Good News!  Starting October 8, you can buy the Kindle version of THE TEN MINUTE COGNITIVE WORKOUT for only $0.99! This Promotion lasts only a few days.


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Whenever I hear someone say — “I only go to movies to be entertained” — I‘m disappointed. Good filmmaking is an art, and the function of art is to do much more than entertain. Ideally, art evokes a meaningful emotional experience in the viewer. Art stimulates us to think about life, the world, or ourselves in a new or different way.

Not all movies are art, of course. Some of them are a dreadful waste of time. But a good film, an artful film, is a good story well-told.

Several elements constitute a good story, and I’ll write about these in a future post. However, a good story doesn’t teach or preach. Samuel Goldwyn said : “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.”   A good film, or any good story well-told — a novel, a play, an episode of your favorite television series — does more than entertain. Even a comedy, a good comedy, does more than make you laugh. A good comedy tells a good story. A good story connects with its audience on an emotional level and in a meaningful way.

So next time you see a movie that you really enjoy, ask yourself: Was this a good story? Did it have a protagonist that I cared about? Did the protagonist have a clear goal, not easy to attain? Did he or she change in some significant way by the end of the story? Did the story move me emotionally? Was it thought-provoking? If your answer to most of these questions is ‘yes’, you’ve hit the jackpot.



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I had no idea what lay ahead when I published THE TEN MINUTE COGNITIVE WORKOUT. I didn’t know that the craft of writing was only one tool in the writer’s toolkit. An important tool, but only one of many.

Worse than that, I didn’t know I’d have to learn how to use the other tools:

  • The Promotion Tool
  • The Marketing Tool
  • The Advertising Tool
  • The Build a Writer’s Platform Tool
  • The Public Speaking Tool
  • The Giving a Radio Interview Tool
  • The Garner a TV Interview Tool
  • The Facebook Tool
  • The Twitter Tool
  • The LinkedIn Tool
  • The Instagram Tool

Even worse than that, I didn’t know that using all these tools consistently takes a Lot of Time. When does the author find time to write her next book?

When does the writer find time to do what she loves most?

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Sheila arrived at Zumba a bit late, but there was still a spot in the front row. It wasn’t her spot. Her spot was on the end of the front row. The far right end to be exact. But at least this spot, this other spot, was up front.

Sheila loved Zumba class, and she had to be in the front. Not only to see Sandy the instructor, but also to have an unobstructed view of herself in the mirror. She loved to watch her feet do the cucarachas, the chassés, the cumbias. She loved to see her body gyrate, her torso do belly pumps and body rolls. And … oh! that arm styling!

The first dance had already begun, but Sheila was able to fall right in step — until someone Tap, Tap, Tapped on her shoulder.

It was Belinda in the spot just behind her. “I can’t see.”

Even though it galled her, Sheila offered to switch places. Belinda shook her head.

The percussive música was throbbing. The Zumba-ers were Zumba-ing. To avoid a scene, Sheila moved to the back.

WTF!  She hated being in the back. It wasn’t so much that she couldn’t see the instructor. She couldn’t see herself!

After class she approached Belinda: “So tell me. What was the prob? You couldn’t see Sandy?”

“I could see her, but I couldn’t see in the mirror.”

“So get in the front!”

“I’m not comfortable being in the front.”

“But you were taking up two spots. Yours and the empty one in front of you.”

Belinda shrugged. “You shouldn’t be in the front.”

“Huh?” Had Sheila heard her right?

“You’re too tall. You should be in the back.” Belinda walked off.

Too tall? Sheila was crushed. It all came back to her. Elementary School. Being last in line to assembly. Having to be at the end of the May Day procession. Having to stand in the back row for the class picture. Worst of all, going to a school dance and towering over the boys.

“But I’m only five nine!” she called to Belinda’s sweaty back. “Five eight and a half since my osteopenia diagnosis!”

Belinda kept walking.

