Does Mama get her #Prada?

So I have a son graduating from college next Spring. I've tried to make it into a competition between my three boys, who will buy mom her Prada? As you can imagine, they are not in a hurry to win this competition. So I tell my son who is graduating next year in engineering, "Oh my goodness, you'll be able to buy me my Prada?"

He looks at me in all seriousness and shakes his head and says, "Tory Burch. I'll go Tory Burch and that's where I draw the line."

Whatever. I'm buying my own Prada in Milan next year. Because I will be saving thousands with someone out of college! Ungrateful little monsters. : )


I'm green y' thoughts on hybrids...

This was a Thanksgiving week of firsts. I drove in a Prius. AND a Leaf. I'm actually a little stunned to admit how nice they were inside. How nice they drove. I mean, I'm still not giving up my BMW, but I sort of get it. They're nice cars -- very comfortable, smooth ride. I just don't want to plug my car in at night. I have a hard enough time remembering to charge my phone and my Apple watch.


As we were leaving Old Town Grass Valley after dinner, my son was driving and he goes, "Wow, there's a really pretty girl in the window there, but I'm afraid to get her attention because she'll see me driving a Prius."

LOL . He got smacked by the Prius owner. Still, I approve. And if I were the kind of practical person who thought a car was to get you from point A to point B, I would totally drive one.

Living in the Bay Area, EVERYONE here drives a Prius, a Leaf or a Tesla. I wouldn't do it just because I'm not a crowd person. I want to be different, but I do appreciate them saving the earth for me. My BMW has a setting that turns it off at stop signs and it drives me insane. But you go green people, I get it.

Italy Calls...

I'm basically an American mutt when it comes to ancestry, but I identify strongly with my Italian roots. I mean, they're into espresso, fine leather goods (Prada) and fashion. That's not even mentioning the food! So last Friday, I'm sitting here writing, minding my own business, sucking down some Starbucks concoction and my father calls me. My father is Italian, he never calls me. He usually speaks through my mother. He has this excuse that he can't hear my voice, it's too soft.




Anyway, he calls me on Friday and asks...wait for it...if I want to go to Italy with him. What? Well, I offer to stay home with my brother so my mom can go. She doesn't WANT to go. She says if I don't go, my dad probably won't either. Well, okay, if I HAVE to take one for the team, I volunteer as tribute.

The next day, we find out one of my dad's Italian friends -- who goes every year and speaks Italian -- already has a trip planned. Do we want to add two? Do we? I should mention his friend was an Italian restauranteur for years and we are eating and staying in the finest places. I can get my espresso-sent-to-my-room, kind of places.

I've already looked it up. There is a Prada outlet outside of Florence. But I'm also going to Milan. THE MOTHERSHIP PEOPLE, THE MOTHERSHIP!!!


I'm just slightly excited. My dad travels the way I like to -- in style -- and the only thing I'm slightly worried about is that we're staying in a very haunted hotel in Rome. I said, I might not need my own room there. I might be sleeping at the end of someone's bed. LOL Anyway, obviously I'm going to need to set a book there and because two of my heroines in "The Wentworth Heiresses" are Italian, I think I'll tell one of their stories from the old country. She's a museum curator, so it makes sense for her character anyway. Love when life works out like that. So I'm going to Italy. I can hardly believe it still, but I've bought a map and I've worked out our whole route in my mind. I cannot wait to see the art and the history!

#90DayFiance Creator & how much do we miss because networks/publishers just don't get it? #Passion

This morning on my walk, I heard the creator of "90 Day Fiance" on a podcast with Kate Casey. Okay, first off Matt Sharp, thank you for being the genius that came up with "90 Day Fiance" and all its offshoots. It is the gift that keeps on giving on television. Listening to him speak about how difficult it was to find a network to invest in the show, I found myself getting really angry. It's so hard sometimes to get the powers that be invested in your idea. But I'll tell you what, I'll take a passionate producer/writer and their project over a "brilliant" idea any day of the week.


How many wonderful ideas are sold on television or to book publishers and nothing happens. Because publishers and networks want what sells. So they always look to what IS/WAS selling and that's why we have fourteen billion movies about super heroes and very few gems. The powers that be are without creativity so they can't imagine that something different can be successful because they haven't seen it done before.



When I was trying to sell "What a Girl Wants" to the Christian market back in 2004, no one got it. No one knew what Chick Lit was and they certainly didn't see how a self-possessed lawyer into fashion would resonate with their market. Christians are sweet girls. They're not into fashion. They're kind and gentle and they would NEVER judge another person. Okay, that is a complete fairy tale. Christians are like everyone else in the world. Maybe we should be sweeter, but you're going to tell me no Christian woman ever cared if she had a new dress? A new handbag? I just needed ONE person to believe in the concept.

