Posts filed under ‘Events’

I’m running for Mayor!

Here’s my draft logo for my campaign for Mayor of Pismo Beach.

Election Day Nov 8, 2016.
MAYOR email

August 17, 2016 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts from the Central Coast Writer’s Conference

It’s been more than 24 hours since the Central Coast Writer’s Conference 2015. I’m hoping that enough time has elapsed that I can succinctly convey the experience and all that I took away.

First let me say, it was my first writer’s conference and my first book fair. When I look at the photo of my little booth, I confess I  cringe. Yet I share the pic with you because Chantelle Aimée Osman said in a workshop on writing Mystery, “Don’t hide your work.” I do that. I do just that. And I intend to change.

Getting set up for the book fair. Perfectionist that I am, I cringe a little, but there it is.

Getting set up for the book fair. Perfectionist that I am, I cringe a little, but there it is.

I fell quite by accident into the opportunity of judging the Golden Quills writing contest in three categories: Poetry, Flash Fiction and Short Fiction. My tit for tat for that labor of love was free entry to the conference, a place on two panel discussions, an invitation to the marvelous oceanfront, rooftop party for staff and presenters only, and a gratis table at the book fair. I’d say that I came out way ahead. Especially when it turned out that one of my fellow judges was English historical detective fiction author Anne Perry. I’m told I can use her name in my resumé. I’m not sure how that works, but then I freely admit, I’m new to this game.

My first panel discussion was at the boot camp for beginning writers. Christy Halsell, LeeAnne Krusemark and I were slated to talk about New Writing Technologies (Blogging and Twitter) from 1:30-2:00. Pulled together at 12:55, we were told, “You’re up now. Until 2.” With a precision teamwork that might have been orchestrated but which was utterly ad lib, we pulled it off with admirable aplomb. The key was to talk straight, keep it simple and then open up to questions. With a room of a hundred or so new writers, there were plenty of those.

The second panel discussion took place on the rooftop terrace where we’d partied the night before. The blue Pacific stretched without a ripple to a cloudless horizon. The sun blazed; the air was still and hot. Four women writers answered a few questions about “Finding Inspiration.” Verbose as we are, we managed to fill the hour. No questions from the audience, which I would have enjoyed. I quite adore speaking off the cuff.

When asked with whom we share our ideas, a fellow panelist confessed that she shares with no one out of fear of her ideas being stolen. I was so stunned by this concept that I probably went a little too far by saying that my books are so complex and so utterly me that I didn’t think anyone else could pull them off. Oh well, I am known for speaking my mind.

The book fair bombed. Foot traffic was sparse. The day was too hot. Anyone with any sense was at the beach. I did share my umbrella shade with a lively author named Corey Lynn Fayman whose good cheer and company made the time pass with laughs. Potential readers cruised by my voluminous books to finger his two thin novels.  I heard him say over and over in just one little sentence, “These are mystery detective.” I saw him sell the thinnest.

Oh, how I envied that he said everything about his books in just those few words. Right then and there, I decided that no matter that I have ideas for three more books in my Red Mirror Series, the next book I write will be to a genre and skinny.

I have to give Jonathan Maberry special mention.  He is the nicest successful author one could ever hope to meet. A teddy bear with huge heart. I ended up in his workshop “Horror Horror,” not because I have any talent for that genre, but because he was so engaging at the grand panel discussion that I simply wanted to be in the same room with him. The gods smiled on me, and I met him again at the rooftop party – a gathering tantamount to Mount Olympus for a novice like me. Elevated. Yes, I definitely felt elevated.

Three cheers for the Central Coast Writer’s Conference. Thank you to Teri Bayus for her leadership and spunk. Yes, there were some hiccups and blemishes, but those are best mentioned in the evaluation form. I prefer to focus on the good, of which there was plenty to experience at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference 2015. Twitter #CCWC2015.

Central Coast Writer’s Conference
Teri Bayus Website
Jonathan Maberry Website
Corey Lynn Fayman Website
Chantelle Aimee Osman Website
LeeAnne Krusemark Facebook
Christy Halsell Website
Anne Perry Website


September 22, 2015 at 4:35 pm 2 comments

First Day of Spring and My Wedding Anniversary

Wedding Picture smiling

March 20, 1975. Mexico City, Coyoacan. First Day of Spring. First Day of Marriage. I became Sandra Gore de Nielsen.

wedding serious

Here we are in a more contemplative moment. I wasn’t entirely sure of everything the judge was saying (very rapid Spanish), but I believe it was something about marriage being the only legitimate institution for the propagation of children. 

