What NOT to post on #NextDoor

I'm beginning to hate this app. People are incredible jerks under the guise of being neighborly. Here are some examples:

1. Someone posts that they left their cars unlocked and it got broken into, so he's warning others to lock their doors.
Inevitably, some helpful soul posts, "I never leave my cars unlocked. That's not smart."
Yes, Einstein. That's why he's reminding you to lock your doors. Learn from his mistake. It's called being neighborly!

2. Someone posts they've had their catalytic converter stolen from their car that was parked in the driveway.
Helpful soul: "I always park my car in the garage. You should too."
Then, the original poster will tell the guy that his truck doesn't fit into the small garage.
To which the helpful soul replies, "Then you shouldn't have it. HOA states..."

3. Someone posts a pick from their doorbell app that shows a perpetrator stealing their packages.
Helpful soul: You shouldn't post someone's picture here publicly. Maybe they were taking the package to the right address.

4. Someone posts a picture of some sketchy dude ringing their doorbell and checking to see if the front door is unlocked.
Helpful soul: He probably just had the wrong address. I don't agree with you posting this.

The truth is, many people aren't neighborly and you can't expect an app to fix that. The wider you cast this net, the more jerks you're bound to pull in and that's what I've found NextDoor does.

I also find the app misogynistic because if a woman asks a DIY question, a man acts like she should know better and essentially calls her stupid. This has happened to me more than once and it really hurts my soul because what happened to chivalry? In my opinion, a man who will be so aggressive to a woman on an app has extreme personality issues. Mostly, it makes me grateful I'm not married to the guy and glad I can go to YouTube before I ever ask another question.

But I think it's an app I don't need in my life. The world is angry enough.


Preorder #RoomAtTheTop Today! https://amzn.to/2AYmYDR

My new book is finally available for preorder. It will be released on June 26, 2020. Here's the blurb for all you patient folk!

From the author of What a Girl Wants comes a funny and romantic new series that celebrates family and sisterhood, even when the relationship seems impossible.

Sophia Campelli likes the structure of her predictable life in a rundown Victorian house in the San Francisco neighborhood of North Beach. She’s always told herself her father can keep his wealth and his acknowledgement of her and her twin sister. She’s surrounded by her noisy but lovable Italian family, and that’s all she needs.

When she and Gia receive the news their fraternal grandfather has left them something in his will, they meet their three half-sisters for the first time—and receive the astounding news of a massive inheritance. But Sophia can’t celebrate yet, not when she and her sisters hear the conditions attached to the money. The “real” daughters loathe Sophia and Gia on sight—and the feeling is mutual. But they have to work together if any of them hope to inherit the obscene amount of money left to them. They must live together and restore the large mansion in Pacific Heights for an entire year. Otherwise the entire estate will go charity.

Gia tries to convince Sophia they have to walk away, but Sophia isn’t so sure. For once, their mother might get a chance to rest instead of working every minute. She could help a lot of families in her job as a social worker too. It’s tempting. And once she catches sight of Joel Edgerton, she can’t resist the temptation to get involved in her unwanted family.

The path to happily-ever-after is fraught with missteps and the treacherous waters of sisterly undercurrents. Can Sophia persevere when everyone seems to be against her, even her own twin?


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Kindle Link for Preorder


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The Paperback version will be coming shortly!
Edit: FYI, this is only on Kindle for now because "going wide" costs a writer money. And I have no money. Because I'm a writer. Whose name is not J.K. Rowling. ; )


I Finished My Book! -- It Takes a Village!

All right, so I know I've finished 40 books before, but this one...this one is special! I've been working on it for over five years, but life kept getting in the way and I didn't have time/energy to finish it. I feel like this book is a group effort because honestly, without my friends urging me from behind and lighting a fire under me, it would have never gotten finished.

Have you ever needed an extra push in life to do what you're supposed to? It's annoying as heck to be that person. I'm sure I annoyed everyone within my stratosphere. But it's done. It's already been through one edit and it's onto the second with a reader. Let me just give you an example of how my friends made this happen.

