Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween from me and Jack!

We hope you have more treats than tricks.



Friday, October 30, 2009

Feeling Squirrelly

What's Jack up to? As I write this he's asleep under my bed paying no attention to the Yankees about to win game 2 and tie it up. Go Yankees!!

Today I'm feeling squirrelly. We've been fighting with squirrels for most of the summer getting into our gutters keeping us up at night and now we think we hear them in the attic crawl space which we have never been in. Quite scary.
So we have to have a guy come and venture into spaces where Lord knows what lives. Wish us luck.

Sigh. Never a dull moment around here. Have a Happy Friday!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Harlem Heights

The other day I was in Harlem over at Nana's house hanging with her for a bit when I looked out the kitchen window and was struck by the beauty of the view of the back park and the turning of the leaves. This is the same 15th floor view that I grew up with so I've seen it all my life but it's been quite a while since I really looked at it.

On this rainy day I remembered being a kid and always in awe over how Nana could yell so clearly from so hi up and make her voice carry that far down to tell me it was time to come in. Her voice one of so many woman with their eyes peering keeping careful watch of the children in their care. Playtime over. Must come in before the streetlights come one. Besides dinner's ready and we're hungry. The old back park has been remolded a few times over since I was a kid playing kick the can, but the heart of it is still the same I'd guess. Well at least I hope.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

No Idle Hands

What's Jack up to? Jack never lets things get dull around here. The poor thing has gotten a bit of a rash. I know probably TMI, but there it is. It's all over his belly and even his back and made me itchy so I took him to the vet and come to find out it's doggy acne. WHAT!? Some strange thing they can pick up from who knows where. So it's pills for Jack that he doesn't want but I have to get down him for about 21 days. So, um... there.

As for me today, I'll be trying to get some writing done. So very necessary. A few loads of laundry. Also very necessary. Then there is knitting group today. Not a necessity, but for mental heath, yeah, I think so.

So no Idle Hands for me today.

How about you?

pic from my knitting group last week

Oh and thanks to all who voted for Valorie aka Visual Vamp in the Apartment Therapy contest. She has made it through 2 rounds and is still in. You can vote for her again here to keep her going strong. Thanks!



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Glam

Halloween is less than a week away (don't ask me how that happened) and the stores are already stocking Christmas decor and totally ignoring Thanksgiving all together. Ah well...

But for those of you getting excited about this Saturday and ready to get all dolled up for a ghoulish or glamorous night out check out this how to video inspired by the princess of shock Lady GaGa.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Mojo Monday

What’s Jack up to? Jack had a very happy 3rd birthday yesterday. Filled with fun and new toys. I even let up on his special diet and got him a birthday cupcake which though his was happy to eat, didn’t stay down. Oh, well at least he enjoyed himself.
Jack, says thanks for all the well wishes yesterday!

I’m back from the NJ romance writer’s conference and happy to report that I had just THE BEST time. It’s such a well run conference full of friendly people with top speakers and presenters. The only downside? The 4 and 5 am fire alarm. That stunk. Here is some of the NY crew at dinner lunch. Notice the wine on the table. The hotel thought it would make up for lack of sleep. It did not. That cute little sweetie there did not partake.
But as you can see I think the rest did.

(Carolyn, Isobo (holding other the cutie Jack) Leanna, Stacy)

Upside. Rooming with my PIC Megan and Liz M. too for a hot minute. Sorry I don't have a picture of Liz. Hi Liz! Here are Megan and I in the hotel's faux Soho lounge. It's pretty. The only pic I have of Liz was taken during the fire alarm. I think it's nice. I'm afraid she may not.

Some of the great workshops I attended were:
One on digital publishing with super smart Icantalkdigitalinmysleep and, yes, I think she can, Angela James.
Darn, how did I let her leave without telling me what format was best for my Sony.

A dialogue workshop with Bestselling author Karen Rose. Here is Karen with friends and fans Louise and Danielle.

Also a super workshop on Collages with Jennifer Crusie that blew my artist mind. I already do story boarding but this will have me taking it to the next level. I knew Jennifer was Ms. New York Times Best Seller but now that I know she was an art teacher and is quite an artist I think I’m more in love. Notice it says behind her "creativity is play" something to keep in mind.
Finally I spent many an hour hanging around Bestseller (I was doing that a lot trying to get some mojo to rub off) Madeline Hunter. She had 2 workshops

1. Surviving Almost There (a place where I seem to have been hanging out for quite a long time)

2. Alaso a double session on conflict that rocked my world. I learned so much. She really got the gears working.
Now I just about thought I’d swoon when I went to the book signing later and gave Madeline my card and she said that she had been to ye little old blog before. Oh happy, swoony day! Thanks for that moment Ms. Hunter.

