Follow Your Passion!

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Tina Frisco sharing the rich and varied experiences of her multi-act life.

Here’s Tina!

tinafriscoThank you, Joanne, for hosting me on your Second Acts blog. I’m delighted and honored to be among so many talented artisans.

My ACT ONE began with knowing that I wanted to be a nurse at age five. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA, I attended parochial school for twelve years and academically pursued the fields of science and math. The nuns were excellent teachers, and by the time I graduated twelfth grade, I was well-prepared for further study in these areas.

Eager to leave the nest, I moved to New York to attend Nursing School. Back then, hospital-based schools were still in existence and proved to be far superior to college and university nursing programs. My class scored above all other programs in New York on our State Boards, including the Masters Programs. Needless to say, students and teachers alike were very pleased.

I worked as a nurse for many years in the areas of Med-Surg, Psychiatry, Hemodialysis, Family Planning, and Geriatrics. I’ve been a Staff Nurse, Charge Nurse, Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON), and Director of Staff Development (DSD). Seeking a greater challenge, I applied to the California State Department of Health Services for the position of Health Facilities Evaluator Nurse. These are the folks who visit hospitals, clinics, and home health agencies to evaluate their performance in adhering to state and federal guidelines. Since this was a civil service position, the candidate process took almost a year to complete. But it was well worth it; I not only was hired, but also was their first choice. I worked in the field of nursing until my mid-forties.

Music is also an integral part of my life. I received my first guitar at age fourteen and began writing songs and music. I emulated folksingers such as Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Donovan, Tom Rush, and Gordon Lightfoot. Later on, Emmylou Harris, Cris Williamson, John Denver, and many others also became favorites. I performed publicly throughout high school and much of my adult life, both as a solo act and with others. I enjoy all genres of music, with the exception of some types of jazz.

In my early twenties, I became an animal rights activist. The practice of vivisection filled me with anger and disgust, especially since the poor creatures often were not given analgesics or anesthesia. Non-human animals are treated with little or no regard for their sentience, and I was compelled to advocate on their behalf. Ever since corporations assumed the larger part of the industry involving animal research as well as the care and raising of animals for food consumption, the emphasis is now placed on profits rather than concern for the quality of life. When great distance is placed between the steward and her/his charge, it becomes easy to objectify. Once I became aware of this, I began advocating for all beings and remain politically active to this day.

In my early thirties, I became apprenticed to a Medicine Woman. This catapulted me into the realm of spirit and solidly placed me on a spiritual path. Everything I now do derives from a depth within my heart, soul, and consciousness. Once consciousness is awakened, there’s no turning back. Many lessons are difficult and the path can be arduous at times, but the benefits reaped are priceless and enlightening.

In my mid-forties, I became quite ill with an immunologic disorder and was unable to continue working. Many years passed before the pain and fatigue lifted enough for me once again to become productive.

Plateau Cover 8 (2)My ACT TWO began after watching several doomsday documentaries regarding the supposed end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar on December 21, 2012. I knew from a place deep within me that the world was not going to end on this date, and I felt compelled to put forth a message of hope into the world. I published Plateau: Beyond the Trees, Beyond 2012 in July of that year. Its underlying message is that we must keep our hearts open and act from love instead of reacting from fear; we must practice gratitude and compassion within every moment and with every breath; and in so doing, we’ll help elevate the human species to a higher consciousness, facilitating both personal and global peace.

About Plateau: W’Hyani, a fifteen-year-old tribal female, lives on a sequestered plateau where her people have little or no contact with the outside world. Born strong and willful, she is the predestined Keeper of the Crystal Heart, the key to unlocking the thousands-year-old mystery of the Great Mosaic of Life. Ignorant of her role as well as the shard’s significance, she carries it in a pouch around her neck, hidden from view and kept secret as her mother instructed before she disappeared. When cosmic forces begin testing her, W’Hyani meets every challenge with firm resolve. But ultimately she comes face-to-face with herself in a battle that would shrink the will of the most intrepid warrior, unaware that the realization of her destiny will irrevocably impact all beings on earth and beyond. The Great Mosaic of Life holds a message of hope that would allow us to see and live beyond our perceived horizons.

gabbyandthequadsLast year I published my second book, Gabby and the Quads. When my niece had quadruplets, I was inspired to write a children’s book that was ethically as well as traditionally educational. For example, Gabby’s family includes two pit bulls. I explain that pit bulls are born gentle and become mean only when mistreated by humans.

