New Blogging Gig:

Hi, all!

I’m honored to have been asked by the always-terrific Joanna D’Angelo to post over at Popculturedivas from time to time.

The divas are fiction writers who dish on books, television, movies and music — what’s hot, what they’re watching, what’s worth following, and what to keep your eye on.

My first post is about my current obsession with Bravo TV and The Real Housewives series! Ack! I can’t take my eyes away! Come on over and leave me a comment about which “Housewives” series you watch, if any … and (perhaps more importantly) why-oh-why they enthrall us so. …

What Are Your 15 Most Influencial Books?

This was a fun meme on Facebook this weekend — to name 15 books that will always stick with you, without thinking too long about it. Just the first 15 you can recall (in no more than 15 minutes).
My 15 came pretty fast and furiously. They popped into my head in no particular order, although they’re vaguely in the order I read them, if I think in decades.
And I’m sure I could have gone on with more, but these are the ones that stood out right away. They have either a theme or characters that I thought about for days, weeks, or years after I read them…
What are yours?
Here’s my list:
  1. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough
  3. Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood
  4. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
  5. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle
  7. Anne Frank Autobiography
  8. Othello, Shakespeare
  9. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  10. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  11. All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren
  12. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  13. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  14. On Writing, Stephen King (nonfiction, but altered the way I write)
  15. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Neffenegger
I have a serious romance theme going on, here, I noticed. … Big surprise!

Ode to My Camera

070I received my first camera the year I graduated high school. Superman bought it for me. It was a Pentax K1000. I’m sure he had no idea how much I was going to love that camera … or the fact that he was going to buy me my second, third and fourth cameras too, for various wedding anniversaries … or especially the fact that we would eventually use that very camera to take pictures of our three newborn children … but there it was, in bright birthday wrapping on my 18th birthday, ready for me to discover.

My first pictures were the summer after high school. We went to Disneyland – Superman and me, and two of our friends, L and D. I took a ton of pictures that day. I zoomed in on faces, got lots of “buddy shots” and had plenty of pastel-muted Disneyland landscape in the background. When I first got those pictures back from Sav-on, I leaned against the glass counter, flipped through them, and fell in love. I was hooked.

After that, it was a rapid succession of shutter shots: my first days of college, our newborn nephew, my first Christmas back home, my roommates. Continue reading

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