Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Hi, All,

I know it's been ages since you've all seen me around the blogosphere, but I have had you in my thoughts.

Life has been very time consuming for me lately. With selling my condo, moving into my new apartment, and traveling to NYC and Central Florida, I haven't had a chance to catch to even catch my breath. 

I LOVE being active and all of my time has been spent well. For now, my journey seems to be on track. Now we are only a few weeks away from Christmas so I know all of us are busy preparing for this WONDERFUL holiday.

I know my IWSG post is almost a week late, but I spaced it this month, not realizing the first Wednesday was so early. I know Alex and all the wonderful people is this group will understand. I have always been VERY ACTIVE in this group since its beginning and I will continue to do so. I am settling down FINALLY. I should be ready to breath normally by the end of this week. Thankfully all my anxieties have been lifted. It feels AMAZING not having to stress every month to make my monthly bills. And with the holidays so close, money seems to go so much faster. But for me, this holiday season is a very thankful one. God has answered so many of my prayers for myself and for my special friends who are facing life's challenges with all the strength they can muster up. I still pray for those in need. That has never faltered. I was also THRILLED to be able to donate a nice amount to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who do so much good through the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.  

I also plan to help out some of our four-legged friends, too. There is such need for funds for the Anti Cruelty society and PAWS here in Chicago. I LOVE animals and so many are abused and neglected so helping them is very important to me.

Giving is the most amazing feeling. Isn't that what Christmas is really all about? Giving our love to those we care about most. Those who need us... those who are far less fortunate than ourselves.  I constantly think of all my loved ones who suffer with Cancer. Especially the children. And I plan on donating to St. Jude's charity as well. All those poor families who can not afford the care for their children. It is such a great charity that helps the families stay together during this stressful time. I hope you will remember all of your favorite charities this season. With money so tight for many of us, even a little goes a long way. Our community has the biggest hearts and are beyond generous with their time. Give yourselves all a BIG HUG from me!

I've missed you all tremendously. I will be seeing you all very soon. I plan to start making the rounds tomorrow....Until then,

Keep peaceful and calm. Know that you are loved when your anxieties take root....Always remember we are here to help....

Monday, November 10, 2014


Hi, All,

So sorry I missed the IWSG on Wednesday, but I have been in a whirlwind lately! In the past three weeks my life has turned upside down, BUT in a good way!

I FINALLY have a contract on my condo and close on the 21st! YAY! It took over six months but I finally found the right buyer who absolutely loves my place. SO as you all can imagine I have been frantically packing, searching for a new place to live, and doing ALL THE PAPER WORK needed to accomplish these two major tasks. Plus working on a huge design project for a client I had signed in late September.

I must remain in Chicago for another year to finish all my work, but thankfully I found an AMAZING apt, just steps away from my former condo. SO I'm still in my familiar neighborhood but it will be a whole new experience. I will be residing on the 17th floor in a Mies Van der Rohe building with a panoramic view of Lincoln Park, Lake Michigan, and Downtown Chicago. The view is heart stopping from the wall of ceiling to floor windows facing south! Stunning barely describes it. I'll post pics as soon as I can.

I am currently in NY looking for my FUTURE condo now. Real estate is going up, so I need to find something affordable quickly, because by next year it will get too expensive for me. Sadly I can't afford the city, but I found a very cool space in Scarsdale NY, a story book town just 33 minutes from downtown NYC by train. It's a great space that is currently a doctor's office. I'll be converting it into a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath. You know how I LOVE  a good challenge.

I know most of you know I love Florida, especially in the winter, but I am from NYC and it is home for me. It's time to return home. PLUS all the publishers are here and I know for my writing and Interior design work, this is a better option for me. The town I'll be moving to eventually is very affluent. I already have two projects for the future. People I have met on my stay here who have residences that need sprucing up.

I have plans to escape to Florida over Thanksgiving for ten days to do the new Diagon Alley, etc. I've had a tough few years and now it's time for me to act like a KID again. LOL. I'll definitely post pics when I'm there.

