Saturday, December 30, 2006

Worksaving Device?

My sister gave me a Roomba--the robotic vacuuming device that is supposed to clean all by itself. She had received it as a gift, but after trying it out for a while, she decided it wasn't for her. She said her house is too big and the thing had gotten itself lost a few times.

I tried it out in the upstairs hall. I watched it for a while to be sure it would not fall down the stairs. It came to the edge several times and turned around so I figured it would be fine by itself. I left it and went off into another room. Then I heard a crash. Roomba had fallen down the steps.

Nevertheless, after a charge it seemed to have suffered no ill effects from the fall. So the next day I put it in the dining room. It whirled around for quite a while until it had depleted all its energy. It had collected some dirt--though I am sure our regular vacuum which has far more suction would have done a more thorough job. Still, the rug looked neater--and some small crumbs had been picked up.

Today I put it in our little library. Again it ran around for a while until it ran out of power. Again, it picked up some dirt. I should do an experiment and see how much the regular vacuum would pick up after Roomba has finished.

But it is a nice gadget.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

When the cook is upset...

Mistakes happen.

Every year on Christmas Eve I make Cape Cod Cranberry Pie. It's easy. It's quick and it is delicious. I make biscuits and ham, too, along with vegetables. But the pie is the big flourish at the end of the meal.

However, this year I was upset. And the pie was a disaster. I had a good reason for being emotionally distraught. My mother went into the hospital (again) on Saturday. The reason she wound up in the hospital was the same this time as last time--her medication.

So in a bad state of mind, I began to mix up my pie--just as I've done every Christmas Eve. When I was finished, I knew something was wrong because the crust did not spread out as it usually does. But I stuck the pie in the oven anyway.

It came out looking rather strange.

In wasn't until it was time to serve the pie that I realized what I had forgotten to add to the crust.



I sliced up the pie and practically drowned each piece in whipped cream. It was edible, but not at all as scrumptious as it should have been.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Last Holiday Gig

Today I joined hubby in entertaining at an adult day care center. I led the sing-along which consisted mostly of holiday songs. Nevertheless, hubby came prepared to play a few requests--which was a good thing because there was one woman who had grown up on the Italian Riviera--the most beautiful place in the world, she claimed. Especially for her, hubby played a medley of Italian songs.

Then when hubby began to play Ave Maria, one man in the audience got up and sang it beautifully. His Latin was better than mine. :^)

Our audience was very appreciative and a few of them did get up to dance, too. It was a lovely afternoon!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Amazon Connect

I signed up for the Amazon Connect program for authors. So far, my three Awe-Struck books are included. So when anyone goes to the description page for the books, I'll be there at the bottom of the page, chatting about my books. Readers can make comments.

This is supposed to be good for business. :^)

I have a lot of company in this endeavor. There are plenty of other writers hooked up to Amazon's Connect program. It is interesting to read what they have written about their books.

Check it out if you have the chance!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


This is a slightly enhanced photo of the erratically blinking light display at our house. Hubby and I put the lights on the bushes today. We still have plenty of other Christmas preparations that we must complete--hopefully soon, but to me the lights are truly one of the joys of the season.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Writers' Party

Yesterday, the members of the New Jersey Romance Writers had their annual holiday party! Everyone brought something to eat--there was a preponderance of desserts. I made Frito Pie. It is tasty and everyone liked it, but there's tons of sodium in it.

It was nice to sit and chat with everyone. Most of the time at the monthly meetings we don't have much time to gab since there is usually an informative program or workshop. Still, conversations can be a little different with a bunch of writers. Every now and then someone will say, "That would make a great title!" Or "That would make a great story!" It doesn't matter what the topic of conversation might be, there's always a good idea in there somewhere.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Grad School Buddies

One of hubby's grad school friends stopped in to visit yesterday. It was so nice to see him since we haven't seen him in quite a few years. He lives in the Netherlands and is now retired. A long, long time ago, hubby was the best man at this friend's wedding.

Hubby's Dutch friend brought us some chocolate. He reminded us about St. Nicholas Day--which is a big holiday in the Netherlands.

The visit was too short, but we have an invitation to go and visit hubby's friend in the Netherlands. Wouldn't that be awesome!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Past Few Days...

were very hectic. On Friday, Daughter #1 moved from one apartment to another. Hubby and I drove the two hours to her place and helped her with the move. She now has a washer and dryer in her apartment. So hopefully, she won't be bringing laundry home with her every time she visits.:^)

Friday night, hubby's band had a fancy Christmas party--dinner and dancing--an hour away from our home. We spent much of Friday in the car.

Saturday I had to catch up on all the things I did not do on Friday. Then today we drove to see Daughter #1 again. She sang in a concert with the choir--and it was a wonderful concert. Afterwards, on the way home, we stopped in to visit Daughter #3. We shared a fast food supper with her and then got back on the road to head home.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Unwrapped Toy

Every year our church has an advent tree in the foyer decorated with tags listing gifts needed for those less fortunate. I always pick the tag for the unwrapped toy and then I go out an buy a baby doll.

Today, I strolled through the aisles of Toys R Us looking for the perfect baby doll. This year my choice was the You & Me, Giggles & Coos Baby. When the baby doll's hand is squeezed its eyes close and open. It also makes delightful baby noises.

I love it.

Maybe someday I'll have grandchildren and I won't buy baby dolls anymore. But I still believe the simplest toys are the best.

Should I buy wooden blocks next year?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Our Trio

This is the annual photo! Hubby and I managed to corral our daughters for a few minutes and take some snapshots. Our daughters cooperated, which was nice. When they were younger, taking a photo of the three of them was often a monumental task.

Friday, November 24, 2006

New Vocabulary

Daughters #1, #2, and #3 are staying for the weekend. I am learning new vocabulary words. Some of them are not so nice like the one I learned today. According to English Through The Ages (a great book for writers) the word was coined in 1660. I guess I have lived a sheltered life. Oh well.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

No Turkey

Here's our Fakesgiving gang--minus me because I took the picture. We dined at the Macaroni Grill. No turkey there. However, we all had plenty to eat. Several brought food home. Not me, I ate everything. I had planned ahead by having a cup of yogurt for lunch--and I did not have salad before the main course.

