Monday, November 28, 2022

Happy Holidays!!

 


I’ve never been one for excuses, but the holidays have kept me away from blogging. Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are planning a festive December. With everything going on, it’s a miracle I’m still saving a few minutes here and there to write.  

Did you see the Fall issue of In2uition Magazine? Subscribe to the magazine, or read my column called Apple Blossoms for free here:In2ition Magazine

How about the online article I wrote that touches on the Me too movement? Read it for free here:The Casting Couch Blues

Did you order your copy of the new anthology called Winners? Preordered books will be distributed sometime before the end of the year! Plus, the publisher is adding two extra eBooks from their catalog as gifts with each purchase. Your support means the world to me. Order here:Winners Anthology

Anyway, sorry for packing this with so much promotional hoopla, but I’m thawing something that needs to be roasted, our little dog just barked at the delivery guy, my email has too many sales notifications, there are coupons flying out of every drawer, the radio is playing Jingle Bells— (it’s still November), my poinsettia is still not blooming, but general holiday mania is taking over. Truthfully, all is good, and I’m blessed. Especially for having readers who read some of my stuff. Thank you. I am grateful, and hope your holidays are spectacular!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Author Interview with SOOP

The kind folks at Something or Other Publishing are not only preparing an anthology with my award winning, faith-based story titled, Crocheting in Heaven, but they also interviewed me for their blog. Thought I’d share it here, and if this upcoming book peaks your interest, please order it today!

Author Profile: Eve Gaal

Something Or Other Publishing is proud to introduce Eve Gaal, an established writer and winner of the 1st Prize in the Religion & Spirituality Category of our 1st Annual Short Story Contest.

Eve Gaal

Over 25 years in advertising led Eve Gaal to write stories, poems, and novels. Her work has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and online. Born in Boston but a longtime Californian, Gaal currently lives in the Inland Empire with her husband and her dog named Baba, where she enjoys her time with hobbies including swimming, cooking, crocheting, and reading.

Her writing journey began as a freelance writer after several decades in the newspaper industry, frequenting The Los Angeles Times and The Daily Pilot, where she had an ongoing column. Today, you can appreciate her trademark humor and poetry among various journals such as “Writing for Peace” and books like her first romantic novel, Penniless Hearts.

1st Place in the Religion Category of SOOP’s 1st Annual Short Story Contest. (SOOP)

Her winning story, Crocheting in Heavenis part of an upcoming anthology from SOOP currently titled SOOP’s Finest: a collection of award-winning short stories, and it follows the tale of Colleen Poole, an elderly hospital patient, and Diane, a hospice nurse. Diane wants to give the frail, dying woman hope by sharing her understanding of heaven. However, time is of the essence here, and she must convince Mrs. Poole there’s a beautiful place waiting on the other side before it’s too late. But how will she be able to make the older woman believe?

Jesus E. Bracho, SOOP’s Director of Marketing, sat down with Eve to engage in a fun Q&A session to learn more about her:

JB: What inspired you to write “Crocheting in Heaven”?

EG: While visiting friends or relatives in hospice, I was inspired by kind nurses.

JB: What was the most challenging part of writing the story?

EG: While I love writing faith-based fiction, I never want to sound “preachy”. 

JB: What genres do you personally like to read?

EG: Fables, fiction, humorous who-done-its, and romance, in that order. 

JB: Do you have any other writing projects in the works?

EG: I have a column at In2uition Magazine titled Apple Blossoms and I’m working on my fourth novel.

JB: Who is your target audience?

EG: I write fairy tales for grown-ups and faith-based fantasy with a twist of adventure. When truth becomes stranger than fiction, it’s time to indulge in a romantic comedy taking place on an island, Vegas or Panama. In this case, I’m taking readers to Heaven. 

JB: What do you hope readers take away from your story?

EG: If I can give one person hope, my story has made a difference. 

