Sunday, May 15, 2016



F is for Frippery. The objets of frippery – jewelry, clothing, shoes, perfume, make-up – are seductive all by themselves. They sparkle, they accentuate, they leave a tantalizing reminder of ourselves on those in our orbit, especially those we touch. Our scent is left on their skin, our lipstick stains their body. The glimpse of carefully accentuated flesh and the rustling of silk lingers in the memory.

FRIPPERY! I’ll have you know it takes a lot of work to look like this. And the reason I put so much work into looking like this? Because you like it! Admit it. You wouldn’t have given me a second look without all the frippery.

His eyes glide the length of me, pausing at my d├ęcolletage – where the low-cut burgundy silk almost bursts at the seams from working so hard at containing me – and lingers on the sparkly diamond and ruby necklace that accentuates my cleavage and neck, and has the balls to look at me, stupefied. "You really think that?"

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, in The Devil Wears Prada

What I love about The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger, is that she takes us inside the world of all that encompasses frippery and shows us that at the core of an iconic business woman beats the heart of someone who wants love. Needs love. There is so much more going on below the surface, and that we need to look beyond the superficial.
Ultimately, I think that is what we all love about Chicklit! To be transported elsewhere, to be breathless with anticipation and laughter. And then, to be reminded that all that truly matters is obtainable.

In Prosecco & Paparazzi, you meet five vivacious, can-do women, who revel in all things frippery, but much like our heroine in The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea Sachs, they learn that, "not all that glitters is gold!" Prosecco & Paparazzi, when a mere mortal and a celebrity god collide. (Chapter One is available on

GRAND PRIZE - Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail with the subject line "A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry." Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!
The next stop on the Scavenger Hunt (is the letter G) is HEREIf you'd like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt (the letter A), go HERE.

Good Luck and thanks for playing!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Confessions of a Regionalist

You might be a redneck if…

Fashion Tips by Jeff Foxworthy, You Might Be a Redneck

It is spring in the Pacific Northwest, gardening capital of the universe. I would liken a plant nursery to downtown New York City on a Saturday afternoon. Cheek by jowl, gardeners troll the rows of plants, looking for new hybrids, looking for faithful specimens, and deep in conversation with a random stranger about whether or not the trailing begonia is better than the common fuchsia.

Now, how do rednecks and gardeners relate? In the “Greater Seattle Area” there are many a fine nursery who cater to the wealthy locals. Where you can purchase a 4” wave petunia for $7.99. Those who don’t mind scouring the outlying areas will do so, happily paying $2.99 for the same plant. Serious.

Yesterday I found myself scouring the outlying regions, and visited one of my favorite haunts – Flower World.

As I tootled along the highways and bi-ways to get to this remote location, I listened to country music. I turned off the ancient highway onto a side road, full of ruts, sharp turns, and grazing deer, and the country music cut out. Not even static. Just silence. I fiddled, as you do, with the dials on my radio, but found nothing but… heavy metal.

This begot a thought. This is going to make me sound like an utter “regionalist” but shouldn’t music particular to a certain environmental location be available? Classical music in the city. Pop in suburbs. And yes, country, in the country.

I continued to ponder this thought as I stood amongst my gardening brethren. Being the “everything must be designed” person that I am, I had already figured out that in my lime green pots I was going to put a combination of dark green, coral, salmon, and dark blue. So, there I was, selecting a collection of plants when I heard a woman say, “You know I hate lime-green and coral colored plants.”

I made eye-contact with the very embarrassed young man pulling her cart while he said to her averted gaze, “Grandma, I think they can be pretty.”

She wasn’t having any of it, she didn’t even turn to look at him, “No. They are just in bad taste.” I gave the mid-twenties, plaid-clad, man a smile and shrugged a shoulder.
Just about then, because I was still standing in front of the Gartenmeister fuchsia’s, another voice, one quite posh said, “I love your color combinations.” I turned to see someone who could rival the Queen of England. “Er’, thanks,” I said, over the background music, which was some kind of bluesy jazz piano piece.

Once Her Majesty and I chatted about my potting plans, I trudged over to where all things glaucous were on display.

Here, I lingered, caressing the soft, furry, and plump leaves as music from the Zen area gently wafted out through a door left ajar. I collected my array of plants, chosen for the singular purpose of brightening up a filtered sun area, and continued along.