And now for your viewing pleasure a few more pics from the signing:

Golden Leaf Winner YAY!!! Anna DePalo. Congrats Anna.

Leanna Renee Hieber

Isabo Kelly

Janet Mullany. Lucky me getting her last copy of: A Most Lamentable Comedy.

So as you can see I've had quite a weekend. Now time to put all that inspiration and fun into practice. Gotta hit the writing cave. Will be popping out for brief sips of air.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

One, Two... THREE!!!

What's Jack up to? Well today Jack is feeling like he's practically grown up, little Mr. Big Stuff, You can't tell him he's not all that because...

Happy 3rd Birthday to
Jack today!

Wow, I can't believe my wild little oversized Yorkie is 3 years old today. In the time we've had Jack life has not been the same. There is never a dull or quiet day and yes, I complain but the joy and the smiles sure make up for it.

Three cheers for the Jackster!!!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Writerly Weekend

Happy Friday! I'm off to New Jersey! Hmm... is that usually followed by an exclamation point? Oh stop, Kwana that's such a New Yorker joke! Who are you, Conan?
But, really, I'm thrilled to be off to NJ for a writerly weekend at the Annual New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart In A Book Conference.

It's sure to be jam packed with fun and inspiration. I'll get to see many old friends and go all fan girl on writers that I admire at the Literacy book fair and signing which is open to the public on Saturday. You can check out the list of authors here.

I can't wait to attend workshops like: Painting Colorful Characters, The Magic of Words, Writing with Passion and My Writing May be Art...But My Kids Need Braces.

Here's hoping I wake up my lazy muse this weekend and you have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christmas time- La la la...

What's Jack up to? Well, Jack is full of happiness and energy lately. I think he knows he has a birthday coming up. It's Sunday. The dear twins are getting all a twitter over it. I think I'd better get some sort of plan together. Hmm...

Congrats to my good friend Marley Gibson on her newest release Christmas Miracles co-authored with Cecil “Cec” Murphey. Today Marley is guest posting with an interview of Cecil here. Welcome Marley and Cecil!

Interview with Cecil “Cec” Murphey
by Marley Gibson

I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity today to talk to my friend and co-author, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, and to chat about our book, Christmas Miracles.

Marley: Cec, thanks for spending some time with me today.

Cec: Marley, it's great that you could take time away from important things like making a living to spend a little time with me.

Marley: I’m so jazzed about our Christmas Miracles book that’s coming out soon. I’ve had a lot of questions from folks wanting to know how we met, what brought us together, etc. So, I thought we’d do a back and forth on how it all came to be. Of course, I have to give props to our amazing agent and friend, Deidre Knight, for bringing us together. For those of you who don’t know, Cec co-authored the runaway New York Times bestselling hit 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper.

Cec: I have to say thanks to Deidre Knight as well. Between Deidre and my assistant, Twila Belk, I've been able to sell quite a few books. 90 Minutes in Heaven has been my big book. I'm also proud of a book I wrote in 1990 called Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. The book has never been out of print and has hit close to four million in sales. Early this year, Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in the made-for-TV film version.

Marley: That’s amazing! You are truly prophetic and definitely “the man behind the words.” Now, people ask how we teamed up. Sadly, there was a personal tragedy that brought Cec and me together as friends.

Cec: True. In early 2007, our house burned and our son-in-law died. Aside from the grief over Alan, we lost everything. Deidre and Jan, my-then-assistant, sent the word out of our tragedy without telling me. I'm immensely grateful for every gift people sent, but I probably wouldn't have admitted I needed help and wouldn't have asked. They taught me how much we need other people.

Marley: Deidre put out a call to other clients of The Knight Agency, to help Cec and his family out in any way in their time of need. At the time, my company was moving and we were cleaning house. We had a ton of office supplies that we were either going to throw away or give to some of the charities the company worked with. I got my boss’ permission to send a large care package to Cec…full of office supplies for him to re-stock his writer’s office. You name it…post-its, staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, white out, ruler, scissors, paper, notebooks, notepads, envelopes, a laptop case, tape, glue, folders, binder clips…etc. A veritable potpourri of office delights. I was hoping that it would help Cec have a sense of getting his office back so he could keep working.

