Monday, December 23, 2013

I’m a Real Girl (And it sometimes hurts)

This blog is going to be different than any I’ve done in the past. First of all, I feel I need to explain something to my readers, but mostly it’s a journey of self-discovery. If you’ve been following my work, you already know that my latest book has had a couple of delays. I’m about to lay my soul bare for you and tell you why, something I’ve never done because I was taught not to show emotional weakness to outsiders and that’s a very, very hard habit to break.

I went into a depression. There, I said it – Well, I typed it, but that’s the same thing when you’re a writer. This is something other family and friends have gone through and I would just think to myself, “Well, snap out of it. Take control of the situation and fix what you don’t like. Stop wallowing.” I told myself this very same thing, over and over with little result. It has taken me a year to get through it and out the other side. What caused it, you might ask? Well, I originally felt it was a very stupid reason and I shouldn’t be having an emotional meltdown, including bouts of crying and not being able to work, over something so inane. But, like it or not, I was grieving. Hard.

The shocker for me was that this started not over a person but a place. I was grieving over a house. Sounds silly, right? Exactly what I told myself. “Snap out of it. Sheesh, it’s just a house. Holy crap, why are you so emotional over a damn building?” As I tried to ignore these feelings and go on with life as usual, the nightmares started up again. Nightmares that I thought years-ago therapy had taken care of, but the situation dredged up all kinds of childhood traumas I had tried very hard to push aside. I had acknowledged them in therapy. I acknowledged them, the nightmares went away and all’s right in my world. There, I was done. Right? Not exactly.

Last year we sold our Phoenix home, the one we built from the ground up, the one we left our family and friends in California for, where I designed the swimming pool, the one that backed to an expansive desert and mountain scenery, complete with hiking trails that refreshed my spirit each day I walked them in solitude. My desert “dream” home. That was gone. All of it. I missed the beach and California lifestyle, as did hubby, so we moved back home to Los Angeles, something we’d been planning since before the real estate fiasco and the burst housing bubble. The move home got to me much more than I ever anticipated.

I tried to keep up my fa├žade of rolling with the punches, of being just fine with everything. To outsiders, anyway. I knew that whatever bad stuff we were going through would end and we’d come out better for it and in a better place, but getting there was tougher than I expected. Much tougher this time. The crying spells got worse and again I berated myself because I was crying over stuff. Silly stuff that I agreed to sell in order to get back to the beach, which cleanses my soul even more than the desert.

But try telling that to a grieving brain and heart when your “dream” home now belongs to another family and you’re in the middle of a noise nightmare which dredges up more pain than you ever expected. And we would just sell this one and buy another one, so what’s the big deal? This emotional loss represented itself worse than my occasional Meniere’s Disease attacks. Worse even than my past grief over lost family members. Surprised right? I know I was downright flabbergasted. It’s – just – a – house. My husband, ever the supporting spouse, told me that if I needed to talk to someone, we would set it up and he would be there for me, no matter what. Maybe, but I wanted to try and deal with it myself. I promised him that if I started having dangerous feelings, we would make that appointment. I could do this. It’s just a damn house.

But it really was more than that, as I’m sure you’ve already suspected. It was loss. After several years of losing people who meant something to me and trying my best to be the stoic one, keeping my emotions as private as I possibly could, even hiding them from myself most of the time, the grief exploded. And it was messy. I would have good days here and there, but the bad ones outnumbered the good for the first time in my life. For the first time in my life, I was dealing with depression. Me? Depression? No way! Yep. Not the occasional down in the dumps day or a blues week. This was month after month of ups and downs, like a hormonal Nightmare on Elm Street.

My work suffered terribly for the first time in my life and I didn’t want to admit it. I just kept writing, though most of it was unusable in the book. As my deadline loomed and I could no longer hide it, I finally notified my publishing house to let them know the true problem, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Until writing this. My publisher didn’t drop me, as I had feared, and we decided to delay the book release. And then again when the next deadline loomed and I was still in what I call the Well of Lost Souls, we delayed it again. My readers had no idea what was really going on. I didn’t tell anyone, outside my husband, how I felt. Then a family friend made a comment to my husband that made me take a very uncomfortable look at myself.

