Wednesday, October 3, 2018

FALL IS IN THE AIR and ANOTHER IWSG POST!

Hi All,

A crisp breeze is in the air and Autumn is here! How fast has this year gone? Already October and Christmas is just around the corner.

It always amazes me how fast time is flying by. Imagine, this month is my EIGHT year BLOGAVERSARY! Eight years in this wonderful community. I have learned so much about support, dedication, friendship, and even love... love for writing. For the first forty plus years of my life, my only interest was in the arts: drawing, painting, illustration, and music. Although I always enjoyed reading, I never would have dreamed I would be a writer. It's amazing how versatile a person can be once their livelihood is in jeopardy. Back in 2008 the real estate market had crashed and so did my interior design business. 

Books saved my life and that's when I realized I wanted to write. I wrote my first MG fantasy novel. All 125K words of it. LOL  I hear you all laughing. But from that first book I met all of you. The support from more experienced writers helped me so much. And only a few short years later, our friend, Alex Cavanaugh created the IWSG! And look at it today! It's a force of it's own, helping hundreds, maybe even thousands of writers. Let's all give a CHEER for ALEX and the IWSG! ALL of it's members are here to HELP and to receive HELP from the group. That is the beauty of this group!

If you aren't apart of it yet, it takes just one click...sign up here.

My insecurities this month are the same as many of you. Is my work good enough? Will I finish that first draft in time? Can I get through all the editing without giving up? Will I find a home for my new baby? These are all questions that plague us. It is part of all of our journeys. But how do we keep motivated? How do we not GIVE UP? The last is a LOADED question. I have asked myself that one many, many times over the years. 

The answer is not easy. How long do we keep trying? ..... As long as it takes for us to achieve our goals. Yes, we will fall flat on our faces. Yes, we will bury ourselves in life's issues. But the bottom line is.... we are writers and we HAVE TO WRITE! SO like all of you, I will carry on, no matter how long my journey takes. And....you will, too.

Keep going my friends... Keep writing and when it gets tough, pick up one of your favorite books and think about how long it took your favorite writer to get that book in your hands...

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY ALL!

PS... I am continually being thrown out of my blogger sign in..so I am having the hardest time leaving comments. I am visiting, but my comments are not posting. Anyone else having this problem today?


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

AN EARTHY ANGEL...YES, THEY ARE STILL WITH US!

Hi Everyone,

I am so happy to be writing this post today. It's been several years since my last Earthly Angel sighting. Sad, but true...

BUT...

Yesterday, one took me by surprise and restored my faith that they are still walking among us. For those of you who are not familiar with my EA posts, let me explain. An Earthly Angel is a very special person indeed. Out of sheer kindness they come to the rescue of another human being without expecting anything in return.

In a big city like Chicago, these wonderful beings are rare, or at least out of plain sight. One would be hard pressed to find one especially in the downtown area where there is so much hustle and bustle.

I live in an area called Printer's Row. It used to house all the book and newspaper printers in the city. Now, it consists of these wonderful old building turned condo, with storefronts on the lower levels. An historic landmark graces the main cross street at Polk and Dearborn. Dearborn Station used to be the downtown rail station at the turn of the twentieth century. Now, it too, has been reconverted for commercial space. It was in front of this wonderful old building that I encountered an EA.

Several minutes before, I had met a friend at a nearby park about a block away. My Westie, Hamlet and I were sitting by the fountain, when my friend joined us. We chatted about our day, and then he decided to accompany us in a walk around the neighborhood before heading home. Just before we arrived at Hamlet's favorite park, a few blocks away, my friend realized his wallet was missing. We feverishly checked his backpack and the shopping bag he was carrying. The wallet was nowhere to be found.

He raced back to the fountain and I followed close behind. We checked the area where we sat, even the garbage cans surrounding the plaza, hoping to at least find the wallet. Most people just take the cash and toss the wallet, knowing fully well that the credit cards would be canceled immediately. Sadly, we found nothing.

He lost not only his wallet, but his iPhone was inside as well. Not to mention all his ID's, credit cards, medical cards, and CASH... he had just withdrawn a considerable amount a few minutes before meeting me.

Since he had no landline, I offered to help him call and cancel everything with my cell phone. As we walked in front of Dearborn Station a lovely young African American woman stopped us. She looked straight at my friend.

"Are you Ulises Gonzalez?"

Both of us looked shell shocked. Right away I answered..."Did you find a wallet?"

She smiled so sweetly and pulled the wallet out of her bag, handing it to my friend. Everything was intact. Nothing was taken. "Yes. I had just left your apartment building. I looked at your address on your license and planned to leave the wallet with the doorman, but he wasn't there." She looked up at him and smiled again. "I am so glad I found you."

