Posts tagged " when clouds embrace "

On the New High

June 14th, 2017 Posted by Tabula Rasa 2 comments

There I was, thinking that the ultimate high is reading a piece of your novel, (pun intended), in front of a group of adults, who smile, laugh, frown, and applaud at the appropriate times.

And then, I read in front of a group of children.

I did this three times in five days, so the margin for error is considerably low, and I promise you, there is nothing more uplifting than reading your story to a bunch of humans who are by nature, filter-free, who nevertheless stare at you and your book in awe. Who patiently line up and wait for you to sign their book, the first book they’ve ever had signed by an author and an illustrator. Who kneel down at the box of books you have next to you and ask if there are other, different books like this one in there.

Adults know how to be polite, they know how to pretend, how to force a smile, a laugh, a frown,  an applause. But kids, they only know to tell the truth.

Us writers are a vain bunch, but that’s only because we spend so much time in the solitude of our tumultuous minds, creating something we are forever convinced is not good enough. If the opportunity for praise and acknowledgment arises, we grab it with the hunger of a  jilted lover reunited with their soulmate.

So thank you, children, those that were at the launch of “When Clouds Embrace” this past Saturday, and to the brilliant groups at Byron College today.

I’m going on a children’s book tour.

On Calling it Quits

May 10th, 2017 Posted by Tabula Rasa 1 comment

At least once a year, considerably more during this past one, I want to quit writing. To destroy my books, to delete my hard drive, my back up, my notes, rewire my brain. This profession is exhausting, if you can call it a profession at all. There are too many of us in an industry that’s dying. Those of us that choose the road of indie publishing do it at a great price, rarely, if ever making any of our investment back, let alone a profit. It’s too much of a risk.

It’s too much of a fake high. The last period I typed at the end of my novel. The first time I held the printed book in my hand. The first words of praise I read in a review. The applause of the crowd I finally manage to gather at my third attempt at a reading. The last time I read, the strength of my voice, the power of my story. It takes days, months, for me to come down from this, and every time I do, I know I can’t do this anymore.

One more try, I say, ploughing through daily Facebook posts, boosts, ads. PR agencies that promise me reality in words I recognize, yet choose to inflate. I join groups, I talk to other authors, one sad story upon the next, and then, one of success. I snatch it, it helps me hold on to my dream. I turn to my bookshelf, packed with literary greatness, secretly shelve my book tightly in their midst; it helps to know that I have something to place there.

Last night, in bed, past midnight, I picked up my phone and typed myself a reminder: quit writing.

Today, I’m here alone. On a stool at my kitchen counter. Surrounded by toys, dirty dishes, and a world of ideas I could explore that have the promise of steering me down a more successful path. My computer stays open to a blank page for most of the day. I know that I’m good. But it’s nowhere near enough. I need to quit. Yet, here I am again.

On the Irony of a Life Jacket

May 9th, 2017 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet

In the midst of a room I sit, surrounded by clothes I’ve been trying to arrange for over ten days. It’s that time of year when we Greeks “take down” our summer clothes, sort through our winter wardrobe, give stuff away, store the rest in suitcases in some closet “up high.” Amongst all my accumulated crap, endless stretched-out T-shirts made by underage kids in Turkey, that cost $5 and pollute the environment, is a bagful of my son’s stuff from last summer, that as usual, I was sure would fit him this year.

Including a life jacket.

I pack it all into a big garbage bag, thinking of where I should donate it all to this time, for there are so many options. But I hold on to the life jacket. For days, it lays on the floor. I step over it, he tries to squeeze into it, I move it to the corner of the room, back to the center again, position it on the armchair in the corner; it sits there, empty.

A boat capsizes outside the coast of Italy, or is it Malta, neither country can decide whose responsibility it is, by the time they do, the sea swallows 250 people. Sixty of them kids. Some of them, wounded kids. But that doesn’t matter anymore, they’re dead. I wonder if any of them could have used my son’s life jacket. If it would have kept them alive long enough for the authorities to decide who was going to go save them. After distress call, upon distress call, over five hours. I imagine what the story would be if the boat was full of rich tourists sailing the Mediterranean, and not Syrian refugees.

