Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Hi, All,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Here in Chicago it started out with lots of mist and rain. After a turbulent Sunday thunderstorm the skies cleared by the end of the end and the muggy air set in for the evening.

With the chirping of birds and streams of golden light, Monday turned out to be glorious. Hitting almost 90 degrees, I have to admit it was a bit hot, but the clear skies won me over. I hope all of you had sunny skies and nice weather for your outings.

I would also like to thank all of you who left comments this weekend for Shelly Watters contest. I received some great advice and I will spend the morning tweaking my first page. Let's hope I can impress the judges. Good luck to all other contestants who have entered. From what I eye-balled from the other entries it will be a tough choice. We all seem to be sharpening our skills at a feverish rate, so the writing is amazing.

This week plans to be a busy one for me. I hope to get a good chunk of editing done on my novel. I have CP'S anxiously waiting for the final edit of The Blinded Gardener. Let me know what you have planned for this week. With summer on its way, I am sure many of some exciting plans.

Happy Tuesday everyone and live today to the fullest!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend with BBQ's, parties, and fun. We had a wet day in Chicago, but tomorrow forecasts sun ... let's hope so.

This weekend is the Made of Awesome Contest at Shelly Watters blog. Click here to visit other entries. Any suggestions to polish our first page entries would be greatly appreciated.

Here is my first page for THE BLINDED GARDENER my Y/A Contemporary Novel @58,000 words.

Meeting Danny changed the only life I knew — a living punching bag.
Once again, I found myself at a new school — the third in two years. It sucked having a dad in the military. 

The final bell rang. The halls cleared with the slamming of doors. As I wandered about searching for my classroom, I heard someone approach me from behind. I turned and spotted a blonde guy walking up the center of the hallway. He completely ignored me. Long bangs fell over his eyes as he loped past me with a kind of natural ease.

“Hey, dude. Could you tell me how to get to room 305?”

A slight curl formed on his lips as he faced me. He tossed his head. Platinum fringe shifted to the side and revealed freakish blue eyes that glanced at me unfocused.

“I’m heading that way.” His deep voice held a trace of a southern accent. He turned and continued his long strides. 

I envied his height: well over six feet and me just an average dude.

“You better move. Conners loses it when you’re late.”

I rushed to catch up to him. His hand overshot the banister. On the second swipe, he made contact and climbed the stairs. 

“What’s your name?” he asked, a slight quiver in his voice. 

He never turned back, not even when he spoke.
“Aidan,” I said, as I caught up to him at the top of the stairs.  

Thank you for taking the time to give me your suggestions. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today is a very exciting day for me. My first article for the Thestral Gazette, Umbridge Unmasked, is published on Laurel Garver's blog, Laurel's Leaves. She created a fantastically amusing mock magazine for Hogwart's students founded by Colin Creevy and Luna Lovegood.

Every Thursday the magazine is published on Laurel's blog, so I hope you will all visit on Thestral Thursdays. Every week a different article features someone from the Harry Potter series. Last weeks article featured and expose' on Victor Krum and his love life by Melissa Sarno, the Gazette's celebrity reporter ... fun stuff.

I am the investigative reporter for the Gazette and I dug up some major juice on Dolores Jane Umbridge. So if you want to find out the latest on Dolores hop over to Laurel's site ... you won't be disappointed. And please don't forget to leave a comment. I'd LOVE to know what you think. Maybe this could be my new career ... LOL.

With the soon to be released Part II of Deathly Hallows, we all need to keep the HP fire burning. What will we all do once the last movie is aired? Will our obsession for ANYTHING HP continue? I'd like to know what your thoughts are .... Will you miss HP?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Today on this gloomy Wednesday morning in Chicago, I am reminded of the glow and warmth of my blogging family.  This is a tribute to all of you and our community. Before I explore the joys and wonders of our community I would first like to welcome my new friends to my fold.

Paula, Anne, Sue, Rebecca, Ellen, Rosiland, Carolina, Wendy, Marina, Stephanie, Jen, Barbara, San, and Libby I am thrilled to have the opportunity to grow and learn the wonders of our world from each other. YES, this is a world.

Never have I found such caring, kind, intelligent, and helpful people. I started blogging at the end of last year and I quickly realized what a special community we are all apart of. I have made literally hundreds of friends from across the globe. We have to be the luckiest generation of writers to write. We have the internet and in seconds our messages and comments are whisked across the blogosphere. Not only can we communicate to people  from other cultures, we have a rare opportunity to learn about their culture, family, politics, and country. How AWESOME is that?

Yesterday I came across several blogs helping in the relief of our country's tornado and flooding disasters and before that writers have donated their works for anthologies for the relief of Japan and Queensland. In these turbulent and uncertain times, knowing all of you are out there showing your love and support brings peace and joy to my heart. Please understand how special each and every one of you are. You mean the world to me and I just wanted to let you all know that.

