Guest Post: Diane Lynn Collman, author of ‘Off Her Rocker’

A Letter From Diane

A Few Words to the Audience…

Dear Gentle Reader,

I have always dreamed of writing a novel –the kind of tale I wish I could read: one which appeals to both young and old, women and men, exquisitely written though easy to read, with characters that inhabit you while simultaneously coaxing you to think about your own life and what you want out of it; a story that makes you laugh out loud, cry, and gives you goose bumps; something that doesn’t take too much of your time–but just might stay with you for a lifetime.diane

And I have had a true love of words for as long as I can remember. Whether it’s a word search, crossword puzzle or scrambler at the back of a children’s menu, I delight in playing with words. When I was growing up my father, whose own vocabulary is extensive, would use a word at dinner, such as ‘pugnacious’, and then refuse to tell us its meaning; rather insist we leave the table, grab a dictionary and look it up for ourselves. Naturally I never forgot its meaning, and in fact used it on a playground bully the following school day.

I majored in English Literature in college–so obviously I have done my share of reading– and while I generally have always loved a good book, I think I was really there more for the words. When I went to lecture, I would listen very keenly to my professors’ dialogues, eager to jot down a new word or two I could adopt as my own. Now I have Google!

Many years later I fell in love with, and then stumbled into teaching, a form of hatha yoga. Because of circumstances that were quite by ‘accident’, I had no formal training and as such, I was forced to learn how to be an instructor on the fly. What I quickly discovered was how important it was for me to use my words selectively, compellingly, in order to teach the most efficient and inspiring ninety- minute sessions possible–that is, to tell the best story.

When I teach a yoga class I also use music to its greatest effect and am extremely fussy about my playlists, and I devised a similar technique to assist myself in the writing process: I’d choose a contemporary, upbeat song, such as “La La La” by Naughty Boy with Sam Smith and then listen to something quieter, more soulful, like “Youth” by Daughter, just to be sure a scene I was constructing worked with both moods. I wanted my novel to have a timeless feel despite its being mainly a period piece. (In fact, you may want to re-read the final page of OFF HER ROCKER while playing “Youth” in the background–and I highly recommend Sam Smith’s acoustic version of “Latch” for the love scene; if this book is ever turned into a film, I will insist upon its use for Hadley and Ari’s night of passion).

offherrockerI want to share with you here that I am a survivor of one of the rarest forms of pancreatic tumors, (the same kind of tumor as Steve Jobs had; coincidentally, I taught hot yoga on several occasions at Apple), and throughout my health scare and lengthy convalescence I had a lot of time on my hands, but not much energy. Books became some of my best friends and partners in healing. The odds of surviving a neuroendocrine tumor to the pancreas are sobering–worse than surviving an airplane crash; after this brush with death, I’ve tried to never take my life for granted, and writing a book absolutely went to the top of my bucket list.

So when I thought I had conceived a hauntingly beautiful, layered story, I sat on a stool, lotus-style, at the desk in my den nearly every day for six months writing…and writing. When I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about writing; too often I’d be in the shower and have to dash, dripping wet, across our house to jot something down before it was lost to me, or gotten into bed anxious for a good night’s sleep only to find the characters swirling over my head, summoning me back up to play with them. Many times the bills were paid late: there was no way I was getting up from something this much fun just to go off to the Post Office for some stamps, and I virtually lived in one pair of black sweats. My husband bought me a lounging outfit for my last Birthday and the pants of it now have holes throughout and are frayed at the ends; I’ve literally worn them out while writing.

Hadley, Ari and Perry have become a part of me; they are as real to me as the fingers of my own hand. Now that I have finished my novel I am going to miss each of them–terribly. I hope you enjoyed OFF HER ROCKER as much as I enjoyed writing it, because it was the most fun I have ever had on my own. The experience felt very similar to reading a fantastic book, where you simultaneously can’t wait to find what happens–yet never want it to come to an end. I hope you found the themes of devastation, mental anguish, moral dilemma, and true love resonating; my version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” meets “Splendor in the Grass” with shade of “Stairway to Heaven”. I hope I left you, by the very last word, utterly satisfied, yet panting for more. And I thank you, most humbly, for your time; I have no doubt it is precious.

