My Interview with "Literary Gumbo"

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed once again by Fred Klein, host of TV Santa Barbara's show Literary Gumbo, which is a weekly look at the world of writers and the publishing industry. It's always such a joy to sit down with Fred, who was director of marketing at Bantam Books Publishing House for many years.

During our conversation, we got to talk about all the recently released and forthcoming books through Weeping Willow Books – both my books and those of my clients – including:

I hope you enjoy your taste of Literary Gumbo. You can watch other Gumbo author interviews here.

2016—A Year for Writing

It is not the New Year; it is barely Christmas, but I am in a mood to celebrate the turning year.

What a momentous year of change this has been. (See my post on Dec. 18.) I have a sense we are not done. I have been blessed to have worked with nearly 100 authors over the past seven years, coaching and helping them craft their memoirs, novels, self-help and poetry books. What an immense privilege this has been. And most especially seeing the result in tangible fashion—12 books successfully published both independently and traditionally. (See the list here.)

In 2016, I am shifting my focus a tiny bit to put my own writing first. You’ll see more regular blog posts and excerpts from my memoir, which I am revising after an unsuccessful tilt at traditional publishers with two agents. I don’t know what the end result will be, perhaps independent publication—we’ll see. For now it feels good and right to be revising. I have other writing projects in the wings, too—a novel and an anthology of essays by women in collaboration with my friend Kathleen Barry, who writes the blog Whispers of Wisdom.

I hope to go on retreat several times in 2016. I’ll write more about that in coming weeks.

I am excited about the coming year and all the possibilities it holds: travel, writing, working with my incredible client/writers, and love!

Who could ask for more?

What are you doing to feed your writing muse next year?

Solstice—Dark Unto Light

Solstice—Dark Unto Light

As we move toward the darkest day of the year—the Winter Solstice—I’m mindful of the light to follow. I think that might be the theme of my life, at least over the past few years.

It’s been almost seven years since my life fell apart—lost my mother, my marriage, our house, the writers conference. It seems a millennium ago. And yet, the lessons are so present with me today. That loss and grief give way, eventually, to light and hope. That trusting in yourself and the goodness of others will always turn out right in the end. That friends and family are treasures beyond reckoning. I am surrounded by light and love.

The last time I wrote on this blog was almost a year and a half ago. So much has happened since.

As some of you know, I decided in June 2014 to move to Santa Fe. After almost 30 years in Santa Barbara, I sought a new life in a new place that called to me. I love Santa Fe. Love the warmth of the people, the arts community, the architecture, the mountains, the snow, the extraordinary light. So I started to make plans and to pack, with a target date for moving of mid-September.

I found an adorable short-term rental with a woman artist named Bonnie Coe and made arrangements to stay through November, just to make sure I wanted to put down roots there. I planned to put everything I owned into a storage container and pack my belongings and Chevella, my dog, into the car for the trip across the country. Then….

In late July, I went to a benefit concert for Youth Interactive featuring Michael McDonald (LOVE the Doobie Brothers), and there, at the end of the concert, I met a man. He invited me to dinner that night, at the Lark around the corner. We had a lovely time, and, of course, I mentioned I was moving to Santa Fe in a month or so. He gave me his business card, and I sent him a nice thank-you email that night. I didn’t hear from him. Odd, I thought. So I texted him several days later just to make sure he’d received my thank you. He called that night and we talked for twenty minutes or so, and then hung up. And I didn’t hear from him again. My sister said, “Well, of course not; you told him you’re moving to Santa Fe.”

One evening a couple of weeks later I had a couple of glasses of wine and decided to text him (this is not advised, by the way). I wrote: “Hey, I haven’t heard from you, and I’m guessing it’s because I told you I was moving. That’s okay if it is; just tell me.” And when I didn’t hear back that night, I tore his business card into six pieces and threw it away.

The next morning he texted me and said, No, it wasn’t that. He’d just been really, really busy (his office was in Pasadena) and he hadn’t had a moment to call. Could he call the next afternoon? And what time?

I texted him back and said, yes, after 2 the next day. I fished his business card pieces out of the trash and taped them back together.

And then…he didn’t call.

I decided that was that. Went on with my life, packing, planning the move, saying goodbye to friends.

On Labor Day, he emailed. Some lame excuse about dropping his phone in the ocean and losing his contacts and he’d finally found my first email and if I was still even willing to talk with him could he call me?

Honestly, I had to think about it. He’d already failed on two occasions. Yet…something made me say yes.

He did, and we went out that night and talked in a sweet little restaurant for five hours. A week later he brought me roses and took me to the El Encanto for dinner, and we walked on the beach.

I left for Santa Fe six days later.

But, you know what? He came to visit me two weeks later. Then I visited him in California three weeks after that, and we went back and forth two more times before he asked me to come home for Christmas. And why didn’t I plan to spend a couple of weeks here?

I did, and we’ve been together ever since.

We’ve gone back to Santa Fe to visit, and in September and October we went to London and Ireland for three weeks. My life is gloriously wild and madly uproarious. Back and forth between Pasadena and Santa Barbara for almost a year, he’s finally moving up here full time in January. He makes me laugh every day, and it feels like we’ve just met yet been together forever.

So much change, so much transition, so much newness and joy. I think back on past years and all the heartache, and I am thankful for all of it, and for all the light that has come to be. This new life, this wonderful man, this exhilarating love. His name is Rob.

May this season of hope and new light bring you peace and joy. And may gratitude be the guiding force in your heart and life, as it is in mine.