SO my friends I leave you with this thought, never give up on your hopes and dreams. Never give up on life .... keep fighting. And, never give up on our community. We all need each other.

Have a pleasant and loving Wednesday.


Here's to you.... remember our hobbit friends never gave up!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The talented and oh so sweet blogger Rachel Morgan and her friend Cally Jackson are hosting a Power of Tension Blogfest. Hop over to either ladies' blogs for full details. You have until May 27th to post. I just learned about this blogfest and Rachel is sure to convince you to enter. I did.

I chose an excerpt from my short story THROUGH SHADES OF GRAY. I hope you all enjoy it.

Gabrielle’s place is on the next block. Taking the left turn, I drive down the cul-de-sac and see the four-story townhouse on the right. Her unit is the one on the left. I rev the engine and sail up the paved drive. Not too shabby. I guess she hasn’t lost it completely. A crisp breeze, white sand, and azure water greet me as I step out of the car. 

I pop the trunk, strap my laptop across my back, and grab my gear. Crushed in my left hand is the printout with the entry security code. I punch in the number and the door clicks open. I step in, drop my gear, and look around. Gabrielle never described the place to me, so I didn’t know what to expect. 

The inside is vast and uncomplicated. Almost sterile. It didn’t look like it was ever lived in. Only the soft pink hue in the pale beige walls gives a hint of warmth. I follow the flow, and stop as my breath escapes, paralyzing me. My eyes lock onto a pair of eyes that rip through my soul. I gasp for breath. My chest heaves, as beads of sweat dampen my hair. I’m unable to turn away. Forcing myself to inhale, I tear myself away from those haunting eyes and stumble into the kitchen to splash cold water onto my face.

Why did that photograph affect me that way? I don’t understand. As my eyes focus, I discover no other pictures hung on the walls. Only one: that photograph over the mantle in the living room. This shocks me almost as much as the picture does. The most talented fashion photographers in the world captured Gabrielle in film. Why would she only hang one enormous photograph of herself? And why that particular one? 

I hope this grabbed your attention, begging for more. The entry must leave some unanswered questions. Do you think this has enough tension? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

This is an original photo by me. Please don't reproduce.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Well we all know about name tags in writing, but on Friday I got "Tagged" by two bloggers.... Summer Rose of My Inner Fairy and The Golden Eagle @ The Eagle's Aerial Perspective. They are two ladies with great blogs and great senses of humor. SO drop by and visit them if you haven't already.

What does it mean to be tagged? Well basically you have to answer a set of questions. What is curious is that I was tagged by the same tag!

So here are the questions.

Do you think you're hot?

At times, yes. But ...

Upload a picture or wall paper that you are using at the moment.

This is my blog wallpaper. I am and interior designer and I loved the homey feel of this background.

When was the last time you at chicken?

While shopping at Whole foods I got hungry and bought a rotisserie chicken to munch on.

The song/songs you listened to recently.

Caught in a bad romance. Lady Ga Ga

What were you thinking while doing this?

Will the cough medicine ever kick in.

Do you have a nicknames? What are they?

In the blog/twitter world I am known as Gideon or Dak. Through my life I had a ex who called me Miguel. My father called me Mickey. For a while in the fashion industry I was called Magic. And on occasion I am called M.

Tag eight blogger friends ...

Jen Daiker @ Unedited

Hart Johnson @ Confessions of a Watery Tart

Laura @The Daily Dodo

Erica and Christy @ erica and christy

Siv Marie @ Been There, Done That ...

Holly Ruggiero @ Holly Ruggiero's The Blog

Donea Lee @ The Queen of Procrastination

Who's listed as number one?

Jen Daiker... Jen and I have been good friends ever since my first Harry Potter blogfest. We are both INSANE about HP!

Say something about number five?

Siv is an amazingly funny and super positive influence in the blogosphere. Even though she has only been blogging for a short will she has captivated all of us! Not only that she is like my long, lost Norwegian sister.

How did you get to know number three?

Laura and I met during the A-Z challenge. Through her kind comments about my Flash Fiction, I wandered over to her blog an realized what a fun, sweet, and effervescent blogger she is.

How about number four?

Erica and Christy.... Well, Erica is my first true writer friend. We met on the threads in ABNA 2010. She saved me from multiple abuse from critiques AND other unkind writers on the threads. Since I was a total newbie and had SO much to learn, Erica helped me a lot. 

I met Christy through Erica and we became good friends through our similar learning experiences.

Leave a message for number six?

Holly, every time I visit your blog it reminds me of the wonders and magic of Christmas.

Leave a lovey- dovey message for number two?

