Tarot Tuesdays and Thursdays for “A Magical Time Called Later”

This October, I chose to write posts about my book, “A Magical Time Called Later,” and include some tarot artwork as I did last year for the Made in LA anthology. This time of year, when the ‘veil is thin,’ inspires me on many levels. I hope you’ll enjoy the artwork and the write-ups based on old-school tarot knowledge.


As the Six of Cups teaches us, nostalgia’s nice but it can’t move you into your future. Being free to expand your world is only scary at first, and sometimes you need a little push to get started.


The Devil card shows us that shackles come in many forms, including the weight of other people’s expectations. Sure, there might be hell to pay if you put yourself first, but it’s better if you do.

Every modern woman knows the pressures society puts on us. We’re supposed to be beautiful, successful, and married to a great man before we turn thirty. “A Magical Time Called Later” asks the question, “What if we aren’t?”


Holly gave up looking for Mister Right and settled for Mister Angry instead…. but can she really go through with the wedding?

The Knight of Disks symbolizes the kind of man she wishes she could attract: mature, confident, and low-key. Holly can’t help but wonder, “Where is he?”


When it’s time to leave a longtime job and your romance is about to die of boredom, perhaps the Tower tarot card sums up how you feel about life. But Holly has one constant in her life: her best friend Marisol, who shows up at the door with takeout and reminds Holly that sometimes you need to level your own house before rebuilding it on more solid ground.


As the Three of Swords illustrates, anything rotten masquerading as love can break your heart, but love’s the only thing that can mend it. For Holly, adhering to social norms meant agreeing to marry a miserable man, but all is not lost if she can start over without him.


Holly’s at a crossroads: she’ll do the relationship thing again, but not if it’s painful!

The start of a new romance gives her reason to be hopeful, but what problems lurk below the surface? The Moon card delves into unconscious desires and issues.


What happens when two lovers reach an accord? The Two of Cups signifies a true bond… so what’s needed next is patience, patience, patience while they find out if it’s a long-term prospect.


Few know how to get what they want quite like Holly’s best friend Marisol. As shown by the Eight of Pentacles, Marisol is always finding new routes to prosperity… this time in the form of a handsome new fiancé, who Marisol obtained in record time while Holly is busy processing her last breakup.

Happy Halloween and Dias de Los Muertos, all!

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Tarot Tuesdays and Thursdays for Made in LA Volume 3: Art of Transformation

This month, I created posts for a short story anthology that is being produced through my author collective, Made in L.A. Writers. It was inspired by my interest in the tarot, the spooky weeks leading up to Halloween and Day of the Dead, and the launch date in late October. If you want to see these posts, plus what our Made in L.A. authors have contributed (and will contribute as we launch this book), feel free to browse all of our posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Made in L.A. Writers also set up a new Facebook page recently.

We decided to consolidate all the tarot posts here, to allow people to see them together. And since fellow artists created and published these cards, let’s first give credit where credit is due!

Rider-Waite Tarot cards are in the public domain.

For Morgan-Greer Tarot cards and Thoth Tarot cards, card images are © Copyright U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Each photograph of tarot cards will be accompanied by the story that inspired it and a short writeup for each story. Enjoy!

Infamy by Noriko Nakada

Coming together for a party is an opportunity for Japanese-Americans to socialize in their new city, Los Angeles. Symbolized by the Knight of Cups, they are hardworking, hopeful, and looking forward to a prosperous future.  

But a crisis of epic proportions is brewing somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, as indicated by the Eight of Swords. The Nakamura family as well as their friends and extended family have no way of knowing what lies ahead. 

Artwork: The Thoth Tarot

Boots by D. C. Diamondopolous

When she sees a homeless man that resembles a Staff Sergeant who saved her from an attack, she follows him, looking for answers and searching for a connection to her old life. Like the Hanged Man, the homeless man has abandoned his previous life, or perhaps he has been abandoned.

When a soldier comes back from the battlefield, her scars aren’t always visible. Sam feels she’s on her own in coping with the stress of acclimating to civilian life, and that the VA won’t help her. Like the Queen of Swords, she carries her sadness inside. 

