The Pollyanna Side of Things on Writer Wednesday

The Pollyanna Side of Things on Writer Wednesday

I am an Optimist.

Photo of Eleanor H. Porter

Eleanor H. Porter
Born: December 19, 1868, Littleton
Died: May 21, 1920, Cambridge

Part of the reason may be that I grew up reading and re-reading the Pollyanna books. Eleanor H. Porter wrote the first Pollyanna, and the sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up. Pollyanna went on to have many adventures as first a young married woman, then a mom as well.  I learned how a girl could have ideals, and grow up still holding those ideals. The Glad Game wasn’t necessarily something I played in my childhood, but I did learn to look on the bright side of life and keep my focus there. For those of you who haven’t read the book, here’s the cover and the blurb:

First Edition cover of Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Published by L.C. Page; first edition cover, 1913

“Once you start looking for the happy things, you don’t think about the bad ones as much.” That’s the joyful way Pollyanna sees the world: no matter what happens, she plays her “Just Be Glad” game and finds the sunny side of any situation. But when she’s orphaned and forced to live with her rigid Aunt Polly, will high-spirited Pollyanna succeed in melting her Aunt’s cold heart?

My Copies Were From the 1940’s.

The first book was originally published in 1913; my copies were thick ones, bound in blue cloth, with lighter blue lettering, first owned by my mother. The thick paper pages are brown and brittle with age, but I had them on a bookshelf in every house I lived in until fifteen years ago, when bookshelf space was at a premium and my husband asked me, gently, to put away my girlhood books. I still yearn for them and at some point, I will get them out and put them back up on the bookshelf where they belong.

The Pollyanna books continued on, with Harriet Lummis Smith writing books three through six.  Elizabeth Borton wrote another five Glad books, as they were called. Pollyanna and her children lived in Mexico, Hollywood, Boston; many of those stories still live inside me. When I think of today’s girls, I think you’d have to get them started early on stories like these; say, around 9, which is when I first delved into the treasure trove of books that my mother had managed to keep from her childhood. The Pollyanna books are sweet, simple, focused on community, helping each other and looking on the bright side. Even as Pollyanna grows, and her troubles grow to adult size, she still holds to community, helping each other, and looking on the bright side. Maybe today’s kids need more flash-bang in their fiction; maybe the books are too old-fashioned; but at this point, they do have a “historical” feel to them, which may serve to catch their interest.

If you have young girls, or nieces, or friends who have young girls, I urge you to introduce them to Pollyanna and the Glad books. Their parents will love you for it, and your influence may well be felt long after the child has grown. (I tried to get my sons to read them; they would have nothing to do with the books!)

Which classic novels did you read as a kid, and that still resonate with you today? I’d love to know!

~ Until the next time, cheers! ~


Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Different Roads Cover Reveal by Lori L. Clark

Different Roads Cover Reveal by Lori L. Clark

Sneaking in a cover reveal for a Savvy pal of mine, Lori L. Clark. Plus we have an interview!

Here’s the blurb:
It’s been said that when we look back over our lives, we are able to recognize the pivotal moments that in some way, shape, or form have led us to where we are today.

When Jacqueline Carter is fifteen, she crosses paths for the first time with Seth Thomas, a young man who unwittingly alters the direction of her life forever.

Jaq plans to break-up with her boyfriend on her sixteenth birthday. Instead, she is date-raped, and left emotionally broken. She builds a wall around her heart and begins spiraling downward on a road filled with drinking, drugs and physical abuse.

When Seth re-enters her life a few years later, the walls around her heart slowly come down and the two of them fall in love. Unfortunately fate has other ideas, and they’re forced down a different road from which they initially set out.

Here’s the interview:
CA: What made you decide to write a novel?
LLC: I enjoy reading so much that I thought I would like to try my hand at writing. I’m too wordy to write short stories, so I decided to go big or go home.

CA: What do you write?
LLC: I used to read paranormal a lot, in fact, I credit Twilight for getting me to read again. But I don’t write it. I guess I’m just not that imaginative. Or maybe I feel like all the good ideas have been taken. I write contemporary romance.

CA: How many books/short stories do you have planned for this series?
LLC: My latest book, DIFFERENT ROADS is completely stand-alone. Though I have had several readers comment to me that they would love to see a sequel from Seth’s POV.

CA: Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
LLC: I love living where I am. But maybe Ft. Lauderdale when I become ridiculously wealthy.

CA:Name 3 simple joys in your life.
LLC: Reading. Writing. Running.

CA: If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go to eat?
LLC: I have never thought about this before. But I think maybe I’d say Stephen King. Although I am not a huge fan of his work, I think he has a lot of advice to offer writers. I have read his stuff enough to know that his imagination must be in over-drive 24/7. I think he would be a fascinating dinner companion. Where would we eat? Why the hotel in Colorado where they filmed The Shining, of course.

