Friday, August 27, 2010

Eye on New Orleans: Katrina's Other Orphans

As we continue our Hooked on the Book campaign, we would like to take the time to honor yet another category of Louisiana residents -- our four-legged friends. During Hurricane Katrina many animals were lost and separated from their families. Thanks to the effort of the Louisiana SPCA, many were able to be reunited with their original families, while others were placed in new loving homes.

As we approach the fifth anniversary of Katrina, I am proud to announce that $1 from the sale of each hard copy of Housekeeping for the Soul and The Book of Obeah, and ALL proceeds from e-book sales, will be donated to the Louisiana SPCA through Hooked on the Book, a Books for Good campaign.

Especially during active hurricane season, donations are fundamental to upkeeping the service agencies like SPCA are able to provide, so I hope you will join me in this effort and you will help me spread the word by forwarding this information to your family and friends. For more information, please visit

And please, always remember our motto: 'If everyone gives a thread, a poor man will have a shirt.' In this case, we might not be able to weave a shirt for our animal friends, but we'll ensure that they will have a home away from home if they ever need one again.

Many blessings,


Monday, August 9, 2010

See You Soon...

As this hot, long summer is racing toward the finish line, I need some time to reorganize things; because of that, unfortunately for me, my writing time is going to be cut short.

Several exciting things are at the door: My five-year-old daughter is getting ready to start her first, long-awaited year in elementary school, one of my sons is practicing his driving skills, I’m anxiously waiting for my sister to come from Italy for a three-week-long visit, and, finally, I am gearing up to have a memorable time in ever-magical New Orleans at the beginning of September, when I will travel to Louisiana for a mini promotional book tour. A lot of excitement is certainly in the works, but also a busy time ahead which will require undivided attention and expandable energy.

So, it’s time to fuel up. I look forward to spending the next couple of weeks reading materials someone else has written, shopping with the kids and working on doing a little remodeling at my house in occasion of my lovely sister’s visit. The week after I return from New Orleans, September 18, I will be signing books at Abagayle’s Books and Collectibles in Henderson between 12pm and 3pm – if you are in the area, I hope you will stop by and say hi; I would love to see you.

I will not be posting any new blog entries until October 1, but I will stop by in the mornings to say hello. Please, feel free to drop me a line via e-mail at any time.

See you soon…


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seeds in the Wind -- Fate vs. Chance

Some palm readers believe that one’s future should be read from the lines of the right hand, as opposed to those in the left which are, they say, the lines of birth – the original blueprint of our destiny that was drawn prior to our arrival on earth. According to that theory, we are provided with two maps: one which reflects the plan we made before being born, and one – the right hand - which reflects the choices we will make during our journey. We meet different people, enter new doors and close others; are the events we live from day to day coincidental? Or are they points already charted on the map of our existence?

In my opinion, there is no such thing as coincidence; I believe we are born with a precise path to follow, which allows for slight revisions as we walk through life. We are taught that humans have a gift of free will, but do we really?

If one considers the concept of time - and truly ponders on it – will realize that there is no such thing; time is merely a manmade illusion born out of sheer need to organize our existence through our limited five senses. Time is needed by our ego - which is born from our earthly body - but serves no purpose to our spirit, which is connected in nature to universal energy and is, therefore, timeless, ageless, birthless and deathless. Past, present and future are one, and are only separated by the need the human mind has to be in charge and control unfolding events. According to this theory – if time is simply an illusion – things which are to unfold tomorrow already happened yesterday; we just have not reached them today. Many of the stars which shine brightly in our skies today have likely been dead for hundreds of thousands of years; their distance is just so great, that their light took that long to reach us and become visible to us.

Universal perfection does not allow for mistakes; we are born to the family which will create the perfect environment for the growth of our spirit, and meet countless people and situations which will support the lessons we need to learn. That said, the journey our soul chooses to embark on can sometimes be a bumpy ride, and it will take the strength of our spirit to understand the necessity of each experience and roll with the punches. We may be born to abusive parents, meet people who only seem to create obstacles, run into predicaments which will test the strength of our resolve; yet, when all is said and done, each of those situations will have taught us something, and our test truly is one of understanding the greater, unexplained importance of each occurrence.

