To Walk Less Briskly


I can remember it vividly. The moment I got off the freeway this morning, and from this high point called Santa Suzanna Pass, I could see a blanket of fog covering the valley below. That natural tableau yanked my mind off its spinning wheel.

Rushing down the freeway to another appointment, another chore, another must-do thing either work or home related, I had closed off my mind to everything else.

I had forgotten not to force life on my way through it.

To let it unfold. Let it flow.

Make sure I enjoy the little moments. The scenery outside my window and feelings it creates.

Always in such a hurry to achieve the next goal. Tackle the next adventure. Sacrificing the now.

The future is unknown and largely out of our control.

Sure, it’s great to have direction and purpose. But investing oneself completely in the future and what it holds, we’re left with little for the present.

So, I slowed down and took a picture. Thought about sharing it here together with the story behind it. The picture doesn’t do the natural beauty justice, but that’s the thing with phone cameras.

Soon after, I made a few mental notes resolving to sip my coffee slower each morning. Walk less briskly. Let the environment soak me in sights, sounds, and smells. Blog more, share more stories (while blogging reentered the picture I signed up for the Blogging from A through Z Challenge)

Make the most out of life. Embrace and share those experiences. As our life-loving French friends say: Vivre la vie.

Book Nomination

I could just imagine how busy everyone is right now, with family in town, or visiting family elsewhere. Cleaning up after Christmas, getting ready to ring in 2016. Oh, the list goes on.

In the midst of the end-of-year craze, I would like to take a moment to tell you that my novel, Stranger or Friend, has been nominated for this year’s P&E Readers Award in the mystery category.

I found out not long ago, and since I shared so much during the year about the ups and downs of publication, and since some of you read the book and this nomination in highly dependent of votes from readers, here it is — Stranger or Friend, for your consideration. Link below.

If you scroll down you’ll see it (after the ad). A few steps are required after entering name and email, including email confirmation.

Thank you!

Happy New Year and hugs to all. Looking forward to reading all about your New Year’s parties soon.

Happy Holidays


It’s that time of year again, when family is everything. Sure, that’s true all throughout the year, but we come together as a unit during the holidays more than ever to celebrate, exchange gifts, enjoy food, and to simply enjoy each other’s company.

That’s what I love most about Christmas, being with family. Watching the wonder in a child’s eyes as we pass down family traditions, tell stories, snuggle in front of the TV with large bowls of popcorn and watch Christmas movies.

Talk about Santa.

I grew up in Europe, so St. Nick brought me gifts on December 6th, not Santa — a very similar idea, just a different day. My son, growing up in the U.S. with parents from two different continents, gets both St. Nick and Santa, even if he doesn’t believe in either anymore. But he does believe in, or holds dear, the spirit of the holidays.

There are so many different celebrations this time of year. In my office (see view from my office window above), we have people celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, and the Diwali Festival — the Hindu Festival of Lights — that takes place at the end of October but many extend to the end of the year.

What makes blogging extremely satisfying is meeting so many wonderful bloggers from all over the world. Reading your stories.

So, to all my dear friends, I wish you happy holidays and all the joy and happiness your heart can hold for the New Year.

 Best Wishes. Merry Christmas.



Internal and External Storms


Wind sweeps raindrops across my windows — the prelude to El Nino, as we call it in Southern California, (Spanish for baby boy): a severe weather phenomena that occurs every ten years — the result of unseasonably warm ocean water miles off the west coast of the U.S.

Well, let it rain, I say.

Once green hillsides are as dry as straw, the air filled with pollutants and electric expectations that make it hard to breathe. Cutting water consumption can only do so much.

The monster storm will not fix our drought. It will leave behind mudslides, houses crumbling off hillsides, fallen trees, flooded streets. Weeks and weeks of cleanup. But despite such biblical predictions, we need the rain. Rain makes everything better in Southern California, even if it destroys the landscape first.  


So, why is this gigantic weather pattern called El Nino? Minutes of research and the answer is: El Nino (child, or baby boy) refers to the infant Jesus Christ and is used because the current usually begins during the Christmas season.

Interesting and creative.

Weather affects the creative mind, don’t you think?

I sometimes see it in my writing — the altered dispositions, the range of emotions — my own feelings projected upon characters as moods are brightened or darkened, lives lived under clouds, relationships turned stormy.

When the mercury rises, the character’s blood can boil internally or externally. Sun melts hearts; rain fills the fictional world with tears. All sorts of things happen while fingertips fly across the keyboard with El Nino on the horizon, the sky filled with slow-dancing clouds.

Sometimes I wonder if those beloved pieces of European literature were written during long winters and ravaging storms, perfect times for introspection. Are seasons to be credited with such masterpieces? Why not?


Cold, literal or figurative, makes for great art via our internal barometer, producing striking works that stand outside the mapped territory of … normal. Because normal, while safe,  has no place in literature, now, does it?

~ So, tell me your thoughts, dear blogging friend. On this stormy subject or anything else.  

Images courtesy:,,