Sunday, December 29, 2013


Dear Friends,

I'm so excited to tell you that 
the sequel to 

It's now available in print on and will soon be available in Kindle e-book on Amazon and in all digital forms on Smashwords.

You've all been with me on this journey, first with the launch of 
and then through the writing and publishing of this second book. 
Thank you so much for your support and friendship through this journey. 


Monday, December 23, 2013


I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, 
filled with love, peace and contentment.

I offer you this meditation 
from my yoga practice. 

It's called the Metta Meditation. 
Metta is a Pali word that means "loving-kindness." 

Metta Meditation

May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you dwell in peace

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway for Igorotdo - The Enlightened Warrior Within

Rexcrisanto Delson ( is that the greatest name ever or WHAT?) asked me to share news about his new book. I am quite intrigued by the background and it sounds like a good story too. I hope you'll check it out. He's got a Giveaway on Goodreads for 20 books, which ends on 12/24. 

Giveaway Link

by Rexcrisanto Delson

From the AuthorThrough Igorotdo: The Enlightened Warrior Within, I hope to inspire a selfless purpose-driven outlook on life and encourage others to take stock in their ancestral heritage, regardless of what it is. Both purpose and cultural heritage are cornerstones in life. They also happen to be the book's two main themes, which I hope readers will take away.  The Igorot culture is one of the least known indigenous cultures in Asia, yet one of the most misunderstood. Although this is a work of fiction, I hope to introduce this dichotomy to world in an entertaining and meaningful way.

Story Summary: How important is your ethnic heritage? For Alex, it can mean worlds of difference. Since immigrating to the United States as a child, his yearning to fit into American society has led to a total disconnect from his Igorot ancestry. Like many immigrants, his true ethnic identity has taken a backseat to the pursuit of the American Dream. Alex's dreams eventually turned into reality: he became a successful businessman, and began living a lifestyle filled with fame, fortune, and women. Despite his achievements, however, an inner void eats away at his soul that is, until unforeseen events send him on a collision course with his estranged heritage. An inheritance catapults him into the worlds of Igorots, soldiers, and samurais. Can his encounters with the Igorots become more than just lessons about the lineage of indigenous Filipino highlanders that precedes him? Will his perilous encounters with them, American soldiers, and Japanese samurai help him find true happiness? How can the events that unfold fill the void, while bringing new meaning and purpose into his life? Unbeknownst to Alex, an enlightened warrior dwells within him, waiting to be discovered.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Today I'd like to share some of the beautiful paintings my husband, artist JR Secor (aka RVPainter) has recently done. He does weekly demos over at his RVPainter Blog.

This is JR:

JR and I are both late bloomers. I didn't start writing with dedication until my mid-forties, and he didn't start painting until his mid-fifties!

He began painting in watercolor, using only brush and colors in a very soft palette. His style was impressionistic. When we moved to Santa Fe, NM, he switched to acrylics. He began using palette knife along with brush, his paintings took on more depth in both texture and color and his style evolved to be more semi-abstract.

In his latest works, he has done something that I think is quite remarkable - combined depth of color and texture with softness - the best of both worlds.

This is one he did this week, when I asked him to do something with a wintry feeling.

Over the past few months JR has worked some different series. One series I like very much is of canola fields in Montana and Quebec during the various seasons. Another series is called "Soft Landscapes," and you'll see why.

JR has a shop on ETSY where he is offering 20% off the price of all paintings, plus FREE shipping in the U.S, through the end of January. With the sale, many of his paintings are priced less than $100.

You can take a look at many of his pieces on ETSY, but I'll share a few of my own recent favorites with you here. If you like seascapes, he has many of those too.

Click on the painting to go to the listing on ETSY. ENJOY!

9 x 12
$115 (Sale price $92)

9 x 12
$125 (Sale Price  $100)

In the next two paintings, you can see how he worked with light and color to capture the feeling of different seasons.

18 by 24
$250 (Sale price $200)

24 by 18
$250 (Sale price $200)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Some Books I Liked This Year

I get tired of talking about my own books sometimes (The Christmas Village and its sequel, Return to Canterbury) - OOPS, sorry, I mentioned them again.

So let's talk about OTHER PEOPLE'S BOOKS. A couple of the ones I'm mentioning today are by authors I met here in the blog world. Arthur Wooten is a friend I went to high school with - we reconnected via Facebook and he was a great mentor and support when I published my books(which I already mentioned above and won't mention again :D )

I live by the rule my mother always used:  "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." So if I tell you about a book, it means I liked it.

