Sunday, May 24, 2015

Remembering our Heroes...

This Monday, May 25th, in the United States we celebrate Memorial Day. 

While we think of it as the "unofficial" beginning of the summer season, and enjoy picnics and parades with our families, we all should stop and reflect on the philosophy behind our day off from work. 

Memorial Day, set aside each year as the final Monday in May, is a day to honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Let's take some time to remember and say a prayer for those who gave their lives for us to celebrate on this day.

Friends, have a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.

(photo c/o pippalou at

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Misunderstood Friend, the Wolf...

Yes, he's big, but no, not bad! I find that stereotype rather annoying. I refuse to read tales like Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs without offering a disclaimer first. 

Wolves are highly social (with each other), protective, loving creatures, and the image portrayed over the years is a gross misinterpretation. As I once said to my little four-year-old neighbor, "wolves are more afraid of you than you should be of them."

Last week I saw the obituary for Michael Blake, who passed away in Arizona at the age of 69. Blake, who was an outspoken advocate for numerous social issues, including literacy, is best know for writing the novel, "Dances With Wolves." Published in 1988, I read "Dances With Wolves" long before seeing Kevin Costner's movie because of my love for the wolf. The film went on to win multiple Academy Awards including a Best Screenplay for Blake and Best Director for Costner.

There are many organizations offering protection to wolves in their natural environment, and refuge to those with circumstances that prevent them from surviving in the wild. If you love, and respect, wolves as much as I do, here are a few organizations you might want to check out.

Wolf Sanctuary of PA

Wolf Haven International

Defenders of Wildlife

Anyone who may be interested in reading the novel, Dances with Wolves, I've included the Amazon link for the 2002 reissue,

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photos c/o

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm taking a break from blogging today to spend some time with my mom on her special day! Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there -- "Moms, you all rock!"

(photo c/o

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Do You Have a "Celebrity Crush"?

When I was twelve-years-old, I saw the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It took me all of two minutes to fall in love with Robert Redford, and I've been in love with him ever since.

I've seen all his movies -- even when he was the voice of "Ike the horse" in Charlotte's Web -- the popular ones (The Way We Were, The Sting, All the President's Men, The Natural) and the not so popular (The Clearing, An Unfinished Life -- an excellent movie, by the way). I won't consider getting rid of my Redford movie VHS tapes even though I no longer have a VCR to watch them on. I've seen movies he hadn't starred in, but directed (Ordinary People, Quiz Show, The Conspirator to name a few) because his name was attached. "Bob" and I were both born in August, we're Leos, and Leos are very loyal people.

My family enjoys teasing me about my "love affair with Bob," and a colleague of mine once joked that I've been "involved" with Robert Redford more years than the total number of years she's been married to a combination of three husbands.

This past January Turner Classic Movies chose him as their "Star of the Month." Every Tuesday night was "date" night as I enjoyed an array of movies like The Way We Were (for about the hundred and tenth time), The Candidate, and All The President's Men.

Is there a celebrity out there, Readers, you've been smitten with? Someone that you have never actually met but have an undeniable fascination with? 

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photos c/o

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Can't Get That Tune Out of My Head...

My radio in my home office has two set stations, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies or the local Oldies channel. Last weekend, while searching for paperbacks to donate to a book drive, I heard a song from my Community College days.The song, with it's amusing lyrics and snappy beat, was a 1982 hit by The Weather Girls, "It's Raining Men!"

On Monday we had rain here in Philly, and I mean RAIN! The kind of downpour where your umbrella does little good. While sloshing to the bus stop, I heard myself singing "It's Raining Men!" (although I have to confess, with my lack of tone, the Weather Girls won't be asking me to join their group).

During our break, when we all gather in the staff lounge, I couldn't stop singing the song. Several coworkers, who weren't even born in 1982, asked "what are you singing?" or "where did you get that song from?"

While I explained, one of my colleagues found this "entertaining" video on YouTube. After lots of witty comments and chuckles among my associates, I thought I'd share the video with you.

This song won't leave me alone. Although this past Friday was a beautiful, sunny day, I strolled through Washington Square singing...yep, you guessed it...

Ever have that dilemma? A song that keeps replaying in your head? Does anyone have any advice for me on how to get rid of it?

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photo c/o

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fall in Love with a Book Series!

