Monthly Archives: March 2015


Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles

Distance is the inspiration‘s best hearting. ~ E. Marshall

Early Views

At the age of twenty-two, when in Romania, I entered a study-abroad program that required a sponsor. My cousin Luminita, who’d been living in the U.S. with her family for many years, signed on the dotted line, and a couple of months later she snapped one of my first pictures on these shores (see above).

Arriving in a new country can be exciting and scary all at once, but the multitude of nationalities here in Los Angeles, of languages spoken, made me feel welcome. I was not, I felt, the only one struggling.

Before long, however, I became aware of the tensions this multitude holds. Every country has its problems, but the issues sparked by an often problematic cultural pluralism were new for me.

Much of this tension concerned the Hispanic community — there was, I thought, a certain barrier, I don’t know, perhaps a clear refusal to understand one another. Or so it looked to me. Still does, sometimes.

How This Pertains to the Story

In Stranger or Friend, Zoe Sinclair is exposed to exactly such tension when she returns home. It is the friction caused by outsiders, or viewed by a handful of people as being caused by them, that leads to the big conflict.

Much of this reflects my observations from those early days, a time full of hope and dread and joy and so many questions.  As my blog tagline says … life is a story, might as well write it.

~ Tomorrow’s post: B is for Beauty. I hope to see you then.

Theme Reveal — Blogging from A to Z


The Blogging from A to Z Challenge is almost here. Yay! Hard to believe I’m back after almost crawling across the finish line last year. But who could resist a challenge involving chocolate … I mean, daily blogging. 

I promise to keep posts short, as I know we’re here to visit a multitude of wonderful blogs, respond to comments, and have a generally awesome time.


My theme for the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge is INSPIRATION.

Now that Stranger or Friend, my mystery from Solstice Publishing, is out in the world, I thought it suitable to show where my inspiration came from. I say show because there will be lots of photographs and little text. Quick observations. Keeping it short, remember? Very short.

Inspiration, as I’m sure you know, comes from feelings, life experiences, reading, and so much more. In the writing of this novel, inspiration came from my observations as an Eastern European immigrant to the U.S.

There are interminable things a new arrival sees, many invisible or hardly noticeable to locals. While the mystery is the focus, Zoe Sinclair, the main character, deals with a very real and human aspect in all our lives: a certain prejudice that hides in every heart.

She deals with much more, of course — joy, heartbreak, an overwhelming mystery, but one step at the time, right? :) 

So, let’s do this. The first post will be titled  Arriving. How does arriving to a new place — new country, new continent — at the age of twenty-two feel like?  See you on April 1st.

Another Step on The Shaky Road


First, a thank you is in order. Thank you for following my road-to-publication stories. For commenting. For being here.

As I await release of Stranger or Friend, I discover there’s always a new marketing tool, another article I should read. You know … to keep abreast of the latest grand strategy guaranteed to make the novel an overnight success.

I am tempted to take out an ad in the paper: hiring publicist who works for food.

Anyway, the latest is my amazon author page. Imagine that — a whole page on amazon with my name and shenanigans on it. Pity my husband for the inflated ego he’ll have to deal with around the house.

But, seriously I have a page. Here it is (and linked to the photo above), if you’d like to click on it.

And here is the cool part.

Amazon, as you probably know, has a way of arranging books in a certain order, making them more or less visible for the reader, and to do this they use a certain formula kept in a high security vault room.

While no one knows this formula, some secrets have leaked out. One is: how does an author get visibility on amazon? Sales contribute to this, sure, and reviews, but … oh, there is a but, dear blogging friend.

It takes more than sales to see a big unknown move up the ranks. It takes page views, and follows on amazon.  The more page views an author gets — and of course, the more follows — the more visibility. And the more visibility, the higher the ranking. And higher ranking keeps an author from sinking to the bottom of the amazon pool.

I did my best to put together a half-decent page, and  … tam taram tam tam, I now present it to you. Would love to know what you think.

Thank you.

Dear Robin Williams

Elizabeth’s post moved me as her writing always does. But today’s article is extra special. She writes about Robin Williams, a gifted artist who, as Elizabeth puts it, brought about understanding amongst complete strangers through an expression.

Breaking the Cycle 716

Dear Robin Williams:

You have been gone a while now, but you still touch people and help them connect.  This past weekend, my family watched Mrs. Doubtfire.  We laughed the whole way through.  The kids especially liked the part where you told your ex the drink killed your dearly departed husband.  Specifically, when you said he got run over by a Guinness truck, they giggled until they were breathless.

I remember watching that movie when it first came out, and being similarly amused.  There is something powerful about having that experience twice: by yourself when you are young, and again, with your children.  Hearing their laughter makes your heart swell with love.  There is a feeling of invincibility.

I liked you in every role, especially Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting.  There was a vulnerability in your expressive blue eyes that made me think sadness came naturally…

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