Audiobooks and Appreciations

Thank you to everyone who has read, commented on, reviewed, shared your thoughts. It is so appreciated, and I promise I am at work on new material that I hope you will also enjoy.
I wrote SHELTER US to open a window into the intertwined lives of two women whose brokenness is mostly unseen, and who become each other’s heroes in their own ways, modeling in profound ways that kindness matters.

usSince the death of her newborn baby, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw has been struggling to keep it together for her law professor husband and two young sons. With her husband burying himself in his career and her friendships all having withered, she is lost in a private world of grief. Then one day, walking in LA, Sarah s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller and saving them becomes her mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the mother, Josie, whose pride and strained relationship with her own mother prevent her from going home to Oakland. Through her friendship with Josie, Sarah slowly learns that those we love are never far, even in death and that sometimes it is the people we set out to save who save us.

Thank you for your support, recommendations, and shares. And for all of your acts of kindness that make the world better.

Everyday Heroes: Foster-Adoptive Parents, Like Author Rene Denfeld

Today I want to lift up the everyday heroism of foster parents and foster-adoptive parents.

What better way to do so than in the words of one of them. Best-selling, award-winning author Rene Denfeld described the experience of becoming a foster-adoptive mother of three in her illuminating New York Times Modern Love essay — “Four Castaways Make a Family.

I had the pleasure of meeting Rene last week at Diesel Bookstore, where she read from her new novel, The Butterfly Girl, a sequel to The Child Finder. The novels feature a private detective whose own traumatic history draws her to find lost children. (It is an Indie Next Pick for October, Amazon Best Book of the Month, and has received effusive praise from Margaret Atwood and Cheryl Strayed.)

Rene’s lyrical, compelling depictions of characters who, like her, survived trauma-filled childhoods to make lives of beauty and value make her even more of a hero. The New York Times agreed, including her in a list of everday heroes in 2017.

Thank you to all of the foster parents and foster-adoptive parents who day-by-day, through patience and love, are saving the world one life at a time.



#everydayhereoes #kindness #kindnessmatters #saveonelifesavetheworld

Everyday Heroes: You

Here are a few of the “everyday heroes” you told me about in response to the Shelter Us audiobook giveaway:

–  The family and friends of a man with spinabifida who relies on them for care.

– A friend who faces daunting health challenges, including lupus and blindness, but who ends each conversation with laughter and an ‘I love you.’

–  A husband who supports his family and makes them all feel loved, special, and cared for.

–  Teachers. Teachers. Teachers.

Thank you for these beautiful tributes, reminders that heroes are all around us, quietly going about their lives, showing up for us and each other, asking for no recognition while making our world a better place.



#everydayheroes #kindness #kindnessmatters #saveonelifesavetheworld


#Audiobook #Giveaway in Appreciation of #EverydayHeroes


A wise man said recently that an “everyday hero” need not be someone who leads a movement; it can be the person standing by your side saying, “I believe in you. You can do it!” I have been lucky to have such heroes root me on, especially when I wrote and finally published my novel Shelter Us in 2015.

This year, I have had the good fortune to add to that group my new friend and agent, Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency, and the (clearly visionary) editor Joe McNeely at Brilliance Publishing, who believed that Shelter Us should be heard. 

Thanks to them, and the talented narrator, the Shelter Us audiobook launches on October 15!*

To celebrate, I’m giving away 5 copies of the Shelter Us audiobook. Enter by Sunday, Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. PST. (Winners will be announced Monday, October 7, at 5pm PST.)

To enter, comment below, or follow my FB, Instagram or Twitter and tell me about one of your #everydayheroes, and/or how has their #kindness inspired you?

With love and gratitude,


P.S. If you can’t wait for the giveaway and simply must start reading at once, you can BUY the paperback or e-book, or PRE-ORDER the audiobook now.


*The October 15 launch date would have been an excellent pre-birthday present for my miracles-are-everywhere Grandma Lilli, who inspired the character of Bibi’s youthful qualities, who would have turned 104 the next day, and who would have said of all this hoopla, “I can’t believe the whole thing!”

#everydayheroes #kindness #kindnessmatters #saveonelifesavetheworld

Everyday Heroes: Young Leaders

We delivered our college freshman to school this week, and it took a Herculean heroism on my part not to yank him out of his dorm room, whisk him into the rental car, haul him to the airport, and sequester him at home where he belongs. Instead, I gave him a fierce hug, re-read Kelly Corrigan’s N.Y. Times column, and amplified my gratitude for this beautiful healthy child, this kind young man with the self-discipline, independence, and patience to have navigated his journey to this point, with the courage and sense of adventure to leave home.

The actual heroes on my mind this week are the young people leading the world to act with urgency on climate change, kids leading ordinary lives pushed to take extraordinary steps.

While some child activists have become internationally known, other young heroes whose names you may not know are also leading the way, through consistent, persistent work, in small towns and big cities across the world. Please take a moment to read about, and be inspired by:

  1. Autumn Peltier (15) Manitoulin Island, Canada
  2. Mari Copeny (11) Flint, MI
  3. Xiye Bastide (17) New York, NY (by way of Mexico City)
  4. Isra Hirsi (16) Minneapolis, MN

[I found this article fascinating, on the “gender gap” in young climate activists.]

Climate change

Who inspires you? Please leave a comment and share the inspiration. Our world need every single act of big-heartedness it can get.

With love,


#kindnessmatters #everydayheroes #saveonelifesavetheworld







How to foster connection, community, conversation…read, gather, party.

Thank you to the Friends of the Palisades Library for this awesome honor. Please join us in kicking off what should be a community tradition for decades to come! (To help launch this event, I am offering author visits and copies of Shelter Us to schools, libraries, and local non-profit groups.) Announcing…


Palisades Reads is a community-wide book club in which the public is invited to read one book to foster connections and community, spark conversations, and celebrate reading.
For its inaugural year, the Friends of the Library have selected Shelter Us: A Novel. Set in Pacific Palisades, Shelter Us explores many layers of the human experience – marriage and parenthood, joy and grief, and what moves us to help someone in need.  

Save the Dates:

October 23, 2019, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Kick-off Party & Panel Discussion: Save one life, save the world?

What moves us to action? What compels us to help another person? What does it take to step outside our comfort zone? Join leaders from Safe Place for Youth, Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, and others to explores these questions raised by the novel.

November 13, 2019, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Community Book Club Night
Bring your friends, neighbors and book club for conversation and refreshments.

How to survive the first day of school blues.

Today is the first day of high school for my baby, the one who proclaimed after dropping out of pre-school that he was never going back to school. The end of summer always drops on his head like an avalanche.

I find myself wishing that he had the same positive anticipation of the first day of school that I used to have, instead of the pinching anxiety. Then I wonder — am I remembering it wrong through the haze of decades?

In my recollection, at least in elementary school, first days meant all good things — bringing new school supplies and wearing a new outfit; finding my name written in the teacher’s neat printing on a crisply folded cardstock; seeing which friends would be in my class.

But if I roll the tape to middle and high school, the picture changes – I remember that sudden squeezing stress of a Sunday afternoon, and I understand him better.

I do recall one coping strategy I tried in my Senior year in high school, the same institution that now holds my child. The first day of school, I decided to try to hold onto the summer feeling as long as I could, to trick myself into believing that it was still summer, the only difference was that during the day I was hanging out with my friends at school and not the beach. The trick didn’t last the week.

Now our kids go back to school when it actually is still summer! No wonder it hurts.

Not just that, but as he zipped his backpack, there was this question, the question: Do you think my school is safe? As if his meaning weren’t clear enough he added, There have been shootings in California, you know. We have drills once a month.

I made a split second decision to make up a statistic about lightning striking, because what the hell else could I say in that moment. Then I hugged him and handed him his lunch bag. Time to go.

As I drove him to school, he took a few slow deep breaths, settling and soothing himself in preparation for the onslaught of six new teachers and their expectations. As I wait for him to come home this afternoon, I realize that I’d better do the same.

All of this makes me wonder, what does “normal stress” for a teenager look and feel and sound like? What are your memories of back-to-school — the blues or blue skies? How do your kids anticipate the first day of school? What eases the transition?  All funny comments get extra points!