I get sentimentally attached to everything I'm given which results in being unable to part with anything. I still hold dear all mementos from my grandmother, especially those now-tattered Little Golden Books, and too-worn paperback copies of "Joy in The Morning" by Betty Smith, and "The Godfather," by Mario Puzo.
I still have my very first ever reading book from first grade (I think I'll keep to myself how many years ago we're talking, but here's a hint -- back then, no one could have imagined "blogging").
I love figurines, so I've been the recipient, especially at Christmas, of porcelain trees, cute animals, cartoon characters, and decorated houses.
love Holiday snow globes (I've had a few of them for 30 years+). And, I always get excited on the day after Thanksgiving when I take each one from its box and give it a good shake before displaying. My snow globes are one of the many "pleasures" I love about the Holiday season.
anything that you, Readers, can't part with?
I've often mentioned my need for a radio playing in the background while I write. During Baseball season, I'm either listening to a Phillies' game, a Phillies' player discuss the game, or some Baseball analyst critiquing both. Once the Phillies' season is over, my radio dial clicks to the Classic Rock/Oldies station.
But, during this time of year, you'll hear nothing but Christmas music coming from my "writing cave" (a term I learned from fellow RWA member, Jennifer Faye). We are fortunate here in Philly to have a radio station that plays 24 hour Christmas music starting the weekend before Thanksgiving and continuously into Christmas.
The other day, when I was having a "writer block/brain freeze" moment, I just sat back and concentrated on the music, a block of ballads, "O Holy Night," "What Child is This?," "The Christmas Song" (which nobody can sing like Nat King Cole -- that tune is his song!)... Each time a song started, I said "oh, I love this song!"
When the arc was over -- and the commercial began to play -- the "brain freeze" had defrosted.
Is there anyone else out there who has a favorite Christmas song (or songs!)? Do you gravitate toward the songs that make you teary-eyed or the ones that make you feel "jolly" and "bright?" And, if so, have you ever considered what about that song makes it so appealing?
...Until next Sunday, have a safe and happy week, Everyone!
Writing contests are an important part of advancing a writer's career. The feedback is crucial, final round judges are generally agents and editors (and who better to evaluate your work), and winning looks awesome on a resume.
Occasionally, I like to post what's out there as far as contests. Good luck, one and all!
When I was in high school, I remember reading that the idea of the Thanksgiving
Holiday originated as a day to give “thanks” for the previous year’s harvest.
That image has certainly evolved over the years.
This week I was in the library while the Children’s Librarian read a
Thanksgiving book to a group of preschoolers. When she was finished the story, she asked each child what he or she was thankful for. Some of the
answers included, “Mommy and Daddy...” “my dog...” “pumpkin pie...” “that
book you read...” (my favorite!)
To all of you who follow this blog…leave comments…check out my Facebook page and Google+...send me
emails, "Thank you!"
Earlier in the week I received what I call a "chatty" email from one of my RWA chapter mates, the kind where we try in a few paragraphs to catch up with what's happening on each other's end of the keyboard. She asked if I was working on another book. She's not the first one to ask that question of late.
I replied "yes," told her the number of pages I've completed, then moved on to the next part of her email. I don't really talk about current projects because I'm superstitious. When I was writing Magic Moment, those around me only knew on a "need to know" basis -- for example, if I needed a proofreader. My mother didn't even know about the book until she saw the Crimson cover. I feel that if I start discussing a current WIP (work in progress), it will never materialize. Especially in light of all the stops and starts with this project because while writing a new novel, I'm promoting a current one. That's a new experience for me.
Big baseball fan that I am, I once read that during a game, if it's the sixth or seventh inning and a pitcher hasn't given up a hit, no one in the dugout will mention the possibility of a "no hitter" or "perfect" game (a really big deal -- just ask Phillies' Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz!). Everyone is thinking about it, but keeps the thought to himself. Almost as if someone utters the words...Well, I think you get my drift.
So, I concentrate my writing conversations right now on promoting Magic Moment, and my hopes that those who read the book will enjoy it.
But, it does make me wonder if anyone else out there has superstitions. Please feel free to share.
Thank you to "Book Bliss" for hosting this week's stop on Magic Moment's tour. To check out "Book Bliss," visit, http://lbookbliss.com/
Tomorrow is the final stop in the tour. Join us at "The Reading Addict." Please stop by and comment for a chance to win your choice of a $25 Gift Card to Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. Visit, http://thereadingaddict-elf.blogspot.com/
Since I check out tour stops throughout the entire week, I'll notify the winners on Saturday, November 23rd.
