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!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Meet Bentley

Bentley is a fluffy canine character in my latest novel, Penniless Souls. Usually a playful pup wanting to fetch a ball, until he bares his teeth and acts wild, as if he wants to kill the bad guys. In other words, he's a great little dog. The following snippet is when I introduce him in Chapter Four, which is written from Lani's point of view. Lani is Penny's daughter and she has allergies.   
So cute, huh?
My model's actual name is Bambi.
 He's exactly like Bentley.

From Chapter Four of Penniless Souls

“What?” Aunt Bess shrieked over Bentley’s continuous barking, accompanied by Lani’s sneezes. “Bentley,” be quiet she shouted in a kind-hearted way. Aunt Bess didn’t scold her dog. She treated the dusty mop looking dog like a member of the family.
     “We’ll see you on Tuesday,” Penny repeated, reaching towards Bess and giving her a hug.
     The dog ran around and around the dining room table like Secretariat at the Kentucky Derby. A tiny pink tongue hung from his lips and drool flew in the breezes he created. Aunt Bess gave Lani a quick hug and went back to clapping and yelling at her dog. On Tuesday, Lani would begin a new chapter in her life--a life that included a very rambunctious dog and two cats that might kill her. Her boat capsized on a deserted island. She felt like a hostage, held against her will, a caged captive, in a strange place filled with unusual wildlife.

Hope this short piece about Bentley makes you want to read more! Have a great day! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Eve Sightings! Opportunities to Meet

October 10th-Anniversary dinner at Tresino’s Restaurant—26 years!!Whoops, sorry that was yesterday, but you might have seen us walking along busy Catt Road on our way to deliciousness. I wore navy blue lace and he had on a Quicksilver Hawaiian shirt and golf shorts. You'd think we were married in Hawaii! 😂

October 20th I’ll be at the Diamond Valley Arts Council Festival of the Arts from 10 until 4pm on Harvard Street in Hemet. As far as I know, I'm handing out brochures at the Diamond Valley Author’s table. Stop by and say hello!

October 27th Is our regularly scheduled Diamond Valley Writer’s Guild Meeting from 9 am to 12 noon. It's held at the Hemet Library on Latham. It’s our last meeting of the year!

November 6th at the Vail Ranch Farmer's Market in Temecula
I'll be there from 1 to 4pm 
That’s all for now. I’ll keep you updated. Will I be lucky enough to meet you?  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Impossible Dream of Julian Pie

This week, we took a short day-trip over to San Diego County to visit the town of Julian. We haven’t been there in ages and wanted to see if anything had changed. The last time we came, over ten years ago, we stayed to watch a wonderful theater production of The Man of La Mancha.

Other than a few price increases, the California historical landmark has stayed the same. It’s an old west town known for picking apples. They also sell apple juice, hard cider and the secret reason for our trip—yes—delicious pies.
Downtown Julian
 There are antique shops, crafts and specialty foods for sale on Main street and plenty of hiking opportunities for the entire family.
I think that's the fire-station

 We passed a few campsites on the way, noticed some wineries and after we parked the car, we took a stroll in the old Pioneer cemetery. 
Resting under a lovely oak

From what I understand, there used to be a gold mine around there, and it’s still open to visitors.
This place had some unusual antiques.
I knew if I went in there it would take hours to get me out.

 We were lucky to be able to go during the week, as I imagine it gets busy on the weekends.
My chivalrous knight in front of the pie place.

 All in all, we had a wonderful day and recommend it as a short getaway from the noise, stress and general hullabaloo of the city.

Have you been to Julian?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Bakery Rebellion

Are you on the Ketogenic diet?
The gluten free diet?
Going Vegan?
Vegetarian not Vegan. (Learn the difference or you will be embarrassed.)
Low Carb?
Low fat?
High Protein?
Raw Food?
South Beach?
Grapefruit diet?
Cabbage Soup?
Carnivore diet?
Eggs and wine diet?
Apple Cider Vinegar diet?
Cake cleanse?
Smoothie detox?
No, and no.
Eating is harder to figure out then gender identity. But my new trans-
ition lenses help me see things clearer.
With over one hundred newly recognized genders this year, there will be people celebrating.
Hooray! They will probably have cake!
I made this delicious walnut cake last week.
Walnuts are very good for you. 😋
 Maybe I'll post a recipe soon.
Anyway, dieting is something I’m supposed to be doing. (Seriously, I replaced white bread with croissants.)😍
The more I read about the dangerous, long term consequences of dieting, the more I rebel.  
"Let me eat cake," is up there with Russian Roulette and cliff diving in Mazatlan. These are perilous times folks. I'm saying folks to be inclusive to everyone.

