Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Intangible Gratitude


As we come to the end of 2020,

 I realize this is the year of the intangible heart.

Days without friends,

celebrations spent apart.

It’s been a year of reflection,

personal growth,

a wild election.


Virtual hugs,

helped us avoid

killer germs--disastrous bugs.


while the business world met on zoom,

our goals were to stay clear

of anything resembling a hospital room.


Online charity doesn’t feel the same;

I feel like a number,

at least I have a name.

A few dresses in my closet,

have yet to be worn,

but only if things return

to some sense of norm.


Al-bums—picture files,

I stalk old photos

searching for smiles,

funny memories,

of travel,

and dogs.

Then there’s music,

Which has a way of making me

rise above complications,


self-absorbed situations.



I’m kind of domesticated.

There’s cooking, baking,

laundry and more,

putting my heart into whatever I’m making.

Not a bother,

Not a chore.

Maybe a poem,

about staying safe

and wearing a mask.


And if ever,

(my intangible heart

is trying to say,)

there was a time,

to get on my knees to pray,

it’d be now.

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family members!

Please stay safe!!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

Yes, even this year, with a horrible virus going around,
 I am thankful for many wonderful things. 

I suppose we used to take life for granted. 
This year it's on the top of my list.
Being alive and being able to share
life with those we love is a gigantic blessing.

 Of course, I miss relatives and friends, but I'd rather
 know they are snug at home,
 instead of taking a chance and being exposed to dangerous germs.

Fortunately, I also have many virtual friends like you, and I imagine you're staying safe!
It's not that I'm oblivious--I'm a writer and I have a great imagination. 
I can visualize you with a mask on, while you're social distancing!

Additionally, I can think of about five thousand other things to be thankful about.
What about you?


Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Dose of Sunshine on a Rainy Day!




This morning, it’s raining outside. Fluffy gray clouds are passing overhead unveiling patches of blue. Californians are always grateful for rain, especially because of the recent fires. Me, I’ve never liked gloomy gray. It’s my least favorite color and it’s sort of depressing. Usually however, the rain doesn’t last long, and rays of sunshine will soon be blasting down. 

Today, as luck would have it, I notice an Amazon package at my gate. I step over a few puddles to retrieve it and am delighted at the timing! Inside the wet, brown wrapper is a dear friend’s book, filled with instant sunshine!

Sunny Simon recently published a book called Life on the Sunny Side—Inspirations for Busy Women. Though I had read an eBook version, today I received the impressive paperback copy.

Oh, my goodness, this is not just some flimsy little booklet with motivational adages. This book has serious inspirational information you can begin using immediately. There are fabulous quotes throughout, from Yogi Berra or Dale Carnegie, but don’t misunderstand, it’s not simply a volume of platitudes and short little sayings. Every chapter is an example of why, and how, we should remain sunny during the tough and gloomy times.

With an extensive background in career and life coaching, Sunny tackles those unexpected challenges that take us for a loop. She takes examples from friends, her husband, colleagues, party-goers, messages in dreams and even her dog. It’s a mindful creation meant for busy people who might need to slow down and focus on the present. It’s a book I’ll return to again and again, because everything she writes is uplifting and sunny. Thanks, Sunny!

If you’re interested in a book that might change your life, click here:

Friday, October 30, 2020

An Autumn Recap of 2020

I guess I work better under pressure. After all, I remember how my patriotic love for this country helped me stay positive after 911. Even through tears, Americans pulled together to show solidarity during a difficult time. People wore flags on their lapels, or red, white and blue knitted beanies, even stars and stripes on their baggy pants. I still own a flag scarf I’d wear with my navy-blue suit. Yes, things were different.

Somehow, things have changed. Everyone, even kids, are so darn independent. Personally, I think people have forgotten all the beauty surrounding us. I challenge anyone to argue next to the rim of the breathtaking Grand Canyon. No one will hear you shout next to the incredibly loud Niagara Falls. Dare you disturb the hidden creatures within the Hoh Rainforest? Right now, at this exact moment, there are wonderful things happening in the world. Penguins and pandas are born, Monarch butterflies are fluttering into Mexico and birds are flying south for the winter. And, I'm busy too. 

With all the hoopla going on outside in the political, germ-filled world, I found it the perfect time to finish my fourth novel, The Happy War.

Then, with help from talented friends, we created magic for the local library, which you can check out in my previous post. It's a video I’ll be proud to share over and over again, far into the future! In my opinion, that song should win a Grammy and the video an Academy Award. 😊

Later, a story was accepted into an upcoming anthology titled, Frightening Fables, which is on special right now, for ereaders. The paperback should be available next week. Click on the photo to get your copy of these spooky stories!

