Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Hi, All...

Sorry I am posting so late on this Wednesday, but I have been working on my current WIP... I have't had a chance to work on my Film Noir novella in months. Mainly because I have been working on the rewrites on my second novel. I still have another half to go... As most of you know these take SO MUCH TIME!

This morning I bit the bullet, put my novel away and brought up my novella, which is currently ALL OVER THE PLACE. LOL.

This all started with an entry for the Romantic Friday Writers, hosted by dear friends Denise Covey and Donna Hole. Sadly the RFW no longer exists, BUT, Denise has created a new and exciting monthly blog hop instead featured at the W. E. P. know as Write... Edit... Publish. If you are not familiar with the WEP, do drop by and say hi to Denise and check out the site. It's really a fun way to post monthly and you can post anything creative. Art, photography, quips, quotes, Flash Fiction, whatever... as long as it pertains to the prompt, anything goes!

This prompt is a new beginning.

This is a longer post so please bear with me.

Today I'm featuring another segment of my on going tale of Rosemary. Here's a quick blurb, so you know what's going on...

Rosemary, a young, pretty woman, from the wrong side of the tracks, finds herself caught up in murder. On October 31, 1947, Rosemary is invited to an elegant Halloween party at the elegant Palmer House and this is where our story begins...

But this scene opens on the following day...

The Palace Grill’s marquis barely penetrates the dim, charcoal sky, as the northwest winds sweep the downtown streets with the debris of once colorful autumn leaves.

All but one booth is empty. A flamingo pink polished hand raises a steaming cup of joe. Rosebud lips pucker and blow, sending vapor curls into an unsuspecting jukebox. A tinny click resonates and another selection begins to play. Rosemary glances at the shimmering, Lady Gruen curvex watch positioned strategically on her wrist.

The bell tinkles at the door and her eyes shift to a dumpy figure hidden under a policeman’s cap. With his head down and eyes averted , he trudges toward her. Leather soles squeak to the beat of Francis Craig crooning Near You. Each step quickens Rosemary’s heartbeat.

A gloved hand reaches inside his coat and pulls out a crumpled envelope. Rosemary extends her hand and grasps the letter. Silence louder than a sonic boom deafens her. 

“Thank you, officer.”

He tips his hat, turns, and leaves.

Rosemary stares at the envelop in her trembling fingers. Why didn’t he come? Breathing deeply, she frees the note and drops it onto the table, smoothing out the wrinkles.

Only seven words ink the plain stationary. 

In a flash, Rosemary slides out of the booth. She crams the paper into her pocket book, gathers her coat and suit case, and bolts to the door.

Dozens of headlights reflect off chrome bumpers streaking uptown. Rosemary flags a bright yellow, checkered taxi. The brakes grind to a stop. A moment later, a rumpled driver steps onto the sidewalk. Cigar ashes drop inches from Rosemary’s feet as he snatches the luggage and loads it into the trunk. He pulls the door open and stomps around to the driver’s side.

Rosemary slips into the peeling vinyl seat and gasps. A thick haze of cigar smoke suffocates whatever oxygen is present. She winds down the window and her lungs seer from the crisp outside air.

The cabby turns his head and another ash drifts close to her feet. “Where will it be, lady?” His eyes wander to her exposed calves and slowly work their way up to her face.

Heat radiates through her cheeks, tinting them with a hint of ruby. She clears her throat. “Chicago Air Park.” 

She is thrust back into the seat as the taxi peels away from the curb.

*     *     *     

Thick fingers drum the weathered desk as smoke rings curl into a caterpillar-like state. Haunting, bloodshot eyes read the same letter for the hundredth time. What can she possibly say to me? She’s a murderess. She’s lucky I don’t arrest her on the spot for Marty’s death.

He tosses the note into the gunmetal trash can. “I should go. Hear her side of it.” He slouches back into his desk chair and tears at his thick, raven hair. I

t had to be self defense. Marty was no alter boy.

The smoldering cigarette invites him to take another drag. Inhaling, his lungs fill. Slowly, like steam engine exhaust, the smoke escapes his throat. The minute hand on the clock continues to tick. Each click magnifying the urgency. He snuffs out the butt. As the smoke clears, the hour hand sweeps into the Ninth position.

By the next tock, he is gone.

A black an white pulls in front of the Palace Grill. The fedora hat nearly lifts off his head by an unanticipated gust of wind. He slams the door, takes a step, and nearly falls. He loosens the tail of his coat, rushes inside, and surveys the scene. A family of six sit a circular booth in back corner. A young, teenage couple share a malted in the smallest booth. And other couples and families fill most of the remaining tables, but no Rosemary. 

He steps to the counter. 

“What’s buzzin cousin?” the waitress asks.

“Have you seen a blonde, young girl alone, earlier?” he asks in a gruff voice.

She eyes the detective like a hawk ready to devour its next meal. “She’s long gone, sweetie. But I get off in fifteen minutes.” She snaps her gum and winks at him.

“Did she say where she was going?”

The waitress didn’t answer.

“This is police business. You better tell me everything you know or I’ll run you in for questioning.”

Her face flushes. “All right, don’t flip your wig.” She snapped her gum. “All I knows is, she had luggage with her and she was dressed pretty spiffy. I’d try the airport if I was you. That gussied up dame wasn’t goin on no bus or train.”
“Fine. I’ll check the airport first.” He turns on his scuffed wing tips and heads out the door.

* * * * * * *

A hazy moon beams through starched clouds on this All Hallows evening. Each one filled with icy flakes anxiously waiting to dust the streets of Chicago with its crystalized beauty. No longer do the winds rend. Only a quiet chill permeates the air as two automobiles streak southwest toward the same destination.

Polished chrome wings reflect bright incandescent rays on a single cinder runway. Frost lives in the brown-black vesicles, glinting fragments of starry light. Two figures appear and position a staircase in front of the aircraft door. 

Scantly dressed passengers cloaked in furs and overcoats wait inside the lobby. Only one more passenger is expected. A checkered taxi parallels the curb. The door opens. Rosemary steps out onto the sidewalk and rushes inside. The cabby drops her luggage at the curb and is gone in a flash.

The porter joins Rosemary a moment later. She hands him a bill and smiles. The young man pales. His freckles more noticeable than ever. “T-Thank you, miss.” His voice cracks.

Rosemary nods. 

An enormous stack of Louis Vuitton suitcases and trunks roll into sight. Rosemary glances at the tragic valise next to her and pulls the veil from the hat over her eyes.

How could I forget the luggage. Now they will know I’m not one of them.

The porter lifts her bag and adds it to the top of the tram.

“Fifteen minutes to Boarding for flight 227 to Miami,” blasts from an overhead speaker. 

The elegant group of seasoned travelers gather, and stroll merrily to the the gate. Chills run down Rosemary’s back. 

It’s time. My life will never be the same. 

She inhales and checks the seams in her silk stockings, squares her shoulders, and takes her first step.


* * * * * * * * *

Rosemary’s penciled brow raises and with wide eyes stares at the person in front of her.

“What’s the matter honey, cat got your tongue? Wasn’t expecting me, were ya?”

Rosemary swallows and licks her lips. 

“Doris. What are you doing here?”

“Never you mind. Where’s my Marty, you two-bit hussy?" Doris turns her head in different directions. “In the gents, I bet. Sprucing up for your big trip.”

She closes in on Rosemary and flicks the delicate fur collar on Rosemary’s coat. “Spent a pretty penny on ya, didn’t he? That louse never bought me anything this nice.”

Rosemary backs away. “Doris, you don’t understand. It’s not at all what you think.”

“Oh. And what’s that honey. That you and Marty cooked up this whole scheme, so you can run away together.” She steps toward Rosemary, pointing a finger. “I see it so clear now, all those warnings about what Marty was.” She pokes Rosemary in the shoulder. “You just wanted him for yourself.”

“That hood! Not even for a million bucks.” Rosemary pushes past Doris. “I have a plane to catch.”

“You ain’t going nowhere, toots. Not with my Marty, you ain’t.” Doris grabs hold of her arm as heavy footsteps pound the floor.

“Rosemary! Doris!”

Both heads turn. Cal charges up to them and skids to a halt.

“Doris, what are you doing here? I thought you would be in mourning, and preparing for Marty’s funeral?”

Doris pales to alabaster and faints into Rosemary’s arms. “Quick Cal. Help me with her please.”

He rushes to her side and lowers Doris gently to the ground. 

Rosemary whispers, “He’s dead…he’s honestly dead?”

Cal turns toward Rosemary and lifts her face, locking his eyes on hers. “You didn’t know? I thought…”

She pulls away from him. “You thought what?”

Cal flushes pink. “I thought perhaps…you may have bumped him off.”

“What?! You’re just as nutty as she is!” Rosemary points at Doris still passed out on the floor.

“Last call for flight 227 to Miami.”

She steps toward the exit. “I have to go. Goodbye Cal.”

“Rosemary, wait!” He sprints passed her and blocks the gate. “I want to know what happened.”

“Please get out of my way, Cal. You already think I’m guilty.”

“I thought it was self defense. I know Marty dragged you off, during the party.”

“Yes he did, and almost… If it wasn’t for—”

“For what? Please tell me.”

Rosemary sighs and looks up into Cal’s deep, brown eyes. “I need to leave town. That’s all I can say.” 

He wipes the beads of sweat from his brow. “Nothing more?” 

She moves closer to Cal and stands on tip toe, reaching toward him. He hunches over as she kisses him on the cheek and whispers, “I didn’t do it.”

In one swift movement, Rosemary pulls away and exits through the gate, holding her breath.

Farewell Cal. Farewell Chicago.

She exhales and her warm breath mingles with the chilly night air, creating a veil of fine mist. Bright flecks of silver glint in the hazy light. Rosemary quickens her step. As she approaches the beaming aircraft, a weight lifts from her shoulders and she sails up the stairs and into cabin. 

The stewardess smiles. “Welcome to Pam American Airlines, flight 227, miss. May I have your ticket please?” 

Rosemary fumbles through her purse, clasps the ticket, and hands it to the uninformed woman.
“Follow me, please.” She skirts down the aisle with grace and composure. Her soldier blue cap at a jaunty angle, accenting her blushed cheekbones and rosy-red lips.

Excited conversations echo around Rosemary, as the luxurious surroundings and Chicago’s elite begin to overwhelm her.

What am I doing? I don’t belong here. I should go back to Cal.

“Miss. Are you all right?” The stewardess beckons her, waving a white-gloved hand through the ringlets of smoke, curling in front of her. “You have a lovely window seat. No need to be nervous. We’ll do everything we can to make you comfortable.”

The cabin door slams behind her.

Oh, no. There is no turning back now.

Rosemary unlocks her legs and like a new born colt, advances toward the awaiting stewardess, holding her breath once more. She exhales slowly, clearing away some of the anxiety.

The stewardess smiles as Rosemary brushes passed her. She slips into the seat next to  a woman clad in silver mink.

“Good evening,” she says. “Is this your first flight.”

Rosemary nods.

“Relax dear. Before you know it, we will be in Miami.” She pats Rosemary on the arm and her kind eyes sparkle from a ray of bright light, emanating from the runway. 

“I will try. Thank you, Madame.”

“Better buckle up, we should be leaving shortly.”

Rosemary reaches for the fine, leather straps and buckles herself around the waist. As she settles into the plush seat, a loud bang comes from the cabin door. 

“Open up! This is the police!” 

Well, that's it. I hope you all enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think! The last section is what I wrote today, so it may be a bit rough.

Please drop by and read the other entries...I know you'll enjoy them!

Have a WONDERFUL Eventing everyone!

Monday, January 20, 2014


Good morning, Everyone!

I know I am posting a bit later than usual BECAUSE, in all honesty, I have had a VERY TOUGH TIME, trying to decide WHO would win the pound of PURE COLOMBIAN!

WELL, first let me say that your entries were AMAZING! I found poems, pictures, steps on how to make the perfect Turkish coffee, video clips even a major rant  of how much you HATE coffee, but MUST HAVE IT ANYWAY!

SO .... I decided to, of course have a winner ... which I am still pondering as I sip on my third cup of coffee, LOL, AND the runners up will receive a partial pound... enough beans to make at least a few pots, so that you could at least have a few dozen cups on me!


Now I know I said that the contest was only for my US friends, but a few of my wonderful Canadian blogger friends joined in the fun anyway! How COOL is that? And because they helped make my blog hop so festive, I am including them into the draw! YAY! SO my wonderful beans will be traveling throughout North America. LOL. From the SOUTH to the NORTH.

I know by now you are all probably saying .... get on with it MICHAEL... CUT THE CRAP, AND GET ON WITH THE WINNER/S!

