Wednesday, November 02, 2011


CONGRATULATIONS Jo! You’re the October winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Laura Marie Altom and Barbara White Daille through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Simple and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Far-flung friends

I hesitate to use the phrase “It’s a Small World,” because every time I do, that theme from the Disneyland Small World attraction gets stuck in my head and won’t go away. La-la-la-la…oh, just shoot me.

No, wait! I mean, shoot me over to Europe for a visit.

Once upon a time, I spent six months in Italy and another six months traveling on a playwriting fellowship. These days, I stick close to home in Southern California with my husband of 33 years, my garden and my wonderful writing friends from Romance Writers of America’s Orange County Chapter (check out If you’re in the area, come to a meeting).

But it is, as they say, a diminutive globe.

I teach writing through Long Ridge Writers Group, and some of my students email their lessons from far-away places. South Africa, for instance. The UK. All over the U.S. and Canada.

The characters in my books, who often seem almost as real to me as the people I know, also come from a variety of places—almost always somewhere I’ve lived or visited. In my October release, The Surgeon’s Surprise Twins, the hero, Dr. Owen Tartikoff, is from Boston. He just moved to Southern California to head the fertility program at my fictional Safe Harbor Medical Center. As for me, I went to college near Boston (Brandeis University).

Then there’s Croatia. Never been there. But I have a friend in Zagreb.

It all came about because of a photograph. If I post it right, you can see the beautiful cover of my Regency romance, Song for a Lady, which I’ve reissued in a digital edition.

I found this photo on a website that allows people to download and use images for free. So far, so good. I credited the Croatian photographer, Darko Skender, in my publicity.

Then I heard from him. He never lets people use his photos commercially and was unhappy to discover his photo on my cover. Of course, I offered to take it down. Then this kind man—a retired police officer—decided to be generous and let me use it anyway. We emailed a bit, and ended up as friends. We even Tweet.

As it happens, my mother also has a friend in Zagreb, Hanibal Salvaro, a distinguished ceramic artist. No, he and my new friend aren’t acquainted, but I have a feeling they’ll meet one of these days.

After all, it’s a minuscule sphere.