Then, a most magical thing occurred. I took a wrong turn and ended back in the wavy petunia area, and "When Doves Cry" was belting out the speakers. A handful of people (those who were in their teens in the 1980’s) began to sing along. It was quite sweet. A spontaneous tribute. An ode to their past and Prince’s passing. I found myself grabbing up a tray of purple wave petunias. All summer, as I flip the dial between country and pop, between classical and jazz, I will see these cascading pots, and be reminded of one magical man, and one magical summer.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Billy Joel and Me

Sight or sound? How do you remember things? When I was an architecture and landscape architecture student our professors insisted that we were visual learners. I wanted to harrumph and tell them, “No. I’m an audio girl. Tell me and I will learn it.”

Over the years of studying design, I definitely became a visual person. I’m officially a hybrid. (I chose the Kia Soul because of the color, because of it's name, because it is an affordable, high performance vehicle - tells you so much about me.)

Upon reflection, I realize I have always been ahead of the curve and have been a hybrid for quite some time. If you ask me what year I was in second grade, I would first try to remember where we lived (I’m an Army Brat) and an image of our house in Arizona will pop into my memory. Quickly thereafter, I remember our front door, and the sound of silence. Those hot, sunny days where people hid indoors made for a quiet outdoor life. I spent a lot of time sitting in the shade out front our house, reading.

We are selling our house. Nine years ago we asked our real estate agent to find us the worst house he could in the neighborhood. And he did. It was disgusting. He literally told us the path from the front door to the back deck. Once inside, that was the first route we took. The house is the size of a postage stamp, so while the trek not long, the stench was powerful.

But now it looks like this, it looks like us:

In listening to Billy Joels song, “And So It Goes,” these words resonated strongly:

And every time I've held a rose
(A place of security)
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes and so it goes
(Our time anywhere, fleeting)
And so will you soon, I suppose
(This home that hold memories will soon be a place in my past)

For me, walking through the house is like flipping through a scrapbook.

A bedroom is a seven-year-old's birthday sleepover with eight wriggling bodies giggling on the bedroom floor. A scuff on the ceiling is from a drone flown through the house.

Behind the stove are words my children painted – our time capsule. 

The back yard was the domain of the children and family get-togethers.

The front yard is all me – all the times I need to dig in the soil and work something out – a plot device or heartache, or a place to sow a dream – a new blueberry vine.

But, it is time to move on. Time to paint the scuff mark, time to sit amongst the mess and remember all the love that was experienced here. Time to remember the hours of Guitar Hero and dance parties in the kitchen. Time to remember obstacle courses and s’mores around the fire.

I would say to the new owner:

And this is why my eyes are closed
(I leave my vision for what this house could be)
It's just as well for all I've seen
(So many dreams and hours spent building a home)
And so it goes and so it goes
(The dreams I take; the house is yours)
And you're the only one who knows
(The memories you make will meld with ours,
and seep into the walls)

So in the end, I am a visual and auditory learner. I am a dreamer and a romantic. I need roots and miles to roam. I am the girl who lived everywhere and always looked forward. I am the woman who wishes that time would stop and I could go back and peel the memories off, and paste them down, where next I land.

And so we go.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Must Haves! For Who?

When I was trolling my brain for what I wanted to write about on this rainy, Monday morning, as I battle a case of the stomach flu, I went to the interwebs and searched for inspiration. I stumbled across, Spring 2016 Fashion Must Haves. I think my attention was captured as a result of the unexpected weight loss program my body signed me up for on Friday.

As you know, I love fashion. I follow fashion bloggers and tweeters. I love shoes, I love purses, I love clothes. (Oddly, not a giant fan of jewelry.) I love looking at them. I love designers and reading what inspires a collection. I legitimately LOVE fashion.

I recently watched this interview with Rahul Mishra. The thought and creativity of his vision dazzled me. I'd let this man dress me any day of the week.

So, back to the blogs and trying to find something that would perk me up. After scouring websites, I landed upon an article in Elle Magazine and found pictures of "Must Haves." The question that quickly came to mind, is, “For who?”

