Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekend Quotes

The trip to the RWA convention in New York was rewarding, unforgettable, and worth every exhausting minute despite the nonstop activity.  The hectic pace began as soon as the featured morning speaker uttered her last word.  In the typical behavior of the Big Apple, and quite similar to anxious thoroughbreds waiting for the gates to lift we took off toward the escalators, hoping to maintain a graceful and dignified exterior as we took two steps at a time.

Through it all we moved at high speed, busy little bees, from one floor to the next, crowding the stairs and elevators, hoping to catch an empty chair at a popular, super-crowded workshop and losing our adult poise when forced to sit on the floor like a ten-year-old. Then, at the end of the day the rush resumed as we fought the throngs in Times Square to reach the haven of our hotel rooms.

For the visually stimulated folks, I will post a couple of photos of TS in the peaceful early morning hours. No one in their right mind would try to take photos in the midst of hundreds of tourists.

Despite the exhilaration, chapter festivities, and information overload —and believe me we did receive tons of valuable information — I missed posting the weekend entry of thought provoking quotes.


 Every Friday, a strange phenomenon occurs.  As I search, select and type the quotes for the blog, it becomes a personal experience.  I dwell in the message and enjoy the motivation, the essence of what created the notion in the thinker, twice.

Today I feel  the Universe in motion, I have no way to quantify this statement or prove it in any way. But in order to stay true to my feelings I must open the blog a bit differently, not with a quote but two words of Hebrew origin that evoke— at least in me—visions of monumental, mythical creatures, and hellish events. Words I used in two critical times in Destiny's Plan.  

Leviathan Something large and powerful.  Via Latin from Hebrew liwyathan (whale).  Earliest documented use: 1382

Gehenna: Hell.  Any place of extreme torture or suffering.


Trust is the first step to love.  ~Munshi Premchand  

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.  ~Robert Quillen

I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.
~Marcel Duchamp

Euphemism is a euphemism for lying.  ~Bobbie Gentry

Language is like money, without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator.
 ~George Santayana

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.  The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.
~Amelia Earhart.

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart.  The first of these is science and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other.  Without art, science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science, art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery.  The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.
~Raymond Thornton Chandler

What is done to children, they will do to society.
~Karl A. Menninger.

From my humble point of view, we would all do well to remember the last quote.


A mostly peaceful Times Square in the early morning hours. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Slow Down The Frenzy

I'm fully aware the post is short and the title is cryptic, however, it was done in hopes of gaining some attention or curiosity—I'll take either one.  I just returned from the 2015 RWA Convention in New York, and before I forget, I wish to pass on the general advice from several best-selling authors. It is an important message, and since it affects our craft and livelihood, I thought I'd share it with any writer who might meander his/her way around my blog.  Consider me your friendly, recorded thumb drive.

The "word" was communicated by the keynote speaker on Thursday, Barbara Freethy. For those who don't know, Barbara is an extremely successful, conventional and independently published author.  By her own admission, she's had to invent and re-invent herself and her trademark repeatedly, always in an effort to keep up with the fluctuations of an ever-changing industry.


Sorry about the long distance photo, but I promise that is Barbara. 

It appears authors are engaging in strange writing frenzies, where the habit is to connect and challenge each other in word sprints with a possible end-goal to crank out one book a month.  Barbara, along with other well-respected authors, believe the trend is worrisome.  They would like to encourage all of us to slow down and take a deep breath.  

This doesn't mean we should shut down our computers and ignore the keyboard for weeks at a time.  Not at all, we should be focused on creating and publishing several titles, close together if possible. This is the golden formula, the one we all want, where the real readership and success begin.  But we're not going to achieve our writing goals if we emulate the same pace of a Daytona 500 race.

Her message was clear:  Slow down and pay attention to every detail— story line, editing, proofing, book cover, the nuts and bolts of the craft, otherwise quality may suffer.  If the quality of our stories suffers, we know the sad end result.  We may end up disappointing our readers for the sake of speed, and once you betray your readers they may never return.  I am one of those, frustrated by a favorite author, I have turned away and refuse to look back.  

So now that you've read the scoop, please don't shoot the messenger.  Take it easy—don't rush as I did with this poorly written/edited post.  Pay attention to your characters and your story.  Put forth the best book you can, and your readers will follow wherever you take them.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Author-4-Author Blog Hop

Welcome to the first Author-4-Author Blog Hop! 