Oh–I recently purchased a soft black jumpsuit; perhaps it is time to sit down and begin writing novel number two!


Diane Lynn Collman appeared at Village House of Books on May 2nd  as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration!  Thank you to everyone who came to say hello to Diane and our other local authors!


Guest Post: Kathleen Ann Gonzalez, author of ‘A Beautiful Woman in Venice’

T-Rex Versus the Pterodactyl: AKA Traditional Publishing Versus Self-Publishing

By Kathleen Ann Gonzalez

20130207__salm0208casanova~1_GALLERYI am on the cusp of self-publishing my fourth book, A Beautiful Woman in Venice, a collection of biographies about remarkable Venetian women. I’ve made a leap: I will not even seek a traditional American publisher for this book. It exhausts me, and even angers me a bit, to consider writing dozens of query letters. The traditional publishing industry is a behemoth T-Rex, stomping through the trees and acting like it’s the only dino in the forest.

Why have I changed my thinking? Because at this point in my own knowledge base and abilities, and within the changing world of publishing, I can do the job better on my own. Like a pterodactyl, I have a powerful set of strengths and talents, a nimbleness not possessed by the T-Rex.

Of course, it has taken me a couple decades of writing and publishing to get here. My first publication came soon after college, when a story I had submitted there won a prize and was later picked up for an anthology. I even got to do some bookstore events, and that small success emboldened me to pursue writing short pieces for publication in magazines and newspapers, plus a couple other essays published in anthologies. I eventually decided I had a book in me in 1996, though after five years of writing and revising, and another couple years of collecting rejection letters from a couple hundred agents and publishers, I threw in the towel and self-published. I had a little sign on my wall: “Each NO is one step closer to a YES.” But this sign misrepresented my experience. Instead of finally hearing Yes from someone else, I created that Yes for myself.

ABWIV-coverAnd yes, that was tough, designing a book cover, finding a printer, formatting a book, creating a website, and then convincing bookstores and local groups to let me share my fledgling with them. I kept thinking I just needed to pitch to that one audience member who was Oprah’s best friend, and I’d get on her show, and the rest would be a yellow brick road to fame and fortune. When that didn’t happen, I sulked. If I really were a pterodactyl, I might have eaten some raw flesh at that point.

But then I began to notice something. I really enjoyed doing events to promote my book Free Gondola Ride, which was a memoir about spending a summer with Venice’s gondoliers. I heard others’ fond reminiscences, their travel tales, their sighs of longing for a romantic adventure. And I also got compliments from people who enjoyed my writing, my story, my characterization. I realized that publishing a book is also about connecting with people—if I let it be about that.

After that realization, things got easier and more enjoyable. I self-published a book about Camp Everytown with the goal that it could be used as a fundraiser to send teens to this anti-prejudice camp. Then I wrote another book about Venice, this time tracing the locations that Giacomo Casanova, the famed lover, lived and loved in the city. Once again I tried to secure an agent and publisher, and once again I gave up, determined to publish on my own. pb Seductive Venice final

Because here is what I learned from the publishers I talked to: They still expected me to do virtually all my own marketing; they wanted to change and control the final book; they didn’t think they could reach the right audience for my subject; they wanted to take well over a year to produce a book; and they wanted to charge me two to three times the amount that I could do it for myself.

While writing this book, Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps, I also wrote three chapters that were included in a book about teaching high school English, published by Pearson. Living through the process of working with a major publisher helped me see anew how much of the writing process is eventually taken away from the writer. And then a lovely thing happened: I found a small press in Venice, Supernova Edizione, who published my Casanova book. I had found that elusive creature, the Publisherasaurus, and suddenly I dropped all the pressure off myself to find an American publisher.

