Monthly Archives: December 2005

Happy New Year!

Was in Starbucks this morning getting my usual, when my barista asked if I was ready for New Year’s and if I had any big plans. I looked at her slightly puzzled and said, “When is it?” She stopped steaming my milk, put her hand on her hip and replied, “You’re kidding, right?!” Actually, I wasn’t.

Things have been rather tumultuous in my world lately and the date is the last thing on my mind. But I bought myself a bottle of California Pink Champagne this afternoon, and if I should happen to be awake at the stroke of midnight, then I’ll pop the cork and toast the New Year. If not, it’ll save for brunch !

Being confronted with the realization that another year is coming to an abrupt close, I started thinking about what goals I’ve reached and missed in 2005 and how the year has panned out for me overall. I’d have to say it’s been a good one. And while I don’t personally buy into the whole resolution bit, I’ve made a mental list of goals that I plan to achieve in 2006.

The most frustrating mark I missed this year was only publishing one novel, but I made great strides in deciding to collaborate with a co-author and am happy with the creative progress we’ve made together. I vowed when I started this venture that I wouldn’t let it interfere with my planned path, and although I’ve gotten a little off my track, I feel good about the new terrain I find myself on and believe that bigger and better things are on the horizon in the very near future.

Whatever goals, plans or resolutions you’ve set for yourself in 2006…I hope you exceed your own expectations…that’s my plan!!


Resolution or Revelation

I came across this in my daily reading and it sparked something in me that I am unable to put into words. Perhaps in sharing, it might spark something in you as well. Take from it what you will…

What must I do, in the time remaining? Only everything.

I don’t yet know how much I know; but it’s a great deal. There are vast tracks of my nature I never knew existed until now. I lived, I suppose, in a cell of my own creation, while outside its walls lay a landscape of unparalleled richness. But I could not bear to venture there.

In my self-delusion I thought I was a minor king, and I didn’t want to step beyond the bounds of what I knew for fear I lost my domain. I daresay most of us live in such pitiful realms. It takes something profound to transform us; to open our eyes to our own glorious diversity.

-Clive Barker

Slice & Dice

I was sitting in the Loop the other night with my son, waiting for over 30 minutes for our order. As we sat there I watched as people pulled up to the three designated spots in front of the restaurant, marked “Loop to Go” and sat in their cars not 3 feet from the door, while someone brought their dinner to them then took their ATM card back inside, ran their ticket and returned with the receipt for signature. I had a hard time with this…and the fact that I we had yet to receive our dinner.

After several employees passed by our table without giving us a second glance, I decided to go see what the problem was. I got to the counter and discovered that our dinner was boxed up and ready for take-out, yet we were dining in. They took everything out of the boxes and warmed it back up, put it on dinner plates and promptly delivered it to our table.

On the way back from the counter I counted 15 steps to the door and approximately another 7 from the door to the reserved to go spots. I understand this is for the convenience of their customers, but come on…who the hell can’t get their lazy ass out of their car and walk 22 steps to go inside and pick up their dinner?! And why are the take-out customers getting top-notch service while the dine-in patrons are being ignored? Makes no sense to me, but then what do I know about the food industry?

I do however know a little about the literary industry and I just read an article that made my head spin…sort of like Linda Blair in the Exorcist and by the time I was finished, I was very nearly close to mimicking her hurling scene as well.

Apparently, in order to accommodate the masses, there are two new programs soon to be offered at that they claim will not only change the way books are purchased, but written as well.

The first program, Upgrade, will allow purchasers to get instant online access to the content of the book they just bought. In other words, when you order a reference book on Amazon, for a few dollars more, you’ll be able to look up the things you need to know in an online version of the book, while you wait for the print book to arrive in the mail. This would only be available to customers who have purchased the print book. Well, I would hope so!

Individual publishers will make the decision as to whether they want to offer this option for their books or not. But consider the following, I have no doubt they will all be jumping on the money train!

Amazon anticipates the price of an Upgrade will be about 10% of the print book price. That means the publishers would make an extra few bucks per book, i.e., a $25 book with a $2.50 Upgrade. Sure, that may not sound like much, but that dollar is pure profit; profit which requires no inventory or investment to obtain. Multiply it by thousands of copies of different titles, and you are talking serious money!

The second program Amazon announced is called Pages. This will allow customers to download sections of books, or even individual pages, for a small fee per page. The specifics haven’t been announced yet, but here’s how it might work:

You want a recipe for Chicken Florentine but you don’t want to buy the entire cookbook. What do you do…you go to and download just that one recipe for $.35. Perhaps your favorite poets has just published new works in an anthology, but you don’t care about the other poets, only your favorite, violá…you can go to Amazon and download that one chapter for $3.00. And the possibilities go on and on and on….

This is yet another opportunity for publishers to increase profits by slicing-and-dicing content to meet the needs of customers. Where, I ask you, does that leave the author? And what does this say about our society as a whole?

Gluttonous…You Betcha! (And we’re not just talking food here).

Not only do we expect to be catered to at every turn, but let’s face it, we want it our way or no way; we want it now or not at all! We are a society that takes a hell of a lot for granted and is spoiled beyond my comprehension and yet it still is never enough. And the sad thing is, that industries are getting filthy freaking rich off our greed…YES, OUR GREED.

Think about it, and think about the author who toiled for endless hours, pouring their heart and soul into their book, whether it be a cookbook, a reference book or a novel. Then think about how much of that $.35 is going to the author because they didn’t sell a book, only one recipe out of it; or the $3.00, because the only thing the reader wanted was one lousy chapter.

We’ll continue to slice and dice, thinking absolutely nothing of it, because it’s convenient for us, it’s giving us what we want, and pretty soon, their won’t be any shreds left to slice or dice, and I’m not just talking about the literary industry, I’m talking about all phases of our very existence.