Artwork: The Morgan-Greer Tarot

#MillennialExistentialism by Lenore Robinson

It seems The World has opened up for one unattached, transplanted Millennial as she explores Los Angeles, but yet she suffers: from being alone too often, from seeing too many jealousy-provoking posts on social media, from Millennial existentialism. She searches for connection, as symbolized by The Lovers, but can she find it? 

Artwork: The Morgan-Greer Tarot

The City by A. P. Thayer

Loud music, liquor, and a sea of gorgeous people dancing might be enough to get you to forget your lame job and out-of-reach dreams, but what happens when the music’s over? The King of Cups rules the emotions, and what we might use to avoid feeling them, but he also teaches life lessons that (hopefully) make us wiser.

Meanwhile, the Nine of Swords indicates that one might suffer from desolation and severe self-doubt, which could happen—a lot—in a city like Los Angeles. 

Artwork: The Rider-Waite Tarot

Tell Me Your Name by Roselyn Teukolsky

Young Pamela has a dark secret buried deep in her psyche. Perhaps she is not the generous teenager she appears to be, as symbolized by the Moon, a card of illusion and deception. And maybe she’s not exactly in touch with her own emotions, either. Her family has moved to Pasadena to start over, mostly because of her.

The Death card symbolizes a sudden change in one’s life, a transformation of sorts. How will Pammie change? And will anyone else change with her?

Artwork: The Morgan-Greer Tarot

Shark News by Karter Mycroft

The Moon card reflects the unknown and the subconscious mind; the card’s artwork includes water imagery, too. In this story, Hunter follows a mysterious lead to become an intern on a radio show about sharks.  In addition to experience, success, and recognition, as symbolized by The Star, he also finds himself in the midst of a power struggle that won’t easily be resolved.

Artwork: The Morgan-Greer Tarot

The Good Life of Duke by Erik Gonzalez-Kramer

When an overworked man witnesses a hit-and-run accident, he is despondent. As the Three of Swords implies, his faith in humanity—and his connection to it—is weak. But Duke, the dog he rescues from the scene of the accident, shows—and teaches—a great deal of Strength.  

Artwork: The Morgan-Greer Tarot

Terminal Flight by Barry Bergmann

When a man dies on an airplane, the LAPD are called in to investigate. Symbolized by the Knight of Pentacles, Detective Sergeant Parnell and Detective Harbaugh set out to find out why and how it happened; it’s just another day on the job for these two, another mystery to solve. 

The Five of Swords indicates that someone in this situation is trying to get away with some wrongdoing, but it’ll take a lot of digging to figure out what, and who, has led to the man’s death, and if any clear answers can be found. 

Artwork: The Rider Waite Tarot

Empty Glass by Andrea Auten

Like the Five of Cups, Izzy is mourning. She is disillusioned; few things seem worthwhile or pleasurable anymore, and the future seems bleak.  Like the figure on the Five of Cups, she only sees what she’s lost, not what she still has. Izzy has suffered some setbacks, too, like the Queen of Swords. Can she move past her emotions and let her intellect guide her to better ways and better days?

Artwork: The Rider Waite Tarot

Angels Live Here by Nolan Knight

Jack’s a product of the foster care system, the kid nobody invested in, but he’s off drugs and high on life by now. Too bad he’s always around intoxicants, working as a bartender at The Dresden, where he gets to hear soulful live music night after night and flirt with his sexy Devil of a co-worker, Mindy. 

Can he rebuild his life while battling his own weaknesses? The Eight of Swords points to a difficult state of mind that can only be resolved through finding one’s inner strength.

Artwork: The Thoth Tarot

The Fortune of Three and the Kabuki Mask

by Sara Chisolm

Florence has dealt with her parents’ overprotection, scrutiny, and controlling tendencies for all of her life, as signified by the Five of Wands. She wants to stand up for herself, but she is shamed when they call her disobedient. As symbolized by the Princess of Swords, she is ready to fight, even against enemies that ought to exist in fantasy. 

Artwork: The Thoth Tarot

Unwanted Gifts by A. S. Youngless

Sometimes receiving a gift out of nowhere brings more trouble than joy. May is the older sister, the one in charge, the one who gets—and gets to do—everything first, and so she takes possession of the gift. The 9 of Discs implies that May always has what she needs and wants, but perhaps she needs to focus on her emotional and spiritual growth going forward. 