Finally, a special SHOUT-OUT "thank you" to the folks at Goddess Fish Promotions for putting the tour together. You're awesome!
After mentioning a short story, I'd written, "Cracks in My Heart," during my August interview with Linda Carroll-Bradd, I received a few emails asking where it had appeared. The story was featured in Long and Short Reviews in July 2010. LASR, at one time, had a feature called the "Thrifty Thursday" short story showcasing fiction shorts of 1,000 words or less.
Since "Cracks in My Heart" takes place in Autumn, and tomorrow is "Veterans Day," I thought today would be a wonderful day to post the story. My hero is a member of the United States Armed Forces. This is one of my favorite stories. Many thanks to all who have asked for it.
And, to all our Vets out there, a huge, heartfelt "thank you," for your service to our country.
CRACKS IN MY HEART
The red and gold leaves,
blazing bright, swayed in the afternoon autumn breeze. Children romped in the
tailored green grass. Patrons sat on wooden park benches, eating lunch,
reading, or simply enjoying the sun’s rays.
Seeing the oak tree, its thick branches hanging over the iron fence onto the
busy sidewalk, I managed a smile despite the usual tears blurring my eyes. Jeff
and I had always sat on the bench beneath this particular old tree.
A low sigh escaped my lips as I slid onto the firm bench. My thoughts wandered,
and it was two years ago. I felt Jeff sitting beside me, our thighs pressed
together. He held my right hand, our fingers laced.
"I’m sorry," he uttered. "Our relationship has to end. I can’t
go fight a war and leave you here, alone. Waiting. You deserve better."
We had only been dating two months when his notice arrived from the military.
"But I want to wait," I told him.
He shook his head. "No," he said, his tone adamant. "It’s not
fair to you. You ought to have a life. There’s a guy out there who deserves a
great woman like you. Promise me you’ll move on. Forget about me."
Forget him, he said. How could I forget a man so kind and honest? The man who
made my heart race, my pulse rush, and my cheeks ache from grinning? Who made
sitting in the park watching children play, tossing peanuts to squirrels, and
hearing birds whistle a memorable experience? Forget him was like asking me to
forget to breathe.
I had learned how steadfast he could be when he had a conviction in his head.
He couldn’t concentrate on the hardship of a battle zone, defending his country
while thinking of me at home, yearning, and waiting for letters that he perhaps
would have no time to write.
And what if he didn’t come home? At all? Or arrived in a box with a flag draped
over it? Or came back with a part of his body missing? Or his mind not fully
Those factors were sometimes the heartrending outcome of war.
We had yet to say the words, and I wouldn’t pressure him with them now. Despite
the short time the calendar said we’d been together, we loved each other.
Jeff believed you didn’t burden people you love.
I believed that when you love someone, pain was sometimes part of the deal.
"All right," I said, slipping my hand from his. Even as I felt the
cracks in my heart, I wished him well. With tears stinging my eyes that day, I
watched him walk away.
Much has changed in those two years since Jeff and I sat under this oak tree
together. The war has ended. Some soldiers were coming home, adjusting to a
life that would never be the same as before they had left. Others would never
return. For those soldiers, it was their families who would be forced to make
I finished college and am teaching sixth grade. Some day this war will be in
the history book I’ll teach from. I wonder how our side will be chronicled, and
how I’ll feel every time I present the lesson, knowing that I had lived through
history and what it had taken from me.
What hadn’t changed, what remained over time, were those cracks in my heart.
They hadn’t healed. Tears streamed down my cheeks.
"Susan?" a male voice called.
My breath stopped. Jeff’s voice? Or was it my imagination? I began trembling. I
was afraid to turn, fearing he wouldn’t be there. That his voice was all in my
head and only a fantasy.
My head swirled toward the park’s front gate. His dark hair was cropped. He had
dropped some weight, his jeans baggy, his chest lost in the khaki green T-shirt
he wore. But the slow, leisurely smile that made me tingle inside hadn’t
"Jeff!" I cried, swiping at my tear-stained cheeks with the back of a
I jumped up from the bench. We ran toward each other, he with arms held wide
open. I couldn’t help myself and threw myself against him. His arms wrapped
around my waist, pulling me close and holding me tight. Jeff was gentle, yet
strong, and everything I had dreamed of all these months. Only now he wasn’t a
dream. He was real.
