If you’re the one she lets in…

“Kiss her with passion
As much as you can
Run your hands through her hair
Whenever she’s sad
And when she doesn’t notice
How pretty she is
Tell her over and over
So she never forgets

Take it
If she gives you her heart
Don’t you break it
Let your arms be a place
She feels safe in
She’s the best thing that you’ll ever have”

Written by: Meghan Trainor / Steven Solomon / Forest Blakk

Things a Man Oughta Know

Can I just move in?

I came home from work tonight with a boatload of work to do before an insanely wild week, next week. But you know what, bro? I don’t wanna. It’ll be there tomorrow, right? Things that won’t be there tomorrow? My time this evening. My time writing, planning my vacation, and making myself a somewhat normal dinner instead of ordering takeout. So, on that note, for old time’s sake – here’s some random musings and favorite tunes this week . . .

1. It’s hot and humid in the south. In my corner of the south, it will probably be hot – off and on through October. There are times Halloween is chilly. And then there are other times when I hold Halloween/Fall events and I’m switching out hot cider and hot chocolate for water & extra ice. But, I digress. I have some big events coming up, in the midst of the super hot/humid that is our August. I’m not a fan. So this weekend, I am re-evaluating my clothing choices (haha) and may just show up wearing the most comfortable things I own, which may be things I would not normally wear to work. Whatever, bro. It’s mid-August in the south – you get what you get.

2. My dog – Abby the Wonder Dog – is the sweetest, funniest dog. She is hilarious. She is also weird and very particular. I’ve paid for expensive dog training for her. It worked for a while. But after a bit, she lost the most important part of that training, which was to peacefully co-exist with other dogs. She has her favorite dogs. But they’re few and far in between. This makes life with her quite . . . a pain in the arse sometimes. Like today. Today, I didn’t realize, while I cleaned up after her, that her leash wasn’t truly in my grip. She charged. You wanna know who she charged? A cute little blonde boy and his PUPPY corgi. You know how small Corgis are, right? Yeah, this is a puppy. She’s such an arsehole. She’s pretty big (54 pounds). But charging at a little boy and a puppy, I’m sure she seemed gynormous…

“I think I should lay down now.” – Abby

The photo above shows my dog in her natural state, which is being lazy. She sleeps most of her life. And she’s quite serious about it. She will nag me to go to bed if I’m up too late. Right now, I’m propped up in my bed, typing. I’m even wearing my nightgown (though it’s barely 6:30). This is her preference so she can contain me in one place and voilà, I’m close to my bed for her favorite thing – sleeping. But alas, when she’s charging at a child and a puppy, she’s menacing (looking). All she wanted was to run over, give everyone a sniff, and come right back to me. Which is what she did. She didn’t so much as lift a paw.

But boy did she scare that poor kid. I was horrified. I mean, you know how small corgis are, right? IT WAS A FREAKING PUPPY. Needless to say, there was a time when she was a puppy, 11 years ago, that I prayed she’d grow out of this. Nope. She’s 11 (aka 72 in human years). What a butthead. I kept apologizing to the little boy as Abby ran back to me wagging her tail. He kept saying, “It’s okay, it’s okay.” But not so much. When will she act like an old lady and be all uninterested in sweet little puppers? I told her she was rotten. And that she was going to get the silent treatment tonight. I think she prefers this.

3. I was eating vegan or maybe I should say partially vegan for a while. I kind of still am for breakfast/lunch, at least. This started when my rheumatologist suggested I was allergic to milk and egg whites. Do you know what has egg and milk in it? Everything. Everything has eggs and milk. I dumped tons of staples like the nectar of the gods that is mayo (that’s a joke, relax). I bought vegan mayo, vegan butter, coconut or almond milk yogurt, vegan cheese (my fav is cashew cheese from Trader Joe’s by the way), cashew ice “cream”, etc. I’ve added some egg and milk products back into the diet. But a product I probably will continue to use, is plant butter. It does have less fat & calories. But here’s the best thing about it – it melts super fast. Take a stick out of the refrigerator before dinner and by the time I’m ready to eat, it’s melty. If you’re a fine connoisseur of unhealthy foods, as I am – this is tops in my book. In related news, my favorite vegan finds include: Tattooed Chef Buddha Bowls, Daiya “burritos,” and Sonoma Flatbreads veggie pizza. In case you’re wondering why I felt the need to share this tonight, it’s because I had some on gluten free pasta tonight. Hey, I said random.

