New! Just published! The romantic-mystery, ‘L.A. Ladies’ is on Kindle, Nook and Kobo!

L.A. Ladies ebook cover
‘L.A. Ladies’ is a romantic mystery now available as an ebook and paperback

Today is the day my newest novel, ‘L.A. Ladies’, goes live on Kindle, Nook and Kobo. I worked on this story for almost a year, off-and-on, and the book already received outstanding reception among lovely Goodreads readers.

In this novel Robin, who has lived a privileged life in Los Angeles,  begins anew after the unexpected death of her husband and finds herself in situations she never dreamed she would encounter. Love and danger seem to be turning her new life upside down. And the collie on the cover? Her name is Pretty Girl and she plays an important role at two turning points in the book.

Here is where you can find the ebook:

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

It is also available as a paperback on Amazon.

 

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New romance-mystery novel, ‘L.A. Ladies’ now available for pre-order on Nook, Kobo and Kindle!

L.A. Ladies ebook cover
The cover for the ebook edition of L.A. Ladies. The ebook and paperback will be published on February 18th.

My newest novel, ‘L.A. Ladies‘ is now ready for pre-ordering on Kindle. And Nook. And Kobo.

The main character in this romantic mystery is Robin, a woman who has lived a privileged life in Los Angeles until it all came apart with the unexpected death of her husband. Now, as she reawakens emotionally she finds herself attracted to Darius, a client of her blog-writing business. He is a younger, brash sports trainer which makes him off-limits in her mind. “No cougaring”, she says to herself, when she goes to his home to photograph his rough collie, Pretty Girl. Then another man cruises into her world. Russ is a wealthy businessman who recently returned to Los Angeles after decades of living in Singapore and he seems to be perfect for her. Everyone thinks so, but is he?  Robin’s new life is soon overtaken by one shocking event after another. How could all this happen to her? Who is behind it? She realizes she is now facing circumstances she never imagined encountering.

The paperback edition will published on February 18th, too.

This romance-mystery is coming soon on iTunes and Scribd.  I’ll update the links as I’m notified by those stores.

My new novel, ‘L.A. Ladies’ is now available for pre-order on Kindle!

L.A. Ladies ebook cover
The cover for the ebook edition of L.A. Ladies. The paperback will be published on February 18th.

I’m tooting my own horn here!  My new novel, ‘L.A. Ladies‘ is now ready for pre-ordering on Kindle. You can find it here and read more about Robin, a ghost-blogger who is re-starting her life after the death of her husband. (And–Yes!–a collie is a character in the novel.)

The paperback edition will published on February 18th, too.

This romance-mystery is also available for pre-order at other online bookstores, including Nook and Kobo. Coming soon on iTunes and Scribd.  I’ll update the links as I’m notified by those stores.

The mysterious source of L.A. River water? (Hint: not those clouds above you.)

Lake at Tillman Reclamation Plant
The lake at SuihoEn Water Gardens. Tillman Water Reclamation offices are in that white building to the right.

As storms sweep into the West Coast the Los Angeles River has become at times a raging flood of water racing to the Long Beach harbor. But most of the year the river channel would be bone dry were it not for the treated sewage water from the Donald Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys that is dumped into the river. Other water treatment plants across the valley also pour their water into the river.

Cascading water at SuihoEn garden
Cascading water and streams are part of this 6.5 acre Japanese garden.

 

Yes.  That means the water carrying you down river in kayaks in summer is treated sewage from homes and businesses across the San Fernando Valley.  And the water that went into those homes probably came either from the Colorado River or via the California Aqueduct from the Sacramento River in Northern California. Water is peripatetic in California! But I digress…

The Tillman Water Treatment Plant is also home to the beautiful SuihoEn water garden designed by Koichi Kawana. The photos in this post were taken in Spring, but with the increasing interest in the river it seemed like a good time to show the water garden.  It’s located at 6100 Woodley Ave. in Van Nuys in the Sepulveda Basin, by the way, and part of the water outflow goes into Lake Balboa.

While the garden is quite beautiful, there is a faint but distinct smell of sewage.  Entry fee of $5 for adults, $3 for kids and seniors.

Garden house at SuihoEn garden
A Japanese style viewing pavillion sits at the northern end of the lake at the SuihoEn Garden in Van Nuys. There are, however, beautiful vistas throughout the garden.
bridge at Tillman Water Reclamation lake
When I visited there were very few people at the garden. More should take the time to go there — later this spring.
Tillman Reclamation Facility
A full time staff of gardeners maintains this beautiful Japanese Garden.
SuihoEn water garden at Tillman Plant
Reflections in the lake at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys
water lilies and sky reflections
Water lilies and reflection of the sky and walls at the SuihoEn Gardens.
azaleas in bloom SuihoEn Gardens Van Nuys
Another vista in the garden: red azaleas in bloom.

 

Plum blossoms at Tillman Reclamation plant
Plum trees at the edge of the lake bloom in early spring at the SuihoEn Garden in Van nuys.
wavy hedges at SuihoEn Garden
Even the pittosporum hedge continues the flowing water theme. It’s been trimmed into a waving, undulating shape.
Coots at Tillman Water Plant
I saw racoon footprints, a heron and these coots in the garden. Coots stay in one place if they like it and multiply like crazy.