Still in shock, Ulises just stood there. I hugged and thanked her. I insisted she take a reward. "At least have dinner on us." 

She shook her head. "That is not necessary. I am just so happy you have your wallet back."

I nudged Ulises, and he sprang to life, thanking and hugging her, too.

"You must let me buy you dinner. Take this, please." He stuffed a bill into her hand and hugged her again. 

In all the excitement, I forgot to ask her name.  I looked at my friend and said, "God certainly sent an angel down to you today. What a sweetheart."

He agreed. We talked about her during the rest of the walk. 

I hope to run into her again. It may never happen. But I hope so. She looked like one of the college students from Columbia University which is in my neighborhood. She certainly found my friend's apartment rather quickly. 

Her face was lovely, with large, dark eyes. And a smile that could melt you with a glance. May God bless that caring young woman. She is certainly an EA in my book!

Writing this post reminded me how much I enjoy discovering Earthly Angels, and writing about them. So PLEASE if you have an EA story, do share it in the comments. OR you can send it to me and I will feature it in a post.

Thanks for dropping by today. I hope this story puts a smile on your face and warmth in your heart! There is so much GOOD in or world, we just have to be aware of it.

Sending out a big hug to you all! Have a wonderful rest of week and weekend!






Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ANGST ABOUT RE-SUBMERGANCE INTO A STORY ....AN IWSG POST

Hi All,

Can you believe it's already September?! Where did this year go? I apologize for missing the past two months, but moving back to Chicago did throw me for a loop. I was sick over a moth with allergies and a terrible cold. I guess my body just wasn't used to all the pollens and pollution in this city compared to Orlando.

Last month I spend finishing up the remaining remodeling projects of my condo. I am happy to say, they are almost finished.

Many of you know I had a great start on a wonderful memoir. I hadn't written a word on it until yesterday because of what's been going on in the rest of my life. It is tough getting back in the grove! Don't you think? The words practically wrote themselves for the first half of the book. Now that I am in Chicago and away from the person I am writing for, it is so much tougher. Has this ever happened to you? Able to write in one home and not in the other? Odd...

I did manage to get some pages written AFTER reading the previous thirty of forty pages. This does work. One does have to immerse themselves back into the story if there has been a long hiatus. I am hoping I can get through this angst and continue to capture this amazing woman's life with all the gusto she had when she lived it.

This month's question is hitting home for me. 
What publishing path are you considering and why? 

For me, I always strived for traditional publishing...get a top NYC agent and move on from there. Well....after ten years of trying, I am still not published. I have come so close to nabbing a great agent, especially on my second book. My query is strong, my pages are clean, they request the full, and sadly pass on it. Not much feedback is given. It has happened about ten times for me so far this year on this particular story. I am tired of the rejection. How many more should I get before moving on to possibly self publishing? I have thought long and hard. I may shelf it for another year and concentrate on the memoir. It has a very good chance of enticing the right agent. Then...if that pans out and the story gets published, I can go back to my second novel and it may have a better chance. 

Your thoughts?

Sorry for the "Loaded" questions today, but I am at a sort of crossroads. Ten years is a long time. Many of you know how hard I've tried and how tenacious I can be. I know we all have our own roads to take and we all have different times. I have honed my craft and still strive to improve. I guess that is all we can do.

Thanks for listening. You are all truly wonderful friends and even though I tend to disappear from time to time, ALWAYS remember you are in my thoughts. We are an amazing community of incredibly talented people.

Thank you Alex for all your support and kindness throughout the many years I have known you. To all of the co-hosts and administrative talent in the IWSG... you know who you are... My sincerest THANKS for all of your hard work and caring for our community. You all deserve a golden TROPHY!!!

For those of you who are still on the lurch of joining the IWSG, don't hesitate to sign up here.


I hope everyone is well and I'm sending you all a HUGE CYBER HUG!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

WRITING AND LIFE....A CONSTANT BATTLE.

Hi All,

Welcome to another session of the IWSG created by our good friend, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you would like to find out more, DO pop over to his site and sign up. You will feel so much better when you do.

With the temps raising into the mid 90's, Orlando is becoming a steam bath. Just a few more weeks and I return back to Chicago and hopefully a bit of peace. Sadly, my time here in Orlando has been extremely stressful. As most of you know the condo development I live in has taken a turn for the worse. I tried to get on the board with a small group of other concerned owners, to change the situation, but the president and his minions fixed the election and not one of us got on the board. 

