Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Hi all,

Well today's post is a real shocker. WE all hear about drive-by shootings on television and in the news, BUT did you ever think it would happen to YOU? Well, I never did until last night.

I live in one of THE most dangerous cities in the world: Chicago, IL. and this didn't happen there. This, my friends, happened in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Yes, the same town Tony Nelson and Jeanie of I DREAM OF JEANIE lived for many happy years.

As I walked my usual nightly walk down Ocean Beach Blvd, by the Pier, I turned and headed for home. I have done this at least sixty times or more at this hour; around 10:00 pm. The rain had finally stopped and the tropical breezes were in full force.

My iPhone played happily on as I kept in step with the tempo. A rumbling sound from a dilapidated truck had just passed. As it slowed, I had noticed the peeling paint on a door that had suddenly opened. Shots pierced the silent night as a round of air riffle pellets whizzed their way toward me. The riveting sounded tinny, very much like that of a toy gun. I didn't think much of it until I got hit in the mid back.

Sweat poured out of my body as my legs tore at the ground.  Headlights illuminated the street from an on-coming truck. Taking no chances, I dived into the nearest bushes for shelter. Three terrifying minutes later the truck passed: not the same one.

Real gun shots flashed through my mind as I thanked God this was just an air riffle. I decided to continue home on a busier street, so I managed to make it to A1A which had more traffic and lighting.

Sweat continued to pour, soaking my t-shirt. My heart raced so fast I couldn't keep up with it. All I could think about was to get home and off the streets. Never had I ever been afraid to walk any street at any hour. Hey, I am a born and raised New Yorker, nothing gets to us .... but this did.

My keys fumbled in my hand as I tried to open the front door thirty or so minutes later. Trembling finger dialed 911, the moment I had caught my breath.

Even now, hours later, I still can't believe it happened to me. The police had several reports of shootings in the area, but only took my name down. I had felt less than helpful. I only hope the catch the people responsible for this.

Imagine all this happening in a resort area. You never know. Remember everyone, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. I was very lucky. Thankfully it was most likely the high jinks of bored kids ... imagine the alternative. I do and it terrifies me.

Will I continue my evening power walks? You bet! Only now I will do them before dark. They can get me once, but I will NOT give them the opportunity for a second shot.

The mark left is an unusual one (an dented hole the size of a quarter) that will heal in a few days, but the mark that was left in my soul will last a lifetime.

Stay safe everyone and have a WONDERFUL Tuesday. I know I will. The beach awaits for me to enjoy, during yet another stunning sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Greetings everyone,

I know it has been a while since my last post, but I am still overwhelmed by today'a Earthly Angel. As many of you know, I have posted about these amazing people over the course of my blog. For those of you unfamiliar with these posts, I will explain.

An EA is a special person. One who gives of themselves to help others in need. They are selfless and inspirational. Truly heaven sent.

But today's EA is unique and special. She is truly one of a kind.

Crystal blue unfocused eyes stare helplessly into space as her shiny sandy hair catches the glistening morning sunlight. Her story is a sad one, but one that must be told.

Nineteen years ago, a toddler inched her way toward a pool. Unexpectedly, and unknown to the sitter, the child sank to the bottom. Her heart beat strongly saving her life, but the child's oxygen deprived brain died. The once bright-eyed little girl no longer existed. Instead, a quiet, immobile one replaced her.

Devastated, her mother, father, and three brothers cared for her. Never giving up.

Tears streamed down my face when I heard this story. I wondered WHY? Why would God let this poor child live in such a state with no quality of life? With no hope for a future. With no hope of any type of comprehension. Not to mention the extreme hardship on the family.

As I blurted out my questions, the person telling me the story continued about the rest of her family. Then it dawned on me. This sweet soul was brought to this family to teach them a very important lesson.

The three boys (her brothers) learned love, sensitivity, caring, and respect for human life. These boys, now in their early twenties and teens are not your average young men. They are special because their handicapped sister unknowingly infused them with an amazing gift. The ability to love.

Isn't that THE most important lesson for all of us as humans to learn. For some this emotion is almost impossible to fully comprehend. Men, in particular hide, bury, and ignore, this precious emotion ... mainly because they just don't understand it or are afraid of it. Thankfully these boys aren't.

So many of us have been hurt by the ones we love. In this case, the love for this special child opened up the hearts of this family.

Although I am greatly saddened by this story, I am so thankful to be able to share it with all of you. I am honored to be able to write about EAs and hope to do many more posts about them.

If any of you know of one of these special people, a person who has given to you just for the sake of helping you, I would love to hear about it. Please leave your tale in the comments or email me directly. I would like to post at least one EA story a month.

Have a great day and weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Hi, everyone,

If you looking for the Never Surrender blogfest post click here....

Today was my scheduled day to host Elana Johnson and her new book SURRENDER. After a few attempts to contact her, I believe her to be way too busy to answer my emails. I understand completely. Launching a new book is a time consuming effort.

Well, I wish Elana all the luck in the world with her new book. Drop by her blog for the latest SURRENDER NEWS.

At some point I hope she contacts me. Until then check out her new book.

She is also hosting an amazing blogfest. My entry was posted yesterday. Just scroll down ...

I would like to thank all my blogger friends for their comments and support from yesterday's post. They meant and mean so much to me. The illness I have will never go away, but at least I can live with it now and have some sort of a normal life.

Never take your health for granted. It is our MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE. Never surrender when life is at it's most difficult. This is what makes us stronger. This is what shows what we are truly made of. This is LIFE as we know it.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Elana was found... YAY. Our interview is scheduled on the 26th of June... SO DO DROP BY!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Greeting all. Today is the first day of Elana Johnson's blogfest ... insert cheers now!

As most of you know Elana's second book, SURRENDER debuted on June 5th. I'd like to send her the warmest of wishes for her second triumph.

I will be posting my review in Friday's post so PLEASE stop by then and tomorrow if you can, Elana will be visiting my blog.

For this particular blogfest Elana has asked us to post a story about a personal "never surrender" moment in our lives.

One painfully comes to mind and I believe it is time to share it all with you; my friends.

At the peak of my modeling career I was struck with crippling arthritis in practically all my joints. I couldn't move. Tests revealed that I didn't have rheumatoid arthritis, which is an auto immune disease (your body attacks itself). I had a most unusual form. We have all heard of it and it mainly comes from eating rich foods and drinking alcohol excessively: gout. Since I did neither, I was shocked by the diagnosis.

My agent pushed me to be cured holistically. In theory this sounded like the perfect solution. I was always a firm believer in natural medicine and basically I still am. So she made an appointment for me with her Kinesiologist (combination Chiropractor and herbalist/nutritionist.)

At first I responded to the treatment. I felt better my legs straightened and all SEEMED well. Then I was struck... I was totally debilitated. Within a month I was in a wheelchair. The doctor, as I use this term very loosely, reassured me this was all part of the healing. I can still remember him saying "You don't want to mask this with pills, you want to be cured." So I continued treatment.

My leg muscles atrophied overnight and I could barely hold myself up on them. I lost tons of weight. My knees bent from the pain. In less than a year I was completely crippled. To this day I still don't know why I allowed this to go on for so long. The man was like Slytherin in the HP books. Old Serpent Tongue...

Down hearted, in agonizing pain, and practically broke, I hobbled onto a plane and headed for South Florida to stay with a friend for a while.

When I arrived, she took one look at me, freaked, and by the following week I had an appointment with the best orthopedic surgeon in South Florida.

I stubbled into his office, hunched like Quasimodo. He took one look me and began screaming. And I mean SCREAMING. "YOU IDIOT... WHAT POSSESSED YOU? A SIMPLE PILL WOULD HAVE TAKEN CARE OF YOUR PROBLEM! NOW YOU HAVE PERMANENT DAMAGE!"

At the time I hadn't known the extent. After the results of the tests, I learned that the uric acid ate away 35 percent of the cartilage in my knees and I had the acid in ALL of my organs.