I hope to visit all of you soon. I am currently in a Starbucks because my brother's place in NY doesn't have wireless, and I don't like his computer... old and slow. I need my Macbook. LOL.

I hope all of you are doing well!

I'll be driving back to Chicago on Wednesday morning. SO, I should be able to catch up with all of you over the weekend. Thankfully most of my packing is done. I just have the walk in closet to tackle. The movers are coming on Mon. the 17th to move me to my new home. That's when I'll be crazed again, setting up the new place and filling the holes, touching up the paint, and cleaning my condo for the new owner. I want to leave it perfect for her since she doesn't plan on painting. I did paint a few years ago, so it is in good shape. BUT, I still have to make it presentable. I am a perfectionist after all. I know you all can relate to that. LOL.

I miss you all terribly and I wanted to make sure everything was set before I told you all my news. This is the happiest I've been in a very long time. Now I just need that contract for my novel to make life really perfect!

In Time...


Monday, October 20, 2014


Once again I am teaming together with Stephen Tremp, our own Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the lovely, L. Diane Wolfe for another very important blogfest about HEALTH!

As many of you remember our HEALTH Blogfest in May of 2013 was a HUGE success, so Stephen approached us this time with a really
important theme...


The Survive and Thrive Bloghop is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages.

Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.

The topics are wide open.You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.

As you can see this is something we ALL need to do. Our health is our MOST PRECIOUS commodity...NEVER take it for granted. And pre testing is the best prevention. ESPECIALLY those of you with children. They NEED YOU. Who be there for them if anything happens to you? By taking the necessary precautions now, you will never have to even think about what a tragedy that would be. Isn't that reason enough?

As many of you know may not know, I was hit down in my early thirties with crippling arthritis. It started out with just aching joints from time to time. I ignored it mostly. Too active with my career to give it a second thought. It didn't have time. Arthritis is for old people, certainly not me. WRONG. Even children can be inflicted with arthritis. There are several types. Rheumatoid, which is autoimmune and degenerative, striking at any age... Osteoarthritis which is generally from injury and age... and one that really isn't to commonly known as arthritis: Gout. Most people have heard of it, but generally think it's just a flare up in the bunion part of the toe. It's commonly known as the "Rich man's disease." But if this is undetected and not taken care of properly it can eat away at your joints, cartilage, and can even enter into your organs. It is caused by too much uric acid... this acid forms like shards of glass and collects in the joints, causing excruciating pain. I should know. this is what I suffer from. 

Thankfully it has been under control. But it took almost two decades for me to walk properly again. I made the mistake of trying to cure it holistically. Yes, mistake. I am a HUGE believer in holistic medicine, but it can't cure everything. I spent a year with a Kinesiologist, which is a holistic doctor/chiropractor. He meant well, but my condition worsened in time, to the point where I couldn't walk and I was bedridden. My legs had atrophied so badly that I couldn't even stand on them. And bent to where I couldn't even straighten them. 

I was living in Las Vegas and decided to move back to Florida to get help. I found an orthopedic sports doctor who chastised me for over two hours for not going to a medical doctor. I could have avoided all the pain and damage just by taking one pill. At that time my uric acid levels were so high, over 13, and 5 is normal. Need I say more. 

The doctor prescribed  three medications. One heavy duty pill to flush out the uric acid. There were traces even in my kidneys and intestines. Two years it took to flush it all away. By that point I lost 45 percent of the cartilage in my knees. I had a ten degree bend in my legs. I walked like a hunchback because I couldn't straighten my legs at all. 

I did have some physical therapy, but it really didn't work. It took many years(fifteen) of walking and stretching finally got my legs built back up and they are almost straight. But the damage in the joints is there. As long as I move, i'm okay, but I can;t stand in one spot for more than a few minutes. I always have to keep in motion. It's something that I had to learn to live with.

The arthritis is spreading into all my joints. Now in my wrists and fingers. Not fun. But it's better to move them through through typing. Any injuries I've had in the past are now targets for this uric acid I seem to produce in abundance. The ironic thing is i don't drink or eat rich foods which does trigger these attacks.