“I stopped reading her Facebook posts because they’re so negative all the time.”

What? Me, negative? No way in hell. If I feel negative, I don’t put that on my social pages. Sure, I complained about noise. Don’t I have a right to complain about bad neighbors? Traffic? Ill-mannered people? Anger and denial – The first stages of, well, pretty much everything when it has to do with me not living up to my own standards. Perfection is an impossible image to keep up and a tough childhood habit to break. I’m a trained actress. I know how to play a part and play it well, convince even myself that I’m really that person for the duration of the production. Do this in life and you get smacked upside the head as you’re taking your bow.

This is exactly what happened. Realization hit me like a cartoon anvil, square in the head. Oh, hell, I’m a real girl. Damnit! I’m a real girl. There I said it. I have real problems and real emotions and I went through a dark period. The losses I had endured over the years and tried to explain away as just “circle of life” stuff, so I could get on with my life and pretend they didn’t affect me that much, had caught up with me. That house was just that last straw on the camel’s back. The sanctuary, the place I went to forget about life’s traumas, the place I had created as a sanctuary from the world, and sometimes my own troubles and emotions, was gone. And I broke. I bled out emotionally. I needed to acknowledge that so I could sew up the gashing wound and let it mend. It took me over a year to get to this point but I made it through.

I will have scars, like any human, but these wounds are now healing. This is still very strange for me to write. I usually put all my emotional stuff in my books and let characters deal with it, probably one of the reasons I avoid writing non-fiction. Sure, I still get sad now and then when I think of my other home but I’m not breaking down. I’m not emotionally crippled – I now really understand that terminology. I’m back to work, writing my latest novel and enjoying it again. I can look at photos of my former life and not weep and weep like an abandoned baby missing its mother. I apologize to my readers for not finishing my latest book on time, but I’m not going to apologize for my feelings and what they did to me. Not this time. I’m imperfect and I’m letting the world see that. I won’t be ashamed of it anymore.

One thing you’ll learn about me, if you don’t already know it, is that I finish what I start and I do what I say I’m going to do. So, while this latest detour was a painful and eye-opening one, and it may not be my last because I plan to live long enough to complain about aching bones and failing eyesight, I found the main road and am flying down that highway of life again.

My latest book won’t be available until 2014 but now you know the truth behind the delays. I’m human. I’m flawed. I have negative emotions. I went into a depression. Wow, kind of hurts to type that but there it is. I’m a real girl.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Too many Dana Davis authors now

Problem with having an oh-so-common name is that people on Goodreads keep attaching other writers' books to my profile. I have to be diligent and detach them as soon as I catch the mistake. When I first began getting published, I didn't come across any other book authors with my name. I mainly had to compete in search engines with the actress and later the shoe designer. Since we're not in the same industry, this wasn't too big of a problem. In fact, I got extra website and social media hits from fans Googling the more famous incarnations. These days, it seems there are several authors who share my name and readers are getting confused. 

A good rule of thumb for my readers - If it's not on my website, I didn't write it. =)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New releases in paperback!

I can't tell you how many times people have asked me when they can get paperback versions of all of my work. Well, now you can! :) 

My publisher has begun putting my eBooks into print. All four of the Desert Magick books are now available from Amazon. Deadly Fate: Book One of the Teadai Prophecies fantasy trilogy was also just released. The remainder of the Teadai trilogy and my tween/teen books will come to paperback in 2013. I'm so excited about this news!

To see the list of available books on Amazon, please visit

If you want to read more about the books or watch video trailers, please visit my website. I also have links available if you decide to purchase.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I'm writing about ghosts, witches and mediums today. =D

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Clarification on my books/eBooks

Just to clear up any confusion about my books. The first two paperbacks I ever published were Indie books (The Mask of Tamirella and Desert Magick: Superstitions). These books won awards, which helped me land a contract with my current, traditional publisher. So all of my other books/eBooks do not fall into the Indie category. Hope that helps. =D

Monday, October 14, 2013

Teadai Prophecies is coming to paperback!