My mother is doing somewhat better. Her blood pressure is apparently under control now, but she suffered with a stiff neck all week. Last night's dinner out was a big excursion for her, but she had a nice time.

Sister #1 and her family stayed at our house overnight before they headed back home. Sister #2 and her gang stayed with Mom and Dad.

I sure wish everyone lived close by.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Usually, every year at Thanksgiving the entire clan gathers at my house--the clan being my sisters with their spouses and children, my parents, our own daughters, and sometimes my uncle's family. Some years I have fed 22 people--and one dog (Cassie, who makes an appearance in Heaven's Blue).

However, this year Sister #2's husband must work on the Friday after Thanksgiving. So she thought we could all get together for the feast this weekend. Daughter #2 cannot be here and neither can Sister #1's oldest son who is in college. I intend to make the usual turkey dinner on Thanksgiving--but just thinking about making another huge feast this weekend made me exhausted.

Instead we are going out to eat. Sister #1 decided to dub this "Fakesgiving." For me, it means I will be able to chat and enjoy everyone's company.

I think I'll want to do this next year. :^)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Art Opening

Today the library had an art opening and one of my paintings was in the show. I sold the painting! (My first sale!) I have been in Grace Graupe-Pillard's painting workshop for a long, long time. That's Grace on the right in the photo. She holds class shows every now and then, and I've had my paintings in other shows, but this was the first time someone wanted to buy one of my paintings--which is awesome.

Hubby was impressed. He took the photo.

Friday, November 10, 2006

My Mom

Yesterday was my mother's 85th birthday. She spent the day at the hospital--getting an MRI among other things. Her blood pressure readings have been in the stratosphere. However, the tests she has had proved that her kidneys are fine. The cardiologist found her heart okay--but for a few skipped beats. Still, for an 85 year old woman, she is in relatively good shape.

Evidently, her medication is a big part of the problem. Until that problem is straightened out, I'll be running back and forth to the hospital to visit.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Books Sandwiched In

I love to talk about books! Today I had a great time doing just that at the Books Sandwiched In program in Atlantic Highlands. The Books Sandwiched In program (BSI) is affiliated with Atlantic Highlands Friends of the Library. They are a wonderful group of people and they asked some good questions.

Hubby came along to help.

He got a free cup of coffee. :^)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Here's one of the photos taken during our daughters' visit to the Netherlands. They stopped at an abbey where a bunch of monks make ale. Looks like everyone had a great time!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

My Halloween costume this year was a combination of two former costumes. I looked completely ridiculous, which is okay. I'd rather go for something funny than something ghoulish.

The kiddies knew what I was--a clown queen. However, one of my coworkers thought I looked like a cross between Burger King, Bozo, and something from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Hubby decided I was Dracu-Bozo, Queen of the Vampire Clowns. :^)

The difficult part of this costume was the nose. If I ever put on that nose again, I will use duct tape to keep it in place.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

How They Grew

Over the years, we measured our daughters' heights on the door jam of the downstairs hall closet. There were pencil marks, names, and measurements taken at sporadic intervals. Today, hubby painted over the measurements. I took a few photos before he applied the brush.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Four Stars!

A Rush of Light received a four star review in Romantic Times Book Review magazine. I have no idea what the review says because I am not a subscriber and will not get a copy of the magazine until it arrives at my local bookstore. However, you can watch this space and sooner or later you, too, can read the entire review. :^)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Our World Travelers

Daughters #1 & #2 took a vacation together. For their first trip abroad, they went to the Netherlands to visit their cousin and her family who now live there. They had a very nice time and came home loaded with licorice--evidently a favorite of the Dutch.

Daughter #2 showed us her photos of the teeny, tiny cars she saw. She also had photos of Dutch jack o'lanterns which are somewhat different from the ones we carve over here. First of all, the Dutch don't call them jack o' lanterns. They call them Halloweens. :^)

I had a little pumpkin on the kitchen table and Daughter #2 was inspired to create her own Dutch-style Halloween.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wonderful E-Books!

I got my batch of e-books to judge for the EPPIE contest so I'll be doing more reading than usual for a while--not that I mind. :^)

Every year, the EPPIE Awards are presented to the best e-books. Two of my books won in the inspirational category, Sea of Hope in 2002 and Heaven's Blue in 2005. Winning was such a thrill!

It is a great contest.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Flea Market

I joined hubby for a trip to one of the flea markets today. The weather was clear and cool--just perfect for walking around outdoors. I found a bargain on my favorite soap, I got twelve pairs of crew socks for $8, and I got three hardcover books. Plus I got some exercise. :^)

The piles and piles of STUFF at the flea market always amaze me. Many people have way more than they need. Our own house is cluttered. We tried the flea market a few times to get rid of our excess, but we did not do well. We tried a few garage sales, but again we did not get rid of everything.

Lately, if I really want to get rid of something I put it out on the corner near the road with a big sign on it that says FREE. This seems to be the most effective method to eliminate clutter. We got rid of several large items this way--an extension ladder, a dollhouse, a broken lawnmower, and an old bicycle. In anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, whatever I put out was whisked away.

Now I'm beginning to think that someone who has a table at one of the flea markets probably took my stuff and added it to their huge assortment of items for sale. But it's okay. At least, I don't have to trip over those pieces of clutter anymore.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I would love to have the image of a lighthouse on the cover of THE KEEPER'S PROMISE when it is released. Awe-Struck's editors have allowed me the freedom to design my own bookcovers. Daughter #2, a graphic designer, has implemented my ideas to create two of my covers. For HEAVEN'S BLUE she used a detail from the right hand side of a painting I had done of a beach. So I am hoping to do another painting which would be the basis of a cover for THE KEEPER'S PROMISE.