So if any of you have ANY kind of joint pain, find out what's wrong. Rheumatoid can be very, very bad. Have it checked. Almost anyone who has suffered and injury at some point will have osteoarthritis. Keep your muscles strong around the joint to alleviate the pressure upon them.

If you have arthritis in your knees or ankles. You must make a lifestyle change. Exercise is key, and losing the extra pounds. Any additional weight on your joints will inflame them.

There are also vitamins you could take which helps tremendously and may prevent further joint damage. 

Many of you will have heard of these:

  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Glucosamine sulfate
But also try these: But do consult with your doctor or nutritionist first. Some supplements may have unwanted side effects and many can counteract some of your medication. Make SMART choices.

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D3
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Omega-3
  • Green tea
Other options:
  • SAMe
  • MSM
  • Stinging nettle
  • Bromelain
  • Vitamin E
  • Devil's claw

Next, stay away from foods that will inflame the joints. The "Anti inflammatory Diet/Wellness diet is a great place to start.... eat foods rich in Omega three fatty acids.

Heres the link to  ANTI INFLAMMATORY DIET by Audrey Jones. I researched Amazon's collection and found this book has a five star rating and it's only 2.99. Eating right helps not only for arthritis but for many other ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pain. Eating right can prevent so many illnesses and there are so many different ways to eat healthy and enjoy your food too!

Four years ago I had changed my lifestyle. I cut out processed foods, refined sugar, and starches. Let me just say, I lost eighty-five pounds and I've never felt better. No one believes my age and I have tons of energy. This is something we can ALL DO. 

So remember to step away from your computers... and keep moving and eating healthy snacks!

Okay... I am done. You know what you have to do... drop down to the linky below and join in the Blogfest!

Have a wonderful and HEALTY day everyone!

Monday, October 6, 2014


The first glimmer of daybreak carves its way through a soupy fog. 

Silver mist clings to a ramshackle building as colorless fingers wipe water spots off a chipped beer glass. 

Images pop through the bar keeps' mind, like a child's toy pistol releasing an imaginary round bullets.

His mind focuses on a face twisted in agony. And, for the second time, watches vivid red leaking onto the blanket of snow.

Timing is everything. Who would've guessed it would be this easy...

I did.

Step one of my plan is complete.

What is his next move? 

Will anyone else bite the dirt?

Only one person has the means to stop him.

But will there be strength enough to overcome this deadly plan?

The answers are soon to follow...




This is the prequel novella to Julie's first book POLAR NIGHT. SO it's a MUST READ. What an exciting premise! Right?! I've got my copy and can't wait to read it! 

I hope you enjoyed my little intro. I was honored  when Julie asked me to design the cover and write the blurb. It's one of my favorites. And I hope you rush out and get your copy.

Here's the blurb to wet your appetite a bit more...

Locomotive wheels screech to a halt. Potters Creek, Alaska is nothing more than a small camp set up alongside the tracks. A weathered sign dominates the scene. 

The Turnagain Arm Saloon 


Only one passenger remains and exits.

The early afternoon full moon peaks through a shimmering snow fall as a shadow casts over each split rail. The wind howls, sweeping the cloak of a hooded figure. He follows   the tracks toward the distant saloon. A hulking man crunches through the snow, attracting his attention. 

Calling out to him in a foreign accent, the townsman stops in mid step. The stranger catches up and engages him. 


The man disappears under the stranger’s cloak. 

Blood drips from his lips, and he wipes the remaining trickles from his mouth. After disposing of the body, the mysterious figure continues on his journey. He glides through the snow as if on a sleigh, leaving no footprints behind.

*          *          *          *          *

Within a short period, he convinces Vasyl, the owner of the saloon, to hire him. Aleksei charms everyone he meets. But soon mistrust enters every tense line on Vasyl’s face as others disappear, and his wife falls under Aleksei’s spell.

The classic game of cat and mouse continues, but who will win?

Is a mere mortal any match for Aleksei?

A spark ignites within Alexei after yet another of Vasyl’s attempts to disgrace him.