Husband can cut out one soda and lose twenty pounds! Just like that! Poof! He misses one meal and looks like a haggard, homeless man. 
Men. Yeah, it’s a gender thing and I’m not too keen on the way they can brag about having great metabolisms.  
Meanwhile, I’m swimming my heart out and walking our lazy pooches all over the place. Apparently, I'd have to walk to the moon and back to burn all my calories.

They should have the Exhausted but I Can't Give Up Cake Diet. It could consist of three hundred calories of anything delicious three times a day. Maybe three generous slices of chocolate cake and a few carrot sticks to equal things out? Hmm.
I didn't think so. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Butterfly Shadows

I stopped under a moving shadow of a Monarch butterfly.
She fluttered around a tree and flit above a house.
My eyes darted left and right hoping to catch a glimpse of orange.
Her fire
a smudged blur in my memory.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Take a Gamble on My New Romantic Adventure!

It’s finally here!! My second book about Penny, and though it’s a standalone sequel, Penniless Souls is the second half of a two-part journey called the Lost Compass Love Series. Follow Penny and John through the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas, Nevada where old dreams and dark nightmares intertwine, colliding with the bitter truth. Is Penny up to the challenge? Is she willing to bet her last cent? 
Here’s a snippet from Chapter One:

 “Can you trust me?”
Quietly, she nodded and placed her head back on his shoulder.  “I
have so far,” she mumbled without conviction.
It felt like a white flag of surrender.  The type of submission that reminded her of submissive
women in advertising campaigns of the fifties.  Without a job or money,
she had only one thing left.  Fortunately, it was something valuable, some-
thing called love. 

 Buy it by clicking here and don't forget to write a short review! 

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Plethora of Roosters or a Peep of Chickens?

Not a flight of swallows or a murder of crows--not a siege of herons or a gaggle of geese....
Nor an exaltation of larks or a dole of doves but perhaps a plethora of roosters....

A month ago, we had a few roosters decorating our kitchen. I have this idea that the rooster is an image of forgiveness. So much so, that I wrote a short book about it, called The Fifth Commandment. In my short novella, rooster symbolism abounds. If you haven’t read it, then please click here.

Originally, we had one big rooster on the top shelf that my husband painted, and two old ones on the second shelf.  Both of the smaller ones were gifts. Then, at the end of July, my artistic friend Melodie gave me a gray, wooden hen. She painted it with, what now I believe, are alluring red flowers. Guess these roosters saw her coming, because a few days later my kitchen underwent a transformation.
See that gray hen on the right?

Within a couple of days--as if they spent every night awake--they reproduced! (Another friend brought us a box teeming with feathered fowl.) Now, I have an entire farm of roosters and every time I glance up at that shelf, I wonder.
What just happened? 
Does this mean I'm forgiven? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Still Grinning About July

The month of July began with a bang. We had the absolute cutest family members visit us during the week of the Fourth of July. They chased Pinky and Fiona and then jumped in the pool. It was non-stop fun and laughter. We even went hiking in the Santa Rosas, played Jenga and took the dogs for walks. One day, we visited an antique shop and a French soap maker in Old Town Temecula. This was immediately followed with unlimited supplies of soft-serve with toppings.
Pinky and me. I laughed my head off!

Chalk drawings on pavement, chess championships and a colossal number of crayons kept everyone entertained. Pinky and Fiona received extra belly rubs and forbidden, under the table snacks. Seems everyone did fine without computer games, phones and hours of television. 

Food was plentiful and dessert went on forever: juicy watermelon slices, scoops of ice-cream and apple pie. Not to mention oodles of hugs and kisses.

Then, after massive amounts of giggling…goodbye.
The day my cousins left you could hear a pin drop in Nebraska. Silence.
Fiona wants to know,"Where did everyone go?"
How’s your summer, so far?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Love and My Fear of Cooking

My people show how much they love you by serving massive amounts of food. Then, if you don’t eat several portions, they feel that you don’t love them back. It’s a common disorder and painfully difficult to navigate. Let’s say I invite family from far away. If we’re not going to a restaurant and the kitchen is available, they will make themselves at home and prepare some delicious comfort food. Gigantic vats of the stuff. During the meal they’ll keep checking my eyes to make sure I love their creation. If I try and act cool, they will ask, “Do you like it?”

