#ThrowbackThursday A Retail Family, B. Altman, & Jersey Girl Bridesmaids

Sometimes you have an epiphany and this morning was one of those days as I considered what to share with you on this Throwback Thursday.

Some of you may know that my daughter owns her own surf and skate shop in Ocean Grove. From when she was about 10, she was fixated on fashion and owning her own shop. I could understand the fashion thing since my mom, unlike me, was a fashion plate. My mom was always dressed to the nines and was a sewing goddess. She’d make her own clothes and people would ask her if she was wearing Chanel.

But the wanting to own a shop part didn’t click until this morning when I thought about sharing this photo with you!

This is my dad at work in his father’s store in Havana. My grandfather’s store although I never really got to meet my grandfather since he stayed in Cuba and died there when I was a teen.
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Except for a brief stint as a truck driver when my dad first got here from Cuba, my dad always worked retail. Actually, my dad was a fashion plate as well. He had an innate sense of what to wear and what colors worked well together. But back to the retail thing . . .

My dad worked at B. Altman & Co. for over 20 some years and I basically grew up in that store. From visits during the holidays to see the windows and visit Santa to working there part time in high school and through college, Altman’s was a part of my life. My mom would even take us to Altman’s Charleston Gardens on occasion for tea and confections.

I loved it and even considered accepting their offer of going through their management program, but in the end, I knew I wanted to get a college degree. Even that was facilitated in some part by the store since the Vice President of the store gave me a glowing recommendation during a scholarship interview for Villanova.

Altman’s treated their employees right. Commissions, a great thrift shop, purchasing discounts, training, and an excellent employee cafeteria.

Sadly, an IRS ruling forced the Altman Foundation to sell the stores and the new owners ended up having to declare bankruptcy.

The original Altman’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue was declared a landmark in 1985 and now houses a public library, CUNY graduate school and Oxford University Press.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, Altman’s and the other New York City stores that are now long gone (Gimbels, Bamberger’s, Bonwit Teller, Abraham & Strauss, EJ Korvette, Woolworth’s) really provided a very different way of life in the city. A better more genteel way of life. These stores provided jobs to so many people, but more importantly, they created memories at the same time.

You’ll see that in the first book in the Jersey Girl Bridesmaids as Maggie Sinclair, the heroine, tries to save the department store chain that her mother’s family founded over a century ago. I’ve incorporated a lot of my experiences working in Altman’s, but also growing up during that heydey of all the New York City department stores into the book.

#WriteWed Bryant Park & Jersey Girl Bridesmaids

I am so chugging along on Book 1 of the Jersey Girl Bridesmaids series! I am having a ton of fun with it and I hope you will also when the first book, tentatively titled Since We Were 18, is released in 2017.

The scene I’m writing right now is set at the Bryant Park Grill. I’ve eaten there several times and it’s a great restaurant with scenic views and good food.

Regular visitors to the blog know that Bryant Park is one of my favorite spots in New York City and I go there often, like every day! There is always something happening and I love seeing all the gardens in the park.

At one time, the park was known as “Needle Park” and it was filled with prostitutes and drug dealers. You risked your life walking through there even in the daytime, but no more. The park has been rejuvenated and now is a fabulous place for New Yorkers and tourists alike to visit and spend time.

Today’s Write Wednesday is some photos from Bryant Park since I’m busy writing this scene.

#TeaserTuesday Take a Chance #MilitaryRomance

I love military heroes, so when the opportunity presented itself to write a sexy story where one of our heroes gets his Happily-Ever-After, I jumped at the chance!

Today’s teaser is from JUST ONE NIGHT, the first book in the Take a Chance Series. You can also get the first six novellas in the series in this awesome box set! I do plan on writing more stories in the series beginning in early 2017.

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You can purchase the box set at these retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/28KH6rR
B&N-Nook: http://bit.ly/28KMj1J
Kobo: http://bit.ly/28KMpWZ
Scribd: http://bit.ly/28KMx8T

And now, your teaser! Click here if you cannot see the JUST ONE NIGHT excerpt below.

#ManCandyMonday Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

This sexy Dane is rugged and handsome in my book! We first saw Nikolaj in BLACK HAWK DOWN and lately he’s been in GAME OF THRONES and GODS OF EGYPT. Nikolaj was the youngest actor ever trained at the Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance and is well-established in Denmark and Europe as well as the United States.


Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

#FreebieFriday Rookie of the Year

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Baseball Romance Sports RomanceIt’s time for the boys of summer and if you love baseball as much as I do, or sexy stories about a slightly older woman and a hot rookie ball player, then please take a moment to check out ROOKIE OF THE YEAR.

The next book in the series, A WINNING SEASON, is finished and being edited. A WINNING SEASON will be available in late 2016.

Here’s a teaser for ROOKIE OF THE YEAR.

    Alicia Santos knows she shouldn’t be tempted by the team’s new rookie catcher. . .

    But Joe Fernandez isn’t just your average baseball player. He’s a potential rookie of the year with amazing skills on the field. Smart, sexy and determined, he’s fought hard for everything in his life and Alicia appreciates that kind of focus. But she’s older and wiser, or so she thinks, until Joe sets his sights on winning her over off the field. . .

    Joe Fernandez has never backed down from a challenge . . .

    Especially when it’s a woman like his team’s beautiful trainer. He doesn’t mind that she’s older or stubbornly refusing to give into her attraction for him. He’s a patient man and little by little he wears away her resistance.

    Nights spent together are glorious and forbidden . . .

    Alicia and Joe work hard to keep their personal and professional lives apart to avoid problems on the baseball field. When a career-ending injury threatens their newfound love, Alicia and Joe must find the strength to rebuild Joe’s body and restore balance to their lives.

Download your free copy at this link https://www.instafreebie.com/free/j7l1p and if you liked the book, please take a moment to leave a review. They really really do help authors and we appreciate when you take the time to do them!

#ThrowbackThursday My First 5K #fitness #health #thisgirlcan

If you had asked me a year ago whether I thought I’d ever be able to run a 5K again, I would have been doubtful. Actually in my youth, I’d run multiple 10Ks, but that was before excess weight pulled me down.

Today’s Throwback is to two weeks ago when I was able to do a 5K on the treadmill. I didn’t break any land speed records, but like I told my hubby when I did 3.5 miles on Sunday, it’s about just being in the race and not how fast I finish.

Anything is possible. I sometimes lose sight of one of the things my mom always told me: Anything can be yours if you’re willing to work hard for it.

For the last year I’ve been working hard at improving my fitness and health. I’m going to keep on working hard at it. I also hope I can inspire any of you who doubt you can do it to take that first step toward a better life.
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#WriteWed Inspiration for Under the Boardwalk #JerseyShore #NJ

I love the towns and beaches along the Jersey Shore in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. They each have their unique flavor and interesting facets. That’s why I’ve set so many books there in the past (like UNDER THE BOARDWALK) and why I’m setting the 2017 Jersey Girl Bridesmaids books there.

In UNDER THE BOARDWALK, which is part of the SUMMER HEAT box set, I’ve set the story in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, two of my favorite towns. But there are lots of other fun places in New Jersey and today I am sharing with you my Pinterest board of interesting spots you may want to check out in my home state.