looks like there are sequels that will hopefully
answer some of the lingering
questions about her parents and the biological tampering. 
When the end rolls around you’ll be out of breath! What will
Tessina do next? Will love survive?

(These reviews can also be found on Amazon where
 you can purchase any of these wonderful books!)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas From Intangible Hearts!

The desert wind blew me aside,
It fluttered my heart
Filled me with sighs....

(Screeching to a halt)
Before I suck you into another poem-
Let me just say I’m very happy to have found a new place-
A comfortable new home--
Where I've managed to reunite with old friends--
Hope to keep my desert friends--
And look forward to maintaining my
 wonderful Online friends too!
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and 
massive freight cars full of success in the coming New Year!

At Christmas, let us rejoice because of this special birthday!!
If you believe--
He will untangle your worries-
One flickering light at a time.

Greetings from Fiona-(Still on the 'Naughty List'.)

Now for the POEM: 
(Once you've poured the nog, wassail or wine on Christmas Eve,
 you might want to use an Irish blessing
 or read my humble words below.)

A toast to the
That feeling poets try to describe.
That secret--
 Lover’s share--
Undisclosed truths of the wise.
And real friends—well—
Need no laundry list of whys-
Need no litany of reasons—
Texting, emails-- trips to and fro-
Because friends—
The ones that count—
 Already know.

                                                                                      ----Eve Gaal

Monday, December 8, 2014

What Did Mac do With Penny?

From Chapter 56 of Penniless Hearts....
Channel 9 News
"I should have brought a first aid kit.” Now he needed to figure out the shortest path back to the television news chopper. “Those bruises are going to hurt.”
“Don’t remind me, they hurt now,” Mac groaned, still smiling at his friend. “I've been crawling and climbing so much my hands are bleeding.” He held up both palms, “I‘m so glad you came to find me.” Mac’s hands were black like charcoal with blood oozing through rough blistered skin.
“I have my selfish reasons,” Darin sniffed, pointing over the edge. “Do you think you could walk around this hill?” He pointed to the rocks between Mac’s  helicopter-wreckage and where they stood above the waterfall. “The chopper pilot from the studio is waiting about four hundred yards from your crash-site. It’s not far. I’ll hold you the best I can.”
“Going down will be tricky, but if I don’t have to go fast, I think I can make it.” Grabbing Darin’s shoulder, he pulled himself up and asked, “Hey, what’s with saying you have your selfish reasons for coming up here? I thought I was special.” Darin encircled Mac’s waist before taking a step.
“Penny, remember? I sent you to get her, well did you?”
Mac stopped to catch his breath, but for a moment, his face looked blank. “Oh her, yeah--well a whole lot of things happened since….”
Darin looked away. He wanted to let go, but Mac clutched his shoulders tightly. “You can tell me Mac,” he said with a somber look on his stubbly face. “Is she alive?” Darin tensed up, waiting for the awful news. Smoke and nerves made him cough again.

Hope this short little piece makes you want to read more. I'm trying to illustrate that Penniless Hearts has excitement, adventure, fantasy and mystery wrapped into a romantic and humorous fairy-tale. In other words, it has something for everyone and with Amazon having special deals during the holidays, you might want to get a few print copies for gifts! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

English vs. Italian Sonnets

One type of poem you may have studied in school is the sonnet. Typically, they have 14 lines and the rhyme sequence differentiates an Italian sonnet from an English sonnet. The Italian sonnet line-rhymes are as follows: abbaabbacdcdcd.  While I prefer writing free verse, thought I’d try my hand at the English sonnet with a tribute to my dad.

To My Father

The writer tapped loathsome keys,
Like the painter at an easel,
Thawing, aching polar freeze,
                    Inspiring friends or the occasional weasel.   
              The man deliberately changed a life-
Painfully leaving more than gold--
Humorously topping strife,
Fearless as hell, instilling the bold.
Valiant knight pushing towards the task--
“It will come, not now but someday--
Search for the right words and ask--
Clear the mind--write a story--you have much to say.”
Prayers for strength of pen,
From Heaven’s gate—from man of men.

 -Eve Gaal

Do you write poetry? The verse sequence for the English sonnet is ababcdcdefefgg. 
Have you ever written a sonnet?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Doodles of Gratitude

A few closeups

My primitive artwork began as a small drawing about things I'm grateful for but...I couldn't stop. If you begin a similar project, you might want a larger sheet of paper!(If the entire family starts counting their blessings you might need one of those paper tablecloths and lots of colored pens.)
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and
 thanks for being a friend.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hiking, Preserving Good Ideas & Praying for Rain

There are good ideas and bad ideas. Leaving oaks for palms was not one of my better ideas. Perhaps I mentioned on a different post that I missed big trees while living in the desert. Of course, I had a great connection with my lemon tree and will always miss her fragrant blossoms and juicy, plump fruit. Lately however, I've reunited with some old friends and though I remember certain mighty trees, do they remember me?

Most ideas start with a seed that develops into something great and tall like an oak or they shrivel...withering away... if not watered and protected. 
Nurture your ideas and they will grow!