So with A Beautiful Woman in Venice, I’m going straight to print on my own. My life partner RJ and I have started our own imprint called Ca’ Specchio, named for the many mirrors in our house, and he formats the books and creates cover art. I can write the book, design and print it, and market it myself for a low price and still make enough to cover my costs and pay for the next book.

At this point I don’t expect to make it onto Oprah (good thing, since the show is extinct!). I’m content, no, even excited and often thrilled, to sell books myself at local events and meet the people who will be reading my book. I’ll admit that my heart races to see my book in the stores in Italy and California, and I’ll always support our local bookstores here who still make it possible for writers like me to publish and share my ideas. But I’ll no longer be intimidated by the T-Rex, thinking it’s the only master of the land.

Kathleen Gonzalez was one of the authors who appeared at Village House of Books on May 2nd  as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration!  Thank you to everyone who came out and said hello!


Guest Post: Shelley Buck, author of ‘Floating Point’

A First Book at 65 – Why Not?

by Shelley Buck

It’s never too late to follow a life’s dream, as I discovered when I finally sat down to write Floating Point.ShelleyBuck360x360

All my life I’ve known I wanted to write books. But there were other things: a child, a husband, a house to buy, work to attend to, dirty dishes, even. Also, I’m shy, and even though I was a feminist, a journalist, and later a professor teaching writing, tooting my horn for my own needs came hard.

And then we moved to a boat. While there was plenty to repair, I wasn’t handy or good at it. Other family members took on these tasks.

Living aboard a boat changed my perception of what a home meant: In a galley a quarter the size of the usual cubicle, there wasn’t much opportunity to do gourmet cooking. Dusting became easy in a salon living space of less than a hundred square feet. I couldn’t, even if I desired, shuffle the furniture around. Almost everything was built in. With only three plates and a handful of cups, there was little temptation to squander my days washing dishes.

FLOATINGPOINTtallcvr10-6I walked the dog out on the wetlands paths, and while my son was at school, I wrote.

And eventually there was a book.

I was working. It took time to finish and edit up the book. Time to format it for publication, time to learn web design skills for promotion, time to find an editor, a community, and the encouragement to proceed, time to learn about eBooks and how the opportunity for online publication might streamline the process. I had been waiting all my life for permission to write. Now, I decided to give myself permission to publish, too. And Floating Point was born.

Here’s a question for all of you readers: What are your dreams? What are you doing to get there? It’s never too late to start!

Email me:


You can find additional blog posts from Shelley Buck and other West Coast authors at ePicaro.com.

Shelley Buck will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 3:00 pm as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to Shelley and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


Guest Post: Jan Pitcher, author of ‘Where Do the Stars Go?’


Where Do The Stars Go?

by artist/author Jan Pitcher

8 or 9 years ago,
I decided I wanted to paint like the Pre-Raphaelites.


But this is what happened, instead:


Then, my most wise and lovely long-time neighbor, a fellow artist, came over for an impromtu critique: “Wonderful! – she said. To which I emphatically replied: “NO! – just look at all this color; this picture I’ve made is so bright and so simple and I wanted to paint like the Pre-Raphaelites!” To which she calmly replied: “Just paint like Jan, and let it rip.” Afterwards, my then 39 year old son, another trusted critiquer, added: “Mom, this painting looks like it belongs in a childrens’ book – why don’t you write one – you’ve always talked about doing that.”

So, I did.

And that is how Where Do the Stars Go? – my picture book for children of all ages got its start. It contains 11 original (un-Pre-Raphaelite) paintings, which illustrate simple rhyming verses that wonder what might happen to the stars when nigthtime turns to day. Like, where do the stars go? Do they become baby deer dapples, or sparkles on the bay? Or, when nighttime is all through, do they turn into happy things you do? Such a curiosity.

