Agἀpe, Sweet Agἀpe



It’s what the world needs now. And . . . it is for everyone.
When you plug in the Greek word, “agápe”, in place of “love”, the popular song from the ’60’s takes on a truer meaning to the context of the lyrics. “What the World Needs Now is Love” transcends us to a higher, finer state of what love can be for us. The Greeks were insightful enough to give us more than one word for love. Agápe means the love of God for humanity, as well as humanity’s love for God. Unconditional. Powerful. Consuming. Creative. Infinite.

Without asking for it, I have experienced this great grace of agápe. When I wake up in the morning, occasionally there is this immeasurable comfort of great love waiting for me. I did nothing to deserve it. I had not offered a particular prayer, nor did I have any dreams. I embrace this love. It is a divine moment out of time and place. It fills me, washes over me, carries me into my day. I want to share this with everyone. I can’t speak of it – not really. I mentally gather up the love, and with open hands, blow it into every direction, just like a kiss.

I have found a touchpoint that links me into this higher state of grace. Nature. I sit on my back deck and watch the birds. When I focus on a particular bird, I open my heart to feel love for its “birdness”. Within the moment, my heart opens wide and the power of agápe fills me.

There are other means with which to fill yourself with agápe. First, you must release negativity and calm the monkey-chatter part of your mind. Make room for God’s love. Also be willing to receive the love. Say a prayer. A mantra. A poem. Meditate. Sing a spiritual song. Focus on nature or a loved one’s face. There are so many ways.

December, with the start of winter, is the high time of agápe. If only we could slow down and tap into the agápe that is a bit heightened in its accessibility this time of year. Turn the pace down on the shopping, the parties, the technology, the busy-ness. Take time for the stillness and go inside your heart and tap into the quiet place where God resides. It doesn’t matter what religion you celebrate, or don’t. God only wants you to know how deeply, divinely, unconditionally you are loved.


Many religions celebrate important holy days that can help us find the light and love within each of us in this darkest of months. Here are a few examples:
For the pagans — it’s the return of the sun.
For the Christians — it’s the birth of the son.
For the Jewish faith — it’s the endurance of the light of Hanukkah.
For Buddhists — it’s the Buddha’s Day of Enlightenment, also known as Bodhi Day.

Love can change the world. By practicing the presence of divine love within ourselves, we can become ambassadors of agápe.






Fear Not


Summer is winding down. Autumn approaches with its downward tug, pulling us by the ankles from our lofty, summery dreams. We’ve been recreating. The sun has drawn us out of ourselves and up into the heady feel of Nature in its fullness. Now, the shadows grow longer and the weight of responsibility draws us back to ourselves. It’s back to school or college for children and young adults. We all begin to turn our attention to preparing our homes and cars for winter. There’s a feeling of “back to work” for us all.
As the earth travels through the seasons, it also moves through the seven chakras, ending with the red root chakra at Christmas. Autumn is the beginning, for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, of living with the orange chakra. Creativity. Sexuality. Emotions and relationships. What have we harvested as fall approaches? On a primal level, even though we no longer live in an agrarian society, have we harvested (or created) enough to make it through the winter? Will it be a difficult time of lack and hardship? We can feel the energies of the seventh chakra, the root, start to bleed in with thoughts of approaching dark nights and bitter cold. Fear’s icy fingers begin to tighten its grip on our thoughts, even though we may not see it’s affect as a primal force.
Fear can be crippling. It is the impetus for so much of the negativity that rules our lives.
There is help at the end of September to battle our encroaching fears. Can you hear the rousing cavalry call of the approaching warrior? Archangel Michael. Michaelmas, celebrated on September 29th, is a mostly Western European Christian tradition that some also recognize in the United States. St. Michael, along with Uriel and Gabriel, are honored in a feast day on the Catholic calendar. Waldorf school students play challenging games in “The Festival of Courage” in honor of Michael’s bravery. Stories of Saint George battling the dragon are told to fortify their spirits.
Michael is the Archangel who overcomes Satan and darkness. He places his foot upon the head of Satan while he brandishes his sword, encouraging us all to take up the sword of our wills and face the fears that plague us. Once we do so, we see that those overwhelming fears are not so big and bad, and they shrink into mere shadows. Can we see them for what they are? Can we integrate these now small fears back into the light?
Embrace the warrior spirit of Michael. He, as well as the whole hierarchy of angels, are here to help. Talk to them – out loud even. Make clear what it is you need, what fears you have, what your heartfelt desires are.
Then, on the darkest winter night, when we are deep in the throws of our red primal chakra, a new light is born unto the world. Another angelic voice begins its proclamation with, “Fear not!”