We're a group of multi-genre, multi-level authors who support, counsel, and encourage each other. Our group is open to any writer who sincerely desires to become an author. Author-4-Author is where experienced and newbie authors gather to answer questions, assist each other with events and publishing, and receive that all-important encouragement to continue and carry on with the challenging aspects of a writer's life. If you're interested in becoming an Author-4-Author member, find us on Facebook!

Every month Author-4-Author members will come together in different projects. Join us in our Themed Blog Hop. July's theme is Opening Lines! 

#Author4Author #OpeningLInes #WritingRight #Author2Know
#Encourage #Support #Promote

Opening Line For Destiny's Plan: 

                On a moonless summer night, a Greyhound bus rushes along a lonely stretch of road, its headlights penetrating the blackness.

I chose my opening line from the prologue of my debut novel, Destiny's Plan, Book one of the Destiny's Series, as it sets up the story through Destiny's omniscient warning:  Mankind beware, don't be complacent, you're but a tiny game-piece in the hands of the Fates.  The course of your life could change unexpectedly.

Destiny's Plan is truly a work of love and will always remain my most treasured project.  It began many years ago, while I still worked in my flying career, before I had the confidence to write and Matthew Buchanan — who insisted I had the muse — forced me to pick up pen and paper.  I've known Matthew, my central character, for thirty years.  I saw him in every young, lonely soldier traveling on orders, ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country.  Even though I wondered about his life, his loves, what he believed in, and what made him happy, I never fully explored it.  However, four years ago as I drove at two in the morning from the airport, he came to me, demanding I write his story, but most of all the story of his soul mate, Raquelita.  And so here we are four years later, excited beyond our wildest dreams, Destiny's Plan will come to life on September 15, thirteen lucky days after Matthew's birthday.


When Raquelita Muro and Matthew Buchanan meet by chance on a Greyhound bus between Texas and Tallahassee, neither suspects Fate is about to take over.

Raquelita, a gentle girl under the heel of her abusive mother, finds this kind young man a miracle.  Matthew and idealistic young soldier, discovers this sweet-natured girl is an angel in need of a guardian.  However, the next stop on Matthew's journey is Fort Benning to report for deployment to Vietnam, while Raquelita's destination is set at her mother's whim.  Regardless of the forces tearing them apart, they discover a way to secretly span the distance, to end up closer than ever.  But Fate is rarely kind.  The vagaries of war —and the unstable tempers of Raquelita's mother—intervene, leaving both ill-fated lovers feeling there is no hope for their love.

Set in the turbulent era of the Vietnam War, Raquelita's and Matthew's story is one of love, loss, lost faith, shattered memoirs, deferred dreams and broken promises.  Will Fate tear apart these two damaged souls, leaving them desperately alone forever, or will they finally overcome Fate, their bond stronger than they ever thought possible?

Adult situations and content. Intended for eighteen and over audiences.

About Victoria 

I am a citizen of the World, truly.  Political strife obligated my family to leave our homeland, and, as a result, Destiny forced us to travel the globe in search of more favorable settling grounds. Notice the curious parallel?  What initially became a daunting challenge, it turned into an opportunity to expand my horizons.  I thank my parents at every turn for giving me the tools to survive.  The day my mother gave me my first translated copy of Emilio Salgari's The Tiger of Malaysia, and my father pointed to his hardbound Anthologies of Greek Myths, the journey into fantasy began, and my emotional refuge grew richer, bigger, and wider.  Eventually, the hunger to see and experience first hand all the marvels I had read about urged me to pursue a flying career.  By my estimate, I must have circled the planet at least three times, which reminds me of "Tears in Rain" one of my favorite quotes from 1982's Blade Runner.

"I have seen things you wouldn't believe... attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion..."  

Well, LOL, obviously I have not seen attack ships on fire, but I have seen miniscule fishing boats send flame signals to each other on Lake Victoria at sunset. And that, is an unforgettable image.

Through these journeys, I've collected ancient anecdotes and precious memories.  Now that I've retired, hung up my galley shoes —airline lingo— and adopted a simple, steady life, I hope to live long enough to share each and every one of those cherished events.  There is no point in enjoying life's beautiful experiences if you can't share them.  Unlike the end of the quote, I don't want those  "moments to be lost like tears in rain." 