Spoiler alert: There’s a good chance it will continue to be a mystery …

Jan Pitcher will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 12:00 pm as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to Jan and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


Guest Post: A. R. Silverberry, Author of ‘The Stream’

Fables and Allegorical Tales: Something for Everyone

by A. R. Silverberry

Some of the most endearing stories fall in the category of fables, parables, and allegories, perhaps, because they so Author Photo 2 198x300powerfully convey the deepest ideas and emotions about the human condition. Aesop’s fables, heard in childhood, sink deep into our psyches and shape our actions. As a writer who works slowly—a chapter from one of my novels took twenty-nine drafts!—The Tortoise and the Hare still brings me comfort. It’s okay to go slow. The Boy Who Cried Wolf carries an undeniable ring of truth. Lose the trust of others, and we lose big time.

Fables don’t have to just be for children, and they don’t have to just include animals, though traditionally the fable is defined that way. For example, the director of the film, Kate and Leopold, described the story as a modern fable about love as a leap into the unknown. A number of modern writers have penned fables for adults. Think of Thurber’s Fables For Our Time and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The wonder of these tales is how we absorb their message seemingly through our pores. Little thinking is required; understanding is instantaneous.

While the fable delivers a succinct, clear message, the allegorical novel is subtler, telling the story on two levels: literal and figurative. The reader is in for a treat. She can read the story purely for enjoyment, or she can delve into the story’s deeper meaning. Alice and Wonderland is an example of an allegorical novel. For pure fun, it’s the adventure of a girl entering a strange land by going down a rabbit hole. Beneath the adventure is a story replete with symbols and figures of speech, and scholars have found parallels to politics, Victorian culture, and mathematics, to name a few. We’ll never exhaust what can be found in the book!

Stream Small Cover 2I think of my novel, The Stream, as both fable and allegorical novel. It can be read purely as an adventure about survival. Beneath that story runs another story, bound up in the metaphor of a stream. The story raises questions about how one finds meaning in life when things constantly change. It raises questions about how to cope with the devastating blows reality throws at us, how to go on, how to build a life. Like many allegorical novels, the characters of the story are also symbols. The hero, Wend, symbolizes the innocent state we’re all in as we enter the flux of life. The stream itself is both a character and symbol: giver and taker, creator and destroyer.

The great thing about fables and allegories is that you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. You can simply sit back and enjoy the ride, let the characters and plot entertain you, and feel the emotional fulfillment the story promises. But if you want to delve for gems, if you want to think and discover, it’s all there, waiting for your questing mind.

The Stream is a Shelf Unbound Notable Book in Literary Fiction, a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist, and a da Vinci Eye Finalist.

“Fables and Allegorical Tales” was originally published as a guest post on author Kathie Shoop’s blog on 6/6/14. Reposted with permission.

A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel. Follow him on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.

A. R. Silverberry will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 2:00 pm as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to A. R. and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


Guest Post: Ann Gelder, author of ‘Bigfoot and the Baby’

Bigfoot, the Baby, and Bona Fide Books

by Ann Gelder

BigfootAndBaby_Cvr_F_webLast summer, I took part in a panel called “Breakthrough Novelists” at Litquake Palo Alto. Even before the event began, it became clear that “breakthrough” meant something different for each of us. Another panelist was Edan Lepucki, whose new book, California, had rocketed up the best-seller list upon Stephen Colbert’s enthusiastic endorsement. The other two, Stuart Rojstaczer and Christina Nichols, had published debut novels with large-to-midsize presses. Whereas my first novel, Bigfoot and the Baby, had been gently ushered into existence by Bona Fide Books—a newish, very small press in South Lake Tahoe. My book was certainly a breakthrough for me, but for the rest of the literary world, not so much.

Yet I like to think that during this very panel, I created a breakthrough moment for at least a few audience members. During the Q and A, someone asked each of us to explain how we got our agents. When Edan handed me the microphone, I said, “I don’t have an agent,” and prepared to pass the verbal torch.