Plato’s Cave (version 2.0)

Did Plato write his “The Allegory of the Cave” while gazing in a crystal ball that foretold the future? How like a TV screen the cave wall seems in the above picture. Did the great philosopher have an inkling that modern man had the potential to become even more enslaved by projected images? If he wrote a current updated version of the allegory there would be no need of prisoners. After continued and increased  exposure to entertainment century after century,  we’re all easily held captive by the drama of adventure, love, suspense, horror, comedy, gossip projected on our screens. Ours is a more perfected, insidious version of Plato’s cave.

I barely remember the whirl of names and schools of thought when we studied the ancient Greek philosophers in high school.  But then? Plato’s Cave happened. That made me sit up and pay attention. It intrigued me like a mystery novel. Bound prisoners are forced to watch shadow images projected on the cave wall in front of them. These images are created by concealed puppeteers who parade large puppets behind a bridge. A fire behind the puppets is what projects the shadows on the wall. This puppet show is the prisoners’ only narrow sense of reality.

One of the prisoners escapes and crawls up a tunnel and enters into the true light of day. He’s astounded by what he sees – the sun, grass, trees, animals – nothing is like what he experienced in the shadows of the cave. He must go back and tell the others. Upon his return, he tries to explain what he saw, but no one wants to listen and go with him to see his new wonders. In the cave, they feel safe and unchallenged. Why stir things up?

The questions I had. How and why were these prisoners held? What type of puppets were projected? Most importantly, who were the puppeteers hidden behind the bridge? What was their motivation? How were they slanting their version of reality for the prisoners?

“The Allegory of the Cave” was written by Plato in a body of work titled Republic (512 a.d. – 520 a.d.). It was written as a dialogue between Plato’s brother, Glaucon, and his mentor, Socrates, who was also the narrator of the conversation. The cave allegory was to show the effect of education and the lack of it in human nature. Interesting.

It’s not difficult to make contemporary comparisons with this allegory. One can start watching a movie on the home television, continue viewing on a cell phone or tablet while traveling, and finish up on a laptop. We love watching these projected shadows.

The truth is neglected. For example, modern cave dwellers are not concerned about how that certain politician is going to vote on an issue. They think, ‘Let him or her do the work for me as the shadows on the wall make life easy-peasy. ‘

It’s time to climb out of the dark cave together. We must question. Where is the Illusion? Where is the Delusion? Where is the Collusion?




Rebels from Olympus by Sandy Milczarek


Release date November 21, 2015

Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. He gets his first kiss with the secret love of his life. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Rebels from Olympus by Sandy Milczarek | BookShop
Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…
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Mystical February



What stirs your heart and fevers your dreams?

Most of us see February in the Northern Hemisphere as another winter month just to be gotten through on our hopeful path to an early spring. How thankful we are that it’s the shortest month of the year.

But wait. February should not be overlooked as we hotfoot it through its twenty eight days, with a pause in the middle for Valentine’s Day. It’s a quietly mystical feminine month, where hidden activity awakens beneath the surface in preparation for new life. The sun rises earlier and sets later almost imperceptibly with each passing day. The trees’ sap begins to stir and rise. Early shoots of green peep up through the soil. February is a turning point as the earth transitions from winter to spring.

Imbolc, an old Celtic festival, which derives its name from the ewe’s first milk for their lambs, was celebrated in honor of the triple goddess, Brigit. The old crone of winter now transforms into the radiant virgin of spring.

The ancient Romans celebrated Februalia, a ritual of purification celebrated around the middle of the month. It was a time of spring washing and cleaning. Februalia is derived from the Latin word, febris , or fever, the purification of sweating when one fevers.

The second day of February brings us Groundhog Day in the United States, and, in the Christian religion, Candlemas, which includes the purification of Mary, Jesus’ first entry into the Temple and his presentation there, where blind Simeon proclaims him to be the Light of the World.