“Of course, of course. It’s delicious,” I answer, knowing how hard it is to make a great dinner. Plus, they came from far away and deep inside, I know, I should have cooked. Of course, I thankfully slurp up every morsel of the meal, mainly because I’m pretty easy to please, but subconsciously, I’m looking for a good reason to overeat. How can I argue with home-cooked and mouthwatering? Forgetting my doctor’s warnings about portion control, I inhale every fattening, delicious calorie. I take seconds to prove my love.

The reason I didn’t cook is, I’m not sure they’d like it. I guess it’s called experience. Everyone has varied tastes these days. Honey and nut allergies, milk sensitivities, etc. Few things can be as unsettling as rumors about how your fancy dinner caused a family member to go into anaphylactic shock. Ever since, I have cooking trepidation—there’s really a phobia—Mageirocophobia. (The fear of cooking). Fortunately, it’s not a severe case and I don’t need treatment. When it comes to love, I’m not a quitter.

The younger relations wash sugar-free and fat-free down with copious amounts of craft beer. Moments later, they begin a lecture about a new workout, while smoking. The older ones prefer bland over spicy. Teenage girls are in a vegan phase, which is a good thing but this usually lasts until they taste a brew-house burger. The boys like barbecue, but they haven’t yet studied carcinogens in school.

There's also the internet educational system. It’s enough to make you choke. Suddenly, everyone is a chef. Do I used grass-fed meat and range-free chickens? No, I use what looks  best at the supermarket and just like grandma, I rinse everything. Still, the dinner conversation can turn ugly. I must be out of touch or cruel if I don’t watch those movie documentaries about the truth behind our food. Don’t I know about the unethical treatment of animals? The crowded chicken coops? The thrashed wheat? 

Salad ingredients seem to be controversial too. Especially the dressing. Too sweet—too cheesy—too oily—too tart. Some don't like arugula, others hate cilantro. There's a romaine lettuce recall. Have I heard about it? Yup, I'm not serving it, am I? Help. And why do people pick fruit out of their salad?  I’m back to casseroles. They seem safe enough and contain a fair amount of vegetables.

PicJumbo picture by Viktor Hanacek
And don’t get me started talking about dessert. Let’s say, I spent hours baking, frosting and decorating something amazing.But instead of appreciation, tell me why I'm being quizzed about ingredients? Did I use flour? Did I use sugar? If I pull something ready made from the freezer, “does it have artificial ingredients? Food coloring?” They look at me as if I want to poison their children. “Yes, it has sugar. It’s called dessert.”

But sadly, I’m back at that casserole. I still worry when placing the big dish in the center of the table. After all, I put my heart into it.
Speaking of hearts, it's aflutter. I search their eyes while perspiration breaks from my temples. If they don’t immediately look impressed, I’m all worried they won’t like it. If they don’t take seconds, my day might be ruined. Scooping almost full plates of food into the garbage pail, makes me want to cry.

You see, it’s a vicious cycle, fighting a nation of fast food.  But a cycle of love. Someday, as my family DNA dissipates into the ether, there will be other, worse issues than this one. I imagine my future descendants screaming at each other about carbs, gluten and the Keto diet, which is also called the Caveman diet. The cycle has progressed to the point that the Stone Age has returned. Clubs have been replaced with modern weapons and hunting for the exact taste, the perfect morsel of food to satiate immediate desire, is only one freeway ramp away. And love.....Humans will have to find new ways to express their feelings. 

As for my house, there’s this persistent issue connecting food with love. The slow cooker is simmering and the aroma is floating throughout the house. My husband is a great cook and whether I like his masterful concoction or not, I’ll be taking seconds.
Good excuse, huh?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

One Piece At a Time!

Sorry to drag you along on my walks, but it seems walking gives me hints for writing. Clues to the universal order or disarray of things. Walking makes me question nature and makes me think about the status quo. I walk—therefore—I am. Deep, huh? It’s supposed to say think and it was said by philosopher Rene Descartes. In fact, he said it in Latin: Cogito ergo sum. And walking, which is supposed to make me healthy, at least lets me philosophize.

So, here’s the scoop:
Crossing the road one morning, I found a puzzle piece directly in the middle of the road. I racked my mind. What could this mean? My inference radar thought of many different scenarios. Have you ever put together a puzzle and found there’s one last piece missing? So frustrating. I’ve been there.