YOU know you are... LOL.

Okay. HERE WE GO. I have just decided. Two entiwa has been in my mind since I read it. But first let me list my runners up ... in no particular order.

First, D. G, Hudson, for a sweet and charming poem which you can read here.

Deniz Bevan ... She posted a step-by-step way on how to make the ultimate Turkish coffee! Read it here.

Briane P.  For his HYSTERICAL take on the horrible taste of coffee. Read it here.

Michelle Wallace ... another wonderful poem! Read it here.

L. Diane Wolfe for her spunky little squirrel... TOO CUTE! See him here.

Shell Flower .... for a beautifully written Sestina! Definitely read this here.

If I was judging purely for craftsmanship, Shell would have won. But, I did say, I was looking for something FUNNY...

And this new blogger friend and winner certainly came through for all of us to have a really good laugh!

But first, I'd like to give a special thanks to Roland Yeomans for his wonderful take on coffee. He only drinks tea, but he wrote a beautifully descriptive piece that ties in so wonderfully with his amazing novels. If you are not familiar with his work, please visit him here.


ROBIN @ YOUR DAILY DOSE ....  For her hysterical movie clip about Coffee and the wonderful quote she posted! Her post is way too long for me to put here, but PLEASE drop by and visit her if you haven't yet! She is awesome! Click here:


THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THIS BLOGHOP SUCH A FUN TIME. This winter has kicked many of our butts in the northern region and having a good laugh really helped! You all are AWESOME!

Will the winners PLEASE send me their addresses! I will contact all of you individually throughout the day...

Thanks again and have a FANTASTIC WEEK!!!!!! It's off to an AMAZING START!

Friday, January 17, 2014




That's correct it is time for THE COFFEE HOP! Have YOU had your first cup yet? I am GRINDING the beans as you read this post. LOL.


As you know I want this to be a super FUN HOP, so my COFFE story today hopefully will give you a chuckle.

Mostly all my life I have been around some form of coffee addict. Growing up it was my Mom. She was a working mom and was NOT a morning person.

She was always scheduled to arrive at work by 9am... She'd get up at 9am... honestly... Her job was only ten minutes from the house so the night before she'd shower, etc, so she could stay in bed as long as possible.

My brothers, father, and I WOULD NEVER speak to her UNITL she had her morning cigarette and coffee! During the week I'd be at school before mom woke up. Dad worked nights, so he slept until noon or later. SO, my brothers and I learned at an early age to fix our own breakfast and make our own lunches... sad but true. LOL

I bet most of you mothers out there WOULD LOVE THAT! LOL.

BUT on weekends I had the coffee ready for her by exactly 10 O'clock. Mom would stagger down the stairs in her pink robe and slippers, tousled haired, and her normally large green eyes were mere slits. She'd plop down on the dining room chair and feel around for her pack of cigarettes.

Almost mechanically she'd light one up, take a few drags and wait for me to bring in the freshly brewed coffee.

Her button nose wrinkled and after I added the milk, she clinked the teaspoon around a few times and inhaled deeply.

After the first few sips, her eyes cranked open like the rusty gates on a shop store window. Another drag on her cigarette and perhaps another sip or two, she'd face me and smile.

Another sip, and she uttered her first three words of the day.

"Good morning, honey."

Then she'd pour herself the second cup.

That happened every weekend until the time I had left home. I will always treasure those weekend mornings and the conversations we had AFTER her second cup! LOL.

If you have a story to share... PLEASE DO... You can still join the HOP! If not, please visit the other entries. I am SURE you will get a kick out of them.

On Monday I will post the winning entry! SO PLEASE stop by to see who won the pound of PURE COLOMBIAN COFFEE!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Hello, All.

How is the week treating you so far? Hopefully well.

Today, I am addressing a VERY important issue. I had been visiting a fellow blogger when I was catapulted into this distressing post. Many of us don't really think too much about it. And many may have had a tiny glimpse of it in their lives, but STALKING is NO LAUGHING MATTER.

A good friend and author, Stina Lindenblatt is hosting the "TELL ME WHEN BLOG HOP." It addresses this issue in her latest novel, TELL ME WHEN. This is also National Stalking Awareness Month!
For this hop, Stina asks us to either share a personal story or a story of someone we may know.Stalking is serious. It can happen to ANYONE, even men. 