I'm working hard to get the Desert Magick series finished. Meanwhile, my publisher is getting the books into paperback right now. 1 & 2 are available and book 3 will be out this month.

In addition to that good news, the Teadai Prophecies fantasy trilogy is also coming to paperback. Yea! Book one is scheduled for release by the end of the year so please stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm a PI without a team.

Sadly, the paranormal investigation team I was with is no more. After long consideration, our director decided to dissolve the team due to chronic illness. She's a wonderful lady and plans to continue teaching those new to the subject. She plans to participate in investigations whenever her health allows, but heading a team had become too much for her. I truly hope her health improves because I know how much she loves being in the field.

Working that many hours together creates a family-like atmosphere, and we were fortunate to have members who got along and worked so well together. Our last investigation together was a while ago, and several members have joined up with other teams, but whenever we're in the same town we plan to get out in the field together. Besides, with social media, we're only a click away from each other these days.

That said, I'm now a PI without a team, so I plan to do some freelance investigations as soon as my uber-busy schedule allows. It's been well over a year since I participated in an investigation and I'm anxious to get back in the field. And who knows, I might even find a new team that's a perfect fit for me. Or maybe I'll decide to start my own team at some point in the future. Either way, I sense that a new chapter in my life is about to begin, and it's going to be fabulous!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I name houses the way some women name old boyfriends

Hubby and I are celebrating our first year in the new house anniversary this month. Yes, it’s been a year since we moved from Arizona back to Los Angeles. Unlike our desert home, there’s no nature or natural landscape until you get to the beach, so we pass a lot of houses when we walk. Also, unlike our desert home, which was in a new HOA neighborhood and looked like every third house on the street, the homes here are as different and individual as their owners. One of the reasons I’m happy to be back home in SoCal.

I tend to name houses the way some women name old boyfriends. Below are ten of the more outstanding homes in our ‘hood that I’ve named because of their appearances - And yes, they look just like they sound. Even hubby knows which house I’m talking about just by the name I’ve given it. I just love him.

We have:

  1. Fire station house
  2. Library house
  3. I miss Tuscany house
  4. I miss England house
  5. I miss Japan house
  6. Grass is supposed to be green? house
  7. Look at those sprinklers go! house
  8. All we need is a moat house
  9. Agoraphobia house
And one of my favorites
  1. Bodies buried in the yard house (This one just might turn up in one of my novels)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Spiders, spiders, everywhere!

Hubby found two brown widow spiders last night, so I decided to go on a spider hunt this morning. Found and killed 6 of the nasty critters hiding under our lawn chairs! I'm sympathetic to living creatures unless they're poisonous. Also killed some of their "land mine" egg sacks on the fence. I then sprayed the house and yard perimeter with poison, which I absolutely hate using but I hate poisonous spiders even more. Now I just need to get some natural stuff for inside the house to keep them out. I've been reading that lemon and peppermint oils work great as a deterrent. 14 years in the desert and never saw one widow. Back home to SoCal coast for 1 year, and wham! Spiders, spiders, everywhere!

Here's one of the nasty critters.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bad 70s DIY bath needs makeover

When we moved back home to expensive Los Angeles from much cheaper Phoenix, we had to downsize. A lot. Even had to settle for a bad 70s DIY bathroom. The sink and tub are peeling, grout is crumbling, and the old vanity is smelly and falling apart. We've been socking away money since we bought the house a year ago and might have enough to start the remodel in a couple of months. I can't wait! Of course, that means going to a relative's house to shower, so I hope it doesn't take too long. 

I would love a version of this bathroom (see link below) but would paint the walls white so the blue tile pops.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Raccoons, Gophers and Skunks, Oh My!

Mr. Stinky

When we moved back to the LA coast from Arizona, we thought we left all the wild critters in the desert. Not so much. Before we ever moved into our new "this old house" here in SoCal, we had raccoons casing the joint. They eventually left once we moved in and started cleaning up the backyard and eliminating any hiding places. Then came the gophers. Boy, what a nuisance! Took us almost 6 months to finally get rid of the last one and we still have to put out castor oil pellets as a deterrent.