Nobody cares anymore. It’s easier to let them die than to take them in. I get it. Our sense of humanity is capsizing. Hold on to your life jacket, if you have one. I sure as hell will.

When Clouds Embrace

April 24th, 2017 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet

Do your kids share their fears with you? Does your three-year-old know how to deal with a fear of loud thunder, the shadows in his bedroom, blue boggles, and spooky ghosts? Do you find yourself stuck for ideas and explanations? I did. So I made up a story. A year later I wrote it down. A dear friend, Antonia Catsambas, agreed to illustrate it. Today, the book is on my son’s bookshelf. The first time I read it to him, I was petrified, terrified that he, my target audience, wouldn’t like it. Not only did he ask me for it every night that week, but he shared a new fear each time. I’m still awful at easing them all, but I’m comforted by the fact that something I created has led him to communicate, to reach out, to never feel embarrassed about being scared of the huge pink alien under his bed.

Please take a look at “When Clouds Embrace.”

It is officially available for purchase on Amazon on May 2, but feel free to preorder now! All proceeds go to unaccompanied refugee minors.

Giving for Greece



On Those of Us More Fortunate

December 1st, 2016 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet


December has rolled in, and in less than 25 days, most of us will be sitting around a warm fireplace stroking our full turkey bellies. While over 1,500 children without parents or guardians are roaming Greece trying to find somewhere to sleep, to keep warm, to get food. They are alone. And in the month of December, Greece is not exactly the land of sea and sunshine. It rains, it snows, temperatures fall to below zero.

I know that the international refugee crisis is a controversial subject for all. Most of us believe that it’s not our problem, that we’re not responsible and that we have our own problems to take care of at home.

For those of you more fortunate, who believe that we can all help, regardless of where we are from, regardless of Hillary losing, Trump winning, regardless of how many donations you’ve recently made to Planned Parenthood or to a GOP cause, maybe you can find that soft spot inside yourself this holiday season, and address an issue that is well beyond all of our borders, an issue that unifies humanity in grief. There is a future generation of human beings out there, they need your help, they are part of our future, and you get to decide what that future will be.

You can help by contacting the woman in the post below, Sofia Kouvelaki, who has been doing amazing work for this cause with Giving for Greece. Or simply donate on their website,


On the Grandness of Smallness

May 17th, 2016 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet

In the great scheme of things, I know I’m just one small person, who wrote a small book, for small children, and put together a crowdfund for small donations. I’m no grand charity and you are no billionaires blindly throwing funds my way.

But together, we are grand.

Whether or not you believe that the smallest contribution counts, it does. The smallest sentence to a friend or colleague about this small project, makes a difference. A simple click on the “share” button below this post, may help bring “When Clouds Embrace” to life. Our cluster of smallness will grow into a huge storm of kindness, charity, humanity.

We’ve decided to cut the first print run of When Clouds Embrace from 2,000 to 1,000 copies, so the amount needed is no longer the one you see on the crowdfunding pages. Not because our book won’t sell, not because we won’t gather the funds we need eventually (those of you who know me, know I’ve deleted the word “failure” from my dictionary long ago), but because we are in a hurry to to help. When our 1,000 copies sell, we will have raised over $10,000 for Giving for Greece, who will channel the funds to unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece. That’s pretty grand from a bunch of small people.

Please continue to spread the word, even if it’s just a whisper. (Links below)

Today has been a good day for little Lukas, as donors from two corners of the world pushed him closer to existence. And helped us all make a small step towards improving the dire living conditions of an orphaned refugee child. I thank Katerina Papatryfon Drako in Dubai, an anonymous donor from San Fransisco, and my grand, dear, nutty friend Dimitra Capas, who made a donation box out of a shoebox, sported a hat, and walked around the offices of the law firm she works at, gathering donations. Her box will be doing a tour of Athens, keep an eye out, it’s pictured below. 😉

On the Grandness

International donations:…/book-for-the-support-of-syrian…

On the Kindness of Strangers

April 26th, 2016 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet

I know a princess, a real one. After the first time we met, she bought my book and read it. The second time our paths crossed was because she came to my reading. And now, working for the same cause, though obviously on a much grander scale than me, she’s kindly decided to help me with spreading the word about the publication of “When Clouds Embrace.”

