Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blog the Phoenix Kitchen


Twenty months ago my mom died, I miss her.  A day later later my father called to tell me I was not alone.  His timing was perfect...his words just what an only child wants to hear, especially since I hadn't seen him in over fifty years.  A few weeks ago I returned from a journey west which included reuniting with him.
Life is about timing be grateful for all the faces at your table!!!

I took over my father’s kitchen in Phoenix, apologized for opening drawers, cabinets, even the refrigerator.  All the time marking out my workspace on every inch of counter while pulling out pans, organizing cutting boards and lining up olive oil, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese and beaten eggs.  I had spent over five decades imagining what the Phoenix kitchen looked like – never believing I would ever see it, never knowing it would take a lot of dead people to get me there.  No disrespect for the deceased, but certainly a high price to pay for admittance.  Nonetheless, I was there, deep into my dinner for ten, rolling apple pie dough with an oversized can of corn and cooking my maternal grandmother’s recipes like she once did without a measuring cup, or a 4 X 6 card retrieved from a tin box.

My grandmother taught me food was an elixir, the one constant that brings even mortal enemies together.  A kitchen can become a temporary center of the universe.  Guests converge in a space large or small, drawn together by conversation and the inviting aromas wafting out of the oven and under the lids of simmering pots.  We were a disconnected family in the Phoenix kitchen, strangers strung together by DNA trying to discard the mistakes of the past and open our hearts to the present. The magic of turning bags of groceries into a meal was the only way I knew to begin going forward with our lives.

We shopped in the morning, my father and me, taking an old GMC truck, by my request, from the five vehicles in his elaborate garage.  He said it was his cheapest car and seemed surprised I wanted to drive it.  “Press the metal thing over there,” he said – and when I did a loud melody blasted from the horn bringing back memories of a little girl on her daddy’s lap in an antique automobile. I smiled at him and he laughed as the two of us headed for the butcher shop in search of veal for Italian cutlets.  At the local market we combed the aisles for spices, ingredients for tomato sauce, squeezed and sniffed eggplant for the freshest picks, and even shared a cheese Danish over coffee in the Starbucks next to the wines and beers.  He and I had not been alone since I was six.  He looked at me afraid to blink for fear I might disappear, but he had been Houdini, not me.  I was not going anywhere.

The hard questions were behind us, the heavy ones, like why did you abandon me.  My father answered with sincerity, the pain of old decisions printed on his face. “I gave up,” he said, “I’m sorry.”  He escaped the threats of my mother’s family and in doing this turned his back on me, fleeing thousands of miles away with another woman, both of them determined to sever ties and begin over.  Nothing about the past could be changed, he said, only the present, if I would let him.

We talked, our heads together and our hands pushing the grocery cart up and down the aisles.  Talked as if the words would run out, trying to play catch-up to dusty, long lines of unspoken sentences.   He is engaging, a charismatic, ninety-year old dynamo of a man.  I cannot help but like him and understand why my mother fell in love with him so many years ago.  Cart overflowing, we stand in the check out line, the one designated for twelve items or less.  My father insists.  He knows the cashier, one of many people he knows and who knows him, a bit like shopping with the mayor, but he wants to introduce me.  “This is my daughter,” he says, and the woman nods with a nice to meet you and he beams.

That evening my father sat at the head of the table arms spread out before him requesting a prayer of thanksgiving.  Everyone clasped hands and closed eyes.  Puffs of steam floated above the platters circling our bowed heads forcing our gratitude to be brief.   The wine was poured, forks clinked against plates and we shared stories as if repeated a hundred times before.  Laughter filled the dining room, the sweetness of its sound pouring into the Phoenix kitchen.  My grandmother was right about two things, what we don’t understand often happens for a reason and good food is indeed good medicine.  It is the chicken soup for a cold, popsicles to soothe missing tonsils, the cake at a wedding and hot apple pie, fresh from the oven, served with vanilla ice cream and love.

 Blog what you see, feel, think and hear...

Happy Thanskgiving 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blog New Fiction Release

Every day a story of an unsuspecting hero makes the headlines-we are riveted to the details and in awe of the courage of the person involved.  I have long had a fascination with heroes, the idea of heroism in the pure sense of the word, the selfless act of giving your life to save another without thought of anything else.