Just when we thought we could finally have a critter-free home, in came Mr. Stinky, aka determined skunk. He burrowed beneath the crawl space screen that was protecting (not so much, right?) the opening  and made a nice little home beneath ours. Faint scent of skunk would find us in the yard. We didn't pay that much attention to it at first because skunks are so common here and are always getting hit by cars or spraying neighborhood dogs. Then we saw it. Yikes! Evicting his stinky butt took three nights of diligent watch and resealing the crawl space opening until he finally couldn't get through the barrier.

We breathed a sigh of relief that he was finally gone. Then someone mentioned he might be a she and there might be babies under the house. Aaaahhhhh! So, now I have to talk my husband out of going under the house himself to check. What is it with guys? Okay, forget what hubby wants. Animal control says to hire a licensed trapper so I'm going to call them. Here's hoping there are no more members of the Stinky family under the house. Sheesh! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

This beach bum is loving the LA summer!

Most of you probably read about the big move we did last year, coming back home to LA from Phoenix. It was very stressful, but this week we've been home an entire year. I can't believe it's been that long already. We finally got all the repairs to our "this old house" finished. The only thing left now is the bathroom reno, which will wait until spring when hubby gets his bonus. What, you thought authors made a butt-load of money? That's a good one!  ;)

While I love being home, having the beach nearby, and visiting with family and friends anytime we decide to get together, I miss certain things about the desert. I miss the open desert, the saguaro, and the trails we had near our home there. I miss the mountains.  I miss the monsoon storms and the wildlife. Well, some of it. I don't miss scorpions or rattlesnakes. Phoenix is way less crowded than LA, that's for sure, and traffic is always heavier here. And here in LA, we stand in line for just about everything. But there's one thing I don't miss about Phoenix. At all. The blistering summers.

Summer desert days can reach close to 120 degrees. Here at the coast, a hot day is one that gets in the mid 80s. And we usually stay in the mid 70s during the summer months. So, while my friends are sweltering in Arizona, ducking from the car to the house or grocery store or swimming pool to try and stay out of the heat, we have our windows open and a cool, ocean breeze. We don't even have air conditioning here. Shocked? Well, don't be. It's just how we beach bums roll.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Phoenix Lights on sale and free newsletter available!

Two things for this week.

Desert Magick: Phoenix Lights (Bk 3) eBook is on sale for just $1.98 at SynergEbooks! Limited time only!

My July 2013 newsletter is now available

Monday, June 17, 2013

Desert Magick: Dream Catcher coming soon in paperback!

In case you missed one of my earlier posts, my publisher is putting my eBooks into print. I just received my advanced paperback copy of Desert Magick: Dream Catcher (Bk 2). It will be available for purchase very soon, so please stay tuned for the new release! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Showbiz Heartbreak

A recent online post reminded me of an audition fiasco I had back in the 1980s, with Lynn Dally and the Jazz Tap Ensemble, a prestigious LA dance company. My tap instructor, Louis DaPron, who was already in his 70s by then, set up a private audition for me. I was so excited. All I had to do was show up at the Debbie Reynolds Studio in North Hollywood at the appointed day and time. Having begun performing as a child, I was a veteran when it came to auditions, but this was different. This was a man who had taught Donald O'Conner, Judy Garland and numerous Hollywood legends, a man who, though he chewed me out just about every class for not picking up the steps fast enough, said I had talent. He believed in me and I wanted to prove I was good enough to make it.

Audition day came and I was more nervous than any other time. During my drive there, I started to feel nauseous. So much, in fact, that I had to pull over on the freeway and puke. Twice! I managed to pull next to a blue call box so it would look like I was going to use the emergency phone LA county provided every mile. This was the 80s and we didn't have cell phones like we do today. Luckily, I had an old paper bag in my car and there wasn't a CHP around to think I had car trouble. That would make me late! You might be saying to yourself that I was just nervous, and that's what I told myself, though I'd never gotten sick for any audition or performance in my entire life. After emptying my stomach the second time, I got back into traffic and kept going.