About Gabby and the Quads: Gabby is an only child, and her parents are concerned about how she’ll receive four new babies into the family. They decide on a unique approach to introduce her to and help her accept this awesome experience.

I’m now writing another novel, in yet a different genre. I thought I would try my hand at writing in a genre that’s currently popular and selling well. Writing is an inherent part of who I am, and it sure would be nice to make a little money from it!

Aside from writing and music, I enjoy reading, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and getting lost in working crossword puzzles.

My advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act is the same as that which I give to aspiring authors: Follow your passion! It will lead you to your heart’s desire. And don’t be disheartened if you encounter obstacles. Give your mind a rest for a period of time. Take a walk. Listen to music. Visit with friends. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you return to your project. Sometimes we have to take a step back in order to gain the perspective and momentum needed to move forward. And whatever you do, don’t listen to critics unless their criticism is constructive. If it is, learn from it. If it isn’t, turn a deaf ear and continue on. Above all, listen to yourself! Your intuition is your best guide.

Below are a few of my favorite quotes, the essences of which are reflected in my life’s philosophy and, thus, my writing:


“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge – myth is more potent than history – dreams are more powerful than facts – hope always triumphs over experience – laughter is the cure for grief – love is stronger than death.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

“You can also commit injustice by doing nothing.” ~Marcus Aurelius

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~Edmund Burke

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Take the breath of the new dawn and make it part of you. It will give you strength.” ~Hopi Nation

“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” ~ Rumi

Joanne, it has been a pleasure meeting you. Your generosity and support of artisans is much appreciated. I’m an optimist by nature and hope that gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and love will imbue the current tenor of our social fabric – and prevail.

Walk in beauty, my friends…

Buy Links

Plateau – Amazon | Smashwords | Spangaloo | iTunes | EBook Universe

Gabby and the QuadsAmazon | Create Space

Where to find Tina…

Website | FB Author Page | FB Book Page | Amazon | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Google+ | About Me | Authorsdb | The indiePENdents | Ask David | Google Books | Radio Interview | What Say You?

Joanne here!

Tina, thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. Best of luck with all your creative endeavors.

The Coming of Arabella – Now Available for Pre-order!

thecomingofarabella_500x750 (2)


On the day of her engagement party, an ex-mermaid’s life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of another mermaid—a sister she has never known. Under normal circumstances, Barbara Davies would be overjoyed, but her special day is already wrought with tension. While Barbara is not the first mermaid from the Mediterranean kingdom to settle in small town Ontario, she has yet to reveal her origins to her fiancé. So when Arabella, the gorgeous sister whose disturbing black eyes banished her to the island of Crete, saunters into her life, clutching the arm of Barbara’s discarded lover, a powder keg of emotion is released.

Relationships falter and careers stall as envy stirs in the hearts of the sisters. On the verge of meltdown after her fiancé leaves Canada for a teaching job in Vermont, Barbara flees to Arizona hoping for a reprieve. There, she finds solace at a retreat for ex-mermaids and a second chance at love with a charismatic preacher. As she contemplates a new life in the desert paradise of Sedona, shocking secrets emerge and tragedy strikes. A stronger and wiser Barbara rises up to face these new challenges and embrace the best parts of her mermaid heritage.


Arabella’s eyes blazed like burning embers of coal. “You don’t know or what to know what I capable of.” She snapped her fingers. “I can discredit you just like that.”

Barbara laughed. “Discredit me without discrediting yourself? I’d like to see you try that.”

As Arabella got closer, Barbara could smell that flowery scent she had always associated with Belinda. It did not suit Arabella in the least. The younger woman needed a muskier scent, one that would blend in better with her predatory nature.

“You’ve already lost Graham and Gwen. Mama and Paul are on my side. Do you want to lose Sharon as well?”

“There’s nothing you can do or say that will turn Sharon or anyone else in this office against me,” Barbara said. “So, don’t waste your breath.” While she maintained a tight smile and spoke in an even tone, Barbara could hear her pulse pounding as tremors of anger shot through her limbs. She wanted desperately to sit down but would not give Arabella any more physical advantages.

Arabella smiled smugly. “Sharon doesn’t like secrets or people who keep them. I wonder how she would react if I told her about your . . . our origins.”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

Arabella shrugged. “I don’t care one way or another. Stewart is encouraging me to write about our lives. He thinks it has the makings of a bestseller.” She laughed. “In addition to the erotica, of course.”