Oh, Hart ... Queen of the Tarts,  how you manage to inspire global naked domination. Every time I look at my tub it reminds me of you scribbling away with just the bubbles barely covering your divine nakedness.

Do number seven and number eight have similarities?

At first glance they each have a D initial, but that's not all. Laura and Donea are both very talented and smart women. Each of their blogs offer a different pov, but both are charming, witty, and special.

What a way to start the week ... Right? Have a terrific Monday everyone and DO something special for yourself. I want to know what it is.... 

Today the sun is shining (for the moment) and I am going to enjoy another power-walk on the lake front before the mysterious fog/mist rolls in.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Avoiding the mist that hovered over the lake, downtown Chicago's riverfront streamed with golden sunlight. Surprising, not in Chicago. Anything is possible in this city. As most of you know I had lunch date with the vivacious 80's guru, Nicki Elston, author of Three Daves.

As I waited at Trump Plaza, a text came in and Nicki had a minor issue with the taxi boat. Three texts later we connected. I recognized her immediately and after a bright smile and a hello we hugged. Chatting away, we headed toward Michigan Ave for a wonderfully long lunch.

The hours flew. We talked about EVERYTHING. What a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. If any blogging friends live close by to you, please make the connection. It is SO worth it. Nicki lives only an hour away from the city. Who knows how close our blogging friends really are to us ... we all need to make the effort to find out.

From lunch we strolled back to the riverfront and ended up at Starbucks for a chai tea for Nicki and a green tea for me. Another hour chatting and before we knew it five o'clock had arrived. After escorting her back to train, I went back towards the lake and that infamous mist.

Nicki remembered to bring a camera and we asked a waiter to take our pic. The restaurant has this super cool glass wall and we stood in front of it to take the pic.


Friday, May 20, 2011


It's Friday and I plan to start off the day with an exciting interview with premier novelist Wendy Tyler Ryan, author of Fire's Daughter.  Gorgeous cover, isn't it? Now let's no waste any time, Wendy has just arrived.

Michael:  I am thrilled to be hosting you here today Wendy.  Welcome to my blog. Your new novel is certainly an eye-catcher.

Thank you very much for having me, Michael, and thank you for the compliment.  Yes, I knew from the get-go that a good cover was paramount.  I was very lucky to have found Catherine Nodet to do the artwork.  I found her on DevianART.

Michael:  I only have a few poignant questions for you today, but I am really looking forward to your answers. I want my blogger friends to get a good feel for your book. I know they will love it, judging by what I've seen so far.

Thanks again and I shall do my best.

Michael:  When did you start writing Fire's Daughter and how long did it take you to finish the final draft?

 I'm afraid to tell you when I first started it because I had about two pages written and then put it away for a good number of years.  Put it this way, when I wrote those two pages my kids were small and when I took them out and dusted them off, my kids were grown.  But now we're getting dangerously close to talking about age, and who wants to do that!  But seriously, I would always think about this particular story, I even knew exactly how I wanted to end it, even though I wrote a whole other novel first. I have always been drawn to the medieval-ish, Robin Hood-ish period of history, but that wasn't quite good enough.  The fantasy aspect lets me create my own world with my own rules.  It's awesome.  So, once I did dust those few pages off, all I wanted to do was finish it because I really yearned to write this story, but as you know, life happens so I worked on it when I could and then made a real push the last two years.   Mind you, a lot of the last two years was spent researching agents and riding on the query-go-round.
Michael: I think we can all relate to that. Right everyone? I understand this is the first book in the Fire Through Time Trilogy. What sparked your interest in wanting to write a series? And what are your plans for the other two books?

Before I even finished the first book I thought that there could easily be more to the story, plus, I was in love with characters and didn't want to leave them.  One day I opened a notebook, thinking I would just write a couple of paragraphs to get me started, but that turned into several pages that just spilled out of me.  Now the book is more than half done.  I'm not sure how to describe the other two books without spoiling something in the first.  Suffice it to say, the second book is titled Fire's Children and I'll let you make of that what you will.  The one thing I can tell you is that all three books would never be classified by an agent or a traditional publisher as being precisely the same genre - I do cross a few lines and muddy up the water a bit by the end of the third book, but that's what's so cool about imagination and having complete control over your work.  I can guarantee that you won't just get a re-hash of the same plot in book 2 and 3. 

Michael:  Now that's interesting ... I like that you're doing your other novels as a cross over. Wendy, I find the premise of your novel is quite intriguing. The heroine, Zehdra Kilgam is forced into an arranged marriage and also has a special gift. Could you tell us more about her? What is her focus? Her dreams? And especially what is her unique gift?    