I pulled into the parking lot with 1/2 hour to spare, tossed the sick bag into a nearby dumpster, and headed inside to freshen up. I checked in and stretched out in the hallway, the whole time feeling more and more exhausted, but at least I wasn't nauseous anymore. I jumped around to try and up my energy level, then put on my best face for the audition. This was my one and only shot at this job and I refused to blow it. Besides, the show must go on - I had learned that as a child - and nothing short of death was going to deter me. I tried to dance like nothing was wrong, but my balance was a bit off and I had trouble with one of the turns. I smiled as I danced, even though all I wanted to do was go home and fall into bed. I felt like crap, but they were seeing another girl after me and I had to nail this.

After what seemed like a week but was only a couple of hours, I finished the audition and thanked Lynn and the choreographer, whose name I don't remember off-hand. I didn't puke again, thankfully. But by the time I got home, I had to crawl in the front door and all the way to my room, where I passed out on the floor. Yes, I was that ill. I don't remember anything until the next day when I woke up to my roommate shaking me. I'm guessing the other girl got the job, because Lynn never called me back. I was heartbroken to have to tell my teacher that I blew this amazing chance. I confided to him that I was very sick that day but he still seemed disappointed in me. He died about a year later and I always felt that I had let him down.

Today, I'm grateful I didn't get that company job. If I had, I might never have worked on the TV show Rags to Riches or at Disneyland and I might not be a writer now. In fact, I might not be married to my fabulous husband today, because I never would've taken that much-needed job at Waldenbooks, where I met him. Do I wonder what my life would've been like had I nailed that audition? Not anymore. It's funny how things that seem to destroy our world when we're young, sometimes feel so different when we get older.

Me with my tap teacher, Louis DaPron, back in the day. I still miss him.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

eBooks going to print!

Got some exciting news today from my publisher - My eBooks will be going into print! I'm stoked! This means readers who prefer paperbacks over electronic will be able to buy their preferred version. It also means more work for me, since print books require in-person book signings. We're starting with the Desert Magick series. The first book was already in print when I went under contract with SynergEbooks, so book 2 is the one to look for next. I'll blog more about this as things advance and I get publication dates.

If you're on Facebook, you can follow posts from my regular page and/or my author page  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Longing for a normal work week.

Four weeks of appointments and repair guys and I'm beat. Like a lot of writers, I'm an introvert and prefer lots of alone time, especially when I'm writing. Meeting with friends or family is fun and relaxing, but having to go to various appointments and dealing with repair guys in and out of the house every day isn't my idea of a good time. In fact, it's downright exhausting for me, and I'm always glad when I can get back to a regular writing schedule. Just me and my computer, and my characters of course. Who are screaming at me to get their chapters finished.

Like right now, I'm squinting at my computer because the eye doc dilated my eyes. It really annoys me, not to mention makes it very hard to write because everything is blurry and my eyes are light sensitive. They always tell me it'll wear off in a couple of hours but my eyes stay this way for 4-5 hours each time. I'll plug away the best I can until my eyes return to normal, which should be around dinner time, if I'm lucky.  I hate getting behind on a project - The perfectionist in me cringes. So the rest of the week, I intend to write like a mad woman. And maybe, just maybe, I can get back to a normal work week very soon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting back in touch with my thrifting and crafting self.

Now that we've moved back home - for those of you who haven't been paying attention, home is LA - I'm getting back in touch with my thrifting and crafting self. Buying a home here, which costs a butt-load of money compared to Phoenix, helped push me back into the DIY category of life. In fact, it gave me a hardy shove. Thought I'd share a couple of finds and projects I'm working on for the new "this old house".

I found this awesome storage ottoman at a local thrift store for under $11. Has a dragonfly print, which I love, and a mid-century feel to it. Looks great in our family room and I plan to store my crochet yarns inside.

I got this cute little baby at a yard sale for a whopping $5, brand new in the box. One of my favorite colors and even came with a foot pedal and lots of thread spools. Sewing's not my strong point, but for the price, I figured I could afford to practice on it.