First, it was an older Jewish man (my agent at the time, Frank Weimann.) He said he laughed so hard that if HE could laugh at a single Christian girl's antics, he knew anyone would. Thank goodness, Ami McConnell at Thomas Nelson got on board and really championed that book. Its sales have been amazing, and I'm so grateful that ONE person believed in it, then another, then another... But again, it was because the passion I had for Christian women in singles' groups that the book resonated.

I feel strongly about this subject as I watch so much of the same thing be produced and passion fall by the wayside. Right now, I'm working on a few ideas, but one that I'll probably never find a market for (and will probably self-publish) is called "The Wentworth Heiresses" series. It's about five sisters from a broken family (one dad, three moms) who inherit billions, but must put their family back to rights. I'm passionate about the story because money doesn't fix problems. We're under this delusion in America that if we were rich, all our troubles would go away. Because I live around people with nothing but money to spend, I can tell you that just isn't true. People are probably more messed up here than in the rest of America.

Anyway, I'm thankful that someone asked Matt Sharp what he was passionate about. Passion trumps the same ol' crap every single time.

Reason #9,873 I love my BFF:

The thing about best friends is that you don't have to explain yourself. They just GET you. Today, my best friend called me and said, "Oh my God! Kevin Spacey!"

He's our favorite. We had to talk about the allegations. No intro necessary. No need to say, "BUT WE LOOOVE HIM!" We actually saw him play Richard III in San Francisco. I mean we love his acting. But now come these allegations that he's a child predator and may have come on to a fourteen-year old kid. Instantly, his Netflix show was canceled. I can't watch that one anyway. It's too ugly. I hate knowing that humans like his "House of Cards" character share the same planet as me. I'm still going to ask God why we actually need sociopaths and psychos on this earth, but there you go.

Okay, back to Kevin. First off, I had NO clue he was gay. And I pride myself on having excellent gaydar. Here's the thing. I thought he was emotionally unavailable -- to both males and females -- so that's why I thought he was alone. But now he's gay. Granted, it still doesn't cover up the fact that he may have come onto a fourteen year old, and it's especially creepy after seeing him in "American Beauty." No?


So now, his brother has come out and said that their father was a Nazi and sexually abused them. Ew. Totally want a shower after reading that. But I do find it interesting what kind of psychopathy allows you to believe you're a pedophile, but genetically superior to a Jew. Seriously, that's some kind of sickness right there.

I will say that it's not really fair that they canceled a show without a trial or anything. Hollywood is scared of its secrets spilling out, I guess.

My BFF and I also discussed "The Menendez Brothers" and the new Scott Peterson show. Both of which I refuse to watch because I hate psychos being given a voice when their victims aren't here to speak for themselves. We also discussed my book, editing issues, her job and our evenings before capping our call at 6 minutes. See, best friends are efficient. No niceties necessary.

What's your favorite thing about your BFF?

A Clean Desk is a sign of...

I'm an office slob. When I write, I have a wooden box nearby and I literally shove everything on my desk into the box so that I can write freely. I know if I leave the bills, etc. there, I'll get sidetracked by my ADD and nothing will get done. So yeah, box. I am able to hyper-focus on what I'm working on, so I can ignore the mess for the most part, but this simply takes away the distraction. I just think it looks better to have it clean while working. I still manage so many people/things that it is easy to get bogged down in details. Writing needs to be a priority.


This morning, I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a friend's new office -- which is gorgeous and looked something like this! And I'm very envious -- but I know that wouldn't work for me. For one thing, I don't like being IN an office. I like my office in the general house space so that I am in the middle of everything. When I had my own office, I hated it. I felt left out. So while it looks very impressive, it's not functional for me.

I'm also reminded that while my favorite contemporary author, Colleen McCollough, practically had her own island, her mind was a wondrous place. And that showed itself in the form of a desperately sad office. I have to admit, her office makes me a little farklempt. But when I think about all she created in that space, it makes me okay with my desk in the kitchen. Besides, I'm going to Starbucks to edit anyway. What's your work space like? Functional? Pretty? Both?

If you're a genius like Colleen McCollough, you can work in this kind of chaos.



Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking, Hollywood.

Hollywood is trying to backtrack and distance themselves from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, but in doing so, all they're doing is shining a spotlight on how lacking in character they are. Real men, real people with character, stand up for the abused, the victimized. They don't turn a blind eye and say something ignorant like, this behavior goes on in every industry.

No. No, it doesn't. Because REAL men stand up for victims and speak out. Isn't Clooney married to a human rights' lawyer? Isn't he always lecturing us on the environment and how to vote? Dude, man up and don't ignore what's right in front of you.


Clooney says he knew about the "affairs" but basically, not that it was harassment. Baloney. It was an open secret and newsflash, men who look like Jabba the Hut don't have "affairs" with 20-year olds in their business. I mean, really? You see this and it doesn't say, "Oh wow, look at that gorgeous couple. I wonder how she fell in love with him!"