But what message was the galaxy sending me? Was there something missing from my life? For days  I tried searching for answers. I tried being introspective. Mindful. I hugged my husband. I read and review books. I give, I volunteer. I assist when necessary.  I looked at my improved diet and my relationship with God. Wow, there’s always room for improvement, but after days of reflection, I still couldn’t pin it down.

So, I took myself out of the picture and then it hit me. The day. The piece. I was looking at it all wrong.

I found this puzzle piece the week of June 12, 2018. The day of a famous summit in Singapore. A meeting about disarmament of nuclear weapons.

The universe communicated with a tangible form of an important word.  Without spell check but maybe using autocorrect, this solitary puzzle piece appeared before me. Maybe the rest of the pieces are on other streets, all over the globe, sending a strong international message.
Say it. Say piece.
Let’s not lose an important piece of our puzzling world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Neighborhood Walk

A few weeks ago, I posted about unusual coincidences related to seeing things clearly. On my daily two-mile walk through our neighborhood, I found eye drops, bottled tears and reading glasses on three different occasions. One of the funnier comments received on my blog, suggested the neighborhood might not be as tidy as I may have thought. Since I don’t see anything out of the ordinary, I figured I’d post some pictures of our walk and let my followers see firsthand.  (We also have a homeowner’s association that comes down on anyone wanting to be sloppy.)

Walking inspires me in so many ways. 
This may not look steep but it's a huffing and
 puffing grade on the way home.
When it's chilly I jog down hill.
I see things I’ve never seen, almost every time. I meet neighbors, breathe fresh air and notice patterns in nature. I frequently see lizards, rabbits and squirrels. From our home, we can walk to a  grocery store, hair salon, dentist and dangerously delicious places such as: donut shops, pizza parlors, taco or burger joints  and gourmet restaurants serving local wine and craft beers. (Walking is a wonderful way to drink without driving. But I have heard that texting and walking can be hazardous, so be careful.)

Walking has many benefits, most importantly, exercise. 
 Did I mention flowering trees, blossoming hedges, daffodils, tulips, lilies and roses? Climbing vines, clematis and bougainvillea? This is the best time of year for observing the colors of nature and if you're  a photographer, grab that camera and zoom in, before the heat of summer takes some of the pizzazz away. (If you are allergic to pollen there are many over the counter allergy medications that can help you cope.) 
If you're a writer, stop imagining the rose petals and how they curve around each other when you can see them with your eyes.  The clouds, the weather, the chill in the air. Later, your prose and poetry will benefit from the experience. 

The point is to put down the tablet, computer game and maybe your Smart phone and forget about technology for part of an hour. It will recharge your cells, your thoughts will sharpen and the ideas might flow. Try it and observe. Justify the walk. What did you see that you haven't seen before? What made the walk unique? 

Take your dog. 
Did I mention our pups Pinky and Fiona enjoy walking too? In fact, they LOVE it.  

Oh, and we live about five miles from a large body of water called Lake Elsinore, thus explaining the cute visitor in the photo below.

                                         It's a glorious time of year for walking.
                                               I hope you can get outside soon. 

Right on our street!
Have I inspired you to take a walk?

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Oldest Book in the World

“The gold in one’s heart is far more precious than the gold in one’s purse.” --Confucius

While doing research on fortune cookies, good luck and fate for my upcoming novel, I came across some interesting tidbits about the I Ching. First, I learned it’s the most influential book in China. Most families have a copy of the revered book of wisdom because they feel it brings them good health and prosperity.

The I Ching, also called “The Book of Changes”can be traced back as far as 7,000 B.C. when a sage by the name of Fuxi (please don’t try pronouncing his name if you’re in an office full of people.) had many lessons to share about fishing, hunting and marriage. He began to use mystic symbols that represented positive and negative situations with long and short bars called yang and yin. He devised something called a Pa Kua which later evolved into a group of 64, six-line figures called Hexagrams.
The most fascinating part of all of this is two-fold: Not only is the I Ching the oldest book in the world, but the binary system using those ancient hexagrams is the basis of modern electronic computing.  

Oracle bones predate recorded history
After carving a story, they would put it into the fire.
The cracks were the messages from the past.
(Wikipedia-Creative Commons)

While I wish I understood the numerical breakdown and the practical applications that even attracted famous minds, such as the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung and Swedish physicist Niels Bohr, I am in awe of the collective opinions of experts who admit the predictions seem divine and above human understanding.

