Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Kings Academy.........Joyce Oroz

Today I attended my granddaughter’s high school graduation ceremony at The King's Academy in Cupertino—California for out-of-state folks. Outdoor seating in the hot sun didn’t really matter because the speeches were given from the heart by extraordinary students and teachers. One-hundred and forty-six students lined up wearing navy blue robes and hats, gold tassels, fuchsia colored Hawaiian lays and a huge smiles. Almost two hours after the ceremony began in the hot sun, it ended with a recessional march to the quad, a lovely shady area full of friends and food. 

These young adults have spent four to six years helping the needy, caravanning to Mexico to build houses, libraries, etc. and to teach and help wherever they are needed. But Mexico is not the only place. How about Kentucky? Every year at spring break students, parents and teachers head out to five or six different countries to put in a weeks hard work, building, fixing, teaching, learning. All this work shows in the character of these students. 

One-hundred forty-five of them will go on to college—one goes into the Navy. But wherever they go, they take their values and knowledge, influencing our society in a good and decent way. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have fun and today was full of fun, even for the spectator graduates of long ago.  
Etiquette specialist, Rosalinda Randall joined in the festivities after the ceremony. Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, born in Los Angeles, California, is a modern-day expert on tact and civility. She naturally eased into the field of etiquette due to her upbringing. Not a "finger bowl" lifestyle, but one filled with courtesy, tact, humility, and a healthy splash of humor.
She lends personality and humor to the age-old topic of etiquette. Rosalinda's tactfully sassy manner provides her audiences with practical options on how to say what you mean without being mean.
When she isn't spreading civility, she dabbles in new interests. She is currently pursuing her interest in Tai Chi and improv classes.
Her book, "Rosalinda Tweets" is on sale at

Monday, May 26, 2014

Larkspur in May........Joyce Riley

Today I am going through my cousin Joyce's book of poems AGAIN. At the beginning of each chapter Joyce gives us a little story--a glimpse into her life, her past, her family. I want to share this one with you.

Seeds of Joy, by Joyce Riley
I wasn't an unhappy child, nor was I a joyful child. I was serious, overly sensitive and hot tempered. My sister Frances, who was ten and a half years older than I, was often wounded by my thorny disposition. But we loved each other, complimented each other and grew to be the best of friends. I think of the two of us as the 'lovely lily' and the 'wild rose' in the family garden.
      While my sister, who had spent much of her early childhood chasing chipmunks around the family's tent home in Yosemite National Park, was growing into adulthood I was wading irrigation ditches in my father's garden.

      Daddy was a baker by trade, but a farmer at heart. Working the swing shift at the Dandy Pies Bakery suited him well. He'd work at the bakery from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M. and in his garden from noon until 4 P.M. I was his Saturday helper. we planted and harvested beans, carrots and corn, and picked fruit. Eggs were carefully gathered, seeds soaked and weeds were faithfully pulled. "You get what you plant," Daddy would say. He never joined us at church on Sundays. "The garden is my church," he said.
      Mother loved flowers. In the spring of the year she planted beds of larkspur timed to bloom at the end of May. Memorial Day. Together we would cut and bundle the flowers to give to people who wanted bouquets for grave sites. Daddy found joy in planting, and Mother found joy in giving.

Joyce Riley's book of inspirational poems, COLOR THIS DAY BEAUTIFUL can be purchased at

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tiara Trouble--Lane Buckman.......Joyce Oroz

Don't let the tiara fool you, Lane Buckman is a down to earth exceptional writer of great stories--three different genres actually. She writes about love, mystery and vampires. Her publishers are Cozy Cat Press and Omnific Publishing. For Mystery lovers, Lane has a series called the Destinee Faith Miller Mystery series. You will love her witty answers to my questions, so here she is:

Lane,please tell us who or what influenced your decision to be a writer, and in particular, a cozy mystery writer?

My elementary school friend, Laurie Schieble, who was a few years ahead of me, introduced me to Julie Andrews' book THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES.  That was in 3rd Grade. Laurie's enthusiasm was the deciding factor for me.  I wanted to write a stories that would entertain her because I adored and looked up to her.  We both liked Battlestar Gallactica and Star Blazers, and I started writing short stories and scenes crossing over those two series, and sharing those with her on our bus rides home.  Anything for Laurie's approval!  It's wonderful that I can still count her as a friend.

Later, it was C.S. Lewis who made me want to continue.  THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS was a transcendental experience for me.  I wanted to be able to do what he had done!  That's not happened yet, and I'm pretty sure it won't, but good to have lofty goals.

I've just always written.  I'm an only child, and stories were good friends to me.  When I ran out of stories to read, I wrote my own.

Writing a cozy happened rather organically.  The main character, Destinee Faith Miller, popped into my head and we were off to the races.

