Sunday Sand, Surf & Book Covers?

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My sister had a photo shoot in Malibu today so I decided to tag along and try some photos of my own for a new book cover. Specifically for Searching for my Wand I like some of what I got, but I don’t know that any of them is quite right.

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Tragedy Sells

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My sister went to the library yesterday and came home with three books, First Comes Love, by Emily Griffin, Here’s to Us, by Elin Hilderbrand and Her Again, Becoming Meryl Streep by Michael Schulman. On the sleeve of the first book, in the very first descriptive paragraph, there is the line, “But when tragedy strikes, their delicate bond is splintered.”  . Fittingly, the second book brings it up in the second paragraph; “But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death in his favorite place on earth.”  Finally, the Meryl Streep book alludes to a tragic relationship she had with a fellow actor. All three writers are well known and successful, so they might be on to something.

My first novel, Searching for My Wand also involves a tragedy, but I have always shied away from saying so in the fear that people would think the book is depressing. I don’t think it is. The reviews say it’s not. For example, this one is how, in essence they all read.

“What a wonderful book. The author has created some truly exceptional characters. They are full of life and seem ‘real’. There is just enough humor to lighten the mood when necessary. I think this is a quick, easy read that will be enjoyed by all.”

Now I am wondering if I shouldn’t change the cover of this book to something darker and play up the fact that tragedy strikes to send the characters reeling. The following is the blurb I have always gone with.

Glenda was named (incorrectly) after Glinda the Good Witch and therefore, subconsciously, has spent her entire life trying to live up to the reputation of a fictional character. To the outside world, she’s succeeding. She appears to have it all, the perfect husband, two beautiful little girls, a nice house, good friends and a dog named Bono! To Glenda, it’s not all that it’s all cracked up to be. Life throws her some unexpected curves and her world begins to unravel. 

What do you think? Should I change it to something like, 

Having struggled with addiction in the past, Glenda has managed to conquer her demons and find the life she always dreamed of with the love of her life, or has she? When tragedy strikes, her world is turned upside down and she is left desperately trying to hold onto a life that no longer exists.

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I’m All Out

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Twenty weeks is a long time to do excerpts, but I think I’m finally out. Sure I could put up different excerpts from books I’ve already given you glimpses of, but if you haven’t been inspired to buy a book yet, my continuing to give you free chapters probably isn’t going to change that. So, what should come next? Let’s brainstorm, shall we?

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Have you got any ideas?

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I’m a Lousy Spiritualist

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A Facebook friend had this link to The Shift on her page which said you could watch it for free until the 30th of this month. For those who don’t know, it’s a film with Dr. Wayne Dyer, whom although I have never read any of his books, I remember seeing on Ellen once and liking. He didn’t seem as out there as a lot of people who sprout wisdom on how to better manage your life through a peaceful spirituality. Seeing as my life has been met with some considerable challenges, all of which would appear to be out of my control, I figured I’d give it a try.

 

The first stumbling block came when although showing beautiful scenes of the Monterey coastline, it got off to a very slow start, and looking at the bar next to my start button I saw that it was a two hour film. This was going to be tough, but I was determined to give it a fair try. The film mixes an interview with Dr. Dyer, while cutting back and forth to three stories being played out in illustration of what he is discussing. Not only did I find these stories almost insultingly simplistic and overdone, but it was disruptive. There you are trying to make sense of what he is saying and then they switch.

Had they used only one, or even two stories you could have given the characters a little depth, but there was no time for that, and therefore the characters weren’t likable. Dr. Dyer himself seemed a little much, which I feel bad to say, but it was not how I remembered him.

I so wanted to get something out of this that would help me and those in my family dealing with some very unsettling times, but eh. It didn’t happen. I agree with his theory that one thought can change your whole life. I believe that with all my heart, and I understand that sometimes you have to let go and leave things up to fate, faith, God or whatever source you believe is bigger than you. If I’m completely honest, as usual I fought with not just the stories and character development, but with camera angles as well. Like I said, I’m a lousy spiritualist!img_1249

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Just a Post

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Without a post I don’t seem to exist, so I’ll give you some pictures because it’s annoying the heck out of me. Clearly I need attention today!

megans-house-2-020I hope you as well as I get some great news today!art16

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Excerpt Sunday #20

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This is something I have only just begun so we’ll have to see if it goes anywhere or not. It’s called , Let It Go Already, and yet so far I’m not sure what has to be let go, so… enjoy.

Let It Go, Already!

 Emerson California, the kumquat capital of the west. Technically, Florida has more kumquats then we do, but for whatever the reason, Emerson has embraced the this smaller, stranger relative of an orange in a huge way. Everywhere you look there is some reference to the fruit that has put this tiny town of 4500 on the map. Even our high school mascot is a kumquat tree. I kid you not.

It’s a quaint, quiet little town to those observing from the outside in. Main street houses a couple of restaurants, the breakfast cafe, the barbeque joint and Jenny’s, a slightly higher end eatery. Then there’s the bakery, the grocery store, a dress shop, the hardware store, etc. Everyone knows everyone, or at least they know of each other. Secrets are always discovered. There’s no hiding in a place where everyone knows your name and the names of everyone in your family.

Why I am coming back here, I don’t know. This will either prove to be the smartest thing I’ve ever done, or my greatest regret. My 13 yr. old daughter, Ruby, who has lived in Los Angeles her whole life, and who will soon start high school with a kumquat tree as her mascot, is convinced she knows which way this will go. God, I hope she’s wrong.

