Our Lady of the Roses in Presale Now

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers & Beta Beauties

Hi and Happy Halloween!

For all of those on the East Coast, I hope you are safe and dry.  In Pittsburgh, we have been very fortunate.  Just rainy and gray, which is normal for this area-ha ha!

Here is a treat for you on this Halloween.  I'm guest blogging on Zee Monodee's Author's Corner. 

Here is the link to the site:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Welcome RG2E Readers!

Hi Faithful Readers and New Friends from RG2E,

For those who haven't figured it out yet, I'm guest posting (sounds like something Ed McMahon would do online) at RG2E.

Here is a link to the blog to save your fingers some clicking.


For those who have dropped by after reading my post, a big WELCOME to you.  Feel free to make yourself at home, leave a comment, sign up for my newsletter, but please don't open any closets--an avalanche of junk may cascade out!

I'm very happy to have you here.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Hi Readers:

I can't believe that we are nearing the end of October.  I hope you are enjoying the fall.  On this Sunday, I hope you will also enjoy this small sample from my novel St. Anne's Day, which can be purchased from Amazon, the Kindle store, Barnes & Noble Nook Store and Smashwords.  

This is the scene when Gerry's current girlfriend, Claudia, returns from a business trip, and she brings Gerry's mother, Peg, a gift.  As you may detect from the passage, Peg does not like Claudia.

Peg examined the box.  “Honey,” she said, scowling at Claudia, “you shouldn’t waste your money on expensive wrapping paper.  If you ever marry Gerry, you’ll have to learn to cut corners.  He’s not an architect anymore, and even though he still likes to put on the dog, barkeepers aren’t millionaires you know.”

Claudia pulled her lips into a sour smile.  “You were worth the extra expense.”



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

YOLO Is the Only Way to Go

This article originally appeared in the October issue of Northern Connection magazine.

I just celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary, and to commemorate the occasion, my husband and I headed back to where we honeymooned three decades ago, Bermuda.  One of the things we did on this trip, in addition to journeying back to the places we visited as newlyweds, was try to a new water sport—stand-up paddleboarding.  If you aren’t familiar with paddleboarding, you probably will be soon.  Our fun and lovely guides, Stephon and Shianne, told us that it had only come to Bermuda in the last few months and has already become quite popular.  It’s starting to catch on in various places in the U.S as well.  If you haven’t seen one, visualize a Venetian gondolier on a surfboard. 

As I’ve written before, I’ve kayaked so I was eager to try this new water sport, but as with any new experience, I was a bit nervous when our guides picked our group up outside our cruise ship. Would I be able to do it?  Would I fall off?  Would I make a fool of myself?

We traveled to beautiful Ely’s Harbour in Bermuda’s West End, where Stephon told us that we’d be using Yolo Yaks.  I was informed by a woman on the tour who worked at Penn State that Yolo is short for You Only Live Once.  She was traveling singly and told me that rather than stay at home and feel sad that her kid’s had left for school, she had booked herself on the cruise.  She had a Yolo attitude so I thought I’d ignore my jitters and just give it a go. 

Stephon told us the boards were virtually unsinkable, and the best way to get upright on them was to first kneel on the board and then slowly stand up, situating your feet nearly two-thirds of the way back in slight foot grooves on it.  You then take the paddle in hand, and off you go.  As we started out on the calm turquoise harbor water, I noticed how tense I was on the board.  I reminded myself to breath, relax, unlock my knees and look at the beauty surrounding us.  Then the 11 of us in the group paddled out beyond the calm waters of the harbor, past the sheltering rocks where the ocean water was choppy.  Paddling became more difficult as was remaining balanced on the board. 

We made our way to a forest of mangroves, which are fresh-water plants that grow in salt water.  Stephon told us to find a completely yellow leaf and a completely green one and then to chew each one.  It seems the mangrove plant is a real team player.  The yellow leaf tasted very salty as compared to the green on.  That is because the yellow leaf filters out the salt so that the rest of the plant can survive in the salty water.  While we were picking leaves, one of the members of the group lost his balance and plunged into the water.  He had been so intent on finding a good leaf, he had forgotten about balancing.  Relieved that I had not been the first to take the plunge, I wondered how he would ever get back up on the board.  As I studied his method, he got up with little difficulty. 

