Saturday, July 19, 2014


Sportster and I hit the road early Sunday morning with my friend, Julie April and her three dogs trailing behind in their fifth wheel. Light traffic allowed us to arrive at the Coalinga Elks on schedule where we spent our first night on the road. Three digit temperatures motivated us to rise early the next day for the second leg of our journey.

My friend, Vickie Andreotti, who I traveled to Wyoming with once and to Florida a couple of years ago invited us to stay at her ten acre ranch in Sacramento, Ca. Perhaps you remember, Vicki travels with her little dog, Tika who frustrated Sportster and two birds, Tweetie Bird and Birdy Bird, which infatuated him.

The picturesque vistas from her ranch on the hill, the cool evening breeze, and the great steaks grilled by Vicki’s husband made our overnight stay serene.

We pulled out of Vicki’s place Tuesday morning with a mission to escape the hustle of commuter traffic and find cooler weather on the coast.  My motorhome hummed a sweet song along with the clack-clack of the tires over the rough, heavily traveled truck route on Interstate 5. When I exited the interstate for the slower pace through the country side, I inhaled the hint of coastal air, leaned back in the driver’s seat and realized my long anticipated adventure up the Washington and Oregon coast was truly happening.   Tomorrow promised cool, marine air, ocean vistas, and redwoods.


To experience Mendocino, Ca. and all of the little town’s charm, Julie met the challenge of the dips and switchbacks through the enchanted redwoods that made a short, forestry distance turn into an hour journey.  

 We parked at the first beach we came to,  crawled out of Julie’s truck, stiff and stretching, wondering if the meandering road’s destination had been worth the drive. A slow  walk to the waves sifting the  sand  onto the beach convinced us. Yes.

Visiting my very talented artist friend, Suzi Marques Long, surely made Mendocino a glowing jewel on the coast’s necklace of towns that strung up the coast to Washington. Her home and gallery was a water tower.


Suzi led me from the ground floor gallery where her pastels and water colors hung like captured vistas from a coastal safari. We climbed the spiral staircase up into the depths of her studio and then up even higher each level with a window of inspiration gazing out upon the surf. I imagined the feel of reading a good book in one of those cozy, small rooms on a stormy winter’s day.

But not this summer day. Next we ride the Skunk Train.




 Don't forget to read MASADA'S MARINE, The Story Of A Service Dog and Her Wounded Marine Warrior.

Every hour a veteran commits suicide because of PTSD.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Roads, Miles, Books and Dreams

An author wears many hats. Yesterday, I put on my website manager hat, tidying and updating my website that I had toiled over, building myself, over three years ago when I began this career of writing.  I can't help but look back on those days of hope and blind excitement that seems so long ago now, and wonder how many hours of research, editing, writing and rewriting I have invested in my new lifestyle.

Sportster can tell you. His new napping spot is next to the computer because that is where he finds me eight to ten hours a day.

The evidence lies in my new, ergonomically correct chair that cured the tingling sensation in my fingers as they pounded the keyboard, placing those twenty-six letters of the alphabet on a white screen, arranging and rearranging until the imaginary characters in my head sprang to life onto paper.

And my Wizard of Winnebago motor home will make testament on its odometer. After miles on the road, carrying Sportster, Jack Incarnate and me to RV rallies, libraries and book signings, from California to Florida, to Oregon, Vermont, and New York, and all states in between, not only do the years add up, but the places and miles do, too.

Yesterday, I  retrieved my motor home, which will be my home for the next three months, from Canyon  Lake Auto, a sister company of Bradley Auto Center  in Sun City, California. (Bradley Auto is also a fictional place in my book, MASADA'S MARINE) 

Feeling good from the most thorough checkup it had received in years, the Wizard hummed all the way home, purring like Sportster as I backed it into its parking space alongside my house.

"Only ten more days," I said. "And we'll be on the road again." The sun flashed a wink off the headlight as I closed the gate and went in my "stick" house.

Redesigning my website, I came across an interview I had with Nick Russell, New York Times best-selling author and creator of The Gypsy Journal RV Travel Newspaper along with his readers' comments.