Also, exciting, one my most romantic poems is coming out in the winter issue of Heart magazine!

 And the year isn’t over. Who knows what amazing opportunities are headed my way! 


Do you work better under pressure?

Can you focus during tough times?

Stay healthy my friends and wear a mask!


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Don't Forget to Vote!

Many of you may have already watched this short video, 
but I wanted to make sure everyone sees it before the election. 


Our local library invited me to create something about our town, the founder, and the 19th Amendment. 
Though a huge honor, it took some planning due to the pandemic. Everything had to be done with computers, phone calls, books, emails and text messages.

What to do? 

So, I wrote an introduction, a skit, a song and a short narrative. The song is called, "I'll Never Stop Thinking" and I needed to find a composer! I have a few musical friends on Facebook but only asked one, and he came through like a true professional. (Last time I saw Keith, he was 8. I remembered a flurry of fast-moving freckles.) Anyway, I have no other words for Keith Walsh, other than amazing. He understood my words and interpreted the song better than I could have imagined. 

Also amazing, is the singer, Candace Grewe who sang the song and performed the skit with the talented Suzanne Saunders.  Candace and her family assembled the entire video! Again, I'm speechless. 

Thank you to the Wildomar Library and all involved with this short production. I am proud to live in this town and thankful for wonderful friends! 


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Lessons From Sir Lawrence for 2020


As a young archeology student, Sir Lawrence of Arabia was sent to the Middle East by the British Museum. During that time, he was beaten, shot at and robbed, and yet, when the military sent him back to Syria on a fact-finding mission, where Ottoman Turks lorded over the land; Lawrence saw it as an opportunity to help liberate Arabia.

Recently, I re-watched the legendary Peter O’ Toole, in the famous 1962 movie. I saw it before, but in my case, age and experience helped me appreciate the finer points, the cinematography and the all-star cast. (Plus, I always thought Peter O’ Toole was a handsome fellow.)

With a bounty on his head, Sir Lawrence led his rag-tag troops into battle against sophisticated armies. Upon being captured, he was beaten and imprisoned, but continued his stealth operations in order to help his friends—nomads-- Arabs—and a Prince.

Whether historically true or not, the positive attitude of the main character in the movie keeps you riveted. When the British commanding officer asks him to return to the parched, dangerous land where he knows anything can happen, he cheerfully agrees to go, even saying, “It will be fun.”

Of course, none of it is fun.

Which immediately reminded me of this year.

When faced with adversity, do we give up or proceed?

Will our battle scars slow us down?

Will we continue to protect our friends?

Do we fight for peace?

Do we surrender?

Can we make it fun?

Friday, September 11, 2020

Stream of Consciousness Writing On the Anniversary of 911


There’s a virus among us. It came from far away and is now everywhere. We’re supposed to stay home and when we go out, we’re supposed to wear a mask, like Zorro. And, there are fires all over California. People with asthma can’t breathe. People are sad. There are riots all over the place and a few peaceful protests that end up being taken over by mobs. I think God turned up the heat on the chaos in the streets. Bad folks don’t like 120 degrees either.

I don’t like people who act like animals.

Those people who flew into the tower—they were animals.

 I guess it’s all perception. Maybe people who tend sheep in New Zealand think the world is a peaceful place. Being a shepherd near Wellington sounds idyllic.

I love my dog. Like a border collie, she has come out of retirement to watch the neighborhood. Her nose twitches from the scent of smoke. She loves our neighbors. Every night she watches the news with us and she can tell something is wrong. She is on high alert. Not bad for being 15 years old! Right now, she stares from the window, her eyes scanning the street. Finally, after many years, she recognizes the postman and figured out she doesn’t need to bark.  Right now, nothing looks out of the ordinary, but she is ready. Ready to love and kiss everyone. Ready to protect.

I love animals who act human. Pinky loves everyone.

My book, The Happy War is about a couple who will risk their life for peace. It’s now available in a hard cover version too. I think that’s pretty impressive, if I may say so myself. 😊The reviews I’ve received, so far, are awesome. I am honored by the kind words. Just wow!

 There needs to be a real, legal way to create happiness. At least my characters tried something unethical and immoral to fight hate. But it’s fiction, and their perception of things is skewed by me, the author. In other words, I lived my dream of peace on Earth vicariously, through the lives of my characters. When you read a book, doesn’t it take you on a journey somewhere? Don’t you feel better when reading a book? I guess that’s one of the reasons I wrote this book. If even one person finds my novel entertaining, during this maelstrom called life, then I did something right.  In a desperate world, we hold onto hope. We hold onto every morsel of beauty and love.

