Monday, September 29, 2014


Greetings, All!

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

THANK YOU, My dear friends!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 15, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Why yes, Mr. Wagner."

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

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

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

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

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

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

He burst out laughing. "True."

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

She blushed. "Yes."

 *     *     *    *    *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"To a dance."

"A dance. Without me?"

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

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

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

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

"Enough, Rolf! I'm leaving."

"Let me come with you! Please."

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

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

*     *    *     *     *     *    *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*     *    *     *     *     *    *

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

With trembling fingers she opened the envelope.

Marry me ...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*     *    *     *     *     *    *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a GREAT day everyone! 

Friday, September 5, 2014


Happy Friday, ALL!

Today it my EXTREME pleasure to announce a project I and several AMAZING ladies have been working on this summer!


Created by Julie Kemp Pick and Susan Flett Swiderski, Old BROADS is a collection of amusing poetic stories about "OLD BROADS..." How fun is that?! And not only will you be amused and entertained you will be helping CARE INTERNATIONAL by purchasing your copy! ALL proceeds will go to this wonderful charity! 

SO all the ladies and myself have donated our time and talent for this worthy cause AND to ENTERTAIN all of you! It's a WIN, WIN situation!

And today is the COVER REVEAL, created by yours truly, and its DEBUT! What a FUN weekend read! Here's the Amazon link...

And here's a note from Susan...

"To celebrate its release, each old broad featured in this book is blogging about her favorite old broad today, and we invite each of you to tell us a little something about your favorite old broad in the comments. Oh, and if you're still offended by the term broad, I apologize. If you'd prefer, you can tell us about your favorite older woman... how's that? Oh yeah, and one of you who comments about your fave broad will be winning a free copy of our book. Cool, huh? (It really IS a cool book... not only is it filled with some fun poetry, but all proceeds from its sale are going to CARE International.)

Now now, let me introduce you to the other broads, so you can follow their blogs, too. (Like I said, they're ALL terrific.)

NOTE: Technically, Michael isn't a broad. He's a guy. A very nice guy who used that lovely image from Francesco Romoli to create our cover for us, so you could say, as an important member of our team, he's an honorary broad. With hairy legs. (LOL)

Help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter throughout the week to earn bonus points. Also, please indicate where you posted about your favorite old broad, so we're sure to find it. The winner will be announced next Friday, September 12th.
Thanks for helping make this a very broad celebration!

So I hope you all can hop around and visit the OLD BROADS....

I'd like to quickly tell you all about my favorite "Old Broad." 

Growing up, my mom's best friend, named Anita, was the coolest. A divorced single mom, she was THE LIFE of every gathering. But it's not her but her mom I'd like to honor today. What a hoot this OLD BROAD was... At over 80, she kept up with us kids in card playing (poker), always had THE BEST BISCOTTI COOKIES EVER on hand, and her smile lit up a room. We all called her Nana. Since my grandmother was long gone, she actually filled her shoes. Think Sophia Pertrillo from Golden Girls... only she had it all going on. No blue hair for this broad. Her white hair gleamed in the current style. Earrings dangling, tailored clothing, and heeled shoes, she totally rocked.

I really miss her. And she's an "Old Broad," I'll never forget!

Have a FANTASTIC weekend everyone!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Hi, All,

Time for another segment of the IWSG.... This month marks the third year! Who would've have guessed when Alex mentioned on his blog that it would become such an amazing group! Three years of helping each other through our worst anxieties. Not to mention the Facebook page and the ISWG blog! AMAZING....

August has been a very trying month for me. Hauntings of my near death accident last year at this time taunted me all month. Every walk I did on the lake front had me on edge. Something that was once so pleasurable to me now riddles me with stress and awareness.

But I am strong. I will not let it get to me and I continue to do my daily walks. 

This month also knocked me down with more rejections. But at least the last was a personal note from my FAVORITE agent who is well respected and so helpful to newly writers, Sara Davies. I learned that it wasn't the story or my writing but choosing a male voice to narrate my story. In a world filled with female mc's flooding the y/a market, I thought a male voice would be refreshing and different. The bottom line. It doesn't sell. So now I am at a crossroads. Do I still keep querying, hoping some agent will take a chance or send it directly to publishers to see what they think...

I do have one more scenario.... rewrite it in the female character's pov. ANOTHER MAJOR re-write. Do I really want to go through that again? 

Has this ever happened to you? I'd love to know what you all think...

On a good note. My friend Melissa Bradley made it through her last round of Chemo. Although a bit weak she sounds great. Thank God. You prayers and warm wishes are working. Thank you all and Thanks to ALL of you who are spreading the word about Melissa and the Cancer blog hop and Anthology.... drop down to the previous post for details if you haven't heard...

I am also happy to say I signed a new client this week. Finally a worthwhile design project. Not just a staging or quick fix , but a REAL job. I haven't had one of these in three years. SO at least now selling my condo isn't so urgent. But WINTER is coming and I still want to get out of Chicago. The real estate market has slowed tremendously, so I'm stuck. But obviously I need to be here. At least I know I'm needed. Spending time with Melissa has done us both a great deal of good.....

I'll be seeing her again on Tomorrow. She is a real stubborn woman... GOTTA love it! She'll beat this monkey on her back for sure! 

Don't forget to visit our other friends in the IWSG.... Thanks to Alex and his co-hosts, Mark, Shah, Laura, and Sheena.... You guys ROCK!