The popular romantic comedy movie, Groundhog Day, is a purification story of a rude, selfish weatherman from Pittsburgh who relives Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney, PA innumerable times on his path to self-realization. It’s a bit like reincarnation. At the end of the movie, the purified man is deemed worthy of his Lady. The couple can now move into a sacred union, where the masculine and feminine are equally honored and revered.

Valentine’s Day brings the high fever of love in the middle of this special month, where purification and preparation for what spring may bring is at its peak, especially if we approach it with intent, awareness and reverence. Friends and especially lovers exchange gifts, flowers, candy and greeting cards. For those without a special Valentine, it can also be a day of deep disappointment and sadness.

Underneath this trick of outward affection, there is a hidden question and action for this early thrust of spring. What is your heart’s stirring desire? Again, I ask you, what fevers your dream? Allow it to speak to you. What seeds must be planted once the ground is readied? What preparation, purification must you do? Your manifested dream feeds the world.

Prepare for your Spring. When you align yourself with the sacred timing of the earth’s seasons and the path of the sun, you tap into universal power. It’s a synergistic union of energies. Dream it. Work it. See it.


Rebels from Olympus
Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. He gets his first kiss with the secret love of his life. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.
Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…

Seeing With Fish Eyes



That’s not a typo in the title. I really do mean “fish” and not “fresh”. One of my favorite lines of poetry by Emily Dickinson is this: Tell all the truth but tell it slant. Sometimes for us to discern where our truth lies, our perspective must be altered, slanted, whether voluntarily or otherwise. An unusual word choice or a fresh approach to grasp a concept can shake things up a bit.

I like to fish. When I was around three or four years old, either my grandmother or my dad would place a fishing pole in my hands to keep me occupied while they fished. Looping the squirming worm around the hook and then casting my line into the water fascinated me. I may have caught a bluegill or two, but mostly wound up with my reel twisted with line. I’d take my pole to the nearest grown-up and watch while my tangle was patiently unsnarled.

My son and I went fishing a few times this past summer – just catch and release. It’s more about the act of fishing than the end prize of the catch. Although, that’s exciting, too. Paddling in a canoe and observing the fish in their habitat in the water is a sacred pursuit for me. At first, I can’t see the fish. I must close my eyes, go within myself, take a deep breath and make the shift. I feel a click, like turning on a switch – an act of will. I then look again with my “fish eyes”, a changed perspective in how I’m peering through the water. It’s like peering into a different dimension, a watery one, and I can now see into the depths and perceive the fish in their secret world. It’s an act of wonder.

Learn to see with your inner eye. Develop a new organ of perception, “fish eyes” if you will, which dives below the surface of the superficial and into the depths of where greater truths may be found. Things aren’t always as they seem. This is a brave, brief vacating of your own inner landscape to sojourn into the environs of someone or something “other” than self.

This method translates into everyday life venues, especially in understanding a person or comprehending a concept or opinion that’s foreign, even disagreeable to you. Take a walk in someone else’s shoes. After you identify the object for your shift in awareness, there must be a suspension of all judgment combined with an earnest desire to perceive differently, to see “slant”.

Take a couple deep belly breaths to shift your body into an alternate awareness. Put your “fish eyes” on – even pretend that you’re placing special spectacles over your eyes. Then look with your whole being to perceive the “other” in a new way. Your new understanding or perception may be slight, you may not even agree with what you see, but the attempt to understand is priceless. Mountains may be moved. Great divides may be bridged.


Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. He gets his first kiss with the secret love of his life. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…



Story Time Warfare

Those who tell the stories, rule the world.

– Native American proverb

Who is telling us our stories? Especially to our children and teens? Young minds are hungry for story to help them figure out their path through life’s crazy maze. Novels. Movies. Television. Family oral histories. Songs. Even video games tell a story. There is so much power a storyteller can wield.

Jesus knew what he was doing. When crowds would amass to hear him speak, he told a story. The Gospels in the New Testament are filled with the timeless parables Jesus shared with his beloveds.

A worthy story illuminates the listener from within and has the power to alter how one views the world and his or her place within it, as well as foster empathy and understanding towards others. The senses are engaged as they listen with their imaginations and see, hear, taste, touch and smell the story world that the teller has created. The listener’s multiple intelligences are fired up by story, inspiring interpersonal, intrapersonal, existential questions of: “Who am I?”; “What am I to do with my life?”; “What happens after death?” and so on. Story ignites the internal fireworks of being.

Ask questions of your storyteller. Research before you read or recommend. What is the fruit of this story? Is there unnecessary violence in thought and action? Is it hate-filled toward a certain type of person or group? All actions in this world are first birthed by the thought of the actor. Story can nourish or corrupt the field of thoughts and actions.

Not to sound alarmist, but there is a battle waging for the minds of our young. They’re flexing muscle, spreading wings, testing waters. Their brains are sparking as a sense of place and purpose in the world is seating within them. Sadly, in addition to poor stories, the distractions of technology in all of its manifestations and boundless consumerism are feeding young minds the equivalent of junk food.

The nourishment of a good story is so needed. Heroines and heroes who struggle to find the strength within themselves to overcome obstacles. Yes, they have flaws. Yes, they doubt themselves. But they persist and grow in strength of personality and spirit. While young readers are still malleable, a powerful story can be transformative before the filters of hate, prejudice, greed and judgment harden their gaze as adults

As a Young Adult author, I have a two-word phrase that guides my storytelling for the teen reader. Spiritual catalyst. To awaken “The Seeker”. To inspire the young reader to question individuality and relationship to the divine. What path the reader takes, once the questioning is stirred to life, is none of my business. Whether it leads to a particular organized religion, or simply a budding life of awakened consciousness, I get out of the way and trust Spirit to step in to do its job.

The world aches for awakened human beings, wiping the sleep dust of the material world out of their eyes, to take up the yoke of fostering a spiritual presence on this planet, to anchor heaven to earth, to create a world of peace.

We need the big guns of good storytelling to help in this mission.



Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. He gets his first kiss with the secret love of his life. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…

Feeling the Love

rainbow cloud

I woke up this morning feeling loved. This is a first for me. This was not romantic love. It was the unconditional, high vibrational, powerful, creational kind of love which I can only qualify as Divine. Yep, with a capital “D” – this love was God-sent. I was barely rising into consciousness from a restful night’s sleep when I felt this powerful force vibrating in my heart. I was filled with love . . . and it was all for me. I had to do nothing, simply open and receive.

My first thoughts were – “Where was this coming from?”; “Was someone actually praying for me?”; “Was this heaven-sent from one of my deceased loved ones?”; “Was God answering my lonely prayer?”; “Was this a gift of pure heavenly grace?”; “How long will this last and how do I pass this love on to others?”; “Can I wake up every morning to this awesome state of love?”.

As to the source, of course there’s no way I can walk around asking people if they prayed for me. I accept the gift in faith, no questions asked, no strings attached. It’s my job to pass it along in the same manner. Unconditionally. Through my smile, my words, my actions, my presence. And through the stories that I love to write. Can I keep this intense feeling of love? I intend to. All day I’ve been checking back to the feeling I had this morning, and the love is still there in my heart. Vibrating. Pulsing. Energizing my blood with each beat of my heart. How different would the world be if everyone woke up each day to this love?

As a writer of Young Adult fiction, this makes me ponder – aren’t many story plots about love or the lack thereof? At the core of a plot, did the protagonist feel loved or not – including self-love or loathing? Self-loathing can lead to a string of bad deeds made by a character who is looking for love in all of the wrong places. In my novel, Rebels from Olympus, Justus battles with the lack of attention from his mother, only to find out later in the story why she struggled with her capacity to show Justus her love. Justus and his sister, Rosa, work through the tension of the see-saw kind of love siblings have in winning over the attention of their mother. Rosa wins most of the time.

I have been missing my deceased parents so much lately. It’s true. No one will love you ever again the same way – unconditionally as a parent does. I realize that some people never experience this type of love from a parent whether they be orphaned or born to parents incapable of loving their children that way. I was lucky. I knew my parents love for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband and son, and I know they love me. There’s a certain quality of love that I miss. What I felt this morning was like the love from my parents, but so much more. The love from my Creator.

The photo above was taken by my husband a few years back when we were swimming at a local pool. It’s a waterfall rainbow pouring God’s love down to us all. See the dove-cloud flying above the waterfall?

