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

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Grandmothers are Special People...

Tuesday, April 7th is my grandmother's birthday. Although she passed away in 1998, at the age of 91, I miss her as much today as I did in the early weeks of her passing. My "Grandmom" loved Spring, especially the flowers she had all over the front of her house. It's a combination of ironic and appropriate that she would be born in her favorite season.

Grandmom was a big influence in my writing life. She was the one person who always read my childhood, handwritten stories. She bought me my first typewriter (probably because she was tired of trying to figure out my handwriting -- which hasn't improved much over the years). I still have the Little Golden Books she would buy me on trips to the "Five and Ten." The tattered paperbacks that she passed on to me still sit on my bookshelf. 

My grandmother left me her superstitions, famous words of wisdom, and I inherited her love of reading and the Philadelphia Phillies. Grandmom spent her time with one eye on the television and the other on her current book. I remember walking through the South Philly streets with her and my mother at Christmastime. Strolling we would look at the decorated houses before stopping for hot chocolate. Summer always found us sitting on the seashore boardwalk, people-watching, and eating ice cream. 

While I think of my grandmother every day, this time of year makes remembering her even more special.

"Happy birthday, Grandmom!"

(photo c/o skooterkurt @

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Touching Our Emotions..."

I pulled a post out of the Blogspot Vault from July 2013. Hope you enjoy. Please feel free to share your thoughts on what my grandmother called "tear-jerker movies."

The other night I watched the movie “Back Street,” the 1961 version with Susan Hayward and John Gavin. The premise of the movie is a wealthy – and married – man (John Gavin) has an affair with a single, career-minded woman (Hayward). The couple is truly in love, but the husband has two small children and an alcoholic, self-centered wife (Vera Miles) who tried to commit suicide when he mentioned divorce. The Hayward character is content to be “the other woman.”

In the end, the husband and wife are killed when the car the wife is driving crashes.

The scene that breaks my heart and has me running for the tissues is the very last one. When the two devastated children come to visit a grieving Susan Hayward and tearfully ask if they could visit her from time to time, she gathers them in her arms.

The movie is actually based on a novel written by Fannie Hurst (since I’ve never read the novel, I’m not sure how closely the 1961 version follows the book or earlier movie versions). As I cried my eyes out while Susan Hayward gazed at the grief-stricken children, I imagine an author at her computer typing out this scene and contemplated the power of the written word to touch our emotions.

What about you, readers? Has anyone seen an earlier version of "Back Street?" Are there any movies or books out there that have you crying long after the words, “The End”?

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photo c/o skooterkurt

Sunday, March 22, 2015

From Song to Novel?

When baseball season is in full gear, my radio is tuned in to anything Philadelphia Phillies. During the rest of the year, my radio is locked on our local "oldies" station.

Recently, I heard a song, and although I'd heard this tune many times over the last 30+ years, I had never really soaked in the words. I realized the lyrics actually made a good novel. Which got me to thinking about songs I've listened to in the past that would make an interesting read.

I've included youtube links should you want to give a listen. What do you think? Novel in the making? Is there a song you'd like to add to my list?

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes

Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin

Honky Tonk Woman by Rolling Stones

The River by Bruce Springsteen

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photo c/o npclark2 at

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Lookin' Like Spring!

What a difference a week makes! On Thursday, as I walked through Philly's Washington Square, those words ran through my mind. Exactly one week ago, I had been home, starting a four day "snow weekend" looking out my window and watching as the white flakes fell from the sky.

By this Thursday, the sun shined brightly, the temperature was in the 50s and snow? What snow? The white stuff was completely gone thanks to a combination of rain earlier in the week followed be some warm temperatures. When I arrived at my bus stop, I overheard everyone expressing the same sentiment, Spring is on the way. The season will officially be here at the end of the week, but today feels very much like Spring!

While everyone chatted as we waited, I thought about what I like about Spring, the warmer temperatures, baseball, daylight savings time, leaves and blossoms on the trees, Rita's Water Ice, flea markets...

Yay! What makes you happy that Spring is here?

(photo c/o paulabflat at