Colleen Coble read anything I'd send her, bought me a cover and helped me edit.
Cheryl Hodde (Hannah Alexander) wrote with me every single day with timed writing sprints and also read anything I sent her.
Jenny B. Jones wrote with us when little man Sullivan allowed AND offered to format the book.

I could go on and on with offers I've had to simply do what a writer is supposed to do: WRITE! However, sometimes it isn't that easy.

I'm an author who writes intuitively, which means essentially when the world is blowing up, I want to stop and pray. Mostly, for people to act decently and upright. How hard is that, people? Do the right thing! But when they don't, it affects me, and writing humor is more difficult. But I don't want to be a downer, so I immerse myself in things that make me laugh.


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Yvonne Orji has a new HBO standup show and it's hysterical. I don't remember if it's brash in places, but I'm sure as the star of "Insecure" it probably is -- all I know is she made me laugh and I needed that. She's really brilliant, so her comedy is smart and on point -- I didn't know Nigerians were really into education, but the one Nigerian family I knew? Both girls went to Harvard Medical school so whatever is in that water over there? We need to import some and make ourselves some doctors. Maybe that's aiming too high. How about fewer idiots perhaps?

Speaking of which -- 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days. Seriously, what would quarantine be without this show? I don't even want the answer to that question because other people's bad decisions? I'm sorry, but they're entertaining. I mean, let's look at the current season of 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way. Why wouldn't you want to be a sexy Instagram model who loves a pair of booty shorts and a push-up bra and move to Muslim Jordan for a guy? I mean, really, what could possibly go wrong?

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I only have one friend that watches this show and so I'm relegating to Twitter when I watch it. Why? What's wrong, people? How do you not know this is the best entertainment on television? If you've ever been afraid of joining a dating site, this show will terrify you. It will make you love on your dog and count your blessings. The guy above, David, is a single man who lives in Las Vegas and has a lot of money to spend on Ukrainian websites. His anger scares me. Like for real. He once yelled at his friend's wife who was trying to help him and if I was that gal's husband? I'd have clocked him. At the same time, I admire David's fortitude. He loves Lana and he's not listening to the haters.

"90 Day Fiance" is the perfect reminder that none of us are perfect and God bless these people for sharing their boldness as they venture into new worlds most of us only dream of!

After all that rambling. My book is done. "Room at the Top" should be ready within the next week. I'll be sending out a newsletter to my readers, who probably think I'm dead -- but thanks to the work of very good friends, I am not. And I finished a book.


Are you appreciating it all? #LiveLifeNow

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This is a picture of me at my parents' house. My favorite place to be in the summer is in that pool. I have a special floatie that puts my feet and bum in the water, so I can read/tan for a long time. It also has a cup holder. For Starbucks. Or a margarita if I'm really feeling festive.

I can't see my parents because a. I'm in another state and b. my brother is immune-compromised.

And yet, I know at this time, we have to focus on the good things. The world is dark and depressing. The news will suck you under so I've been focusing on my book. Which is done today. It needs a lot of editing, but I hope that it will be done and out so I can be in that pool on July 4th. It's where I belong.

That photo represents everything I don't have. My family, the pool (it's 110 in Phoenix, thank you very much) their dog (she died at Christmas) and espresso without a creepy line and weird rules. I'm so over this virus.

But I'm alive. My family is alive. They're not in a nursing home/hospital where I can't see them even if I was close. The pedicure place is open (so the mani/pedis can be back, thank goodness.) I've had plenty of time to write, but I do have to keep the news turned off because it affects me too much. I can't stand cruelty in the world and it seems like that's all there is right now.

None of these hoarding shenanigans affected me because I'm a hoarder by nature (cleaning products, paper products, makeup, etc.) so that helped me.

What are you appreciating these days?


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Thanks to Christina Greenwalt for this great picture!