Dizzy by Arthur Wooten

The fast-paced and witty story of a Broadway diva who learns she has a debilitating vestibular disorder that threatens to destroy her career. It's a fictional memoir, as Wooten himself suffers from this condition. He deftly interweaves the fun of New York City and Broadway with the very real drama of a dancer/singer/actress finding herself faced with the potential devastation of a life-changing illness, and figuring out, with the help of friends, how to navigate - and live - in her new circumstances. As with all of Wooten's books, it's witty and fun, but also moving and filled with compassion.

I know you want to read it now, so here's the LINK: DIZZY by Arthur Wooten

Wooten is also the author of the WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED children's book, Wise Bear William, a New Beginning, and a number of other great reads, including Leftovers and Birthday Pie.

Patchwork of Me by Gregory G. Allen

This is the story of a woman who, with the help of a therapist, uncovers memories from her childhood that stun her. As a result, she travels from Arizona to Maine (passing through New Mexico) to confront her past. Along the way, she must struggle with whether to allow herself to be defined by events long past, or to define herself on her own terms. I liked the story, which takes some unexpected, but satisfying turns, and it was a plus for me that Allen took me from Scottsdale, Arizona, where I lived for seven years, through New Mexico, where I also lived, to Boothbay, Maine, where, believe it or not, I also lived. I think he might be stalking me!!

Find Greg's book here: Patchwork of Me by Gregory G. Allen

Greg is also the author of the children's book, Chicken Boy, The Amazing Adventures of a Superhero with Autism

That Sadie Thing and other stories by Annalisa Crawford

Count me as a HUGE Annalisa Crawford fan! I read her first novella, Cat and the Dreamer, and found it so intriguing. So, even though I am usually not a huge fan of short stories, I was eager to read this collection and I LOVED IT!

Crawford is a terrific writer who uses spot-on description (She's British, so I'm talking British :D) to create vivid scenes and characters. The narrative is very internal, meaning that we are instantly transported inside the heads of her characters, thinking their thoughts right along with them.

Her stories are vignettes; almost-cringworthy-personal glimpses into the lives of others. I picture her sitting in coffee shops, watching people and then making up stories about their lives and their secrets. (I'm glad she doesn't live near me, though I WOULD like to hang out with her!) She has a dark side, and even though I'm not all that dark-sided, I really appreciate hers! Also, I pride myself on being somewhat hard to surprise when it comes to plot twists, and the best thing about Crawford is that she never failed to surprise me! I found myself laughing out loud when she did, in a kind of, "Oh, Annalisa, you GOT me with that!" way.

Check her out; she's awesome and I think she is going to be Wicked Famous.
That Sadie Thing by Annalisa Crawford

Authors put their hearts and souls out there for us all to see, and as a book lover, I feel the best way I can say thank you is to buy their books and tell everyone I know how much I liked them. I hope you'll do the same.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Listen to My Interview and Reading from The Christmas Village on Blog Radio

I had the best time today being interviewed and reading from The Christmas Village on author JD Holiday's Blog Radio program, THE AUTHOR'S WORDS. BLOG RADIO has selected it as a STAFF PICK, so it will be featured on their site starting tomorrow at noon and running for 24 hours.

You can listen to it HERE

And here is the BLOG RADIO LINK.

JD is an author and illustrator with several books of her own, including Janoose the Goose and The Spy Game, which I reviewed here last year (loved it). This is the LINK to her BLOG. And this is the LINK to her AUTHOR PAGE on AMAZON.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JD (Jan) for inviting me to be on your show. It was a ball!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

RETURNING TO THE CIRCLE, A Book of Loving Support for Young Women

It's always an honor and delight to welcome other authors to my site and to share the gifts they are offering to the world. Today though, I am especially happy to make you aware of the book Returning to the Circle, by Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

Her book is intended as a gift of nurturing support, positive affirmation and inspiration to young women. We all remember how hard it is to grow up, but I think that most of us can look at the world today and say a prayer of thanks that we grew up when we did, and do not have to navigate all the complexity, pressures, expectations and unhealthy "role models" that today's world thrusts upon young people. 

Filled with inspiring quotes and real life stories, Linda's book will be a wonderful gift to any young woman suffering from low self-esteem or feeling confused, lost and uncertain about her path. I hope you will read on to find out more about this wonderful book and consider buying it for a young person in your life. 