CA: If you could give just one piece of advice to a writer starting out, what would it be?
LLC: Don’t get discouraged. If you have a story to tell, you have to believe there’s someone who wants to read it. You must read, read, and then read some more. Write a book that you want to read. Don’t try fitting into a niche because you think it’s wildly popular. But write the book you would go to a bookstore and pull off the shelf to read.

CA: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a Day Job?
LLC: I have a full-time job outside the house. I love my day job, but I can tell you… there are times when I feel like there are just not enough hours in the day.

CA: I hear you! Name one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you.
LLC: I worked for over two years as an online psychic reader. It was my sole income and I made pretty good money doing it. Yes, I really am psychic.

CA: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
LLC: Summer. I’m ready for summer.

Here’s where you can find Lori!

Book Review Blog:
Author Blog:
Author Facebook Page:

Thanks so much for stopping by, Lori – and good luck on your release!

~ I love your comments, and so do my visitors. Please ask questions if you have them! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Writer Wednesday – Interview with Patricia C. Lee

Writer Wednesday – Interview with Patricia C. Lee

Today kicks off my Writer Wednesday feature. I’ll be showcasing writers with interviews, guest blog posts, blurbs of their latest books, and so forth. For my inaugural guest, please welcome author Patricia C. Lee!

Patricia, let’s get down to the interview. (Rubs hands.) No, don’t squirm. This won’t hurt!

CA: What do you write?

PCL: I write fantasy/romance now, but have written literary short stories as well as one-act and full length plays (one of which was staged at a theatre regional festival in 2006).

CA: Other than writing, what is your favorite creative endeavor?

PCL: Hmmm, well I love to bake (is that classified as creative??) In my house it’s almost a necessity (my hubby is a HUGE cookie monster LOL!). I used to do a lot of cross stitch but that’s put to the wayside for a while because once I start a project I keep at it. This then takes away from my writing. OH! And I’ve only just recently got into making book trailers and I find that I LOVE it!! In fact I like it as much as the actual writing. If I could make money at it, I’d do it for a living!

CA: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

PCL: As corny as this sounds I love living in Canada, and if I could afford it, I’d live in Parksville, British Columbia in an instant.

CA: Name three joys in your life.

PCL: Without sounding too esoteric, my health is number one. I know too many friends and family members that have major health issues and I am so thankful I don’t. Other than that, I’d have to say reading (duh, of course), my hubby and my cats. Ohhh, and can I add wine to that too!!

CA: If you could share a meal with any author or any literary character, who would you choose, and what would you serve?

PCL: Literary character is a stumper because there isn’t one that stands out over the other. As for author, Sidney Sheldon, my all-time favorite. Since he’s passed away, well what would you serve a ghost!! But seriously, if he was alive, umm, I make an awesome Beef Sirloin tips in mushroom sauce that my husband says could be on a restaurant menu. That served over butter noodles, accompanied with baby spinach salad, and to finish off the meal my show-stopper – Black Forest Cake (spoken about in hushed and reverend tones LOL!!)

CA: WOW – that sounds totally yummy!

CA: Is there anything else you want people to know about you?

PCL: Well, as you can see I have a somewhat warped sense of humor. But I do take my writing very seriously because I believe if people are going to spend their hard-earned money on my books, then I had better make sure it’s the best it could possibly be.

Thanks for answering. See, that didn’t hurt, lol! Now, let’s get to the book, shall we?

Here’s the Cover:

Cover for Patricia C. Lee's Destiny's Present

Here’s the Blurb:
Destiny’s Present (Book 2 Daughters of the Crescent Moon):

The sorceress Narena has done many things for Leisos – advised the king, helped heal a young girl and sent a prince forward in time to save his life. Now, to protect her people, she may have to sacrifice herself, her lover, her child. Maybe even all three.

She hunts for the one who threatens the royal family and the throne of Leisos. And also seeks the daughter taken from her at birth. There’s only one problem. They might be one and the same. What she finds on her quest is love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, and a revelation that will change her life forever.

Ardis is a warrior and former captain of the king’s army. His allegiance to the throne lives in his blood – as does the secret he carries. He will protect both at all costs. Even if it means killing Narena – or someone she loves.

Here’s where you can find Patricia! Go stalk her, if you don’t mind (because I know she won’t mind, lol!)

Website –

BUY LINK: Destiny’s Present

Thanks for dropping by, Patricia – the book looks totally awesome! I’m loading it up on my Kindle as we speak.


Are you interested in being on Writer Wednesday? Drop me an email and let’s talk!


~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Looking Back – Looking Ahead

Looking Back – Looking Ahead

It’s here, finally. The end of 2012. We’re on the cusp of 2013, a bright, shiny new year not yet failing to meet our expectations. I’m looking back on my writing year, and then taking a look ahead at 2013. Come along, and see what I’ve been up to!