I vowed to sell my unit and was lucky to find an investor/buyer right away. But, just as he was sending me the papers, he met with my neighbor, who also decided to sell, and he blew me off. Made a deal with my neighbor and bought theirs... then had the gaul to ask if I would come down to that price and then he would buy mine. HA... I only have a fully upgraded corner unit with all the bells and whistles and he wants to pay me the same price for an inside unit with half the upgrades. FAT CHANCE!

So the reason I'm telling you this is because I am still trying to get the first draft done on my MOMMY KAY memoir. How can a creative writer WRITE, with life kicking him/her in the teeth every chance it gets?  

The answer? You tell me. WE all have been in unpleasant situations in our lives where our stress levels and anxieties vise grip us around the throat where we can barely breathe. I have just come off a two year strangling and now it's back.

Don't worry, I am managing, but my attention wanders back to life's drama when I let my guard down for just a second. Thankfully my subject is still very intriguing to me and I try to write daily, but not nearly as much as I'd like. I am up to 24K words, so about a third or a bit more done.

I was so angry today when I found out about this treachery. I was moving along very well this past week. I tried to write today, but only managed a page. Finding my focus again will take a lot. I hope I can. I need to finish this amazing project. 

Immersing myself into Kim's whirlwind life with Kay does help. I guess that's all I can do at this point. I wish I had the answers to this predicament we all face at one time or another. Any advice would be greatly appreciated by me and other writers with this same situation.

Thank you Alex and all the IWSG team members. WE all appreciate your hard work and support. 

Have a wonderful day everyone!







Wednesday, May 2, 2018

NEWS - NO INSECURITIES TODAY AND MOMMY KAY IS A WINNER!

Good morning All,


I have EXCELLENT NEWS. My snippet for the ROAD LESS TRAVELED blog hop sponsored by the WEP won FIRST PLACE~

SO, I don't have any insecurities about my writing this month. Instead I will inspire those of us who HAVE BEEN in an incredible writer's slump, like I have over the past two years, THAT one day it DOES PASS!. You just never know what will trigger it. Inspiration can STRIKE at any moment! It has for me...

My new Memoir/WEP is MOMMY KAY- About a very UNFORGETTABLE  woman for  her time or ANY for that matter.

The inspiration for this memoir came about, just in passing. My neighbor at my condo in Orlando has a few pups. Hamlet, my Westie, being the friendly sort, dragged me over to have a visit with her pups. We got to talking and after a few chats, the subject of her mother came up. Well, the rest was history. After hearing about a few of Kay's OUTRAGEOUS romps through life, I mentioned to Kim that I was a writer and would be very interested in writing Kay's memoir. Kim's face glowed. "OMG, my mother had always wanted to write her story," she said breathless. So, a few weeks later we signed a contract and I got straight to work.

THE WEP was having their usual blog hop/contest with their usual fabulous prompts, and the "ROAD LESS TRAVELED" prompt was the perfect one to feature a snippet from Kay's memoir. Kay is the epitome of someone who traveled on the road less traveled!

Friday, April 13, 2018

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED.... A CHALLENGE, BUT NOT FOR KAY!

Hi, All,

WELCOME to the ROAD LESS TRAVELED Challenge.

I am posting a bit early because I need to GET BACK TO WRITING. LOL

It's been a while since I joined in a WEP challenge. But the timing could not be more PERFECT. I have some NEWS.... I was recently asked to write a most FUN and UNIQUE Memoir. This woman's story is DEFINITELY one of a ROAD LESS TRAVELED!

I have already written SIX Chapters and 10K words. Not bad for only two weeks. Well, today I plan to share a bit of the INCOMPARABLE Kay Hickman Ferrara, etc. etc. etc.... I know you will find her as OUTRAGEOUS as I do. This memoir begins Kay's journey from1955 and ends in 1980. Twenty-five years of jaw dropping events. I hope you all enjoy the TURNING POINT in Kay's life as much as I have had writing it.

But before I introduce you to her, I'd like to thank all the LOVELY people involved in the WEP and the challenges. If you enjoy wonderful writing as much as I do, then you should visit and READ all the great stories from these very talented people...and a HUGE Hug to Denise and Renee, two ladies who are very dear to me. 

MOMMY KAY... is the story of Kay Hickman, a single 18 year old woman from Queens, NY on her way to class at Hofstra University in October of 1954. She nearly runs down her soon to be Italian American husband. By January of 1955 she marries Nick, a 21 year old air force pilot. Their daughter Kim is born in December of that same year. By the end of 1956, they are divorced.