Zehdra is in quite a lot of turmoil when we first meet her.  Fiercely independent, she wants nothing to do with her betrothed or her inherited gift of fire manipulation which has just begun to surface.  Her goal is to thwart her marriage, master her gift before it destroys her, and find a way to be with the man she really wants, who is in fact, the man she doesn't want - or so she thinks.  That's all I can say about that.  There's a lot that goes on in this book that Zehdra is not privy to and I love that.  You, the reader get to gasp and go "oh no", and poor Zehdra is oblivious.  Did I say I love that?

Michael:  Yes, you did, but that's okay, I love your enthusiasm. What about  her future husband, Gilliam Bellvane, how does he feel about her? Why is he agreeing to the marriage? Does he have an ulterior motive?

 His sole reason for undertaking the marriage at the beginning of the story is to align himself with the house of Kilgarn.  He wants to marry her for her bloodline plain and simple, even though he himself is not looking forward to the pairing.  An enemy has reared its head and Gillam knows that he cannot defeat the coming threat without strong allies.  Neither he nor Zehdra have set eyes on one another before.  Let's just say things change when they finally do meet and Gillam finds himself deep into a deception that he might not be able to crawl out of in order to win Zehdra over.

Michael: Ah, a
 bit of mystery.... I like that! One question has been gnawing at me since I saw the cover. We have been blogging buddies for quite some time now, and I know you are a strong and determined woman. I have a sneaking suspicion that you share similar qualities with your heroin. What specifically do you and Zehdra have in common? Are you and she one in the same? Do you also have a special gift that has been handed down to you?

Wow.  No, I don't think we are one and the same.  Zehdra is much braver than I, perhaps she is my alter ego; the woman I aspire to be. The red hair was a must - I always wanted red hair.  Actually I have it now, but it comes out of a bottle!  And the eyes - I knew her eyes had to be green - mine are blue.   As to special gifts - if I have one, I don't know what it is.  I've always joked that I was a jack (or Jill) of all trades but a master of none!  Maybe others would have a different opinion.

Michael:  Fascinating answers Wendy. We all now have a very clear picture of the world you created and the woman behind it. Thank you so much for dropping by today. I really enjoyed hearing about your new novel and I am sure many of us will be getting a copy to find out more.
Wendy: Thanks so much again, Michael, it was a pleasure.

Michael: The pleasure was mine, Wendy. Your book has definitely got my attention!
Everyone, please drop by Wendy's blog at www.waitingforpublication.blogspot.com or website at www.wendytylerryan.com  to buy your copy of her book.
                       *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

If you have a bit more time, please hop over to Michelle Merrill's blog. I'm being featured there today!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I specifically left up Tuesday's post for an extra day because amazing comments kept coming in. I feel quite humbled and happy that so many of you have been inspired by this post. Not forgetting to live life to the fullest is something we all need to remember. Life IS too short.

Today's post has a few announcements about three exciting events for tomorrow that I am very happy to inform you about. First, a good friend and fantastic writer, Wendy Tyler Ryan is launching her book blogging tour this week. Tomorrow I will be hosting and I hope you all can stop by to find out about FIRE'S DAUGHTER, Book One of the FIRE THROUGH TIME TRILOGY. If you'd like to find out about the book sooner click here and you will magically be transferred to her website.

I will also be featured at Michelle Merrill's blog, Perfecting the craft... If you are not familiar with this amazingly creative blogger you should definitely hop over and visit her. Michelle always has a kind word, and her enthusiastic and positive, upbeat personality flows through every one of her posts. I am thrilled to be featured on her blog tomorrow.

And finally for this week's life's surprise ... a fantastic author friend of mine, Nicki Elston, who just happens to live in the Chicago suburbs is trekking into the city to meet me for lunch at one of Chi-town's many fabulous eateries.

An 80's guru, Nicki's blog amuses anyone who wants a taste of the 80's. Her wit and charm captivate all who visit. So drop on by her blog and check out her fantastic book, THE THRE DAVES .... a romantic 80's comedy.

So as you can see tomorrow is really kicking up the start of what seems to be a very exciting weekend. 

I hope you all have one surprise this weekend. AND be sure to let me know what you have planned.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yesterday a wonderful blogger friend of mine, Donna Hole left a comment about how much she loved how I completely live my life. Well this statement really got me thinking. Do I? For me there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I would like to do. So much fails in my quest to accomplish everything I set out to do in a given day.

Lately, over the past few months I obsessed about becoming fit again. Writing took first, second, and third, place in my life for over two years. Well as many of us have experienced, this is not very good for the waistline. I wish I was one of those people who could eat boxes of Godiva and not gain an ounce. As a model for half my life, I always had to workout like a madman to keep in shape. But as we get older it's not so easy. LIFE takes over. More responsibilities are loaded onto us and we have other priorities that take precedence.