JB: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

EG: Yes! Read all the books you can get your hands on. Then, after you’ve read all the books your teachers and instructors gave you, read the ones you’ve heard about and always wanted to read. Read everything and don’t stop. Read the cereal box, the junk mail, and the newspaper. Read poems and read something wild on the internet. Go back and catch up on stuff you missed as a child. Read the classics, but if they bore you, that’s all right; read bestsellers. Rather than having an excuse, pick any book that looks good to you, and then do it again! Write reviews of every book, and post them on Goodreads. Share your reading journey. It’s your life, and your writing will benefit. No writer’s conference or book on writing can replace reading.

Readers can pre-order “Crocheting in Heaven” through her customized pre-order page right hereLearn more about Eve Gaal through the links below:

Website: evegaal.com
Twitter: @EveGaal
Facebook: Penniless Hearts
LinkedIn: Eve Gaal



 I think if you have an eye for art, or appreciate crafts like painting, crocheting, knitting, sewing, quilting, woodworking, basketmaking, mosaic tiles, stained glass, sculpting or drawing, you'll enjoy my story. I look forward to seeing your comments! 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Summer Issue

 I'm a bit late in posting the latest issue of In2uition Magazine, but here it is, in case you missed it. (The lady on the cover reminds me of  a fancier version of Penny, one of my characters.)


Read my column--Apple Blossoms by Eve


In2ition Magazine

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Twenty Second Affirmation

 

This morning,

as the grogginess unfolds from your mind,

Before your feet touch the ground;

Prepare the prologue.

Give it twenty seconds.


Patiently.

Like those last few kernels of popcorn--

Think about the coming day, and all the letters, words and sentences you will use in a positive manner.

Plan your day like a story with a happy ending.

Remember there’s a beginning, a middle and an end to this unique day, and you are the main character.

Don’t even look toward the window, in case the weather influences your outlook.

Be it cloudy, rainy or windy, let your mind float into a place where your voice is heard, your smile appreciated, and your touch treasured, as if it were a blessing.

This is your day.

A short delightful chapter in the eloquent, exciting book of your life.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Focus on the Fun!

 

There’s not much to say when you’re having fun, and enjoying summer. Some folks sit around complaining about the heat, while others decide to jump in and forget all about complaining. This month we’ve dashed into air-conditioned buildings as if it were hailing golf balls. As if our flip-flops would melt and take a piece of our souls down into some fired up inferno.

And, still we laughed, splashed and forgot about those slick news anchors and their horrid predictions. We took each hour at a time, and dressed accordingly. We brought hats and sunscreen on our daily adventures. We sang and watched the sunset while enjoying cool drinks. We listened to a band, danced, and ate magnificent food. We froze at the movie theater while watching the Elvis movie. We ordered ice cream and everyone looked happy. No complaints. (Even our dog Baba, likes the heat.)

Of course, there’s more hot weather ahead.

So, I guess my point is, we need to focus on the good times. 

I’ll remember the laughter caused by messed up lyrics, twisted jokes, and crazy selfies. There was that ice-cube that slipped from my hand and traveled across the floor, soft breezes that tousled my hair, and colorful flowers that seemed to enjoy blasting sunshine mixed with giant dollops of  humidity. 



Here’s hoping incredible memories and awesome escapades outweigh any future discomfort.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Happy Fourth of July!

 


Happy


Please remember that fireworks are not allowed in Riverside County, California, but there are several spectacular shows planned around the area. Since we have a rescue puppy, we will probably hold her and try to keep her calm all evening. Unfortunately, many people forget there are also people suffering from PTSD who would rather not hear the loud explosions caused by fire-crackers. Even sparklers can be dangerous to small children, and the smoke can bother those with inhalation and respiratory issues. I've also noticed that birds, bees and butterflies are affected by the toxic fumes. Fortunately, there are many ways to remember our freedoms: music for example, dancing, singing, swimming, and of course eating are a few basic ideas. Lawn games like badminton, croquet, football and tag might be fun. Plus there are board games, puzzles, table tennis, and good old fetch with the pooch, or pooches. Either way, have fun, and celebrate responsibly. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Summer Climates Among the Vines

 

Summer Heat



The wisteria might not bloom.