"You‘re home," I whispered.
"A week," he said. "I’ve been coming here every day looking for
you." He eased back and looked at me. "I missed you so much."
His eyes held mine and he blurted out the words. "Are you seeing
I was stunned by the question, but couldn’t help the smile as I shook my head.
"I’ve thought of you every day while you were gone. Sometimes, like today,
I’d just come here and think of us being together."
With the back of his hand, he rubbed my cheek "I love you, Susan. I have
since the day we met."
"If you love me, why didn’t you want me to wait?" I asked.
"Because by not asking, I had hope. That’s what kept me going," he
said. "If I had asked you to wait, there was always the chance you’d get
tired. I’d get the letter saying you had found someone else and we were
finished. By not expecting you to wait, I always had the anticipation that you
would be here when I got back."
"There’ll never be anyone else for me. You’re the one I love," I
When my arms slid around his neck, he pulled me closer and kissed me. His mouth
was warm and soft. As he deepened the kiss, I got lost in him.
Earlier this week I as walking through one of the many beautiful parks we have in Philadelphia and took a good look at the leaves on the trees. Although I pass by these same trees almost every day, I was amazed this particular day by the spectacular colors -- crimson red, brilliant orange, dazzling gold. I turned to my colleague and said, "Look at these leaves...how gorgeous they are today. I love Fall."
My colleague and I continued our baseball conversation as we strolled, and when we arrived at the end of the park's walkway, we waved "bye." She went in one direction for the train home to the suburbs. I went in another to catch a city transit bus. While standing at the bus stop, I started making a list of all the things I enjoy about the Fall season besides the colorful leaves. I love the crisp weather...all the flea markets I attend, the pumpkin spice coffee that I probably drink too much of, the pumpkin muffins that I know I eat too many of, the adorable, smiling scarecrows decorating my front windows. These are modest items. They made me think about how often I don't stop and just appreciate the simple things around us.
I'm sure there are others like me...who don't take a few minutes and appreciate the simple joys out there. So, right now can you take a few seconds to marvel at and enjoy something simple? Like the pumpkin spice coffee I'm sipping right now...
We had two stops on this week's Magic Moment First Anniversary Celebration Tour, "Nana Prah's BlogSpot" and "Sharing Links and Wisdom." Comment for a chance to win your choice of a $25 gift card to your choice of Starbucks or Barnes and Noble.
First, I'd like to thank Julianna at "Reading in Twilight" for hosting this past Monday's stop in "Magic Moment's First Anniversary Celebration." It was a wonderful visit with folks stopping by, leaving comments throughout the week! Although the blog tour stops are posted on Mondays, I do check back during the week and reply to comments.
Also, thank you to all my new "Google+" friends who are following me and who have added me to their own circles. It's a pleasure sharing blog posts, pictures, and tidbits with all of you!
The 2013 World Series has begun. A Facebook friend asked who I was cheering for since the Phillies aren't in the Series this year. Boston's Shane Victorino, who hit the winning GRAND SLAM in the ALCS to send the Red Sox to the World Series, is a former Phillie. So, I cheer whenever Shane steps up to the plate.
("baseball" photo c/o IconBug.com)
Thursday is not only Halloween, but I'll be taking a walk down "Memory Lane." Exactly five years ago, Philadelphia threw one HUGE parade for my Philadelphia Phillies, the 2008 World Series Champs (my walk down "Memory Lane," means I'll watch my Highlights' DVD).
Finally, a special SHOUT-OUT "Thank You" to Elements of RWA members L.B. Joramo, Kate Wyland, and Vicki Batman for steering me in the right direction when I put out a call for blog photos. THANKS!
("dead tree" Halloween photo c/o Clker.com)
Everyone, have a great week! And, "Happy Halloween!'
Visit and comment for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card to your choice of Starbucks or Barnes & Noble.
weather is chilly, but beautiful here in Philly. Yesterday afternoon, I walked pass a field
where a local high school was playing its weekly football game. The ref’s
whistle, marching band's horns, and the cheering crowd reminded me of what I like about Autumn. Also, if it's Autumn, it's World Series time! Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Soxs who are headed to the 2013 World Series! A standing ovation to former Phillie Shane Victorino on his Grand Slam to get Boston to the Series!!
