Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Man With Eyes Like My Father

His name was David and his eyes were the same color as my father’s. Blue with a hint of gray, the color of machines and hard work and oil that got trapped beneath your fingernails. During the day, he lived on the corner of Main and Bristol. No one knew where he lived in the evenings. Some quiet alley or corner behind a restaurant. All I know is that there must have been a roof or an overhang of some kind because I asked him once, where do you go when it rains. He had smiled and said he had a safe place, a dry place. But when the rains got fierce one winter, one very cold winter for Southern California, I noticed that he looked more tired every day, like he’d been fighting that rain all night long.

I brought him coffee and burritos and warm socks. Once I gave him a rain slicker that could double as a blanket. But it was never enough and I knew it.

My heart ached whenever I saw him on the corner, legs tucked below him, useless and dead, his wheelchair pulled beneath the awning where people waited to catch the bus. He never begged for money or held up a sign, will work for food. He just waited beside people who had someplace to go, and someone to spend time with.

His eyes would haunt me at night. My father’s eyes in a crippled body. All alone and forgotten. I wished I had the courage to ask him, where is your family, why are you alone.

Instead I brought him bottles of water and In-N-Out burgers.

I worried about him when it was cold outside and when it was hot. Maybe he was someone’s father and they didn’t know where he was. Maybe he’d had a fight with his only son and now they’d never talk to each other again.

My husband and I went on vacation one year, out of state, and we were gone for a week. When we came back, David was gone.

There was no one to ask, where is he, is he safe, did he move or did he die. To everyone else he had been invisible and unwanted.

To me, he had been a man with eyes like my father.

A man who disappeared with the wind. And the corner of Main and Bristol is now empty and lonely, because he is gone.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love Is ...

At the end of crazy, frustrating day—that also happened to be interspersed with wonderful, beautiful things—I decided to make something lovely to share with you.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Five Stages of Writing a Book

Below are the Five Stages I go through when I write a book:

1. I really want to reach 50 pages. Really. Really. Really.

2. It's never a REAL book until I reach 100 pages.

3. What was I thinking?? I'll NEVER get 200 pages done. Who invented the middle of a book? They should be flogged and driven out of Dodge.

4. I have to write the END now? But what's supposed to happen? Didn't I write notes about this, I had to have written some notes...where did I put those notes...wait, didn't I write the ending already? I KNOW I wrote the ending, but what file did I put it in?

5. It's over. It's OVER??? *sobbing, flailing, laughing, then more crying*

NOTE: I am currently in Stage Number Three: What. Was. I. Thinking.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Books That Took My Breath Away in 2012

Once in blue moon a book comes along that takes my breath away, compels me to read it, astonishes me with its brilliance and makes me wish that I had written it. In 2012, five books came along that impacted me like this. They are:

Wow. This book was flawless. I adored the contrast between the peaceful existence found within an Amish community and the horror of what was happening to the rest of the world. Laura’s book grabbed me from the first page and wouldn’t let me go. Even months after reading this story, I am still thinking about it.

IRONSKIN by Tina Connolly
From page one, I was immediately immersed in another world, where Fey and humans lived side by side, and captured by Tina Connolly’s lovely prose. I was also enchanted by the fact that this was a retelling of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books.

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater
This book felt timeless, like an instant classic. It could have been written 25 years ago or 25 years in the future. Maggie built a world that was both familiar and alien, and every bit of it was believable. I’d never heard of water horses before, so the legends were all new and wonderful, and expertly woven into the fabric of the story.

ENCLAVE by Ann Aquirre
This book really amazed and surprised me. On the surface, it read like another post-apocalyptic YA—which I love. But it was so much more. Layers upon layers of deeper meaning surfaced throughout the book, always adding to the story and the complexity of the characters and the world where they lived. The love story was one of the best I’ve ever read and if I say too much more, I might be giving away spoilers. [Note: This book was published in 2011, but I read it in 2012.]

ASHES by Ilsa Bick
A wonderful example of how horror and literary fiction can be combined. Ilsa’s lovely prose often switched gears to describe gruesome details, but it was always done flawlessly. She made me believe the terrible things that were happening and she made me root for the main character’s survival. [Note: This book was also published in 2011, but I read it in 2012.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today you'll meet the last of the four main characters in FATHOM. This girl is another one of the mysterious teenagers that comes to Crescent Moon Bay during tourist season—Riley.

Played by Alexis Knapp, with short hair. (Doesn't she look dangerous?)

