October was a month of highlights, both personally and professionally.

My husband Don celebrated his 75th birthday and the entire family descended upon 

us in Phoenix—from Oregon, Chicago, Colorado, California and the locals in 

Flagstaff, Ahwatukee, Chandler and Tempe.  In all, 24 with all five children and their 

spouses, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.  Don, known by most as 

GrandDad, is the last of a  breed-an American cowboy.  Raised on a cattle ranch in 

Colorado, he still rises at dawn ready to take on the day and his “chores”.  His 

kindness to women, children and animals and devotion to his country are his 

admirable traits.  As head of the clan, he is a great role model for all the men in our 

family and we feel so fortunate to have him with us—and healthy! I might add that 

everyone in the family was on their best behavior—let’s face it. Get that many 

personalities together and we are as dysfunctional as the next group—but we love 

each other in spite of it…I think. 

On the book front, I attended a Pitchfest in New York City sponsored by my 

publisher’s parent company, Author Solutions.  Over 100 authors gathered at the 

Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square  (totally awesome) and pitched our 

stories to Hollywood reps with hopes of optioning a movie or TV show.  The 

morning workshop prepared us for the pitch. Great pitch training was offered by 

Bob Kosberg who is known as King of the Pitch. Then a practice session where we 

tried to create an interest in our book in a mere 2 minutes!  Yes, two minutes to sell 

our concept.  I pitched to ten reps (they seem soooo young). They seemed receptive, 

but official results and feedback will arrive in two weeks. Stay tuned.

Regardless of the outcome, it was such a valuable and inspiring experience. Met 

authors from age 11 (yes) to age 91 (and I thought I would be the oldest at 74). One 

author was a NYC fireman who survived the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center 

although his firehouse (#10) suffered the highest casualties.  Many other people 

wrote memoirs that were touching—including a lady who was thrown off a Nazi 

train headed to Auschwitz in WWII.  

We traveled with another couple so had a few days to take in the sights. A boat city 

cruise on the Hudson. We saw the spot where Capt. Sulley landed his plane and just 

missed the filming of it with Tom Cruise as Captain. We saw a Broadway play 

(Hamilton), visited Ellis Island and the 9/11 Museum and Freedom Tower. Our 

“whisper” tour was conducted by a 25-year old who was in 6th grade at the time of 

the attack and one of his classmates was on the doomed plane headed to California. 

His friend had won a science competition and was going to compete on the national 

level.  A somber experience needless to say, yet it created a fierce pride in our 

country for  resilience and determination to re-build a tribute to honor the fallen.  

Every American should have the opportunity to visit this site.

My writing goal this month is to continue to build my platform which in today’s 

world is evidently essential (website, blog and press releases). But more 

importantly, I want to begin the sequel to I’ll Always Be With You.  I had not intended

to do one, but if you have read the book (no plot spoilers) you know there are some 

issues to be resolved at the end and many readers have asked for a conclusion. I am 

touched beyond words when they say they love the characters and want to spend 

more time with them.  I realize I love them too. 

I have started a word doc with scene ideas. I have the last scene firmly in my 

mind—all I need now is a beginning and a middle.  I often wake in the middle of the 

night and run to the computer to capture an idea before it disappears. Some writers 

keep a notebook by their bedside. I tried that but found in the morning I couldn’t 

read what I wrote.

Books I have read since the last newsletter:  My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You 

She’s Sorry,  After You, by JoJo Moyes (sequel to Me Before You). A great story and a 

good text book example of how to write a sequel, Making Rounds with Oscar, a true 

story by Dr. Dosa, who specializes in dementia patients. The cat at the nursing home 

has the uncanny ability of knowing who is going to pass and spends the day on their 

bed. Fascinating and touching. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. An 

excellent read.  Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. I think one of his 


I’m traveling to Santa Clara, California at the end of the month to trick-or-treat with 

my six-year old granddaughter and see her school costume parade. There’s nothing 

like little goblins, witches and princesses (last year we counted 47 Frozen costumes) 

to get one in the true spirit of Halloween.

I close with gratitude-for family, friends, health and our beautiful America.