So in Looking Back, this year I’ve:

Turned in the manuscript for DEMON HUNT – it pubbed 7/16 of this year.

Cover for Demon Hunt

Cover for Demon Hunt, by Taria A. Reed.

Turned in the short story BLOOD DREAMS – it pubbed 6/1 of this year.

Invited to write a short-SHORT play based on The Rose, by the Brother’s Grimm; wrote it, rewrote it, rewrote it again; turned it in; it had it’s debut at the Crescent Heights High School in the Spring. Totally delighted.

Went to Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in April; got to hang with old friends, meet up with new ones, and began a relationship with the amazing Brenda Chin of Harlequin. Also met up with Beth Yarnall of OCC RWA and Debra Mullins of EVA RWA; they both asked me if I would be interested in speaking at their chapter meetings. I said yes, of course. ULP!

Worked on “A Run for the Money” and “Evie’s Song” and “Jesse on the Verge”; pitched them, sent them off ; got rejected.

Joined in with friends for a Summer Camp writing group for the month of June. We still meet – Summer Camp has changed into Boarding School. Some of the most creative, intelligent, fun, supportive, and wonderful women – I’m a lucky girl!

Started “Weightless”, a YA story set in a ballet company; wrote 50k on that. Needs a rewrite and it needs to be finished. BUT – pitched it, sent it off, got rejected. I’m okay with that. Sent it in to a contest – and got great feedback.

Got a phone call from Brenda Chin on the last Monday in July (just before RWA National Conference) – she requested a manuscript that I pitched via a piece of paper!  Woo! Sent it off. Have refrained from stalking her via phone or email. Suspect it’s not her cup of tea but will wait for the formal decision on it.

At the conference, I had several delightful, informal bump-intos with Brenda (at the booksigning, in front of Kathy Lyons‘ table, I introduced myself – she said, “I know who you are.” Squee!) (The next day, she bought me a cup of coffee! Double Squee!) Had a hard time not acting all fan-girl on her, but I managed to not totally embarrass myself. Pitched a new manuscript (that wasn’t even written – a HUGE no-no, but since she’d just requested one, I felt safe enough doing that). Needless to say, she hated it BUT – liked a turn of phrase. Gave me a plot. Said “write me that”. So – that’s what I’ve been working on, novel-wise, ever since.

In October, I joined a group called Fierce Backbone; a play development group made up of writers, actors, and directors. They’ve been reading and commenting on my first play (written in 2010/2011); if it ever gets to a staged reading, I’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops. Two people, one set. Imminently produceable.

In October, I also got to be the guest of honor at a book club. They read my book, talked about it, asked me a bunch of questions – it was fantastic and I learned a lot. Thank you Tabitha! And along with Lisa Kessler, I did a booksigning down at Starcrafts in San Diego – Teresa See and friends were lovely and gracious.

Because Fierce Backbone sparks creativity, I wrote a play for my husband for Christmas. Money being not floating from the sky, I needed to get darned creative. He loves it (whew!), and it needs rewriting – but that’s what I worked on almost exclusively from October to Christmas Eve. Dialog comes easy to me, so I’ll get more work done on it and submit to Fierce Backbone to get it into the Monday readings, and we’ll see how it goes!

In November, I gave my first-ever talk to East Valley Authors chapter of RWA. People took notes! They came up afterwards, thanked me, and asked questions! I shocked myself by actually being able to talk for an hour. But yeah, my inner actress was totally stoked.

I’m now (with the help of a couple of wonderful pairs of eagle-eyes) back at work on the Brenda Chin novel. I’ve got so much of it written – now it just needs to get cohesive. I am SO thankful that I’ll be taking a plotting course in January!

Looking Ahead:

I’m taking on the mantle of President of the Los Angeles Romance Authors. I am predicting a calm, easy year (!).

I’m speaking at Orange County Chapter of RWA on January 12th; Los Angeles Romance Authors on January 20th.

I plan on finishing the Brenda Book in January and getting it off to her. Think I should really come up with a series idea to go along with this book and pitch that, too. Then, and only then, will I bug her about the other book. Just a friendly warning, Brenda. 😉

Then I really must get to Demon’s Rage, the final book in the Demon Trilogy. I’d like to get that one turned in by the end of March, then write two or three short stories in the world and turn all those in, as well.

Then back to Weightless, my Ballet YA. I’d love to get that one done up and send it around. If no one bites, I may just dip my toes into self-publishing. I love this book and it deserves to go somewhere.

So Cal RWA conferenceMarch 15 – 17,  I’ll be at the So Cal RWA Writer’s Conference, California Dreaming. Brenda Chin will also be there (according to the conference website). Stalking seeing her will be very cool. If I don’t have that book done and turned in to her BEFORE then, I will just be a failure so there’s that! A good prod to productivity.