Months after sprouting curling branches,

temperamental vines know the weather is changing.

Perhaps she heard screeches from the

brazen bougainvillea that latched onto our window screens.

Thorns lacerating left and right—creating holes--

a magenta blur on windy days.

“Let me in! It’s coming,” she seems to scream.

Two hot days and the tender clematis surrenders.

Arrogant weeds are in their glory.

 

Meanwhile the frolicking jasmine,

holds a perfume competition with the roses.

Though most lemons are gone—

squeezed into winter recipes--

barely enough for a pitcher of lemonade--

their new blossoms add a joyful citrus scent,

luring us out—

into the shade,

where pale green matures into a bold,

 fragrant palette.

 

Until late summer—

when the desperate vines cling—

droop and wither with abandon.

When the parched grass fades to yellow,

and we now smell our neighbor’s barbecue,

tropical scented sunblock,

a floral fabric softener that reminds us of wisteria.

The time comes--

when even the dastardly weeds wither and die.

 

 

Eve Gaal

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Timber


 

I love trees. I think trees know that I love them. Still, one had to be trimmed, and the tree fought back. Two chirping birds landed in the leaves above my head. It’s like the tree had lobbyists or flying spokes-feathers. Maybe they were sent to warn me. Or a nest?

I’m on a hill with a hand saw, the branch gives way, grazing my face, nicking my hand and bruising my chest. Of course, I saw stars for about an hour. My only excuse, “I thought it would fall the other direction.” The worse parts were tongue lashings from family and friends.

“NO”, they said. “You could have killed yourself. Never again”, they said. “What if you were knocked onto the cement at the bottom of the hill?” All right, I capitulate. A friend brought over hydrogen peroxide and Band-Aids. I’ve been through worse, and I’m sure I’ll live. I love trees. Let them grow. Sorry little birds. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

At Dusk-The Puppy Transformation

 

I’ve been calling our live-in rescue, Petunia Butt-Cakes, because she doesn’t like home remodeling. There are contractors setting tile upstairs, which inspires unprovoked barking tantrums. She refuses to learn the outside from the inside, hangs off of puppy pads to do her business, or goes for the larger pads-aka-rugs. She also forages for sticks in the yard, chews on them, which in turn gives her constipation, and that annoying itch under the tail.

Of course, she’s teething, chewing and destroying everything she can, even digging up plants, and turning over lamps. Her numerous toys don’t excite her as much as any form of trouble. You should see what she did with my yarn. And, she shouldn’t have separation anxiety, because we are here, babysitting, and trying to train this 13lbs of terror, with treats, all day long. I turn my back and she’s standing on the dinner table. Still, she doesn’t believe she’s not the Alpha dog. Somehow, she has determined that she can do as she pleases, and it’s none of our business.


Her dad has threatened to send her back to the rescue; even offered to sell her in front of Walmart. I think he was joking, but the scars on his hands just healed. We bought books on training puppies but those people/writers/doctors or whatever they call themselves, are crazy. One book, that ended up in the thrift-store box, suggests a choke-hold leash. Another famous dog guru said to use electrical shock collars. How are famous veterinarian’s able to offer such horrid advice?  In fact, I’m astounded, but I don’t want to dwell on it.

I’m hoping when the floor is finished, things will settle down a bit. Until then, I’m investing in odor eliminators and rolling up the rugs. Someday, I want to write about her sweetness. It happens after dusk. After the workers are gone. After running us ragged, after we threw the ball a hundred times, after the zoomies in the yard, after she’s too pooped to bark anymore, she finally, runs out of energy and wants to snuggle-up while we watch television. Adorable.