I already have a painting of Barnegat Light, which I did a few years ago. However, Old Barney is too tall and would not fit into a neat 5 x7 format for a bookcover--unless I only use the top of the painting.

Sunday, hubby and I visited Sandy Hook Lighthouse and I took several photos. Then Monday, we visited the Absecon Lighthouse. Sandy Hook's Lighthouse is not near the water--anymore. The sand shifted. The Absecon Lighthouse is not near the water either and it is surrounded by houses.

For my bookcover, I want a short--though not too short--lighthouse next to the water. I decided I could use the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, but paint in different scenery. You can see my idea in the rough sketch here. I thought it would be a good idea to leave a lot of space for the title. :^)

Of course, it will take me a while to do a complete painting because I tend to put in every blade of grass. Plus my Awe-Struck editor does have to approve the design. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to this project. It's going to be exciting and fun!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Another Fantastic Conference!

On Friday and Saturday I attended the annual New Jersey Romance Writers' Conference. I sat around with other authors in the PAN Retreats, drank wine, ate chocolate cookies, and discussed the business of writing. I heard of obstacles that have prevented some of the authors from reaching the top. "We all want to be stars," said Shirley Hailstock.

That is so true.

Saturday's speakers and workshops were wonderful. Carla Neggers gave out tips for writing a breakout novel. Victoria Alexander explained the way she looks at life from a writer's viewpoint.

As always, I made sure to sit in on the editors' panel. Last year, all the editors wanted erotica. This year paranormal was the number one request. I have been writing seriously for a long, long time and I have seen the pendulum swing back and forth so often I simply sigh when a "new" trend is announced.

Next year, those editors will all be craving something else.

I received six FREE books and I sold a few of my books at the bookfair.

There are some New Jersey Romance Writers who have left our fair state, but who returned for the conference. It was so nice to see them.

Now I can't wait for next year's conference. :^)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A New Contract!

Awe-Struck E-Books has offered me a contract for THE KEEPER'S PROMISE. It is another inspirational romance and will be my fourth inspirational published by Awe-Struck. I do not have a publication date as yet, but it should be in the spring of 2008. I can hardly wait!

I would love to have a lighthouse on the cover of the book. :^)

Here's a short excerpt from the end of Chapter Three:

Slowly, she swung the door open. Shining the flashlight all around, she found herself in what would have been a living room. It was empty, though there were a few beer cans in one corner. Throwing her shoulders back, she stamped loudly on the floor as she headed toward the next room. She figured if any animals inhabited the place, they would hear her coming and run away. The old kitchen had a dusty table in one corner, a refrigerator with no door, and a sink full of beer cans.

“Okay, the only animals that have been here are party animals,” she muttered to herself.

Feeling less afraid, she walked into the next room. There she found a filthy mattress on the floor and right next to the mattress, she saw Jack’s flashlight. Dizzy, with a cold sweat breaking out on her forehead, she sank down beside the flashlight and stared at it.

Yes, it was his. It was one she had bought him for his birthday a few years ago. It still had a nick in the side where it had hit the steps when he had thrown it in one of his angry rages.

She glanced at the mattress. Was this where he met up with the seventeen year old?

She closed her eyes. Lord, where did Jack go from here?

Then she heard the creak of a floorboard behind her. Alarmed, she turned, only to find herself suddenly blinded by a bright lantern. She cried out and lifted her arm as a shield.

A cold, contemptuous voice ground out the question. “Is this where it happened? Is this where you killed him?”

Monday, October 02, 2006


We celebrated four birthdays this weekend. Daughter #1, Daughter #2, my father, and I all share the same birthday week. There's 196 years between us. That's way too many candles for one small cake. I simply used all twenty candles that came in the box.

We had a great time just gabbing and eating.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Hubby and I went to see Flyboys last night. Hubby loved it. He was still thinking about it today and what a great movie it was.

I found much of it nerve-wracking but it was definitely worth seeing simply for the cowboy, Rawlings, played by James Franco. He is a classic hero. Unfortunately, it was rather easy to figure out which of the other characters were expendable.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Favorite Fungus

Every year aroung this time, a fungus grows in our yard. Hubby thinks this is a fabulous fungus. It seems to get a bit bigger every year. Should we be worried?

Hubby put the dollar bill in the photo so it is easier to see how big this mammoth fungus is.

I've been busy with my real job this week. In addition to work, I had to attend a workshop on Thursday night. Plus I am trying to write as much as possible. And I'm still exercising. I know if I did not have my ebook reader, I would probably have no inclination to exercise. But reading an interesting book is my motivation.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Everyone has a story.

Here's a photo of a nun talking to Donna Birdsell. The nun had a story to tell about literacy. It seems that a lot of people have stories to tell--especially when they meet up with a bunch of authors. However, not everyone wants to write down their own stories. One couple told us about their wonderful love story--it would make a great book, they said. So we encouraged them to write it themselves, but they were not very enthusiastic about that.

Sadly, we found there are some people who insist they don't have the time to read as they passed by our booth. Personally, I cannot imagine a life where there is no time to read. Everyone winds up sitting in a doctor's office at some point. Lots of us wind up sitting in the DMV or the Social Security Office for hours. Some of us are lucky enough to sit on the beach once in a while. Picking up a book is a great way to unwind--or to get your mind off your troubles. At least it is for me.

Still, we met a number of enthusiastic readers, too. And some people who were already writing their own stories. So, of course, we invited them to join us at the New Jersey Romance Writers. I hope they will!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Romance Writers in Red Bank

Today a street fair was held in Red Bank, NJ. Monmouth Street and Broad Street were blocked off to traffic so that pedestrians could walk in the street. The weather was delightful. Donna Birdsell, Lois Winston, Irene Peterson, Caridad Pineiro, and I spent the day selling our books, talking with readers, and encouraging some like-minded writers who would also like to become authors.

It was a lot of fun!

Friday, September 08, 2006

I cut the electric wire...

while I was trimming the yew bushes. I was using the electric hedge clippers. I've always feared them, but we have a lot of shrubbery and the hedge clippers do help finish the job quickly. I was getting toward the end of the task and I was tired, but I wanted to finish. I did not take heed of where the cord was and wound up catching it in the teeth of the clippers.

At first, I had no idea why smoke and sparks were coming from the clippers. So I screamed. Then I felt really stupid. Hubby has cut the electric cord twice that I know of, but he never screamed when it happened. He said a rather nasty word as I recall.

Anyhow, hubby was raking up all the clippings and was not the least bit put out that I had completely ruined an extension cord. Fortunately, we had another one in the garage and within a few minutes, I was clipping away again. The yew bushes look very neat now.

But next time, I'll be more careful.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I've read a whole bunch of books this summer--most of them were the paperbacks I had on my to-be-read shelf. I wanted to read as many as I could so I would be able to make some room on the shelf. (That's one of the other reasons why e-books are great--they don't take up any shelf space.)

Of all the books I finished, only two stood out as "keepers." They were:

Ultra Violet by Ellen Henderson, a Silhouette Bombshell released in 2005.

Blue Moon by Lori Handeland, a St. Martin's Paperback released in 2004.

These were both great reads that kept me turning the pages. While they are also no longer new, they are both available at Of course, I'm not giving mine away. I'm keeping them and loaning them out only to very good friends who I know will return them to me.

Anyone else find some "keepers" on their to-be-read shelf?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I had a discussion yesterday with Daughter #3 about the title of the book I am currently writing. The tentative title is Blackbirch Manor. However, I did not think that was enough--it did not say enough about the story. So I asked Daughter #3 what she thought of The Count of Blackbirch Manor.

"That sounds like The Count of Monte Cristo," she said.

"Okay. You're right. How about The Secret of Blackbirch Manor?" I asked.

"That sounds like a Nancy Drew book," she said.

I winced. "How about The Curse of Blackbirch Manor?"

She frowned. "That's better. But if I were you I would just use Blackbirch Manor. It's simpler."

True. The letters would be bigger because there are less of them.

Titles are difficult for me. A few have come to me in a flash, but not all of them. The publisher could change the title anyway. But what do you think? Should it be short--or more definitive?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

An Exercise Machine!

I have been looking for a used elyptical machine since our trip to Puerto Rico. While hubby and I were there we used the fitness room in the hotel everyday. Usually, my favorite exercise is walking, but I thought something for inclement weather would be useful—and also so I can eat an extra muffin. I found the treadmill and the stationary bicycle boring. The weight machines were tedious, although hubby—the engineer—seemed to enjoy counting repetitiously—I suppose because he has a mathematical mind.

With the elyptical machine, I felt I got a good workout—all over. For the past few weeks, I’ve been searching eBay and the local newspaper and I finally got lucky. Last night I bought one. Hubby and I brought the machine home and for now it is in the garage. I intend to put it in the basement eventually, but I have to clean out a corner. (That will not be fun.) The machine has a screen which can tell me how many steps I’ve gone, how many calories I’ve burned, how many minutes I’ve been working out and it can check my pulse. If I want to, I can make it harder by increasing the resistance—but I think I’ll have to get in shape for that first.

The best feature—for me at least—is that fact that is has a little shelf for a book so I can read while I’m exercising. I tried a paperback but with my aging eyesight and the poor light in our garage, it was too difficult for me to see—and rough to turn pages as well. However, I found I could use my Rocket e-book reader on it. I already have it set at a 16-point font, and it has a backlight. All I had to do was change the page orientation so I could slide the thinner end of the reader into the book holder. Then it is a whole lot easier to turn pages because I just have to push the button. Awesome.

I’m looking forward to exercising and catching up on my reading.

For those of you interested in owning an e-book reader, ebookwise has one that is a newer version of the original Rocket. You can find one at:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Otherworldly Photos from Florida

To me, these live oak trees with the Spanish moss look like they belong on another planet, but I found them in Howard Park. Florida has some strange plants--at least to a New Jerseyan like me. I thought this grove of trees would make a good setting for a sci-fi novel--not that I am going to write one though I've read a few. Or perhaps it would make a great paranormal scene--nice and spooky at night! I have thought of setting a novel in Florida. I've thoroughly explored much of the central west coast.

I was fascinated with these crazy little crabs, too. You have to look closely at the photo--I did not have my telephoto lens with me. There seemed to be a whole army of crabs. What were they doing? Was this a conference? A party? A family reunion? To me, it looked like the beginnings of a horror movie. Maybe that's just the way my writer's mind works. If I could have zoomed in on those crabs and made them bigger, it could have been a very scary picture. :^)

Anyhow there is some strange scenery in Florida. Just thought I would share.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Favorite Road to Drive

Driving to Florida is not fun, for the most part. The roads between NJ and Florida are rather boring. I95 in Virginia does have a few nice hills, but I95 in NC, SC, and GA is really, really flat and straight. That is a good thing for trucks, I suppose, and there is a bit of nice scenery over Lake Marion. However, most of the drive is simply tedious.

When we get to Florida, we cross over to I75 on A1A and 301 and the scenery improves somewhat. However, the best part of our journey is I75 in Hernando County in Florida. By then we are almost at the end of our ride and I75 has some wonderful hills and turns along that section of road. I always insist on being behind the wheel. I turn on Handel's Messiah and get a kick out of going seventy miles an hour around the banked curves. The scenery is lovely, too--from an air conditioned car. I know if I got out of the car I would melt on the spot.

If I time it right, I have the Grand Amen playing by the time we get off at the exit in Pasco County.

Do you know of a road that's fun to drive?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Worst rest room on the Interstate

Hubby and I have just returned from our annual trek to Florida via I 95 and I 75. The worst rest room I encountered was the one at the rest stop on the southbound side past the Dale City exit in Virginia. One of the stalls in the ladies room did not have a door--that was the only stall that was clean. Two others weren't flushing. The fourth was not flushing very well. I did not use that rest room. Hubby and I got off at the next exit and stopped at a gas station.