After two years of heavy medications, the uric acid was flushed out of my system. But what was left terrified me. I was still a cripple, in agonizing pain, hunched and deformed. It was THE most devastating time of my life. One moment I was a top fashion model traveling the globe, the next I was dragging my right leg around and working as an office assistant for a friend in Miami Beach.

Here I was in my early thirties and my life was over. But was it? At the time Miami Beach was turning into the SOUTH BEACH of today. After a few months my friend bought a stunning condo and asked me to help her decorate it. I had my degree in art and design, but I had never really used it. That was the birth of my design career.

Hobbling the streets of South Beach strengthened my legs. but I still limped and couldn't straighten up. I persisted. I began to work out. At first a few times a week. Then I managed to go every day. I stretched and pushed my legs down seeing stars every time ... but I persisted.

It took me over eight years to build my body back to 95 percent of what it was. Yes, I still have the permanent damage, but I can walk without a limp now and I am almost back to my original height. Life is good. But almost a decade of my life was lost.

I often think about what my life would have been like if I hadn't pushed myself and "surrendered" I'd most likely be in a wheelchair, depressed, and a burden to someone I love. Instead I am power walking on the beach, I have more energy than I know what to do with, and I am genuinely happy.

Of course I'd be a lot happier if I had a published book, LOL, but health is SO MUCH MORE important. NEVER take your's for granted my friends. It is more valuable than all the gold in Fort Knox.

As I brush away a single tear from my eye, I am thankful for my INSANE determination, for without it I wouldn't be here or have met all of you. This community means the world to me and I can't even fathom the thought of not being a part of it.

Thank you Elana for pushing me to share my story. This was very painful for me to write. but I know that it will be read by kind and caring people who will be truly happy for my success.

As a final note, I would LOVE to know about your NEVER SURRENDER story. Please feel free to leave a "Reader's Digest" version in the comments. I know we would ALL like to read them

Have a wonderful day friends and I will look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


zpHi all.

Well I have to say it has been AGES since I have done a post for Sunday, but this morning (Saturday) amongst the threatening skies and mild drizzle an AMAZING creature came across my path.

As most of you know I have been STRANDED in Central Florida for months working on a design project. This past week has been HELL. Not to get into to much of a rant here, let's just say that what could have gone wrong did.

Thankfully it will all wash in the end, but the news of another two or three weeks stuck here DID NOT thrill me. This is my fifth month away from Chicago. I usually return the first week of May. Now it looks like July. AND as many of you know Florida is sticky, rainy, and miserable in the summer months. BUT... I do have a beach two blocks away... the wonderful ocean breezes and salty air are welcome on these 90 plus degree days.

This morning I was astonished to meet a new friend and here he is...

Quite the funny fellow... he actually "Struck a pose" for me.

Well my new feathery friend was over my waist in height. I'd say about four feet tall... almost disturbing at 6:30 am to find him sache'ing across the beach when you are half asleep. (My coffee hadn't kicked in yet, but the sight of him certainly woke me out of my stupor.)

After a few more Madonna-like poses, he worked it down the sandy runway.

The next pic will give you an idea at how wonderfully strange this experience was to me.

After this awesome meeting, I decided to make the best of my present situation and enjoy my surroundings in Central Florida. You just never know what to expect with each new sunrise...

I hope you all have an amazing Sunday.

Tomorrow I will be the intro to my post for Tuesday. I have a special guest visiting... ELANA JOHNSON!

But first drop by tomorrow for the my NEVER SURRENDER post featuring Elana's new book SURRENDER! I will also be posting a review of it on Friday... so this week will be dedicated to this AWESOME author!

photos are property of Michael Di Gesu

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Well, as usual my brain must have fried from the Florida sun. Since Monday there has been several glitches in my perfect design project and I completely SPACED the first Wednesday for Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Alex, again, I hope you can forgive me. Better late than never I always say. This week's mayhem and torrential rains have dampened much of my creativity, which is the focus of this post. 

So many times life gets in the way of our passion for writing. I know I have experienced it for months. I don't spend nearly enough time on my writing, editing, querying, etc.

