Monthly Archives: August 2015

Don’t sit back. Don’t relax.


I wasn’t going to join my husband and son for a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood yesterday. Having taken my son to his end-of-season basketball celebration Saturday morning, I thought I’d let the boys do Universal Studios while I work on my next novel and relax.

The notion of a peaceful and comfortable afternoon soon occupied my mind to such extent, it was all I could think about. The idea of visiting a popular attraction park in the middle of summer sounded extremely uncomfortable.

But …

It was also an opportunity to spend the afternoon with the two most important people in my life: getting on rides and acting silly, having lunch and dinner, getting splashed in the water-fun zone, laughing, and having a great time. Together.

Soon, another thought occupied my mind to a greater extent: best things in life – especially family – take a lot of work.

It’s easy to get philosophical about this, but, really, if we are to succeed at anything – be it writing a novel, building and maintaining relationships – it’s going to take hard work. It’s going to take emotional investment. And family is where the biggest dividends are either paid of lost.

So, I got up off the couch and joined my husband and son for a day at Universal Studios Hollywood where we took the studio tour, got on all sorts of rides – yes, we waited in those long, dreadful lines while the attendants sprayed us with water and offered drinks.


Left: walking in the park. Right: studio where War of the Worlds was filmed.

It was an unforgettable and tiring day, one we’re going to tell stories about for a long time to come. Stories my son will maybe tell his own kids one day. How easy thoughts of relaxation and comfort were forgotten.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I remembered my mom once said: it’s okay to be uncomfortable. Those who succeed in life learn to endure discomfort.

And in the process, hopefully learn to have some fun, too. It’s all about celebrating everyday life, isn’t it? In the end, the present day has everything to do with where we’re going.



The Writerly Life — Booklover’s Heaven



In my pre-publication days, I thought completing a book and working with a publisher was the end of that particular road for me.

Slowly the realization dawned that while I have transitioned into being a published author, with a publisher, my work is far from over. And perhaps that’s how it should be. Only the author knows what went into creating the characters, the story. The author, then, should be the only spokesperson for the book.

I remember years back, when I would read an intriguing book, I’d flip to the author’s photo and imagine the interesting life she must lead to write such a story. I’d pay particular attention to the eyes. Not sure the eyes told me anything, but it was fun trying to connect the person in that photo with the story before me.

While I enjoy talking about my book, I am grateful to my publisher for taking care of the technical aspects: pricing, distribution. Thankful my publisher is sensitive to pricing, as I am amazed each time I see an e-book listed for nearly $20.

Thank God it’s not my job to look at numbers, units, and argue with distributors over ungodly practices, which my publisher often does on behalf of its authors. Or go after pirate sites. I admire those who have the patience to do so.

And so in the writerly spirit, I just completed two interviews for Stranger or Friend which will be published on two different blogs in the near future.

But wait … is there no end in sight to all this?

Maybe when the next book comes out. ♥  The next book … which I’m still researching.

And to end the post on a booklover’s note, I was told Stranger or Friend is featured on Booklovers Heaven today, in the mystery category (linked on the photo below). Oh, the joy.

Booklover's Heaven Badge 2



Sunsets and Cemetery Screenings ~ 5 Photos 5 Day Challenge


There are gorgeous sunsets all over the world, I’m sure, but I’d venture to say we have the most spectacular of them all. 

So amazingly perfect, they seem unreal.

My choice for the final post of the 5 Photos 5 Day Challenge came down between Watching a Movie in a Cemetery and Sunsets.

The first topic — another one I found during book research — refers to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where someone thought it was a good idea to show movies projected against the Mausoleum that houses the crypt of Rudolph Valentino. Scary movies. At night. In a cemetery. And people bring blankets for an evening under the stars.

There is a company called CINESPIA as you’ll see if you click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page that sells tickets for such cemetery screening.  I know, I’m shaking my head too.

 movie in a cemetery

It had to be brought up, you see, but I prefer to focus on our beautiful sunsets.

Sunset on the Beach

Go to any So Cal. beach and you will see the sun drowning in the endless ocean, making for a gorgeous painting of the sky and earth and sea, a mixture of orange and red and warm dreamy colors like purple and indigo. Pure beauty.

 sunset and storytelling

Thanks again to Susan Scott for giving me reason to have so much fun with this challenge. In the second post, I left it open to all my blogging friend — I hope you jump in.  However, today I nominate Dan at No Facilities to carry on, if he so wishes. No pressure, no obligations, and here are the rules:

1) post a photo (photos) each day for 5 consecutive days; 2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you; 3) nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! More importantly, have fun.


Images courtesy:;;;

History, Hollywood, and Fitness ~ 5 Photos 5 Day Challenge

hidden staircase


Fitness is a lifestyle in Southern California — with Hollywood and Beverly Hills in our midst, the latest diet craze and exercise routine is always right here.

You will often see people speed walking while using small barbells (on the side of the street), jogging and biking. That’s right, despite our crazy love for cars and driving, we exercise on the sidewalks for everyone to see and marvel.

But did you know that before Angelenos pledged their love to cars, we were a city connected by trolleys and streetcars? People traveled from their houses in the hills to transit lines via stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.

I will be writing about the L.A. hidden stairways in my next Zoe Sinclair novel, but in the interim, here is the real-life story.

fitness and L.A. adn storytelling

Robert Guerrero climbing LA

There are about 4o0 hidden historic stairways in Los Angeles, built mostly in the 1920’s, many of them forgotten. Today, Angelenos use the stairs for cardio workouts. 

In the very first picture above: it will take you about an hour to climb this path. These steps are considered the most charming and take you past homes of stars like Humphrey Bogart and Bela Lugosi. 

In the second picture above, this set is located in a place called Silver Lake. The stairs are named after the Laurel and Hardy duo, where the two tried to push a piano up the stairs.

And there we have it, So. Cali quirks — from a mode of transportation, to Hollywood shenanigans. And today? Today the historic stairways are a tourist attraction as well as a place for cardiovascular activity.


I nominate Hilary at Positive Letters to carry on the challenge.  I know she’s on a blogging break, but for when she returns. No obligation, of course, only if possible, and here are the rules:

1) post a photo (photos) each day for 5 consecutive days; 2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you; 3) nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! More importantly, have fun.