This day, and every day, I pray that you, Dear Reader, feel loved. And then, pass it on.


Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. He gets his first kiss with the secret love of his life. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…

Art – a Rebellious Act

imageMismatched shoes? Who does that?

Lady Gaga does. She’s such a rebel when it comes to fashion. And her music. And just about everything else she takes on – from causes to tributes.

When you have confidence in yourself and the statement you want to make to the world, why not be outrageous? Wear patriotic mismatched shoes, red glitter eye shadow, blue glitter nail polish and a red glitter suit. It’s the art of being yourself, which can be an act of rebellion. Why not press the buttons of society’s fashionistas and make them scream.

Justus Appleyard, the teen protagonist in my Young Adult novel, Rebels from Olympus, creates and draws his own comic book series, Captain Fortis. His fearless superhero battles local environmental criminals who pollute and pillage the land. His major archvillain is a three-headed monster called the B.U.G., who looks almost too similar to a band of three bullies he deals daily with in school. Yeah, he uses his art to process the conflicts in his life – in true rebel style.

His younger, thirteen year-old sister, Rosa, is a precocious fashion designer. She has an invisible friend, Mini, who began teaching her how to design and sew unusual fashions since she was four years old. Luckily, their mother supports Rosa and indulges her creative spark.

Rosa has the drive to take her ideas from her surroundings and make them her own in designs that are her unique translations of how she interprets her experiences. At the beginning of the novel, we first meet her in the Appleyard’s living room, wearing one of the couch’s pillows on her head, which she had re-interpreted and fashioned  into a hat. It was a fashion fail, but she keeps striving throughout the story to take her world and manipulate it into her own rebellious way of seeing it . . . and wearing it.

Being original in your own thinking and brining it out into the world through a rebellious act of art is transformative. For you, and the world around you. You can alter the way people think when they experience your creation: a pretty dress; a thought-altering comic book; a video game that’s different from the norm; a healthy meal you’ve cooked; a poem; a newly-invented contact game. It’s endless.

I dare you to create daily. Being a rebel is you being uniquely you.



Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. The secret love of his life kisses him. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…

Dolphin Magic

dolphins in waves

Do you believe in magic?

According to my dictionary app, magic is the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.

In that case, ferocious prayer could possibly be a form of magic.

Let me go back to a beautiful August day on the South Jersey Shore. I knew the time was drawing near when my first Young Adult novel was on its way to being published, more than likely self-published. It was close to ready. But . . . was I ready? I knew that the other side to self-publishing was the whole marketing piece. At some point, I would be making some type of public appearance: book signings, author talks, interviews, etc. Even the thought of the traditional author book cover photo made me shake in my sandals.

The problem? I was overweight. An issue I have dealt with most of my life. In fact, I was at the point where I truly felt it was impossible for me to get down to a reasonable size. I was extremely self-conscience, but diets had done nothing but increase my weight over a period of time. I know there’s the thought of “be happy with yourself no matter what” and loving yourself. Uh . . . this never worked for me.

I sat on the beach, uncomfortable in my body. I was already having some auto immune problems with muscle pain, so I had been gluten free for a year. I felt better, but still no weight loss.

My husband and I walked into the surf for a refreshing swim. I felt inspired. I began to pray. I prayed to the Great All. To the Blessed Mother, the Star of the Sea. To the spirit of the ocean, mother of all life on the earth. I prayed ferociously. Wildly. With my whole being, I laughed and prayed as I stood firm and exulted in the power of God as each wave pummeled my body. I prayed for health. I prayed for wisdom on what steps I needed to take to achieve this health. I was joyous. I leaped high and played in each wave’s swell, flinging my arms wide to the ocean.

Exhausted and humming with the power of my ferocious prayer, I collapsed on the beach blanket and fell asleep for half an hour. Shortly after awakening, I sat up to look at the ocean. I saw something directly in front of us in the surf. What was it? Three dolphins playing in the surf exactly where I had wildly prayed. I called my husband’s attention to them, to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Yes. He saw the three dolphins, too. As many times as I’ve been to the beach, I’ve never had seen dolphins come in so close to the shore and play in the surf as it breaks on the sand.

I was awestruck. I had sent out my prayer, my plea over the vastness that is the ocean. The ocean responded with the magic of three dolphins, playing, as I had been, in the surf. Coincidence? Some would say that. But I chose to own the Great All’s reply – “message received.”

