The Post Below

Damn, I’m really bad at blogging.  The post below was not written by me, but I thought it was really interesting.  While I didn’t vote for Trump, I want the best for our country and hope he can work with Congress to help solve our problems.

This has been a very trying election.  I hope we can all heal.  A good start would be to remember and thank our Veterans because November 11 is upon us.   To those of you who served, thank you.

Peace.

Security

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I received three emails from WordPress in the past 12 hours saying someone is trying to change my WordPress password.  That was unsettling, since it wasn’t me.  So, if something odd/super offensive gets posted here that’s probably why.  I say probably because I’m rather odd and super offensive, so there’s a possibility it’s me.  Unless it’s one of these categories:  Racist:  not me.  Likes cats:  not me.  Helpful in the kitchen:  definitely not me.

I hope that clears it up.

I was also awakened in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago by someone ringing my doorbell and pounding on the door.  While my first thought was ghosts/demons trying to steal my soul, my second guess was evil in its human form.  I tiptoed out to the door.  A floorboard creaked (old hardwood floors can be a pain in the butt), and the person outside moved.  I called 911 since this is Burbank and not Los Angeles.  I felt silly saying someone was at my door and to please come right away.  I waited with cell phone in hand and took the time to find sturdy slippers (I can never find the right shoes for any occasion in less than 15 minutes so this saved time) and glasses.

The police showed up a few minutes later (again, this is Burbank and not LA).  They checked the yard and said they ran into spiderwebs — I hate that — which means whoever it was hadn’t tried to go in the backyard.  Which is good.  Their best guess was it was a drunk who came to the wrong house, which is not an uncommon experience on the Monday night of a three-day weekend.

Mystery solved, sort of.  I couldn’t go back to bed, of course, so I stayed up watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix, wondering if the doorbell had been rung by a drunk, a bad guy or a ghost/demon.

My point is it’s unsettling to assume everything is fine, then someone wakes you up in the middle of the night or tries to get into your WordPress account.  Or, of much greater urgency, places a few bombs to make us all scared.

I think we need to counter it all with strength and coffee.

Be safe.

 

 

On Keeping Promises to Yourself

 

I recently turned 53 and crossed off my first official Bucket List item by going to Paris.  I had lived in Switzerland as an exchange student after high school and had traveled around Italy and southern France during that year.  But I hadn’t been back to Europe since 1982 and I’d never been to Paris.  I’ve been saying for years that I would go “some day,” but one thing about 53 is you’ve already seen enough people die and others be stricken with life changing illness that a part of you knows that “some day” won’t happen unless you make it happen.

Money has been tight since forever, and even when I started having a little extra, Paris seemed like an extravagance.  And I don’t do extravagance.  But then I found out my host father from Switzerland was dying and I knew it was time to go.  Unfortunately, he passed away before I got there, which was another reminder that you shouldn’t keep putting things off.

I went on the trip alone, other than seeing my host sister during a quick visit to Zurich.  I learned that 19 1/2 years in Los Angeles left me completely unprepared for a March winter. And I also figured out that it’s always good to do things which scare you — because as the trip I’d planned for nine months drew nearer I was absolutely terrified.  But, similar to the cross-country trip from DC to LA I’d undertaken twenty years earlier after my divorce, this journey helped me transition into a new phase in life.  Not one of slowing down and thinking of retirement, but making priorities and figuring out what to tackle next.

Please do yourself a favor and plan to do one thing you’ve always wanted to this year.  It really is good for the soul.

 

Alan Rickman and David Bowie

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Some celebrity deaths hit harder than others.  This week, I felt like friends had died when I heard the news that David Bowie and Alan Rickman had passed.  If there’s anything we can learn from both men it’s to live life without fear.

Being a romance writer had never been in my plans.  But when I lost my job at the end of 2008, I started reading romance novels as a way to escape from a world that wasn’t hiring me.  Then the idea for the Kellington series popped into my head and I began writing the first one.

After being rejected by every major publisher in New York, I decided to self-publish on my agent’s recommendation.  I was scared and embarrassed since I thought everyone would think I wasn’t good enough to be published. That was back in 2011, when self-publishing was still thought of as that thing eccentric people did (guilty!).  But in the end, I began telling people. My friends were great about it and my frenemies were quiet enough that I didn’t hear too much ridicule.

I couldn’t afford to care about the naysayers because I was in desperate shape financially. So, the decision to self-publish wasn’t brave as much as necessary.  I needed to do something to bring in some income.