I couldn't find a lamp I liked so I'm painting some of our existing ones. This one is from the 90s. I gave it a mid-century beach feel with a coat of paint. I'm not an artist, but armed with a paint brush or a glue gun, I can get into lots of trouble around the house.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crazy year and I'm still playing catch-up.

This past year has been crazy. Since last April, here's what's happened:

1. Trip to Holland and Netherlands - our yearly get-out-of-the-country-and-see-something-new trip
2. Meniere's attack - So much for remission.
3. Sold our house in Arizona
4. Trip to LA to find a temporary apartment
5. Trip to Santa Barbara for friend's wedding
6. Moved back to California
7. I published another book - Guess I figured I didn't have enough stress.
8. Bought a fixer-upper here in SoCal
9. Started working on my next book
10. Started repairs on the fixer
11. Moved again
12. Hubby had hernia surgery - I told him not to lift those boxes.
13. I did chores for two while hubby healed
14. Hubby lost his job - He was supposed to be under contract for a year but a reorg took care of that, which meant we also lost our health insurance. Fun, right?
15. Another Meniere's attack
16. Close family member with medical problems
17. More repairs on the fixer
18. Hubby started a new job - Thank goodness he was only out of work for a month.
19. Started landscaping - Maybe the neighbors will stop giving us dirty looks now.
20. And here I am, one year later, still playing catch-up with my writing.

I really hope the next year is not as hectic. Well, off I go to do more writing!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Being lucky is @#$%&*! hard work!

I've been called lucky so many times recently that it made me think of the saying, "The harder I work, the luckier I get", or something to that effect. And it's very true. I have a wonderful husband, a career I love, and a nice home. I also have a disease that can put me in bed for hours or days and is slowly taking away my hearing. Some days, when I feel really crappy, I just want to sleep, but I force myself to write. I don’t want to waste a moment living my dreams. But dreams come with a price, usually years of hard work.

Over the years, I have worked, planned, saved, given up things, failed, triumphed, and sometimes cried because it didn’t turn out exactly how I planned. I’ve worked for everything I have today. WE worked hard, hubby and I, among setbacks and heartbreaks. It's taken us years to go from struggling 20-somethings, living paycheck to paycheck, to what we have now.

When hubby and I got our first place together, we each owned a twin bed, a dresser, and some clothes. I had a hope chest from when I was a kid that we used as a coffee table, two director’s chairs (the folding kind you see on set), an old B&W television with funky rabbit-ears - we couldn't afford cable. Hubby had his childhood desk and a Commodore 64 that he’d saved up for as a kid delivering newspapers. We had some hand-me-down pots and pans and some cheap plastic dishes I picked up at a discount store. Hubby’s mom gave us an old crock-pot and rice cooker, which we still have and use. We had one car between us. For a while, anyway. I wrote to keep my sanity. And sometimes got a gig writing/adapting children's plays, which usually didn't pay much, if anything.

I had always wanted to go to UCLA or USC film school but I had absolutely no money for school, and with rent, utilities, car insurance, gas, etc…to pay for, I had no time for anything but work. I went through several agents before I finally got one who was right for me. I took whatever work my agent could get me, which sometimes paid the bills and other times not. Cable shows, B films, educational films, or TV productions. For extra cash, I choreographed and taught dance and theatre classes between gigs. I got a reputation as a hard worker, a loyal worker, who showed up on time, didn’t complain about the hours, and didn’t create drama on the set. You’d be surprised what some people will do to try and mug a camera shot.

I eventually got hired as an extra on a popular TV show, for a two week gig. After a couple of days, a permanent position as a stand-in opened up and I let the director know that I wanted it and that I had experience as a stand-in, which was a lie. But I was the right size—I had to stand in for one of the actresses while the crew set up the scenes—and I was available. This was a bold move and one that could’ve gotten me fired. Instead, they gave me the job. Which led to other jobs on the set as photo double and dancer. I was thrilled to finally have a steady income. Five months later, we got canceled and I was laid off again, this time just before the holidays.