How long have you been writing? Are there things you like to write other than mysteries?

I've been writing professionally since 1998, when I took on a role that required a lot of technical writing.  Around the same time, I started writing round-robin style fiction with my friend, Laura Christian.  The response we got made me feel like I might have a real shot at this novel-writing thing.  Later, I worked with my longtime writing partner, Nicole Vlachos, and together we published THE ORDER OF THE BLOOD--that's a vampire novel.

I write in several different genres.  I have a romance novel coming from Omnific Publishing in the Summer of 2014 called PLAYING ALL THE ANGLES.  For branding purposes, all my romance will come out under the pen name, Nicole Lane.  I'm also working on the second in the Destinee Faith Miller Mystery series, and have a Young Adult and a psychological thriller in the outlining stages.

Lane, are you a little bit or a lot like your protagonist?

I wish I were more like my protagonist. Destinee is shallow, and she's vain, but she's a brilliant businesswoman and she's made quite a success of herself. She takes rejection and defeat far better than I do, and she's got more sass in her step.  We're both optimistic, and we both work hard, but she looks a lot better doing it. I'm all about my yoga pants.

What is your style or method of writing, and what is your typical day like?

I usually start my day around 6am. I have a day job, so after I've taken my son to school, I head that way.  I'm home by 6pm, and after I've cooked and we've had dinner (my husband does the cleaning up, bless him!), homework's been done, and the boy has been tucked in for the night, I spend some time with my husband, then flip open the laptop. My prime writing hours are between 10pm and 12am. I try to get something on paper every night.  Try being the catch word.

Lane, you are such a busy lady! Where do you live and why?

We live in Dallas, Texas. My father retired from the Marine Corps and after having lived all over the country, we settled here near friends of his.  I love Texas.  Right about the time I considered moving off, I fell in love with a Texan, so here I stayed.

What activities, hobbies, etc. do you do when you are not writing?

I have an 8-year-old, so my hobbies revolve around him right now.  I fantasize about guitar lessons, learning to tap dance, or taking up Krav Maga, but all that's going to have to wait a while.  For the time being, I'm really into Legos, Adventure Time, comic books, and teaching my son the domestic arts.  His future spouse will thank me.

Lane,how can we find your work? Website, blog Amazon?

I'm on facebook as LaneBuckmanAuthor, and on Twitter and Tumblr as @lanelese --that's a mashup of my first and middle names.

Thank you, Lane for taking the time to share your story with us today. You are an amazing lady. Thank you for giving us good books to read! Happy reading everyone. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Voila Joyce Oroz

Today I want to tell you about the “voila button.” It is the most used in my collection of buttons. My “easy button” is on the blink and my “try it button” doesn’t always work so I typically resort to my “voila button.” Some people mistake a “magic button” for a classic “voila.” The difference is magic happens when we are unaware, not looking or not expecting. It is similar to the “miracle button,” which happens when the planets and rainbows line-up, and when we really need it.

Voila happens when we go to a lot of work and preparation to make something happen. If the item, meal or project is successful and looking good we say, “voila,” in a light-hearted tone as if it was so easy to accomplish. Even if the project isn’t as good as you hoped, the voila button makes it look good.

Barbara Scoles, Shirley Sedgwick, 
Julie Seedorf and Vanessa and Marcos 
have many accomplishements and 
"voila" moments.

Pull the bunny out of the hat and voila! Are we back to magic?

My point is, buttons are fun, like the “smile button,” the “teasing button” and the “giggle button.” But if you 
have a chance to use the
 “voila button” you will look really cool like Marcos showing us the cookies he decorated.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Authors Libby and Candi........Joyce Oroz

Today I want to share what I have learned about writers, Libby Vivone and her sister, Candi, who write by the names of Annie Irvin and Rae Sanders. I'm a little confused but that's nothing new. These gals have put together a wonderful book (cozy mystery) called Final Sale, a Bittersweet Hollow Mystery.

The final sale of Olivia Waterford’s beautiful old bed and breakfast, the Bittersweet Inn, seems to be going smoothly. A lovely young couple--Mead and Alice Hoover--are ready to take over the running of the Inn so Olivia can retire to a townhouse and enjoy her later years. Unfortunately, just as the almost new owners are enjoying the local Pumpkin Festival on the grounds of the Inn, their real estate agent, Grace Potter, is found murdered in a shack on the back end of the property. The horror of a killing on the Inn’s grounds is bad enough, but Alice Hoover is apparently psychic and claims that Grace Potter’s ghost refuses to allow the sale to take place until her murderer is caught.
Annie Irvin has enjoyed a nomadic life and after inheriting her grandfather's large collection of books still managed to always find room in the U-Haul for every last page even if it meant leaving behind the kitchen table. Eventually Annie ended up where she began—a small town in Iowa where gossip is king and scandal has ruined more than one good woman, although no one has yet resorted to murder.
Annie Irvin and Rae Sanders are sisters who became addicted to reading cozy mysteries while in their teens. Today they enjoy every minute spent creating the characters that live, love, and alas die in Bittersweet Hollow.
Now we will listen to author Libby Vivone in her own words:

1.  Libby, please tell us who or what influenced the cozy writing?  

It would have to be my sister.  I think we had been fooling around with the idea of writing a book for several years, we had written a satirical murder mystery, and then one day I asked her if we could do it for real.  She said yes, but she wanted to do the cozy thing.  I just followed her.

