Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Bliss

Update to THE LIAR'S DIARY/American Cancer Society challenge: If you are new to this thread, read the post below, A Double Shot of Patry and A Hit of Bliss.

As of this moment, THE LIAR'S DIARY is the #350 in overall sales at's all books: non-fiction, children's books, genre fiction, the whole rainforest of books. In the Mystery & Thriller/Psychological & Suspence category, it is NUMBER ONE.

Six of my blog readers bought the book, or are intending to buy the book, which brings my donation to the American Cancer Society to $60.

The challenge runs through Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Double Shot of Patry and a Hit of Bliss

Patry Francis woke me up last November with her blog post called Two Ounces of Bliss. In her quiet and gracious way, Patry revealed that she has an aggressive form of cancer and is undergoing treatment. I admit, the last thing I thought of was bliss.

Cancer stole my sister at the age of 29 and defeated a team of doctors treating my mother four years ago. I've lost several other family members and friends to this ancient enemy and the news that Patry was suffering put another shadow on the horizon. Cancer is a biological terrorist that plays no favorites, makes no promises, and can't be trusted.

I met Patry through Backspace, an online writer's community and followed her journey from waitress to published novelist. I met Patry in person at last year’s Backspace convention in New York, then later in the summer I wrote a short review of her novel THE LIAR’S DIARY in my post, “Books I Read On Vacation.” It was a small review, but the book and its author left a deep impression. Let me tell you why Patry is so special to me.

We are both former waitresses. I moved away from my parent’s home and to the beach one month before my 19th birthday and supported myself waitressing at a coffee shop called Jojo’s. I dropped in and out of college during my waitressing years, always searching for some way to party and study, work and play, live and exist. I met the most wonderful people working at restaurants, including Candy, my former roommate and lifelong friend. Candy met her husband, Howie in a restaurant, and like Patry and her husband Ted, has been married for more than 25 years.

There were times, though, when I thought I’d never get free of waitressing. I struggled to stay in college while supporting myself. I knew I wanted to be a writer and always felt I had stories inside me. People confided in me while I waited on them. A man and a woman who were married to other people always asked for my station because they knew I was discreet. I was the messenger of a marriage proposal on the patio of Orange Hill Restaurant, the most romantic overlook in all of Orange County. A Hindu Indian family always asked for me because I gave them cheerful service although they always ordered cheese enchiladas, the cheapest thing on the menu and the only vegetarian entrĂ©e.

I took a job as an intern for a magazine called CCM and left waitressing behind forever. But like they say about the Marines, I found it to be “Once a waitress, always a waitress.” I connected with Patry about waitressing and found amusement and inspiration in her blog Simply Wait.

The paperback release of THE LIAR’S DIARY, comes out today. Books don't sell themselves. Most authors do a tremendous amount of travel, book readings and signings, and just about any kind of promotion to help readers find their books. While Patry is recouperating and healing, a group of more than 300 writers and bloggers are joining together to promote on her behalf.
We want Patry’s book to fly off the brick and mortar shelves, we want Amazon, Powells, and the online sites to run through their stock. We want a second and third print run. We want today to be Patry Francis day. But most of all, we want Patry to be well.

If you'd like to see a complete list of blogs posting for Patry today, visit LitPark. You can hear an audio clip of THE LIAR'S DIARY courtesy of Brilliance audio, and a smart video trailer of the book.

I began this post with a diatribe against cancer. Now I’ll end it with a challenge: I will donate $10 to the American Cancer Society in Patry’s honor for every one of my regular readers who buys THE LIAR’S DIARY. To participate, leave a comment here with your intention, then email me a copy of your sales receipt. The challenge will continue through Valentine’s Day, when I will post the amount we’ve collected in the Ovations fight against cancer.
Update: Penguin Group, publisher of THE LIAR'S DIARY is offering a 15% discount if you order direct from them. To receive the discount, type PATRY in the code field. Here's the link.

Now for those two ounces of bliss.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Water For Elephants, Hay For Horses

If you've been reading Ovations for any length of time, you know I am an animal lover. I live in an area of Southern California known as Horsetown USA. My next door neighbor has horses who I visit every day. I would have a horse, except for the maintence it takes to care for them well. Some people have this gift. My gorgeous neighbor across the street looks like she could live on Wisteria Lane, but she'd rather be scraping her horse's hooves than cohorting with desperate housewives.

Recently two horse rescue organizations have come to my attention that have gripped my heart. My friend Carol sent me an email from a horse rescue organization in Maryland called HorseNet Horse Rescue that is in dire need of ongoing funding. On the same day a writer friend of mine, Sara Gruen, author of the bestselling WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and two other novels with equestrian themes, posted a note in our writer's group about the plight of horses in the drought-stricken South.

This is what Sara posted at our writer's group:

The Southern states suffered a drought this year that devastated pasture and created a severe hay shortage. Horses are starving--even people who can afford the vastly increased cost of hay ($2.50/bale, now up to $12/bale) are having trouble finding it.

Emaciated horses are being set loose on backroads, in National parks, and even left abandoned in trailers in parking lots. The horse rescues that are taking them in are suffering from the same lack of hay and are desperate to feed these animals. I and two other horsey/writerly types (another novelist and a screenwriter), and a really wonderful vet have created a hay fund. We personally financed the first load, and a big rig with 945 bales of compressed hay is on its way to Tennessee at this very moment and will arrive on Saturday. A high school class has volunteered to unload for us at the other end.

We're trying desperately to put together another couple of loads to send to other states as soon as possible. Come spring, if we get rain, some of the
pasture will come back, but right now, in wintertime, there is absolutely
nothing for these horses to eat. If you can help, please do! We are four people
working with laptops and telephones, so every cent you donate will go to hay and transport. We have no overhead (other than the fee that PayPal and the credit card companies charge). We are a 501c3, so all donations are tax deductible.

I believe we have a human obligation to care for animals--particularly those that depend on humans to live. If you agree, will you consider donating to these two wonderful organizations.

For emergency feed to starving horses in the South: The Hay Fund operated by Fairfield Equine, and spearheaded by Sara Gruen; Beth Helms, author of the soon-to-be released novel DERVISHES, and screenwriter, Dana Katselas.

To setup an automated monthly pledge or give a one-time-donation: HorseNet Horse Rescue of Maryland.

Your heart will thank you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What do you notice?

LitPark has an interview with Dan Passamaneck about observation. I found his remarks so true to the core that you'll just have to read them at LitPark.

After you've read Dan's Five five reasons why it's important to notice what's going on around you, leave a list of five things you noticed today (or yesterday) and then come back here and copy your list.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Faces of Beauty: Women in Art

This is one of the most brilliant digital compositions I've yet to behold. It was created by a digital artist who calls himself eggman913. After checking deeper into his YouTube profile, I discovered he has quite an impressive digital portfolio there. If you don't see the video box below, just wait for a moment; it should load momentarily.

Thanks to my friend Shari, who first posted this in Facebook, I've crawled out of my blogging cave to share it with you. Enjoy!