Sheila refused to accept it. She wanted to be up front. She had to be up front. How else would she know if she were getting it? How else could she perfect her moves? How else could she retain her title of Queen of Zumba? — a title known only to herself.

This is discrimination. Heightism. The height of bigotry.

“I refuse to go to the back!” she yelled, but no one heard her. She was in the shower.

The next day Sheila got there early. Several spots were open in the front row, including hers. When she grabbed it, short little Diane came up behind her.

“Could you please move? I can’t see in the mirror.” Diane looked up at Sheila with a weird toothy grin.

“So move up!” Sheila pointed to the open spots in the front row.

“I don’t want to be in the front. I like it where I am.”

Sheila was fed up. “Well, I’m not moving!” She revolved her hips in a perfect Zumba core rotation for emphasis.

“You’re too tall to be in the front.”

The words stung. “You’re judging me by the length of my legs rather than the content of my character.” Sheila had tears in her eyes, but she wasn’t budging.

“What’s going on?” It was Sandy, the instructor.

Diane looked up at Sandy. “I can’t see in the mirror when Sheila’s in front of me.”

“Sheila, would you mind going to the back?” asked Sandy.

“You bet I mind!” Sheila planted her Zumba dance shoes firmly on the hardwood floor.   “Try and make me!”

Sandy nodded to two other women. The four of them picked up Sheila and carried her to the back of the room. She was yelling, kicking and flailing the whole time. The rest of the class just watched.

The music started. Sheila danced her heart out in the back. During each dance, she moved up a bit. The spot in front of Diane was still empty. By the end of the class, Sheila had claimed it in triumph.

“Let freedom ring!” she yelled. A couple of women clapped.

But what about tomorrow?

The next day she got there early. Her spot on the end was waiting for her, but every other spot in the front row was occupied. By women over five feet seven!

“We shall overcome!” shouted Sheila.


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There is much to do prior to December 25.  The Cognitive Workout can help.

  • Select one or two tasks you would like to accomplish each day.
  • Be realistic about what you can expect to do in one day.
  • That morning incorporate them into your Cognitive Workout.
  • Write them down and read them aloud at least once.

Here are some examples:

I am writing holiday cards today.

I am putting up the tree today.

I am decorating the house today.

      I am buying (_______)’s gift today.

I am baking cookies today.

At the end of the day, you’ll say:

I am feeling pleased and surprised at how much I got done today!

                                                                        TRY IT!


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Radio Interview

You can listen to an Interview on East County Magazine’s weekly radio program, Bookshelf, in which I talk about THE TEN MINUTE COGNITIVE WORKOUT and other writing projects.  Simply click this link.

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2013 San Diego Book Award in the category ‘Psychology, Self-Help, Medicine’

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Before a threat becomes imminent


   To reduce feelings of stress

       Write these Cognitive Workout statements and read them aloud:


I am remaining calm and relaxed.

 I am outlining an evacuation plan.

 I am thinking through my plan.

 I am staying informed of current news alerts.

 I am taking sensible measures to protect my house.

 I am reminding myself of the proactive steps I am taking.

 I am following a clear evacuation plan.

 I am saving the things most important to me.

 I am clarifying what I’m able to control.

 I am controlling what I can.

 I am letting go of all things out of my control.

 I am remaining calm and relaxed.

   I am moving calmly and smoothly through my evacuation plan.



 For detailed information regarding Evacuation Planning in the event of a wildfire, click on this SITE.



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Reviews drive sales.  Thank you for your help and support!


  • Go to the book’s Amazon page  click HERE.
  • Scroll down to CUSTOMER REVIEWS
  • At the bottom of CUSTOMER REVIEWS,
  • Voila!

Once you’ve written it, you have to log in to your Amazon account to submit it.



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Best Self-Help Book* Published in San Diego in 2013

THE TEN MINUTE COGNITIVE WORKOUT is the 2013 Winner of the San Diego Book Award in the category ‘Psychology, Self-Help, and Medicine’.


*As with most competitions, you have to enter to win.

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