In my humble opinion, the mathematical sequences and patterns are repetitive, in the same way, that history repeats itself. Do you think we can find our own luck by studying our past?

“The answer you seek is within you, but it may be hard to find.” --Confucius

Friday, May 25, 2018


 Affirmations by Eve Gaal

Dance like the butterfly you are. You have been released. Free of the binding chrysalis, you are no longer captive. Even the sluggish old caterpillar memories are flitting away.

Maybe you’re a bumblebee with a field of flowers spread in front of you like carpet from the hills to the sea. All you have to do is select a petal for landing. The bee has to make these decisions alone. It can’t blame anyone if there isn’t enough pollen or the hive is too far away. They study the colors, scents and watch for intruders. They take important things into consideration before making a choice. The opportunities are endless. Where will you go?

Pour Wite-out over the bad parts of your life story. From today forward, you can start a fresh new chapter brimming with hope. In fact, imagine filling a printer with blank sheets of white paper.  Add some color to your story and watch the pages swirl with energy, displaying a happier you.

Clocks, timers and alarms are great for getting us somewhere else. Focus on where you are now.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Tasty Serving of Amazing Authors!

 Three Dog Night for background music

When it comes to reading, I enjoy a little variety. After all, isn't it the spice of life?

Though I've never been to Spain, I understand they eat dinner with small, tantalizing appetizer-type plates called tapas. A little plate of olives, another of cheese and a plate of cold-cuts or fish, alongside a basket of bread, a plate of marinated peppers, capers and sun-dried tomatoes, with a serving of chilled Sangria. In other words, a little something for everyone. Yummy. 

That's what I love about The Diamond Valley Writer's Guild. No, I'm not talking about their cooking, although that might be good too. I'm talking about the amazing variety of creative books they write. Books available not just to members, but to the general public through Amazon! Yes, you too can share in the feast of their labor by clicking under the book covers below. Taste this, my friends--these are my first selections--from this talented group. Hope my little reviews will have you salivating and asking these authors to hurry up and write some more! Buen Gusto!

Judith Fabris
Kameleona is a well-written and sensitive book about island life on Molokai. You will feel and smell the flowers and taste the fresh Ono. The author will pull you into a forest reserve for a hunting trip or back to an idyllic beach on the other side of the island. On Sunday’s you’ll go to church, because that’s what the residents of Kaunakakai do. They bury the old and baptize the new. Most of all they love each other and they also love living in paradise.
Hawaiian culture, quilting, wood carving, fishing and family lore are infused into what amounts to an exciting story. Beginning with Jack Metzger, throwing a man off a cliff; not just any man, but the new Pastor of the Good News Church. There are shady characters like Joe Obregon, Frank Soriano and tough as nails Charlene Harper whose lives intersect with excellent characters such as Malia, Leilani and Keanu. There’s also George Kapule the Chief of Police. George is no slouch when it comes to solving crimes and keeping the peace. He listens to the war stories carried in on tropical breezes and follows every lead. He’s also friends with Paul Kanga, the Pastor at the Good News Church.
But wait a minute, the Pastor? Is it a mystery or a story of redemption? Read Kameleona to find all the answers. It’s truly an enjoyable and sensational story in a magnificent setting.

 Lynne M. Spreen
There’s a bit of dialogue that sums up this novel: “When does a person ever get old enough to have everything figured out? “
“Never, I hope.” Karen wiped her eyes. Because then where’s the magic?”
Lynne Spreen’s book will take you on a magical journey from South Florida, into Georgia up to North Dakota and even to Spain. Her main character Karen Grace is searching for balance. In other words, Karen wants to be successful at her new business but she wants love too. Plus she has new rules. Can it happen? Hard to say-- Frieda might say that “Life is to be lived.” Good advice, especially for someone young like the other character Jessie, who happens to be tangled into domestic abuse with her boyfriend Lenny.
Spreen is one of the coolest writers I’ve seen for a long time. She has characters that use I Pods, develop Apps and take Segway tours. Instead of pouring a Chardonnay or glass of white wine, she merely writes, “a crisp cold white.” Though romantic and filled with juicy love scenes, the writing is hip and memorable. It’s today’s feelings not some old-fashioned panting, slowly working around a bunch of petticoats and a bustier. His eyes weren’t just blue but “blue like some alpine lake.”
Will Karen Grace find the balance she’s looking for, or is she “probably a cranky old woman with Chihuahuas”? Read Key Largo Blues and find out that Frieda was right all along.