I’m not looking too much farther ahead than March. I have a lot to do in the next three months – besides all of the above, I have two plays to re-write.

RWA National Conference will be held in Atlanta this year. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, even though I should since I’m chapter president and all. We shall see.

So, there it is – looking back, and looking ahead. How far ahead do you plan your year? Or do you let circumstances change your schedule?

Here’s hoping 2013 is your best year yet! Be safe out there tonight – remember there will be a lot of amateur drunks on the roads. Don’t drive if you don’t have to!

~ Until next year, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


Sparklers for New Year’s Eve, Part Deux

Sparklers for New Year’s Eve, Part Deux

Last year, I wrote an exhaustive post on Champagnes and Sparkling wines that I can’t hope to beat. If you’d like a peek, go here.

Surprisingly, there were sparkling wines that I didn’t mention in that review but that were mentioned in the comments. Today I bring two of those to your attention (plus a couple more, lol!).

Gruet Blanc de Noirs Methode Champenoise American Sparkling Wine Albuquerque, New Mexico Alcohol 12% by Volume – on sale for $14.99 at BevMo!

A delightful, non-vintage sparkling wine (or maybe that was just Christmas Eve? lol…), the Gruet should certainly be on your go-to list. It is on par with the Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs, though I have to admit I prefer the Domaine’s pretty pink color. The Gruet didn’t have a pink tinge to it (which is expected when you see Blanc de Noirs on the label). Bottled from the Pinot Noir grape, most blanc de noirs sparkling wines have that pretty color – this one did not, even though their website cites a “a fine salmon color”. The only drawback I can see to this wine is that my local grocery store doesn’t carry it, which means you may have to hunt for it.

Another new favorite of mine is Domaine Carneros by Taittenger, 2007 & 2008 Brut   Methode Champenoise – Napa Valley, California Alcohol 12% by Volume, on sale at Vons for $19.99 .

We had the 2007 on Christmas morning, and I will definitely be buying another bottle of it.

Lovely neighbors also brought us over a bottle of the 2008 as a Christmas present, so we’ll probably be popping it on New Year’s Eve. Another upscale bottle with a good price to it. Definitely impressive!

For fun bubbles, to share with a younger crowd perhaps (that might not be quite so judgmental),  try Yellowglen’s Pink and Yellow sparkling wines, from Australia. I’ve picked up both of these from BevMo! over the years, and have found them thoroughly enjoyable. (Especially terrific in the summer when you want something fun and festive – but equally at home for a big New Year’s Eve party.)

I taste tested these a couple of years ago at BevMo! – they are running $6.99 on a Club Bev membership (which is free), normally double that. The bottles are fun and festive, the wine is lively and the bubbles fairly small. All in all, a good value for the money.

I am surprised (and pleased) that there are so many different sparkling wines that I have yet to taste!  Which one is your favorite to ring in the New Year with?

On a sober-er note, please go visit Natalie Hartford’s blog today, where she shares with us the proper way to be a responsible hostess with Holiday Mocktails. They sound delicious, and I’m eager to try them! Plus MADD has come out with non-alcoholic cocktails that she said were terrific – give it a look see.

May you say goodbye to 2012 with no regrets, and look to 2013 with an open and eager mind, heart, and spirit. Thanks so much for being a part of my life this year!

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Seen About Town

Seen About Town

Lately, I’ve been keeping a small point & shoot Nikon camera in my purse, just because I see the silliest, or coolest, things as I wander about my little corner of the world. Here are a couple of photos – one thought-provoking, one silly – and both are kinda perfect for the season.

That kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Seen in Studio City, California

Yeah, I really like this photo! The next one, however, took me totally off guard. I saw it as I was coming back from lunch one day. This car was parked outside a dry cleaner’s – I hurried to take the photo because I didn’t want the owner to come out and harass me for taking it. Luckily, no one seemed to notice.

I totally burst out laughing when I saw this! The right amount of funny for me.

And finally, I couldn’t let this post end without a photo of the family Snowflake Fairy – the first ornament my hubby and I bought for our first married Christmas, December 1980. We bought her in a Hallmark store in Seattle the same day we got our tiny, Charlie Brown Christmas tree – on Christmas Eve. It is now the ornament that is always placed first on the tree, and always gets the best “show place” on the tree.

A photo of a snowflake fairy ornament

The one and only Snowflake Fairy. On Christmas Eve, she’ll be 32 human years old. I have no idea how old that is in Fairy, but my hubby says she’s only 4.

Have you seen anything out and about that you found thought provoking or funny lately? Please share!

Sending love out to you and yours, and hoping this new week is a terrific one for you!

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?