The Private Library at Hearst Castle is Stunning!

HEARST LIBRARY – September 2016

William Randolph Hearst was an avid collector of literature. His library and study are magnificent to view.  I had the privilege of touring the castle in September. I encourage every writer to visit the grounds for inspiration. The magnitude of the art and the beauty of the architecture is atounding. Creating authentic scenes for you characters to thrive is easy after a day in the castle.  

Auto Companion? Would you want One?

Toyota Creates A Robot to Keep a Driver Company

Toyota Creates A Robot to Keep a Driver Company

Toyota is Releasing a Robotic Companion for Long Car Rides

At release, the robot can carry out conversations exclusively in Japanese. Hand gestures, facial expression, and even the tone of speaking changes according to the mood of the conversation. Aside from listening, a built-in camera also lets the Kirobo Mini look at who it is talking to and identify people’s facial expressions so it can respond accordingly.

Because of the robot’s diminutive size, most of the processing happens elsewhere. The Kirobo requires pairing with a smartphone via Bluetooth to work. A dedicated cloud service for the Kirobo by Toyota is also required, which costs an additional $3 a month. The robot itself costs $387.

As of writing, the Kirobo Mini will only be available in Japan, for sale at select car dealerships.

Aside from just providing small talk, the Kirobo Mini wants to literally give a humanoid face to the future home. The robot can comment about your driving and help you navigate. Just as you pull up the driveway, the robot can remind you that a hot bath is running for you and whatever smart home appliances are activated upon your arrival.Algorithms that run the robot are self-learning, making it respond better with further use. It also can make memories, is able to log places visited and other information such as words the user has said to use if ever they become relevant again. Aside from just being a chatterbox, Toyota has a bigger purpose for the robot. The official Kirobo Mini website reads:

“Imagine how driving would change if Kirobo Mini’s technology was integrated into Toyota vehicles: we could assimilate hours of data to better the everyday lives of drivers all over the world, informing future innovations and developing transport that’s in tune with the driver’s mood, suggesting places to visit, routes to travel and music to listen to.”



My wonderful husband surprised me with tickets to HawaiiCon! He is supporting my writing…and my Science Fiction addiction!!!

We got to meet Chekov (Walter Koenig)!!!

The Spirit of Writing

While writing my novel, there were times it seemed more like taking dictation. I could barely keep up with all the information my characters wanted or needed to share. Plot twists and background ideas popped in my head at the strangest of times and places, too. 

It reminded me of a young child tugging on their mom’s blouse, vying for attention:

“Don’t forget! I didn’t want Trammel to see the android assembly line,” Helena said.

“Remember the blood stains on my dad’s backpack,” Chase said.

“Be sure to mention my metal vest, again,” Trammel said.

I won’t forget, I’ll remember. I reassured myself.

Individuals, who choose not to write, might consider me crazy…and perhaps I am to a degree. Notice I said, “choose not to write”, that is because I feel we all have a story to tell. I think everyone should write a little everyday of anything that comes to mind. Either add an entry to a journal or indulge in fantasy.

For me, fictional writing is a form of “playing pretend”… allowing myself to explore different worlds or address those feeling within, that I would never act upon in real life.

I encourage you to begin your journey, if you haven’t already. Start writing anywhere you can. 

I wrote my first draft of, Trammel ─ The Code of Humanity, on my smart phone. I keyed away, while waiting in line at the supermarket or sitting with sick relatives, or during commercial breaks while watching my Dallas Cowboys play. 

If you are waiting for the perfect time or setting, you will never begin…there isn’t such a place. Distractions are around us, even in our writing havens. 

So, let your characters speak to you while engaged in your everyday tasks. Text or email yourself ideas. Also, there are many apps for smartphones to help you write a book. Find one you like and take that first step. Get in the spirit of writing today! Put the voices in your head to good use!

A Different Prospective!

Taylor, Avery and Braylee

One afternoon, my young granddaughter, Avery, looked through an old photo album. 

“Why do they look like that?” She asked. 

“It was a long time ago, people wore different styles of clothes,” my daughter said. 

Avery squinted her eyes and bit her lip. She turned a few more pages before slamming the book closed. “Oh, man, I’m glad I wasn’t born back then…I don’t think I would look good in black and white!” Lol


I have a friend that is an incredible photographer. Really, there isn’t a word to describe his artistry…except awe inspiring! Here is another one of Alejandro Gutierrez breathtaking photos!

How Can a Beta Reader Help Me?

Casual bearded businessman reading document paper close up business man face modern office low angle view

When writing a novel, we need unbiased readers to give us honest critiques of our work.

It’s hard for friends and family to remain objective. And, for me, when they say, “I loved it!”—I still doubt they’re telling me their true feelings. It’s a crazy cycle of hope and disbelief… And I ask them a thousand times: “Really? You really liked it?”

So, what’s a writer to do? Lucky for me, I found an independent consulting firm that specializes in all types of needs for a writer. 

Quiethouse Editing provides more than editing services; they also offer access to a bank of beta readers. For a small fee, a writer can hire several readers for any genre to assess their manuscript. They’ll place detailed notes on your draft and complete a comprehensive questionnaire.

I received three great beta reader reports! Although, one of the readers didn’t like my story at all!  

Strangely enough, I might have learned more from the reader that didn’t like my novel than from the other two that loved my book. Either way, all of their thoughtful reports allowed me to address areas in my story I might change.

I know it can be scary to allow someone to read your novel. Believe me, I chewed my nails off to the quick the first time, but it’s worth it!

If you are serious about being a good writer, you must let others read your works.

There are other ways to acquire beta readers; you can join writing groups and forums. Whichever method you choose, today’s the day! Find one and let them read!


Wallflower or Prizefighter?

Bad things must happen to our beloved characters.

We may enjoy picturing our handsome hero sitting at the corner café drinking a Chardonnay and scrolling through the daily news. But we’ll bore our readers unless something spectacular happens. Character development can only occur through the personal trials we create for them. Saying our protagonist is a hero means nothing; we must show why he is a hero. Perhaps on this same sunny day, the Running of the Bulls takes a fateful turn and the massive creatures  stampede through a street barricade. Moments before a raging bovine tosses  our Mr. Wonderful high in the air, along with his salmon-and-kale salad,  he pushes the oblivious waiter to safety. Self-sacrificing, fast reacting—now there’s an inspiring hero.

What traps and trials have you devised for your characters?

  1. Do their reactions fit the chaotic scenes?
  2. Are they fully engaged?
  3. Or are they always above the fray and untouchable?

If number 3 represents them best, then your audience will hold them at arm’s length. To create a character worthy of reader admiration, you must hit them with some solid punches. It’s best to eliminate all “wallflowers” from your story and create convincing “prizefighters” instead.