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Week 5 of Gloria’s Notebook Reveal

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 | 0 comments

I’m deep in Magdalena with A Family Affair: Winter, but wanted to take a second to let you know that Gloria’s at it again! It’s Wednesday and the 5th installment of her notebook is oozing with hatred and a vow to get even. We’ve only got a few more installments to go, so get ready, because you won’t want to miss next week when Gloria goes after Nate and exposes a secret he may or may not have known about. Could she not leave that poor man alone? Apparently she is not going to let anyone enjoy a second of happiness, even if it’s her own daughter. Lovely woman, isn’t she? See you next week… Click here to see this week’s notebook reveal....

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Week 4 of Gloria’s Notebook Reveal

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 | 0 comments

Don’t miss this week’s installment of Gloria’s notebook where she learns a disturbing truth that will change her life forever. AND, she’ll get her first look at the “other woman”.  Click here to go to Gloria’s Notebook.          ...

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Week 3 of Gloria’s notebook reveal

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 | 0 comments

In week 3 of Gloria’s notebook revelation, she is attempting to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity. She watches him, tries to detect changes in his behavior, and all the time, wonders why she has not confronted him. But then she considers a possibility that disturbs her. Perhaps she’s not confronted him because she fears he will make a choice and he will not choose her. Perhaps he will choose his mistress and his other life. Oh, that does smell a lot like fear, doesn’t it? Fear would be an unwelcome emotion for her, one she does not want to accept. Fear leads Gloria to rationalization and of course, excuses. Seventy-two hours a month is not that bad. Charles is not an uncaring man because if he were, he would not travel to a different state for his liaison. Goodness, thank you, Charles for such consideration! (That’s me, being sarcastic.) But Gloria continues with her rationalization, telling herself he does indeed care and if he didn’t, he would lack the consistency of pattern. Four days a month. Hardly the pattern of a grand romance. It is this last thought that drives her to conclude the “relationship” is fleeting and will be over in six months. Yes, well, not exactly correct. I think she’s off by a few years… Be sure to check in for next week’s installment, when Gloria’s anger really surfaces and she writes as if she’s talking straight to Charles. AND, we’ll see a “picture” of Charles and Miriam! Yes, there’s much more to come and you can be sure Gloria is readying for battle!! Click here to go to Gloria’s...

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Week 2 of Gloria’s Notebook reveal

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 | 9 comments

Week 2 of Gloria’s Notebook reveal

Hello Reader Friends: Welcome to week 2 of Gloria Blacksworth’s reveal. Take a peek here and read what Gloria is thinking when she learns her dreaded fear is true: Charles is having an affair. There’s a moment here where Gloria teeters with indecision…should she confront her husband when he walks in the door on his return from seeing the other woman, wait until they finish their “welcome-home” dinner, or should she remain silent? If you know anything about Gloria, she’s not a silent woman, and yet we all remember how this scenario played out. If you didn’t know what was going to happen, would you feel even a little sorry for her? I ask this question quite a bit and the answer is always “absolutely not”. If you feel that way now, just wait until the last installment! I can pretty much guarantee you will want to head to Magdalena yourself and burn that darn notebook. But it might already be too late…stay tuned!...

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Notebook secrets revealed

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 | 5 comments

Remember Gloria Blacksworth and the infamous notebook she sent her daughter?  Over the next 8 weeks, I will reveal the secrets hidden inside…You’ll know what she’s written before the residents of Magdalena do…and some of it is NOT good! Gloria’s...

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How many days until Christmas?

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 | 3 comments

How many days until Christmas?

A Family Affair: Christmas, a novella Book 5 in my popular Truth in Lies Series will be released on November 18th. Here’s the opening… For weeks, people talked about the storm that would hit Magdalena right before Christmas. They said it was going to be the worst in history, even worse than the one in ’75 when the roof on St. Gertrude’s church collapsed and Father Reisanski had to hold Mass at the high school until the snow stopped and the roof could be repaired. Pop had lived through the storm of ’75 and he’d live through this storm, too. Mother Nature had a way of making a person sit up and rethink his position on just what he could and could not change, like a person’s attitude or destiny. There was another storm rolling in and it would be here a heck of a lot sooner. Pop squinted at his watch. Yup, the storm should be here in less than two hours, filled with gusts of hot air and enough highfalutin attitude to fill a compost bin. That storm was Pop’s son, Tony.   Pre-order on Amazon or iBooks: Kindle Pre-Order iTunes Pre-Order   That’s it for now…see you in Magdalena very soon, and don’t forget your winter...