I generally don't post about my former life, but for this hop, I must.

When I was a model, I had been stalked by many people. Most were harmless. One young girl in particular was a friend of my brothers. The moment she met me... that was it. Cards, letters (this was before computers), phone calls. She even frequented my agency to see where I'd be shooting that day. It lasted for months. Until I finally sat her down and very kindly explained to her, I wasn't interested in anything from her. She did back off eventually.

But this was a major case of puppy love. But a few years before, another lurked in the shadows, waiting for his chance. An up and coming photographer, contacted my agency. He requested me for a shoot. Back then, agencies did very few identity checks. At the time, I had just turned 17. I went to his studio in the area now known as SOHO in NYC. Back then it wasn't the chic, trendy area it is today. It was a dark, run down, area full of empty lofts.

All went fine at first. It was a very professional shoot and a three months later, one of the images appeared in a national magazine. The photographer was making a good name for himself, so when he requested me again, I had no problem working for him. Once again, the shoot went well. Afterwards he asked If I'd like to go for a drink.

Being under age, I thanked him but declined. He followed me out and walked with me to the street. As I waited for a cab to show, he kept insisting. I still declined. I began walking and he continued to follow me. Thankfully a taxi showed and I jumped in quickly. He backed away and waved goodbye. I thought it strange at first, but then gave it no further thought.  I had only been modeling for about a year, so I really wasn't prepared for what was coming.

He began leaving messages for me at the agency. Thankfully they hadn't given him my home phone number. My agent didn't seemed to concerned because he again requested me for a major campaign. She saw the dollar signs, but I was a bit leery. She talked me into it.

I had other obligations, so the shoot wasn't scheduled for another two months. During this time, he always seemed to show up and catch me leaving my other shoots. Trailed me for several blocks, until I managed to find a free taxi. I was unnerved. I explained this to my agent, but she just blew it off. 

"Be happy you have such a photographer interested in you. He's going to be huge! Just think how far you'll go with him."

I kept all this from my parents, especially my dad, who was NEVER keen on the idea of my career. 
So I only had my agent to confide in. I had to trust her... she was my agent.

The day of the shoot came and I showed up at the usual 5:30 call. I had expected a make up artist and assistant which was usual for this type of campaign. No such luck. I entered his loft and he bolted the door.

"Where is everyone?" I had asked, trying to keep calm. "I thought the makeup artist would be here by now."

"You don't need it. You're perfect." His eyes brightened and his smile was not friendly... it was creepy. 

At the time I thought him middle-aged, but he was probably only in his early thirties. Shorter than me, but had a stocky build.

He pointed me to the rack of clothing, next to his bed. Yes, this was a loft. No walls. I felt exposed. I took the first outfit and raced into the bathroom, locking the door. Normally I had no problems 
changing in from of photographers, but ...

The lights were set, and he waited behind the camera, set on a tripod. I relaxed a bit. For the next two hours, he acted completely professional. My breathing returned to normal. I would be fine.

"That's a wrap," he called out. "Leave the clothes on the bed after you change. Then, you can go." He looked at me, smiled normally, and packed up his film. (yes, they used film in those days. LOL) 

"Good work."

"Thanks," I said and went back into the bathroom to change."

I came out ...

He was half dressed, draped on the bed. "I think it's time we get to know each other better." He patted the bed.

I was temporarily stunned. But my instincts kicked in and I ran to the bolted door. 

"Surely, you're not leaving yet?" His silky voice chilled me like I was dunked in ice water.

"I'm leaving." I wrestled with the door and he lunged at me.

I was ready for him.  I had learned how to take care of myself. My dad made sure my brother's and I could deliver a good punch.

I belted him in the gut. Pushed him hard onto the concrete floor, and the moment he moved, I struck him down again.

He wasn't expecting this. It was written all over his shocked face.

I through open the door and headed straight to my agent.

Back then, situations like this were always covered up. BUT, I did everything in my power to warn unsuspecting young male models to stay clear away from him. My agent did manage to drop him from the roster and eventually his reputation leaked out. I believe he was arrested a year or so later. Thankfully he never bothered me again. He obviously preyed on the weaker boys. I may have been just another pretty boy, but I was more that just another pretty boy. 

So, you see, it's not just under age girls that may be subject to stalking. This was back in the late 70's and I'm sure it still happens. Even more so now with the internet. Stalking is far more dangerous. So parents be aware of not just your daughters.