I’ve read many an article where designers claim to want to design clothes for the “Everyday Woman.” Do these look like clothes you could put on? Seriously? Could you, the average woman, put them on? And if you could, would all your parts stay in place? Would a boob pop free, would your shoe stay on, would you get a sexual harassment charge filed against you? (Okay, that was a trick question, cause’ we all know that no man is going to file one against a woman whose boob has popped out of her top.)

What do you need to bring the “Must Have” party, besides a bulging wallet full of cash and credit cards? A ripped body. Toned abs, thighs, arms, and one presumes, arse.

We haven’t seen the backside of  these outfits, but I’m willing to bet good money that the back of this dress shows some bum cleavage. But, to be fair, I would wear this dress. It is utterly gorgeous. Full disclosure, on what I'd wear. Not what I would look like in it.

Which collection are you more likely to wear? This?

Or this?

All I can say is, don’t look like this!

Take a page from Manish Arora's sense of whimsy, Kanye West. He puts the fun in fashion.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Voices in My head!

I cannot speak for others who write, but I find that the fictional world I step into every day leaves me more than a little schizophrenic. To have room in my head for all the characters in a book, I have to park a huge part of me on a shelf, otherwise the results can be wonky, there just isn’t enough room in there for all of us. I live in Seattle, and after thirty-days of dark gray skies and buckets of rain, the characters in my book start fighting with each other or going on extravagant vacations they cannot afford. This rarely manifests itself in reality, but to be honest, I have been known to impulsively buy summer sandals in the middle of February (and it doesn’t quit raining for another five months). 

I have a theory. When you write contemporary fiction, escaping from your real life to enter another possibility of real life is a massive emotional undertaking. I haven’t written historical, sci-fi, paranormal, or non-fiction, so I have to be careful what I say here. I believe, for myself, leaping into a world that is largely constructed of mythical creatures in alternative universes might be more challenging conceptually, but the ability to separate yourself must be easier, emotionally. I think there is a level of emotional abstraction one can take when writing about shape-shifters, failed Mars missions, or lusting after an Earl (and you are a lowly kitchen maid) than one can take when writing about an issue in current era to someone who could live next door. (Which leaves me thinking there might be an interesting story developing right under my nose.)

It might be interesting to note, at this point, that I am writing this the day after completing a book. One might think I would be doing all kinds of things – communing with nature, cleaning my house (which is much needed), or making contact with actual, real people. But no. I am writing. The impulse to put words to paper doesn’t end simply because you type,

Actually, I never type that.

Okay. I typed that yesterday, but only so that I could take a screen shot and post it on Facebook. Then I deleted it. Just bein’ honest.

My Dream Team is always requesting that I blog more often, and I have to confess, I find it really hard to blog when I am writing. I know. It sounds funny. How hard can it be? Well, if you have read my blog, you will have undoubtedly witnessed my schizophrenic nature. One blog might be about lingerie, while another could be about my revelations while sitting in my therapist’s office. I find that my blogs also have to stay in character.

I am about to write a moody book. Consider yourself forewarned.

Speaking of revelations, in the book I just finished, there is a chapter entitled, Bras and Other Revelations. I have to admit, I am proud of that. Revealing one’s bra can be as terrifying as revealing inner turmoil. My mind doesn’t really allow for coincidence. I am a big believer in introspection and if you think (or type) long enough, you’ll find the connection between things. For example, if you are a believer in introspection, and you are writing a blog in your downtime about how you feel about writing and blogging, it is a no brainer to remember you’ve written a chapter called Bras and Other Revelations. – It is important for me to note that this paragraph seems a bit superfluous, but I like it, so I am leaving it in.

Onto my final revelation for this blog. I tweet, post, and blog regularly about how music influences me. You may have noticed that authors are now publishing their playlists with their books. If you looked at my playlist for my recent accomplishment, you would see everything from Shostakovich to Christina Perry. (Keeping my schizophrenic state in motion.)

I live in awe of musicians of all types. I was talking to a friend who is infinitely more schooled in the world of music than I am (this means, I sing along tunelessly and he is accomplished enough to play variations of a piece of classical music on an actual instrument) and I expressed my belief that writing music that moves someone emotionally is far more complicated than many other art forms. A typical pop song last about three minutes, has about 1,000 words, and has to tell a riveting story that makes people want to hear it again and again. Other genres of music engage us for longer periods of time, such as the concerto I am currently listening to (Paganini, "Violin Concerto No 3," Alexandre Dubach) which is thirty-seven minutes long. (In case you are wondering, he didn’t write any lyrics, that I know of.)