Join me in silent prayers...

For those who lost their homes. For those who have Covid.

And, let us never forget those who died on September 11th.


Friends, I wish you peace. Stay safe.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Summer in Your Mouth-A Recipe


When life gives you lemons, either you make lemonade, or search everywhere for a unique and delicious recipe. Here’s a simple one that is sure to make you smile, or at least pucker up.

(Please maintain social distancing when puckering up.)

Painted by my husband, Steven Michelangelo Gaal
He also grew the lemons. 

Old Fashioned Citrus Bundt Cake

(I prefer: Summer in Your Mouth Cake)


One cup milk

Three eggs

½ cup canola oil

½ cup melted butter--that’s cooled off

Zest of three lemons (3 or 4 tsp) or oranges and lemons

½ cup lemon, orange or tangerine juice.

 (Optional: You can add a tablespoon of Cointreau Triple Sec or Grand Marnier 

I went with Cointreau.)


Three cups flour

Two cups sugar

1 teasp. salt,

1 and ½ teasp. Baking powder.

(Lemon Glaze- 1 cup powdered sugar mixed with two or three teaspoons of juice for drizzling consistency.)


Spray your Bundt pan with non-stick spray and flour lightly. Then, preheat the oven to 325F.

Next, combine the first six ingredients with a whisk or on the low setting of the mixer.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend it together with a whisk or on the low speed of your mixer until it’s smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place it on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes and then turn the pan over and marvel at your lovely creation. Finally, once it’s completely cool, drizzle with the glaze! Voila!


This is seriously super easy. Are you going to try it?

Friday, July 31, 2020

My Newest Book is Out! (A Soft Launch)


It was bound to happen. A friend coaxed me into trying NaNo-for those who aren’t familiar—it’s the month of November--which is set aside as a time to write an entire novel –in one month. Yes, one month! Many try to do it and can’t finish, and a few have bestselling books because they forged through and made it.

 I finished, but the book I wrote became a rough outline for my finished manuscript. There were so many bizarre things, such as errant words inadvertently stuffed into the one-month time limit, that later, during weeks of editing and months of rolling revisions, I began to pull my hair out, deleting paragraphs and changing complicated sentences into something comprehensible.

As the 30-day finish line beckoned, my style, my voice, my poetic use of flowery language, had all flown out the window, along with grammar, punctuation and spelling. But, to give credit to NaNo, the story was also out. Out of my brain and into my laptop. Hooray.

So, after a grueling two years, it’s now available on Amazon, and I must say I’m super excited. It’s nothing like Penniless Souls, Penniless Hearts or The Fifth Commandment. Personally, I think The Happy War is a unique story that had to be told, NOW! It’s my tongue-in-cheek novel about two lovers trying to create world peace. I hope you like it. If you find it entertaining, please tell your friends, write a review and then tell your friends again.  😊 Who knows, you might  even help it become a bestseller.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Time To Read Books!

I don’t care what anyone says, my hair is supposed to be a long and tangled mess. This selfie displays my first attempt at trimming my bangs and it's from way back in April. I know it's funny, but you should see me now! 
In the kitchen, I ran out of a few spices and made some substitutions, heck, it still tasted good, didn’t it? So, hubs got involved, making crusty bread which turned out delicious.  We had help from a friend, who air-dropped packages of yeast over the garden gate. It seems his idea wasn't unique. Everyone bought up all the bread-making ingredients in the county! For awhile, flour became as rare as toilet paper.
Anyway, the Fed-Ex guy is fast becoming a friend and, the Instacart people do their best, but sometimes we still have to sneak off to the store to find what we really need. We plan for the journey as if going on vacation: masks, gloves, wipes, and whatever else fills my homemade crocheted tote bag.
Did you know yarn is in short supply? Who knew? My crochet club friends are ordering skeins from far off places like Turkey! I bought the last roll of red at Walmart. 
Yes, we have breathing and immunity issues, so we’re extra careful during these strange and turbulent times.  Fortunately, even with a full lock-down going on, there are books on our shelves and a slew on my Kindle. Of course, that's when I’m not writing, or trying to figure out which sanitizer to use. Here’s a few recent reads, and my reviews. 


True Colors by Kristin Hannah
What started out as a family saga, turned into romance, mystery and an exciting drama about racism. Hence, the name of the book. Beautiful descriptions of trees, Washington State mountains and the ocean are woven into a story of three very different sisters who try to stick together, through difficulties stemming from love. Their children and soulmates play major roles, but Clem and Renegade, a couple of horses, have helped see them through the harshest days. Sadly, even a loving, happy family can’t change the heart of one of the characters, making the novel realistic. When hope is lost in fiction, however, it is rather disappointing. Still, it’s a great book with many exciting moments that will surprise and satisfy even the most voracious reader.