This is Weinstein's wife -- okay, I get that. She wanted to start her fashion brand and she saw him as a ticket to ride. I get it. She traded herself for cash -- or she fell in love with his power. Who knows? However, he married her. THEN, you're going to tell me he's bragging about his affairs and as a guy, you don't have an issue with that? See, most normal people wouldn't associate with a guy like that. Their wives wouldn't allow them in the house. The company you keep is important. And it says something about your character.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but this world of keeping silent while evil pervades is a dangerous, slippery slope. You think, Oh she had a choice. She chose her career. And I can see that, but if you come from a background of abuse and you see a way out like many of these women do. (Hugh Hefner's legacy comes to mind.) Then, maybe you'd see it differently. If your sister had a chance to eat and prostitute herself out there -- OR someone could come and rescue her from that terrible choice and it's consequences, my guess is that you'd go for a hero.

Hollywood has no heroes, it seems.

Writers: Research Collection is my Favorite!

As a writer, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. I really try to narrow that down so that most of my job is doing the actual data collection of living life and interacting with interesting people. I'm fortunate that I live in a place where that can happen on a daily basis -- I just have to make the effort. This weekend I was in Tahoe. I kayaked, saw a recreational marijuana store, toured an amazing lakeside condo, and attended a locally-acted historical/ghost tour. Most of all, I met amazing people who all had a story to tell.

I have to be reminded to plan to get out more. I have a whale tour coming up for a birthday party. That sounds like it could be full of great tales, no? I once visited a lighthouse where a whaling boat had crashed onto the rocky shore. Maybe I'll get the end of that one.


My new idea opens with a Victorian widow approaching my heroine -- as I was approached this weekend. I thought to myself, what if she said, THIS. And that is the best part about writing. You can tell people what to say. This is why Hollywood is currently baffled over the Weinstein issue. No one is writing their dang lines. They're not all that brilliant when a writer hasn't researched their words for them.


Sometimes, research takes us to places we don't want to go. And we learn things like Gary Cooper was one of the biggest womanizer's in Hollywood history. Plugging my ears now. Covering my eyes. This is why sometimes, fiction is better than the truth.


National "Cat" Day

Last week was National Cat Day. I know this because my blog provider encouraged me to celebrate! This is not easy for me as I have the cat from the dark side. First off, I'm a dog person and not really a cat fan to begin with, but my daughter convinced me that a cat would be the perfect companion for her. I relented when I saw this shy little kitten in my daughter's arms.

When I first adopted a kitten for my daughter, I had dreams of warm nights curled up in a blanket watching movies and drinking cocoa by the fire. But this is my life and that was not to be my story.


Look how cute and sweet he was. My son named him "Spartacus." This was probably a bad choice. Spartacus was violent and my cat? My cat is out for blood. First off, I should have learned about breeds. Mine turned out to be some kind of Turkish Van. They are active cats. They are hunters. This cat has the loudest MEOW known to man. But we'll come back to that.

I should start with the good stuff. Spartacus is gorgeous! I mean, he's like the young Mel Gibson of cats. He feels like a mink coat. So luxurious and rich. And he holds himself well. Like he's 100x better than you and you'll never be worthy.

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But he was mischievous from the start and could not sit still to save his life. I thought cats were supposed to sleep?


But this cute, little kitten kept growing. When my son Skyped me from the Marines, he said, "What the heck are you feeding that cat? It's like a mountain lion?"

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Okay, for those people out there who think you can make ALL cats indoor cats, you have not met Spartacus. He's a demon cat who will attack to get outside and hunt. This cat wants to hunt 24/7 -- and the hunts have resulted in my nightmares. This is a barn cat. He was never meant to be in the city. But here is our story. Spartacus is loud. Like wake-up-the-neighbors loud, so if you don't let him out, your neighbors are going to knock on your door and force you to do so. Same goes for when he wants inside. Let's start with our first "cute" story.

At 5:30 a.m., he meowed like the devil and my daughter was having a sleepover in the living room, so she opens the door. To Spartacus with a live mouse in his mouth. Mouse promptly gets free and goes under the fridge. Where it hides out until the next day, it is IN my daughter's bed LOOKING at her. Honestly, I about died. My daughter, an animal lover, was not amused, but we got the mouse out and life moved on.

Fast forward to the RAT phase. Spartacus brought a ROOF rat upstairs (not inside this time, praise the Lord!) Of course, my daughter being the animal lover could not kill it, so she went and got gloves to try and rescue the rat. Rats are rats for a reason. This resulted in a trip to the ER and a promise that my daughter would never try to "rescue" a rat again.

This cat, though white as a ghost can catch anything. Birds, hummingbirds, rats, rodents and on a happy note, we have cherries and grapes now because a bird won't get within feet of that backyard. But I'm not sure this "rescue" cat has been good for the ecosystem overall. I know it hasn't been good for my well-being. Or our dog's -- who he traumatizes. But I love this monster. He's an amazing cat -- just not the cuddly, sweet knitting partner I was expecting.

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On a happy note, I found out Turkish Vans live about 18 years, so the fun is just starting with this one.