A Writer’s Dream from Venice, Italy

December 19th, 2014

I’m just waking up on Giudecca Island -Venice, Italy – to a volley of sights and sounds – a deliverance from the cathartic, but brooding ancient history of Rome, from where we just came. Here, I imagine, I’m in a living painting, and an artist, with his paintbrush and palette in hand – captures me and my robe-covered torso, thrust outside my unscreened window – just now at the Hilton Molino Stucky, from his own studio window across the Grand Canal.

Outside, I hear the reverberating serenade of tolling church bells, which I can pinpoint with my own eyes, to various steeples, speckled with pigeons and seagulls. Each tower stands guard of her parcel of Venezia, soaring high above, looming and majestic, and traipsing along the Canal.

Splashing waves steadily rise and fall onto the foamy, green and blue algae and barnacle-covered docks and seawalls, swept up by power boats which dot the landscape like steed on an aqua-colored, rolling field. Each ship is captained by proud, generational seamen, who glide their ships in various directions, transporting trusting townspeople and holiday tourists about their elusive city. And, it’s through this foggy haze, I know I am graced with an inspiring, omnipotent view – and it occurs to me, I must be here, in Charles Dickens’ Modern Venice, the one he imagined long ago in his “Italian Dream.”




A Family Christmas Pictorial

Underwood Family Farms. We found the tree!
Come here, cute stuff! Let me squeeze the dickens out of you in front of a tree that isn’t ours.
Sure dad. Park the car under a big tree that overshadows the tree we picked out on top of our car.
I cropped out the fact that both of my men are wearing shorts on a day we picked-out our Christmas tree. Note my chilly weather attire. In their defense, it was 73 degrees outside. I was burning up.
As I was shooting this picture. Santa told Miles that I wanted a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl. I reminded Santa – yes, but it never came. Miles smiled.
A big old wad of tangled lights. John can handle this. I’m not equipped.
What was in the 20-gallon storage bin (labeled “SHOES”) taking-up all that space in the garage, you ask? One string of lights and three bows. No shoes in sight.
You thought I was kidding about the SHOES, right?
Found the tree skirt!
What are these weird, fake plants doing in the holiday decorations? Hmmm.
He always looks like he’s waiting for me to leave the room so he can pee on the tree. He never does. But, I always think he will, eventually pee on the tree when I’m not looking.
Time for wine.
Found another giant bin in the garage filled with only one angel, one star and one string of lights. WHO puts this stuff away?
I’m going to need more wine.
You thought I lied about the peeing on the tree thing? There’s my dog again just waiting for me to turn my back so he can snatch a chocolate. (Note the glass is almost empty.)
The stockings are up! My husband asked me if I could iron them. What? They are made of felt. No one irons felt. Wait. Do they?
I asked John to stand behind the tree while he was stringing the lights, because he was in boxers. No one needs to see that. P.S. That’s his annoyed face.
“Here mom! Let me help you hang ornaments!” What a good son.
After Miles helped hang one ornament.
One of those is a crystal wedding present. He’s broken two ornaments after hanging five ornaments.
It was a three glass of wine kind of night. #deckthehalls
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Where do all the unstrung ornaments go? #ornamentgraveyard
Time to focus.
I love this Santa. He takes up too much room, but I love him.
Time for the star!

IMG_1293 IMG_1273

ABC’s of Discipline


I picked up something somewhere about parenting that really works. I wish I could credit the concept to whomever created it. If I understand correctly, think of it as something like the ABC’s of Discipline. A-is the Antecedent or the precursor to B- a child’s Behavior (acting out) which leads to a parent doling out the C-Consequence.

Parents become reactionary and often jump straight to C, because they don’t identify the Antecedent, and only see the Behavior. I’m not sure that’s effective. What works for me and my son, Miles, is to nip things in the bud when he starts to misbehave in a consistent way, so he always knows what to expect.

What works for me and Miles is if he starts to misbehave, I recognize it and let him know he’s in “A-mode.” He can then choose if he wants to continue to act on his Behavior which always leads to Consequences, because he understands how the ABC’s works. Rarely does Miles ever get to C-mode since I’ve deployed the strategy. On the rare occasion that Miles gets himself in “B-mode” and continues to act on his behavior; I very clearly look him in the eyes and say, “Would you like to go to C-now?” That question always backs him right up to A-mode, and the behavior ends.
(He’s no dummy. Consequences are never fun!) I think the whole thing works because a child has real control over what he wants to do next. Miles always wants to roll back to A-because don’t we all wish for a “do-over” sometimes?

Thanks for the ear,

Tonia Allen Gould

Speaking Engagement Testimonial



I am pleased to recommend Tonia Allen Gould as a speaker for child related events -and adults as well.

I am a den leader for a group of Tiger Cub Scouts (first graders). Our meeting plan was how media is used to reach large audiences. I read about Tonia and her book Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore on our neighborhood Facebook page and decide to contact her about speaking to the boys.

Tonia accepted and her presentation was more than I could hope for. The other dens (2nd and 3rd grade) joined us. She told the boys how she got the idea for her story, and how she turned the idea into an interactive and animated children’s book. She showed them the story that had music, narration and pictures. The story itself is wonderful for kids (and adults) about overcoming adversity to make your dreams come true and Tonia’s personal story is living proof. It was a great experience on many levels. All of the boys were engaged and interested. They were thrilled to meet an author and have signed books to take home.

I highly recommend Tonia and feel honored to know her.

Victoria Turk

Introducing “The Finding Corte Magore Project”


With the help of an amazing team of crowd funders, entertainment industry and international tourism execs behind this project; we intend to bring one of the most exciting and socially contributed campaigns to the crowd fund scene.

See you on Corte Magore!

Tonia Allen Gould

Press is Important Facet of Reaching Your Target Demographic

News of my hardcover book release is being picked up across the nation, thanks to a well written press release and the help of my publisher, Mira Publishing, who worked swiftly to get our news out. Press is an important facet of getting books into the hands of your target demographic, and to extend a book’s newsworthiness and reach beyond an author’s own network.

Please contact me if you are an author struggling with garnering effective press. I may be able to offer insight. It takes a community to raise an author! I lean on others too, wherever I can, for help and mentorship.

World News/San Francisco Chronicle/Tonia Allen Gould Book Release

Keep writing! Keep Pressing!

Tonia Allen Gould


Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Book Jacket

Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore

The “proposed” layout for the Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore soft-cover book jacket came back from my publisher today. I’ll see the hard-cover version soon. I’m sure we’ll make some changes, but this sure is exciting!

Author Announces Release Date of #Animated #Childrens #Picturebook

Author Announces Release Date

Author, Tonia Allen Gould, announces the release date of her animated and narrated children’s picture book, coming on 7/1/13 on iTunes.