We are the seed the wind of destiny is blowing around. We may land on fertile ground right away, or we may be deposited on barren environs for a while, waiting out our turn to be swept again toward greener grounds; or maybe we will die there, as our charted mission is that of drying in the sun and support the hungry bird who’s looking for nourishment to perpetuate its own soul agenda. Whether our goal is that of taking center stage or merely operating the curtain ropes, our stay on earth – and that of other living beings - are all equally important, and have great value in the greater scheme of things. We are all but a drop in the vast waters of the ocean, but all together we create something powerful and beautiful, which will carry on the timeless tune of creation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On the Path to Success (repost)

"Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin." Robert Collier

Focus oriented in the right direction is one of the fundamental tools necessary to overcome. If you think it sounds too easy and simple to be true, think again. Many people loudly broadcast their wishes, but their words rarely match their thoughts, beliefs and expectations. While one minute is spent wishing for something, the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of their day are intensely spent visualizing the impossibility of the wish.

Given the right impetus and desire, every wish can become reality. The only blocks are the lack of emotional charge necessary to propel our wishes forward, the mental image we implant into our subconscious, and whether we feel we deserve the blessing. The fuel is provided by emotions; without emotions behind them, thoughts are quickly discarded as unimportant. The Universal mind only works on images we create in our conscious minds, which get deposited into our subconscious minds. Once an image is perceived by our Higher Self, if fueled properly, it will manifest in our realities. So, if for one minute we claim to wish for something, but then we repeatedly saturate our subconscious with images of poverty, disease, fear and lack of love, our Higher-Self assimilates that poverty, disease, fear and lack of love are just what we want. Like actions, images speak louder than words. The last block is usually caused by misplaced guilt; if we feel guilty of something – even if we didn’t initiate the action – we believe we shouldn’t be rewarded.

When we wish for something but then expect to see its opposite manifest, our focus is centered on what we don’t want. As we think of what we don’t want, we form mental images of the misery that will come, and we bring those images to life by feeding them with our emotions. In order to be successful in attaining our wishes, we need to re-program our conscious minds, since that’s where the process starts. Our free will allows us to choose what to focus on, and once we make a choice, we need to concentrate every emotion we feel toward our goal, rather than toward the obstacles on our path.

Very often, our realities are impacted by old images buried deep into our subconscious. By allowing painful memories to rise up at a time when we can give them our full attention, we take away their power of being in charge of us. When we choose to face them, we can feel them, hear them, see them and even feed them emotions for a brief period of time, and then make a conscious effort to release them before shifting our focus toward the goals we wish to conquer. One thing is certain – those old wounds will not go away until we consciously decide to meet them face to face, honor them for their purpose in our lives and ask them to rest in peace. Once we are aware of their existence, it is imperative that we don’t linger on their effects. We are in control of how long we will allow ourselves to think about them.

Changing our realities is possible, as long as our thoughts go hand in hand with our words. And if, by force of habit, we go down the wrong thinking path at any given time, we always have the option to stop, turn around and walk in a different direction.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A New Cell Phone

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” ~ C.S. Lewis

A few days ago I dropped my cell phone as I searched for keys on my way to my car. Though it has fallen several times and I’ve always been able to put it back together with no problem – and never mind the fact this time it actually fell on a soft carpet of grass – it was dead on collision.

I went home and called the phone company to file an insurance claim. I asked the lady on the phone if I would have any trouble retrieving my contact numbers, and she assured me that since I was going to use the same SIM card, all the information stored in it would be transferred to the new phone. The new phone arrived two days later. I diligently followed all instructions and put the old card into the phone, but when I went to look for contacts to import, the SIM card was empty! So I called the phone company again, and we tried a few more tricks, but nothing worked. The joke I had uttered for years, when I said that if I lost my phone I wouldn’t call anyone anymore, didn’t seem all that funny now; while I had other means of contacting some of the people whose phone numbers were lost, I had no idea how to get in touch with some of the others.

While I pouted about that, I thought about some of the contacts I had lost – I hadn’t talked to some of those people for years, either because we had, willingly or unwillingly, parted ways, or because our lives had simply taken different directions. I still could get in touch with those I have reasons to have in my world, either via e-mail or through common friends, so what had I lost? I was suddenly hit with the realization that old, worn-out connections had moved out of the way to make room for new ones: I now have a nice, empty address book I can fill with new friends entering my life.

While holding on to things and relationships that no longer serve us is a downfall of human nature, it is best, every so often, to let the ghosts of the past finally rest in peace. I was talking to a friend, just yesterday, and we were discussing how some of his writings have gone lost; some of the material was quite heart-felt and written during a particularly painful time in his life, but even if parts of it were pleasant and touching, the strained energy of those challenging moments was also trapped between the lines; by losing the documents, he didn’t lose his ability to write anew, but only the painful reminder that the past is called past for a reason. Resistance to change is awfully common, but it surely doesn’t help us grow. In fact, our conservative, self-preserving nature is probably the most hindering factor in our transition from one chapter of life to the next. Stagnation comes masked as familiarity, and who’s ready and willing to throw out those old slippers even if they no longer feel and look right?