Here it is. I hope you enjoy.

This is a post on Nick Russell's blog

 This is the first in a series of interviews on self-published authors I will be running. Some of the authors are very successful and sell hundreds of books a month, while others have enjoyed more modest success. Their backgrounds, writing styles, and genres may be different, but they all have one thing in common; the desire to share the stories inside their heads that are clamoring to get out.

 I first met Judy Howard at a Gypsy Journal RV Rally in Yuma, Arizona and was impressed by her dedication to succeeding as an independent author.

 Where Do You Live: Sun City, California

 What Genre Are Your Books: My first book, Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost, is a memoir. My second book, Going Home With A Cat And A Ghost, is a mystery-romance. My current work in progress, Masada's Marine, will be general fiction.

Book Title(s):

Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost

 Going Home With A Cat And A Ghost

 Masada's Marine

Tell Us About Your Background: I was born in Illinois and attended the University of Illinois in  Champaign-Urbana. I have owned and operated a pet grooming salon, The Canine Beauty Salon, since I was eleven years old. After my husband of 25 years died in 2004, I began traveling more in my motorhome, and three years ago I began writing.

 How Long Have You Been Actively Writing: Only three years, but I am addicted and cannot stop.

 Indie or Trade Published: Working as a self-employed business owner all my life, becoming an Indie Author came naturally.

 E-books Or Printed: My books are available in print and as e-books.

 Is Writing A Fulltime Activity, And If Not, What Is Your Regular Job: I am transitioning to retirement from my dog grooming business. I will write full time by the end of the year.

 Who Are Some Of Your Favorite Authors: I am fickle. I am drawn to what I am researching at the moment. When I had time to read for pleasure, I did not seek out the great American novels, but was attracted to the mainstream authors, Nora Roberts, Joseph Wambaugh, James Patterson, Jean Auel and even Daniel Steele. As an author now, I regret not mentioning them all. But today, Carlos Luis Montelvan’s, Until Tuesday, Garth Stein’s, The Art Of Racing In The Rain are just a few.

 What Brought You To Indie Publishing: As I said before, I have been self-employed all my life and I find it difficult to partner with others. I have many author friends, many who have hired  publishers who have not made them wealthy, so what can I say?

 What Is Your Writing Schedule: I write every chance I get. Many times my grooming business and my traveling threaten to push my writing aside. If I allow that to happen I get irritable and restless. So, for the most part, I rise between five and six A.M. to insure writing time, before reality takes over the day.

 What Are Your Writing Goals: My goal is to be completely retired from my grooming business so that I may travel and write. My hope is my books will inspire and bring change to my readers’ lives.

 How Do You Promote Your Books: I mainly blog and Twitter. I attend as many book signings and author affairs as I am able. I support other authors. I am a strong believer in a supportive community of authors. I also perform writing workshops to inspire others who have the desire to write but have not yet delved into the sea of words.

 Where Do Or Would You Like To See Yourself In 5 Years: Writing and traveling. I hope that I will be an author of some prominence, traveling, speaking, and writing.

 What Do You See As The Future For Indie Authors: I have always believed in capitalism – the concept of competition and theory of supply and demand. Social media has made it possible for an author to soar to the bestseller’s list, if he/she writes well. If you do quality work and work your ass off, you will survive and thrive.

 What Advice Would You Give A New Indie Author: A best-selling author said something similar to this: Work from daylight to dusk, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

 What Else Would You Like Our Readers To Know About You: First of all, through my research for my current book, Masada's Marine, I have acquired a deep feeling of gratitude to all of our veterans. Second, I am always asked if I am afraid, traveling alone. The answer is, “Yes, but I do it anyway.” And third, people ask why I write. My answer is the same as President John Kennedy’s when he explained why we choose to go to the moon. I choose to write not because it is easy, but because it is hard.

Thanks Judy, I wish you much success in your publishing efforts.

That interview was a year and a half ago. Today I am retired, writing and traveling. I wonder, where the next year and a half will lead?

Check out my newest book,
MASADA'S MARINE , The Story of A Service Dog and Her Wounded Marine Warrior.

Every hour a veteran commits suicide.