She’s bluffing. Barbara ignored the intrusive thought as memories of Stewart rushed back. He was the consummate businessman and enjoyed being on the cusp of the latest trend. His artist clients produced edgy and controversial art that had been rejected by more conservative agents. Vast stores of family money allowed Stewart to be more daring and sometimes even provocative. What could be more daring and provocative than a mermaid wife?

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (Australia)

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Coming of Arabella, I’m offering a Rafflecopter giveaway for 5 free eBooks.

Enter here.

Yin | Yang | Raunchy

songsaboutmermaidsWhen I Googled “Songs about Mermaids,” I came up with 1,270,000 hits. While I don’t plan to visit all those sites, I will share a selection of songs over the next few months.

In today’s post, I’m featuring a group of Canadian artists, two of whom are near and dear to me.

After receiving my contract for Between Land and Sea, I asked my musically talented brothers to compose the music for the trailer. I had envisioned my brothers collaborating and composing one theme song, but that’s not how their muses worked. Each brother had his own unique interpretation of the middle-aged mermaid who was aged beyond recognition and then dumped on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England. Unable to choose between them, I decided to use both versions and hired Erin Kelly to produce the trailers.

Ernie G came up with the Yin version. Aptly titled, “It’s Your Time,” the soft, contemplative music gently skims over the heartbreak, encouraging Isabella to imagine a happier future.

Augy G delivered the Yang version in “Father Time Blinked.” Very different music with several pointed comments and questions sprinkled throughout the lyrics. Is Augy taking Isabella to task?

I couldn’t resist adding “The Mermaid” song performed by Canadian folk rock band Great Big Sea in 2005. Written and originally recorded by Shel Silverstein, this song features the lament of a whaler who has fallen in love with a mermaid but despairs over her fish parts.


To celebrate the upcoming release of The Coming of Arabella, I’m offering a Rafflecopter giveaway for 5 free eBooks.

Enter here.

Gilda Greco and Me

aseasonforkillingblondes_w9101_750-21While imagining the protagonist of A Season for Killing Blondes, I realized she could easily be my literary twin. In fact, I like to tell people that Gilda Greco is 70 percent of me. As to how I came up with that particular number, let’s just say my well-honed left brain did all the work.

Today, I’m sharing ten of those similarities on the Heroines with Hearts blog.

10 Things I Do to Preserve My Mental Wellness

I’m happy to welcome life coach Catherine Simmons to the Power of 10 series. Today, Catherine is sharing her common sense approach to mental wellness.

Here’s Catherine!

1. Get enough sleep

2. Spend time with people who inspire me

3. Be true to my values

4. Be mindful

5. Think positive

6. Explore my spiritual side

7. Let go of guilt and trauma

8. Exercise

9. Eat well for who I am

10. Spend time with nature


In 2002 I was diagnosed with a mental illness and since then I’ve been on a journey of discovery. I firmly believe in recovery and that mental illness is transient. My power of 10 are the things that make the most difference in my life to keep me mentally healthy, and I know instinctively that they work for others too. They’re not rocket science, in fact these few common sense things can make more difference that you can imagine.

One thing I’ve left out, though, is the key to the rest. That one thing is a belief in self-empowerment. Taking responsibility for your own life and your own decisions is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Don’t believe everything you are told. There is so much information available these days and we don’t even need to go to the library!!! It’s time we took the driver’s seat and demanded the very best quality of life we can possibly have…a change in perspective from victim of circumstance to Executive Director of our lives makes all the difference.

As Wayne Dyer said – when we change the way we look at things the things we look at change.

My purpose in life to give people hope and to support and guide them to live the lives they dream of, whatever that means to them.

To learn more about these ten things you can sign up on my website at


catherinesimmonsCatherine has had a lifelong interest in biology and how the universe works. With a Master’s degree in molecular genetics, and over 15 years of experience in Biotech industry, she concluded that the person centered holistic view of medicine is the only real solution to healing dis-ease. Her own experience of mental illness has led her to become qualified as a practitioner in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT tapping) and she is now studying for certification as Quantum Success Coach, where she harnesses universal laws to help people achieve their life goals. Her passion is coaching for mental wellness.

Where to find Catherine…

Facebook | Twitter