March 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm 3 comments

An almost Greek symposium at the Malibu Getty

Malibu Getty Tasting of 4 wines created in clay amphorae in the ancient way. The wines came from Northern Italy, Sicily, Santorini (Greece) and Napa.

It wasn’t quite Mt. Olympus, but with very little imagination at the Malibu Getty on Jul 21, you could see yourself as a Greek aristocrat roaming the grounds of a lush villa, preparing for a wild drinking night at a classical Greek symposium (symposion).

At least, I had no problem projecting myself back 2500 years into Athena in Korinth, Greece with Hektor at Xenon’s pleasure villa by the sea.

Del Dotto 2009 Napa Valley Zinfandel ‘clay vessel fermented.’ LOVE this bottle.

We started out the evening at 5pm when the Getty Malibu Roman Villa Museum closed, and we gathered in the auditorium for a wonderful talk by historian Oswyn Murray of Oxford University. In the fine way that the Brits do so very well, Murray informed and entertained with his dry wit and rich display of images.

I felt great relief that the symposium I describe in Chapter 3 of Athena (The Egypt Trilogy) is right on target. There was a little dismay when Murray declared that food was served first and almost never during the Greek symposium (drinking party) itself. A conversation with him afterwards assured me that customs certainly varied, and that food could very well have been part of a symposium in Korinth in 200 BC Greece.

Whew! No need to rewrite Chapter 3 of Athena and remove all mention of “whole roast lamb appearing in an aromatic cloud of rosemary and garlic.”

Here’s a list of the wines served:
2001 Gravner Anfora Bianco Breg, Friuli-Venezia-Guilia, Italy
2009 Azienda Agricola COS Pithos, Sicily, Italy
2009 Del Dotto Clay Vessel Zinfandel, Napa Valley, California (see photo)
2010 Domaine Sigalas Asirtiko Athiri, Santorini, Greece

Unfortunately, our wine was not served in drinking cups such as this kylix on display at the Getty. Oh well…maybe in another life?


July 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm 2 comments

My talk on Creativity and the 7 C’s – Life Choices: The Event Mar 25

Speaker at Life Choices Event Tropicana Hotel Las VegasI’m putting together the final touches on my talk in Las Vegas this weekend at Life Choices: The Event. I’ve developed something I call the 7 C’s of filling the canvas of your life. Creativity is just one of the C’s, but as we writers and artists know, it’s critical to everything that we do.

It’s always a surprise to hear that people don’t believe they are creative – and even more startling, that they don’t believe they can BE creative. I just can’t accept that. Everyone MUST be able to fire up their creativity, even if they can’t be on first name basis with the Muses as some lucky souls are.

What are my 7 C’s?

1. Choice. The decision to act. 1st choice: That you choose to act. 2nd choice: What you choose to do. 3rd choice: How you choose to make it happen.
2. Creativity. Fill the canvas of your life in your own special, unique way that’s not like anyone else. Copying is NOT one of my 7 C’s.
3. Craft. Your individual talents and skills impact your ability to manifest  the ideas that spring from your creative inspiration.
4. Color. How warm or cool is your personality palette? How bold or how nuanced? Will you be shades of monochrome or a rainbow?
5. Courage. You can’t play it safe. Mistakes are good. That’s how we learn. Conquer not only fear of failure, but also of being different.
6. Commitment. Any long time goal requires re-committing every day. If you fall off the wagon, you got to get back on again. As Heraclitus said many centuries ago, “The sun is new each day.”
7. Craziness. You just can’t be too sane. You have to fly a little. “Crazy and proud of it!”

Our lives are like the blank canvas of a painter. Or the blank page of a writer. We’re given some basic tools to start out; some have more than others. But our choice is to paint how we want to live – or to let others do it for us. We can copy what someone has already done. We can even be masters at it.

But the White Moments, the bliss and the Zen come we are creating. That’s when we feel we are living more fully than during the rest of life. We feel good – good about the world and good about ourselves. We are full of hope.