So what happened? An inner urging, that small still voice that’s so hard to hear anymore with the world’s clamor at my door. Stop eating refined sugar. Could I do this? It wasn’t until October that I vowed to eliminate all sugar from my diet.  It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. And then . . . I began to lose weight. Slowly. But surely. I dropped sizes. I no longer have to buy women’s plus size fashions. I don’t weigh myself, that’s a non-issue, but I feel better. I have no target weight goal. I trust that my body will find what’s healthy for me. Even now, more than a year after I went sugar free, I’m still slowly dropping the pounds. Believe me, I’m far from thin, but in a much better place than before.

Pray. No matter your belief system or to whom you pray. All is One. It’s your conversation with the infinite universe. Even if you question your belief or have none at all. Try it. It’s simple. It will magically bring direction to your life, as the act of asking clears your thinking about what you want or help you may need.

Here’s a few lines from my Young Adult novel, Rebels from Olympus:

Rosa jumped back into the limo. “If I knew any prayers, I would say one now.”

Diana folded her hands together and said, “God, please help us now. Thank you.” She turned her head to Rosa. “There. Done”

“That was efficient.” Rosa fluttered her eyes.


And so it is. 

Stay alert for the answer. It may come in the most curious way and at a time you don’t expect.




Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. The secret love of his life kisses him. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…


So, what about that lightning bolt?



Release date  November 21, 2015

Let me say this at the start . . . I am not hitching my humble novel to the great star power of David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust) or Alan Rickman (Severus Snape).  I am, however, intriqued by the one common thread by which we are associated – the lightning bolt.

A lightning bolt, in unscientific terms, is a heavenly event of charged particles seeking balance and manifesting on the earthly plane with a flash of light and booming sound. It can kill, injure, destroy. It can also bring a flash of inspiration. Benjamin Franklin “discovered” electricity by flying a kite in a thunderstorm, which eventually changed how the world was powered. The ancients perceived the lightning bolt as a weapon or message from the heavenly gods.

I have a crystal in my collection called a fulgurite. These “lightning stones” are made when a bolt of lightning strikes the sand, and the heat of the strike, some three thousand degrees, fuses the sand together to make a hollow crystal. It is literally the imprint of lightning striking the earth. Powerful stuff.

Last week was a tough one in the entertainment world. We’ve lost some influential cultural icons. On the other hand, it’s within our loss that these stars have found completion . . . a re-union with their eternal selves. When an inspired talent dies, I believe that the wisdom and passion they carried with them on their earthly journey become accessible to us. A path of magic stardust is left in their wake which we can claim. It’s there for us in the act of asking.

What would I ask of David Bowie? Freedom. To be who or however I want to be without the internal self-critism I struggle with as a woman. David strutted across the stage of life with identity du jour fervor.

Alan Rickman? Of course, I identify the most with his character of Severus Snape in Harry Potter. My request is more of a stretch here. Of the actor or the character? Of the character, my request would be that of undying passion. For the one great love of his life. Always. For me, passion for life in all ways.

The actor? Diction and the melodious timber of voice. Listening to Alan Rickman speak was like eating the creamiest butter melted on warm toast. A satisfaction I can describe in no other way.

In working on the cover design of Rebels from Olympus with my artist friend, Marygrace Antkowski, I had no idea of what the cover should look like.  She shared some drawings with me, which primed my visual pump, and, in a very symbiotic way, we came up with the cover design. I saw a big impact cover, like a comic book, as Justus, the protagonist, creates his own comics in the novel. I saw a yellow lightning bolt streaking across the cover. In my story, Jupiter used his lightning bolt to whisk aways rebellious gods who were disobeying his rules.

Last week, a soundless lightning bolt named death hit us hard – striking our hearts with loss and grief. We see our stars as immortals, cultural gods who cannot be touched by death. We mourn when they do die, but they whisper to us in our thoughts and dreams, “Carry on. All ways.”

Ever since three rebellious gods moved in next door, life has never been the same for Justus. His mom plays Twister with a goddess. The secret love of his life kisses him. His evil step-grandmother tries to kill him.

Identity can be a killer in this Young Adult fantasy thriller. Destiny calls.…