SO what does one do? Just throw up your hands and snap your laptop shut? NO! NEVER! You mustn't. Even after my insane week, I got home and realized I hadn't posted for IWSG... Did I give up? NO ... I am writing this at 10:47 PM Eastern time, almost 48 hours late. Embarrassed and tired, I am still pumping out these words to share with you.

WE ALL need to keep going. At the darkest and most stressed moments of our lives we need to persevere. Writing is our life, our passion, we need it like air. Would you stop breathing, if life beat you down? I think not! So why let life's setbacks kill your passion? Keep going. Even if your eyes are closing, press on, finish that last paragraph, fine tune that next edit. You CAN do it. 

I have been missing home so much lately. I have been living out of town for almost five months. I am fatigued and so out of my normal routine, BUT... I am a writer. I still walk the beach every morning and appreciate the wonders of the sea: a bird in flight, a sand crab skittering into its hole, the proud look on a fisherman's face as he baits his hook, a child's laugh as she jumps the waves for the first time.  

These moments etch into my writer's memory to draw from in the future. No matter what, no matter how tired, we never lose our ability to observe and retain. That is our most precious commodity.

That my friends is a true writer.

I hope you all have an inspiring day tomorrow. Take a moment to appreciate the subtle beauty of your surroundings and please share them with us....

Friday, June 1, 2012


Hi, All,

Happy Friday everyone. I hope some exciting weekend plans are in store for you!

As you can see today is my FIRST entry into the Romantic Friday Writer's Group. My dear friends, Denise Covey and Donna Hole, are the fore runners for this challenge. What fun, right?

As most of you know, I am NOT a romantic writer by trade, although I do consider myself an romantic.

This is the first bit of writing I have done in a while, so I hope you are all patient with me. It's hard getting back in the saddle, if you know what I mean.

If you have time I hope you will have a chance to hop around to the other's posting today. You can visit them through Denise's or Donna's blogs. Denise explains beautifully how this challenge and the group came about.

So here is my Flash Fiction of about 375 words... max is 400... I hope you enjoy it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Jason wrinkles his nose as noxious fumes swirl through his sinus, setting his nose hairs to attention.
Several beads of sweat journey from his forehead, down his neck, and settle into the moist cleavage of his chest. 
"You missed a spot directly over your head." Shannon points the slim finger of  her left hand in the general direction as a flash of blue fire stuns Jason.
He wobbles a bit on the eight foot ladder as drops of white paint splatter partially onto Shannon's blonde hair, adding unnecessary highlights. 
"Will you please be careful ... geez you're clumsy." Scowling, Shannon wipes the paint from her head. 
"Sorry honey." Jason steadies himself and grins, catching his fiancé's eye. 
"Why are you grinning like that?"
A deep laugh escaped his sweaty throat. "You're cute when you get mad."
She rolls her eyes, glances at the glittering diamond, and then raises her head. "Why on earth did I agree to marry you?"
Jason smiles broadly, flexes his bulging bicep, and locks his eyes on Shannon's. "Because I am grade A prime beef ... that's why."
Shannon's eyes work their way up and down Jason's hard, ripped body, glistening with sweat.
She raises an eyebrow. Is that all there is to this? Surely there’s more ... isn’t there?
She stares back into Jason’s chiseled face. He’s still grinning with perfect, white teeth. A cold chill races up her spine. She shakes it off. “How much longer? You really need to finish painting today if we plan to move the furniture in by tomorrow.”
Jason flicks a bead of sweat off his brow. “Not to worry. I’ll finish.”
Shannon turns and heads toward the kitchen. 
“Hey, Shan.”
Shannon looks back over her shoulder. “What is it?”
“Can you grab me a beer? I know it’s early but ...”
“It is early. It’s not even noon yet.”
Jason lowers his head and the spark in his eyes dull. “Ah, maybe an iced tea then? I’m really thirsty.”
What’s wrong with me? Isn’t he the man I love? She takes a deep breath. “Of course. I’ll be right back.”
Shannon steps into the kitchen, watching Jason through the pass through as he continues to paint. She shakes her head and sighs. “Can I go through with this?”