This hiring roller coaster is typical of the industry. Yes, you can make decent money when you work, but you'll put in 18-20 hour days, and when that project is over, you might not work for 6 months. So you better save every cent you possibly can. Glamour? Um, nope. Just a lot of hard work, long hours, and scrimping on everything. I was only out of work for 4 weeks, but that’s a huge amount of time when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, and unemployment barely paid the utilities. Because of the holiday season hiatus, I couldn’t get an industry job, so I hit the local malls. I had worked retail in the past, but so close to the holidays, no one was hiring. Still, I put in applications at any businesses that would take one. I pawned my high school class ring, a gold chain I’d gotten as a gift, and a couple pair of silver earrings. The pawn shop didn’t even want the old TV. I called my agent each day and I went to the unemployment office to look through their listings. I wanted a job, any job, so I could pay my bills. I hated being out of work.

At the time, hubby was working and going to night school for his bachelor's degree. The place we were living in seemed like a nice place. At first. It was a tiny back house in a decent neighborhood. Our own house for the cost of an apartment. Sounds good, right? Well, just over the block wall, hiding out of sight - train tracks. Before I moved in, I had been told by the landlady that the train only ran during the day. Since her job kept her traveling a lot, she either didn’t hear the train, or slept through it. That damn whistle went off every hour or so, all night long. We had to move, for our sanity as much as our health. I needed a job!

Finally, I got a phone call from a temp agency I had signed with and they had a receptionist position for me. It didn’t pay much and would only last a few weeks. I hated talking on the phone, so of course I took the job. I couldn’t afford not to. And I took the one after that. Once February got going, jobs picked up a bit. I added two more minimum wage jobs to a temp one and ended up working 7 days a week to try and make up for the time I was off. I was working again and we had enough to move. My agent finally called with a gig. A single day shoot, nothing longer. I didn’t want to lose the regular jobs I had and the money I was making, so I turned that gig down.

Hubby and I found an apartment with no amenities so we could live in a safe, quiet area and still keep to our budget. Unlike some of our friends, we didn’t have parents who could help us out. We were completely on our own. We had accepted a hand-me-down couch with rotten cushions so we didn’t have to sit on director’s chairs anymore. Then I snagged some stained cushions a friend was going to toss, bought a cheap blanket and covered the couch with it.

Our treadmill was the beach strand. Our step machine consisted of the three sets of stairs we had to climb every day to get up to our apartment. Date night, when we actually had a night off together, meant cooking at home and going for a walk in our neighborhood, something we still enjoy doing. You’d be amazed how good ramen noodles taste when you add stuff to them, like veggies and oil. Sometimes, we’d take a picnic to the beach or buy a slice of pizza on the pier. And when we could afford it, or had a coupon, we would go out to a restaurant. I didn’t buy anything that wasn’t on sale and we used coupons for groceries, something we still do. We became coupon aficionados long before it was popularized by a TV show. By this time, I had been in the entertainment field for many years. I decided to leave Hollywood, so I took an honorable withdrawal from the acting union. My agent was disappointed but it was the right decision for me.

After hubby graduated with his bachelor’s, he sent out resumes and landed a job in his new field of engineering. It paid enough that I was able to cut my jobs down to 2, which was a good thing because working 7 days a week meant I was sick a lot, and I needed a break to get well. Little did I know that in the future I would get diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease and all the hell it brings. But that’s jumping ahead. With only 2 jobs, I was able to get back into stage productions. I loved the theatre, especially during the rehearsal periods.

Once hubby got beyond the probation period in his new job, his employer offered to pay for his Master’s degree. We couldn’t turn that down. No way. So off he went to school. Again. I stayed working 2 jobs until he graduated. He promised that when he was done, I could go to school. I was so excited and couldn’t wait for that day to come.

About 3 years later, it finally came. I went to university and got my writing degree. Not a necessity to become a writer, but I always wanted a college education and a degree. I love school! And going to university was always one of my dreams. We paid for it ourselves, which meant attending a state-run school, but I didn’t care. My dreams of going to UCLA or USC were long gone. Yes, I was a bit sad letting go of that part of my life but I didn’t miss the long hours and fickle nature of the industry. My priorities had shifted to my little family and I wanted to spend more time with hubby.