“Wait!” shouted several members of the crowd. “Then how did you get published?”

That’s when I realized that many people, even those in the literary “know,” don’t know much about small presses. For most people, publishing seems to mean either Random Penguin, or, these days, Amazon and Kindle. It means agents and New York—or else endlessly tweeting five-star reviews of your 99-cent e-book. There is no middle ground.

And so, backed up by Edan, who had published a novella with a small press, I took a few moments to sing the praises of small-press publishing. Yes, I said, many small presses consider un-agented submissions. (See the Poets and Writers small-press database for a list of presses and their policies.) Yes, they take chances that larger publishers won’t—in fact, they exist to fill the niches that bigger, more-risk-averse enterprises can’t. They’re usually run by people who passionately love a certain kind of book, and want to get these books into readers’ hands. They operate on shoestring budgets, and their marketing departments consist largely of you, your editor, and your combined social media skills. Neither you nor the publisher will make any money to speak of.

But if you go the small-press route, you are more likely than not to have a uniquely wonderful time. At least I did. Bona Fide’s publisher, Kim Wyatt, cares about books not only as reading experiences, but as art objects. (In fact, she runs printmaking and book-arts clubs out of the Bona Fide office.) That meant my book had a beautiful and (in my opinion) perfect cover, lovely paper, and a gorgeous, eminently readable font. It underwent obsessive copy-editing and proofing. It was never deeply discounted or given away in huge batches. In short, my book, my baby, was loved from day one. And over the past year, we’ve found a small but vocal group of readers who love it, too.

Just recently, I did find an agent to try to sell my second book, a somewhat more mainstream literary mystery. I love this book, too, as I certainly hope at least one publisher will. But I also know that whatever happens, I’ll never again have the kind of experience I’ve had with Bona Fide Books. And that makes me a little bit sad.

Because what other publisher would buy a Bigfoot suit for your book launch, and recruit her husband to wear it?


Ann and friends at the launch of Bigfoot and the Baby, Lake Tahoe Community College.

Ann Gelder will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 11:00 am as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to Ann and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


Guest Post: Shelley Buck, author of ‘East: A Woman on the Road to Kathmandu’

The Boomerang Travel Book

by Shelley Buck

As I sat down to write East: A Woman on the Road to Kathmandu, chance delivered an incredible surprise. After finishingShelleyBuck360x360 writing my first book and taking Floating Point to a series of readings and events, I turned to another I had meant to write for 40 years – an account of a distant past in which I confronted my terror of traveling alone and set forth on a journey I hoped would take me to India and Kathmandu, using mostly public transit.

As I assembled my own notes, photographs, and intense memories, I also hunted, as I had done many times earlier, for the guidebook I bought at Cody’s bookstore in Berkeley so long ago that had inspired me to launch that journey. Once again, I learned that Overland to India was out of print. But this time I found something else as well: A rough used copy was available.

I bought it.

On examination, my purchase, when it arrived, was truly in less than perfect shape. The cream cover was travel-stained and pen-marked; the spine was cracked. Inside, I could see arrows marking up the margins of the pages. Some text passages were underlined. In a different handwriting, someone using purple ink had scribbled a web address in a margin. On the cover, somebody had written:


Ironically, I had paid attention. Overland to India, published the year before I set out, had contained a great deal of valuable and hard-to-come-by information. The author’s hints for cost-cutting were sometimes dodgy, and some of the information already needed updating by the time of my journey. However, for the most part, the advice about trains, buses, visas, and cheap hotels had been sound. There had been few other guidebooks available at the time.

EAST-cvr-605x400Now I held a copy of it again. I looked more closely at the words written across the cover. Who would violate a book that way? The printing was a strange mixture of lower case and capital letters and ellipsis marks – the kind of hasty inscription some person might jot down when casually giving a book away – someone whose cursive writing was illegible. I knew this because my own handwriting is awful.
Suddenly, I stared hard. This printing looked familiar. Very familiar! On the pages inside the book, the odd arrows in the margins, pointing to bits of text, were also made the way I draw them.