For two years I learned to hone my craft and become a more accomplished writer. I've enjoyed every second of it, but it came at a price as all good things do. But I also learned something else very valuable these past few years. A writer can't give up living. We must get out into the world to seek material for our writing.  LIVING is our best and most accurate research. People and life's situations are so fascinating. When I was globe trotting in my former career I met THE most incredible people. Not always nice and sincere, BUT colorful, thought provoking, and they certainly kept you on your guard 24/7.  I must admit, It do miss that in my life. BUT at least I have those experiences to draw from and use in my writing.

Travel is probably the best to clear your mind and let your muse soar. GET out of the house. Take a weekend and go ANYWHERE to recharge. IT's the best to sweep away the cobwebs in our brains. I managed to write some of my best posts during the A-Z challenge because I was in a different surrounding. Now that summer is approaching, yes it is still in the 50's in May here in Chicago, but we know that summer should be arriving at some point, make the time and leave your desk for the blue skies and sunshine.

So friends, I am going to try to live up to my pal Donna's comment. Try to live life in a new and exciting way each day. Tell me how you manage it all and what fascinating plans you have to excite your muse.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I would first like to apologize for being scarce all weekend. After a busy week of readjusting to retuning home, I finally got all my place in order.

Luckily the weather held true and beautiful from Tuesday-Friday. I had left each morning for my lakefront power-walk on schedule and enjoyed an hour of sunning afterwards. Friday was no exception. I left a bit earlier because the bright sunshine called to me and I had many things to do later in preparation for the birthday party my friends had planned since they found out the date of my return.

The soft blue hues of the lake capped with white froth twinkled in the morning light. After a mile or so the temps rose and it was time to feel the heat on bare skin. I trekked down to North shore beach and executed a quick U-turn and headed home.

Heat seared my back as droplets of sweat meandered south. The subtle breeze picked up and dropped a few degrees. I cooled down and by the time a small gap bridged between my two destinations goose pimples rose from my skin. An icy shiver ran up my spine and I shuddered.

"What the hell?"

A fine mist crept its way over the lake and onto the beach. I could see ten feet ahead of me. A twenty degree drop in temperature convinced me to slip back into my t-shirt. The winds picked up severely, chilling me to the bone. Temperatures dropped in Chicago often, but I had never seen or felt anything like this.

That was the end of the Florida like weather I had grown accustomed to over the past few days.  Winter had returned to Chicago ...

My point to this little story is always be prepared. Don't get caught with your guard down. Try to be one step ahead whenever possible. We must remember this with our writing. Focus, write clear concise sentences,  and remember anything can change in a heartbeat.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Let me know if you did something out of the ordinary.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


After my shocking arrival back to Chicago with the gray mist hovering over the city, I woke up to bright sunshine filtering through my multi-paned windows yesterday morning.

Groggy, I looked for the peacocks outside the french doors; visitors often showing up for a morning munch in the unfinished back yard. "Wait a minute! I'm  not in Florida anymore. How come there's all this light?" I muttered as I rubbed my eyes.

I glanced at the clock on the side table. "6:30? Why am I awake?" Ah, the time difference. Florida's an hour ahead.

I decided it was time to get up and I grabbed my laptop to read my emails and shortly after write my blog post for the day.

In Florida I took my morning power-walk on the beach at around ten o'clock, before the sun became too hot. After two days in the car I really needed to stretch my legs. I do have a lakefront just steps away from my condo, so I decided to power-walk there, keeping with my routine of two months.

To my surprise the was blinded by Chicago's beauty. Tulips of every shade lined the building next door. The ornamental trees in the park had thousands of tiny pink buds a moment away from bursting open. I relished the scene. Finally spring has arrived to Chicago.

Beads of sweat formed on my brow as I trekked through the park to the lake front. At almost 80 degrees at 9:00 am it was scheduled to be a hot day. I was overdressed in light weight sweats and a muscle shirt. Skirting toward the bridge that crossed the drive sapphire blue water shimmered like diamonds against an periwinkle blue sky. As I turned south the magnificent Chicago skyline took my breath away. Only Miami Beach and NYC could compare to this view.

After a few miles south, I headed north and stopped a quarter of a mile from the bridge. Peeling off my soaked tee, I rolled up my sweats, took of my running shoes and draped myself on the retaining wall. "I have to keep up my tan ..."

I have to admit I wasn't ready to leave the sun and surf of Florida, but know that I've made the long trip back to Chicago, I'm glad to be home. The rebirth from a frozen winter is a miracle and it can only be appreciated after living through it.

Good things do come to those who wait. And that my friends will happen to all of us as we journey on the long road to publication.

I hope you all discover something beautiful in your day. Let me know. I'd love to hear about it!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Happy HUMP day everyone.... Today I would like to welcome six new friends. Now that I am back in Chicago I can catch up on all my new friends, which I am so looking forward to do. During the A-Z I was fortunate enough to meet so many new and wonderful bloggers. My blog family is still increasing, but more slowly, and that is just fine. Now I can keep up.

