Sunday, March 31, 2013

Classic Tucson BrightSpot: Mission San Xavier

On Palm Sunday, Mark and I visited the Mission and Church.  We haven't been there since the restoration (partial) of the Church and the colors in the restored facade and frescos are stunning.  As we came into the plaza and walked around the hill, we looked out on the green farmlands, the mountains and the incredible blue sky that still stuns us, contrasted with the white exterior of San Xavier.  The Mission, founded in 1692 by Fr. Kino, is a National Historic Landmark. The church was started in 1783 with 7,000 pesos borrowed from a rancher.  Thirty-three inch walls keep the interior cool during the summer. Find out more about this classic Tucson BrightSpot at  and enjoy these photos.

This photo was taken by Mark from the hill, southeast of the Church.

On this particular day, there were many families walking around, up and down the hill.  Here are a few boys jumping the boulders beneath the cross.
A closer photo of the beautiful church
Inside, so many fantastic images.  Here are just a few we selected to share.  Happy Spring!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rincon Market: A BrightSpot

We go to Rincon Market once, sometimes twice a week.  I feel comfortable there alone with the salad bar choices on a plate and also enjoy sharing crispy bacon and a cinnamon roll with my hubby.  Sometimes I meet up with colleagues and we have gone in the evening to hear a friend play his guitar.  But it's always hard to ignore the pastries.  You can see the empty spots on the trays where others have already indulged.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

To pray

During this Lenten Season, I have been participating in a Conversations with God class at St. Phillip's Episcopal Church.  It's been a positive learning experience and I feel I have grown in my spiritual practice and understanding.  What I really liked about the class was the wonderful facilitator and the way she wove eclectic readings and tools into the sessions.  I always felt encouraged to try something new (to me), but never felt pressured to do so.  From today's Daily Word, I am sharing another new piece of knowledge about the word, "to pray."

daven \DAH-vuhn\, verb:

to pray.

There, day or night, everyone — the men, the women, even the children — could daven nonstop.
-- Erica Lann-Clark, "The Goats Know the Way," The Healing Heart, 2003

Every morning he wakes early to daven outside, facing Jerusalem. When I watch him from the window, I regret having taught him to sound out the Hebrew letters when he was only five.
-- Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Daven entered English in the mid-nineteenth century from Yiddish.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

poem from The Writer's Almanac

I read this newsletter every day--it's part of my breakfast routine.  And today, this poem touched me as good poems do--in the heart as well as the mind.

Every Day

Awake the mind's hopeless so
At a quarter to six I rise
And run 2 or 3 miles in
The pristine air of a dark
And windy winter morning
With a light rain falling
And no sound but the pad
Of my sneakers on the asphalt
And the calls of the owls in
The cypress trees on Mesa Road

And when I get back you're
Still asleep under the warm covers
Because love is here to stay
It's another day and we're both still alive
"Every Day" by Tom Clark, from Light and Shade. © Coffee House Press, 2006. Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More on Happiness

One of my "spread the word on happiness" friends, Patrick Jordan, posted this on Facebook and it's a really good list of what happy people do:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

e.e. cummings poem for Spring

Before planting new flowers today (marigolds, pansies and daisies), I let my poetry book open to whatever page fell and this is the poem--amazingly wonderful for today. [note: the punction, etc., "errors" are just as they were printed in my book, The Voice is Great Within Us, p. 175

"Spring is like a perhaps Hand" e.e. cummings

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carfully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window,into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
and inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Highlights from Writer's Sessions at Tucson Book Festival

Things Writers Might Want to Know, a.fonte/anitawrites


·         Use Twitter for news, pr, announcements

·         Blogs—post at least once a week, preferable 3x a week; add other blog sources; put a chapter of your book on the blog; “interview” someone and post the Q&A

·         High Concept Blogging is blogging so that the blog gives people something they want, can take away—don’t use the blog to talk about your writing, present a “water cooler” subject

·         Branding your Social Media sites means being consistent with your name, content and emotion you are trying to convey.  You are trying to build a high “likability” factor.  Hitting “likes” on others’ FaceBook pages increases your likability—it shows you are interested in others.

·         On Facebook, set up an author’s page; consider adding a fan page and of course, you have a profile page


·         In writing fiction: know the journey of your protagonist before you begin writing; your character has to change by the end of the story; there are several levels of story—the story of the character(s), the universal story the read will connect with, the Point A -> B story line.


·         There is traditional publishing where the author has a literary agent and takes the book to a publisher who then owns the rights to the book.  The author still has to do a lot of self-marketing. Royalties are split with the author.

·         There are small publishers who may or may not have “buy back” agreements with the distributors (Ingram or Baker & Taylor).  The author wants a publisher who has a “buy back” agreement because this makes the book more attractive to book sellers.  The author maintains the rights to the book.  Small publishers should be willing to do an editorial analysis, assist with editing, cover and back cover design, interior design, registration. Royalties are split with the author.  The range varies from 25% to 50%, depending if in print or online.  There may be a “success quotient” built into the contract where if a certain number of books sell, the author gets an additional incentive.  The publisher should help with promotion such as directing the author to a literary service and get a review of the book, help with media interviews and guest speaking.

·         True self publishing is when the author finds a printing source (CreateSpace, BookBaby, Lulu, Espresso, AlphaGraphics) and, depending on the services paid for, may or may not get assistance with design, registration.  There may be hidden costs for formatting, print on demand, shipping.  Author gets the total royalty, if there is one.

o   For first time authors who want to go with “true self-publishing” for a print book, start with CreateSpace and/or Espresso.  Smashwords is accessible and free for ebooks.  These are basically printing resources (as is AlphaGraphics).

o   Consider using Word Publisher which typesets in standard 6x9” and will omit pagination for the first page of a chapter/section which should not have a page number.

o   Use InDesign (Adobe) or Photoshop to manipulate images

o   To market your own book—start with letters to bookstores, press releases with letterhead of your publishing business on the header of the letter.  Include a picture of your cover, directions on how to buy/order the book, a summary of the book, a description of you/the author and how to contact you/the author.  Consider putting ads about your book in various newsletters. 

·         Covers of your book should look good in grayscale (early Nooks and Kindles don’t have color) and as Thumbnail. 

o   The cover should tell the story; it represents a “promise” to the reader

o   The cover is your brand

o   Author’s name/font should be bold and get attention

o   Do NOT use a font from the computer; go to www.webfonts or www.myfonts and buy a font ($6.00-$300.00)

o   Straight fonts look clean

o   Smashwords requires a portrait format not landscape for the cover

o   Smashwords provides a list of professionals who design covers and/or can do formatting

o   It takes 3-8 seconds for a reader to an impression of your book; the reader’s eye goes from upper left corner to clockwise around the book

·         The cover sets the emotional tone of the book.  Know the genre of your book.  If it’s nonfiction, look at other nonfiction covers; if it’s short story, look at other short story covers, etc. 

·         Images need to be 300 dpi; no smaller than 200x300 pixels; color for web is set at RBG; color for print is set at CMYK.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Birthday Dessert from Hacienda Del Sol

I have raved about Hacienda Del Sol before and, in full disclosure, my son is their banquet chef.  Having acknowledged those facts, I can't resist sharing my birthday dessert picture since I definitely did not resist eating it (actually I shared it with my co-birthday friend, Susan S.) and wiping the plates clean with my fingers!

The dessert description is as follows:  chocolate cherry mouse torte with cherry compote and vanilla bean ice cream; wildberry shortcakes with berry compote (blue berries, black berries and raspberries) and vanilla bean ice cream.  All hail, the Hacienda's pastry chef!!