Going on a hike is a wonderful idea!
 Yes, pay the small day-use fee and let’s go.

Hiking boots are a must.
 Even though it's mostly flat terrain
 there are rocky sections and tarantulas.

Which way should we go? A Robert Frost moment.
Is this tree gorgeous, or what?

Before we moved to the desert, we lived five miles from the Santa Rosa Plateau and Ecological Preserve. It is a great place to go hiking--observe nature and sometimes--even wildlife. Yesterday, on a lovely November Sunday, and after a nine-year hiatus, we finally returned. Though looking a bit dry, I was elated that our new home is still only six miles away.
You should see this place in the spring!

Dry grasses reflect the seriousness of the California drought. Remarkable and strange due to the international news this area created during a deluge about a month ago. Huge floods just down the street were washing cars away. Lightning and thunder shook our home and a lake formed on a lot next door. There was also rain last week and evidence of lightning strikes up in the preserve.

Once home to the Luiseno tribe, it’s a serene place now consisting of 9000 acres. The preserve has coyotes, mountain lions, mule deer and other animals roaming free in their natural habitat. We saw two large, gold-colored coyotes but hurried along the trail so they wouldn't alert the rest of the pack.

There are vernal pools, meadows for horseback riding, mountain biking and the oldest standing structures in our county called the adobes. 

It’s only a 2.5-mile hike and a lovely way to spend the day. There are picnic benches surrounding the adobe buildings and it’s very quiet. The only sound was the woodpecker banging his bill into the 400-year-old oak above us.
 Here are some interesting facts about 
the adobes.

* Built in 1846 by a rancher called Juan Moreno--the last Mexican governor of California territory, Pio Pico, granted him 48,000 acres.
* Moreno sold his ranch in 1855 for $1000 and some livestock.
*    In 1876 some British businessmen bought the land for $1 an acre.
*    In 1894 it went into receivership.
*    In 1964 it was sold to Kaiser Steel for 21 million.
*   In 1984 it was purchased by the Nature Conservancy.

Have you heard of the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion trees campaign? Now that’s a great idea!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Losing My Stuffing!

Is Anything Pinky Proof?

Welcome to the Dog Toy Trials

Pinky is the official dog toy tester. 
She is being compensated and doesn't endorse one product over another. 
She is not an actor.

Dragon with a missing brain.

Rescued dogs seem to take all their frustrations out on their toys. Even after ten years....

Gutless camo-wearing squirrel

I usually wait for her to get to the stuffing and then remove as much of the white fluffy stuff as I can, as well as the squeaky thing. Once all that is in the garbage, I return her toy. She misses the squeaky part but still enjoys chewing on the toy.
A bird on it's last legs

I thought she’d mellow out by now but she’s as playful as ever. 
Guess I should count my blessings.
Tried something a little less plush and after one hour....

I realize there are tougher toys out there but they are usually hard rubber.
Squeak-no-more Skunk

Any recommendations? 
The packaging said it was very tough--made from automobile seat belts.

If someone you know makes a living designing toys for dogs, please suggest making them more durable. The above toys total $50 or more and though Pinky loves having fun with them--my trips to the pet store are now being monitored--because---someone around here thinks buying dog toys is a waste of money! Can you imagine??

So far the winner is brainless dragon but only because our official tester temporarily lost interest....

 Pinky and I hope we have helped other dog owners in the quest for the best toys.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Positive Energy

I've been thinking about energy lately. The kind of energy that unites souls. Some people call it animal magnetism or auras but I think there’s more to it than that. Besides, animal magnetism doesn't really apply to heterosexual, same-sex friends, does it?

Perhaps our greatest human strength is not physical.

Think about the last time you sat in a car and stared into another car. Did the passenger or driver look back? Coincidence right? Maybe not. Maybe it’s your energy? Are we ready to acknowledge our innate wireless connections? Have you ever showed up at someone’s house only to be told they are so glad you came and they were just about to call you and invite you over? Maybe you got there just in time to cheer them up or save them from a house fire because you noticed they left the stove on.

While quantum physicists are explaining their theories regarding atomic connected-ness, I’m thinking about it all the time. I don’t need the theory of relativity to tell me we’re related.

I remember Christmas shopping in a store that gave me bad vibes. By the time I left, I had accidentally cut myself on the sharp-edged counter and was bleeding profusely. Was it something they sold? Was it the building? Was it the people who worked there? Why did I feel so uncomfortable and why did I end up punished in a sense, for not liking their store? Sure, it seems silly to take it personally and yet there was a definite feeling hanging over my shoulders, making me feel like I wasn't welcome.

My husband is a real estate broker and has shown me many, many resale homes where I immediately sensed either a negative vibe or a positive ambiance. This has nothing to do with cleanliness or staging a home. When I walk into a home, I often feel there were huge arguments or perhaps painful interactions that might have taken place. I can be in a sunny, upbeat mood and feel like a dark cloud has landed on my head. Heading for the door, I wonder if the house will ever sell. Of course, I've been in happy homes where happy families lived and typically, I've wanted to linger. Isn't it strange how we leave behind these energy fields and how can we prevent them from seeping into the foundation?

