Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday A Visit to Sunnydale High School

For those of you who watched the show, you’ll recognize that facade immediately. For others, a little background. I was flipping through the channels one day when I caught this amazingly sensual scene between a young blonde girl and a very hunky guy. Buffy and Angel. I flipped away, but then had to go back and watch. That was it! I was hooked! I went back and caught up with every show I had missed and faithfully followed Buffy the Vampire Slayer for all the remaining seasons. To this day it is my favorite show of all time and as a writer, I learned a lot about dialogue, character-building and pushing boundaries.

To honor my love of the show, I convinced my family to take a trip with me to Torrance High School, the real life location of the fictional Sunnydale High School where the shot was set in the early seasons. You’ll notice that to make it truly official, I wore my Sunnydale High School t-shirt! And in case you haven’t guess it by now, I am truly a nerd at heart. (I was also a lot blonder and thinner in case you didn’t notice! LOL)

#ThoughtfulThursday Jersey Girl Bridesmaids and the Jersey Shore

I took a day off to go to the spa with my daughter. Fate intervened and instead, we had a lovely girls day down the Jersey Shore. We watched a Korean drama, we biked to have a fabulous vegan lunch (no I’m a certified meat eater and the lunch was a delicious surprise), and we relaxed before doing dinner and some retail therapy. In the midst of all that, we also took time to just sit on the beach and enjoy a truly fabulous summer-like day. There were even people in bathing suits soaking up the sun.

My daughter and I sat there and just took a few moments to breathe and then did some work on our respective stories. My daughter is an aspiring author and has journals full of stories. She self-published her first work, FOLLOWING JANE, in 2013 and is busy working on other stories.

I just finished Book 1 in the Jersey Girl Bridesmaids series and am now busy plotting #2. Having lots of fun with it and I think it’ll be a truly amazing story! The tentative title of that one is WE DANCED ALL NIGHT although if they had, we wouldn’t have the unexpected surprise that will force two people to face their past and the kind of future they could have together.

Anyway, I’m sharing a photo from our writing on the beach and some peaceful waves, sand, and sun with you!
Working on Jersey Girl Bridesmaids

Click here if you cannot see the Jersey Shore Writing Inspiration video below.

#ThrowbackThursday Fun Family Times

I don’t really remember when this was taken, although I remember the day! My parents took us out to one of the Long Island parks to relax and have some fun. That’s my younger sister Carmen to the left, my mom Carmen in the middle, and me to the right, all just hanging out having fun.

The three men in the back are my dad, my older brother, and a family friend.

We had such a good time heading out to “the country.” LOL. My mom would always pack a big picnic lunch for us and we’d spend the day out on Long Island before heading back to Queens where we were living at the time. We eventually moved out to “the country” and I grew up there.

For those who are wondering, my sister and I are not twins. My parents just used to dress alike. I think it was a thing back then and I always felt like I had stepped out of The Sound of Music or something like that. I hated those Mary Janes. They’d come home scuffed and dirty every day and my poor granddad would have to make them look spiffy again.


The Wonders Around You

Every year we head up to Union City to pick up an assortment of items for the Cuban half of our Christmas Eve.

We always detour out of our way to go through Weehawken and see the amazing views of New York City. It was pretty atmospheric this year with a lot of fog due to unseasonably warm weather. You can see the fog in this photo as it rolls along the river.

We’ve been making this trip for over 25 years and in all that time we never took the time to make a quick right and see what else was on this road.

We discovered that the little strip of road to the right was just above the Dueling Grounds and the spot of the famous Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton duel. Burr was the Vice President at the time and Hamilton was a General. The duel was said to have come about because of Hamilton’s comments about Burr during the New York Gubernatorial race. Hamilton was mortally wounded during the duel and died the next day in Manhattan. Burr was indicted for murder in both NY and NJ, but nothing ever happened with the charges. Burr even served out his term as Vice President.