Most of the interstate rest rooms along the way are good. In my opinion, a decent rest room should have paper seat covers, soap, a sufficient amount of stalls, the toilets should flush--and the room should be clean.

Any other nominations for the worst rest room on an interstate?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More Reminiscing

Hubby and I picked up Daughter #3 at the hospital yesterday. She's doing much better. As soon as she got out, we took her to a Dunkin' Donuts shop. She loves their coffee and practically lives on the stuff. It must be addictive. :^)

Last night, hubby and I got out our wedding photo album and looked through it. We were so much younger! We also looked at the pictures of our honeymoon. Thirty years ago today we were in Bermuda. Here you can see some of the photos we took. One shows hubby carrying me through a moongate. I don't think he could do that now. :^) Another shows us on the deck of a boat for the rum swizzle cruise. We look like kids.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It has been a rough week. Daughter #3 is in the hospital--again. So hubby and I have been going back and forth to visit her there all week, but on Thursday we also had to trek south to our daughter's summer dorm room and take everything out of it, and then drive her car home. We did it on one of the hottest days of the year here in NJ. I drove her car and hubby followed me--but her car's a/c does not work. Driving north on the Parkway with the windows down is not a good idea. Everytime a bus or truck went by, I got slapped by a blast of hot air and diesel exhaust.

However, Daughter #3 was looking much better yesterday, so hopefully she'll be out of the hospital soon. We left everything in her car because she has to move it all into the dorm she'll be staying in for the fall semester.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This year our house has been plagued with drips. You can see in this photo the latest repair--done yesterday by hubby. The hole is in the ceiling and the drip came from a water pipe going up to the bathroom. Evidently, it spontaneously sprung a leak. The pipe had a small crack in it.

Years ago, I bought a fix-it yourself home repair book for hubby. That book has been used many times and there he found the solution for the pipe leak yesterday. The metal piece over the pipe is like a pipe bandage. It is currently working. I hope it continues to work. Otherwise, we will have to replace the pipe. Owning a home can be real annoying at times--especially when there are drips.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Little People

Yesterday, I spent a considerable amount of time in a waiting room with Daughter #3. I had brought along a book to read, but I didn't get any reading done due to three rambuncious children who were also in the waiting room. They were poking and teasing and crawling over and behind the couch like a squirmy bunch of puppies. A brief reprimand from the nurse did no good. So Daughter #3 and I began to talk to the youngsters. The oldest was ten, and the younger two were eight. The oldest was the most communicative.

We learned that they went to the same pool club as our daughters once had. We learned that they had fish and cats for pets. They told us about their vacation and their busy schedule of activities. The oldest plays the saxophone.

Their harried mom eventually came out of the examining room with another daughter. She really has her hands full! But I enjoyed talking to her kids. For one thing, they reminded me very much of what our daughters had been like at that age. In addition, it's difficult for me to pass up an opportunity to get to know about people--even little people. I might need some characters just like those three wriggly little darlings someday.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Not a good weekend for the beach...

Yesterday it rained--or threatened to rain--most of the day and Daughter #1 had come to visit us. So instead, of going to the beach we cut out the list of local garage sales from the newspaper and drove around town to check them out. I found some nice brass candlesticks for fifty cents! Hubby found some sort of electrical gadget that he thinks is really cool. Daughter #1 did not buy anything. :^( Nevertheless, later in the evening we took Grandma and Granddad out to eat so that was fun.

Since it was so gloomy outside, I decided to spend some time putting together another banner for Heaven's Blue, my EPPIE 2005 winner. The banner will be at the Romance Junkies website for a whole year! It seemed like an easy way to promote the book. Promotion is a tough job--I think it's the most difficult part of being an author, but I do have fun making banners. :^) If you click on the banner, it will take you to the page at Awe-Struck's website where you can read an excerpt of the book.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Photos from Puerto Rico

That's me draped over the cannon at El Morro. The fort is really awesome. However, by that point in the day I was exhausted. It was hot, my feet hurt, and I could not drink enough water. We walked all over Old San Juan. The town is not that big and I would have been fine if I had worn more sensible shoes and if it wasn't so blazingly hot.

The following day we went to the rainforest--El Yunque. This was the biggest waterfall we saw in the rainforest, and evidently a lot of people just go there to swim. Our tour director, a very talkative man, took us to the top of the trail so that most of the time, we were walking downhill. It was very humid, but it was also very shady so I wasn't baked as I had been the day before.

Hubby spotted three huge land snails all sitting together on a large piece of bark, but that was the extent of the wildlife we saw on the trail. This was a good thing because I don't particularly like snakes and such.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Beach

On Sunday, hubby signed up for a season pass to the beach. Today we visited the beach again in the afternoon. I always bring a book to read and a sketchbook. I love to draw people at the beach--but they have an unfortunate tendency to move before I've finished. So I look for the ones who are snoozing. :^)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Public Transportation in Puerto Rico

Hubby and I took the A5 bus into and out of Old San Juan several times during our stay there. At 75 cents each, the fare was a real bargain, and it also gave us the opportunity for a real up close and personal look at the people. Unfortunately, neither hubby nor I speak Spanish, so we missed out on some of the fun--but for some incidents you just had to be paying attention.

For instance, one evening during "rush hour," the bus kept picking up passengers at every stop until there was no room for more. Nevertheless, the bus driver kept telling everyone to move back. The woman standing in front of me had several packages on the floor. So at yet another admonition from the driver to move back, she picked up all her packages and placed them on the lap of the man sitting next to me. She did not ask his permission, she just did it. And he accepted the situation without any protest.

I was amazed. Nevertheless, that was a jolly bus ride. Everyone was good natured about the situation.

