Amtrak Plans to Give Free Rides to Writers


There exists an ocean of scams on the internet, I really hope this isn’t one of them.

When I saw this article, I heard John Lennon’s “Imagine” in my head.

Click here to hear the song and see the official vid on YouTube

It’s not often one hears of a large corporation offering to support artists, of any medium, by giving them something for free. I was both excited and impressed with Amtrak’s plans to give free rides to writers. The hours of un-interupted, inspired writing that one could accomplish sitting peacefully on a train would be astounding. Although I very much enjoy writing at Starbucks, a trip on an Amtrak train would be a welcome change.

What would be at the end of the line for a writer, you may ask?

As you may or may not have heard, writing is a lonely business. Often, authors garner support from each other. We understand the ups and downs and, in our business, the desperate need for social interaction with like-minded people. This is one of the top three reasons (for me, anyway) we attend conferences is to connect with other writers. So the first thing I would do would be to set up a book singing with author-friends at destinations where we could all come together to commune, widen our reader audience, all while working on our WIPs on board an Amtrak train.

While ebooks are dynamically and without precedent sweeping the globe, there is a certain writer/reader disconnection happening – there are no longer major in-person book tours unless you’re Andre Agassi or Pat Benatar. I, for one, would love to meet readers face to face. How would a national book tour sound, in part or in whole sponsored by Amtrak?

Would you love to have a gaggle of your favorite authors come to your town?


Oh, the possibilities! My mind just spins!

Please let Amtrak know that you as a non-author would be behind this. You can tweet your feelings to them here: @amtrak and I encourage you do to so with all my heart.

Happy Reading!


PS, I found another article about the Residency here.






My 20 Seconds with Andre Agassi

Its not often you get to meet someone you’ve watched, adored and practically idolized (for twenty-two years) from afar. On November 18, 2009, I had the opportunity to do just that. Andre Agassi had written his autobiography and he was here in the LA area signing his work. I never had the chance to see him in person on any other occasion and I knew if I didn’t go, I’d likely not have the chance again. So I left work early and ventured forth to Borders in Century City, purchased my copy and began the journey that is his book while I waited in line. (If you know me, you know that I rarely read out of my favorite sub-genres within the main romance genre. But I’ll confess right here and now that I feel such admiration for this individual that it wasn’t difficult to dive right into his book.)

His wonderful sense of humor shines through the writing and the pain he felt, both physically and emotionally is acute.

Finally, around 7:30 PM, we were ushered indoors having been given explicit instructions about conduct and what to expect – no cameras (yeah, right, let me run to my car and put it away) no personalization, no breathing, no heartbeat. The line moved quickly, which made me suspect they were herding us through like cattle.

Upon my speedy approach to my heart’s destination (Oooo, purple prose!! LOL) I snapped a pic. Note the blonde Gestapo in black at his right and the pink shirt Gestapo between us. In a way I’m surprised the Fraus Gestapo didn’t confiscate my camera, but I suppose they didn’t have the facilities to house the amount of photography equipment in violation. In other words, *everyone* was snapping happily away.

After a short stint at the very front of the line, the pink shirt Gestapo took my book and handed it to Andre (because clearly I was incapable – NOT!) I stepped up to the table.

Me: “Hi.” I smiled

Andre: Looked up and smiled back. “Hi.” He bent to the task of autographing my copy.

Me: “I, too, am an author.”

Andre: His eyes, the windows to his soul, simply came to life. “YOU ARE?”

Me: “Yes, I write historical romance. Here’s my card.” I slid my business card to him across the smooth desktop.

(Gestapo in black promptly swept it into a pile of items meant for Andre.)

Andre: “Well, there’s historical romance in here!” He indicated his book.

Me: I grinned. “Excellent.”

At once I was ushered off to the side. I didn’t even get to say ‘Thank you.’
In rebellion, I snapped a couple more pix:

In time, I’m sure I will forget the Fraus Gestapo, but I will never forget my twenty seconds with one of my favorite people on Earth.

I wish all of you the same – but much longer – sort of opportunity.
Blessings –