My inspiration to write about an ordinary man or woman who is thrust into an extraordinary situation comes from reading the works of Joseph Campbell.  He viewed life as a dance –“the experience of being alive.”    He viewed mythology as the “song of the universe”-music we dance to even when don’t know the tune. Heroes – Mr. Campbell said of heroes that there were two types of heroic deeds. “One is the physical deed, in which the hero performs a courageous act in battle or saves lives.  The other kind is the spiritual deed, in which the hero learns to experience the supernormal range of human spiritual life and then comes back with a message.”

On Tuesday July 23 my new novel Room of Tears will be released by Imajin Books.  It will be available to order through Amazon and your local bookstores as a trade paperback and eBook through Amazon.  The buy links will be available just prior to the release.  One of the pre-publication reviewers (Chris Belden, author of Carry-on and Shriver) said this about Room of Tears: “For more than a decade writers have struggled to come to terms with the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and most have missed the mark-sentimental, tasteless, tone deaf.  Meditative, almost prayer-like, Room of Tears illuminates the search for meaning in tragedy, and comforts with the sense that, even in calamity, there is always a plan.”

Write what you think, hear, see and say…

Live each day well or write a book…



Monday, June 10, 2013

Blog the News



I am happy to announce the upcoming release of my third novel Room of Tears. Over the past thirteen years I have spent a lot of time writing-fulfilling my childhood dream, you could say.  My first book was self-published with the intention of giving copies as gifts to friends and family.  Little did I know that the thrill of holding a book with my name on it would cause such a ripple effect.

Number two novel took five years to create and it is the one I tell stories of writing while being a soccer mom.  When it found an indie publisher in late 2006 I thought nothing could be better.  Since that time my second novel had a birth, demise and a resurrection.  Titled Hudson Catalina she was re-released last fall by Imajin Books.  My deepest gratitude goes out to my publisher for believing in me and in my writing.

On July 23rd, just six weeks from now my third novel will be available as an eBook and paperback.  I can’t say too much except that its backdrop is 9/11.  Reviews are coming in from uncorrected galley readers and I am humbled from their praise.  May every reader be as moved as these early few. 

Mark your calendars-get ready for the best summer read of 2013.

Blog what you write, hear, think, see and say.

Live each day well or write a book.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Aquarius Blog


     Aquarius is in the business of making friends.  Friendship is paramount in a relationship with an Aquarius.  He or she can be your friend, your lover and in the end, your friend.  Platonic partnerships are not outside the norm for an Aquarius because this sign can become detached easily and this eliminates all the entanglements of intimacy.  In love or out Aquarius is the number one choice for a person you can talk to, the one you can call in the middle-of-the-night.

There is with every Aquarius a fine line between genius and insanity and often those born to this sun sign walk the perimeters of crazy.  This side of an Aquarian personality can be endearing and exciting.  A trip to the moon via mental telepathy or a picnic in the snow seems quite normal to an Aquarius. When stuff happens, and it does, they are not bogged down by emotions.   Aquarius can move through life analyzing the whys and what ifs.  This ability to stay disconnected emotionally works well in group situations when a leader is needed to keep the well being of all in mind, no favorites.  Aquarius prefers to support the underdog or to save the world.  He or she is a joiner or the person who forms clubs and organizations.  One for all is the slogan of Aquarius.

If you love an Aquarius understand the off-the-wall side of your partner.  On the exterior Aquarius appears calm and cool but inside there is a finely wired spirit.  Don’t get upset when plans change last minute, of he/she is late for dinner.  To be committed to an Aquarius is like being partners with the wind, which can delight you or blow you away.  If you can live without fixed routine then Aquarius can help you discover your bliss.

Sky Watch: Mercury goes dancing backwards on the 23rd of February.  Expect to feel the pull of that illusion early in the month.  Make decisions before the 23rd-speak your mind or hold your peace until after March 17th.