 A sleeping monster waiting for the sun to rise on a new day. Our Baba-Chanel, the cutest Jekyll-Hyde character you’ll ever see. Petunia Butt-Cakes.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Three Wonderful Reasons to Be Busy

 


The last few weeks have been busy weeks for several reasons.

1. I’m participating in a couple of online writing groups that offer prizes, and print the best stories in their anthologies. One of these groups is a critique group that meets with zoom. While it’s fun to read other stories, we’re supposed to critique them. This is where I’m having some trouble. You see, I don’t think of myself as an editor. In my opinion, writers are creative, and who am I to tell someone they shouldn’t use clichΓ©s, or they should think of a different word for ‘very’?

I say, let it flow, and if the story doesn’t jive with readers, then maybe they’ll write another one. ( I do). Eventually, they can pay an editor to fix mistakes and overused expressions, but honestly, I don’t think I’m cut out for critique groups. I’ve tried three different critique groups and felt uncomfortable in all of them. One was in Rancho Mirage, one was in La Quinta, and another in Temecula. All the writers were amazing.  Some wrote science fiction, memoir, steam-punk or mystery. One guy wrote poems. Seriously, I enjoyed hearing every story, but I write in different genres, mostly, romantic adventures, and faith-based fables, nevertheless, everyone has always given me wonderful, constructive advice.

On top of all that, if I missed one meeting, I’d lose the flow. Characters were introduced, and there were new twists in the plot. It was horrifying, for me anyway, trying to tell these artists, anything about their creation, since I had skipped a large chunk of valuable information. And yet, it was obvious the attendees would thirst for any input, or glimmer of feedback we could offer.😟

Anyway, I’m sticking to the online groups for a while, especially since a couple of my stories won a prize! Awesome group of writers, fabulous stories and I'm proud to be part of this incredible process called Bardsy. My story can be found in an anthology titled; Love is Blind, and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XZBNMK5


2. I also have a new column at In2ition Magazine!

Watch out world, because this gorgeous magazine is not your mother's coffee-table periodical.  It's about empowering women, so I shared a short bold scene from a day in my life. 


 It’s called Apple Blossoms and you can read it here: https://www.in2itionmagazine.com/issues

3. We are remodeling our bathroom. This idea of a safer, less slippery floor has grown into an immense project that has kicked us out of our bedroom. It’s like a colossal trilogy that never seems to end, may have a happy ending, but I'm ready to flush. 😊

Thank you for sticking with me on this long post. Have you ever joined a critique group? Did you enjoy it? Have you remodeled your bathroom? Is this really May?   


Monday, April 18, 2022

Collective Messages of Love

 

There’s a lady sheep farmer, or shepherd, on Facebook who writes lyrical posts about her sheep. Sometimes she mentions a llama, or the dog. In spring, she writes lovely prose about the newborn lambs. Every animal has a name and she describes their unique personalities. Later in the year, she hires shearers so the wool can be made into yarn.

 The photos alone are worth the visit. https://www.facebook.com/BlessEweSheepCo 

 I also follow a chihuahua rescue, and listen to the owner wax poetic about ninety little pups, their ailments, and how they get along. He shares long videos and personal techniques for giving these animals comfortable lives.  https://www.facebook.com/bigguylittlesworld 

 I have to admit, the two sites alone can pull me in for almost an hour, but there’s also a miniature horse rescue, https://www.facebook.com/SoCalMiniHorse a local duck sanctuary, and yes, I need to get a life. But it all leads me to this post. A necessary, Easter post about love.

I can’t help visiting, liking and commenting, because in each photo and post, I hear, and see, the voice of God. When the shepherd writes about how she wants to cuddle with her lambs, I find it remarkable, that even as exhausted as she must be, after a long day on a farm, with so much to do, she loves each animal, and wants to embrace her flock.

When the dog rescuer calls each of the dogs by name, and treats the blind, or disfigured dogs the same as the healthier dogs, again, I feel, and see the hand of Jesus.