When the gift creates havoc, May and her younger brother, Charlie, must go on a journey together. As the Chariot implies, movement and hard work will be required if they want to reach their goal. 

Artwork: The Morgan-Greer Tarot

Star Crossed by Gabi Lorino

Star Crossed’s Tristan, whose habits and addictions keep getting him in trouble, is practically friends with The Devil. Maybe he’d rather not think about what his next steps in life should be, and maybe life is more fun when you’re chasing the same fun you enjoyed twenty years ago.

His good friend Jen knows Tristan well enough to let him be who he is, even if it causes her grief. She’s not the voice of reason, exactly. However, like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, she’s attempting to put more spiritual meaning, and less drama, into her day-to-day life. Jen’s equanimity is tested when she receives psychic messages about Tristan and has to puzzle out what they mean. 

Artwork: The Rider-Waite Tarot

Call Us Home by Cody Sisco

Luis, Salt, Jen, Cassie, and Darnell are vaguely interconnected acquaintances scattered throughout L.A., and the Hell Mouth has targeted all of them. As symbolized by The Tower, once the battle begins, nothing will ever be as it was before. The Tower demonstrates that sometimes in life, havoc ensues, systems break down, and we find ourselves in danger. It’s up to us to create new circumstances on more solid footing, if we can.

Artwork: The Thoth Tarot

We Found Love as the Undead by Sara Chisolm

Three sisters battle for Satoshi’s attention, whose mental state is best described by the Seven of Cups: caught up in fantasy and lost in daydreams. He can’t choose just one of the sisters, even though, like the Magus, he has the power to make the decision. The Magus, or Magician, is a leader at heart, a leader, a solver of puzzles. When Satoshi takes decisive action, what will result? 

Artwork: The Thoth Tarot

Night of Fires by Allison Rose

When The Fool takes his first step on a new path, he’s clueless about what’s ahead… but he’s okay with that. In “Night of Fires,” Catherine has no reason not to trust her younger sister Leah, so they set out on a journey of sorts through the past. 

It turns out that Catherine has a lot to learn about her sister. As each lesson is revealed, Catherine gets more acquainted with the meaning of the Nine of Swords: misery, concern, and anxiety over a loved one. 

Artwork: The Thoth Tarot

We launch Made in LA Volume 3: Art of Transformation on October 30, 2020. Please tune in to the costume ball on October 31 if you want to spend more time with us!

Refer to our website, http://www.madeinlawriters.com, for more information.

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Safer at Home with the Made in LA Anthologies


This link is your ticket to fresh stories from indie authors that are set in and inspired by the City of Angels. Sign up for the Made in LA Writers newsletter and download our first two anthologies for free in ebook form! We’ve also discounted our print copies of these books for ‘the duration of our sequestration’ as many of us remain safer at home during these challenging times.

Since 2017, we’ve aimed to bring stories from various genres together with readers who love LA… or readers who love to hate LA. These anthologies include stories for all types of readers, from lovers of urban fantasy to those who enjoy horror, science fiction, historical fiction, and contemporary fiction tales. We’ve even thrown in a few novellas!

So if you’re curious about these books, now is the time to find out more, sign up, download, and spend a while visiting different fictional worlds instead of watching the scary, scary news. Reading is a good way to decompress after days spent working, managing family issues, and cobbling together meals from whatever’s in the cupboard until the next groceries arrive.

Our author network is growing, and if you read a short story you love by a new-to-you author, chances are that the author might have a book out as well! This could lead to hours of enjoyment as you find that author’s other work on BiblioBoard through your library or online at retailers such as Amazon.

We hope you will enjoy these stories. As always, thanks for your support of Made in LA Writers!

P.S. As of mid-May 2020, this offer has expired.



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Unplugged Music Video for Single in December

Hi everyone! Here’s wishing you a great holiday season and a fabulous 2020!
My schedule got away from me this year… I had hoped to have a book finished, with the title Single in December, to go along with my song that I performed with my musician friends last week here in California, but since only the song is ready (and a live, open mike version at that), that’s what I can share with you at this time.

My goal is to have a polished recording and a very amusing book trailer to go along with it by December 2020, but in the meantime, enjoy this video, preferably while lounging in your fuzzy socks and sweats, drinking cider and hanging with your pets!


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Spreading the Word about Made in LA Writers

It’s been a busy summer, filled with Made in LA events around Los Angeles. I’m pictured below with Nolan Knight, Cody Sisco, and Allison Rose at an event in Long Beach one hot summer night several weeks back. You can hear the audio (and maybe see some of the video) of our recent events on the Made in LA website (link provided above).

MILAW-Gatsby-NGCA.jpgI got to write the introduction to the second Made in LA short story anthology this year, which debuted at the LA Festival of Books in April. I was excited to do so, and simply had to use the “jewel” analogy about my new stomping grounds. (I love jewels! Don’t you?) Here’s an excerpt:

“We hope you will enjoy this new volume of LA stories. Some of the writers from the first anthology have returned, while several others have joined us for the first time. We’re excited to present this new collection, to support our literary community, and to shine some light on more facets of the jewel that is Los Angeles.”

If you are curious about our anthologies, which include short stories and novellas that are inspired by, set in, and about Los Angeles, please check out the Made in LA website and browse our podcasts!




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Did somebody say, “Music video”?

Every Christmas, I wish the season could last much longer. I love the festive music, the twinkle lights, and the fun get-togethers. Last year, I came up with an idea that will make Christmas last throughout my 2019, though I might need a little help from my friends to make it a reality.

Picture the scene: I’m walking with a friend through a lush botanical garden. We are bundled up to keep warm and dishing about the last few months of our lives. She jokes that at an upcoming holiday party that we’ll attend together, in the process of networking, some dude will become enchanted with me (which I don’t need, because I’m married) and she’ll find new job leads (which she doesn’t need, since she’s entrenched in her career).

Alas, my friend is single. So are many other friends, both near and far. And we laugh, every year, about how the holidays bring out our more cozy and less social ways.

Suddenly I’m inspired, so notebook in hand, I pen a song called “Single in December.” It needs some tweaks, but I’m so excited to have this idea, though I don’t know what to do with it. I figure, I’ll make up the music and melody for it, print copies, and share it with my ukulele band, The Ukeladies. Maybe, just maybe, I can perform it at Open Mike Night  in late 2019, near December. That’s as far as my thoughts went, back in the last days of 2018.

Later, I realized that I never made a book trailer for my book, “A Magical Time Called Later.” It opens with the protagonist making darn sure she’s going to be single in December. My upcoming book, “Gen X Singletons,” opens with a different protagonist who’s single in December. Hey wait a minute, I think, I could use this song for my book trailer!

Since I’m a proud Gen Xer, I suddenly realize that a book trailer is really a MUSIC VIDEO like we knew and loved back in the 80s. At this point I’m over the moon! Who doesn’t want to make a music video? That sounds like the funnest thing of all!


Lounging in my fuzzy socks and sweats…

Of course, in order to do this, I’ll need to record the song, learn photo editing software, get much better at certain computer programs, and coordinate a ton of stuff, but I think I can do it, and I’m excited to get started. My computer guru husband will be on hand to assist.

So I came up with a concept: display a series of images that reflect my (by now, tweaked and awesome) lyrics. Set it to music… my song, in particular. Get the release info figured out later, and let everyone know about it. Have people see the video. Hope they love it and think it’s funny. If the video is shared on social media, it can reach far and help me connect with people who might like to read my books.

All I’m asking for from friends is photos of things like cocktails, cute cats and dogs, and fun pictures of various sorts. For the more theatrical types in my life, I may ask for them to pose for a picture, but I’ll totally understand if they choose not to. All pictures have to be given freely, as I don’t have a budget for this project beyond ‘my spare time’ and opting to buy stock pictures if need be. If you choose to help in any way, you’ll have my forever gratitude. I am really excited about this project, and have pages of notes prepared already!

Happy new year, and may the magic of Christmas follow you throughout 2019!

Gabi Lorino


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Author Advice: Special Guest Star Veronica Scott!

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 6.36.09 PM

I picked this one because I think the guy’s especially cute. It’s hell having a type. This is one of her many books!

Within the LA Writers Critique Group, we members are always learning from each other, but sometimes we like to get expert advice from experienced authors, who are also known as our ‘special guest stars.’ This May, we asked author Veronica Scott to speak with us, and a good time was had by all.