So for this week I would like to give a big an warm welcome to Paula, Ann, Sue, Rebecca, Ellen, and Rosalind. I will definitely be popping by you blogs this week to say "Hi."

Today I also have an award to give out. The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. It was given to me by Susan Oloier of Memoirs of a Writer. Susan, who is incredibly sweet herself, honored me with this award a few weeks ago. I met her during the challenge and she was and still is a wonderfully supportive friend. I appreciated all of her kind comments during the challenge and she gave my ego a boost when I really needed it. It has been a trying time for me lately with the rejection letters piling up, and if it weren't for friends like Susan I would really freak.

Of course this award comes with a few rules. I have always had a tendency to bend rules just a bit, but I will do what I can. I already thanked Susan. That is the first. Now seven things about myself. Since it's been AGES since I wrote about myself it's time for my new friends to know a few things about me.

1. I love ANYTHING creative. I love to write, draw, paint, create things for my home, etc.

2. I LOVE the holidays, especially Christmas. I plan a few months ahead on how I am going to decorate and what I am going to make.

3. I am an INSANE Harry Potter fan. I have already been to Wizarding World in Orlando, Florida about ten times on my two visits there in the past year. My dream is to fly to England and do one of the HP tours there.

4. I became a writer when my Interior Design business took a plunge two years ago. Although I still have a few loyal clients, I barely make it. But on the plus side it gives me the extra time to write and illustrate my books. Now I am querying my first book Amber and the Whispering Willows like crazy.

5. I love anything vintage. I live in a stunning vintage condo built in 1913. The details are AMAZING. Plaster moldings, nine-foot ceilings, and hardwood floors. I have a terrific view of Lincoln Park from seven windows and I can also see downtown in the winter months before the trees fill in for the spring and summer.

6. I enjoy blogging more than anything. It enables me to keep in touch with other writers and information that has really been an important part of my life the past year.

7. After ten weeks in Florida, I am rejuvenated and can't wait to take Chicago by storm this summer. Many friends are visiting, so I will be playing host. It should be a blast!

So now you all know more about me. Now I must pass this on to new friends. Although this award states it must be fifteen people. I don't wish to take up to much of you time so I will just award this to any of my blogger family who wishes to have it. TO ME you are ALL SWEET and deserve it!

Let's make this HUMP DAY a memorable one!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hi, all,

I finally have a free moment to post. After two long grueling days driving for almost 1300 miles, I finally made it back to Chicago.

I felt like I never left. Dark clouds loomed over the city as I approached. The never-ending shades of gray bore down on the buildings and lake. A slight drizzled added to the muck from the love bugs that collected on my windshield and front grill. Another car wash awaits.

I was lucky to find a parking spot just across the street of my building. Dressed in only a muscle shirt and jeans the damp air hit me like an icy kiss as shivers ran up my spine. Will winter ever leave here? A good thing I thought ahead and throw on the hoodie I had placed on the passenger seat.

It's always good to be home after a long trip, but lugging in months of packages and the over-expanded wasn't a fun welcome home.

I just checked the weather for the week... I looks like cold, grey, thunderstormy skies all week. Today has an sunny and 80 degree forecast, but somehow the overcast skies looks to me like the will win out over the sun desperately trying to force its way through.

Thank you all for your safe wishes. As you can see, they worked. The drive was LONG but not too much drama besides a lot of construction in Kentucky.

I hope all the MOTHERS had a wonderful Mother's Day! You have the hardest job of all and should be appreciated more than one day a year.

I'm also sorry I haven't visited all of you in a few days, but now that I am home I hope to play catch up.

May today bring all that you desire!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Today is Cherie's Flash Fiction blogfest.So hop over to Surrounded by Books for Cherie's and the other entrants stories ....  I chose to write a period piece for this blogfest.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Cameo
Today’s my sixteenth birthday. I rush to the mirror to pin up my long, dark hair.  I fashion it into the style of the day. I want to be the next Gibson girl.  Putting on my favorite lace blouse and black velvet skirt, I twirl around to catch myself at every angle. 

“Perfect.” I dash out of the room to descend the three flights of stairs of our turn of the century brownstone. Father and Mother will certainly have something wonderful for me, waiting in the dining room. 

Cheers chorus around the table from my older brother, Louis, and my four younger sisters. He pulls out a chair for me and places a wrapped box into my hands. I smile and thank him. I notice other presents, but I chose to open Louis’s first. He is not only my brother, he is my best friend. Untying the ribbon, I take off the lid. Inside is a small black box. As I open it the lid creaks. 