Here I am, in the final paragraph (or so) of this blog and I am finally arriving at what is on my mind. Kelly Clarkson and her performance on American Idol of her new song, Piece by Piece. This song shredded me, cut me to the quick, tore at my soul. She wrote the song, essentially an autobiography, after the birth of her daughter, about her father abandoning her. She writes about her husband, who has helped her put herself back together and the faith she has in him to be a committed parent and partner. She does all this beautifully in three minutes and forty-three seconds. Granted, there is only descriptive narrative, but it more than makes up for the lack of dialog.

To bare your soul to the world that way, to place your pain and insecurities in the hands of strangers, to put your faith in someone else so completely – well, it’s heartbreaking and breathtaking. To watch the author of the lyrics, get caught up in her emotional experience, to see her lost in painful memories, while singing beautifully… that is brave. I have transcribed brutal moments from my life into my writing, and have cried painfully while doing so, but I have always done this alone. These singer/songwriter/musical folks – they have a degree of bravery most of us cannot imagine.

And so, off the Kentucky I go, in search of Moonbows.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What to wear to work?

My relationship with clothes.

I know. You thought I was going to write a blog on my relationship with my pants. I have bigger issues. My relationship with my clothes extends from head to toe, top to bottom. Sitting around all day writing takes a lot of effort, when it comes to fashion.

Admit it, you think authors look like this while they write!

I’m not sure where these relic memories come from. Generational? Or do we sit around and think that to be successful, we have to look a certain way, or that if you write a best-selling novel (or twenty) and you can afford a fancy office and wardrobe.

The secret, well, at least my secret, to a successful day of writing is to wear this:

And James Patterson agrees with me – well, at least the pictures I trolled on the internet for, concur.

Okay! Not pajamas, but not a suit, and not behind a desk, and he certainly looks comfy.
And why is this? There are reasons beyond being comfortable.

1)      If my clothes are too tight bad things happen to characters. They get into arguments with friends, lose their jobs, worry over gaining weight, wonder if they overdid it the night before.

2)     If my clothes don’t keep me warm, the sunny day the characters are meant to frolic on the beach in Saint Tropez turns into a rainy day in Plattsburgh, New York, getting a flat tire. Not to say that Plattsburgh isn’t a lovely place, but it ain’t Saint Tropez.

3)     If my clothes keep me too warm, the sunny day in Saint Tropez, turns from characters frolicking on the beach into people bickering under a beach umbrella. (I once wrote a scene where ten people managed to fit under one beach umbrella and whine about sand in their crevices, before I realized I needed to turn down the heat in my house.)

4)     If my clothes don’t let me easily move from ‘posture-perfect-sitting-upright’ to sitting ‘crisscross-applesauce’ then emotional moments, where the character is supposed to slither down into a heap, turn into sequences where the character stoically buttons her jacket and stiffly walks out of the room. I particularly like the word slither.

5)     If my feet get cold (yes, when I get dressed, I make sure I have layers on my feet) then it’s game over. Nothing goes right in anyone’s world if my feet are cold. High heels break, blisters from hot sandy beaches erupt, budgets are blown on trendy shoes, a rogue wave knocks someone on their keester. And so it goes.

6)     If my hands get cold… This is the trickiest of them all. My hands. Cause’ if my hands are cold, then I can’t type, but I can’t type if I wear gloves. By now, you’re wondering if I live at the North Pole. Nope. I don’t. But you try typing all day and see if your hands don’t get cold. ACTUALLY, they rarely do. I type so fast and furiously, with all the perfectly crafted prose demanding to be transferred from brain to paper, that I can barely keep up. Writing turns out to be the best hand exercise – ever!

It turns out that a career in writing lends itself best to hand exercise and the acquisition of pajamas. Yup. I write wearing pajamas. My standard outfit: fleece pajamas (top and bottom), with a tank underneath, wool socks, slippers, a hat is nearby (that is mostly to put on when I Skype with someone and so that I can disguise my bedhead), and on rare days, when it is really cold, a cup of hot water I can wrap my hands to warm them up.