I would have never known she is royalty if somebody hadn’t told me. Though she is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever sat next to. Graceful and well-spoken, as all princesses are to be, she is also extremely human, tangible, and real, so far from the images that gossip magazines at the hairdresser’s would have you believe.

So thank you, Tatiana, you have nothing to gain from me, and I a lot from you. All I can give you is my gratitude for making me believe in the kindness of (near) strangers in a world that can be cynical and dark, full of people with ulterior motives, distrust, and sadness. I know you’ll never see this, but I know you can hear me say, keep shining your light wherever you go.

On Fairytales

April 16th, 2016 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet

There’s a child, his name is Leonidas, he’s like any other six-year-old, like my son, like your kids. Only he’s roaming the streets looking for his brother. The landscape is unfamiliar, as it would be go any kid, lost at this age. His clothes aren’t torn, his shoes not worn out, he’s actually wearing a bright blue pair of Nikes that a nice woman handed him out of a big black bag.They’re just a little dusty, for there is a lot of sand in this country he’s arrived in. He has nowhere to sleep, even though the lady with the black bag keeps promising that he’ll have a bed in one of the rooms on the huge hotel where they are all staying, the people from his country, very soon.

He never finds his brother. When he gives up, he’s sad, but not as sad as he was to lose his parents. He carries this sadness with him his entire life.

In his 20s, Leonidas hears a story from a friend he made while living in that hotel for three years. Apparently, another nice lady, wrote a book about a boy just like him, who was scared of thunder. Many people helped her publish it, from all over the world, then bought the book for their children, and all the money that was made, she gave to him, to pay for his bed, his soft pillow, his food, the toys they shared as kids. She kept him warm from the cold, dry from the rain, she made sure that he felt like somebody cared, made the absence of the world he knew, less petrifying.

He never found out who she was, but imagined what she may have looked like. The image brought a smile to his face, and he saved it in his mind, right next to that of his parents.

You can help make a fairytale real by purchasing a copy of “When Clouds Embrace.”


On Naivete

April 5th, 2016 Posted by Tabula Rasa No Comment yet

Half a lifetime ago, a man I was seeing said to me:

“You love like a child, you argue like a child, and you dream like a child.”

The loving and arguing was obviously in reference to our relationship, but the dreaming was aimed at my then new idea to open a loop news station in Greece, something like NY1, for those who can relate. I was convinced I could do it, I could overcome all Greek bureaucracy, and provide the public with traffic, local news, and weather updates.

I was very hurt by his words, mostly because they were true, and reacted as childishly as expected.

Our relationship came to an end, but I never grew up. And I’m proud of that.

I do fall in love like a child, expecting everything from the relationship. I do argue like a child, when my expectations are not met, because I hurt like a child. The look that I saw on my son’s face when his best friend bit him, was pretty much the first time I saw him resemble me wholly.

And I do dream like a child. There is no other way to dream.

That television station never materialized, in fact, that argument was the last I ever spoke of it. Other ideas came and went, some came closer to fruition than others, and then there was “Pieces.”

And now there is Lukas. The crowdfunding campaigns are anything but on fire, and today I’m fine with that. It’s as if I almost expected my friends and family to start throwing money at me for something that they may not believe in, or support, or care about. I did. I also thought that it would all happen as immediately as a child expects to get a promised candy.

While I’m extremely grateful for the dozens of shares, the hundreds of likes, and the many people that have responded to my emails and the few that contributed, I’m not going to let go of this dream. I’m going to hold onto it like a stubborn three-year-old. Because that is my strength.

So go on, prove me right, make my dream come true, give the kids landing on Greek shores a chance to dream, I’m middle-aged and I’m still dreaming, they haven’t even begun.

All profits will go to Giving for Greece, every donation, no matter how small makes a difference. Links below.


Pieces: a novel

“Pieces” is the winner of the silver medal at the 2017 Independent Publishers Awards (IPPY), and a finalist at the USA Best Book Awards and International Book Awards.

When Clouds Embrace: a children's book

All proceeds from the sales of "When Clouds Embrace" will go to Giving for Greece, a foundation that works to help the hundreds of unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece.