Books are the gateway to imagination

Books are the gateway to imagination
Morgan welcomes you to her personal blog

Friday, July 27, 2012


Rosetta Schwartz was my mother and I edited and contributed to CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? Her life was a combination of funny and touching stories, many of which are in the book she wrote in 1989 at the age of 80. There simply wasn't enough room for all of them, so I started the Laugh With Rosetta blog. Her manuscript was lost for several years and found last year. The result is CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? To date, this book has delighted thousands.

TODAY'S LAUGH WITH ROSETTA BLOG: Family dinners were like a comedy show with up to 40 players in this big, zany family. I started this blog for a place to post stories that were not in the heartwarming book as well as some excerpts from the book. Read the full posts for your inspiration or chuckle.  Rosetta passed away in 2006 as she neared her 97th birthday, but through the book and blog her laughter and inspiration live on. She was an ordinary woman with the ability to make anyone believe in themselves. Today's post captures the laughter that always prevailed in the Schwartz family. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I hate to download free books just because they are free. If you click the link you'll find the Table of Contents and an excerpt from The MAFIA Funeral. Stories include humor, romance, mystery, and more. Many won awards.



Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's a girl to do when she's taken for a Mafia member's daughter?

There are several true stories in The MAFIA FUNERAL and Other Short Stories, and the lead story is one of them. 

It is what's called "creative non-fiction." That means it's mostly true with a few embellishments to add to the story.

The yellow car on the cover represents the yellow Pontiac convertible we had at the time. It was sandwiched in between 40 black limousines in a funeral procession that traveled the freeway from downtown Los Angeles to the cemetery in Tustin. You can bet heads were turning all along the way!

The names have been changed, but I was the model for Susan. You might say, "You, a blonde, taken for a Mafia member's daughter?" Well, I'm blonde now, but back then my hair was  natural jet black. So, without further ado, here is the excerpt from this short story. Many of the other stories in this book won awards.

EXCERPT FROM The MAFIA FUNERAL and Other Short Stories:
Susan was about to say something, when a tough looking guy, who appeared to be in his mid-fifties, wearing a broad smile and a beautifully tailored suit, lumbered over to them waggling his finger in her face.

“Hey, baby, ain’t you Joey Ventura’s daughter?”

She looked around, trying to figure out who he was talking to. He drew closer and tapped his finger on her shoulder. “You. It’s you I’m talkin’ to. It’s me. Uncle Johnnie. Don’t tell me you don’t recognize me.”

 “I’m afraid you’ve mistaken me for someone else. My daddy’s name isn’t Joey—what did you say?—Ventura? My dad is Mannie Goodman. He’s a pediatrician in Manhattan. Sorry.”
The man scowled. “Aw, baby, don’t be like that. Of course you’re Joey’s daughter. I’d recognize you anywhere. Those shiny black curls. Why I used to bounce you on my knee when you was a little girl.” He snickered. “Mannie Goodman! You coulda come up with something better than that.”

They bantered back and forth until Uncle Johnnie conceded that he was, indeed, mistaken. Slapping his head, he said, “Of course,” he pointed to Jerry, “this here Yid pallbearer is your husband. Shoulda noticed that.” He turned to Jerry. “Bad thing that priest said. You seem like good people. Can we talk?”

Not waiting for an answer, he reached into his pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a whole album of photos. “I wanna show you my family. He pointed out three sons, who appeared to be no more than a year apart and a beautiful blonde couldn’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen. After reeling off the boys’ names with pride, he tapped the photo of the pretty girl.

“This, here’s a wedding picture of my sixth wife, Rena. She’s a smart one. Usually I trade ‘em in for a younger model when they hit twenty-two or twenty-three. Rena, she knew all about that, so she had the boys right away to make sure I kept her around. Gotta love that kind of moxie.”

The guy was likeable in a strange kind of way, but the next day Jerry remembered why he looked familiar. He was Johnnie Mancini. A few years back he’d been accused of masterminding the murder of a few people in San Francisco, but got off, thanks to his slick attorney. The case had made the TV news and the L.A. papers. When the trial was over, the prosecutor penned a book about it, Getting Away With Murder. Susan later told Jerry that at the moment he told her who Uncle Johnnie really was, she felt droplets of cold sweat inch down her spine.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How I got the job of marketing prison-made furniture

I had just finished a stint as Director of Design for a Los Angeles residential homebuilder. I hadn't decided whether I wanted to look for a new job or do freelance interior design. 

Years before, when cubicles (systems furniture) first hit the office interior scene, I'd worked for a large office furniture dealership as a representative for big interiors projects. They had thoroughly trained me in systems furniture. I saw this ad in the L.A. Times that said something to the effect of "Unique opportunity to work with little known  manufacturer marketing systems furniture. Must have working knowledge of the product and interior design background." 

On a lark I sent them a resume, and promptly forgot about it. One evening, about three weeks later I received a call from a man who said he was with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. My heart skipped a beat. Had I done something illegal?

As I was to find out, the furniture in the ad was manufactured in Federal Prisons and it was big business. About $600 Million a year for furniture sales. He said they had hired a private sector firm to do the marketing and I'd passed the first stage of weeding out candidates. Could I come to an interview in San Diego the following week? Well, I had my doubts, but I went and was shocked to walk into a beautiful suite of offices with very nice furniture. It was a combination showroom and office for the West Coast.

I made the cut and became the representative and design liaison for Southern California, Southern Nevada and Utah. Pretty much like the character Cameron in Who's Got the Money. The book will be released any day now, but you can get Getting Even, the story behind how the protagonist, Jennifer Hayes went to work for the prison division that manufactured furniture similar to the product my co-author, Meredith Holland, and I worked with for four years. It also covers how she got even with the boy-toy who stole her heart and money. Kindle only. 99 cents. Getting Even

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Yesterday I was a panel member and moderator for a discussion "Between the Covers"  at the Manhattan Beach Library in Southern California. We are all members of the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime as is Evelyn Moore who arranged for the presentation.

I really enjoyed the discussion with Sheila Lowe, author of the Claudia Rose Handwriting Analyst mysteries and Robert Fate, author of the Baby Shark series. We all write mysteries of different sub-genres, but as authors we have so much in common. Fiction fans always as about how authors who write the stories they enjoy come up with the ideas, how many of their own traits or talents the authors use in their characters, what sort of research we do, and how the "page-turners are created. We delved into all of that, and more.

We all agreed that we absolutely love receiving emails that say the person blames us for not getting any sleep because they stayed up all night reading one of our books.

I'm looking forward to being on panels with these two authors again.