Archive for October, 2012

“For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.”  Louis L’Amour

As writers we find ourselves immersed in the lives of our characters. At their beck and call, if you will.

For those who read (and write) historical novels, there is nothing like the discovery of the way it felt to live all those years ago…be it mid-twentieth century or the Stone Age.

For those reading (and writing)  contemporary novels it is the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. A really great book allows the reader the ability to see life through the eyes of the main characters…a chance to become someone else for a while.

Yes, I write mostly fiction, but can you imagine the lives of great people who lived before us! Those who fought and lived and loved and died to shape the world we live in today.

In studying genealogy I’ve come in contact with it all. The thrill of times past, knowing how some of my ancestors lived through some famed eras. They brought their own history to America from Europe as settlers in a new land. Some were already living on American soil before the arrival of those new pilgrims. Many fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, the War of 1812; and settled land that has remained in my family for generations. My ancestors had even lived in the time of King Arthur, and one or two had fought in the War of the Roses.

The Great Depression and the World Wars shaped the lived of more recent ancestors. In fact, those particular times had a great deal to do with how my parents and grandparents grew up. And now, sometimes as I write, I hear those details they relived in stories to me…becoming words on my paper. Perhaps, and I think this is a wonderful thing, my muse is my own history.

As one paragraph on wisegeek.com states, “Whether the muse is spiritual or a person of flesh and blood, it is true that the world of the arts is indebted to its muses. Without these inspirational people who have loved and encouraged the artist, a wealth of paintings and music would be missing from the world.”

I am positive this holds true for writers as well,





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I grew up watching reruns of many Walt Disney television shows and loving the light-hearted movies he produced. I can close my eyes and still see in my mind’s eye all those original Mouseketeers lined up…shouting their name and smiling into the camera. One that always stood out then, and even now, was Annette Funicello. She had the darkest eyes and a huge smile. And, in her early teens, became one of America’s sweethearts. Today is Annette’s 70th birthday and I wish her a very happy day! After filming movies with Disney such as The Monkey’s Uncle and The Shaggy Dog, Annette began filming beach movies with Frankie Avalon (remember him…he sang Beauty School Dropout to a throng on roller-haired beauties in the hit Grease starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta). Beach Blanket Bingo, Muscle Beach Party, Beach Party and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini….to name a few….were some of her hits in the 60’s. Remember that type movie? Girl meets guy on beach, girl and guy fall in love on the beach, maybe girl and guy surf…..sweet romances. I loved them as a little girl and still get a kick out of these happy movies.

Annette was paired with Frankie Avalon in most movies that I saw, and as a child I figured they’d always be a couple. Frankie, however, had married in 1960. He and his wife are the parents of eight children and have many grandchildren. Annette married in 1963. She married Jack Gilardi (at the age of 23) and they divorced in 1981. She and Gilardi had three children.

One note of sweet trivia as I relate their real love stories. Singer and songwriter Paul Anka wrote a song called Puppy Love (Donny Osmond also made a recording of the same song) while dating Annette in their early careers.

In 1986, Annette married her current husband, Glen Holt.

In 1987, 1989 and 1990 Annette and Frankie paired up to act in Back to the Beach and to stage a concert tour. Then, as suddenly as she’d reappeared on America’s stage…Annette retired.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1987, she struggled with the neurological disease. MS attacks the brain and spinal cord and can cause numbness, blurred vision, tingling…followed by degenerative neurological problems. Patients can lose the ability to talk, to walk, to swallow…

For a while, in the early 1990’s, I would see Annette on television shopping networks as she marketed a line of collectible teddy bears, the Annette Funicello Teddy Bears. Part of the proceeds from these sales went to the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases. She was brave and sweet, educating us on this disease that ravages neurological systems.

Today, as I have said, is her birthday. I hope all of you take time to visit The Annette Connection to check out her site as she continues to fight against this disease. Sales, from her webpage, of movies, books, etc. donate to that research fund still. There is also a link to an interview granted by her husband and caregiver, Glen Holt, that explains her current condition and her long fight. I must remind old fans (and new as well) that this is a heart-wrenching portrait of America’s sweetheart today.

Again, thank you so much Ms. Funicello, for making my childhood television viewing time a happy one.  Annette, your movies and television shows often aired on Walt Disney’s television show while I was a little girl growing up and I looked forward to them all…and I still have fond memories of them.

Perhaps today I will search for some of your music, or one of the beach movies, and (if no one is watching) do a little beach-blanket dancing and singing. I know it will make me smile.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful birthday, Annette,


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How many of you are writers who have attended author conventions? I love these events…if, for no other reason, it is because I come home with loads of books, excerpts, bookmarks, goodies and other writing aids.

But. Yes, these days there is always a ‘but’. Travel is becoming more difficult when you leave home with one suitcase and come home with that one suitcase…and loads of other goodies that you really hadn’t planned on stuffing into that one suitcase along with your clothing. Well over half of said suitcase is filled with paperback novels. Alongside these novels are bookmarks, business cards, handy-dandy post-it pads, etc. Plus, this year I actually won a raffle (I was shocked, I never win stuff!) that contained delightful goodies like coffees, chocolates, items for pampering myself like soaps and gels, a mug for said coffees, wine glasses and wine, an eReader and more!

That one suitcase has reached a definite fifty pound limit…so I have filled the complimentary book sack I’d received with some items and, when it was filled, I filled my gift bag (quite large thank goodness) that had come in the original book sack. Some things are stuffed into my extra-large purse (at least I remembered to bring that one this year) and I may have some things in my jacket pockets! Hope no one bumps me in line…I promise I am not a bookstore thief! I like the rattan basket that contained my cute gifts so I’ll be toting it too..

So, if you see a crazy lady lugging an overly stuffed suitcase with an overly stuffed purse on one shoulder and an overly stuffed book bag on the other…and dragging an empty basket…I am truly not crazy, just headed back to the comforts of home,


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“What stories are you carrying inside you that are yearning to be freed onto the page? What stories are you carrying inside that, once freed onto the page, will also free you? Whatever they are, write one of them. Now.” ~~ Maya Angelou
As I attend the Moonlight and Magnolias Writer Conference I see faces of new writers filled with hope, I meet authors who have accomplished so much that we, as unpublished writers want to do and wonderful, endearing people who work in the publishing industry who strive to make us all remember they are here to listen to and offer chances to us as we chase our dreams.
I am a people-watcher and am usually that quiet person you see observing others. However, at times like this, I love the energy and sense of renewal it gives me in my own pursuit of dreams.

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