There are no shortcuts, only temporary bypasses cut through the highways and byways of our lives, often leaving us wandering aimlessly, as we try to find our way back to the main thoroughfare where we should have stayed the course.



Healthcare abuse at its finest!

Some of them come because they have nowhere else to go on a cold winter’s night and a warm bed and meal is guaranteed. Some simply desire human interaction and attention that they don’t receive in the outside world. Some have taken the last lethal hit of their drug of choice and although they feel their life ebbing away, they can take comfort in the fact that they won’t die alone, and some are there because they truly are having a medical emergency.

I recently spent 16+ hours in the intensive care unit at a local Jacksonville hospital and during that time it became clear to me why healthcare in this country is so dysfunctional. Why 16 hours? Well, it wasn’t because my life was hanging in the balance and I needed constant monitoring, it was because there were no rooms available in the hospital. How can this be, you ask? Quite simply, because the hospital doubles as a hotel for the majority of its patients. Sad, but true!

I spoke with many of the staff that night, questioning the reason behind their efforts; is it their love of medicine or love of humanity that keeps them coming back day after day. The answers varied, but I got the scoop on how the whole thing operates and let me tell you, it was quite and eye-opening experience.

First of all, if a person checks themselves into the emergency room, whether they show up every day of the week or once a month, the law requires that they be seen. If this person has no obvious illness that can be easily diagnosed and are insistent of a real medial problem then the testing begins. This can take hours or it can take days.

They can complain of experiencing pain, whether it is real or imaginary and be given medication to elevate that said pain. If, however, they show up without checking themselves in, then they can be asked to leave the premises.

Miss Olive, an elderly woman who was very vocal in her demands and profanity, checks herself in at least 5 times a week. Obviously mentally imbalanced, but with no physical ailment that needs immediate attention, she goes through the process and makes enough noise so that eventually she is given something to calm her nerves and once stabilized she is released.

The ambulance’s in the area double as a taxi service with a one-way paid ticket straight to the ER. One man had someone else call 911 because he was acting strange. The paramedics found nothing out of the norm, but as soon as he was taken off the stretcher, situated in the bed and the doctor came over to ask what was wrong, he hurt all over! The paramedics just shook their heads and left.

It’s no wonder American’s can’t afford healthcare on their own, and the sad thing is that the taxpayers are footing the bill for the medical treatment of these abusers…because it’s the LAW! I wish I had the money that was wasted that night in the ER, as I can only imagine what it amounted to.

Mind you, these are just a few instances I’ve mentioned and for 16 hours I watched as this played out, over and over…a different scenario each time, but each effectively creative.


Let the Season begin!


Some years it takes longer than others, but this year I was starting to worry that it wasn’t going to happen at all; especially when I received my espresso in a festive holiday cup from Starbucks and it did nothing to improve my mood. I immediately went to my office and popped in my Charlie Brown Christmas CD and for the first time in my life, I actually cringed when the music began.

Yes…I’m talking about catching the holiday spirit…..

I admit that being in St. Augustine for the opening of the Festival of Lights was pretty cool, but once the lights faded in my rearview mirror, so did the feeling and I haven’t been able to find it again…until today.

We broke with tradition this year, as all the decorations were in the attic at my husbands shop, buried under rolls of leather and material, seat frames, foam pads and boxes and boxes of who knows what. So, I decided we’d make homemade snowflakes, get a little tree and buy a few new ornaments…you know, keep it simple and low key.

So, we had our moment of fun making the snowflakes and hung them throughout the house and today I decided to make the trek to the beach, climb up in the attic and unbury the decorations. I brought them home, put up the tree, hung the lights, unwrapped the snow-globes and porcelain snowmen and Santa’s that I’ve collected over the years, but still it didn’t do it for me.

Then I came to the unmarked box, opened it up and found it filled with the Old World Santa’s that my father has carved for me over the years and suddenly it was Christmas! I carefully unpacked each one, noting the details and love he poured into each and every one that started as nothing more than a piece of wood and I knew then why it had taken so long for me to find the holiday spirit…because I miss being with my family. But as I placed each Santa on display, I could feel the love not only filling the room, but filling my heart.

I will be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams-


The path to happiness

I was challenged today to define the path of happiness in 500 words or less…let’s give it a go, shall we?

The way I see it, happiness would be living to my full potential and becoming everything I’m capable of becoming. This is not something that can be bought or given, but rather something I have to self-achieve. The trick to keeping a positive attitude along this path is to accept the life lessons given along the way…my problem is I tend to stop and want to question them instead of finding comfort in them.

For those who look at me and see a multi-published author or simply a good person who deserves happiness and can’t understand why I haven’t found it yet, let me try to explain a bit of my frustration…

Being in a position to start and finish my first novel was absolutely thrilling; publishing that novel was a phenomenal feeling, just as it has been with each and every one and those were personal goals that I set and met, and something to be proud of. But simply writing and publishing isn’t enough for me, because I believe I have within me, the potential to be running with the big boys. I know this with every ounce of my being and believe it and live it every single day of my life.

For 5 long years, I’ve devoted more of myself to my craft than anything I’ve ever done in my life. If I was paid for my time, energy and determination, I’d be rich beyond my wildest dreams, but unfortunately that’s not how it works. I’ve been beaten, bruised, battered and taken for an enormous amount of money, but I’ve never given up and I’m not about to.

I’ve had lessons thrown at me from every direction and somehow always manage to come through it, and although I’m tired of running to get to where I want to be…I’m not giving up. I can see the train and soon I’ll be on board, and then I can take comfort in all those life lessons that were thrown in my path, as I ease back in the seat and catch my breath.

It’s not what I want to be…it’s who I am.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”


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