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Learn more about some of my writing inspirations from reading these articles:

A Special Veteran’s Day

Like most of you, I have paid homage to the veterans in our country on this special day. I have also enjoyed the benefits of a day off school or a paid day off work.

But I grew up in a neighborhood where exposure to the military was rare. I had no family members in the armed services. Even my father missed serving in World War II due to blindness in one eye.

It wasn’t until I moved to Oceanside, California, that I started to appreciate the true meaning of Veteran’s Day. I lived two miles from Camp Pendleton, a Marine and Navy base. Many retired service members have made their home in Oceanside. You can’t go to town for a movie or dinner without running into the men and women who serve our country. Not always in uniform, they are easy to spot with their shorn hair. I often saw them frequenting the local ice cream parlor. Many looked too young to be in the military. Indeed, too young to be fighting wars.

I was profoundly moved to meet these men and women. I knew my character, Matthew, in Many a Sudden Change had to be a Marine. I did a tremendous amount of research on the war in Afghanistan. Did you know you can go online and watch actual footage of our men in arms in battle? It is eye-opening. Another fact, twenty-two veterans per day in this country commit suicide.

Palos Verdes is now my home again, and although I don’t see those young men and women on the street as I once did, I can no longer think of Veterans in the abstract. On this Veteran’s Day, I will remember those young boys buying ice cream and their jovial camaraderie with each other and me. And I am also going to remember what they have sacrificed for us, often at the cost of their own lives.

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Today is Grandparents Day, and there are so many reasons to celebrate. The relationship between grandparent and grandchild is like no other.

Unlike my character, Clarice, in Many a Sudden Change, who felt challenged in her relationship with her grandson, I fell enthusiastically into my role as a grandmother. To my five grandchildren, I am known as Grammy.

I delight in spoiling them without guilt or worry. A favorite story of mine is about my oldest and only granddaughter, who is now a young adult. When she was a five-year-old, we were together in the car—she in the back seat, me driving. I gasped when a driver cut us off, almost causing an accident. The incident led to a series of questions, which often happens with a small child. When the conversation disintegrated into the idea that I could have sustained serious injury, she was devastated. “That would be terrible, Grammy!” My heart swelled with the love this child had for me. I beamed from ear to ear, but I was quickly put in my place when she said, “Who would take me to the Disney store?”

Grandchildren keep us laughing; they bring us so much joy.

A fact you may not know: Over 2.4 million grandparents in the US have full-time responsibility for their grandchildren.


I am excited to partner with INDEPENDENCE CENTER to raise funds and awareness for this wonderful non-profit organization that is a transitional residential program for adults with learning differences.

From September 15th through September 30th, all profits from the sale of Many a Sudden Change in ebook and paperback editions sold on Amazon will be donated to the organization. The donations will be matched up to $500.00.

To find out more about this important organization, click the link below.

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Writers often search for new ways to express a character smiling, and often they include the eyes. “Her eyes lit up with a smile” or “His laughing eyes,” or we’ve all seen this, “A twinkle in her eye.”

But how much of our smile is really expressed through our eyes rather than an upturned mouth or a silly grin? I’m finding during these times of Covid-19 and masks, that the eyes are everything.

My discovery started in the supermarket during the early days of the virus, while I politely passed a shopper at the new appropriate distance. I, like many others, felt uncomfortable with the new rules, so without thinking, from behind my face covering, I smiled reassuringly at the woman. To my delight, she responded in kind, her eyes, the only thing visible behind her masked face, lit up in a gesture of silly understanding.

On my rare occasions out in public, I began a mission of smiling. At first, to test my theory of smiling eyes, but gradually my objective evolved into a desire to let people know we’re in this together. A casual smile can go a long way. So, don’t be deceived in thinking that just because we hide our faces behind the mask, people can’t see our joys, and sometimes our loneliness.

Despite these strange times, I find I have a lot of reasons to smile, and I hope you do too. But if you feel down or find yourself with a bout of anxiety, share a smile, you might be amazed at the comfort of a return smile, and you may bring joy to a stranger.

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