"I laughed, cried, felt the urgency . . . the story will take you to another dimension of 'ahhh' moments of reflection and insight that will 'gotcha.' I could read this book again and again and get something more. I enjoyed i from the second I began to read."

"A thick slice of MaryAnn Easley pie. Oozing UFOs, sweet on science, and warm with fantasy. This veteran children's writer's many young fans should be satiated.....for now!"

Monday, March 23, 2015


Some of the best stories come from real life because they are dense and compelling. That's why readers often favor memoir, as well as, fiction that allows them to identify with the protagonist or point of view (POV) narrator.

When I lived in Arctic Iñupiat villages without any plumbing or roads or modern conveniences like television, computer, or the Internet.  I acquired a lot of first hand rugged experiences and survival skills that I included in my books I AM THE ICE WORM, DOG WOMAN, ALONE IN THE ICE WORLD, and FINDING JADE MOUNTAIN.

Fishing commercially for salmon along the California coast aboard a 55' sailing schooner taught me other life lessons I included to BELLY UP. My sailboat Bobolink became the sailboat in the story and my experiences with sharks, whales, freighters and trying to catch fish in terrible weather gave me the nuts and bolts I needed to give the story verisimilitude.

I taught eighth grade on a USMC base and former students who have read WARRIOR'S DAUGHTER say it's like "reliving eighth grade all over again."

Both KNUCKLE DOWN and LOOKING OUT FOR LINDY are based on the Los Angeles homefront during World War II and the sinking of my dad's liberty ship SS Peter Silvester by a German submarine in the Indian Ocean.

SS Peter Silveste

A FEW SCREWS LOOSE has truths about friendship and mental illness. And my current work-in-progress CHANGED IN THE NIGHT (working title) deals with psychological issues connected with loss within a context of sci-fi/fantasy.

The most important element of story is truth, and truth comes from reaching into those deep and sometimes brutal feelings. Readers tune in to that truth at a level they might not understand. All they know is they've been there and done that and can relate to the story's narrator.

As writers, we need to excavate human emotions even if it hurts to face our own guilt, fears, and hopes. We need to somehow get those feelings onto the page for the reader no matter what genre we are working in.

How do we get story? The hard way; we dig up a rough draft like clay and slap it down on paper. Then we mold that sloppy mess and shape it and tweak it and revise it a hundred times. We put our heart and soul into it so there are universal truths based on who we are, what we know, experiences we've had, and life lessons we've learned.

Readers read books to discover how to lead their own lives.

Where do stories come from? The truth is they come from ourselves; therefore, we must dig deep.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Writing is hard work.

After 12 books published and a dozen more mediocre attempts dwelling in storage boxes, in notebooks, or on floppy discs somewhere, I think the key to achieving a goal as a writer is perhaps simpler than we think. I have to remind myself during my final revisions on Changed in the Night that this kind of work is not supposed to be easy. It never was easy before, after all, and my latest book is complicated beyond belief.

Sometimes revision can get overwhelming. That's when I remember that this is an endurance race and persistence pays off. It seems to me that authors who succeed have one trait in common: TRUE GRIT.

GRIT is perseverance and passion for long-term goals. While ability is extremely important, GRIT is the characteristic of high-achieving individuals that sets them apart. Such individuals are able to maintain their determination and motivation over extended periods of time in spite of adversity and failure. These writers are committed over the long haul and are passionate enough to maintain the course until the goal is reached in spite of setbacks and challenges.

GRIT is being resilient in spite of rejection, negative feedback, and less than glowing critiques. GRIT is persevering through the "shitty first draft" and then the following draft and the dozen or so drafts after that. Having GRIT helps us do good work over and over again even if it takes years.

Here are some examples of GRIT that inspire me:

Carrie by Stephen King got thrown into the trash after 30 rejections. King's wife rescued the manuscript, and it was sent out again to become a classic in the horror genre.

Dune by Frank Herbert was turned down 33 times before becoming an extremely popular science fiction novel.

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen was submitted 140 times before becoming a multi-million dollar bestseller.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig was rejected 121 times before it found fans as a much sought after book for its many life lessons.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before it wound up in print and then a must-see movie with a gritty heroine named Scarlett O'Hara.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle collected 26 rejections before becoming a best-selling children's book.

These are only some of the stories that help me stay the course. 

Without GRIT we don't win the marathon or circumnavigate the earth or write a great novel. When I get bogged down and want to chuck it all to simply clean out the closet, it helps to remember the tenacious GRIT of others. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Throughout life, we often ask ourselves these questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my life's purpose?

Whether we like it or not, we're on a compelling journey just as any protagonist in a work of fiction. Even as we sit doing nothing, we're traveling upon a spinning blue ball around the sun. We're not alone in this particular endeavor, since we're interconnected in so many ways, global citizens existing on a miraculous planet where whatever we say or do affects all living beings.  

As Chief Seattle once proclaimed:

Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons and daughters of earth.
We did not weave the web of life.
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
We do to ourselves.

My POV narrator in CHANGED IN THE NIGHT accidentally kills her twin brother on December 7, 1941, and this affects all of humanity. Of course, that's not the only incident on the "day that will live in infamy;" and like events in my story, the cause and effect of everything we've done or ever will do eventually leads to either our ultimate destruction or harmony and peace. 

According to Deepak Chopra, all the intelligence of the universe is really inside us. How empowering is that? The way to establish a connection with this source is through contemplation, meditation, and introspection. 

Many in my journaling workshops are attempting to do just that, to reflect and find a higher ground. Journal writing, after all, can be a form of meditation and provide inner awareness and clarity. 

We need to discover our passion, what we love and are really good at, and do it. It's our fellow travelers who will help us recognize our talents and skills; they act as messengers in our self-discovery. They see us and recognize our potential just as we see them and offer support.

We meet many obstacles along the way, just as our fictional characters do, and how we meet those challenges reveals and shapes us. We should heed each synchronicity since these serendipitous occurrences help clarify our purpose and guide us toward achieving our true potential. 

We're told to follow our bliss or seek our passion. If that creative passion is writing, then we surely must understand our protagonist's, as well as, our own journey. One responsibility as an author is to offer universal truths through story. 

We can only do this through arduous and often tedious work. It takes courage to delve inside our innermost selves, wisdom to create a powerful arrangement of words, and a deep compassion for our fellow travelers in order to become a vital part of this interconnectedness on Earth and contribute in a powerful and meaningful way.