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. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Breaking News From Pinky and Fiona

WILDOMAR--We woke up early today, from a magnitude 4.5 earthquake, and are dog-tired. Daddy woke up five minutes before the shaking began. Go figure, maybe he has ESP. We were up like lightening and glad to go outside.  Like most of our species, we enjoy routine, not some bizarre bed movements before five o’clock in the morning. It was dark and cool outside. In fact, mommy rock and rolled back inside to get her coat during an aftershock.

Later, someone said that even National geographic photographers who have camped out for days, tracking certain types of wildlife, have rarely witnessed such serene moments as the two of us cuties napping by an open window. Mom didn’t even use a tranquilizer gun or any sedatives.

Sadly, we’re missing out on fabulous barking opportunities. The little girl with the toy car, the man with the fluffy white dog and that blonde lady with the Pitbull. Sheesh, if only. Yawn. And that mailman with the noisy truck can come inside and dance a fandango for all we care. Bring on Fed-Ex and UPS, we promise to be nice. Today.

Yup, today’s a great day for resting. No chewing our toys or licking toes. No sniffing in the trash or running around like a race horse at a Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale. Can you imagine our tireless parents took us for a two-mile walk? After that, they left us in charge of home-land security but we had to catch up on our ZZZs.  Yes, that sounds shameless, but they do have a backup alarm system, and it’s not like we’re ever going to be fired. 

That’s all I have. How about you Fiona? Fiona? Wake up!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Follow Up About Seeing Things Clearly

This is a follow-up story to a post I wrote in January about the Sterile Eye drops or bottle of tears I saw on a walk with my pooch. Click here if you want to see the original post: Amazing Grace Post From January

Last week, while out and about with the same dog, on a different street, I bent down with the plastic bag to pick up Pinky’s business. Next to her doody, was a small bottle buried in the soil. I pulled up the cap and saw it was an old, empty bottle of Clear Eyes by Visine for redness, irritation and burning eyes. Strange, that this neighborhood has all these eye issues, I thought. Or perhaps, it’s still part of a message from beyond. The first bottle made me think I need to see clearer and the second makes me think I need to focus. 
Part Three:
But then today, I found this:

Broken eye glasses. Both sides were in the gutter about two feet apart.

What do you think?
1. See clearer 2. Focus. 3. Read the fine print.
 Am I being told to wash my eyes out and take another look at something? I’d say three times and the message should be clear. Or is it?
That's us on our daily walk.You can see Pinky's paw.
Both sides of the glasses can be seen in this picture.
Strange huh?