This man knows of me. He must be a witch. Aleksei laughs. You are no match for me or my plan.

Available on Amazon: Link 

Don't forget to drop by Julie's blog and wish her well on her newest story...

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Hi, All

Well, Autumn has arrived. It's already October 1st and as the vestiges of Summer turn like the swaying leaves, brilliance abounds. Is there anything more beautiful than fall foliage? Eye popping hues of gold, red, orange, and burgundy. Such splendor. 

Today is also the day for a new IWSG post. I can't help thinking how much has happened this year. As winter approaches another year has passed. Have our goals been met? Did we sign with our perfect agent? Did our book debut with record sales? For some, the answer may be yes. And I couldn't be more happy for you! But what about the hundreds, perhaps thousands of others whose goals haven't been met. This post is for you...for us.

You are not alone. I join your ranks. At this point I'm sure your insecurities about your skills are being questioned on a daily basis. You must be asking yourself Why? Why has it not happened for me? I put in the endless hours... 

Of course you have... It's not about that. You have the talent. It's just plain, old timing. I've come to believe that. WE have all heard it. But we must acknowledge this. Your story is not ready for this particular time. It can happen tomorrow, next month, or perhaps in several years. But believe it WILL happen. In the mean time. Keep writing. I tell myself that, but I have a hard time focusing on something new. I know you've all been there. But remember inspiration is all around us. OPEN your heart to it. Don't wallow. Don't stress it. Live. There is so much of life out there for us to enjoy. Take a moment for yourself. Step back and really look at your surroundings. This time of year, in particular, is AMAZING visually.

I plan to do that later today. The sun is shining. A crisp Autumn wind is blowing. I plan to enjoy it. Perhaps write a poem about it. Step away from your novel and just write. It's been a while for me, but it's TIME to create again. Before winter rolls in with a vengeance. 

I know how hard it is. We all do. But look at our blogger buddies' successes! It's amazing. So many new published books. It amazes me how many novels are posted on our Ninja Captain's blog. Sometimes it overwhelms me...but I know some day my novel will be featured and so will YOURS.

Thank you, Alex. Your support of our community is endless and because of you we are able to post our insecurities and advice every first Wednesday of the month.

I honestly appreciate this as do the hundreds of others in our group.

Please visit as many IWSG posts as you can. They bring a smile to everyone who reads them. Knowing we have this support and knowing we are not going through our journey alone.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Greetings, All!

First I'd like to thank all of you who have shared you stories, positive vibes, prayers, and LOVE for the BIG C BLOG HOP! As I always say we are an AMAZING community. I know Melissa is overwhelmed and grateful for all of your generosity and support!

THANK YOU, My dear friends!

For those of you who have submitted for the Anthology, if you would please email Melissa @ melbwrites at gmail dot com and me @ mculi at aol dot com. We hope to compile it soon and have it ready for formatting sometime in late October.

And now for another announcement. Once again I am teaming together with Stephen Tremp, our own Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the lovely, L. Diane Wolfe for another very important blogfest  about HEALTH!

As many of you remember our HEALTH Blogfest in May of 2013 was a HUGE success, so Stephen approached us this time with a really
important theme...


The Survive and Thrive Bloghop is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages.

Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.

The topics are wide open.You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.

As you can see this is something we ALL need to do. Our health is our MOST PRECIOUS commodity...NEVER take it for granted. And pre testing is the best prevention. ESPECIALLY those of you with children. They NEED YOU. Who be there for them if anything happens to you? By taking the necessary precautions now, you will never have to even think about what a tragedy that would be. Isn't that reason enough?

I know, I fought crippling arthritis for over a decade and by eating right and staying fit, I am still walking today. We must be diligent and smart about the future of our health. We are all getting older. Many of us are middle aged and older, so more health issues are just around the corner. Don't get caught off guard ESPECIALLY when it comes to the Big C. Do all you can. Think of Melissa and so many other blogger friends who are or have been inflicted. Cancer is evasive and spread quickly. Get check ups... Ladies PLEASE have those yearly mammograms. It can and will save your life!