As I neared 50 and had a (drunken) life evaluation one night, I decided it was time to mourn the things that would never come to be — like having children — but pursue the things which could still happen.  For me, it was my first love, acting.  I was living in Los Angeles and working part-time in an office with an understanding boss who would allow me to take time off for auditions.  Provided I got any.  I knew the odds were against me but I really didn’t want to wake up at 60 and wonder why I hadn’t tried.

Pursuing an acting career at 50 was a really tough thing to announce to the world on Facebook and I’m sure a lot of people made fun of me.  Three years later, I still haven’t booked anything major, but I’ve never had this much fun.  I’ve also learned that hearing no isn’t the worst thing that can happen professionally.  And I hear it a lot.  It’s better than looking on from the sidelines wishing I were brave enough to give it a go.

Both David Bowie and Alan Rickman were incredibly talented.  They were bound to make it.  If we take anything away from their deaths, besides the fact cancer is the fucking worst, it’s the power of being brave.  David Bowie continually reinvented himself, taking huge chances along the way and always being true to who he was.  Alan Rickman had a terrific theater career before he exploded in America as everyone’s favorite German bank robber.  (To this day, I smile at the “Nakatomi” building every time I drive by.)  Alan Rickman’s acting career as a middle-aged man demonstrated that you should never think the best times are behind you.

Plus, they were both smoking hot.

I once read an article that said the secret to happiness as an adult was to think about what you loved doing as a kid/teenager, then do that in some form as a grown-up.  Not everyone has the luxury of pursuing their own dreams professionally when they have others to care for.  But, in the end, my loss of not having had children gave me the freedom to pursue my dreams professionally.  And one day I’ll think about the whole “when God shuts a door, He opens a window thing” but I’ve already cried enough so it won’t be today.

Please find the time to do that thing you loved doing as a kid or you adore now.  Life is incredibly short and you have to take the opportunities to make yourself happy.

Be brave.  And think about the inspiration of Alan Rickman and David Bowie.

 

 

 

 

 

My Uncluttered Life

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For the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom (pretty much).  I dreaded doing the bookcase because that would mean parting with books. Books!

Now I buy mostly e-books, but I’d accumulated quite a few paperbacks over the years and I knew some had to go.  It gave new meaning to Keeper Shelf.  Here’s the bookcase:

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I should point out that’s the “after.”  It’s the best I could do after purging, holding on to each book as I weighed its emotional value.  I kept some mediocre books (like some of Stephanie Laurens’s lesser Cynsters), which got shoved in the hard-to-reach back tier.  And I put the ones I reach for again and again in front, like Mary Balogh’s Slightly series, as well as Candace Camp’s Willowmere.

The rest were put in a sack that I’ll take to my mom’s.

Eventually.

For now, I like thinking they’re still in my apartment, within reach.  Because I have a sentimental attachment to books that got me through some very sad times.  And that’s how it should be.

I should also point out that those are battery-operated LED candles.  Because if there’s one person who’s capable of catching her bookshelf on fire with candles, it’s me.

 

 

What I’ve Learned So Far

My friend writes a wonderful blog about life after a lay-off.

MyGapYearAt47

One year ago next week I was given my walking papers from Hackensack, where I had worked for over 17 years. It’s been a fabulous ride with only one complaint…it’s gone WAY TOO FAST! It’s mind boggling how quickly one year has flown. As I think about the weeks and months that have blown by it occurred to me how much that I’ve learned in the past year since being laid off.

Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned so far. Number 10 is for you Rory who wanted me to write a blog that was a bit more Martha Stewart-esque.

  1. Love: It sounds corny but the week I was laid off, I had never felt such an outpouring of love from family, friends and colleagues. It was truly a blessing. As my friend Brian said, it’s like an Irish wake without the dead body! There were calls, emails…

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Time for a Pivot? Kindle Unlimited and Marketing in 2015

She has a great blog and is a terrific writer.

M. Louisa Locke

North_Korea_-_Sonbong_school_(6146581889)Everywhere I hang out as an author, I see blog posts discussing the effect of the introduction of Kindle Unlimited (KU) on authors’ sales. For those authors just waking up to this discussion, Kindle Unlimited is the subscription service Amazon introduced in July. Subscribers pay a monthly fee and can borrow all the books they want that are in the KU library. For most books by indie authors to be part of that library, the book must be enrolled in KDP Select.

If you have ever read my blog before, you will know that I found that enrolling the books in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series in KDP Select was very rewarding—even though it meant accepting the terms of enrollment that prohibited me from selling my ebooks in other stores. If you are interested, click here for a list of the posts I have written on that subject.

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