Connect with me here:

Web Page
A Muse's Retreat
Barnes and Noble

If you liked what you read please leave a comment and then hop to the next blog. Have a fun day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Surviving The Process (or a great new title for this blog)

The internet is full of advice for the newbie author.  Common grammar errors to avoid sits at the top.  It's a simple advice and yet, it's a modern tragedy, really.  These faux pas are so embedded in our daily life we don't grasp the mistakes anymore.   To boot, we go through the full realm of excuses to keep them:  it's allowed in casual conversation,  emails to friends are so forgiving, social media posts are quick expressions, etc, etc. etc.  But, honestly dear friends, even though most of us don't expect literary prose on a Facebook post, it would be nice if we all tried a little harder.  Put the old noodle to work and remember a difference exists between, their and there, and the reasons why...just saying.

Next in line is the "all important"  find a good editor.  No argument from me.  I'm a firm believer that authors cannot and should not edit their books.  The author is so close to the work, so emotionally tied to the piece that it's almost impossible to be objective, and know when a line, a paragraph, and even a full chapter has to go bye-bye.  This is closely tied to the strangest brain phenomenon ever—I challenge any writers out there to claim they're <g> exempt—the "unseen mistake, the phantom blunder".  Yes, I'm talking about the crazy typos, spelled correctly wrong words, repetitions, spelling errors (for those who forego spell check), the nasty traps the brain refuses to see.

A writer could read the same line, paragraph, whatever, again and again (I'm doing it right now) one hundred times, even, and just don't see them.  Then, along comes the editor's fresh pair of eyes and focuses on the damned thing as if I typed in blood-red ink.

I can't help but remember an old TV commercial for a stain remover product.  The poor guy at a very important interview is wearing a shirt with a food stain.  Every time he said a word, the stain spoke louder than him in an incomprehensible, annoying gibberish.  Obviously, that interview went south and the stain won.  Imagine now, submitting a manuscript without first running it through the editor's stain remover eyes.  I think we all get the picture.

Next on the priority list is the ever famous "writer platform".  This one gets really confusing, often I wish I had with me an old fashioned Cuban machete, just so I could slash through the jungle of well-intentioned suggestions easily and cleanly.  There's only one problem.  The last machete I wielded while trying to peel a long stalk of sugarcane at the tender age of eight years old, decorated my finger with such a deep gash,  I still wear the scar.  Thus, I've given up on those, and besides, I'm sure my local Walmart doesn't carry sharp machetes.

A presence on Social Media is a must, Facebook, Twitter, recently I learned about BingBing, write a blog and above all else: target your audience.  I would love to, and it is easier said than done. Unfortunately for me and my characters, I didn't write a novel that fits neatly into one genre.  When Matthew first appeared and commanded me to write, he didn't explain about genre.  He just said, "Here I am, this is our story, and you need to do this." So I did.

What was I thinking?!

 Yikes, double exclamation mark, I can almost hear my poor editor yelling at me.  I find myself in a quandary and the moment both marks fit.  You see the trouble I have is finding a bookstore shelf where Destiny's Plan would fit, a novel with a star-crossed romance that ends well, set in the 60's, during a half-forgotten war, with a few key characters who date back to yet another war, in Europe, before WWII.  Is it historical?  Absolutely.  Is it a romance?  It's a kick-butt, spicy love story, with the challenges of the era.

 To me, it seemed like a perfectly plausible storyline.  The literary agent at the receiving end thought I had lost my mind.  Yep, you see the picture here as well.  I belong to a very small, and disappearing group of writers who told a story without thinking about the market and dollar signs.

 My bad, and I'll have to live with the consequences.

I'll just go global, as big as I can, and target everyone, except those under eighteen <g> you're too young for this story and with a little luck, a few readers from every group will enjoy the saga.

So we get to the end of my speech, and the reason for today's post.  Before you create a Google+ presence think about it, long and hard, make sure you use the right email account for the process—the same goes for building a blog—because once it's done, it's absolute murder to get it undone.

Take it from me, in the past few days while I tried to fix the mess, I became unknown to my pages, my posts, and to my friends.  Hopefully, they will see me with kind eyes and reinstate me in their circles again.

Have a great weekend.  And if you are a friend, please be kind, forgive my moment of insanity, and add me back in.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


This is the brand new video composed by Savannah Morgan the heart and soul of Facebook's Author-4-Author group. Although I am not in the video, yet, I am proud and honored to be in the company of such prestigious and talented writers. Hopefully something really wonderful will rub off.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


This is the very first blog hop hosted by Authors 4 Authors.  It goes live July 21, 2015, come join us.

Friday, July 10, 2015

In Memoriam

I could not begin the Thoughts For The Weekend post without saying a few words about Omar Sharif, the Franco-Egyptian actor who took his final bow on July 10th 2015, to join his colleagues in Thespian Heaven.   In fact, he may take up the entire post.  It's my personal tribute to an actor I've admired since my childhood days.