Okay... I am done. You know what you have to do... sign up on the linky below and join our Blogfest!

Monday, September 15, 2014


Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the BIG C BLOG HOP!

Today we are sharing our stories of humor, inspiration, and determination against the dreaded BIG C, CANCER...

I don't believe I know anyone who hasn't been affected by this dreaded disease in one form or another. 

Today, I am co-hosting this hop with my friend, and fellow blogger, Melissa Bradley. She has been recently diagnosed with malignant cancer and she and I are hosting the hop. All entries will be collected and featured in an anthology to come out soon. Proceeds will help Melissa with her medical and living expenses and a portion will all go to Gilda's Club Chicago, an organization helping woman fight endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancers.

I would like to dedicate this story to my mom, who was a survivor of Hodgkin's disease. May her story bring a smile to those who really need it!

A Bronx bombshell in the early 1950's, Rose Marie De Luca wasn't like most women of post WWII, who were content on marrying young and setting up a home for their returning military boyfriends. Far more than a pretty face, she graduated community college with an associates in accounting, and soon interviewed for a job at a top nursing home in NYC, owned by a German immigrant. 

Most American's were prejudiced against the German people and would never consider working for one. But, Miss De Luca was too smart to fall for such narrow-minded thinking. She found the man intelligent and charming.

With skills far more advanced than her age, she became administrator of all four of his nursing homes after her third year.

One night after work, her boss called out to her, "Do you have a moment, Miss De Luca." He smiled.

"Why yes, Mr. Wagner."

"Rolf. Please. I think it is time for us to be on a first name basis." He glanced down, shifting his eyes to the side. "Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to dinner tomorrow night?"

"I'm not sure it's a good idea. You are my boss, and I..."

"I have admired you from the first day you stepped into my office."

"You have? Then why did you wait so long? It's been three years."

"You were so young. And I thought my age would scare you away. You are older now and I know you are not dating anyone special."

She nodded. "No. Not really. I have no time to date. You make sure of that." She looked up and smiled.

He burst out laughing. "True."

"Tomorrow night then?" He locked his dark brown eyes on hers.

She blushed. "Yes."

 *     *     *    *    *

A romance blossomed. NYC's top restaurants and clubs featured this dynamic couple. Winter melted into Spring, and the Summer heat sizzled with rides to the sun-drenched Jersey shore. Soft breezes caressed moonlit strolls as conversations spoke of marriage and an extravagant honeymoon in Europe in the not so distant future. 

But upon their return in late August, Rolf learned of his mother's weakened condition. She was diagnosed with cancer and died just before Christmas. 

Devastated, Rolf took up drinking and contracted an ulcer.  As his stomach pains increased so did his belief the cause was from cancer. His obsessive hypochondria soon put a wedge in their relationship. 

Young and full of life, Rose Marie could no longer accept Rolf's behavior.

On a balmy night in June, Rose Marie, dressed to the nines, with a hint of Chanel No. 5 trailing each step, swept through the corridors past Rolf's office. 

His silver temples shone in a sea of pitch as he raised his head from the desk. The corners of his mouth shifted up as he said, "You look lovely tonight, my dear. I've must have forgotten our date. I'll just be a moment."

Pink blushed her cheeks and flecks of emerald sparked in her hazel eyes. "We didn't have date. I've made other plans."  

He furrowed his brows. "Where are you going?"

"To a dance."

"A dance. Without me?"

"Yes. It's been six months since your mother died and you are not the same man anymore...it's like you died along with her."

"You know how close we were. And I think I have cancer, too."

"So that means there's no future for us? I want to marry and have a family."

"You know how I feel about having children. If I die..."

"Enough, Rolf! I'm leaving."

"Let me come with you! Please."

"My aunt invited me to the VFW in queens and I'm going alone."

She slammed the door to his office and rushed out of the building. The echoes of clicking heels haunted the empty corridor.

*     *    *     *     *     *    *

Many uniformed soldiers flocked around Rose Marie like bees to honey. A close friend of her aunt's charmed his way into the fold. 