The next part of my talk focuses on what you can do to be more creative. I’ll cover that in another post.

Launch date Mar 25, 2012

Sunday, March 25 is also the launch date of the fourth of the Life Choices Anthologies: It’s Never Too Late. My piece is called “Road to Vegas” where I talk about my journey to becoming a writer in the years when the peaks of my life might have been over. Instead, I’m having more fun, working harder and am more creative than I’ve ever been. Cheers to the Muses! May they sing forever in my ear.

March 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

Life Choices: The Event in Las Vegas at the Hotel Tropicana

Speaker at Life Choices Event Tropicana Hotel Las Vegas

Once in while, not often, quite rarely in fact, a person comes into your life who shakes things up. Sometimes you don’t realize it at the time, but only when you look back from a new place, do you see the change. The shift might have been that subtle. But because of them, you made a life choice that set you on a new path.

Judi Moreo did that for me. Her belief in me and her words, You are more than enough, kept me going when I might have given up. Now you have a chance to meet Judi and hear her message in Las Vegas in March. And as a special little treat, you can hear me too! 🙂

Yes, I’ll be speaking on the same program as Judi Moreo. I can hardly believe it myself. So many dreams coming true! But I wouldn’t be sharing this great weekend with Judi and the other authors of “Life Choices: It’s Never Too Late” or with the keynote speakers Jeff Civillico, Anne Abernathy, Casey McNeal, Tim Goodenough and Aimmee Kodachian if I hadn’t made the choice to accept. I could have given in to my fears and doubts and said “no.”

The day I decided to speak at Life Choices: The Event, I had a nightmare. I dreamed I walked through the doors at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas and could think of nothing to say. My mind was a complete blank. Of course, I woke up in a sweat. Of course, it meant I have stage fright. I hope you won’t see that on March 25th. 🙂

If you are struggling with finding your life purpose – if you feel disappointed in what you’ve achieved – if you’ve always wanted to do something, but never dared – ACT NOW! Come to Las Vegas in March. Spend the weekend with people who have changed their lives, who have fulfilled their dreams – and with others who want the same thing, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it.

It costs a little money and effort. Most things of value do. But if you register before Jan 31, you’ll get a big discount and the chance to bring a friend at a fraction of the fee. You can pay a small deposit now and the remainder in installments. You’ll even get fed! There’s a welcome reception, a Saturday lunch and a Sunday brunch included. You can lunch with one of the Life Choices authors and have the chance to talk with them personally about the choices they made in their lives that got them where they are today.

Register Now! Get the Super Early Bird discount and bring a friend. Go to this link:  Life Choices: The Event
Please use PYPSN in the speaker code box so I’ll be notified you signed up. 

note:  The Hotel Tropicana has been recently renovated. It’s beautiful! All in white.

January 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm 2 comments

Sex and Zen of Shopping radio interview Monday July 18

I’ll be doing a fun radio interview on Sex and the Zen of Shopping with Michelle Phillips, radio hostess, celebrity make-up artist, life coach and author. Woo Hoo. We should have a ball talking about  the mysteries of the Universe and how they relate to shopping and self-esteem.

Michelle’s radio show is “The Beauty Blueprint”
Time and Date: Next Monday, July 18 at 12:35 EDT, 9:35 am PDT

If you miss it, you can listen any time during the week after at this link:

I’d love for you to tune in “live,” but there’s always the archive if you can’t. The show will only be available from July 18th thru the 25th, so if you want to listen, tune in during that week.

HAYHOUSE Radio is billed as “radio for your soul.” Denise Linn, spiritual coach and Feng Shui master, is one of the many turned on and high-level consciousness radio hosts.  HAYHOUSE Radio also has outlets in the UK, Australia and India.

Michelle Phillips, radio show hostess, celebrity make-up artist, life coach, author, speaker, wife and mother

Michelle Phillips is just another multi-talented, dynamic, beautiful wife, mother and superstar! Sigh. Are you green with envy yet? OK – Here’s the whammy: Her new book “The Beauty Blueprint” is due out soon. Go girls! We are good!

Check her out at: and Michele Phillips Fan Page.

And don’t forget to tune in to our interview: Sex and the Zen of Shopping. Woo Hoo!

July 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

Follow me on Twitter!

Flickr Photos

Recent Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,487 other followers

%d bloggers like this: