My second book, “Flower Girl” was nominated for ‘Reader’s Choice – 2015’. If you read it and would be so kind as to take a moment to vote, I would appreciate it immensely. It is in the romance category. Much love!  – – Donna Beck



Hope, With or Without Feathers

Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers”, and that she could hear it’s song through a gale-force wind. Emily had really good hearing, or maybe she was just an optimist.

Hope is a tool for the optimist, only they can use it. Pessimist wouldn’t even think to pick it up, and wouldn’t know how to use it if they did. Hope is a big tool, a useful tool, the ‘motor drill’ of the tool belt. It is not just a feeling, but a way of thinking that can alter behavior and decision making.

It is also the word most frequently used by readers who send me emails after reading any of my three ‘Manhattan Girl’ stories. When I started writing erotica, I never expected “your stories give me hope” to be a common comment in my feedback. Then again, I write pretty weird erotica. My characters have sexual relationships, but they always have adversity to deal with and overcome. I write what I know. Actually, the hot sex is a product of my sexy imagination, overcoming adversity is what I really know something about.

I recently received one of the “your stories give me hope” emails, and I would like to apologize for my response. The reader wrote that he is going through a divorce and that my stories gave him hope for the future, made him see the way things could be. I wrote back chastising the man, reminding him that I write romance, it is all fantasy, and that life isn’t really like that. I was having a bad day.

I want to believe that life can be like my stories. I don’t see why it can’t. I’m not talking about the sexual prowess of my characters, I’m talking about the way they treat each other. Is it possible?

I am an optimist who believes in love. Why shouldn’t I? I love myself, and I have a lot of love to give. I also am older, wiser, and not handicapped by a biological clock that is pounding in my ears and influencing my judgement. I am mature enough to realize that the outer shell is just that. I know the characteristics I am compatible with. I am rich with experience, not in need, but aware of what works. I’m am really on a hilltop, not in a hole, and my future looks really good from this perspective.

I have many useful tools in my belt, and my hope is charged. Sort of. I’m an optimist, so if it runs low, I’ll plug it in and recharge it. I’m going to be better than okay.

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My Take on Fifty Shades

I should probably start with the disclaimer that I don’t read romance novels. I never have, and to be honest, I’m not interested in what is called “Typical Romance.” I like stories about people and relationships.  My book, “Subway Girl” is considered by some to be a romance, or even erotica, but I think the best description of my writing came from a reader who said,

Your stories are very serious stories of human struggle and potential couched in the comforting, uplifting terms of a romance novel.

Before I wrote “Subway Girl,” I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and the women in my book club said, “It is really awful. You should read it.” The suggestion was that anyone could write that crap. I disagree.

There are many things I don’t like about FSOG, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I am not really turned on or off by BSDM. I don’t have any personal experience, but I took an online quiz that said I am neither “Dominant or submissive,”  I am what they call, “Exploratory”.  Translation; I believe anything any consenting adult wants to do in the bedroom is just fine and sex is meant to be fun. So it is not the sex in FOGS that I found disturbing, it was the whole virgin / billionaire thing. But hey – that’s a fantasy a lot of people entertain, it’s just not for me.

In FSOG, Christian Grey buys Anastasia a new car and takes her on a date in a helicopter that he pilots. In “Subway Girl,” Ray Kelly’s remembers how Alicia takes her coffee and brings her a cup. I’ve got simple taste, what can I say? It feels accessible to me, attainable. I feel sorry for women that pine for a helicopter ride and even worse for the guys that can’t provide that.

But you know what FSOG did right in my opinion?  Funny sexy banter via email. That was my favorite thing about the book FSOG, the sexy playfulness that they communicated outside of the bedroom. Email is free, coffee is cheap, and romance requires thoughtfulness. So being broke is not really an excuse, is it?

Most of people criticizing FSOG have not actually read the book. I like controversy if it makes people think, but this bandwagon seems mostly reactionary. I don’t know what to say about the movie, I have not seen it and there are probably twenty other movies I would see first.

I would guess that “Subway Girl” doesn’t belong on the shelf next to FOGS. Someone recently said it belongs next to “Catcher in the Rye,” but that is too high a compliment. But it does feature a male narrator who is down-and-out roaming the streets of Manhattan. My copy isn’t actually on my shelf, but it makes a decent mouse pad for my laptop.

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Spotlight – Rachel Wright

  336865_235919113165317_661427849_o Rachel Wright Photography

Downtown Long Beach, where 4th street meets Junipero, there is an area known as “Retro Row”.  The businesses include vintage clothing stores, a coffee shop, and a unique gift shop called “Siren”.  The gift shop is known as a unique place to find gifts for those with unconventional tastes and an offbeat sense of humor.  Rachel Wright owned that store, and as she boxed up the merchandise to close the doors for the last time, she discovered an old film camera in one of the boxes.  It was a life changing moment when she decided to enroll in a photography class and obtain the skills needed to bring the art in her mind out for the rest of the world to see.

Rachel’s love of art, fashion, dance, Hollywood, and all things vintage has led her to create a stunning body of work.  Her main focus is on high fashion and fine art photography, but she also uses mixed media where she combines different layers of images to create surreal worlds.
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Currently, Rachel is working on an ongoing series called “Hollywoodland”, showcasing her fascination for old Hollywood with a twist of the macabre.  She recreates the deaths of starlets but in a classic and glamourous manner, creating a biography in a photograph by combining the beauty of their heyday along with their tragic ending.  So far, Rachel has recreated the deaths of Peg Entwistle, Inger Stevens and the notorious Black Dahlia.


Another current project “Electric Erotique”  reflects Rachel’s interest in architecture and geometric lines, using the human body to create specific shapes.  This series was inspired by photographers Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton and Man Ray.


Rachel’s next scheduled exhibition will be held at The Phantom Gallery located in Hawthorne, California in November, featuring belly dance portraits and stage shots of some of the most prolific dancers in the field.  You can expect Hafla ambience with live belly dancers and drummers for an interactive exotic experience.



To see more examples of Rachel Wright Photography, visit

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