What Did You Do?


I read an article which stated, there’s no need to feel you have to be productive at this time.

WHAT? Then wtf are we going to do?

I heartily disagree. I think during this time we need to set goals. We need to focus on something to keep us sane!

When this is over, I want to have something to show for it.

When this is over, in another month? another two months? giving us a total of 3 months or more alone in our homes, do we walk out with nothing to show but our muffin tops the size of three tiered wedding cakes?

I’m not telling you not to feel stress. I’m not telling you not to stress eat. I am saying – set a goal and focus on something positive while we’re doing the best we can to survive the pandemic.

This is hard. I get it. We’re scared. If you want to stuff your face full of maple bacon donuts, I’m totally with you. If you have a bad day and want to curl yourself into a ball under your flannel sheets and cuddle your cat – that was my Saturday. I’m not superwoman. I’m not asking you to do anything I’m not doing myself.

When someone asks me, what did you do during the pandemic? I want to say I accomplished something.

I’m setting goals.insi

I’m in the process of another draft – hopefully the final – of my novel. I want to finish that.

I have two fully drafted novellas that need work – those are next.

I signed up to take two classes. I may take more.

I painted my patio. No shit. It’s nearly finished.

I’m going to have a hell of a lot of rooted clippings – plant speak.

My yard will look amazing – well, for a week or so after the pandemic ends, then the weeds will be back.

I’ve written two new poems. I think I’ll start reading poetry live.

I have a live online reading scheduled for April 24th, if you’re interested.

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m planning on offering a free writing class to whoever wants to share some writing. I may recruit other writers to offer their opinions. I think we should workshop too.

So – speaking from the future – what did you do during the pandemic?




to those who are serving,

police, fire, grocery clerks, doctors, nurses, volunteers.

You are my HEROES!


Successful Writing

Okay, so not bragging, but….. I’ve been hard at work….

voices of eve

The Healer’s Daughter in The Ear

The Healer’s Daughter is a departure for me. It marks a turns in my writing that came about just this year. It’s more mystical. Risky, maybe. A woman’s daughter describes her mother’s gift and discovers she has her very own gift, but will she actually use it?

The Healer’s Daughter will be featured in my summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. It’s a book of short stories, all of which have a special or surprising twist.


voices of eve.png

Friends, Lovers, and Liars in Home Renovation

Originally titled Deception, it didn’t find a home. In fact, the topic of lies and cheating offended one editor. I think it may have hit too close to home.  It, too, will be released in the summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.




voices of eve

How to Throw a Psychic Surprise Party in The Electric Press Magazine

The title story for the book of short stories. Inspired by a show in which I saw a television host throw a “surprise” party for a psychic. It struck me – How do you throw a psychic a surprise party?

This story may answer that question. Maybe not. How much empathy can you muster?



voices of eve

Hunger and other poems as well as some photography in Voices of Eve


Not in the book of short stories. But well worth the read. Hunger is one of my favorite poems.



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Also in the book of short stories –

The Crier: In a time when emotions are unheard of, people need a release.

The Mirror People: Ever wondered what’s inside the mirror? You know there’s something, right? Here’s a woman who collects them – she knows.

Bowie and the Basket Case: Anna’s things keep disappearing and reappearing. At first she thinks she’s misplaced them, but then she’s sure she hasn’t!

How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party is available for Pre-order!



What makes good literature?

An extremely good conversation in my literature class about intelligence (Inspired by Ted Chiang’s The Great Silence). We talked about other species that fall under the definition of intelligence, which is “the ability to understand and apply knowledge.” parrot.jpgConsidering Alex the Parrot and Koko the Gorilla, and other species: crows are problem solvers and remember faces. We discussed dogs, cats, and others. Is love, as an abstract idea, understood and applied by animals? And then – is intelligence found in showing love?

This is what good literature should do. Teach, delight, and create wonder.

Read The Great Silence here

When Editors Go Cray….

beautiful ppl.jpgMany years ago, All The Beautiful People was accepted for publication. But, then, as happens sometimes, I got the dreaded letter (yes, that’s how many years ago it was) in the mail stating that they had accepted too many things and something had to be bumped. The editor apologized and said they’d keep it in their files, but I should feel free to submit it elsewhere.

I did so.

A year later, that story was accepted for publication in another journal.

Even another year later, the original journal – with a new editor – wrote me via email and said they’d decided to use All the Beautiful People in their upcoming edition.

I responded that they were welcome to use the story; however, it had been accepted and was scheduled for publication by another journal. The publications would come out about six to nine months apart.

I never heard from that second journal and believed they had removed the story from their journal and their archives.

Six months later, I received a copy of the beautiful journal and my story within its pages.  YET – they’d billed the story as a memoir – it was fiction – and they’d cut off the last paragraph.

I was a little embarrassed. The girl in the story does things I would never have never girl with elvis facedone. I was concerned what readers might think – that this might serve as some sort of legacy I couldn’t live down.

See – with the last paragraph – it could NEVER EVER EVER be mistaken as memoir. I sent off a quick email to tell them these two things.

The editor dashed off a quick and nasty response – that they had published it as received, adding some choice and unprofessional comments. She made it sound as if I’d sent it directly to her and that she hadn’t pulled it from their archives.

I responded with the history of the piece, date sent, date accepted, and by whom, date and reason it was taken out, and by whom, etc.

I received another quick and dirty response. I wish I would have kept that email – misspelled words, inappropriate language, and completely and utterly unprofessional. I decided to look this person up. I then forwarded her emails to her employer.

She had found All The Beautiful People in the other publication – the one which was attributed correctly and published fully – and accused me, in her fancy slang, of lying, cheating the system, and whatever else she felt necessary. Another email I forwarded to those who were really in charge of the journal.

I again responded – with the forward – the series of events that had transpired offering all the original letters, archived in my own files, and the emails, which I had still in my saved box.

Route-66-Texas-Midpoint.jpgI didn’t hear from any of them again. But they did put a tiny little line in an inconspicuous place on their website that the story was mislabeled as memoir and should read fiction.

Now, it could have easily been a little mistake to publish it as memoir; however, again, the last paragraph would have told ANY reader that was wrong. Therefore, the missing last paragraph and the misattribution made me wonder. Still, this problem could have been easily, politely, and professionally handled.

I was shocked to learn that the editor who had acted so poorly was a lecturer at a University and had a book or two to her own credit. I do not believe she continued as the editor after that, but I didn’t bother to check.

I learned two valuable lessons from this experience – KEEP EVERYTHING! and always act like a professional.

Random facts stalkers don’t know…


I grew up in a tough neighborhood. (don’t stereotype me)

I was in a band. (for about 5 minutes)

I was in a few movies. (another 5 minutes)

I wrote my first “novel”at the age of 11. (an angst ridden piece about a girl who is kidnapped because she witnessed a crime)

I was actually kidnapped. (not at 11/that story is waiting for publication)

I always have wanted to own a Munster-like house.

I’ve gotten lost in every major city I’ve ever been (including abroad. Trust me when I say every country/every city has neighborhoods you don’t want to be lost in at dusk)

I keep a lot of random facts as well as insignificant details in my brain. (jokes don’t stick tho)

now the stalkers know – don’t be a stalker….

All the Beautiful People

~Fiction ~

When my sister turned 18, she took the 2500 dollars for college and remade her face to look like Elvis Presley. It wasn’t because she wasn’t beautiful. She was. It was the fad. After Elvis died, men and women mourned their hero and, as a tribute, remade their faces. Years later, she remembered it and thought it was beautiful. Then, she took her new face and left home.

She made her way across the country, looking for cities, people, parties, places, and experiences that were anything but home. She ended up in Haight-Ashbury. In the 70’s, a hippie, new age, fashionable place to be. But not anymore. Not a place frozen in a time none of us were old enough to remember; it’d become a collection of lost souls, hippie wannabes, homeless, teenage runaways–all younger than her. She made her way south, looking for something more, or something less, or something different still.

Our home washed away in the floods that overtook our trailer park. My parents bought a newer trailer home and parked it in the exact same spot because they believed lightening  never struck twice. It did. When another flood hit the same spot just a month or so later, it cleared out the neighbors and insisted we buy a new floor, door, location.

My mother’s dog limped; it couldn’t crawl the stairs to get outside and so had lots of accidents, which infuriated my father to no end. That little grayish-white mongrel was too young to be put to sleep, too old to go up two steps, and too loved to be left outside. It became the cause of much contention in our little home.

My high school boyfriend thought the world an amazing place and wanted to explore it. He left before he graduated and after we made love, seventeen and one half years old, and he never came back for me. He became a missionary and moved to Guatemala or some other such place where no one, not even his parents, was sure what happened to him.
I had another month or so to go and a promise of 1800 dollars if I agreed to Antelope Beauty College, smaller than our high school, classrooms smaller than our trailer. Don’t be fooled, there is no beauty here.

That small trailer was getting smaller. Literally, the walls were moving in, the floors shriveling, the area around us getting larger. I thought it might be the consistent rain shrinking the faux wood. Or maybe it was the arguing, vibrating the walls out and then in, in, and in. Maybe it was the smell from the little dog causing the world to warp. I tried to tell them, to show them, but they didn’t believe me.

I graduated; my parents didn’t want me to do anything foolish like remake my face or get piercings and tattoos, so they said they’d go with me to Antelope College and pay the tuition.

I left home and they kept their money and their long festering grudge against my sister and her face, their arguments about that dog, and their little trailer whose walls were slowly moving in.

I met a guy the last week of school; he was visiting or passing through or something of the sort. I dreamed of something beautiful, someplace bigger, someone else’s life, but not someone else’s face. He drove a 68 Dodge Ram and promised to take me away to California. He said we could follow the old route 66 the whole way. On the way to California, he got weird, wanted us to get married in Vegas, wanted us to get jobs at the Pup-n-Taco or some such nonsense. I told him if I wanted to live my parents’ life, I would’ve stayed at home.

I told him I was pregnant and he hugged me so hard he almost drove into the ocean. It took me a few tries to explain that I was more than two weeks pregnant. It took him a few moments to capture in his brain the pictures I was sending, but finally he did. He slowed to a pause on Pacific Coast Highway, north of Zuma beach, and pushed the door open, told me this was my stop. He didn’t even give me my bag.

I’m walking south on PCH. The sky is blue, the ocean is blue, and I’m telling myself this story.

There’s a woman, long added braids and skin the color of the midnight sky. She’s wearing a lime green dress, shoes to match. She’s reading a book by Betty White and holding a little rat-lap-dog. She’s beautiful.

I walk into Starbucks, across from Zuma, and call my sister collect. Somehow, I know, she knew it’d be me, but she doesn’t say so. I tell her where I am and she says she has to get her kids from school, that I should have a seat or, better yet, go look at the blue ocean water but not to step into it.

I have twenty dollars with which I buy a cup of tea and the young boy, almost man, almost manager, hands me eighteen dollars and five cents. (I wish abortions cost less than eighteen dollars.) He smiles as if he knows my secrets or some other secrets and tells me to have a nice day. The pimples on his face could make constellations that brighten a darkened sky. And the silver from his braces could be the milky-way. He’s beautiful and doesn’t know it.

I sit and wait, watching the people. I’m afraid of the ocean. I’m afraid of the water, I’m afraid of the people who go into the water, no matter how beautiful they might be.

Two old men smile at me. They play a game of chess. As their arms move, their skin shakes loose, then shimmies as if grasping, trying desperately to hold on to its own. They both have translucent hair; I wonder if they’re brothers. I wonder if my sister and I will ever be that old. If our skin will ever be that loose. If we will ever be friends. The men are so beautiful it makes me want to cry.

My sister is older now. A streak of gray starts at her forehead and works its way down the side of her face. Her Elvis face has wrinkles, lines around the eyes that even if he’d lived would never have.

My sister’s husband is a nice man, the kind of nice that is hard to believe really exists. He forgave her the past he knew and never asked about the past he didn’t. He gave her a big house, two children, and a big car to drive around the city. He’s tall, her age, no grays in his hair, but strays in his beard when he lets it grow. He’s quite beautiful and although my sister, after 8 years of marriage, doesn’t see it anymore, I do.

A vacant look has taken up residence in her pallid Elvis eyes. Her children are three and five, and even when she hugs them her eyes do not.

I never asked my sister if she was sorry she remade her face. It seems I’ve always known her as this, the streak of gray, the woman’s wrinkles on an Elvis face, and her saccharine little children holding her so tight they are squeezing the life out of her.

It’s my birthday. It’s my perpetual birthday, and I’m walking south on PCH. I’m blue and I’m telling myself this story.

There are two young girls with short shorts and string bikini tops bounding like puppies to the boy with pimples. They have long, thick brown hair. They smile wide and almost unbelievably happy grins. The two old men are watching them now; their eyes carry a look that makes churns my stomach, turns my tea bitter. The girls are beautiful, and I wonder what happens to them when they walk out, the door slamming behind them, the men’s eyes following them. I wonder if they will always be happy.