4. Did you know I love all things mid-century? Mid-century modern and mid-century ranch home architecture, (much of it anyway) is a true love (see photo above) of mine. I adore it primarily because of its incredible use of light, their enormous windows, and the way the inside and outside combine. As a lover of the outdoors (I sometimes think I could live off the grid in the wilderness), this is the main thing that draws me to it.

I could do without shag carpet. And some other weirdness from the era. Like racism. And fake plants in atriums. And rampant sexism. But yeah, much of it I adore. I love the movies, the barware & glassware (which I collect), and the cheerful colors or the way the decor matches nature. They really knew how to entertain, which is one of my absolute favorite things to find in thrift or antique stores (mid-century stuff used for entertaining).

Growing up in SoCal during the 70s & 80s, we were no strangers to this kind of architecture (combined with what is called Tiki Architecture in Mid Century Modern terms). In the town I grew up in, we even had an Eichler neighborhood. Palm Springs, where I would later shop – every weekend while living in the desert – was always fun with its mid-century modern style, literally EVERYWHERE. Eichler would be super disappointed at the cost of his homes today. He built them to be affordable and accessible. Now they’re anything but (almost 2 MILLION dollars in my home town). This is an Eichler-inspired home in Orange (where I grew up), that’s currently for sale.

So what’s the point? I don’t know. I guess I need to become a millionaire. You think I can do it? I have expensive taste. Expensive that doesn’t look expensive – which is the absolute worst. Can I become a millionaire whilst writing novels and working in the wine industry? If so, sign me up.

Alright, I think that concludes the random portion of my post. Or not. The music is probably random too. Whatever. There’s little chance you’re still reading so . . .

Things a Man Oughta Know – Top of the playlist heap, this week. This line, “If you really love a woman, you don’t let her go/Yeah, I know a few things a man oughta know”

An oldie (so old), but goodie. I’d forgotten how much I loved this song (You and I Both by Jason Mraz)

Kicking it way back to summers on Newport or Huntington Beach (1988) . . .

Man, the 80s were weird and wonderful. Lol.

Speaking of the 80s, I’m on a kick. Partly because of my new novel, waiting in the wings (Sea Glass Hearts). The novel, written about an abandoned 80s kid – who grew up on the beaches of SoCal – well, that’s where the music reminiscing comes from. I was born in the 70s so I have a healthy love of all things 70 music. But the 80s…that was when I was really falling in love with music (of all kinds).

I grew up in a very Christian household – like church on Wednesday, church twice on Sunday – we only listen to Christian music – kind of Christian household. No offense, Mom – but I’m so glad my Dad and my friends didn’t abide by mom’s rules (hahaha). I truly love music of all kinds. Imagine a life without memories like cleaning to “Thriller” in my Grandma Avalos’s house, and listening to Belinda Carlisle, KROQ, Depeche Mode, U2 (greatest album of all the times is Joshua Tree, by the way), on the beach all summer? Well, I can’t dudes.

So Depeche Mode has been high on the list lately.

Another favorite of Depeche Mode is Personal Jesus. This caused much scandal in Christian circles, back in the day. This article talks about the song and about what Martin Gore was going for when he wrote it. As the article mentions, some thought he was talking about the “commercialisation of religion.” What Gore was actually writing about was, oddly enough, the relationship between Elvis and Priscilla Presley (based on her autobiography).

“He explained: ‘It’s a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It’s about how Elvis Presley was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody’s heart is like a god in some way, and that’s not a very balanced view of someone, is it?”’ Deep, dude.

