Sunday, February 19, 2017

An invitation to Betsy's House...

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, who teaches second grade, asked me if I could help chaperone a class field trip to Betsy Ross's House in the Olde City section of Philadelphia. As she had looked through her class list, she realized that she was short on parent chaperones

Walking through the historical district of Philadelphia is definitely my cup of hot chocolate. My friend's second graders are adorable and bright, and the outing turned into a fun afternoon.

Betsy's Arch Street House 
as it stood in 1898

History tells us that the Philadelphia house is where Betsy Ross lived and sewed the first American flag. Over the years, whether or not she actually sewed the flag has been seen as more fiction than reality. What is known to be fact is that Betsy ran an upholstery business out of her house from 1773 through 1786.

Although her connection to the first flag is debatable, the house on Arch Street is a major tourist attraction in our city. 

The "restored" house as it stands today

"Betsy" in her Upholstery Shop

Sewing was done by hand in the 18th Century

Dinner at Betsy's 

Have a good week, Everyone, and for a Virtual Tour of Betsy Ross's House,

(photos c/o

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Still Reading Christmas Books?

I often joke that I'm still reading Christmas books in the summer. Once I purchase a book, it stays on the top of my bookcase until I'm ready to read it. Once finished, it finds a spot on a shelf.

Here's what's on my "Waiting to be Read" list.

A Lowcountry Christmas
by Mary Alice Monroe

A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.


Barnes & Noble


Miracle on 5th Avenue
by Sarah Morgan

It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York! 


Barnes & Noble


It Must be Christmas
by Various Authors
(three holiday stories)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when love is in the cold and frosty air―and desire reaches the boiling point. . .


Barnes & Noble


Besides me, is there anyone else who has Christmas books waiting to be read? Have a good week, Everyone!

("snow" photo c/o

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy Super "Puppy" Bowl Sunday!

Football fans celebrate this Sunday as "Super Bowl Sunday" and look forward to today's match between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. In my house, we celebrate this day as "Puppy Bowl" Sunday.

Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl" coincides every year with Football's big day. The event features puppies from shelters throughout the U.S. at play, with the voice over of a broadcaster calling the various moves as if the pups were simulating a competition. 
In Philadelphia, you don’t need to be a “puppy lover” to have an endearment for the festivities. Our beloved sportscaster, Harry Kalas who did the play-by-play for the Phillies until he passed away in 2009, called the plays from Puppy Bowl I in 2005 through 2009's Puppy Bowl V. Puppy Bowl VI was dedicated to Harry's memory.
An emphasis on adopting shelter puppies is a focus. For 20017's Puppy Bowl, we’re happy to have puppies from Philadelphia’s Morris Animal Rescue in the competition. The Morris Animal Refuge, a nonprofit founded in 1874 by Elizabeth Morris, is dedicated to finding homes for neglected pets. Along with providing adoptions, the center also provides various educational programs.
Max, a Pit Bull mix, is a starter on Team Fluff. Chuchi, a Chihauhua mix, is a backup on Team Ruff.

For information on our furry-heroes, check out the feature on,


To find out more about the Morris Animal Refuge, and their cuties up for adoption,

For information on Puppy Bowl XIII, including the starting lineup,

Have a great week, Everyone!

(Puppy Bowl XIII photo c/o;
 Max photo c/o

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Conference Update

Around this time of year, whenever I would start complaining about Winter, my grandmother would say, "Spring is just around the corner." For writers Spring means conferences, a chance to network with other authors, exchange writing tips, learn a new skill, and meet agents and editors. Consider reservations for these upcoming events. 

"Let Your Imagination Take Flight"
sponsored by New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America
April 7-8, 2017
Boston Marriott, Burlington, MA

2017 Philadelphia Writing Workshop
"How to Get Published"
April 8, 2017
Sonesta Hotel Center City, Philadelphia, PA

2017 Seattle Writing Workshop
"How to Get Published"
May 6, 2017
Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue, Bellevue, WA

30th Annual Pennwriters Conference
"Making Milestones"
May 19-21, 2017
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, Pittsburgh, PA

2017 Desert Dreams Conference
sponsored by Desert Rose Chapter of RWA
"Write Your Dreams Into Reality"
June 1-4, 2017
Embassy Suites, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Phoenix, AZ

37th Annual Romance Writers Conference
July 26-29, 2017
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL

2017 Writer's Digest Annual Conference
August 18-20, 2017
Hilton New York Midtown, New York, NY

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photo c/o

Sunday, January 22, 2017

National Winnie the Pooh Day!

This past Wednesday, January 18th, would have been the 135th  birthday of A.A. Milne, the author who created the Hundred Acre Woods. Mr. Milne passed away in 1956, but his legacy lives on through his beloved characters, Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Tigger, Rabbit, and Owl.

Although I'm a big admirer of Winnie and his friends (I still have the tattered, stuffed Winnie my grandmother gave me years ago), I wasn't aware "Pooh Bear" had a national day until I turned on the TV for Wednesday morning's broadcast of my local news (thank you, 6abc's Action News). Hearing the piece on Milne and Winnie reminded me of my favorite Pooh quotes, the true story behind Winnie, and one of the several books written about Milne's inspiration. I'm delighted to share my quotes with you this week, and links for the book.

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever." 
...Winnie the Pooh

"Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
...Christopher Robin 

"How do you spell love?" 
"You don't spell it, you feel it." 
...Winnie the Pooh

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired 
       by Sally M. Walker and Jonathan D. Voss

Who could care for a bear?

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at the train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training for World War I.

Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s home town, and he brought her along to the training camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot.

But who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to the battleground in France? Harry found just the right place for Winnie while he was away—the London Zoo. There a little boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie—he could care for this bear too!

Sally Walker’s heartwarming story, paired with Jonathan Voss’s evocative illustrations, brings to life the story of the real bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh.


Barnes & Noble


Also, Winnie and his friends have a Facebook page, 

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photos c/o

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Writing Contest Update!

Looking for feedback on your latest work in progress? Or hoping that a completed piece might catch on with an editor/agent (who is moonlighting as a contest judge)? Check out these upcoming writing contest deadlines.

2017 California Hooker Contest; sponsored by Southern California RWA chapters; Deadline, January 31, 2017; Entry, 3 pages of unpublished manuscript; FMI,

2017 Great Beginnings Contest; sponsored by Utah Chapter of Romance Writers; Deadline, February 14, 2017; Entry, opening 5 pages of romance novel; FMI,

2017 Fabulous Five Contest: sponsored by Wisconsin Romance Writers; Deadline, March 1, 2017; Entry, first 2,500 words of manuscript; FMI,

86th Annual Writer's Digest Competition: sponsored by Writer's Digest Magazine; Deadline, May 5, 2017; Entry, manuscript with entry form; FMI,

Good luck, Everyone, and have a great week!

(photo c/o

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Romance Authors, Mark Those Calendars!

The Holidays, and its festivities are over. In Philly, we're shoveling snow, dealing with extreme cold, and easing back into our "every day" routines.

It's time for Romance writers to start preparing for Romance Writers of America's annual conference.

This year the conference is being held at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida from July 26th through the 29th.

Conference registration opens on February 7, 2017. FMI,

Have a good week, Everyone!