The guy at the duck sanctuary had to move his entire operation, and is now digging a pond in a brand-new location, just for rescued fowl. Remember He can move mountains, so why not a lake?  https://www.facebook.com/theelsinoreduckpond 

That’s how He loves us. YOU. It doesn’t matter whether you’re blind, disfigured, or even cranky. He wants to snuggle with you every day. God loves you just the way you are. Always. We are not pets. We are humans made in His image. He thinks you are magnificent. Adorable. Perfect. 

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Easter Appreciation

 

Thank you for being a visitor to my blog. Some of you comment, while others have supported me by purchasing my novels.  You have encouraged my creativity and reviewed complex stories, and for those important points I am grateful beyond words. You are all valuable. Immeasurably. Intangibly.

You lift me up!


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Community

 

What does community mean to you? Is community your neighborhood? 

Your city? Your valley? Your country?

This was strange to see in 2022,
 but understandable during Covid

(At a doctor's lab)

 A community is a group of people with common interests living in a particular area.  A community can be small, such as a nursing home, a nudist colony or a monastery. People who enjoy sunshine, might consider Florida their community, while people of faith, might gather in a community church. New York and other giant cities have ethnic communities, such as Little Italy. Los Angeles has Little Tokyo, and San Francisco has Chinatown.... These places still exist, but the diverse population has expanded so much, that residents had to move to the suburbs where they created new, inclusive communities welcoming everyone.

Still, the world struggles, but is striving to become one giant community.

Which is why we identify with Ukrainians during a war. This is why we pray for world peace. It is why the local homeless population fills us with concern, and also the reason we know that all lives matter.

Our intangible hearts find community with other hearts. All hearts are the same blood-red color. We are bound together as humans who empathize with other humans. In church they call that The Body of Christ. It’s when the members of a community beat together with one compassionate heartbeat. A community of love.

Recently, a publisher in Canada decided to put together an anthology titled, Community, which is filled with poetry examining all the angles and perspectives of the word, and what community means to each writer. My little poem about a community center is included, but it’s also packed with much more!

Every mayor of every town, every teacher, every religious leader, every governor, every Prime Minister, and every President, should read this book to understand what community means to the creative souls who have shared their deepest thoughts about the heart of community.



Sunday, February 20, 2022

Not Writing? Remember Two Things

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Things have been kind of busy around here with the new puppy, but I’m getting back to work. Still, when the North wind blows into California, I start shivering and coming up with excuses for not writing. 

One of my favorite hobbies is crocheting. I’ve crocheted sweaters, scarves and hats that magically, bring on a heatwave. Then it drops thirty degrees and I’ll have tea and get comfortable in fuzzy slippers, when all of a sudden there’s a barking festival inside, and outside, the house. Seems the neighborhood dogs want to welcome our pup. By the time the chorus is over, it’s time for lunch. It’s a never-ending cycle, and we have to be ready. All creative writers have to be ready. Are you?

Which leads me to the two pieces of advice I have for times like this:

1.    Stay the course.

You don't have time. Seriously. After all, there are a million distractions, but don’t forget, your mind still works. You can plot things out without writing them down. The more you repeat dialogue in your head, the better it will be. If you’re prone to forgetting things, make small notes along the way. Notes aside, you can create a better story by thinking about your scene--and your characters and imagining everything clearly—all while making dinner or driving your car.

When shopping, and about to select a vegetable or package off the shelf, think about your characters. What would they eat, what would they drink? Do they eat cereal for breakfast? Are they just like you? Maybe not, right?

Don’t worry, you’ll have time to write it all down someday. Maybe not this week, or next, but when it’s right. In other words, don’t give up. Ever.

 2.    Stay Positive!

There are many reasons for excuses. One bad rejection letter and I can fall behind for two months. Broadcasts about war send my poetry muse packing. If my book isn’t selling, I wonder why I should write another. Then, when I least expect it, I receive a wonderful review about how the reader can’t wait to read more.