#MyBrilliantFriend -- Again

To say I'm obsessed with this show that I randomly started watching on HBO would be an understatement. I love this book and story so much that it is up there with "The Thorn Birds" for me. This week, season 2 wrapped up and I pray that they're filming season 3 -- which is supposed to come out in April of 2021, but who knows with this virus and Italy?

Anyway, the show ended in such an unexpected way that my mouth literally dropped open. I was like, "NOOOOO!" to the television set. Not that I'm above talking to myself while in quarantine. My characters have conversations out loud, what can I say? My dog STILL stares at me like I'm nuts. Who needs a judgmental dog, am I right?"


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As soon as the season ended, I went right to Amazon and bought the third book because I need to know what happens next.


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The author writes under a pseudonym and there is a great mystery in Italy to find out her true identity. How cool would that be? To have people love your book so much they NEED to know who you are? How do you stay quiet when you're on every bestseller list in the world? It just ups her coolness factor in my book.

Once, I had a literary detective (to find the truth author) as a heroine in a book and my agent told me it was boring and weird. Okay, then. I thought it was kind of cool. I heard the same thing about my physicist hero -- and this was before "Big Bang Theory." Physicists are naturally weird and brilliant. They are perfect for my books. I love a nerdy hero.

I also started watching "Outlander" since the book has rated higher on the PBS list than "Pride and Prejudice" -- "As if," as Cher from "Clueless" might say. (Emma.) Anyway, I have tried to get through the books, but I just drop them. They don't interest me. No offense to Ms. Galbadon, it's clear she does not need my approval. So I watched a bit of the show. It's just not for me. The Scottish hottie doesn't appeal to me at all. I want that hot professor husband of hers. I think you're supposed to like them equally.

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I mean, he's in a Fedora!! With swing music playing in the background. How does a dirty castle compare? Maybe it's different in the books so I give you Scot/Outlander fans your due -- I have not read them, but there you have my take. If Frank is a jerk in the books, I get it. I will probably not find out, even the show is too dark for me. And I have Elena Ferrante novels to catch up on at the moment.


#30 Day Song Challenge

As entertainment, my daughter and I are doing the 30-day song challenge on Instagram. It goes something like this. Every day you're supposed to post something according to the challenge.

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Example? What's a song you never get tired of:

Elle's: Troubadour by George Strait
Moi: Come On Get Higher by Matt Nathanson

Then, it's usually followed by Elle's making fun of my music taste. Yesterday's was a song from your preteens. So I said, "Summer Lovin'" from "Grease." To which, my daughter sent me a text merely saying, "You're old."

I mean, who raised this kid?

Anyway, I love what she said about George Strait. She always had a crush on him -- because I mean, well yeah. Who didn't? But she said she has to give that up because on his latest song, he's got the "full grandpa sit" going. Then, she brings up the picture. "Look Mom, I mean, it's a full grandpa sit. Look how deep he is on that bench."



We should all look so good as a Grandpa. And that tequila is over $100 a bottle.

Today's challenge is a song from the 70's, which I feel is too redundant. I already said, "You're the Biggest Part of Me" by Ambrosia for something, and "Back in Black" for playing something loud and then, there's Grease. But I'm glad my daughter knows good music from the 70's. Her song to drive to was "Fortunate Son" by Creedence. Mine was "Circles" by Post Malone. How backward is that?

What are you doing to entertain yourself as this shutdown gets longer?

I'm almost done with my book, Room at the Top, and I hope it have it edited and available by June 1st. Lots of love to you out there!


Life is easier for Christians who grew up that way...

I, however, grew up Catholic. And Catholics are different in that they swear. At least, the ones I knew, did. They were Irish and Italian. I mean, that's a lot of energy to be contained in a small human container so there it is. Today, I was watching Matt Nathanson (one of my favorites) on his live stream. And I wanted to recommend it because he loves music. Music is life. He says he loves music more than people and sadly, I can identify with that. Music makes you feel alive. Sometimes, people, not so much.