Although this beautiful picture may not have been snapped in Philly, it could have been. It kind of looks like what you might see on the drive to Fairmount Park. The season has truly arrived! Have a fantastic week, Everyone!!
A huge "thank you" to Julie, not only for her FOUR star review, but for taking the time to read and write a review of my book! She called Laura and Chase "very endearing."
I, myself, spent several years receiving requests, reading, and writing book reviews. I would receive anywhere from ten to twenty requests per week. I'm sure others who review receive the same. Therefore, I'm always in "appreciative awe" when someone offers to read my book for review. When a reviewer likes "Magic Moment," it's the cherry on top of the frosted cupcake.
I know I've said this before, but I can never say these words enough, "Thank you to all who review!"
If you'd like to read Julie's review, please visit,
To celebrate Crimson Romance's first anniversary of the release of my novel, Magic Moment, I'm excited to be doing an anniversary virtual book tour c/o Goddess Fish Promotions. Join me over the next eight Mondays.
Our anniversary stops are listed below and will be noted each Monday on my Facebook page. Join us, visit blogs, make some new friends, and comment for a chance to win a $25 gift card to your choice of Starbucks or Barnes & Noble.
Everyone who knows me also knows how "technologically inept" I am. I'm grateful to all who assist me and are kind enough to reply whenever I send an email asking for "technical assistance."
Thanks to Vonnie Davis, I'm now able to put photos on my posts. Last week I had email exchanges with fellow FTHRW members Morgan K. Wyatt, Misty Dietz, and Marlie Bridges on the "ins and outs" of Google+. Many thanks, FTHRW Friends (and "welcome" to everyone who is following me c/o Google+!)
This week I swapped emails with Carole at The Romance Reviews because I still can't figure out how the get The Romance Reviews' banner up on this blog. When I opened my inbox, one of her emails offered a link and said perhaps this "button" would help. My reaction was "huh?"
Having Magic Moment reviewed by The Romance Reviews was an honor. They had been courteous enough to send me a banner so that I could shout it to the world, and I can't figure out how to "squeak" let alone "shout."
Putting aside my computer ineptness, I chose to think about something more pleasant for a minute -- how grateful I am to everyone who has taken the time to read Magic Moment and post a review, whether it be on a blog, a newsletter, Amazon, or Goodreads. With the current climate in the publishing industry, there are many, many books out there and many, many authors requesting book reviews. To even get someone to read your book is a privilege -- let alone to get a favorable appraisal as Magic Moment has received.
"Thank you" to everyone who read, reviewed, and posted their opinion.
I've listed those sites that I was made aware of a review of Magic Moment having been written, along with a quote from the review. I've also listed the website address. Please feel free to check out these sites and their happenings.
Conferences are not only a great way to meet with agents and editors, but a chance to catch up with other authors who spend most of their time at a computer. Other benefits include the tips picked up at workshop sessions. There's still time to check out these upcoming conferences:
Annual HCRW All-Day Writer's Workshop with Bob Mayer (sponsored by Heart of Carolina RWA)
Writing contests are an awesome resource for writers. I will forever be grateful to someone I've never met -- a judge who offered suggestions on Magic Moment. I took his/her advice, rewrote several chapters, and next thing I knew Crimson Romance was offering me a contract.
Contest feedback is often beneficial, and winning -- or even being a finalist -- enhances your author resume. Generally, agents and editors are final judges, and you never know when your writing might "click" with one of them.
If you have any contest stories, please feel free to share. In the meantime, here are some important upcoming contest deadlines:
The Suzannah (sponsored by NOLA STARS)
Open to unpublished writers; deadline October 1, 2013; first 7,200 words includes a synopsis; visit, http://www.nolastars.com
Finish The Damn Book (in memory of Judi McCoy, sponsored by Chesapeake Romance Writers)
Open to unpublished and published writers; open to non-RWA members; deadline October 31, 2013; up to 40 pages maximum which includes first chapter and last chapter and five page synopsis; visit, http://www.crwrwa.org
28th Annual Hook, Line & Sinker (sponsored by Hudson Valley RWA)
Good luck to all! Oh, and a big "SHOUT- OUT" to Mona Lisa's Room author, Vonnie Davis. I'm grateful to Vonnie for passing the Microsoft address on to me, and I was able to find the lovely pictures for this blog! Thanks, Vonnie!