In related news, the best cover of Personal Jesus goes to Johnny Cash. I mean, I don’t know if anyone else covered it but he’s Johnny Cash. Unrelated, Hurt by Cash – so good. “What have I become, my sweetest friend?” P.S. June Cash in this video, oh my heart!

Also on the Sea Glass Hearts soundtrack & reminding me of the olden days (this time just after high school in 1995) is Everclear’s Santa Monica (and a few other songs of theirs). Loved their music.

They were always saying something emotional and angry:

I am still living with your ghost
Lonely and dreaming of the west coast
I don’t wanna be your downtime
I don’t wanna be your stupid game
With my big black boots and an old suitcase
I do believe I’ll find myself a new place

Like . . .

Father of mine
Tell me where have you been?
You know I just closed by eyes
My whole world disappeared

Man, The Black Crowes. They were so good. In later years, believe it or not – their one-time guitarist/vocalist, Marc Ford, would eventually become part of my church’s worship band. By the way, he happens to be married to one of my favorite singers ever (Kirsten Ford). Oh my! I just went down a rabbit hole and found Kirsten Ford on Spotify.

I can’t remember the name, but at one point, Kirsten and a few others from my church, had a band. My friends & I saw them multiple times at places like The Roxy, and Whisky a Go Go on Sunset in West Hollywood. Yeah, serious rabbit hole there. But fun to see that Kirsten & Marc were still part of Vineyard/Vineyard worship at least not too long ago. Anyways…

I’m about done. But while I’m reminiscing, here’s a “newer” song that is super melancholy and a California favorite. El Cerrito Place – either the Kenny Chesney (I never liked him until I heard this) or Charlie Robison’s version.

“Somehow I wound up in the desert
Just after daylight
There’s a Joshua Tree
Grows that little place you always liked
These pioneer town people
They ain’t got too much to say
And if they might have seen you
They ain’t givin’ you away
Now it’s been two days”

On that note, I’ve been random enough for the evening. But somehow, it has a little bit of the writing mojo churning. Music, as always, inspires me. I hope it’s enough to keep me going through the wild week I have next week. Counting down the days until I can vacay…

Maybe He’s Back?

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My muse may have returned. Last night I wrote all evening. Maybe he’s back? Or maybe he’s just being as fickle as ever and tonight will be a slog.

Either way, I’m settled into my comfy bed, to work on my novel, A Thousand Years – just the same. I’m going to try and convince him to stick around. Or at least I’m gonna try. Instead of the television drowning out the noisy neighbors, I’ve got my A Thousand Years playlist going (starting with My Love For You is Real because that song is IT), and my trusty companion is snoring on her chaise lounge. Yes, she has an entire chaise lounge to herself. It’s big enough for two people – but I digress.

Some days I have to write myself into writing. And that’s what I’m doing now . . . as I tackle more edits for a novel that I love (but one that’s giving me fits). My goal is to write 3,000 new words this evening or to edit 6,000-8,000.

By the way, this Ryan Adams song has inspired many a writing sesh. It’s one of my all time favorite songs. So writer friends, what do you do to get yourself into writing mode? Is it music? Is it your favorite corner of your house or apartment? A favorite coffee shop? How do you get yourself in the zone?



Come Over & Other Random Musings on a Crappy Monday

Phew, has it ever been a week. My doggy is having a rough time. She stumbled a couple of times on Saturday – as if her legs couldn’t hold her up. Her legs just seemed to go right out from under her. It just killed me – especially since I had to go to work later that afternoon for an event. This is the second time this has happened. The day before, she limped all day. It hurt my heart. But that’s not all that’s going on with her. So tomorrow we’re off to the vet. This poor girl. She has been so healthy, for so long.