I stay with my sister; she says very little. She doesn’t talk about her life now, or even her life here. She doesn’t ask me any questions. I want to ask her for the money. I want her to ask me why. But it doesn’t happen.

My sister lives in the Valley; it’s a strange and hot place that smolders at mid day and sinks down into the darkness of night. It’s surrounded by mountains and with each earthquake a little more of it disappears. She does things: gets up in the mornings, and goes to bed at night, makes lunches to go, dinners for home, and talks on the phone. She does other things she doesn’t care about: play-dates, meetings, and appointments for this one or that one. She doesn’t go out much and she cries herself to sleep sometimes. I can hear her from the couch, from her daughter’s bedroom when I sleep in there, from the dimly lit hall when I stand in the muted light of the wall sconces outside of the bedroom. I wonder why no one else notices.

She says she wants to paint the walls; she thinks they are dingy and it’s making them look small. She doesn’t want to hear my thoughts about shrinking wood or expanding middles.
I’m walking south on PCH on my birthday. The world is a blue place; it’s a beautiful place and I wonder if it’s the same in Guatemala and if he ever thinks of me. I think of the boy with the 68 Dodge Ram on Route 66 and I wonder if he drove into the ocean. I wonder if he ever knew he wasn’t on the 66, but on the 1, or the 101, or both. I hope he drove into the ocean.

I can see the ocean from where I stand, far away from the sand. I watch the people. A fat woman in a bikini that is almost hidden by her own overlapping flesh; She knows she’s beautiful.

There are boys, lots of boys with long boards and they wait near the shore until the ocean waves at them just right. They are smart boys; boys who don’t go to school, but know how to read the water, the world, the women, the beauty surrounding them. It hurts.

To be a part and to be apart.

My sister’s husband has a nice way with me. He offers me money and rides to anywhere I want to go for the day, or for a time. I usually choose here. I want to tell him too; I want him to ask. I want to hold him and hug him and let him make everything else go away. He’s so beautiful, it hurts to hold him.

My sister has taken up the habit of looking at me in strange ways with her ghostly Elvis eyes. I think she’s guessed my secret, the secret that won’t stay hidden much longer. I want to tell her about all the boys, but all I tell her about is the beach and all the beautiful people. She laughs.

She has the walls painted, but is certain the painters didn’t do a good job. The walls still look dismal, and I am beginning to see what she sees there. I try to tell her it happens in all houses, in all places, that it happened to the trailer, the school, the town, the truck, but she won’t hear of it.

Guatemala must be a wide and lingering place. I think about going there sometime. Maybe they don’t have things that close in. Maybe it is surrounded by a beach, like this one; the beach doesn’t close in. It expands. It keeps going. On and on.

The people on the beach are beautiful and the sand isn’t as smooth as it looks to be. A man with a beach ball belly goes from cooler to cooler, making the begger, looking for beer; he’s a cop and even if others haven’t figured him out, I have. . The round, smooth, and tan belly is what the sand should be, and it’s quite beautiful to look at when he stands very still.

My sister asks me what happened to my college money and I tell her; I don’t tell her the cause was her lovely Elvis face, but I do reach out to touch it. At first she lets me, then she pulls away realizing it is not her I’m touching but that face. She’s so beautiful it hurts to see her cry, hear her cry, to cry for her, for me.

She doesn’t like the beach, so I don’t know why she lives here in California. She won’t take her children to the beach, so I don’t know why she drives them down here to pick me up or drop me off and listen to them say please, mom, please. She tells them there are things out there. It seems like she’s talking about secrets, but the only secret is a precious and beautiful life that is just out of our reach. Maybe it’s out there, somewhere, in the ocean, that precious and beautiful life just out of our reach.

I’m walking south on PCH, just North of Zuma. Starbucks is across the street. I see the girl in lime and the men in escaping skin and the sand is warm and lovely and the people are all so beautiful.

It’s my birthday. Always my birthday. The ocean is blue. The sky is blue. I am blue. I’m telling myself this story.

I’m waiting for my sister, waving to my sister, wading to my sister. Her ghostly Elvis eyes can’t see me down here away from all the beautiful people.


*Originally published in The Avatar Review. Also published in Natural Bridge Literary Journal