From the quintessential, drool worthy Arab, the charming Mr. Arnstein in Funny Girl, to the broody and conflicted Dr. Zhivago, Mr. Sharif broke the mold and left a wonderful acting legacy behind.  I say he broke the mold, because from the moment he appeared in Lawrence of Arabia, this dark, handsome, masculine pheromones-oozing actor made just about every female in the cinema room swoon -- yes, there are a lot of repeated o's but it's no accident, he deserves them all.  And the minute he spoke, with that soft, caressing accent of his, we were all goners.

I hope I don't sound like women from the silent cinema era who used to fawn over Valentino and his legendary role "The Sheik". But with all due respect to his fans and Mr. Valentino, Mr. Sharif shattered that image to tiny ribbons.  I'll challenge the ladies in the room who are too young to remember Lawrence of Arabia to rent the DVD, if you can find it, then check out YouTube for a snipet of The Sheik by Valentino.  Hmm...right.  Now you understand.  

Perhaps we can attribute the charm -- which he had in spades -- to his mixed heritage.  Does it really matter?  Not to this girl, when I saw him last in Hidalgo, I would have gladly shared his tent.  And that is a lot to say, especially when Viggo Mortensen had the leading role.

I don't have images of Omar Sharif to illustrate my point without breaking  any copyright rules.  In this link to The Telegraph, you will find some wonderful photographs.  However, I did find a few quotes indicative of the man.  Here he is, Omar Sharif:

On his prowess as a lover.
"See these hands?  They are old. But they are soft. Only good for caressing."

On Sex.
"Making Love? It's a communion with a woman.  The bed is our holy table.  There I find passion and purification."

On being cast by David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia.
"They chose me for Lawrence of Arabia because I spoke English, had black hair, black eyes, and a mustache.  It was all luck.
"I was taken in a plane to the desert to meet David, and as we came in to land we could see him sitting all by himself.  We landed right next to him, but he didn't move one step.  When I got off the place, he didn't say 'hello'.  He simply walked round me to see my profile.  Finally, he said 'That's very good, Omar. Let's go to the make-up tent.' I tried on a mustache, and it was decided I would grow one.  I've shaved it off for a couple of films, but otherwise I've had it ever since."

On women.
"I can't say I gave up totally my passion for women, but almost."

One more.
"I don't know what sex appeal is.  I don't think you can have sex appeal knowingly.  The people who seduce me personally are the people who seem not to know they're seductive, and not to know they have sex appeal."

It strikes me that the last quote could personify him to the hilt.  Did he truly understand his charisma? That is an interesting question and one I'll never have the opportunity to ask.

Adieu, Mr. Sharif.  Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Author-4-Author Blog: Welcome! :-) Would You Like To Join The First #Au...

Author-4-Author Blog: Welcome! :-) Would You Like To Join The First #Au...: Monthly Blog Hop Rules July’s Theme is Opening Lines. The rules are simple. 1.) If you’re a member of the Author-4-Author Group and have...

Hi, everybody.  If you want to join in the Bloghop check the link.  It should be lots of fun.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Quotes for the Weekend

It's  Friday and that means Quotes for the Weekend.  Jefferson and Kafka's quotes are worthy of careful reflection and thought. I see both as visionary advice reaching out to us from the past, to help us craft a better future.  It is the guidance we all wish we had when making tough decisions, it is comforting to know they exist.  Jefferson should never be rushed.  His words should be savored delicately like fine wine or gourmet food. Kafka as always shoots straight to the heart of the matter, it is a sledgehammer of possibilities pounding on hard set cement.  Nevertheless, just because it is a short line, it still carries a ton of wisdom. Here we go:

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.  I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it.  It deserved of its country.  It was like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead.  I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions.  I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.  But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.  As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
~ Thomas Jefferson

A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside of us.
~  Franz  Kafka 
It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing somebody's beard.
~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 
Life is a jest, and all things show it, / I thought so once, and now I know it.
~ John Gay 
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  
All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
~ Kahlil Gibran 
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
~Blaise Pascal

Pascal's quote is troublesome because it speaks a mighty truth.  I have often wondered why Men do such terrible acts in the name of religion.  And yet, most religions I know, preach love, kindness, forgiveness, and understanding.  If so, is religion the impetus for evil, or is religion the flag flourished by some men to justify their need for evil deeds?

With that thought in mind, I will add another in counterpoint:

 The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
~ Edmund Burke