2.  How long have you and Candi been writing together?  

Seriously for about four years, I guess.  And there are other things I like to write. I have been working on what I was calling a mystery, not quite a thriller and not quite a romance. I would like to try my hand with a futuristic theme.
And I would like to talk my sister into doing a series other than the 
Bittersweet Hollow stories.

3.  Are you two anything like your protagonist? 
 Candi thought about us when doing this book.  It is more like what would you do, or I can't see me doing that. But there isn't really a cookie-cutter type of thing going on here. (That we are aware of 

4.  Please tell us about your methods and your style? 

Whoa. And here I thought this was going to be easy. Both Candi and I like to outline where we want to go with the story. We may end up doing 180ยบ, but we start with one plot.
We write backgrounds on all of our characters. At least two typed pages of who these people are and why are they doing whatever it is they're doing. We do this together, each contributing.
As for the writing style, I like to just type. Just go with it and see where I end up, take it as it comes to mind, live in the moment.
A lot of that turns out to be useless, but that's the way I like to do it. Candi keeps me grounded when I end up off character, my mind goes to far, far away, and my moments are garbage. I really need to slow down and I mean SLOW DOWN.
I was going to say I try to write every day, but that's a lie.  I work Mondays and Tuesdays, (at a grocery store, with the public, and yes I draw a lot from some of the characters who are customers), so as far as writing on those days, I don't. I can get back to it by Wednesday, unless I have an appointment or a really filthy house, (and I mean it must be really filthy for me to dig in and clean), then I try to get in gear in the afternoon. The rest of the week I can spend five or more hours at "work," which most days seem like 
play. Although there are times when it is really hard work.

5. Libby, where do you live and why do you live there?

I live in southern Iowa with my daughter, a single mom. She has one boy in college and two who are in the sixth grade. Yes, twins.
Besides my daughter, I have twin boys also, and three more grandchildren and five great grandchildren in Missouri. My sister lives in Minnesota. I guess Iowa is in the middle of all that, and is 
the reason I am here and not in a state with a better climate.

6.  What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I read. And read, and read, and read. I have been known to knit, but only scarves. I am a terrible cook and my housekeeping would not win any prizes. I like to plant flowers and some of them even live.

7.  What projects are you currently involved in?

So far, the only thing going is the Bittersweet Hollow book.
Candi takes care of the website and the blog, I just write a few things for it now and then.
Candi and I are outlining characters in the second Bittersweet Hollow book. We tend to start to write and then have to stop and go back to who are these people and why have they just done what we've just written they did.

Thank you, Libby, Candi, Annie and Rae (it takes a village) for taking the time to answer questions and share your lives as authors. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

If it smells like a rose ........Joyce Oroz

If my blog was smart like Facebook, it would ask me, “What is on your mind today?”
   “Are you kidding me?” I would answer. “Do you know how many people are starving in Africa? Do you know how many errands I need to run? Do you know that my needy-garden needs me even more now that I can’t give it as much water? Did you know that we in California are in a drought?”
At that point I would do a few deep breaths and a yoga stretch, poor cold water over my head and then finish my rant.
“When my house is clean, my book is finished and my calendar is empty I will get back to you.” 
But in real life I would never say that because those realities are too far into the future. And in real life, I put my blog ahead of all that other stuff. 

This is where I have a chance to tell you important things like, Sandy thinks she’s a fox—fox terrier, that is. The ears are a little tight, but they keep her
from embarrassing herself by stepping out of the house to chase a cat. Although, in this costume, Sandy might actually catch up to the cat as it rolls around laughing and holding it's tummy.

Recently I visited the rose garden
 at the fairgrounds where my
 friend, Tomi feeds and trims
 these lovely rose bushes. My camera went shutter-crazy 
over so much color. 
Everything was blooming
 at once! Even my garden
 has pretty roses gulping up 
the sunshine. 
Today, Saturday, is a great day to drop by Alladin's Nursery in Coralitos to see a fabulous display by the rose garden club. Food, fun and more roses than you can imagine! 12:30 to 4:30