The hop is until the end of this week, so if you have a story to share, PLEASE sign up on Stina's blog

I hope you all have a SAFE day.

Don't forget to sign up for my Coffee hop for Friday! Details on the post below this one...

Monday, January 13, 2014


Hi, All.

How was you weekend? I hope you enjoyed the past few days. Thankfully Chicago returned to the double digits and we even had a high of 40!!! Insane really, when you think only five days previous, the temps were way into the - double digits.

Since it is MONDAY, we ALL need a pic-me-up to start our weeks. MANY of us begin our day with the intoxicating aroma of freshly ground coffee. Whether at home or at our local coffee houses, we can not function without it.

For all of you who are nodding at this very moment then you need to sign up for my COFFEE HOP on Friday!

Because I was recently in Colombia, South America, I brought back the BEST COFFEE EVER. Colombia is world renowned for their coffee, even more than the "white" stuff ... AND ... It's legal!

I want this to be a FUN hop. So all you have to do is post what you love most about coffee. Let's have a good time and LAUGH over a steaming cup! The most hysterical entry will win a pound of authentic Colombian coffee. 

Trust me, this is nothing like the Colombian imported here. I have NEVER tasted anything so smooth and delicious!

So PLEASE sign up on the linky at the bottom if you haven't already. Depending on the outcome, I may even give an extra pound away. I must apologize to my overseas friends, but postage would kill me. Sending a pound of anything out of the states is very costly. But don't let that stop you from joining in the fun. We can ALL use a good laugh.

Let's start the year off with a burst of laughter!!!!

I'd appreciate any shout outs. Thanks!

I hope to See you lots of you on Friday. I will be spending this week diving into my rewrites. I AM ON A ROLL... according to my editor. YAY! So I will breezing through the blogosphere when the wind shifts ....

How do you like the badge? Isn't it fun?!

I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Greeting All,

Now that we have all survived the past few months, we may feel like the air has been let out of our tires.

From Halloween we gear up for the holidays. Those of us with children begin to weave tales of witches, ghosts, pumpkins, goblins, and such. Sugary sweets in all forms enter the house but usually leave in only one way ... through our mouths.

Our weather chills and bulky clothes are added to cover any bumps and bulges we may have attained. This, my friends, is just the beginning ... as we all know.

Thankfully we still manage to get a run in or go to the gym, but time is fleeting. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. We begin shopping and planning menus. So exercise takes a back seat. For some, baking comes into full blast. But as the holidays approach, more stress is added, and Christmas is just a blink away.

You see where I'm heading with this, so I will spare you the fattening details.

The bottom line ... A new year.

But with it, we drag in last's years' baggage. How many of you are sad, depressed, anxious? Feel out of sorts? Not yourself?

You are NOT ALONE! MANY, MANY, people experience a major let down after the holidays. It usually starts when the credit card bills come rolling in. By this point the happiness buying gifts for loved ones has long worn off, especially when your kids are no longer playing with their new X-box or other high end toys.

SO, what do we do to pull ourselves out of this mess? Keep beating ourselves up? Lock ourselves in and not resurface until spring? Plan unrealistic and totally unattainable resolutions?


First, BREATHE. That's right. Stand up. Roll your shoulders. Inhale. LONG and deep. Hold it for a few seconds, and let it out SLOWLY. Do this at least five times and several times a day. It's a great stress reliever.

Next. Try NOT TO LOOK at all of your situations at once. FOCUS only on ONE thing at a time. Choose the easiest. Tackle something that will give you the confidence to move on to a more difficult challenge.

Let's start with your health. Yes, this is hardly an easy one, but, believe it or not, it doesn't take much to get on the right track to feel better. Once you feel physically better, you will feel mentally better, too. Then the rest should fall into place.

I know there are still holiday goodies lurking around your house. They can be anywhere. Not just in the kitchen. It's time to CLEAN HOUSE.

Believe it or not, I am still baking... LOL. Yesterday I was a day late baking King's Cake. An amazing confection to celebrate the arrival of the THREE KINGS. The official end of the Christmas season. I had never made it before and wanted to try. I found a wonderful recipe. After several steps and hours, out pops two HUGE danish-like cakes, filled with caramelized pecans, fresh pears, raisins, and figs. Now I usually have amazing resistance when it comes to my baking. I have baked TONS, during these past few weeks and just nibbled a bit here and there. Well... after breathing in the intoxicating perfume all afternoon, I attacked. BAD MICHAEL!!!!!