Over the years, we worked a lot of hours, stayed up late or got up early to do homework, survived numerous layoffs, lost family and friends to diseases and accidents, dealt with our own illnesses and surgeries, and spent 14 years living in the desert just to get enough equity to buy a foreclosed home in SoCal.

Fast forward to today. The 10 years I spent sending out manuscripts and getting rejection slips paid off and I’m now an author with 10 published books and others on the way. Our SoCal home needs a lot of work but it’s our dream house, the one we starting saving for all those years ago when we first got married. No, it’s not right on the beach or a mansion in the hills, but it’s ours and it’s in California.

I shifted my goals now and again, sometimes by choice and sometimes by force to get where I am today. I certainly didn't have Meniere's Disease on that to-do list, but one thing I never did was give up on my dreams. And while hubby has more patience than I do, I've learned that it can take years to reach a goal and make a dream come true. Today, we both work full-time in jobs we enjoy. We save up each year for travel, even if it means putting off that home improvement project we want to get started on. We drive our cars until they cost more to fix than to buy new ones. And we take joy in the little things, like a walk along the beach, a picnic, or just gardening in the yard together. We’re not wealthy, but we have a comfortable life now and we’re both happy.

So, if you have a dream, don’t give up on it, but be prepared for some surprises along the way. Be patient. Like a new home, dreams take a while to build. Stay positive. Make goals and keep them realistic. If you’re a middle-aged woman, you’re probably not going to become a supermodel or a world class gymnast. But if you enjoy writing, you can always create her in a book. Either way, be prepared to work for your dream. Work hard. And when you've reached your dream, people will call you lucky, too.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Two updates for my bestselling Teadai Prophecies fantasy series.

1. New release! Readers can buy the entire Teadai Prophecies trilogy for just $5.99 at amazon, a $3 savings!

2. My publisher has also added the individual eBooks to Kobo for just $2.99 each. Same prices are available for Kindle and Nook. Links and info available at

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lost Childhood Memories Found

When I was a young adult, going out into the big bad world as young adults do, I took only what would fit into my little hatchback and left the rest in my parents' garage. This included toys, cassette tapes, records, costumes, and theatrical programs from shows I had been in. These items meant a lot to me but I just didn't have room for them at the time - a tiny, SoCal studio apartment, with a roommate. I managed to rescue some of these items on various visits to my parents' house, but the majority of my stuff was destroyed in a flood a couple years later. When I got the news, I cried. Then I told myself to forget about them, that they were just things. I had a few photos. And I would cherish the items that I did manage to rescue.

Fast forward to the internet age. Several years ago, I was browsing online vintage and resale shops for unusual gifts and decor items, when I came across a toy identical to one that became a victim of that earlier flood. My heart raced, my mouth opened like a guppy wanting food, and I actually squealed. I thought I had put those lost items behind me, but I never realized how many strong memories were attached to them. I showed hubby this awesome toy I used to cherish as a kid. He didn't seem very impressed, but he still has most of his important childhood stuff so he understood my attachment. And guess what he surprised me with the very next holiday? Yeah, it's not actually the one I had as a kid. But it looks like mine so my heart is satisfied. 

I'll never be able to replace the handmade costumes or the mix tapes that flood took from me, but I've got those songs on my MP3 playlist now. And thanks to social networking, I reconnected with a some old theatre buds, who emailed me copies of their programs. The commercial items come up on websites now and again. The only downside is that others are scavenging for their childhood memories, too, which has led to some bidding wars and made the items go up in value. But that's what a wishlist is for, right?

I now own several of those destroyed items, those precious childhood tangibles that I once thought were gone forever. I know the old "you can't take it with you" is true. But I may as well enjoy myself while I'm still here. And I'm having a blast reliving some of my favorite childhood memories. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bid to check on. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Feb 2013 free online newsletter now available

Happy February! I have a lot of projects in the works for 2013, as well as contests and freebies. 

To learn more, check out my February 2013 free online newsletter. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jan 2013 free online newsletter now available

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fabulous time ringing in the new year. I have a lot of projects in the works for 2013, as well as several contests planned. 

My January 2013 free online newsletter is now available. Enjoy!

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