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Pretending to be someone I’m not

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Pretending to be someone I’m not

For years, when someone asked me what I wrote, I fidgeted, cleared my throat, and forced out the words, “I write romance and women’s fiction.” You can imagine the comments, the raised eyebrows, the little smirks that made me want to say, “No, wait! I write stories like Joyce Carol Oates…and Margaret Atwood.” That certainly would have squelched the look. Problem was, that’s not what I wrote. More importantly, that’s not what I wanted to write. If you are going to write a book, you had better darn well want to hang around with those people and their problems for hundreds of pages. So, why did I fidget and want to hide my true passion? That silly need for acceptance, I’m sure. Everyone wants to be thought of as brilliant and cutting edge. While I do enjoy reading Joyce and Margaret, I don’t want to actually have to write what they do. That’s quite a lot of pretending to be someone I’m not. You see where this is going, don’t you? I would love heartfelt praise and page after page of great reviews, but I’ve got to write what’s in my heart—what I’m most passionate about. For too long, I worried about what the outside world said—editors, agents, the writing world—and I didn’t listen to myself. Then after one particularly stressful day of aimless wandering, I said, “Enough!” It came shortly after taking Barbara Samuel’s writing class where she told me I might be doing myself a disservice by looking too much at the outside world for both validation and direction. By tapping into my passions, (gardens, food, dogs), I would find the most success. Such a wise woman! I began to really think about what I wanted to write and oddly or maybe not, the book that emerged was A FAMILY AFFAIR. I write romance and women’s fiction about second chances and that one true love, seeped in near insurmountable circumstances. And there’s almost always a morally ambiguous situation. I’ll clarify that: In A Family Affair, the mistress is more likeable than the real mother. (Real families aren’t always the ones you know about…) In The Way They Were, the heroine married one man but never stopped loving another as evidenced in the once a year letter she writes him, (which she’ll never send.) (Tragedy tore them apart, now destiny may bring them back together.) In Pieces of You, a mother’s disappearance isn’t really a disappearance at all but a planned abandonment that leaves a son scarred for future relationships. (Sometimes hiding in the shadows is the only way to protect your heart.) In Pulling Home, the heroine loves one brother but marries another. (She’ll risk anything to save her child…even the truth.) There are fifteen or so more books, but you get the point. Now I write what I want and I gone are the days of pretending to be somone I’m not. Have a great week!  ...

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My Mother’s $125 Apple Pie

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 | 2 comments

My Mother’s $125 Apple Pie

Yes, you read that right. I wrote an article about my mother’s $125 apple pie. And because I’m a middle child, would it not be fitting to tell you she made it for my oldest brother? The pecking order at work! In order to give this story the most impact, I have to also admit that when my brother requested the pie, Mom had just returned from an extended visit to California, where my two brothers live. She had plenty of time and loads of kitchen space to make ten apple pies. Big brother had only to ask, but he didn’t because he’d sworn off sweets, flour, and all things white. Fine by me. My husband hadn’t made this same pledge and a few days after Mom arrived in Ohio, he asked for his semi-annual apple pie. Mom was more than happy to get back into baking mode and when the pie came out of the oven, I could hardly wait to dig in. “Send your brother a picture of this lovely pie. Look at the golden crust. Isn’t it beautiful?” “It’s perfect, Mom. Great job.” I snapped a picture and sent it to my oldest brother. Seconds later my phone rang. It was brother #1 with a request: he wanted Mom to make him a pie. “You realize she was just at your house…?” “I know.” Laugh. “See if she’ll do it.” “Of course she will.” “Ask her if she’ll put a few blueberries in it, too, like she did before.” “You mean when you were eating pie? Sure. Anything else?” Sometimes I just don’t know about my brother… Pause. “Oatmeal raisin cookies, too.” Was he kidding? I sigh. “Can she use white flour and sugar?” “Yes.” Not a second of hesitation. “Tell her to make it just like she does and can she send it so it gets here Saturday?” Now I have to say something. “You know, you could go to a bakery…” “It wouldn’t be the same. I want Mom’s apple pie and her cookies.” Pause. “So, can you get them here by Saturday?” “Yeah, well, you mean because today is Wednesday? How am I going to do that?” “Next day delivery.” “Now I know you’re crazy.” “Come on. Can you just make it happen?” Sigh. Big sigh. Of course, I can’t say no. He’s my brother. “Okay. Let me see what I can do.” At eighty-something, Mom might be the brains and the know-how of this operation, but I’m the legs. Off to the grocery store to get more apples, then home to set out the ingredients, print off the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, and prepare for tomorrow morning’s baking session. As my husband enjoyed warm apple pie and ice cream, I told him he was in charge of packaging the to-be-made pie and cookies. With his engineer-minded brain, he was the most qualified to get the job done. Mom and I spent Thursday baking and I swear, my brother called fifteen times to see how we were progressing. Mom’s crust was even better than the one the other day and the cookies were golden and chewy. (Of course, I had to taste a few!) My husband wrapped the pie in rolls of bubble wrap, taped it closed, placed it in a Styrofoam container...