“A cameo! Oh, Louis! It is beautiful. I have never seen one like it.”

“It cost me two week’s salary,” he said, grinning.

“You are the dearest.” I jump up and kiss him on the cheek. 

He blushes.

I step to the mirror over the buffet and pin it to the center of my collar. I stare at the captivating face carved into the shell. A single sparkling diamond hangs from her neck. “I will treasure it always.” 

Later that afternoon, tears well up in my eyes. The cameo is no longer pinned to my collar.

For a half century I never knew where I lost that cameo. I was thinking about it, when the bell rang. Still living in the same family home, my daughter came to see me with her three children. It’s my birthday. 

My grand-daughter and two grandsons, kiss me on the check. The boys take off like a shot. They love to run up and down the stairs. Janie sat next to me.

“Grandmother, is it all right if  I go to the doll room. It’s so pretty in there.”

“Of course, just be careful. Those dolls had belonged to my little sister, Eva.”

A sudden tear rolls down my face. Eva died at such a young age, still a little girl. I never step into her room. I recently opened it back up to show my grand-daughter Eva’s doll collection.

A moment later, Janie walks into the living room carrying one of the dolls. I recognize it at once. Eva’s favorite. “I didn’t see that doll when I opened the room last week.”

“She was in the chest at the end of the bed. Isn’t she beautiful?” Janie coos.

A flash of light flickers from the doll as Janie plays with her. 

“Look Grandmother, she’s even waring a pretty pin.” 

I can not believe my eyes. My heart beat faster. Another tear escapes. “Would you like to hear a story about that pin?


Now for my favorite segment .... Well everyone it's Friday and for all of you who know me before the A-Z challenge know I post my Earthly Angels segment every Friday. For the benefit of my new friends I will explain. Please bear with me regulars.

This segment actually started with the Chicago blizzard back on February first. I am reposting this from February 3rd.


Nine hundred cars were towed off Lakeshore drive in Chicago yesterday. Could you imagine, sitting in your car for twelve hours? Then, finally giving up and trekking through the snow for miles during the worst blizzard Chicago had seen in over thirty years.

My heart goes out to those poor souls. Mother Nature can be cruel at times and I am sure you all know. I must share with all of you the plight of one of my commenters from yesterday's post. A courageous soul who weathered the storm and made it though.

Joicy013 said...

"wow that storm was something! yes there was lighting that looked like fire during the storm. the winds were bad! I was out in the road picking up my sister who was stranded at work and let me tell you something. i could see nothing. windshield ended up falling apart with the ice and wind, about 2 cars on every block left stranded. took us about 2hours to get home, which would usually take 15min. woke up this morning to have snow up to ny waist in some areas of the yard."
Could you imagine the family bond to drive in such a storm for your sister. You are a kind and caring soul and you sister is very lucky to have you.

I find acts of love/kindness to be truly amazing. With our hearts filled with love for the month of February, I'd like to ask all of you, "What act of kindness/ love has been bestowed on you? Tell me about the wonderful person that came to your aid in a time of crisis. I really want to know. 

We are all blessed with angels in our lives. Not the heavenly bound creatures, but the ones bound to earth. Let me hear your story.

This is how it all began. If you know of any Earthly Angel please let me know. I would love to tell your story in my Friday segments. Next week I will post a new set of stories. 


I most likely will be on the road driving north back to Chicago. From what I see of the weather I will be in he midst of lots of rain in Kentucky, Indiana, and Chicago on Sunday.... What fun. I can't wait. Wish me luck. I just might have to stay another three or four days in the sun....

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Happy Thursday friends. Today I am finally going to pass one of two wonderful awards that were given to me during the A-Z challenge.

The first is from a dear friend and amazing BLOGGER N. R. Williams. She has an epic fantasy novel currently out ... The Treasures of Carmelidrium. If you haven't read it you should.

Her second publication is a charming story, The Magic of Windier Woods. Both can be purchased at Amazon.

Nancy was kind enough to award me the Tiger's Delight Blogger Award created by her talented daughter. She has a business to help us author's design covers, book trailers, and format for Kindle and Smashboards. So check out Tiger on my Bookshelf.

Now to pass this award you must link back to Tiger 85 @ Tiger on my Bookshelf. Tell your favorite things about blogging. And pass the award onto three friends. This isn't too difficult, right?

What I love about blogging is the countless incredibly talented people I have met. Words cannot describe how I feel about the people in this community. Writers have the biggest hearts I have ever seen. They will help you with a blink of an eye. They will stand by you thick and thin, and build you up when the outside world is cruel and unfeeling.

I would like to pass this award to three friends I have become so fond of in past few months.