And now, without further ado....Here's Chapter Three: Titled- Watch Out World...Here She Comes!  Narrated by her daughter Kim. Take it away, Kim..



The average American woman back in 1957 kept a lovely home, cooked a nutritious meal, raised their children, and lived a quiet, simple life in the suburbs: think Donna Reed and June Cleaver. But not my mother. As a newly divorced woman, Kay Hickman Ferrara decided it was time to take the proverbial “bull by the horns” and transform herself. 

“If Lucille Ball can do it, so can I!” Kay always said.

So, she first dyed her light brown hair a stunning shade of Auburn red and added just a hint of golden highlights. Then bought her first padded push up bra,(not that she needed it), and stuffed her considerable boobs and buxom body into her first designer dress, featuring a plunging neckline.

Towering well over six feet tall in heels and “big” lacquered bouffant hair, she entered Macy’s at 34th St. in Herald Square and marched up to the Madame Tovar counter, looking for a job. Madame Tovar, who specialized in creating handmade chignons and hair pieces of every possible hair color, took one look at my mother’s incredible coiffure, and hired her on the spot. The “new” Kay learned fast how to create Madame Tovar’s chignons, but mom’s true talent laid in the application. Within a few weeks, she was the talk of Macy’s. Every customer left looking trendy and Oh so stylish. This new, clean, lacquered style had Kay’s signature written all of over it, and it became the craze of the late 1950’s, years before the fashion industry featured bouffants in the 60’s. 

Mommy Kay, as I called her at that time, was on her way up…

With all the hoopla in the store and the lines of hundreds of admirers, Kay was a shining star at Macy’s. She began traveling across the country with Madame Tovar, demonstrating her creations in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and even Miami. But Mom loved NYC and wanted to be closer to me. She retuned to Macy’s with a thundering applause from all her coworkers and clientele.

It didn't take long, to catch the eye of a young diamond buyer. Carlton Baumann’s tall, broad shouldered frame and dark Eastern European looks, escorted the new Macy’s star all over town. They were seen everywhere together: at the opera, the symphony, and quiet dinners in charming bistros, dotting along Broadway. He had introduced my mother to a whole new world of culture, something she had never really experienced living in Middle Village, Queens. 

One balmy Saturday night, he whisked her off to the Copa Cabana. After a night of dancing and champagne, they returned to his small apartment in Murray Hill. Madly in love, my sister was conceived that night.

By today’s standards, the news of a child conceived out of wedlock is hardly shocking, but in 1957 it was scandalous. Against his manager’s advice, Carlton, the honorable Jewish man that he was, proposed to Kay.

Carlton borrowed his father’s car, and they drove to Maryland and married, without having to wait the usual three days for their blood tests. Once back in New York, Carlton packed up, moved out of his apartment in Murray Hill, and the three of us relocated to a small house in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Carlton insisted on adopting me. Mom agreed and contacted Nick, my biological father. It didn't take long to convince him to give me up, since he had never paid a cent of child support or had not seen me since the day he was arrested. 

Six months later, the adoption papers had arrived, then Mom gave birth to my sister, Stephanie. Soon after, Madame Tovar demanded her “Star” return to Macy’s, and she did. 

My baby sister and I were looked after by our sweet Jewish neighbor, Mrs. Silverman, and by my fourth birthday, I had learned how to answer the Jewish prayers of the Shabbos. My new Dad was not happy about this; he had no intention of raising us Jewish. He felt we should be raised Protestant, like our mother. Thankfully Mrs. Silverman understood and still agreed to take care of us.

At Macy's, Madame Tovar's sales had gone up, up, up, skyrocketing through the roof, and setting all kinds of store sales records. The demand for her chignons and hair pieces were hotter than ever. All of this due to Mom's incredible talent with a rattail comb and endless cans of Lacquer hair spray. Then, at the peak of her career, Madame Tovar was slapped with a huge lawsuit by a rival wig company. Since my mother wasn’t licensed to do hair by the state of NY, she was no longer allowed to demonstrate her fabulous hair styles. It was a sad situation for sure, but at least the atmosphere and the hundreds of Macy's customers, would breathe a bit easier now.

The following day, Madame Tovar approached Kay with the distressing news of her dismissal. “…but since you are my top girl, I will be more than happy to pay for you to attend beauty school, and then you can return back here to Macy's where you are so loved and admired."

Kay thought a moment. “I think it’s time for me to move on…but thank you all the same.” 


Madame Tovar’s jaw dropped, as she watched her shining “Star” pick up her Louis Vuitton bag, turn on her sparkling aqua colored high heel, and click her way down the marble aisle, never to grace Macy's or Madame Tovar’s counter again.


