HAPPY 2011!

Let's welcome in the new year with a lot of reading. Olivia has been reading Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye and Oryx and Crake. She has finished reading Gabrial Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude for the seond time. Love that magical realism! Try it; you might like it. For starters, Read Gunter Grass' The Tin Drum, Carlos Funetes' Terra Nostra and Salman Rushdi Satanic Verses.


Fifteen of Olivia's and Rod's books are now available through Kindle ranging in price from .99 to $2.99. Please check them out and order a copy. They will greatly appreciate also your posting a customer review on Amazon. We know there were many eReaders under the Christmas tree Dec. 2010 and more to arrive soon as birthday presents, mother's and father's day gifts.

Rod's science-fiction trilogy: A Nepenthean Solution, Flight of the Solar Archangel and Prides of Sol are doing extremely well, sales falling in the top 100 in their cateogy on Kindle. His historical novel Khalifa, was published in December 2010. The 11th century events it depicts are relevant to current international affairs.

In January 2011 look for Olivia's latest novel Delayed Reaction, a shift in tone from her usual works. Look for the Kindle Edition in early 2011. Rod is preparing The Penultimate Summer, a post-apocalyptic novel, now for Kindle publication.

Olivia's latest project is a thematic poetry collection entitled Playground. Each poem treats of a different childhood activity. As she writes in the introduction:

"Perhaps in a hundred years American children will not know the rules for Statue Maker, Red Rover or Hopscotch.  Perhaps no one will remember any of the verses of jump rope chants without consulting archives. A childhood without electronic gadgets was magical. Physical exercise and expansion of the imagination were its hallmarks.In writing these poems I was ever mindful of Walt Whitman’s evocation of the child in “Leaves of Grass,” who, enchanted by a blade of grass, brings a fistful to him, asking “What is the grass?” In his wisdom Whitman acknowledges that adult wisdom is no greater than a child’s.Through the activities that form the subjects of these poems, children intuitively acquired knowledge about life, nature and human relations.  That fresh, perceptive and keen observation of the world is a quality not to be dimmed by advancing years.  I offer these poems for the reader to experience child-like exuberance.  My aim is that this collection will evoke those first joyous encounters with life."

Here is a sample poem from the collection:

The Best Toy

The best toy does not cost a single dime.
It’s a gift of gods left on the front lawn,
A cardboard pirate’s cave, a secret hut;
Our pleasure to rescue this grounded ship.

It’s anything splendid we wish it to be.
The new refrigerator like a jumping Jack
Pops out the box and shines in the house
But we have what can contain all the fun.

Discarded treasure, mother’s junk, but to us
The realm of Robin Hood and Maid Marian
Inside waiting in ambush for Prince John
To pass upon his snorting black stallion.

This is no ordinary carton, for it slides;
It rolls and tumbles downhill, not meant
Only for hiding but for barrel rides,
A kid laughing and hollering inside.

Mangled, no longer square, it’s a dogsled
We drag over frozen Yukon to town.
Our huskies have died in the blizzard:
The fault of a silly refrigerator box.

Olivia attended the Southern California Writers' Conterence in San Diego Feb. 12-15, 2010.This is the best writers' conference, bar none (even Squaw Valley Community of Writers') that she has ever attended. The small critique sessions were well-conducted and all the presentations were extremely helpful for the aspiring author. There was something for everyone at this conference. It also afforded opportunities for one-on-one sessions with editors and agents. If there is one writers' conference you attend, make it this one. It claims to invite only agents and editors who are actively looking for clients, not just looking for a free trip to sunny California, and its claim is true. Several writers did acquire agents at the conference.

First Paragraphs from Novels:

Voice of Stone: This was a time when stones spoke to the inhabitants of the Andean heights and when caves held the people's history. No voices cried out in anguish. The sons and daughters of the Sun listened to wind and water and shaped the rocks of their beloved mountains according to the will of the Inca.

Conquistadora: At first sight of shore, Beatriz, one of two women aboard the Spanish galleon of adventurers, doubted that the godforsaken land held hidden any treasure worth the risky transatlantic voyage, the overland jungle trek across the isthmus and the sail following trade winds along the coast of the continent. Sandy hills stretched as far as the eye could see north and south of the sun-splashed beach. Rolling waves, gentle on this day of February 1533 lashed the low shoreline in undulating swashes. Not a tree, sprig of grass on the shore. Sailors lowered the last two skiffs into the Pacific, as Captain Balboa had christened this ocean the other side of the world from Cadiz. Two cavalrymen calmed the startled Andalusian mounts being led from the hold of the Reina de la Mar.

Daughter of the Conquest: After a rock crushed my adoptive father to death at the Urcos quarry south of Cuzco, my mother took to her bed. She suspected the accident was no accident but couldn't prove it. I attributed the source to an unstable block of granite. Don Pedro, as she called him, was her third husband-the one she claimed she loved the most and had lived with the longest because death had not cut short this marriage as quickly as the first two. His real name was Juan Delgado, survivor of Cajamarca and Manco Inca's rebellion, a humble Andalusian stone cutter who had reaped the rewards of conquest in the New World, receiving a share of the gold and silver pillaged from the Incas. Of my real parentage, I knew nothing, only that my Indian mother was one of two concubines that my father, a soldier who had landed on the Peruvian coast with the Spanish expedition in 1532, had abandoned.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug - Mark Twain

If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it . – Toni Morrison

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond

all this fiddle.

Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it

one discovers in

it after all, a place for the genuine. - from Poetry by Marianne Moore

(Go read the rest of the poem; then you'll know the point of poetry too)