So if I write a story about Puerto Rico, you know there's going to be a crowded bus scene in there somewhere. :^)

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Twenty-eight years ago, when my grandfather died, hubby and I flew out to western Pennsylvania for the funeral in a relatively small jet packed with businessmen. There was a lot of turbulence over the mountains on that ride--so much so, that when we landed one gentleman in the back of the plane shouted out, "Cheated death again!" And everyone laughed.

On our flight out to Puerto Rico, I sat beside a very nice Puerto Rican woman. When we landed in Puerto Rico everyone in the plane applauded. I was surprised. I thought maybe this was something new that Americans had started doing recently. However, the woman next to me informed me that the people do that everytime they land in Puerto Rico.

On our return trip home yesterday, as the plane touched down in Newark, there was no clapping. So maybe it is just a Puerto Rican thing.

Anyone else experience this?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm Back

Did you miss me? Hubby and I went to Puerto Rico. After hubby's brother passed away, we decided we should go somewhere--especially with our 30th wedding anniversary coming up. We really thought we ought to celebrate big time. Then Daughter #3 went into the hospital just before we were to leave. However, she had laparoscopic surgery and did so well afterwards, we felt okay about leaving.

Of course, I had not been on a plane in 28 years. So I was apprehensive. I don't even like to ride the ferris wheel because I can't deal with that stomach dropping sensation. And then there's the turbulence...

Is here anyone else who is not particularly fond of flying?

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Contest

I will be giving away a T-shirt on Labor Day. Everyone can use another T-shirt! Sign up at my website:

The T-shirt will be decorated with the covers from my three inspirational romances because I like to play with iron-on transfers. :^)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Blueberry Crunch

Happy Fourth!

One of the best things about this time of the year, in my opinion, is that it is blueberry season! There are lots and lots of blueberries in NJ. Yesterday I made Blueberry Crunch. I served it with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Blueberry Crunch
Serves 6 to 8

1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 light brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
4 cups blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix oats, flour, and sugar. Work butter into the mixture with your fingers until it is crumbly.

Spread half of the mixture in a greased 9x9 pan. Spread with blueberries. Cover the berries with the remaining oat and flour mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve warm or cold.

This is simple and quick--except for picking through the blueberries, but that's fun to do with a friend. :^)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I was on internet radio!

Dindy Robinson, publisher at Swimming Kangaroo books, is the host at an internet radio show on Tuesday nights. At the Swimming Kangaroo Manuscript Critique Club she reads authors' excerpts. I joined in last night with an excerpt from Kiss of Blarney. Michael Charton and Jane Bierce were also on hand. It was so awesome!!

For those of you who missed it, you can download it at:

The downloads are at the bottom of the page. Last night's show is listed by the date, June 27th.

I had so much fun, I may do it again sometime. :^)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A/C for Dummies

When it comes to cars, I know how to check the oil and I can add some if need be. Since I live in NJ, I never pump gas. I have changed a flat tire. Hubby can do those things, too, but he prefers to use Fix-a-Flat in the event of a flat tire.

Daughter #3 has become more daring when it comes to car repairs--maybe because she has an older car and she's still a student. :^) However, when the air conditioning in her car was no longer cooling her off, she simply bought a can of refrigerant and added it to the air conditioning unit in her car. It looked easy.

So when my Jeep blew hot air at me, I thought hubby and I could try the same fix and maybe save money. We went to Pep Boys and studied the various brands of refrigerant. One had a bright yellow box with a familiar logo. It was an Auto A/C Recharging Kit for Dummies. Yep. That was us. The fact that it cost less than the other kits was the main selling point.

We took it home and studied the instructions. They were scary. It had things like, "...death can occur without warning." Also, "Contact with skin or eyes can cause frostbite."

I thought maybe we should just hand it to Daughter #3 as a gift since she knows how to handle it.

But Hubby is slightly braver than I am. He added it to the car while I hovered about ready to call 911. The entire can was used up in seconds.

I got into the car and found that I now had cool air blowing on me. Awesome! I don't know how long it will last, but it sure was a great fix.

Anyone else use that stuff?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Father's Day Gifts

I sent my Dad a check along with his Father's Day card. He was so delighted with the money and said he was going to use it to buy my mother a dinner out at her favorite restaurant or to buy her a ring that she had hoped for. He is such a great father and always demonstrates by example what love truly is.

Now as for my hubby's Father's Day gift...well, it's difficult to buy him anything. He likes music but he only listens to certain kinds. Basically, any style of music with an accordion in it will do. :^) He likes sheet music for the accordion. Of course, he always would like a bigger and fancier accordion. But things like that are not easy to find. So I go for the practical. For his Father's Day present, I told him I would clean his car--inside and out.

He went outside and dragged out the hose for me.

Doesn't that make your heart go pitter-patter. :^)

So tell me, what is a good gift for your father--or for your husband?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

No Paper Copies

One of my best fans is one of our friends from the band. She's a strutter--she dances around wearing outrageous costumes with lots of feathers and sequins. Her husband plays a sax. She has read every single book of mine--usually as soon as the book is available. If the book also come out in print, she buys the print copy as well.

Unfortunately, Irons In The Fire was only available in print for such a short time that she missed out on her chance to order it in paper. claimed to have paper copies, so she ordered one from them. After months of contacting them to see where her order was, they finally informed her that they could not locate a paper copy.

The book is still available as an e-book at:

It was a nominee for Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Small Press Paranormal. The review is still available online at:

But alas, the publisher is not going to print any more copies. Sigh.

Anyone out there have a paper copy for my friend?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

First or Third Person

I intend to work on my Gothic/Historical-style novel this summer. This project is more along the lines of Mary Stewart or Dorothy Eden. I loved those stories when I was younger and for a while, they were very popular. Every book had the big old mansion, the brooding hero, the dark and sinister secrets... And most of them were written in the first person, though not all.

One of my favorites was Ravenscroft by Dorothy Eden. (1963) That is written in third person with only the heroine's viewpoint. In fact, all of the books in that genre were limited to the heroine's point of view. That way it was easy to make the hero appear to be a dastardly villain because nobody ever knew what he was thinking. :^)

Today, many of the chick-lit novels are written in first person, which gives them a certain air of immediacy--I suppose, making them resemble diaries.