While USA Today called Sedona, Arizona the most beautiful place in America, others say it’s a place of concentrated energy. A place where spiritual powers feel enhanced from what the New Age crowd calls a vortex and others say it’s just our own personal reaction to extraordinary beauty. A vortex is something that swirls like a whirlpool and takes place in water, fire and even lava. Like dust or snow flurries, they settle down after a while, unless it’s invisible like energy. The invisible part makes scientists dispute the energy claims of Sedona because it’s not very easy to prove and scientists love having proof. All I know is that my fancy Swiss watch had a new battery when I went to Sedona, and once there, it stopped running. 

Home to many different tribes--such as Hopi, Apache and Anasazi-- could the collective energies of their families, their prayers have seeped into the red stone monoliths to create a kind of outdoor cathedral uniting tourists and local believers?

We've all heard of the power of positive thinking and the laws of abundance but what are the consequences of the opposite? With so many negative things going on in the world, is there something we can do to create positive energy? Every word, maybe every thought alters the universe. Maybe our inner strength can end violence, create peace and end war? 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mountain Drive

We didn't have time to pick apples but stopped to buy a gallon of cider and a bag of Jonagold apples anyway.  Jonagold apples are sweet and have a thin skin. Delicious. With a name like Eve, I'm always tempted and yes, we bought an apple pie too but they used Granny Smith apples for the pie! SOUR!! 
Pie should be sweet like you, my fine friends. Hope you are all having a great day!

 It was a gorgeous day for a drive through our local mountains. Over eighty degrees, sunshine and a mild breeze that cooled to seventy degrees at the 8,000 foot level. 

Could this really be the end of October?
I missed trees while living in the desert.

Have you ever picked apples in an orchard? What is your favorite apple? 
Gala, Fuji and Macintosh are also delicious. Do you like Granny Smith Apples?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Pinky Poem

We have two rescue dogs. One of them still misses her original owner but is a great guard of the time. She's only fifteen pounds but acts and sounds like a hundred. Most of you met her a few weeks ago in another post but since I've written so much about her sister Fiona, thought I'd concentrate on Pinky today.

The Insomniac Dog

By Eve Gaal
She stares out from under her blanket
To make sure we’re asleep.
Lifts her head at every noise,
Listening to the sounds of the night:
The clock,
The fake ocean sound machine,
A bird landing on the roof,
A car racing down the road,
The refrigerator.

She is no fool.
Ready to bark or growl,
To guard with her life,
Chew the flesh off anyone who enters
Without invitation.

And yet--
Last night,
A dish fell--
Made a racket,

While she finally slept.
Do you like this selfie?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Boo! Have You Ever Considered Acupuncture?

I know, I know--this is not what you expected around here but I wrote this as a researched, example of my writing for a content mill website. They rejected my writing sample and so I'm posting it here and I'll let you judge the article for yourself. Plus, I'm a firm believer in acupuncture. Actually,when a gastrointestinal surgeon said he wanted to operate, simply because I had some sort of irritable stomach disorder, it was time to look for other options. This all happened more than twenty years ago and knock on wood, the acupuncture worked! With Halloween around the corner, maybe I can scare you with this....
No matter how old or mature we are, the first time we hear about acupuncture we are slightly shocked at the thought of, what we envision as huge sewing needles, like the ones our mother used to darn socks with, being used to cure whatever ails us. In fact, a basic description might be all we needed to inspire us to live healthy and eat our vegetables.

Once we’re over the fear factory and realize acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical treatment that can help improve our sleep, ease our aching backs, soothe our digestion, dull our headaches/ arthritis, help us lose weight, quit smoking and give us incredible energy, that’s when considering acupuncture sounds like a wonderful choice for continual health. The minimally invasive technique uses very thin needles that are supposed to unblock the negative things holding us back from a happy life. A trained practitioner pinpoints the exact locations needed to increase the flow of positive energy and applies the sterilized, single-use needles. Every acupuncture office has a diagram showing the exact location of these ‘flow channels’ that are commonly  called meridians. The acupuncture specialist will meet with you to find out your needs and they will create a personalized treatment program based on your individual situation.

Though the use of acupuncture has become a controversial subject in the Western world of health and medicine, there are many, many supporters and medical professionals, including doctors, who prescribe acupuncture as an alternative option for continuous care.

Unlike strong medications with serious side effects, the side effect most associated with acupuncture is an increased bodily awareness. This awareness, coupled with gradual improvements can feel like a side effect because of the new, open and now flowing channels of positive energy. In Western medicine, the doctor might call that feeling euphoric or explain how endorphins have released into your bloodstream for one reason or another. Since everything is moving again, you might feel tired but by combining acupuncture and getting a good night’s rest, you will feel amazing!

In rare cases, there are patients whose skin feels sensitive and sore for 24 hours after the needles are removed but remember, these are qualified, trained specialists and the needles are extremely thin. 

Your health and well-being begins with knowing and understanding your options. If it has to do with your body, your life and your happiness, then you should ask questions, read all the information available and take control of your health today. 

What do you think? "No way, no how?"