Karen Robertson
If you enjoy books that grab your heart and take you on a journey, you’ll enjoy The Turnaround by Karen Robertson. Armchair travel, as in reading a good book, is one of my favorite ways to go, and this excellent story doesn’t disappoint. The colorful characters like Leroy and Pete made me smile while others, such as Jerry and Madeline made me mad. The well written descriptions of sights, sounds and even the odors, made me feel that I too was there, suffering along with the main character Grace, who seems to have fallen into a destructive whirlpool during a bus trip to Vegas. The exciting plot builds tension, testing Grace up to the very last page. Meanwhile Phil--Grace’s husband--has to make some choices—some big enough to change his life forever. Will he pay the ransom or has it already been paid? Climb aboard the The Turnaround bus and find out!

Suzanne Y. Saunders

As a lifetime student of human behavior, I’m always interested in stories that discuss relationships. Why do people choose to be friends or partners? This Young Adult novel explores the relationships between artistic best friends Amanda and Kristin and how they interact with the male characters Brandon, Matt and Charlie. The Butterfly I See is like a thesis on teenage development. The author covers social networking, body language, psychology, role-playing, facing harsh realities and letting go. Woven into an entertaining story, the author describes abstract art, symmetry, jealousy and intuitive thinking all while making excellent points about the creative process. And in a genius move, Suzanne Saunders makes the reader want answers, resolutions and closure, only making us realize, we might need to grow up.

George L. Gurney
Last night, I sat down to read a few poems from a book called The Water Jar and while it wasn’t at all what I expected, I have to admit, I couldn’t put it down. The first story reminded me of one of the Letters written by Paul, in the New Testament. The scholarly, well-researched writing mimics the tone and voice of characters that once lived in ancient Jerusalem and Bethany. Eleazar is a young man who carries water in a large jug. He grows up to be a monk, but first there are important lessons to learn from Yeshua the Nazarene.
All the stories seem to have a faith-based connection weaving through the words, as well as a good deal of research. In Brave New World, the author delves into technology, touching on important issues related to the future of war.
My favorite story, called Knights before Christmas, brings together two pilots, during WWI; one British, and the other German. While shot and hanging in a precarious situation, they both communicate and reflect on the meaning of Christmas. I especially loved the quote from his grandmother that Leftenant Brian Goode recalled, about snow covering evil at Christmas, to keep Christ from being offended. I don’t want to ruin the plot by giving more away, but it’s an enjoyable read.
Interspersed with these incredible tales are a few poems. My favorite one is titled, Elsinore Oak, and as my eyes moved down the page, I could almost imagine those vaqueros, driving the cattle through the stifling hot valley. A place that today...could use a hefty Water Jar.
Arch Font
Many years before Columbus sailed towards the New World, the Incan’s built the city of Machu Picchu. After one hundred years, the inhabitants disappeared, leaving mysterious ruins behind. While all of this is intriguing to the main character, Jerry, it also makes for a breathtaking setting for this novel, which consists of a fascinating journey. Imagine traveling vicariously to temples hidden deep within humid jungles to see sacred shrines used for ancient rituals. But wait, this is a romantic comedy sprinkled with travel warnings, tips and even advice about how to handle high elevations, hangovers and motion sickness. It’s a travel book with several threads, connected by real love.
For many reasons, but especially because she loves him, Jerry’s wife gives him a ticket for a cruise to Peru. Meanwhile, his wife’s friend, Rhonda marries Karl the avocado farmer and they unknowingly buy tickets for the same cruise. (Though an enjoyable stand alone novel, it should be noted, that this talented author has another book, a sort of prequel to this one titled: Wrath of Rhonda, which paves a tropical forest path to this read. )
Follow the frustrating pratfalls and one-liners associated with Jerry’s friend Max. Marvel at the author’s clever characterizations of George, Brenda and Inga. George is Karl’s attorney. Brenda is a private investigator from Temecula. (Oh dear, maybe I’ve said too much.) The character development is so thorough that you’ll think you know these people; or at least you’ve seen them in the vegetable section of the supermarket, hemming and hawing above green bananas. The tour guides Buck and Fletch are unique to each other and even the pet parrot, Basil has a distinct personality. The language is colorful and the locations are teetering on a cliff exciting. Read Road to Machu Picchu and if the leaf-cutter ants, scorpions and snakes don’t get you, you might die laughing.

Guess you can tell I enjoyed reading, rather devouring these, and I hope you will too.