I literally inhaled two pieces. Not just slivers either.... What did I do? Well, I Yelled at myself for about thirty seconds and then planned my counter attack.  Quickly I wrapped them up in plastic. Stuffed them into freezer bags. Then hid them in the freezer along with about a dozen other things I had baked. LOL. Out of sight ... out of mind.

Then I went to the gym. Yes, even in sub below temps, I trekked through a foot of snow for a half mile. Okay. You may say I'm insane. But there are certainly warmer alternatives. Many of us have treadmills, workout cds, or even stairs. MOVEMENT is the key. Do something for at least a half an hour and you will not feel guilty and you body will thank you.

As for the other goodies. GET RID OF THEM. And, I don't mean by eating them. Seriously. So many of us have no will power and while we are in this fragile state, it's even harder.

Finally I'd like to touch on resolutions. DON'T torture yourself this way. Goals are a much smarter way to approach the new year. Again, start small. Then build from there. Whose to say you can't add more goals throughout the year. Give yourself a break.

And never forget this last bit of advise ...


I mean it. We are our own worst enemies.

If you are really frustrated talk things out with a friend or loved one. It's amazing how much better we feel when we can just vent...

Isn't that what the first Wednesday of every month is all about?

Many THANKS to Alex J. Cavanaugh and the IWSG team! You all ROCK!!!!

And if you get a chance, drop in on the other IWSG entries. They will really give you a LIFT!

Later today, I should have my badge up and a linky for my very COOL and FUN COFFEE BLOG HOP.... So please drop back later today or tomorrow for the deets!


Isn't if FUN! It really WAKES YOU UP!

Are you ALL ready.... This is going to be a super fun HOP! All you have to do is tell me what you LOVE about coffee ... AND ... A few random winners will receive ONE POUND OF PURE COLOMBIAN COFFEE! YUMMY! I almost HATE to give it away, but I want to share with you guys... I can only ship in the US ... so I hope my international pals understand.... The mails are so expensive these days...

We have over a week for the HOP so please spread the word by shout out and placing the badge in your side bar... that is if you have room. LOL.

Please sign up at the linky below. I can't wait until next FRIDAY!!!!!

Have a WONDERFUL rest of week everyone!

Monday, January 6, 2014



As you can see from the title Chicago is experiencing record LOWS today! With only a high of -12, I haven't been this cold since New Year's Eve 1990, when I was in Toronto. It was a whopping -40 there! But that was with the windchill. I am sure Chicago will be close to that number with our INSANE winds. After all Chicago is on another Great Lake, Michigan. How different can it be from Lake Ontario? Right?

I know that a great deal of our country is under "FROST" attack, so everyone that is in this belt, please be careful while out. LAYER! LAYER! LAYER! Drink lots of hot coffee, tea, cocoa,  chicken soup! And be extra careful on the roads. They are slick and icy. Pedestrians, take heed, it is just as dangerous for us. So walk with caution, Black ice is DEADLY....

On a lighter and more fun note, I am over at the A-Z blog. Alex J. Cavanaugh interviewed me about my them for last year's challenge. Please drop by if you can! I'd love to see you there.

Have a great day everyone! And, STAY WARM!!!!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Greetings everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful end of year celebration! Now that we are into our first week of 2014 it is time to GET BACK to work. LOL.

I know many of you still kept busy writing schedules over the holidays, BUT if you were like me, well, (hangs head in shame), you did not do much writing at all. I know we all have our, ehem, excuses, but no more will be accepted. LOL.

One of our special blogger friends, N.A. Windsor, affectionally know as Nutshell, has brought together an anthology with co-editor, Alana Garrigues. It is an amazing collection of writing exercises and their collective works written by the children's book writers of Los Angeles.

This is a book ALL Indie writers should have in their library. And what's even more special, through January, 50 percent of the proceeds will go to help aid in the Philippine Relief Efforts! SO... this is THE perfect time to break in all your Amazon gift cards and help support the many people devastated by this wicked force of nature.

Here are the highlights!