 

 

After El Nino the L.A. River looks much different. Not so pretty pretty!

Glendale Narrow January 2016
Winter has come to Los Angeles and the plants on islands in the river have really taken a beating. See below for a summertime view.

The first of several months’ of heavy El Nino storms blew into Southern California this last week and the Los Angeles River went from being a trickle in an almost-dry concrete channel to being a flood sweeping into the ocean.  (These photos were taken after the flood had passed.)

Because the river paths, in particular at the Glendale Narrows and in Studio City, are the settings of key scenes in my new novel, ‘L.A. Ladies’, I decided to take a few photos in winter when the area is anything but the pretty pictures of the area in summer. (‘L.A. Ladies’ will be published on Kindle on February 18, 2016.)

Cyclists ride slowly by L.A. river
The paths along the river are shared by walkers, joggers, bicylists, and horses. The Los Angeles Equestrian Center is nearby.

I’m going to include some Summer vs. Winter photos here as well as some sights away from the river.

Here is what I saw on a walk along the Los Angeles River in January 2016:

Los Angeles River Glendale Narrows
This scene at the Glendale Narrows in July is often used to show the L.A. River. It only looks like this in summer.
I 5 Freeway overpass at Glendale Narrows
The image of a natural river vanishes in the roar of traffic on the I 5 Freeway, a main north-south highway in Los Angeles which passes over the Glendale Narrows.
Ducks walking at Glendale Narrows
What a surprise! Alongside the river were 8 ducks walking along at a very stately pace. They seem to be portaging from one part of the river to the next.  The power of the rushing water stripped leaves from the small trees behind them and debris that looks like white plastic bags coats the branches. The bags would kill sea creatures if the plastic reached the ocean.
Dreamworks Animation building
Dreamworks Animation, that yellow building, is right beside the river trail.
Palamino horse near Glendale Narrow
A horse named Katmandu spends his days beside the trail. His owner lives in the building behind the corrall.
Los Angeles River after the January storm.
Another view of the L.A. River after the storm water has swept through.

 

See the real Los Angeles River which Frank Gerhy and others plan to change. For the good?

Los Angeles River Glendale Narrows
This photo taken at the Glendale Narrows is often used to show the L.A. River. Most of the river doesn’t look like this.  The Glendale Narrows is the point where the river changes direction from east-west to north-south and heads toward the ocean.

As I was nearly done writing my new novel, Finding Mr. Yes, I began to read reports that notable architect Frank Gehry had been hired by an organization I’d never heard of to design plans to revitalize the Los Angeles River.  What!!??!  I had already written several scenes set along the trails and pathways by the river and was alarmed to think that the man who designed Disney Hall was going to put his imprint on the 51 mile long river. And I wasn’t the only one alarmed by this.

Then there was this organization that almost all Los Angeles area residents, including me, had never heard of.  What the heck is the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp.?  Well, it turns out that it is a public-private non-profit group that now has deep deep pockets: the federal government has granted the City of Los Angeles a billion dollars toward restoring the river and this “non-profit” appears to be the beneficiary of the money. As the L.A. Times has reported this is controversial.  It also appears that the Friends of the Los Angeles River, a grassroots organization which has sponsored riverside clean-ups and championed river bank restoration and trails for years and years, has been squeezed out of the picture. The Revitalization Corp is now busy holding events–no doubt paid for with the federal tax dollars–in what appears to be an attempt to create “grass roots.”

Frog Gate in River Walk STudio City
The Frog Gate in Studo City leads to one of many paths and trails along the river.

Sadly, a real estate rush is on. Speculators are buying up property along the river and prices for tiny homes and highly polluted lots are skyrocketing. I shudder to think of what the riverside will be like with MacDonald’s and Starbucks and million dollar condos and who knows what else lining the banks.  Perhaps the scariest real estate venture is a plan to buy an old, 40 acre train yard and use it for housing for Olympians if L.A. gets the 2024 Olympics.  I wouldn’t walk across that land wearing anything less than a hazmat suit. It is highly polluted and filled with toxins!

On the other hand, Mother Nature has her ways. I remember one El Nino year when we were living in Studio City three blocks from the river. One storm brought so much rain that the river overflowed its concrete banks and our front yard was flooded. We were spared but there was a lot of damage closer to the river.

Anyway… Here are some photos of the Los Angeles River.  I had intended to post photos about the CicLAvia going on in downtown L.A. today, celebrating the 5 Year anniversary of the event, but it is raining. Here comes El Nino!

Los Angeles River Studio City
This is what the river looks like for much of the distance across the San Fernando Valley. South of the Glendale Narrows the banks are concrete inclines. The water you see in the river is barely enough to cover the floor of the flood channel. In summer the river is almost bone-dry.
pedestrian bridge over L.A. River
On the pedestrian bridge at Laurelgrove one scene in my new novel plays out. The trees and native plants alongside the path have been planted by local neighborhood groups.
In my novel, Finding Mr. Yes, two LAPD officers come down the access path to the River Walk in Studio City. I'm not going to tell you why!
In my novel, Finding Mr. Yes, two LAPD officers come down the access path to the River Walk in Studio City. I’m not going to tell you why!