I felt sick. I don’t like coincidences. And then I felt a whooping excitement. This was my own book! The seller put me in touch with the person she had gotten the book from – a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Another journey was beginning. Maybe that, too, will someday become a book.

The adventure chronicled in East, however, is of my initial journey. The facts are as I recollect them. It began in Oakland during the Vietnam War era – a messy and unstable period in American history. I set off alone at a time when women increasingly were probing the relationship between the personal and the political. As I traveled, the adventure evolved into a quest to discover both the world and myself. I know now that all journeys can unfold this way, if we let them. This too is an understanding I would come to along the way.

Back then, the journey seemed to me an impossible one for a woman to undertake at all. By now, the overland route has become impossible to most Western travelers – male or female. Wars, insurgencies and altered governments have rendered some countries along the way either dangerous or unreachable. I could not forsee that what seemed like a closed door to me as a 1970s woman traveler should appear in retrospect as such a rare and open one – a brief and special time when the young and daring could pass through much-disputed lands in relative peace.

This book celebrates that open door. East celebrates my friends in farflung places, my companions of the road, and well-meaning adventurers everywhere. The story is a true one. Not everyone is brought up brave, but some of us, by following a dream, and exceeding the boundaries set for us, may become bolder.

Shelley Buck will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 3:00 pm as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to Shelley and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


Guest Post: Robin Woods, author of The Watcher series

Am I Doing This Right?

by Robin Woods

RobinWoods2014When I was younger, I loved writing. I would scribble missives on random scraps of paper and create imaginary worlds that I dreamt of nightly. In fact, I still have an art pad full of outfits I dreamed up for my well-dressed villainess. I was eleven, so my sci-fi novel was awful, and truthfully, I probably spent more time drawing pictures than I did writing, but it did instill a love for the written word.

I didn’t start writing with determination for many years. Okay, maybe a couple of decades. But when I did sit down to write, I felt shackled. In my mind, there was “a way a writer is supposed to write.” Then, one day, I was given a piece of advice that changed my world: “You don’t have to write in order.”

At first, I thought, “This person is crazy! You have to start in the beginning!” But then, as I mulled over this simple tip, I realized what a newbie I was being and relaxed.

I recently completed my sixth novel and I have fine-tuned my writing process. I begin with what I call “tent-pole” scenes. I pick two to four events in the book that have dramatic import and flesh them out. They are the scenes that change everything. Afterwards, I simply connect the dots until I have completed the novel as a whole. I often end up revising those original scenes when I get to them, but they give me focus and keep me on track.

So, I begin my short list of tips with the advice that changed everything:
1. You don’t need to write in order.
2. Write every day—even if it is only a paragraph. This will keep your head in the story, so you don’t have to spend an hour rereading everything you wrote in the last week.
3. Read, read, and read. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. Know what is happening in your genre and feed your soul.
4. Guard your writing time. Whether you carve out fifteen minutes or five hours each day—do it.
5. Be consistent.
6. Spend a little time on social media each day. Build a supportive community. Be generous with reciprocation.
7. Have your work professionally edited. This should be done by more than one editor (content and line-by-line). No editor can find it all, and most have specialties. If you have a good set of beta-readers, you may be able to get away with only one.The Fallen Cover

There is one more item that should probably be on the list. It is some sage advice from my grandfather. He told me to, “always surround yourself with people who know more than you do.” In the spirit of this, find other writers who can help you grow, especially people who have been doing it for longer than you have. Writing is a journey—never forget to learn as much as you can along the way.