Cec: Marley's gift was the most unexpected I received. We hadn't met, although Deidre Knight had spoken of her many times and kept telling me she was wonderful. I wonder if you can imagine what it was like for me to open that box from someone I didn't know. I saw all those practical things for my office and yelled for my wife. I felt as if I were reading a first-grade book. "Look! Look and see! Oh, look!" I was overwhelmed by the gift and even more to receive it from a stranger. Those supplies were the most practical gift anyone could have given me. I'm still using black paper clips and red folders from Marley.

Marley: Awww…thanks, Cec! I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. Writing is such a solitary “sport,” but the writing community always astounds me with how they help their own. Not long after that, over plates of spinach and Gouda omelets, Deidre introduced me to Cec in person and I was thrilled to finally meet the man behind the words. Deidre knew we needed to work on a project together and thus began our brainstorming. What did you think of that first meeting, Cec, and cooking up the idea to work together?

Cec: Deidre and I had already spoken about a Christmas book and I had some idea about what it should contain, but nothing had come together. One day Deidre told me that Marley was coming to visit her and she wanted us to work together on a Christmas project. Marley and I talked before we ate and again during the meal. Everything felt right to me. I knew my strengths and Marley knew hers (and Deidre knew both of us). Everything clicked. Marley, a far better networker than I am, immediately sent out the word for submissions. Within days she had almost four times more than we could use. (She read every one of them!)

Marley: I was truly impressed with the submissions we received and it was hard narrowing it down to the ones we chose for the book. We’re fortunate to have such a go-getter agent in Deidre Knight. Cec, can you share how the whole idea of Christmas Miracles came about and what you thought of the project originally?

Cec: For me, it actually started while I was on the rapid-rail train from the Atlanta airport when I listened to teens talk about Christmas and it was mostly about gifts. I had the idea then, but nothing really came together. Months later when Deidre I and had a meeting, she brought up the idea of a compilation and mentioned my working with Marley. I've been Deidre Knight's client since 1997 and I've learned to listen carefully when she comes up with an idea. I said yes before she gave me all the information.

Marley: That’s the truth about Deidre! Getting back to those submissions, I want to say we got more than two hundred submissions for Christmas Miracles. So many wonderful stories to read through and select for the book. It was a challenge to pick and choose which ones were right for the book, but I loved every minute of it. After I chose the entries that would go into the book, Cec toiled long hours editing the works for a unified voice. What was the biggest challenge you found in the editing process, Cec?

Cec: I've been a ghostwriter and collaborator for twenty-plus years and this was a switch to give the book a unified voice—which was mine. It would have been easier to stay with each writer's voice, but the book—like many compilations—would have been uneven in tone and quality. When I discussed this via email with our delightful editor, Rose Hilliard, she was (to my surprise) familiar with my work. She told me she liked the warm tone of my writing and that I don't waste words. "That's the voice we want," she said. It still wasn't easy, but it was an exciting challenge. After Marley and I agreed on the stories and gave them that unified voice, our editor pulled six contributions. Although different, Rose felt they were too similar to other stories.

Marley: Can you give our readers a preview of the book? A favorite story perhaps…or one that moved you to tears? (I have to say the little boy who wished for nothing but to be able to read a book all the way through because of his stutter had me bawling when I read the submission.)

Cec: That's not fair! I liked them all. The one that touched me most, however, is the last story in the book, "Sean's Question." We had almost finished the book and I was teaching at a conference in Florida. I felt we needed one strong story at the end. Despite all the good ones, I didn't feel fully satisfied to conclude the book. On the last day of the conference, I met a conferee named Sara Zinn for a consultation. As we talked, I mentioned Christmas Miracles and that I still needed one more story. "I have a Christmas story," she said and told me about Sean. As I listened, tears filled my eyes—but, being the macho type I am, I was sure it was an allergy. Sara wrote the story, and it became the one I sought.

Marley: Oh yes…that one is an emotional one all right. It was meant to be in the book because of how you met at the conference. Now, you and I have both had challenges in our lives that others might have found too much to take, but we are both very strong in our faith and our relationship with God. How do you think Christmas Miracles is going to help others feel closer to God and experience His miracles in their own lives?

Cec: Awareness and appreciation are the two things I want readers to grasp. Awareness means for them to realize that they're never totally alone in life. Those unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary events remind us of that. Appreciation means to be thankful for what we already have. Too often, and especially at Christmas, we focus on what we'd like or what is supposed to make us happy. Christmas Miracles gently reminds readers of both.