Veronica Scott is a Science Fiction and Fantasy Romance author by trade. She retired early from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2015 (when she and I happened to meet; I was there as a contractor, whereas she had a ‘real job’) and transitioned into being a full-time author. Her talk revolved mostly on her journey to publishing her books.

As a child, she started writing because she couldn’t find the kinds of books she wanted to read. She felt that she had stories inside her that needed to come out, but answered the call of the Real World and got a day job. Years went by, and by 2010 she had an empty nest, which meant she finally had the time to investigate self-publishing.

With the help of an editor friend, she soon figured out her strengths (telling a good story) and weaknesses (craft issues that needed to be addressed). After much learning, revising, and rewriting, she submitted a story in 2011 and ‘got the call’ with an offer to publish it. This story was published in 2012.

At that point, Veronica had written a book that paralleled the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, but since the traditional publishing route would have caused a delay in getting the final product to market (therefore missing the Titanic centennial), she decided to publish it herself.  She found that she likes the control, freedom, and flexibility that self-publishing allows her, and she’s self-published her work since then—24 books and counting!—and hasn’t looked back.

Veronica resides in Romancelandia, but says there is the same playing field for all genres. When it comes to writing and telling stories, “there’s no one way to do it.” As writers, we need to remember that what worked for other writers may not work for us.

Her advice to our room full of writers is provided below. We appreciate Ms. Scott’s willingness to help us along on the journey to publishing our books and memoirs!

1: Define your goal

There is no right or wrong answer, but be honest with yourself. What do you want out of the writing experience? It may be one or more of the following:

  • To interact with readers
  • To entertain friends and family
  • To work as a part-time or full-time author
  • To hold a book that you wrote in your hands

2: Don’t go it alone

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” she reminded us. Find your tribe… through Meetup.com, on Twitter or other social media sites, through libraries and coffee shops, through conferences, writers groups, and other places where writers meet. If you seek out a new group, whether it’s in person or online, be sure to notice how people interact. Only join groups that you are comfortable being a part of.

Authors and aspiring authors can also bond by genre, such as through Science Fiction Writers of America or Romance Writers of America.

Experienced writers are likely to help you on your journey, and once you know more about the process, you can pay it forward to up-and-coming writers.

Veronica noted that she supports her fellow romance writers by reading their work, interviewing other authors, and writing a column in USA Today each month that tells readers about the best new Sci-Fi Romance books.

3: Remember: it’s a business

This means that people need to know what you do and how to find your books. Go where the readers are to communicate about the book(s) that you’ve written.

Every author needs some sort of platform. She emphasized that it should be “your own blog” instead of an Amazon or Book Bub author page so that it can be under your control. Sites like WordPress.com offer free and low-cost websites that anyone can use.

As for social media in general, she advised us to, “only do what you’re comfortable with.” Choose the sites that interest you, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; then, be yourself, or perhaps a polite version of yourself. Talk about what you want to talk about. Share some pictures of photogenic cats if you wish!

4: Get savvy about the production side of creating a book

There’s far more to writing a book than writing a book, although she did say, “Just finishing a book is a huge accomplishment.” But wait! There’s more. Such as:

  • Editing: All writers can benefit from an editor. Maybe you need to foreshadow something or take some aspect of the story in another direction. A good editor can help you craft the best story you can tell. Copy editors can also be hugely helpful in making your prose flow.
  • Cover design: Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can rate how appealing it looks! The cover will show up as a tiny thumbnail on websites where books are sold, so you want it to look professional and pique readers’ interest. And this got a laugh: “The worst covers try to tell the whole story in one picture.” Yep.
  • Blurb: Your book description should tell us about the lead characters, the challenges they face, and the stakes. You don’t want to tell too much in the blurb.
  • Amazon’s Look Inside feature: This allows readers to read the first chapter of your book. Make sure what you write will hook readers so that they will want to read more.

5: Stay motivated

Veronica shared her personal rules for herself, which are:

  1. Get words on the page every day.
  2. Don’t edit as you go. The first draft gets to be ugly.
  3. Keep going forward. Write the next book! Readers of many genres, romance in particular, want to read a series and not just one book. Besides, it pays to keep going, because, “the next book is the best promo for the first book.”