Aries (March 21-April 20) Aries may want to speak out before Mercury dances his backward dance but this is not likely.  Maybe you have laryngitis or perhaps you are too tired or no one is around.  Do not fret use this time to meditate and listen to your dreams.  Cosmic Advice: Your dreams are giving you answers-save them for next month

Taurus (April 21-May 20) Taurus has the opportunity to communicate with a group or club that works with a creative purpose or goal.  This group will be influenced by emotions and Taurus can be the person to make effective progress.  Cosmic Advice: Use your inner voice to guide you.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) Gemini although under the wings of lady luck may find it a challenge to communicate effectively to authority or to the public.  The degree of difficulty is measured not by what you have to say but to whom you are speaking.  Cosmic Advice: Find an audience for your words.  Put your words into action, put them on utube, and put them out there.

Cancer (June 22-July 22) Cancer has dreams and fantasies as do we all.  Your dreams can be a reality through higher learning, by having great faith or by the distance you travel.  Logic does not work-every word is about how you feel.  Cosmic Advice: You are the least among the signs to be taken advantage of this month.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Leo has a challenge with February’s dreamy mode of speech.  Being all fire and action puts you at a disadvantage.  Watch your health-keep hydrated but do not drink to excess.  People around you are easily influenced by emotions and not by logic.  People are lazy and you are not.  Cosmic Advice: Communicate clearly and hope for the best.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Virgo must rely on a partner for a good outcome to this daydreaming type of communication.  You are hard at work and your partner is fantasizing about a great vacation or something like that.  There is middle ground to every situation.  Cosmic Advice: Find dry land and go there-tell your partner to sleep it off.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Libra finds it difficult to get up for work.  Once there it is even more of a challenge to communicate with co-workers.  Skipping the gym is easy.  Forgetting to eat is a possibility.  Cosmic Advice: Do not daydream at your desk. Go for a walk at lunch. Don’t get sick.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Scorpio can use this dreamy way of communicating to play games.  Always up for taking a risk, you can do without logical people and can walk over those taking naps.  Cosmic Advice: Tap into your psychic side but don’t take advantage of anyone.

Sagittarius (November 22-december 21) Sagittarius is challenged by the decisions that arise within the family and at home.  Emotions are high and no one listens to logic.  Your frank way of communicating causes hurt feelings and tears.  Cosmic Advice: Keep in mind that family members can be easily influenced by strangers be on the lookout for anyone who does not have their best interest at heart.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Capricorn has several opportunities to communicate within the community.  If you are involved with a charity or live near the seaside or perhaps have a leadership role in the Sandy cleanup this is your month to shine.  Use your pragmatic approach to others influenced by their emotions. Cosmic Advice: Do not let anyone take advantage of those suffering.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18) Aquarius isn’t too affected by the slow motion-underwater communication going on.  What’s normal anyway?  Aquarius has no problem with discussing dreams or their meaning or planning a fantasy adventure for the future.  Cosmic Advice: You can help find the means to finance what appears to be a pie-in-the-sky goal.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Pisces handles the out-of-this-world mode of communication the best.  Use to daydreaming and living in a fantasy world, Pisces can work without logic and stay afloat within a sea of emotions.  Cosmic Advice: Use your rich imagination to make progress for March.

 Blog what you see, hear, feel, touch and say...

Live each day well...or write a book

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Blog New Year Predictions


Happy New Year 2013 and Happy Birthday Capricorn!!! Capricorn holds the secret to the fountain of youth.  They appear so practical and serious throughout their early years that everyone thinks Capricorns skipped childhood.  Patience is their finest quality and it would seem that Capricorns are holding out, patiently waiting until 29ish before letting down the wall of serious face.

Capricorn will get all the ducks in a row along with a 401K before committing to wild and random crazy stuff.  Remember the symbol of Capricorn is the tireless mountain goat.  Endurance and persistence motivates this earth sign to climb higher and reach for success.  The smell of money and the clink of change keep Capricorn interested.  They are the quintessential savers.

If you love a Capricorn do not expect a joint bank account.  Buy your lover the best of everything because to them looking good is key.  Do not, however, be fooled by their taciturn fa├žade because under the designer clothes lives a stand up-laugh-out-loud- comedian who will keep you rolling in the aisles right into retirement.