Pretty sexy, no? My family doesn’t even flinch anymore when I show up places dressed as if I am getting ready for bed. Well, not entirely true. Now that I have teenagers, they balk. A little.

While people who have office jobs dream of wearing pajamas all day, I find myself in clothing stores, that have NO pajamas, fondling clothing that have structure – pleats, ruching, top-stitching, embroidery, overlays.

When I was a little girl, in the 70’s, I remember clearly thinking that old people wear pants with elastic waistbands. By this definition, I have been old since I was in my thirties. Speaking of that, I am about to have a business meeting with my editor, so I have to go put on my dress-up writing clothes, yoga pants and a sweatshirt.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hat's Off to You!

Whether this blog finds you on a sunny beach or a snowy slope, the question I have for you is, how do you feel about wearing a hat?
How I usually deal with a hat - carry it around.

This may seem like a strange question, but the reason I ask is, I feel ridiculous wearing them. How does one develop a fear, almost a phobia, of wearing a hat? I couldn’t tell you and honestly, I’ve spent time wondering about it.

This may very well be my problem. I’m an alien.

I’ve tried all manner of hats. The one I end up feeling least ridiculous wearing is a jester hat, and that’s only because you’re supposed to look silly when you wear it.

Years ago, and yes, I’ve been thinking about this for years, I contemplated the fact that women used to wear hats on a daily basis. Many of them (the hats) were quite unattractive.

Then, some of them are exquisitely beautiful.

This may be the singular reason I still like to look at photos of royal families. Their hats.

I went looking for reasons. My face shape, the size of my head, the way my hair dangles or pokes out. I’ve stuck on many a hat and stared in the mirror and assessed this and I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s an utterly ludicrous fear. My head size is normal. My face shape is normal. My hair, whether long or short, does what other peoples does, so that can’t be it. It’s all in my head.

So, in an effort to confront this fear, I have been wearing hats. In public, even. I crocheted a few over the holidays, and have bravely walked out of the house wearing them and guess what? No one keeled over from the sight. Now, I cannot claim that my fears are gone. I am so cognizant of the hat that I find myself narcissistic, swerving down the road as I check the mirror to make sure nothing bad has happened to my head while I’m driving.

I don’t recommend this.

One absolutely positive benefit is short hair bedhead. While 99% of the worlds female population has long hair, I do not. It’s pretty short, so there are days (most, in fact) that I wake up to hair standing straight up or poking out funny, possibly even jutting out the opposite direction from normal. If I plunk a hat on, not only is this issue disguised, but the hat actually sorts the problem out. When I take it off, all the misplaced, oddly bent strands are still whacky, but now they are flattened to my head, making them slightly less obvious.

You may not see this as beneficial, but then I’m guessing you have long hair.

My goal for the winter of 2016? To conquer this fingernail biting, nausea inducing, head itching fear, so that my ears can for once in their lives, experience the joy of warmth, in winter. It’s either that, or grow my hair long again so that said ears and neck are protected. Though… I have acquired quite a collection of scarves.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 21, 2015

I'm Dreaming...

By FAR my favorite Christmas TV Show when I was growing up was, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I think this could have been the origin for my predilection for Happily Ever After! So many incredible messages about the human condition and the resilience of mankind encapsulated in this forty minute cartoon.

I was digging around some old boxes of childhood memorabilia the other day and I found my diary from when I was 18. I have to admit that my Christmas Wish List hasn’t altered all that much:

My Wish List at 18                                                  My Wish List at 50


Yes, I am still dazzled by sparkly, pretty things and secretly hope that any of them might somehow find their way under the tree! What might surprise you is that my understanding and desire for Peace on Earth and Good Will towards humankind hasn’t evolved all that much. My parents indulging a whimsy once or twice a year didn’t warp my belief that the ultimate gift would be to live in a world where everyone was safe and had what they needed. Needed, not wanted.

All year I am reminded of the goodness that thrives in the hearts of people. One simply has to be as willing to look for it, as they are willing to look for the bad.
I have long since defined myself as a Humanist. Not a Christian. Not an Atheist. But a believer in humankind.