She also shared these bits of wisdom:

  1. Do self-care: make your writing space ergonomic and take care of your health.
  2. It’s not a zero-sum game. You are not in competition with other writers. Indie publishing has changed the rules.
  3. Stay true to your voice, and put out books that you are proud to stand behind.
  4. Stay in the same genre whenever possible.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s your journey, not theirs.
  6. Don’t get sucked into internet drama, and try to avoid rabbit holes.
  7. Don’t interact with reviewers online.

After she fielded some post-presentation questions, we wildly applauded Ms. Scott. Next, we got down to the usual business of giving and receiving critiques while letting all of her advice simmer, so that we will be better prepared as our writing projects develop. Thanks, Veronica!

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L.A. Festival of Books Recap

Book festivals: where introverted writers become extroverted spokespeople for their work; where authors meet other authors, fans, and potential fans; and where hordes of people converge at what’s nowadays called “Nerdchella.”

It’s usually warm by the time of year when book festivals abound. Inspired somewhat by the birthdays of Shakespeare and Cervantes on April 23, many book festivals take place in mid to late April. Here in California, it’s already warm, but not ridiculously so; thank goodness Shakespeare wasn’t born in September! There was a slight chill in the air both mornings that quickly dissipated as we set up the booth and met our first visitors and customers.


We started off with our joint venture, a fiction anthology, center stage and in pyramid formation. Many people who asked for stories about L.A. last year came back to our booth to check out our anthology, which includes stories inspired by and set in Los Angeles. The authors of the anthology live up to the Made in L.A. name, too, as most of us live here currently.

Friends and family members, either fellow writers or not, stopped by the booth often throughout the weekend and added to the fun atmosphere. It was a reminder of how blessed we are to have the support of loved ones.

Eventually the pyramid grew smaller and smaller… by day two, we had less than thirty to sell, having exceeded our own expectations about demand at the festival. When we sold out, we referred curious potential readers to Amazon, where the ebook and print book are available for order.

Of course, my book is available on Amazon, too. I sold copies to a few friends and more to people I didn’t know, which was a thrill for me as I haven’t done that before! I took pictures with nearly everyone who bought my book. I also found out that one of my books is going on vacation with one reader, Jennifer, to Cancun!

Sometime on Sunday afternoon, a reporter named Julie Moree stopped by our booth and interviewed me! You can see a blurb of it below. I did my best to put out a cohesive message about my book and the anthology. Upon watching the playback, I didn’t hear myself say any ummms or ahhs, so it seems that my participation in Toastmasters has paid off!

You can see more of this interview at my youtube station, missus.glori.tea (in addition to some impressive musical stylings on the ukulele).

By that point, I was getting a tad giggly, a bit punchy, and pretty tired. The festival life is fun but exhausting. My cohorts Cody Sisco and Allison Rose were there to laugh with me and plan next year’s festival adventure. I’m getting excited about the 2019 festival already.


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Taking a Haunted Hike to “Research the Book”

It isn’t every day that I get to bond with a fellow writer and take in an epic hike, so when Dario Ciriello told me he was going to explore the Cobb Estate and Mt. Lowe Campgrounds in the foothills beyond Altadena, I quickly invited myself along. Dario was happy to have company, and we set off for this dusty and picturesque destination in between my head colds and L.A.’s cold snaps in early March.

He was going to re-check all the details that he’d included in his story, Dry Bones, which is included in the anthology called Made In L.A.: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels.  It is being released in time for the L.A. Festival of Books; print books are already available, and ebooks—which can be pre-ordered—will be delivered on April 21, the first day of the festival. Set in Altadena, the story follows a fictional couple through trying circumstances and time-bending interactions with mysterious figures.

Upon meeting at the Cobb Estates trail head, Dario pointed to a rocky wash and said, “That’s where Roberto broke his ankle.” Upon assessing the steep angle of the land, I immediately informed Dario that I would not be hiking up that grade, but he laughed and pointed to a more reasonable path beyond the Cobb Estate sign that we would take. And thankfully, Roberto was one-half of the fictional couple in his story, not a real person.

Cobb Estate started off as a sprawling estate that had its own water and electricity produced and managed on-site. Well-to-do people from Los Angeles could catch a train ride up to the estate, admire the sprawling view of Los Angeles, enjoy social interactions at a swanky tavern, and take in the clean mountain air.