SKY WATCH: Do not expect to make history New Years Eve-that No Day Thing is sitting around from early evening until mid-day on the first.  Plans can take a turn or go sour.  Be as flexible as you can and your only memories will be the photos you take on your iphone.  Not a great way to make the switch from one year to the next but we’ve done it before and we can do it again.  Focus on the kindness you can do for others-in the end-that’s all that matters. Make your New Year’s resolutions later on January one.

Aries (March 21-April 20) Aries must focus (not easy) on opportunities that exist close to home.  Look into the community-talk to family-share what you have learned with others. Cosmic Advice: Put your chin out and stand straight-you look good and sound even better in the professional world of possibilities.

Taurus (April 21-May 20) Taurus can make resolutions but do not include a partner.  Solo promises are likely to be less work.  Expect the appearance of a friend whom you thought disappeared for awhile.  This act will continue with many versions.  Cosmic Advice: Do what you do best professionally-speak out and use examples that are far reaching.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) Gemini can make resolutions with a win-win attitude.  You are covered-someone has your back (and your front).  Do not grow complacent but enjoy the accolades.  Cosmic Advice: You wanted to discuss money and where it is coming from-check out the sources and ask questions-go on a trip if it means getting answers.

Cancer (June 22-July 22) Cancer can make a New Year’s promise to be better in a relationship no matter what.  This is where your heart is as the calendar flips to 2013.  Cosmic Advice: Your energy is funneled into combined resources and joint monetary decisions.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Leo is doing his or her best to please the important other half in his or her life.  As 2013 comes in your thoughts are centered on how you can balance your own needs with your partner.  Cosmic Advice: There does not seem to be a you in 2013.  Remember there are years like this and its okay.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Virgo has the best luck when it comes to fostering a career but the juggle at home is very demanding and puts restrictions on your accomplishments.  This is a cycle and with patience you can work things out and enjoy the balance of both.  Cosmic Advice: Stay grounded-pretty much there is no other choice.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Libra prefers to stay home for New Years.  Throwing a party has possibilities or maybe just a table for two in your own kitchen.  This staycation attitude marks the beginning of a similar year.  Cosmic Advice: Careful at work or in daily routine-things happen that go unexplained.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Scorpio can use his or her words to bolster a local opportunity.  The ongoing issue is your cement shoes outlook.  You can get yourself down easily.  Try to focus your resolutions on family and home gaining perspective on why family is so important.  Cosmic Advice: Long distance travel looks good for 2013.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Sagittarius talks money, how much belongs to him or her and the dynamic changes taking place both visible and invisible.   There is not much to stand on at home-the once favored castle of your life begins to lose favor. Cosmic Advice: Partnership holds the destiny you seek.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Capricorn manages to make New Year’s resolutions that stick.  Called persistent Capricorn can be silent but deadly.  Beware any plan that involves Capricorn taking over in business.  Remember: The choice would be a good one for any of a dozen reasons.  Cosmic Advice: Lady Luck rides the bus with you every day.  Stay to say thank you.
Aquarius (January 20-February 18) Aquarius bleeds to spend 2013 working towards a personal goal.  The world is conspiring in your favor.  Leave the lazy self home-get up and get out.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Pisces has the hand of god over his or her head.  This is a very spiritual beginning for the New Year.  Talk to people with experience in the types of groups you are looking to join.  Group activities are key to kicking off this New Year.  Look to folk who know what you need and how to get it.


Live each day well...or write a book

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blog Believe

Word of the Week

I've been hashtagging the word Believe for the past few weeks because of all the words in my dictionary I think this is the most powerful.  American Heritage defines Believe as follows: to accept as true or real and to have firm faith.  This word asks too much of us at times, asks that we believe when hope is gone and the reason to live has been crushed.  Believing isn't for everyone, if it was, believing would be easy.  

There is magic in this word, a simple, undefined sort of magic that lifts wilted spirits and brings us together in the darkest of times.  If for one day we could all believe, just one day, then perhaps it could be the beginning of a new trend, a new kind of hashtag for the planet.

Tweet believing, facebook believing, any kind of social media believing but do it, play it forward, believe.  Wake up on the twenty-fifth of December and make your first affirmation one word: BELIEVE.  See what happens next...

Blog what you see, feel, think, hear, say and believe.