Once all is said and done, we can’t lose something or someone we are meant to have in our world; all we are losing is superficial attachments to debris. Who would have known that I had to break my phone to assimilate something so simple?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cardinal Grand Cross of 2010

While many of us are busy anchoring down on earth during what appears to be a very stressful summer on so many levels – the economy is still shaky, natural disasters seem to pop up like mushrooms on a wet field, relationships are strained and people feel ‘stuck’ – astrologers around the globe are keeping their eyes firmly on the sky, as a very unusual configuration of planets is lining up in the heavens.

Personally, I am at a loss when it comes to technical information associated to planetary patterns, so I would not be of much help trying to explain what’s happening, but upon close observation of what professional astrologers have described, in relation to what’s been happening on earth, I have become quite fascinated by the Cardinal Grand Cross of 2010.

According to experts in the field, we are facing, this week, a culmination of sorts, and since several planets will be opposing each other as they align to form the cross, explosive events are likely to be triggered imminently. The forecast is not good – financial crashes, tempers clashing, social unrest and conflicts – but it is general consent that things will begin to improve in the next three weeks, after some of the new energy has had a chance to settle and be assimilated.

So, what does this mean on a personal level? This new energy has prompted many to end old relationships and arrangements that no longer work; we are nudged to let go of the old to make room for the new, to clean house and accept new patterns in place of old, ill-fitting ones. Old jobs are lost, governments are questioned, awareness of personal responsibility is raised, relationships with others are regrouped, and all around us humanity is rebelling to an old system of authority that no longer fits our current needs.

As is with everything, things are bound to appear worse before they get better, and the upcoming week truly appears to embody the doom and gloom associated with change and transition. With such new, explosive energy pouring in, many are bound to feel restless and emotional this week, and even prone to arguments which have the power to escalate rapidly. So, if you feel moody or fearful, or you suddenly feel more confrontational than usual, you are not going crazy, but only getting on with the scheduled program of a global shift of consciousness. The key phrase of this week – and of the next two, though events will not manifest as brutally after this week – is to ride the wave and float with it, rather than swimming against it. Be happy about the small things, tell your loved ones you love them, even those – especially those – you haven’t talked to in a while, and most of all, let go of what no longer serves you; you will be a much happier person once you finally understand it’s easier to walk without carrying so much baggage.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Wet Grave" by Barbara Hambly -- A Book Review

Not usually a fan of historical novels, I hesitated somewhat when I picked up a copy of Wet Grave by Barbara Hambly, but as fate would have it, I did buy the book, and I am ever so grateful I did. The story takes place in 1830s New Orleans, and highlights a time in history when justice was an elusive luxury, especially if one was a freed colored citizen.

Benjamin January, the well educated son of a placeĆ© – a former slave kept as a mistress by the man who bought and freed her – who is now a surgeon and musician, is summoned by his sister when an old drunk prostitute is found slashed to death in her own home. When January arrives on the scene, he recognizes the dead woman as Hesione LeGros, a once beautiful society mistress he had the opportunity to befriend many years before. Nobody but January seems to care about the old woman’s death, and he is encouraged by many to abandon the case once it becomes apparent authorities are not willing to become involved.

January, however, is haunted by his own need to discover the truth and, supported by Rose Vitrac, the woman he loves, he embarks on a journey of no return, in which the hunter becomes the hunted, and some questions are best left unanswered.

When murder strikes closer to home and leaves January heart-broken and angry, he and Rose are on the run, colored fugitives seeking sanctuary in the unforgiving depths of stormy bayous. Will they discover who murdered Old Hessie, or will they also fall prey in a game of cat and mouse?

Barbara Hambly has masterfully created a story one can get lost into, with a plot as thick and edgy as the sultry heat swallowing the Deep South in mid-summer. The historical references are well developed and even sprinkled with delightful encounters; among those, the meeting of January with Marie Laveau, the notorious queen of voodoo, as he seeks guidance on his quest.

The novel is extremely descriptive, and rich details are freely dispensed to allow the reader the luxury of being transported through time and space. Wet Grave is a great read for anyone passionate of historical fiction, for mystery lovers and for those interested in southern fiction with an edge into reality.