Sgt. Mike Di Gesu flashed a brilliant smile at Rose Marie and soon swept her off her feet and onto the dance floor. After the second Lindy hop, an elegant hand tapped Mike's shoulder, he turned and Rose Marie's eyes doubled in size.

"May I please cut in. I am Rose Marie's fiancé"

Mike's shoulders tensed. "Her what!" His head snapped toward Rose Marie. "You're engaged?"

With a cool demeanor, she raised her left hand. "Do you see a ring on my finger?"

Mike scratched his head. "No." He turned to Rolf.

"It is not official but we've been dating for over a year."

"Rolf, would you please leave. It's over between us."

Rolf stiffened. "We will drive to Maryland tonight and get married."

"No, Rolf. I'm staying here. Please go."

He paled and lowered his head. "If that is what you wish."

*     *    *     *     *     *    *

Rose Marie returned to work the following Monday. On her desk, a turquoise box tied up with a pale blue ribbon sat waiting to be opened. A crisp, white envelope laid next to it.

With trembling fingers she opened the envelope.

Marry me ...


She untied the bow, and lifted out the black velvet box.  A perfect, Tiffany set, three carat diamond reflected a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors onto the walls.

A tear streamed down her face. She gently closed the box. She inhaled a deep breath, sat down at her desk, and typed her resignation...

Three months later her engagement to Mike was announced. They married in February of 1957. Her dream of the perfect honeymoon in Europe was just that...a dream.

Rose Marie continued to work in the city after she married.
Mike sensed something was wrong. He knew his bride loved another. He took up gambling and tried to buy her love, but he failed miserably only getting deeper into debt. By the time their third son was crawling, Rose Marie filed separation papers.

Begging for a second chance, Mike finally persuaded her. For the next twenty-three years they raised their three boys together. At their youngest son's college graduation, She handed him a thick envelope. 

"I can't believe you're going to Europe before me." 

Beaming, Michael lowers his head and hugs his mom. "Don't worry, Mom. I'll take you next year. I promise."

Rose Marie couldn't wait. She decided to go on a diet to prepare for the trip she had dreamed about her whole life. Her son wouldn't let her down. His modeling career was taking off and she knew she'd see her beloved Italy soon. 

Six months later, and forty pounds thinner, Rose Marie discovered a lump in her groin. 

The doctor diagnosed it as a hernia and scheduled surgery the following month...

As Rose Marie woke, the doctor stepped closer to her. His usually smooth face was etched with worry lines.

"Hi, Doctor. Did everything go alright?" Rose Marie asked in a groggy voice.

He cleared his throat and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "I'm afraid I have bad news. I misdiagnosed your condition. I found a mass and it's cancerous. I need to do a few more tests..." he swallowed hard. "If it's lymphoma, you'll only have a few years if you're lucky."

Rose Marie blinked her eyes feverishly. "Did I hear you right? Two years?" She stared right though him. "If you think for one moment I am not going to collect my Social Security after  working for forty years...you are grossly mistaken." 

The doctor burst out laughing. "With that attitude, you've already beaten it." He beamed. "Keep it up. You're an inspiration to us all."

*     *    *     *     *     *    *

My mom did keep up that attitude. She went through radiation therapy for weeks.
Continued to work throughout all that time, never taking a day off. 

We had our trip to Europe and it was amazing. I took her back two more times after that. She beat cancer and lived for thirteen years cancer free.

Sadly she passed at the age of 66 from complications of smoking cigarettes for almost fifty years. And it wasn't lung cancer, surprisingly. But that is another story.

I hope you all enjoyed my family story. In two different scenes we saw the negative aspects of Cancer...and the positive. Fate is funny. If Rolf hadn't reacted how he did, my mom's life would have been different and I certainly wouldn't be here writing this story. 

Yes, Cancer does ruin lives...but remember your actions can cut it at the knees. Don't let it fester and destroy your life and the lives around you.

Please make sure you hop around to the other fun and inspirational stories.

Melissa and I will keep you posted on her journey and the future publication of this Anthology...

Have a GREAT day everyone!