Do you enjoy reading books written in first person or third person. Here's one sentence in first person: "When I reached the crest of the hill, I stopped to look down upon the town of Taylor’s Grove. Nothing had changed there in the ten years since I had left." Here's the same sentence in third person: "She reached the crest of the hill and stopped to look down upon the town of Taylor's Grove. Nothing had changed there in the ten years since she had left."

Which would you prefer?

Monday, June 05, 2006

By the Sea

Here's an oyster boat.
Here's hubby enjoying oysters.
We were at the Bay Day festival in Port Norris yesterday. Good music. Good food. We enjoyed a nice boat ride up the river (not on the oyster boat). However, the gnats were annoying. I brought along Skintastic, but the gnats seemed to be able to zero in on any uncovered skin--no matter how small.

On the way home, I discovered another use for Skintastic. A ballpoint pen oozed ink all over my hands and on a small portion of the dashboard of the car. I didn't have anything other than the Skintastic to wipe it off. It worked like a charm.

I don't know if any of my heroines can use that idea...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Trouble on the Patio

During the warmer weather, I like to grill burgers outside and eat them on the picnic table on our patio. This past week, we tried this for the first time this season. However, as we sat down to eat a HUGE bee hovered around me. It continued to plague me all through our supper--nobody else at the table seemed to be the object of this particular bee's ire--only me. I tried the old fly swatter on the bee, but my aim is decidedly poor. I wound up eating most of my supper standing up several feet away from the table.

Everyone decided it was a carpenter bee and that I must have been sitting near its residence since it must have made a tunnel in our picnic table. Hubby came up with a bright idea he had heard about. He intended to spray the bee with paint. He heard that doing so is supposed to make the creature unable to fly. I could just imagine what would happen if my hubby carried out his plan. I envisioned my entire backyard with splotches of various colors of spray paint.

Fortunately, Daughter #2 brought out a can of insecticide and went after the creature. I don't know how successful the hunt was. I am afraid to find out by having another burger meal outside using the picnic table.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bargain Dress

Here's me and hubby all dressed up and on our way to a wedding. Hubby is wearing the same suit he wore for Easter--but he is wearing a brand new white shirt. Men have it so easy when it comes to putting on fancy duds.

However, I got really lucky with this new dress. I only paid $25 for it! It caught my eye as I was walking through Boscov's one day. It was in a rack of dresses listed at 75% off. I love a bargain!

What was your latest bargain?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ciar Cullen liked my book!

Ciar Cullen read and reviewed Kiss of Blarney! Go to Ciar Cullen's blog and read what she had to say about my book!

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Last night, hubby's brother passed away. He was at home--as he wanted to be, surrounded by his family. A priest came to the house the day before. We had visited hubby's brother a few weeks ago and I wrote about it here.

Although we were prepared for his death, it is still so very sad.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I hate writing the synopsis.

I truly do. I have been to many workshops on synopsis writing. Elizabeth Sinclair wrote The Dreaded Synopsis. I own that book and it is helpful. I've also seen Shirley Hailstock's presentation on synopsis writing which was clear and concise.

But I still gnash my teeth and whine whenever I have to sit down and put the synopsis together.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I Do--Again

Today at church there was a communal renewal of wedding vows. Hubby and I re-exchanged our marriage vows and received a special nuptial blessing. We held hands and looked into each other's eyes and giggled nervously. Afterwards, everyone clapped for us and all the other couples. Daughter #1 was there and clapped very enthusiastically.

The photo on the right was taken at the reception on our wedding day--eons ago. We look so young! We really did not get to dance much that day. The photographer was constantly taking pictures. We took photos with my family, his family--immediate family--extended family. Then there were photos of the cutting of the cake, the throwing of the garter, etc. The time we spent in that reception hall went by in a blur.

Then came marriage with all life's ups and downs. So it was nice to repeat the vows again today. I still love hubby, and he still loves me. It's awesome!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Finished--Sort Of

I typed "The End." Yes, my current work-in-progress is finished--sort of. Now I have to go back and fix all the mistakes, like using it's instead of its. Or using the same word too many times. In one of my books, the editor asked me to remove the word "yet." I had tons of yets all over the place. As a result, I am now paranoid about that word. Whenever I start to type it, I stop for a minute and see if there is any other word I can use--or I change the entire structure of the sentence. Oy.

Even though I still have a lot of work to do in tidying up my manuscript, I felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment today. I don't have a contract for the book--yet. :^) But I'm happy. The hero and heroine are happy, too. Everything worked out well for them in the end. It always does in romance.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

For the past few years, we have spent Mother's Day doing yard work at my parent's house. Today we continued the tradition, especially since our help was very much needed. Most of the lovely mountain laurel bushes in my parents' yard look dead. Evidently, they caught some disease. Hubby brought along his chainsaw and demolished the dead bushes. I was in charge of picking up the pieces. Mom and Dad were in charge of telling us to stop after we had done ten minutes of work. (They didn't want us to over exert ourselves.)

Afterwards, we went out to eat with Mom and Dad. When I returned home, I talked to Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 on the phone for a while. Daughter #3 gave me a present yesterday. Hubby gave me two boxes of chocolate candy. Of course, he will help me eat it. :^)

It would have been nice to have time to write. That would have been a great Mother's Day gift and it would not have cost a thing, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Falling Asleep at the Computer

Yesterday's weather was beautiful in the afternoon. Hubby and I decided we ought to get the Jeep inspected before the month is over so we drove to the inspection station. Hubby had gotten a new CD of stringband music and he put that in the CD player. It was lively music and I know most of the words to the songs. I sang along and tapped my foot--the left one, since I was driving. The Jeep passed inspection!

From there we went to one of our lovely county parks and walked all the way around the lake, which was a rather long hike. Hubby saw a snake sunning itself on a pier and I saw a blue heron. Too bad I did not have the camera with me.