Marley: In this day and age when our country is fighting two wars, unemployment is high, and a lot of people have a lack of hope and faith for their future, what do you want readers of the book to take away from Christmas Miracles and how can the stories in our book help provide comfort to those struggling?

I want readers to see that miracles do happen—sometimes simple, unexpected blessings or those that involve the supernatural (as in one of Marley's stories). I call myself a serious Christian. For me, the world's greatest miracle began with the birth of Jesus. Regardless of a person's religion, this book encourages readers to think about life during the Christmas season and see that life as more than gifts and celebrations. It's also a reminder that God loves us and hears our needy cries.

Marley: Beautifully put, Cec, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Can we share what’s next after Christmas Miracles? J

Cec: Why it's the Cec and Marley show, of course. Because of our go-getter agent and our enthusiastic editor, we've already received thumbs up for The Christmas Spirit. This will be stories of people who express the true spirit of Christmas by acts of love and kindness, for release in the fall of 2011.

Marley: And I can’t wait to start working on that project! Thank you so much for your time, Cec, and answering my questions. It was a privilege and honor to work with you and I look forward to our future projects together. You’ve helped me along during a trying time and I appreciate your friendship and support.

I liked this project because Marley had to send out the word, collect submissions, read them, and discard the weaker ones. I get to see only the better-written stories. (Don't tell her that I have the better job.) Although I mentioned only one story, all of those in the book touched me because of the poignancy of their situations and the miraculous answers. I won't say the stories increased my faith, but they increased my appreciation for the delightful mix of human need and divine intervention.

Marley: Thanks again, Cec! God Bless! And to our readers, please be sure to pick up a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, out Now from St. Martin’s Press. It’s a great stocking stuffer or gift basket filler. We hope you, too, will discover your own Christmas Miracles in your life.
Enjoy and think about the miracles in your own life. You can pick up Christmas Miracles here. It makes a great stocking stuffer for friends and family. Hey, it's never to early to start to think about this around the corner holiday.

Thanks for being here Marley and Cecil. Wishing you all Happy Christmas in October!
Now to decorate for Halloween...



Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So you know, Valorie, right? Sure you do. Well if you don't she's a Visual Vamp and you should check out her smooth New Orleans style over here. She always has something clever up her sleeve.

Well you can Vote for The Vamp and for New Orleans!

In the Apartment Therapy Room For Color contest.You have to register to vote. Sorry. And now you have to vote again for those who have made it to the next round!

Visual Vamp Valorie Hart has made it to the next round with her spicy Modern Creole room.

She lives in New Orleans for ten years now, and brings her New York roots to her love for her adopted city of New Orleans.

The room you are looking at is her office. You peek through an original archway into her office, which is flanked by a pair of vintage skeleton charts. One of them sports a Mardi Gras mask . The color palette is Late Creole Tomato (a coral based red), Vibrant Turquoise, and Sophisticated Chartreuse. Generous built in shelves house her collection of design books.

A white cowhide rug makes the space cozy. A pair of pale aqua lamps with couture lampshades from Paris grace her desk, an antique table from France. Nestled into a corner is a Gris-Gris altar, filled with mementos found and given to her over the years. During Katrina, the home was spared, and many credit the power of this altar for saving it! So please vote! A vote for this room is a vote for New Orleans, as well as for The Visual Vamp! But please vote right away!

You only get 24 hours to cast your vote in this round. If we pull her through to the next round, you'll be ready to make her a winner!

Go here to vote NOW! but remember you can only vote in this round on Wednesday October 21.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Busy, busy bee.

Buzzing around that's me.

A little too aimlessly

As you can clearly see.

Ok, ok enough of this rhyming way

Jack and I are
wishing you a Glorious Tuesday.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Make it Work

What’s Jack up to? As I write this Jack is snoozing and has been trying to snooze for most of the day. I guess it’s because he was up at the crack of dawn on both Saturday and Sunday trying to wake me up. Um, we’ve got to amend this sleep schedule Jack. It’s not working for me.

I hope the weekend was good and you weren’t too distracted looking to the sky for runaway balloons. How teeth gnashing is that whole story? And possibility all to be on reality TV with no Tim Gunn? Pla-eaze!

Speaking of Tim Gunn I could use a little Tim in my life. How nice would it be to have Tim as the friendly pop over neighbor? Just a shout away when you are overwhelmed with so much on your to-do list like I am this week and you need a good “MAKE IT WORK” kick in the butt.