 Excuses run the gamut:  my computer is giving me a problem, I’m cold, I’m hungry, worrying about someone else, the kids, the mortgage, health related stuff, the water bill, the news reports, etc. I imagine you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, with electronic rejections, I suggest deleting them immediately. There are hundreds of other publications that are in need of creative work, and we need to focus on the ones that appreciate our writing. With so many negative things to worry about, seeing that email once, is enough. Of course, if the publication offers a few suggestions, and gives constructive criticism to improve the piece you wrote, you will want to take those things into consideration. Otherwise, don’t re-read it. Don’t dwell on it, and don’t print it. Delete button and gone. What rejection?

 

My acceptance file. 

When you receive an acceptance letter—print it--and put it next to your computer. Additionally, I suggest not watching the depressing, not-so-local news. Instead, stay in tune with your local neighborhood, by joining social media groups and watching city hall meetings in your town. Want edge of your seat reporting? The comments about the lost cat from around the corner are riveting. Also, a distraction, but more interesting than anything that happens on cable. Plus more poetic.

 In summary, there will be a time, and you'll be ready.

Two things-that’s it. You can do this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Worth a Resolution Detour

 


I had serious goals and the best of intentions, until I received a special birthday gift, at which time, my New Year’s Resolutions sort of sprang, flew or dashed to the wayside. Yes, I had multiple ideas, most focused on writing. I have three unfinished books in my laptop, a couple more bouncing around in my brain, not to mention the blog, the website updating, poetry, volunteer work, not to mention the normal duties of everyday life.

Diets and exercise? Puhleeze—there’s a pandemic going around, and even if I spruced up, and almost looked perfect, there's nowhere to go. So, I’m settling for a bit of pudge, minor house cleaning and daily walks. And don’t ask about reading! The pile is growing like a snowcapped Kilimanjaro.  Honestly, no matter how I look at this situation, the gift, is worth the detour. 

Here she is—drumroll please--------Baba. (Means baby doll). Faster than lightening—she’s an Italian greyhound mix rescued by, and from, Southern Star Animal Shelter, where she spent a couple months, after the original parents said they couldn’t afford to keep her. πŸ’“ (They probably couldn't catch her.) 


Her green eyes and meerkat expressions crack me up, and while physically, she resembles my previous pups, she is a unique little being, sometimes timid, mostly sweet and always fast. Besides being a cutie, I can tell she’s smart too. Right now, she’s kind of a handful, but that’s expected because she’s only 9 months old.

Who knows maybe after chasing Baba all day I’ll be lean and fit, ready to conquer 2022?

 (Don't laugh!πŸ˜ƒ)

And----- Hopefully, when she settles down, I’ll get back to writing. 😊

How's your resolution going? 

Don't you think this interruption is 100% worth it?

Monday, January 10, 2022

Wishing You MORE!

 

What are you looking for? Are you searching for a dream destination? A new home, or career? It’s always exciting to think we have a new year ahead of us filled with unlimited possibilities.


Every single day can lead to fresh ways of looking at things.

From one hour to another, we might have a refreshing and bold new idea; a graphic concept, a color combination that works, a tasty twist in a recipe, a different pathway for walks, a novel workout routine, a new dance step, a puzzle piece that fits, a plan for a vacay, a fancy investment, a career goal and more.

Every minute might bring a surprise. An unexpected phone call from someone far away, or a passionate kiss and a sudden embrace; a letter of acceptance, a long-awaited package at the door--a benign biopsy. Maybe there will be a late-arriving Christmas card, a high school friend request, a song you haven’t heard in ages, a butterfly that lands in your yard, rosebuds, the hummingbird that hovers nearby, unpredicted rain and more.

And seconds, we have 31,536,000 every year!

Time for a wink, a touch, a giving hand, smiles, and more.

May all your New Year Dreams Come True!