I grew up a HUGE soap opera fan. As a result, I've become a fan of book series...the satisfaction of closing one door and the anticipation of what's behind the next. Crimson Romance has some great series. I've featured the first book in three of my favorites and invite you to check out the remaining reads at Crimson Romance's ebookstore.


The Reluctant Debutante by Becky Lower (Book 1 in the Cotillion Ball Series)

Rallying for women’s rights alongside Amelia Bloomer is more important to Ginger Fitzpatrick than finding a husband. After all, it’s 1855, and women in New York City, and all of America for that matter, have been superior to men in every way—except legally—for hundreds of years. Ginger believes her cause is far more exciting than the new Cotillion Ball that’s become accepted by high society as a way for young ladies to be introduced into society.

On the night of Ginger’s debut, she again meets the dark and mysterious stranger who saved her from the police the previous day at a rally. The man, Joseph Lafontaine, begins to ignite her passion for things other than women’s rights and makes her rethink her stand on marriage. But what she and the rest of New York’s high society don’t realize is that the man is half Ojibwa Indian, and therefore, unacceptable for marriage to a fine, cultured young lady. He’s accepted by the Fitzpatrick family as a friend of one of Ginger’s brothers and as a patron of their family banking business, but they draw the line at suitability as a spouse for Ginger.

Ginger must ultimately decide if she will obey her family’s wishes or continue to live life by her own set of rules. As Ginger becomes part of the largest train wreck of its day on the outskirts of St. Louis, she finally understands what makes life worthwhile.

Crimson Buy Link:

What a Texas Girl Wants by Kristina Knight (Book 1 in the Texas Wishes series)

Jackson Taylor has few illusions. As one of the top fashion photographers in New York, he's seen how images are manipulated. That goes double in Texas, but after a vacation fling he finds himself tied to the place he's hated all his life: Lockhardt, Texas. His new wife is trouble he doesn't need, but he can't seem to say no...

Kathleen Witte has grand plans: she's going to train her horse for the World Equestrian Games and change the future for her family's famous Texas ranch. But after a vacation romance with Jackson Taylor, her teenage crush, turns into a drunken honeymoon, all her plans are in jeopardy. Luckily for her Jackson remembers Texas chivalry and agrees to a new plan: fake being in love and stay married for appearances sake...

The plan is simple: stay married until Kathleen's birthday when her grandfather will hand over the reins to the ranch. But nothing is ever simple in Texas. There are sisters to deal with, horses to train, and the little matter of Jackson disappearing every day. Kathleen is falling hard for the Texas transplant but can a tropical moment turn into a real, forever kind of love?

Crimson Buy Link:

Wildly by Debra Kayn (Book 1 in Playing for Heart Series)

Rules, boundaries, and social graces were not part of Shauna Marino's world growing up in Cottage Grove, especially around former Wimbledon champ Grayson Schyler. Older and wiser, Grayson rocked Shauna's world until she went crazy. Her teenage crush came to an embarrassing end when she propositioned him in his office naked, humiliated her father in front of the whole town, and was subsequently sent away to college to gain her self-respect. Now she's back with a reputable job working for the city, and determined to prove to everyone she's matured. Only she's never stopped loving Grayson, and the desire to throw herself at him never left.

Only one woman ever set Grayson's heart on fire, and he'd sent her away to save her reputation and his tennis career. He never expected her to return all grown up and more sexy than he remembered. Now that scandal is no longer a concern to his tennis career, he plans to go after Shauna and sample what she was willing to give him years ago. Except she's out to prove she no longer wants him. Her actions tell him she's lying. Nothing will stop him from proving her wrong, so he can finally get the girl out of his mind 

Crimson Buy Link:

Have a wonderful week, Everyone, and happy reading!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Plot or Character?

Several weeks ago, anticipating a "snow day" later in the week, I checked out three DVDs from my local library. Two were based on a best selling novels (that I hadn't read) and turned out to be big box office hits with Oscar nominations.

While the plots were intriguing, the characters were drab. Basically, I found myself asking "why should I care what happens to these people?" One story was a murder mystery, with the main character being so cruel and nasty, I concluded the small town was better off without her.

Perhaps I can only speak for myself, but when I'm reading a book or writing a story, it's all about the characters. In my writers/readers' mind, you create characters people care about and then build a situation around them.

Obviously, if the DVDs I had checked out -- and their books -- were hits, not everyone thinks like me. Which leads me to ask a question this week. What attracts you to a story? Plot? Or characters?

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photo c/o gtrfrkbob at