Next, we paddled to a cove that our guides informed us had once been the estate of mega-millionaire Robert Stigwood, who had, among his many ventures, managed the Bee Gees.  We took a swim at the beach there and were told that in the Saturday Night Fever heyday, the Bee Gees used to perform on that shore to the delight of the boaters moored there. 

The tour company had a group of kayakers out in the harbor too, and they paddled over to the shore.  Stephon asked if we would like to let the kayakers give our paddleboards a try for a while.  It was fun to share the knowledge we had gained even though we were still novices and to watch the little kids take to the boards like they had been born with one. 

We then paddled back to our launch point after spotting some turtles, a parrotfish and playing with a sea pudding, which Shianne said was akin to a sea urchin.  After two hours out on the water, my arms were getting tired. 

But as we rode the bus back through the tiny switchback streets lined with pastel-colored homes and palm trees, I thought how our paddleboarding adventure was a lot like life.  Everything goes better when you are relaxed.  Life is better lived in balance.  You can’t stand up immediately you have to build a good foundation and work your way up.  When the water gets choppy, dig that paddle in and keep on moving.  Focus and don’t get distracted or you’ll get tossed.  Don’t forget to look around at all the beauty.  Share with others; it doubles your fun.  And while you are at it, travel through life with the motto you only live once as your vehicle.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Shepherd's Song is Moving Along

Below is the preliminary draft for the cover of my Christmas novel, A Shepherd's Song, which will be out in November.  I will keep you posted when I have a specific date.

Here is the back cover info that goes with that lovely cover the designer created for me.  I hope to have the book out in November to get everyone in the Christmas spirit by reading it.

Tom Shepherd is anything but a hero. A senior physics major at Three Rivers University in Pittsburgh, he just wants to make some easy cash. On the last Sunday in November, he arrives to sell the Christmas season’s hottest toy, So Big Sammy, for three times its retail price to a buyer, but a snafu lands him in the middle of a bone marrow drive benefitting four-year-old Christo Davidson, who has leukemia. When everyone there—including the media covering the event--assumes that Tom has come to give the toy to the sick boy, Tom has no choice but to give it away. 

Lauded by the media as a hero and bestowed with the nickname The Good Shepherd, Tom finds himself an overnight celebrity. As a toy scalper and liar, he knows he’s unworthy of the honor, but when Gloria Davidson, a fellow student and Christo’s relative, seeks out Tom to thank him for being kind so kind to her little cousin, Tom, bewitched by her beauty, embellishes his character and lies to further impress Gloria. 

Tom asks Gloria out, beginning a relationship that will lead him to examine everything he believes. On Christmas Eve, Tom finds himself facing choices that will affect not only himself but also Gloria and Christo. Tom must choose between sacrifice and honor, love and loneliness, life and death. 

A Christmas romance with the charm of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and the spirit of It’s a Wonderful Life, A Shepherd’s Song, with set your soul to singing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Scene From an Italian Restaurant

Buon Giourno!

Since it's Columbus Day, I thought I'd post a little scene from an Italian restaurant that occurs in Chapter 20 of St. Anne's Day for you to enjoy with your Chianti and lasagna.  I'm not Italian, but I think I could eat my weight in pasta.  I love Italian food and I love Italy.  Oh, and I love my part Italian husband, children and son-in-law.

I was fortunate to travel there in 2007, and I would love to go back.   Here are a few photos of Italy for you to channel your inner Sophia or Giovanni before reading the chapter.

Outside the Vatican after an overnight plane ride. Was looking for a miracle here to cure my jet lag.

Florence.  I love this photo.  I was skinnier and the setting reminds me of the Mona Lisa.

Venice--Can you tell I ran out of hair spray by the time we got there?  Bad hair day.

Chapter 20 

With his good hand, Gerry poured them wine and then raised his glass. “Here’s to the best nurse ever.”

Anne smiled, clinking her goblet to his. “Here’s to smelling salts.” When Gerry began to black out in the waiting room, Anne, quick on the draw, whipped out her smelling salts again and called for the E.R. nurse. She held them under his nose, and he quickly came to. Despite his protests, she and the nurse insisted that he ride back to the exam room in a wheel chair. While the attending physician gave Gerry five internal stitches and nine external ones, Anne kept his mind off the needle mending his flesh by engaging him in conversation. He held her hand tightly and kept his blue eyes fixed on her, wincing every so often. As he lay on the table looking up at her, Anne could see the specter of the boy Gerry had been.