Story Sprouts Blog Tour: The Many Roles of an Indie Author
Last year my nonprofit writing group, CBW-LA, published its first ever anthology. It was our first foray into the challenging yet wonderful world of self-publishing. 
We learned a lot during the four months it took us to publish the anthology, including the fact that indie authors have to play many roles. 
This is the most important role you have to play. As an author, you give birth to new characters, create worlds for them to live in and bombard them with a thousand conflicts to make them grow. You will rewrite and revise your manuscript until the plot holes have been filled and the story flows seamlessly.

As an indie author, you’re advised to hire editors before you self-publish. But before you even hire a developmental editor to see how your story flows, and a copy-editor to make sure you have dotted all the i's and crossed all your t’s, you still need to make sure that you have personally edited your manuscript to the best of your ability. Sending a polished manuscript to your editors will ensure that you can publish it sooner rather than later. This also saves you money in the long run. A polished manuscript will have none of the unnecessary scenes and wasted words—which means less work for the editor and less pages for the printers to print.

A book is judged by its cover—at least initially, so as an indie author, you’re advised to hire a book cover designer, particularly if you’re not artistically-inclined. If you happen to have graphic design skills, then you’re one of the lucky few who can save some money to create your own cover art. But whether or not you do hire a designer for your book cover, you still need to learn about what makes a book cover stand out. You’ll need to learn about fonts, colors and text and graphic placement so you can apply it to your own book. Since you know your story inside and out, you’re the only one who can give the graphic designer the concept so he can create a cover that gives readers an idea of what your story is about.
As an indie author, you’ll need to format your book not just for print but for the different e-book platforms out there (mobi, epub, pdf, etc). Thankfully, this is one role which you can delegate to a professional, if you so choose. When we created STORY SPROUTS, we made sure that we hired a formatter like Morgan Media to work on our manuscript because we wanted to make sure the anthology looked professional and polished on all platforms.

Will you be publishing your ebook withAmazon, iBooks, Smashwords ,Barnes & Nobles’ Nook or all of them? How much will you sell your ebooks for? How about your print book? Will you be selling them just domestically or internationally? Will you be selling to bookstores and libraries? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer and work on as you fulfill the role of distributor.

You’ll have to create a marketing plan and put it into motion. How will you get the word out about your book? Will you be doing book tours? Will you do Blog tours and promote your work through various social media? Will you give away swag on your blog? How about promotional items related to your book like bookmarks, pins or t-shirts? As an indie author, you’ll not only have to be your own marketing representative, you’ll also have to be your own publicist.  This will include setting up your own events, asking for book reviews, and creating publicity materials such as a press kit or press releases.

As an indie author, you’ll also have to be your own project manager. You’ll need to create a financial plan and stick to it. You’ll have to make sure everything from writing to editing to publishing stays within your set timeline. This goes for the allotted budget as well. Spreadsheets will become your best friend as you also play the role of accountant. You’ll have to keep track of your sales, your vendors and your taxes. 

These are the major roles an indie author has to play, along with being a multi-tasker, problem-solver and go-getter as well. It takes a lot of time and hard work, but it is so worth it to be a part of every step your book takes from its inception to its publication. 

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: CBW-LA Publications (October 18, 2013)
Edited by: Alana Garrigues, Nutschell Anne Windsor
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989878791
ISBN-13: 978-0989878791
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

19 Authors
38 Combined Anthology Entries – 2 per Contributing Author
6-hour Workshop
10 Writing Exercises (included in Story Sprouts)
Dozens of Photo, Character and Conflict Prompts (included in Story Sprouts)
240 pages

What happens when linguistic lovers and tale tellers workshop together? Inspiration. Wonder. Discovery. Growth. Magic. 
Brave and talented, the writers featured in this anthology took on the challenge of dedicating one day to the raw and creative process of writing. 
A rare view into the building blocks of composition, Story Sprouts is made up of nearly 40 works of poetry and prose from 19 published and aspiring children's book authors.
This compilation includes all of the anthology writing exercises and prompts, along with tips, techniques and free online writing resources to help writers improve their craft.


Learn more about Story Sprouts at
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles at  

Find Nutschell at:

Thanks for having me on your blog, Michael!

It was TOTALLY my pleasure, Nutshell! I wish you all the best with this incredible Anthology.

Thank you all for stopping by today and showing support for a very worthy cause! Have a GREAT weekend everyone.