First, here is some background on Linda: 

Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas is an educator, writer, poet and interfaith minister. She has two books, Winter of the Soul, (2008) and Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland, (2010). On January 1, 2013, her story, “The Angel in the Bright Green Jacket,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. She teaches English as a Second language, writing and poetry throughout New England. Rev. Neas lives in an enchanted cottage with her beloved husband, where she gains great insight and inspiration from her four daughters and growing number of grandchildren. Visit her blog at: Words from the Heart

Read on after the photo for an excerpt from the book and all the links:


Returning to the Circle

by Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

           After hearing, again, the story of another young woman who had few life skills, low self-esteem, and no clue where to go for help, I began to wonder how it was that my generation seemed to be able to do so much in spite of our own dysfunctional upbringings. Pondering the question, I quickly began to recall the amazing women in my life that lead by example, shared words of wisdom and poured their selves into all they did.

          To begin, I remembered the two women who touched my heart and soul as a very young child - Miss Foster, my kindergarten teacher and my Aunt Mary. 
Miss Foster was a quintessential fifties beauty. She had black hair, fair skin and a warm smile. She wore ponytails, full skirts, white blouses cardigan sweaters and red lipstick. She taught me that singing was a great way to start any day, police officers were there to help us and anything shared with a friend made life special.
My Aunt Mary looked a lot like Miss Foster. She took me to the L Street Bathhouse, where I learned how to swim. When I was sick, she would come and play with me. On her days off, she would take me to the Boston Commons and during Christmas, to Filene’s and Jordan’s to see the store windows and the holiday lights. She smelled of Jean Nate and always looked neat and put together. My Aunt Mary taught me style and grace. She was the heroine of my formative years.
Later, I remember several Sisters of St. Joseph with fond admiration. They were most definitely teachers of life skills as well as English, Math and History. Sister Margaret Delores (first grade), Sister Clare Denise (fifth grade), Sister Ralph (sixth grade) and Sister Marillac shared their love of music, poetry, dance, humor and theology. The accumulation of their wisdom has seen me through many a dark moment.
Then there was Pat Venuti, my college psychology professor, who taught me the “warm fuzzy/cold prickly” rule. This is a concept I still follow. Pat was one of those people who could light up a room. Her sudden death when I was still a young mother, helped me realize how important it is to say, “I love you” to people we care about. Gratefully, Pat knew the difference she had made in my life.
Another champion in my life was my college English literature professor was Mary Beaudry. She introduced me to Arthurian Legend, which gave me the pleasure of knowing that even grown adults believed in magic! While sharing her love of the written word, she inspired me to develop my skills. She believed in my dreams of being a published author and still is one of my most faithful supporters.
Of course, no list of influential women would be complete without mention of my mother and mother-in-love. You could not find two women that are more different anywhere in the world, but each has blessed my life in ways they could not imagine. My mother was an amazingly strong woman. She shared her love of the arts with me and taught me to look at the little things in life. She gave me a healthy disrespect for conformity. If everyone were wearing blue, she would wear bright red. She took the road less traveled, often and heard a different drummer, which was OK.
My mother-in-love was the opposite. The wife of a Baptist minister, she is a most gracious Southern lady. Our times together have been filled with laughter interspersed between soul-searching discussions about life, faith and dreams.
As far as friends go, there are too many “sisters of my soul” to mention each individually. Suffice it to say, that each one knows how much I value her friendship and love. Each knows how special she is to me. Without them, the rocky parts of life would be unbearable. With them, even the bluest of blue days sparkles beyond belief. I would not be who I am without each of them.
The difference, I came to realize, was the time spent with these women. Whether it was sitting around the kitchen table sipping tea, walking the beach on a gorgeous fall day, staying after school simply to talk or gathered around a campfire, we shared our lives, our dreams, and our wisdom with each other.
As my girls grew, I continued the tradition. However, for this new generation, it seems that IPads, cell phones and texting have created a disconnect. This situation has left today’s young women without the wisdom and lessons that can be learned when we sit across from someone and listen to their stories, which is why I put together the eBook, Returning to the Circle, a virtual gathering of women, who share their wisdom in a thirty-day meditation.
          As I say in the introduction of Returning to the Circle, “I pray that those who read and use this book will be blessed by the words - the wisdom - of the women who appear on these pages. May they help to guide, inspire and affirm who you are and why you are in this life.” 
Linda's BLOG