Robin Woods will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 2:00 pm as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to Robin and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


Guest Post: Jennifer Castro, author of ‘Mom Me’

Routine Questions

by Jennifer Castro

I have time compartments that dictate what I can do when. “Work,” which means school stuff, is roughly 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Weekday evenings are for cooking dinner, a meeting here and there, and a lot of I’m not really sure what.IMG_6893-225x300

Brainless play is Friday night. Socializing, the occasional (but strongly needed – more about that soon) intellectual talk, and sometimes dinners out, happen on Saturday night.

Pancake breakfast (from time to time), soccer playing and ref-ing, household shopping, cleaning (sort of) and fixing broken things (a bit) is for Saturday. Church, and a lot more of I’m not sure what, is on Sunday.

That’s my routine. Sound familiar?

Here’s what I wonder — if keep this schedule, when will I finish writing my book?

So I’ve started disassembling that routine. Here’s an example: Recently, my family made plans on a Saturday night. I could have made plans with a friend, but instead, I stayed home — to write. The next day, they went out again, and I stayed home — to write.

The result of staying home on those days, is that, from the inside of some where, small chunks of time for writing have started falling into my lap (top). The more I risk facing my blank or sloppily organized page(s), the more time I find. The more I stop myself from saying, “yes” to things I’m used to, and instead answering that small tug that whispers, “Here’s an hour, take it,” the result is a new routine.cover_front_4inches

Last week, I read a book (well, actually a chapter) about another writer’s routine, the kind I long for, because it’s orderly. She wakes each day to meditate, workout, say mantras, read some soulful pages, eat oatmeal and grapefruit, plan and pencil in this and that, until she’s ready to write — five pages…

For me, for today, it’s “Time appeared, grab it, sit, write,” or “Everyone’s going out Friday, don’t make plans,” And I don’t, so that I do – write.

So here’s a novel, so to speak, question, is there a schedule you need to shake down so you can do what you want to but don’t cause you haven’t asked your self a routine question? Maybe it’s time.

Jennifer Castro is a children’s book author. MOM ME is her first published picture book. When she’s not writing books, Jennifer is homeschooling her two kids and urban homesteading with her husband in California. Visit her at jenncastro.com.

Jennifer Castro will be appearing at Village House of Books on May 2nd at 12:00 pm as part of our California Bookstore Day celebration! Come say hello to Jennifer and our other local authors that we will be featuring throughout the day!


California Bookstore Day Author Schedule


Following the runaway success of last year’s California Bookstore Day, bookstores across the nation are now preparing for Independent Bookstore Day, a country-wide celebration of books and independent bookstores on May 2. From Bend to Brooklyn, book lovers should mark their calendars for this special day of literary parties.

Village House of Books will bring local authors from throughout the South Bay to the store to celebrate our rich literary heritage and local sports teams. 


11:00 AM – FICTION: Ann Gelder, Jennifer Ryan, and Mike Lynch

12:00 PM – CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Jenn Castro, Kim Yen Nguyen, Jan Pitcher

12:00 PM – The Book Fairy’s Storytime for Children of All Ages

1:00 PM – FICTION: Steve Sporleder

2:00 PM – YOUNG ADULT: A. R. Silverberry, C. Lee McKenzie, Robin Woods

3:00 PM – POETRY/MEMOIRS: Erica Goss, Kathleen Ann Gonzalez, Shelley Buck

7:00 PM – Brian Murphy and Brad Mangin present Championship Blood: The 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants

Sixteen exclusive books and art pieces for California Bookstore Day 2015 will be available only on May 2. Items include a signed, original Chris Ware print; a signed chapbook of original essays by the bestselling author of Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay; a Margaret Atwood stencil, a literary map of the seas; a color broadside from Stephen King’s forthcoming novel Finders Keepers; an original signed, Captain Underpants print and much more. More than 65 authors have demonstrated their support for independent bookstores by donating work for this fantastic event.

Throughout the rest of the month of April, we’ll be giving you sneak peeks at the limited edition merchandise.  We’ll also be sharing blogs by our guest authors who will be appearing on California Bookstore Day.  This will be one of our biggest events in 2015 – don’t miss a moment of it!