After that, we stopped at a plant nursery to pick up a few flats of annuals--begonias and marigolds. I love marigolds, but evidently the bunnies do, too. However, I've found if I put the marigolds close to the street, the bunnies leave them alone. I'll put the begonias next to the house.

Daughter #3 showed up in time for supper with wonderful news. She has the internship she had wanted most of all! We went out for pizza to celebrate.

By the time we got home, it was getting late, but I intended to write for a few hours before I went to sleep. However, when I turned on the computer, I could barely keep my eyes open. I tried so hard, but it was impossible. I was completely exhausted. I had to give up.

I hate running out of energy. I guess I'm just a morning person. I got up this morning and added quite a few more pages to my manuscript.

What time of day do you have the most energy?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The puzzle of the abandoned accordion has been solved. We received an email late last night which said, "In case you were wondering how that mysterious accordion got in front of your house, I dropped it off earlier today. My friend at school didn't know what he should do with it and he couldn't throw it I thought of you hahaha. I hope you like it. It could use a bit of a touch-up though, but at least it's not in the trash ."

Our godson was the culprit. I'm impressed that he can spell accordion correctly. :^)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Hubby went to the barber today for a haircut and returned to find an accordion abandoned on our back porch. I'm sure whoever left it there knew that the accordion would be in good hands at our house. Hubby enjoys tinkering with accordions as well as playing them. People have given him old accordions in the past, but this is the first time someone left an instrument anonymously.

It's very strange. I do wonder if someone will come forward and admit to the deed. Who cleaned out their closets recently?

Monday, May 08, 2006

They're Gone

Hubby and I drove his parents to the airport. They are on their way back to Florida.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Yesterday, we drove north to see hubby's brother, FB, who is now at home with hospice care. The entire family gathered together for the day. We brought hubby's parents. We were blessed with beautiful weather--it could not have been nicer. There was plenty of kielbasi, rye bread, and babka for all.

Hubby's mother cried at first when she saw her oldest son. She had not seen him in two years. (Hint: Don't move to Florida when your family lives up north and you are getting old.) However, FB's wife told her that the day was one of celebration and mom put on a brave smile afterwards until it was time to leave.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Little Cabin in the Woods

This little cabin is in a nearby park. I wish I could sit inside and write--without any distractions. Of course, I would like some electricity so I could use my computer. :^) I know Thoreau did not have any electricity at Walden, but computers had not been invented yet.

I really feel I need a hideaway where I will not be disturbed. Right now, the in-laws are visiting so I had no time to write. I'm lucky I had the chance to sneak away for a few moments and blog. Of course, the in-laws went to the Polish butcher shop and I now have lots of kielbasi, kishka, babka, and rye bread. There's a few rings of kielbasi in the freezer. I know my mother-in-law will probably take it home with her on the plane.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Nice Review

I was happy to get another nice review for Kiss of Blarney today. Cherokee, a reviewer for Coffee Time Romance, said,"Kiss of Blarney is filled with twists and turns that takes the reader on a lovely magical spin. Shay and Ula are likeable characters and their story holds the readers attention. Ms. Marzec pens an enchanting story with characters that exhibit chemistry through the pages. She allows it to slow build then gradually increase. This is a sweet entertaining read."

There's more to the review and you can read it all right here.

Anyhow, Cherokee liked it and that's nice to know. :^)

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Aside from being a writer, I am also an early childhood educator. That's my day job. I have been teaching for twenty years and I love it. Today I went to an early childhood conference where the keynote speaker was Madelyn Swift. She gave a terrific talk on discipline so I bought her book Discipline for Life: Getting it Right with Children. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a parent or a teacher.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

In Happier Times...

This is a photo taken many years ago of hubby, his father, his nephew, and his brother. Hubby is on the left, his brother is on the right. His brother is very ill. We went to visit his brother in Vassar hospital yesterday in Poughkeepsie, NY. It took us three hours to get there. Maybe it would have taken two and a half hours, but we did stop for coffee on the way.

His brother was happy to see us and didn't want us to leave. Hubby reminisced about old times with his brother and I talked about our daughters. We left after his brother's wife arrived. Stopped to eat supper on the way home, and then listened to hubby's Frankie Yankowic Polka music while driving to keep alert.

I did some writing on the way to Poughkeepsie in the car, but on the way back it was dark.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A New Catholic

Our nephew's wife is now a Catholic! Check out the wonderful story about her experience at Welcoming a new Catholic.

I was an RCIA sponsor for a candidate in our own church a few years ago. RCIA is a terrific program!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Southern NJ

Hubby and I were in southern NJ yesterday. Hubby drove so I got to look at the scenery--or lack thereof. There are some parts of southern NJ that bear a strong resemblance to the land that time forgot. I set Heaven's Blue in southwestern NJ and the book I've been currently working on shares the same setting. There are parts of NJ that are empty--in a depressing sort of way, with tumbledown buildings rotting away.

Most people think of NJ as nothing but congested roadways, crowded beaches, and refineries. That's not all there is. But if you can't afford to drive out to southern NJ, you can read Heaven's Blue to get a taste of the land that time forgot. Or you can wait until my next book comes out. :^)

Go to Awe-Struck E-Books to read the first three chapters!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm doing the right thing!

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart. You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer... And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories. As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Our Easter

We were blessed with beautiful weather, the company of our daughters, my parents, and Daughter #2's boyfriend. We dyed eggs, ate a huge dinner, and talked. We laughed a lot, too. I get a lot of ideas from my daughters for stories. :^)I keep thinking I should try my hand at a chick-lit novel because all I would have to do for research is call up one of my daughters and ask them the right questions.I made more than enough food and begged everyone to take some home with them.The Easter bunny had also stopped by and left chocolate, jelly beans, and several other goodies. Oh, and the Easter bunny left everyone some nifty new flashlights that don't need batteries, too. You simply shake them and the magnet inside generates power. Hubby and I were sad to see everyone leave.