Siv Maria @Been there, done that. She is an incredibly funny and imaginative blogger who is like my long lost Norwegian sister. Her posts on Norwegian folklore are captivating. So if you don't know Siv hop over to her blog.

ali cross @ Ali Cross. ali is know as the NINJA...  she has created a whole world to help bloggers continue to grow as writers. She offers different Ninja programs to help aspiring writers complete their WIP'S. She also has a weekly chat on Thursday's, which is today, so hop on over and join in on the Ninja love.

Holly Ruggiero @ Scribbles & Splashes.  I got to know Holly well during the A-Z challenge. Although I've known her for months, her posts during the challenge really were amazing. Her talent and wit are unsurpassed. Every time I see her bear icon I have to smile because I know it's her.

So please don't forget to drop by these amazing ladies blogs if you haven't already.

EARTHLY ANGELS POST returns tomorrow .... YAY! I have missed this feature and I am thrilled to be able to post it again. Many of my new friends aren't familiar with this weekly feature so I hope you enjoy it.

Have a beautiful Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


As each sunrise sprinkles diamonds of light on the shimmering waves, I wake to another glorious day in sunny Florida.

Alas. I shall be leaving in just a few short days to return north to the remnants of winter still lingering. I hope to see perfusions of flowers outlining the exquisite Lincoln Park in Chicago on my return. As mother nature sets forth her most dazzling creations, the city becomes alive. I hope to arrive at it's awakening.

It will be a sad day to say good-bye to the roar of the waves and the sandpipers skittering across the dampened sand, but all amazing things must come to an end. Saturday will be mine.

March and April have brought a warm and welcoming world to me from these sunny shores. Spring flowers are still bursting in vibrant pinks, corals, and reds mixed between swaying palm trees. Soon I will get to experience it all over again in the north.

Life has been such a blessing these past few months. I am thankful to have had them. I hope spring has been rejuvenating to you as well.

Please let me know what wonders this spring has brought to you. Life is so precious we must appreciate every moment.

Have a wonderful day everyone. May it be truly special.

Here's a sample of one of the gorgeous floral displays at Epcot I was fortunate to see. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I am thrilled at the overwhelming response to my post yesterday. Since I haven't visited all 170 plus blogs for the Reflection A-Z challenge yesterday, I plan only to give a formal welcome to my new blogger friends today, so I can continue to read the rest of the posts and have easy access for the other challengers to read mine.

Welcome, Sue, Jessica, Spencer, Waton Redhead, Paul Anthony, and Lisa. I will finally have the time to visit all of you and my other new friends who have joined my blogging family this past month. I've missed getting to know you better and I look forward to doing so.

Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Greetings fellow A-Zers and friends. I would first like to congratulate ALL who have MET the challenge. Lee @ Tossing It Out decided on a A-Z reflections post... We have  to TELL our feelings about the challenge. Don't forget to drop by his blog to visit other A-Zers to see what they got out of this challenge. 

My first thoughts ... It was a tough, but WELL worth it. Lee and his co-hosts did an AWESOME job organizing this event. They also made time to visit us and leave positive and caring comments. THAT was not an easy thing to do with 1300 different blogs involved.

When I first signed up for the challenge, I thought it was be a fun way to post my blogs as well as meet new friends. Little did I know it would turn out to be SO monumental. As we all tried to visit as many blogs as we could, we soon realized we didn't have our magic wands adjusted for this. But I must say that I did meet some FANTASTIC people and I am very grateful to the challenge for bringing these talented individuals to my blog. Hopping around gave us insight into imaginative and unusual ways to achieve our goals.

I, for instance choose a theme which really challenged me, though at the time I thought it would be a piece of cake. For those of you who didn't make it over to my blog, I decided to write Flash Fiction with a riddle or twist. The first few were about 200 words, but as the comments rolled in, I found I had to top the previous day. So then I went to 300, then 400, up to 500 plus words. I spent HOURS researching and writing at my highest level. I wanted to please you as best I could. So as you can well imagine, it took away from my editing, and querying time. I must admit toward the end, I really pushed myself. But all your kind words and genuine support got me through it. THANK YOU ALL! I never would have made it without you.

Something wonderful came out of this challenge for me. I learned so much about writing. Flash Fiction is a tough medium. Having to create a start, middle, and end in 200-500 takes a lot of thought and expertise. And as we all know in writing, practice DOES make perfect. Several bloggers commented I should create a book with these excepts, and I really like the idea. Many of you know that I illustrate and to create a book with these shorts with illustrations would be quite an interesting project. PLEASE let me know your thoughts on this. Do you think it's a good idea?

To wrap things up, this challenge was a blessing in disguise and I am very thankful I joined in this challenge. I appreciate and admire all of you!

Now I can visit your blogs more often and get back to my edits. After a month of HIGH alert it's nice to fall back into the comfort zone. 

Many of my posts were mystical, so here's a beautiful reflection to enjoy.