 

My dad passed away two months ago and even then I hesitated to come home for the funeral. That’s how much anxiety even visiting this town has caused me in the past. This quiet, quaint, seemingly innocent little town. Elliot’s parents still live here. Elliot being Ruby’s father. In fact, they live not more than four blocks from where I have agreed to rent a house. A house that is across the street from the house I grew up in, and where my mother still resides. A house from which my sister, Elizabeth, lives only three doors down, at the end of the cul de sac.

Elizabeth is two years older than me and known as the most beautiful girl, now woman, to ever come out of Emerson. Try growing up with that as your sister. Needless to say, she married the star athlete of Emerson High. Robert Daniel Anderson was the MVP of both the football and baseball teams. His family owns the hardware store in town, as well as another one in Creekville, the next town over. He chose baseball over football when that proved to offer the best scholarship.

Robert and Elizabeth married right out of high school before moving to Miami where he would be attending school. They returned a year later when Robert slid into third base, somehow shattering his knee, and ruining his chance at a major league career. I tell myself if he could return and endure all that he has, I too can make a go of it.

Ruby is asleep when we pull into the driveway of the admittedly tired old craftsman house that will now serve as her home. It’s late afternoon and the sun reflects harshly off the glass of the front window. The front lawn is patchy and neglected, with what else, a kumquat tree stationed directly in the center of it. I take a deep breath and gently shake Ruby just as I hear my mother slam her screen door, squealing my name, “Holly!” as she runs down the front steps, and crosses the street to greet us.

“Oh dear God, shoot me now,” Ruby groans, not bothering to lift her lids.

 

When she does open her eyes and sees the house, she shakes her head in resigned disappointment. My mother, in denim capris, a white blouse and sneakers, reaches us and excitedly yanks open my door.

“What are you doing? Get out here and give me a hug!” she demands.

My mother is what people often refer to as a spitfire. She is full of nervous energy, and rocks me side to side as she hugs me tightly. Ruby slowly gets out of the car and clutches her pillow to her chest. My mother lets out another excited squeal, drops her arms from around me, and runs over to Ruby, nearly knocking her over with the enthusiasm of her hug. I can’t help but laugh. Ruby has never been to Emerson, and barely knows my mother, but she has been warned.

My mother steps back, looks Ruby up and down, and then reaches out to touch her silky blonde hair. I know what she is going to say before she speaks.

“You look just like your mother did at your age.”

“I know, I’ve seen the pictures,” Ruby tells her.

“Where are your cousins?” Mom asks, looking down the street. “They should be out here to greet you. Are you so excited? You must be so excited.” she declares.

“Over the moon,” Ruby mumbles.

Ruby doesn’t know her cousins because Elizabeth and I have ignored each other for years now. At some point it just became easier to go by the theory of, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” and therefore Ruby hasn’t seen her cousins since that last disastrous visit to Disneyland when she was five.

Elizabeth can be very judgmental and some would say I am overly sensitive. She never approved of Elliot, or our decision to leave Emerson, and she has never been shy about making her opinions known. When I was then less than understanding of her decision to leave Robert, it became easier to avoid one another. I never meant for things to get as strained and uncomfortable as they did, but life has a funny way of catching you by surprise. Before we knew it seven years had passed with nothing more than a Christmas card between us. When our dad died of a sudden heart attack, we were forced to confront how fleeting life can be.

“I’ve been cooking all day,” Mom announces. “Pot roast, homemade dinner rolls, and fresh apple pie. Do you like apple pie Ruby?”

“Sure,” she concedes.

“Terrific, well let me go get your cousins to help you unpack. Where is your furniture? Is the truck behind you?”

“What truck?” I laugh, as Ruby starts up to the front porch.

“With your furniture.”

“There’s no furniture, Mom. There’s just what we could grab.”

“What? Why? Where will you sleep?”

“We have an air mattress. We’ll be fine. Don’t make a big deal of it.”

“But…”

“But nothing, this is a huge transition for Ruby and she doesn’t want any attention called to us, so please, please just keep this quiet,” I plead. “I’ll get us beds once I get my first paycheck. Until then, this goes no further.”

“But…”

“Promise me. This is a new beginning, and we will get new things. In the meantime it’ll be an adventure.”

“Fine.”

“Thank you. Don’t call anyone. I presume Elizabeth and the kids will be at dinner.”

“Of course.”

“So she can meet her cousins then.”

“Alright, of course. You both probably want to freshen up. Come over as soon as you want, but dinner is set for 5:30pm.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I kiss her cheek, pull a bag and lamp out of the car and head up to the front door, as my mother returns across the street.

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I’m Live!…Not!

 

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I’m pretty sure this is the only selfie I have ever taken, and I only did it because I had no recent pictures. I was tired of the one promotional photo I have so I tried to update it. There is actually one other but with no makeup or decent lighting, I just look old and tired. So, I’m not a big fan of people constantly taking pictures of themselves and posting them all over Facebook. I don’t need to see a duck-lip pose of you every other day. Well guess what, it’s just gotten worse.

Now Facebook lets everyone go “Live” and why? Sure Sean Hayes can be really amusing, and when a notification comes up that he is Live I will often take a look. Everyone else though, No! Nobody cares that you are on your way to the store. I don’t care that you are at a show I didn’t care enough to go to or that you are at dinner. The narcissism in this world has hit an all time high, and I for one wish we could dial it back. How about you? 

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