BTW: Any predictions on a winner for Project Runway at this point? I know Irina keeps coming on strong (and how)but I'm going to go for Carol Hannah or Althea from behind. But what do I know?

Wishing you a ‘make it work’ kind of week.


Saturday, October 17, 2009


Wishing you moments of peace and tranquility this weekend.


Friday, October 16, 2009

What Cha Reading?

Right now I'm reading this:

and this:

and a whole bunch of these:

and hope to read this:
before this movie comes out:

And we won't even get into my huge TBR pile.

As you can see I still have that pesky multi-tasking problem.
So are you like me? Do you read a bunch of books at once hopping around or are you the one book at a time type? What's holding your attention right now?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Funny Fashion

What's Jack up to? The Jack dog and been trying my last nerve being extra pushy lately with the food treat thing. Trying to eat earlier and earlier and get in and extra meal or snack or three by wearing me down. It's time to get tough up in here-up in here.

So I got my new Harper's Bazaar in the mail yesterday and I'm loving Tina Fey on the cover. Don't you think she looks great?

And here I was just tweeting with friends "bring models back to the magazine covers" which I still totally believe, but this cover really makes me happy.

Love that dress and the twinkle in her eyes.

Check some of the inside fashion. Yum.

And just for fun:


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Check out my new super cute shoes that I got the other day. Yeah, I know cute is a stretch, but I really think they are.

Because yes folks, I’m the DH’s proud new bowling partner. Eee everytime I say it I age about 10 years. But though I’m am awful bowler and he’s really good I wanted to do it to spend some quality time with the DH where we were not talking about kids, chores and other assorted life mess. Just having some fun together.

So I got myself a pair of my very own shoes (can’t go wearing rentals week after week) and joined our church league.

Check out this nifty shirt I spied hanging in the corner of the alley. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

It was such a good time and with a 98 being my high score there is plenty of room for improvement. Plenty.

Now I wonder what type of bowling couple we will be. So far no special shirts but you know I’m thinking about it. I hope this marriage can survive.
So tell me: what fun thing do you do to keep the spark alive or just for you to take you out of the everyday rut?

And of course knowing me like you do, did you think for a second that I would not put up this video?
Yay, Grease 2! Such a fun hot mess.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The One Thing

I guess I’m feeling very 80’s today since for some reason and I’ve got this song running through my head. So of course I thought I’d share it with all of you.

So share with me. What’s The One Thing that you’ve got running through your mind today? Enquiring minds want to know…


Monday, October 12, 2009

And Featuring...

What’s Jack up to? Nothing much besides being the Just Jackster lately and having quite a time with that. He had fun helping the DD with a photography project for school what got him plenty of bribe treats in order to keep still (which he never did do) so WIN for him.

Happy Monday and Happy Columbus Day!
This is probably one of the latest Julie and Julia posts ever but here goes. Many of you know that Julie and Julia was my last book group book and I was quite excited to read this book and even more excited to see the movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Well, I guess too excited because I did an off reversal thing that I really thought would work. I saw the movie before reading the book and as it happens, I LOVED the movie, maybe a little too much.

The problem with that was the movie, for me, was adapted so differently from the book that it made the book hard to separate and enjoy and I think if I had read the book first, I would have enjoyed it more. Or if I read the book maybe a year prior and then read Julia’s MY LIFE IN FRANCE and had those to go on I would have had a different experience.

That said, this is not really what this post is about. This post is about the other little star of the movie. You all know how I can get swayed by a good accessory. Don’t let a fine handbag cross the screen. Clive Owen can be bare chested and I will barely notice. Well, that fine accessory moment in Julie and Julia was the Le Creuset dutch oven moment. I instantly turned to the DH and whispered, half breathless, “look my pot”. He just sighed knowing the trouble ahead.

I had been coveting one of these pots for years but just could not justify the purchase of one in my own mind even a discounted one (on sale) and I really didn’t want another brand. You know how it goes. Real or Canal Street knock off? I go for real every time.

Well this weekend after countless trips to Home Goods and TJ Maxx the DH had had it with me and the anniversary had not quite worn off so I now have my very own pretty yellow dutch oven. (sorry it's dark in the pics)
The first meal: braised ox tail stew with onions, peppers and potatoes. A fave of the DH.

I also got this great casserole and one-pot book for myself to go with it. Who knew I’d be so happy over a pot?

Could I be sorta domesticated? Kinda?
Um... Nah. I'm not getting crazy here.

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