After its heyday, and after it had changed ownership a few times, the estate was purchased by the Marx Brothers in 1956 and not maintained. Its location presented a large risk, as the buildings were built out of wood and the area is affected by forest fires. Once it fell into disrepair, remnants of the buildings were removed from the area in 1959.

Cobb Estates was acquired as a public space in 1971. Nowadays, it is part of Angeles National Forest and, aside from a few picnic tables, is left in its natural state.

Given its long history, the Cobb Estate and Mt. Lowe Campgrounds are revered by some as Pasadena’s Haunted Forest. This is a theme Dario siezed upon when writing his story for the anthology. Here is an excerpt to show what I mean:

“It was night again. But instead of the flat, gravel- and pine needle-strewn campground, what loomed ahead was a stone and timber structure. Yellow light streamed from within. Tables and chairs stood outside in the cool shade of the pines. Above the steps to the main entrance, a quaint inn sign with the name “Ye Alpine Tavern” swung in the light breeze. Scattered groups of men, mostly, stood on the narrow terrace in front of the building, talking and smoking. A burst of laughter came from inside, where some kind of celebration was taking place, the whole underscored with the tinkle of ragtime piano.”

Hiking in the daytime didn’t lead me to any ideas about the place being haunted. In fact, it was quite peaceful to be above the hustle and bustle of the big city. If we listened, we could hear… nothing. It was incredibly quiet up there—a break for our ears, since we both live in town.

Much like hiking nearby areas like Griffith Park, it’s reasonable to expect a layer of silt on your legs (or pantlegs, if it’s cold) when exploring the trail. We climbed to the top, taking in sights along the way and then stopping for lunch. Then, we headed back down (and the trip back is always faster), philosophizing about modern news media, health, fitness, and writing. Along the way, I observed this environment: a surprising patch of moss here and there; the wild temperature swings in and out of the shade; and, as we got lower and lower in altitude, the sounds of the city surrounding us once again.

Then it was time for goodbyes and getting back to the usual grind, but with a refreshed feeling and perspective. I have no doubt that Dario captured the spirit and the scenery around this interesting and perhaps haunted setting.


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Prepping for the Book Fest

It’s been a long road, but I’m getting there. The L.A. Festival of Books is eleven days away and I have:

  1. Boxes of books, which just arrived a few days ago. I did it! A Magical Time Called Later is a thing now!
  2. The anthology, too! My five copies of Made In L.A.: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels (which I received for being a contributor) has dwindled to three, as I gave one to a friend and another to my sister. It makes me happy to know that they’re out there and being read already.
  3. Internet pictures and posts: Some are still in progress, so stay tuned.
  4. Headshots. Yeah, I owe my photographer friend a case of Guinness for his work, and will ‘pay’ him soon (hopefully this weekend). Here is my headshot, which is now gracing Amazon.com.
  5. DSC_6105-2-700k GabiLorino-headshotA press release written for the folks (rather, the newspapers) back home. It’s not clear if a former bandmate of my brother-in-law, who happens to be editor of a hip weekly magazine in Tampa/ St. Pete called Creative Loafing, will get excited about my email coming his way later this week, but one can certainly hope!
  6. Giveaways: bookmarks (as well as markers and colored pencils for the ones people can color) and postcards are ready to be passed out. We’ll need to stock up on some candy too, as that tends to be a great draw for people!
  7. Display stuff that will bring people to our booth and allow us to engage with local readers. This is the reason that we made our anthology, after all. People kept asking for L.A.-based stories!
  8. A baseball shirt that reads “Gen X and proud of it.” I made it on cafepress.com and love, love, love it. I find that I love using T-shirts to show people what I’m about. It’s easier than talking all the time. And for those who remember last year, you might see a reprise of last year’s tropical blue shirt that reads: strong female lead, hilarity ensuing, tropical setting, and social awkwardness. What’s not to love? (Note: O’Shea’s Irish Pub shirts are coming up next, for me and the Uku-Ladies, when I throw the official release party and we perform together.)


    Ireland is of course my dream destination!

So there you have it! T-minus eleven days to go until it’s time to blast off. As the author of A Magical Time Called Later, a story that celebrates procrastination, I have a complicated relationship with time… but no matter what, I’ll be ready when the magical time is now!

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