Live each day well...or write a book.

Linda  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blog Interview with HUDSON CATALINA


1. Who are you and where do live?
My name is Hudson Catalina-no, not the river but the car, a Hudson Jet, 1955 and not the car but the island, Catalina off the coast of California.  The book titled-HUDSONCATALINA-written by fiction author, Linda Merlino, is about me, my story and where I live, Ten Nettles Cove in Gloucester Massachusetts, that’s where we live, me, my family and our dog.
2. What is your story?
I am thirty-eight, a mother of four children, the wife of a loving husband and I have breast cancer.  My story takes place in twenty-four hours during the worst blizzard that Cape Ann has experienced in many decades.  This morning I lost all hope of surviving my disease.  Depressed and cynical I went to my chemotherapy session while my family got snowbound at my mother-in-laws.  I took the old pick up out into the storm after I was dropped off at home from the hospital by my best friend Kathy. I didn’t tell her I was going to buy all-occasion decorations for my daughter’s fifth birthday party tomorrow.  I figured I’d be dead from cancer before Annalise turned six.  Now I’m afraid that I’m dead before she turns five.
3. Are you the hero of your own story?
Readers will have to decide about the heroes in my story.  What I can tell you is that the grocery cart collector that I met at Whales Market –he’s my idea of a hero.  Some people might disagree. They might argue that Willy Wu, that’s his name, isn’t capable of being a hero in the true sense of heroism.  Which to me, means giving up your life for another-pure and simple.  See, Willy is autistic and no one really knows how much he processes, but Ruby Desmond, the market’s owner, she said that Willy was special.  I believe that.  Willy saved my life, I think, I’m still not sure.
4. What do you regret?
I regret that I gave my family such a hard time this morning.  Most of all I regret not telling my husband, Jack Emerald, that I love him and not kissing him before I left for the hospital.  Now I’m not sure whether I’m alive or dead and the thought of not being able to whisper…Jack like the beanstalk-Emerald like your eyes-Jack Emerald I love you, breaks my heart.
5. Who was your first love?
Jack Emerald is my first love, my only love and my one true love.  He is my best friend’s brother.  I had a crush on him when we were teenagers and he played high school basketball.  Kathy and I would go to the games and root for Beanstalk Emerald.  I never knew he loved me too.  Not until later, after college, after his father died out on the ocean like so many fishermen who work on the sea.
6. What, if anything, haunts you?
I am haunted by my demon…death.  He wears a hood and stalks the periphery.  Since I was fourteen he’s been dogging my heels.
7. Have you ever failed at anything or failed anyone?
Today I feel like a failure.  I could line up my whole family starting with my mother, Anna O’Malley and say yes I failed you all by giving up hope.
8. Do you have any distinguishing marks?
I am bald, except for a few stubborn patches of hair on my scalp and the front of me is like the back of me and you can’t tell which end of me is up or down.
9. Do you like remembering your childhood?
Not really-my brother and I had an okay childhood until my mother got sick and my dad brought us to live with our grandparents on Cape Ann.  My brother thought nothing of it, but I was a resentful fourteen year old.
10. Did you get along with your parents?
As a little girl I thought my parents were the best-they were so in love and they passed that on to my brother and me.  When my mother got sick from breast cancer and our world turned inside out, I blamed my father for everything.  Teenagers do that-they are selfish-I was the queen of selfish.
11. What in your past when you like to forget? 
I’d like to forget my mother’s wake.  The way the funeral home smelled of gladiola’s and old people’s stale perfume. 
12.  What in your past had the most profound effect on you?
My mother dying of breast cancer turned into a familial legacy.  Later I found out that her mother died of breast cancer as well, and since I was Anna O’Malley’s only daughter I was sure the same fate awaited me and now I fear the same destiny for my daughter, Annalise.
13. Was there a major turning point in your life?
Yes, coming here to Whales Market changed everything.  Willy Wu, Ruby Desmond and I are hostages of a killer named Buddy Baker.  Nothing will ever be the same again.

Join #imajin authors for Twitter Party Dec 14-16 lots of prizes and #giveaways go to #imajinbooks for more info...

Blog what you see, feel, hear and think...

Live each day well...or write a book.