I guess what I’m saying, in a very long roundabout way, is that there are lots of things around you, lots of wonders, that you never know about or even explore. I think from now on, I’ll take a little more time to stop and check them out!

You can click here to see more photos of our Weehawkin adventure.

Behind the Scenes of NOW AND ALWAYS

My latest release, NOW AND ALWAYS, is set in Miami. As a kid, we always went to Miami in August to visit family and friends. It used to be a fun road trip as we made our way from New York, down the East Coast and eventually to Miami. We used to stay in South Beach back then, not because it was trendy, but because it was inexpensive. At one point we stopped staying there as the area had gotten too bad.

It’s nice to see South Beach revived to its Art Deco splendor. I was lucky enough to revisit South Beach a few years back and here are some of the photos from Ocean Drive and the South Beach area. In NOW AND ALWAYS, Connie gets an apartment in this area while she goes undercover and fights her attraction to sexy physician Victor.

This is a view of the beach from Lummus Park. The brightly colored lifeguard stands are a staple of the Miami Beaches.

South Beach Lummus Park

There are quite a number of glamorous hotels in South Beach. This is the pool area at the Loew’s Hotel. Lovely place right near Lincoln Drive. For those who read KISSED BY A VAMPIRE, lots of action in that book happens along Lincoln Drive, a pedestrian mall lined by restaurants, clubs, and stores.

Loew's Hotel

The smaller and older hotels are famous for their Art Deco style and neon. The neon throws its color into the tropical night, making it come alive.


Hope you liked this behind the scenes glimpse into the inspiration for NOW AND ALWAYS.

Discover THE LOST Energy of Change

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the guests this week and thanks for all the good wishes on the cold. I’ve still got a cough, but am feeling much better. Before we were interrupted by RWA and my illness, we were talking about THE LOST energies in the things all around us.

Today I want you to consider the energy and power that resides in Change.

“Change?” you wonder. “How can Change possess energy?”

Well think about this. Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Think about all the energy and time that is wasted by doing the same thing time and time again only to have nothing different happen.

Think about what would happen if you took a different approach? Traveled a different path?

Nature inherently understands this. If you’ve ever spent time near the ocean you see how the water finds its way to the shore by following the path of least resistance. Although it may pound and pound and pound at the obstacles we throw in its way (jetties, docks, dams, etc.) inevitably it will take a different route to get where it needs to go.

I feel like I am at that point in my life. Doing the same things over and over without accomplishing anything different. It happened before many many years ago and the change I took then was what led to my writing career.

Now I look at my writing career after nearly a dozen years and ask myself, “Where do you go now? What can you change?”

Change being the operative word. There is power in Change. There is power in exploring new things.

That’s not to say that Change isn’t a scary thought. Most of us are creatures of habit and have built our safe havens where we are comfortable. It takes a lot to budge us out of those cozy nests, but sometimes you have to say, “Why the heck not?”

So with that challenge, I’m going to think about what I’ve been doing and how to effect Change. How about you? Are there things that you will challenge yourself to change? Will you empower that energy inside of you to try something different?

Also, if you’ve got a moment, visit the Carina Press blog to find out more about the inspiration behind THE FIFTH KINGDOM and the relic in the story!

The Royal Wedding

There are some memories that never leave you, whether good or bad. 9/11. That memory will never fade especially as the tenth anniversary approaches.

The shock of going to the convenience store one summer weekend to pick up bagels and the paper and seeing that Princess Di had been killed.

Watching Princess Di marry Prince Charles on another summer day. My mom and I had gotten up early to watch together. She had been diagnosed with cancer just a couple of months earlier. Little did I know I would only have her for another short couple of months.

Still, it was a magical memory. The carriage. The gown. The traditions. I still remember it to this day!

So here’s a look back in time to that day. Tomorrow I will be recording the wedding so that my daughter and I can sit side-by-side watching the event. Maybe I’ll buy some scones and clotted cream. Whip up a little tea for us to enjoy while we watch.