Well... What do you think of the NEW KAY? Fun, right?!

I hope you all enjoyed this little teaser. As you can see, Kay was definitely NOT your typical 1950's girl. Only Twenty years old and already has two marriages and two kids from different fathers. What would her Mayflower ancestors think of this... their ashes most certainly be turning in their graves. LOL.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a WONDERFUL weekend Everyone!




Wednesday, April 4, 2018

SPRING HAS SPRUNG! INSPIRATION HAS STRUCK!

Hi, All


Hope everyone is well! Spring has always been one of my favorite times of year...maybe because I was born in the Spring. It is a time for rebirth....clear away all you Winter blues and let the warm sunshine and balmy breezes sweep away all the cobwebs and anxieties in your mind.

As many of you know I have had been less than inspired for the past few years, not writing a single new thing and barely keeping up  with blogging. It has been a very stressful time emotionally and physically. But I have never given up. I knew it would pass and it finally seems like it has!

But before I get into my exciting news, I would just like to THANK Alex and ALL the wonderful writers who are involved with this AMAZING GROUP... find them HERE...YOU know WHO YOU ARE... IF  it's been a while since you popped around the blogosphere do so now. There are wonderful authors with insights and support during our many crisis through our writing journey. I for one, have been mine for longer than I care to admit. Now almost ten years! I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by. I started writing my first novel back in the Spring of 2008... It took me over a year to find this wonderful community and I have never regretted it for ONE SECOND...

Inspiration come in many forms. It could be our friends, family, our surroundings, a wonderful vacation, or just a walk around town. Spending the winter at my condo in Orlando, Florida was going to be my escape. Instead, the community here has been mismanaged and basically the complex has taken a nose dive. After much stress, screaming, letter writing, and determination, things are moving back in the right direction. But during this time I had the pleasure of getting to know one of my neighbors, who just happens to be on the board for our condo complex. One day she was telling me about her childhood and the OUTRAGEOUS woman who had raised her. Her mother died a few years ago and sadly they were estranged during her passing. A hard nosed and very dominating woman, she fell ill and left Orlando to return to NY where she had lived most of her life.

She then gave me some insight about her siblings and how her mother had been laid to rest with basically no funeral and buried in a pine box with neither my friend (Kim) nor any of Kay's hundreds of friends in attendance. Kay died, and a mere few hours later was buried in her familie's plot. Sadly,Kay, the mother, had made her son, executor of his will. Needless to say, he absconded with everything and Kim- never had closure.

Then it happened, Kim just let it ALL out. I listened to countless stories about her mother's antics with fronting and selling stolen merchandise in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, her acquaintances and friendships with many well know people of the day, and about her four husbands, ranging from the first, Kim's father an Italian catholic, to a Jewish diamond merchant, then a Puerto Rican man, eight years her junior, then finally a Muslim Egyptian man, also her junior by several years. During most of her marriages between the wheelings and dealings, she opened up her own beauty Salon in Middle Village Queens in NY, where she was born and raised.

Kay also had a love affair with the arts and frequented Harlem to hear Count Bassey as well as many blues clubs where she fell in love with the voice of Carmen Mcrae. After countless visits to hear her sing, the manager of the club introduced Kay to Carmen and they were friends instantly.

One of the most amazing things I found out about Kay is that she was INCREDIBLY liberal in her life and at her salon. Many of her client's were African American. Raised in the 40's as a white Anglo Protestant in QUEENS, NY...this was unheard of. Most people then had very similar views to the famed Archie Bunker of All in the family. On a final note, Kay's grandfather actually thought ALL in the Family was a documentary! I gasped when I heard this news.

Anyway, I am sure you all see where I am going with this. Two weeks ago, Kim and I signed a contract for me to write Kay's memoir. Kay had always wanted to write about her incredible life, and now her story will be written! This is Kim's legacy. Kay would so want this. Both Kim and I know this.

I have already written the first FOUR chapters and I am so excited to continue on.... Kay will become as Famous as our beloved Auntie Mame, who was fictitious. Kay is the real deal! I cannot begin to tell you how honored and happy I am to write her story. She was an AMAZING woman for her time and to have roots from the Mayflower, Kay was definitely not anything like the typical 1950's woman.

Sorry about the LONG post, but I just could not help sharing this with all of you! I will keep you all posted. I hope to have the rough finished by the beginning of May. I am writing 6-8 hours a day... something I have not done in YEARS!

Hugs to you ALL.... HAVE a WONDERFUL DAY and HAPPY SPRING!