• Name: RILEY
• Has lived so many places, nowhere feels like home
• Should be a junior, but she is so done with school
• Favorite class: Really? None
• Best friend: Herself
• Hobbies: Practicing survival skills
• Favorite bands: No time for music
• Favorite drink: Coffee
• Social standing: In charge and everyone knows it
• Greatest joy: When people finally decide to do things her way
• Biggest nightmare: Being eaten by a sea monster

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Covers I Love

I love good artwork and I especially love good cover art.

So, I put together a collection of covers that recently caught my attention. These are covers that make me want to know more about the story, they raise my expectations and they seem to whisper that—if I would only take a few minutes, just read a few paragraphs—I would most certainly be hooked.

And I love to be hooked by good book.

What covers stand out to you and what do you look for when shopping for a book?

While making this collage, I realized, though was not surprised, that I choose books with similar color palettes. It doesn't surprise me for two reasons.

One: I know my favorite colors are in the turquoise/blue/green range.

Two: I know that turquoise is the color that appeals to women most. And I am a woman. Ahem. The red and the orange are across the color wheel from turquoise, so it's almost as if I ran to those covers as an antidote, for a splash of fire to quench my over-watered thirst.

I am definitely in the mood for a good book right now. I'd love to check out Rough Honey or The Madman's Daughter. Which of these books appeals to you?

Monday, October 29, 2012

My 10 Favorite Movies to Watch on Halloween

Quite possibly my favorite holiday, Halloween is spooky and creepy and filled with things that go bump in the night. It’s the perfect time for telling (or writing) ghost stories, for taking long walks at dusk, for burning candles when the sun goes down, and for watching movies that make you a tiny bit afraid to get up and go to bed at the end of the evening. When I was a teenager, there was a plethora of scary-but-not-super-scary movies, many of them featuring Vincent Price—an actor I fell in love with.

So, to help you get in the mood, here are my top Halloween movie picks:

1. LOST BOYS: A quiet Southern California town is plagued by vampires and brothers, Mike and Sam, must find a way to save their family. This movie combines all the teen angst found in moving to a new town, falling in love for the first time, trying to fit in with a wild crowd and, oh, yeah, trying to NOT turn into a vampire, even though you’ve already sipped vampire blood. Oops.

2. VAN HELSING: Hugh Jackman plays Van Helsing, a man with a secret so dark and deep that even doesn’t know what it is. His mission: to get rid of the evil creatures that have been tormenting and killing people around the world. Great fun, great monsters and great romance with Kate Beckingsale.

3. IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN: Okay, it’s a classic and we all need to watch something heart-warming from time to time. This cartoon brings back the spooky scariness found in being a childhood outcast, something most of us can relate to.

4. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH: Starring my favorite horror flick actor, Vincent Price, involves a scientist who is hunted by zombie-like plague victims. Most likely this movie was based on one of my favorite novellas, I Am Legend.

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ: Maybe nobody else thinks of this as a Halloween movie, but I definitely do. Those scenes in the castle where the Wicked Witch of the West gazes into her crystal ball and, then, in the forest where the flying monkeys attack are nothing but pure Halloween crack.

6. SALEM’S LOT: Based on the book by Stephen King, this story feels like it’s about real, honest-to-badness vampires. Shades of Nosferatu, the vampire in this movie is what all vampires should be—so creepy you want to run away screaming.

7. THE MASK OF THE RED DEATH: Vincent Price in one of my favorite roles, as Prince Prospero. The story takes place in medieval Europe, when a mysterious plague is sweeping across the countryside. Prospero offers sanctuary to a group of nobility and to an innocent and beautiful village maiden, but once they are inside his castle, sanctuary is the furthest thing from his mind.

8. THE HAUNTING (1963): Be afraid. Be very afraid. This is one of the creepiest movies I’ve ever seen. A group of people do a paranormal investigation on Hill House, spending the night. Be prepared for a rush of pure adrenaline, for this is a tale of psychological horror that builds and builds until even you want out of Hill House.

9. THE OTHERS: Another psychological horror, this movie was inspired by the novella, The Turn of the Screw. Nicole Kidman plays a mother, trying to protect her two children from a houseful of ghosts, or is she? The plot twists and turns as you learn more about this family and the ghosts who live in the house.

10. E.T.: This movie captures the wonder and magic often associated with both childhood and Halloween and adds in a surprise element. Instead of a monster, vampire, or werewolf, the scary-creature, new-best-friend is an alien who wants nothing more than to go home, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.