She’s put in a good 11 years without any health issues. It’s probably just about that time that stuff would pop up. She has been my most loyal (and also neurotic), hilarious companion since the day I adopted her in Joshua Tree, California. I’m bummed, to be honest. I shared a little about her, here. If you know me in real life, like know me-know me, you will learn pretty quickly that my dog is a constant source of laughter up in here. She’s a nut. Seeing her struggling has not been easy.

Overall, I’ve been in a weird spot this last week while I balance figuring out next steps (career wise), with finishing a “work project” before I can officially depart. The other thing to balance, is some tough disappointments for this old heart of mine. I need a freaking hug is what I’m saying. One of the things I know for sure? I really cannot function well without music. So here are a few favorites getting me through over the last week. What are you listening to these days?


Come Over by Sam Hunt – enough said. Also, the “Between the Pines” version of his songs are my favorites.

“Grab your key
Climb in your car
Put your headlights in my yard
Pull up the drive
Put it in park
Walk inside
Underneath my stars, I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
Don’t say a word
Don’t say a word
Come over”


“But maybe we just slow down
See where it can take us”


“Ooh, your love is a symphony
All around me
Running through me
Ooh, your love is a melody
Underneath me
Running to me
Your love is a song
The dawn is fire bright
Against the city lights
The clouds are glowing now
The moon is blacking out, it’s blacking out
So I’ve been keeping my mind wide open
I’ve been keeping my mind wide open, yeah”




I’m off to do a little work on the writing before turning in for the night. What are you listening to this week?

I should be asleep right now . . .

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Photo: instagram.com/heymadz16/

The thing is, I’m a night owl. This doesn’t fit well with my day job. I should be asleep right now. My weekend was short due to an event & such. So then when I finally have time to write – I don’t want to stop. It’s 11:48 and I have things to say and do for this new novel of mine. But my alarm clock will go off in the morning, whether or not I want it to.

Not all that long ago, I expected to enter a contest with a literary agency, using my novel A Thousand Years. I’ve changed my mind, dudes. I am going to use a newly re-started novel. But the problem is, I hate the idea of putting together a book proposal for a book that is just a tiny babe. So every second this weekend I couldn’t be writing, I’ve wanted to be writing. Boy is that a good feeling.

You can find the opening lines, here. You can find the totally weird playlist I’m using, here . . .

This is a super random mix of music. It’s what I was listening to on the beaches of Southern California (usually Huntington Beach) growing up, Carolina Beach music, and other beachy stuff – including some country music. Spotify usually suggests songs to add to your playlists (at the very end of your playlist). A few different times as I’ve added songs, Spotify has sputtered a little with suggestions. Hahahaha. I got a kick out of this. The playlist is as random as I am. Weezer circa 2001 – to classic rock from the 70s, U2, The World Famous KROQ (I miss those days in many ways), hits from the 80s & 90s, and a bunch of other of stuff.

Here’s my inspiration board on Pinterest:

In other news, I can’t write without music. I cannot. I know others who have to have total silence. I can’t fathom this. Nor can I imagine writing a scene and not turning to the vast interwebs for remembering things long since forgotten. For instance, no matter how many summers I spent at Huntington Beach and Newport – sometimes I need a little refresher. I try not to let myself get bogged down and distracted on little bunny trails and research. But it happens sometimes. For instance . . . Mr. Zoog’s Sex Wax. THAT is what the beaches of SoCal smell like. I had forgotten about this little thing until I started writing this evening. I just found out they have air fresheners. Dude. I’m buying some for my car. By the way, in case you don’t know, surfboard wax (like Mr. Zoog’s Sex Wax), is used to increase grip, traction, etc. It’s applied to a clean board. With friends that were surfers, throughout my teen years in particular, the surfboard wax (they all used Mr. Zoog’s) co-mingled with our sunscreen and tanning oil. Really, that’s a SoCal beach to me. Such great memories!

Anywho . . . it’s now 12:30 and I’m remembering all sorts of fun things like being at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington or camping along the fine dirt cliffs of San Clemente. So fun. When this novel is finished, I am certain it will be a favorite.