Now as he sat across the table from her in the dimly lit restaurant, she no longer saw the frightened child, but the handsome, confident man, comfortable with charming women. Anne twirled pasta around her fork and watched him as he undid the top stud on his tuxedo shirt. To the other customers, they must look so odd, she thought, with him dressed in formal wear and her in scrubs. “So you met Dave at the historical society?”

 “When I was restoring the bar.” He struggled to butter a roll.

 “Let me help you,” Anne said, taking it from him. “You restored it?” She returned the buttered hard roll to him.

“Over the years, my grandfather, father, and mother had made changes to the place. Some not so good. Like the windows out front. In the early fifties they leaked, so my father had glass block installed. When I took over, business was not brisk to say the least. Mostly locals. To survive, we needed to attract a larger clientele, and to do that, the place needed to be remodeled. I’m a history minor and felt restoring the place to its original state would be the key to its success. I went to the historical society for guidance. That’s how I met him.”

“I never figured you for a history buff?”

“Don’t be so shocked.” He pointed to his head. “I’ll have you know there are brains behind this gorgeous face.”

He is gorgeous. And now that he’d taken off the bow tie and opened his shirt, he was even more so. He looked sexy like a groom loosening his clothing in preparation for a night of lovemaking with his bride. What am I doing thinking about Gerry and making love? Keep your mind on history, Anne. “But history is so cerebral and solitary,” she said, “and you’re so gregarious.”

“Well, when a chunk of your past is missing, you value the links to it.”

“Part of your past is missing?”

He swallowed and then said softly, “My father.”

“Oh,” Anne whispered, not sure what to say. Peg had often talked about her late husband, how she missed him so, but Anne couldn’t recall Gerry mentioning his father before. He stared at the candle flickering in the glass globe on the table.

 “Sometimes, it’s so strange, Anne, but I’ll be standing at the bar pouring a beer or sitting at his desk in my office, and I get this feeling—it’s not a creepy feeling, but a good one—that he’s there with me.” He looked at her, sadness dimming the sparkle in his eyes. “I don’t know how I know it’s him. I barely remember my father. But I know he’s there. I never wanted to work in the bar, but since I’ve been forced to do it, I’m finding that I’m loving it. To know that I’m sitting where he sat, standing where he drew beers, doing the same things he did. Do you understand what I mean? Have you ever been haunted by a memory?”

Anne touched his hand. “Yes, I understand what it’s like to be haunted.”

 “I’m sorry. I didn’t bring you here to depress you. I’m as bad as the old lushes who used to hang out in the bar when I was growing up. They were always calling me over to tell me that I ‘Looked just like my old man. What a good egg he was.’ Then they’d buy me a Slim Jim. I know they were trying to make me feel better, but it made me feel worse to know they knew my father and I didn’t.”

When he stopped speaking, she realized she was still touching his hand. She felt awkward, and she quickly withdrew it and reached for her wine, taking a long sip.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday--You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Hi Readers:

It's Sunday again, which means I'm serving up a snippet from St. Anne's Day for you to enjoy on this first day of the week.  This excerpt is quite appropriate as it takes place at during this time of the year, when the leaves are just beginning to turn, the days are warm, but the nights are cool, and the sunsets are spectacular.

In this scene our heroine, Anne, and our hero, Gerry, dance for the first time at Gerry's cousin's wedding. Slow dancing is an interesting phenomenon.  I remember high school dances, when strange boys would walk up, tap you on the shoulder and ask you to dance.  I always thought dancing to be a great breach of conventional norms.  In what other activity can you come up to a complete stranger and then get intimately close to them without someone having to press charges?  Perhaps that's why dancing is so magical.

In this scene, I take you back to those exciting times in your life, when you found yourself in the arms of someone you are attracted to and the magic that happens.  Enjoy!

 Lost in his arms, Anne was no longer conscious of their movement or of anything else. Their bodies were like a slow moving centrifuge that spun away reality leaving only Anne and Gerry forged together in the center with a thousand sensations. Anne began to feel a little dizzy. This is what it means to swoon. She’d always wondered when she read old novels what that felt like. Now she knew.