Sea Cliff by Mary Deal

This book grabbed me by the collar, as if I were there, experiencing the deep emotions felt by the main characters. Lovely Rachel, is a bookkeeper, novelist and the owner of a stunning home perched above the bay, called Sea Cliff.

Handsome and hunky Matthew Knight wants to sweep the redhead off her feet, but wasting time with some guy who might be playing the field, isn’t her style. Before she gives away her heart, Rachel has to make sure he’s the one. Her past is riddled with hang ups about her father and bad memories. The more time she spends with Matthew, the more these memories play with her mind. Plus, there’s Linda, Britt and old boyfriend scars from a guy called Rodney.

Without giving away too much, I have to shout praise to the author for sublime, poetic descriptions of the Sacramento River, earthquakes, a car collision, even New York and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Rachel needs to free up her mind, clear away the internal clutter and study some books she picked up at the San Francisco Public library. Only then, can she finish writing her novel, also titled, Sea Cliff. Will it be a bestseller? Read this book and find out!

The Mink Wrap in the Attic by Laverty Sparks
Though Elena Polson is a fictional character, there were so many parallels with my life, I couldn’t help but love the book and adored the outcome. As a childless, ex-copywriter, who fell in love with a man who came with a family, I could relate to everything. The emotional load, the desire to fly off with the geese, and a desire to crawl into an attic where happy memories are stored. I enjoyed the author’s use of descriptive and beautiful analogies, “Even her emotions mimicked a frayed cloth with uncut lines.”
Elena is kind, forgiving and unlike me, thoughtful to a fault. Her superhuman feeling to ‘fit in’ makes her go to heart wrenching lengths to forgive Britni, Decker and Hunt for all sorts of bad behavior. When Hunt compares his beloved to horrible vices, by saying she became a habit he didn’t want to break, I wanted to kick him. “I won’t say you were a bad one, just a habit.” How infuriating. Just a habit? That’s when I thought Hunt is not worthy of such a wonderful woman. But, her unconditional, unwavering love continues on every page, because destiny has unexpected plans. Will Elena’s martyrdom be rewarded? Will one woman’s love be enough to save the Klyce family? Maybe. You’ll have to read The Mink Wrap in the Attic and find out!

The Paradise Gig(Key West Capers) Laurence Shames

A friend recommended this hilarious and well-written novel about the good guys, the bad guys and Nacho. Part crime-caper/cozy mystery/adventure and part Rom-Com with emphasis on the comedy. There’s a stinky trail that only Bert and his tiny dog can sniff out regarding something that happened way back in 1964. Pete, Callie and Sarge weren’t even born yet. Of course, neither was Nacho, but when that little dog smells something rotten, he makes sure everyone hears about it.

The problem is Marco. But don't let me ruin the fun. This is retro Key West at it's best.

Shames not only writes humor, but he does it well. You’ll laugh at the dialogue between Bert and Mr. Dictionary— (aka Pete) and the shenanigans created by the singing 'goombahs'. Meanwhile, Nacho describes all this excitement from his perspective and I have to say, the descriptions are extraordinary. I’m convinced you’ll enjoy Paradise Gig, whether you like small dogs or not.

Divorcees.Biz: A Contemporary Romance by Eileen Thornton

“We created something with-class,” says Connie, near the end of Divorcees.Biz. I think I nodded in agreement. Actually, it was the author, Eileen Thornton who created a wonderful novel, rather ‘something with-class’. This book is truly an enjoyable read, filled with unique characters and ‘classy’ romance.
Four friends, Lucy, Sadie, Jenny and Connie have been friends for ages. They plan to start up a small dating agency in the posh section of London. Each day they learn new things about business, and a little too much about each other. Still, they thrive, while making the best of unusual circumstances.
There’s so much going on that the novel kept my attention the entire time. Thornton weaves her clever dialogue through pain, heartache and laughter. Amid the wild outfits and free-flowing champagne, there are brutes and floozies that need to be put in their place. Will the business fail? How about love? Will love save them all?

Where Shadows Fall by Natalie J. Case
This is a story about four tribes called the Shadows, Sages, Shades and Shifters who are being discriminated against by the United States government. The 8th Battalion is formed to round them up, putting them into camps. Meanwhile, the main character, Alaric has to figure out a way to get back at those who killed his close friend Mason. “At the end of that journey, he would have his vengeance,” says Alaric early in this mythological fantasy that includes Maddie who shifts into a cat when necessary and Evan who is a hawk. Alaric, being a Shade, has the ability to step into someone’s mind to find out information. It looks like the man he’s after is called Shallon. The Shadows put up shields to protect the thoughts in their mind. The Sages control elements such as fire, water, air and earth. The author writes a fascinating story with vivid characters and tons of action.
“Congress is divided and aside from passing emergency legislation to force Shades into custody, they don’t agree on anything,” says Zero the daughter of Vice President Rede. But, there’s a legend about a way to overcome the strange, dark figure she calls daddy, and it entails stitching the power of four tribes into one. Can they do it? Read Where Shadows Fall and find out!

Hope you're staying busy too.What have you been reading? 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

A Poem-The Tireless American Rose

The Tireless American Rose
Eve Gaal

The tireless American rose.
Graced our fallen,
pricked our foes.
A graveside decoration,
saluted by soldiers,
a comfort to widows,
the perfume of angels,
to any discerning nose.

A queen’s bouquet,
a honeymoon kiss,
where petal strewn walkways,
grace romantic getaways.
Glistening with a bride’s tears,
or a lucky graduate’s surprise,
maybe a new mother’s gift,
and those wreaths explode with beauty,
when loved ones die.

The tireless American rose,
seen at parades,
waiting after war.
There backstage,
awarding every star.
A centerpiece at the gala,
a holiday corsage,
there to win,
every battle,
every kind of heart.

With, or without thorns,
Through raging pain,
On altars,
At hospitals,
In the ICU or ER,
where dying breaths remember,
the tireless American rose.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Crying or Laughing?

Those of you who visit my blog regularly, know I like to dabble in drawing. My last post was about painting, and how landscapes can become a type of escape, especially during tough times.

Most fiction writers’ study human behavior or psychology, so they can create or “paint with words,” characters with realistic qualities. Right now, all you have to do is turn on the television, where the evening news is filled with colorful protesters who shout about peace, while carrying firearms. Oddly, if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it and novel readers wouldn’t find it believable either.  

Mark Twain said:

 Truth Is Stranger than Fiction, But It Is Because Fiction Is Obliged to Stick to Possibilities; Truth Isn’t.”

I’m sure you’ll agree these are unusual times, and the fact that everyone has a different emotion, inspired my original cartoon.  

Will someone have the last laugh?
What about you?

(By Eve Gaal)

Monday, June 1, 2020

Spread Peace Through Art--Wish I Knew How to Paint!


Pastures painted in vivid greens,
‘neath skies of blended blues;
soothing scenes depict tranquility,
of places past--
Where tall grass blows upon a lea,
shepherds tend gentle flocks,
work horses graze,
farmhands nap,
chickens waddle to a trough.

How fortunate that grandmother knew how to paint.
Her heart,
in cracking oils on canvas,
randomly splashed on my suburban walls,
reminds me,
and those who visit,
peace and serenity.

And you!
How lucky are you?
Given a chance to leave a legacy,
to express yourself with art.
A lifetime ahead--anew--
to spread love to future generations.
Please pick up the brush,
the pencil,
even a box of crayons.
It’s never too late to begin.

(Written by Eve Gaal in loving memory of her talented grandmother, who knew the influence of art.)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

We're Almost There-30 More ideas

Don’t Give Up!
Here’s Some More ideas
to help keep you busy while at home.
(I tried something like this one.)

1.       Play cards. Rummy, poker or 52 pickup?
2.       Paint a rock for gifts or paper weights.
3.       Have a balloon fight on the patio
4.       How about a family barbecue?
5.       Make chocolate or vanilla shakes
6.       Decoupage might be fun-no Mod Podge? Use Elmer’s glue.
7.       Quilting with scraps
8.       Chalk drawings on the sidewalk
9.       Make lemonade or iced tea in different flavors
10.   Read an ebook (I can suggest several good ones!)
11.   Write a book review on Amazon
12.   Cut your bangs? Maybe not.
13.   Color your own hair?
14.   Tell ghost stories
15.   Take a fancied-up bubble bath. Candles, rolled towels.
16.   Cupcake or cookie decorating
17.   Record a video and post it on YouTube.
18.   Clean some windows
19.   Sew curtains/pillows
20.   Play trivia games-party games
21.   Jump rope or hopscotch?
22.   Blanket tents and forts
23.   Make a giant tic-tac-toe game out of painted cardboard.
24.   Call Grandma and Grandpa
25.   Have a hole? Darn it.
26.   Slow cooker chili. Yum
27.   Identify plants and trees around your home-draw them
28.   Extravagant Ice cream sundae festival with sprinkles
29.   Masquerade ball at home with costumes
30.   Teach your dog to roll over or fetch?