Anyway, a long time ago, I saw Matt Nathanson in a really small, intimate venue in San Francisco. (The Swedish American Hall) And my friend canceled on me at the last minute, so I took a new friend from my church. Not remembering that Matt, well Matt likes a cuss word. He's hilarious, but he does love a well-placed F-bomb. Much like my old-school Italian/Irish upbringing, Matt is not one to keep things to himself. So while I'd love to recommend Matt's live stream to the world, I must acknowledge that my upbringing has prepared me for the Matts of the world. Because a cuss word is just an exclamation point to some people. But wow, if I'd never heard that my whole life? This life as a Christian writer would be SOOOO much easier.

I really hate to hear the Lord's Name in vain. That still gets to me, but yeah, the swearing doesn't determine a person's Christianity to me. I've known a few terrible people who never said a curse word. Anyway, here I am with Matt in 2016. I was supposed to be in San Diego with my bestie from high school seeing Adam Ant in May -- but now that's not going to happen. Will we ever get to concerts again?


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I'm still not putting Matt's live stream here because you know, I don't know who grew up Irish/Italian out there. You're probably really nice people. On a happy note, I am on the last scenes of my latest book and this makes me happy. It's taken me longer to write "Room at the Top" than any other book I've written. How y'all doing out there?


Is anyone watching #MyBrilliantFriend?

I feel like I have to decompress after last night's episode. Holy, that was excruciating to watch. Anyone out there watching it? I will just say I'm glad I haven't read the books and now, I don't know if I can stand to.

If you're not watching, the show on HBO is based on the books by Elena Ferrante, an Italian author. It's the story of two friends. One, Lenu, is a bookish, nerdy student who is so smart she's attending school when most Italian girls just got married. The other friend, Lila is supposedly more brilliant, but she is a looker and manipulative as all get-out.

The characterization of these stories is absolutely incredible and I see every archetype I saw growing up in my extended Italian family. Some of it, a lot of it, is not pretty. Anyway, if anyone watched, feel free to comment and tell me what you think about Lenu's decision last night. I'm still reeling!


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#RoomAtTheTop cover reveal coming soon! #Novel #ChickLit #WomensFiction

I have six beautiful choices for my new cover. Colleen Coble hooked me up with my old cover designer from Harper Collins Christian, so I'm pretty stoked.

As excited as one can be when confined to the house without espresso. I'm an introvert and I like being home, but I have to say, this just sucks. I hate the world being closed. It's creepy and dystopian, which only makes me want to write happy stories. My friend told me she was reading a dystopian novel and had to put it down. Ya think?

We need to keep our spirits up so we can stay strong and help those who need it. Silicon Valley is a mess with this virus so it's hard to be here and hear about what's happening there. I hate what tech did to my home, I really do. Everything became about who was the richest, who had the most elite Tesla and whose mansion had more pools, bowling alleys, etc. What a waste of life. I hope this virus shows us all that money is not what matters. Being unable to gather with family members, unable to attend church or go out to dinner with friends...that's what matters: Connection.

My daughter is here with me, and I'm grateful for her company, but we really want to go explore and we're just stuck. We did get some plants at Wal-Mart and she planted in the back before the lockdown started. What are you doing to keep busy?

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As a little ray of hope, the cactus blossomed today.


Emma's star: Miranda Hart

Okay, it's no secret that I'm not an Emma fan. This version even less so than normal. In the book, I find Emma less than brilliant. Essentially, she's not winning any Nobel Prizes for physics. But in this version, she comes off as a queen bee mean girl who is smart enough to know better. Austen knew what she was doing by making Emma more "Lydia" than "Elizabeth." I feel as if this version did not get that and so it's very hard to root for the "You can't sit with us!" character in finding love.

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I don't know who the actress was that played her, but Miranda Hart, who plays Miss Bates really redeemed the movie for me. I do love that we get new versions of Austen for each generation -- and granted, I am not of this generation or even the marketing target of 18 to 49-year-olds, and while the costumes and scenery were gorgeous, I didn't care enough about any of the characters to stay focused.


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I'm harder on the Austen adaptations, but the cast was pretty wonderful, so I think it was the script. Anyone see it?