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My Mother and Technology

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 | 0 comments

My Mother and Technology

My mother hates technology. She doesn’t have a cellphone, doesn’t have a computer, doesn’t have a flat screen TV, no garbage disposal, dishwasher, or air conditioning either. It’s not that she hates technology; she detests the notion of actually having to use it herself. She does, however, know how to get everyone else using it to “get done what needs done”—code for do what our almost eighty-six-year-old mother tells us to do. Let’s take a look at my mother and technology and see how she navigates through this unfamiliar maze and how she’s figured out a few tricks along the way. (That means, get your kids to do the work for you!) Take a simple recipe. Mom carries hundreds of them when she travels; either handwritten on index cards, or on 8.5 x 11inch paper, folded up, nice and neat. She also tends to clip recipes from magazines and puts a star by her favorites. These recipes are organized by most often used and are usually paper clipped, then placed in a recycled storage bag (that’s another story for another day.) All of these lovely and quite ancient recipes are then stored in a fashionable vinyl green zippered portfolio that she once used for banking papers and such—twenty-five years ago. (Again, the recycle idea.) Imagine how long it takes to locate a banana bread recipe that’s tucked in with twenty or thirty others? Yeah, don’t imagine that. Several years ago, I convinced Mom to let me type her best and most often used recipes on the computer. (Okay, I didn’t actually do it myself; my 2nd daughter did.) I explained to Mom that I would have easy access to the files and all she had to do was call, no matter where she was, and I could either send the file on the computer, print and mail it, or read it to her. (I also made the unfortunate mistake of explaining what “scanning” meant.) Who knew she’d ask me to send my brothers and sister “interesting” articles from the local newspaper? Most of Mom’s recipes are now on the computer, and when she calls about a chocolate chip recipe, I know to ask if she means the “extraordinary chocolate chip” recipe, not to be confused with the “impossible delicious chocolate chip” recipe, or any of the other variations in Mom’s portfolio. These recipes are very different and you have to know the difference. I happen to be one of the only people, aside from Mom, who knows which are which, and that makes me the “go to” person. Last year was the first time Mom had enough confidence in the computer to leave her lovely green zippered portfolio at home. That was a big win for me, almost as big as talking her into new sneakers. This system has worked well for several years. However…it has also backfired, on occasion. When Mom is visiting my brothers in California, (she lives in Pennsylvania and I am in Ohio), we have a routine. She’ll tell me ahead of time if she needs a recipe sent to one of my brothers’ computers at work. Depending on where she’s staying, they’ll print the recipe and take it to her. “Send your brother a message,” she’ll say. “Tell him to make sure he brings...

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My Mother is a Character

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 | 6 comments

My Mother is a Character

My mother is a character. No really, she is. She’s appeared in many of my books—a comment here, a drop of wisdom there, and always, always an opinion. But it wasn’t until one of her church friends commented on the similarities between my mother and Simple Riches’ Stella Androvich, that Mom asked me about it. We live more than two hundred miles away from each other, so the phone provides our daily, sometimes twice daily connection. “My friends say I’m that Stella lady in your book.” “You mean, Stella from Simple Riches? Um,” I say into the phone, glad she can’t see my face. “Why would they say that?” “Because she cooks from scratch like I do and feeds everyone. And she’s Italian. Oh, and even though her children are grown, she doesn’t hesitate to give them a piece or two of advice if she feels they need it.” A piece or two? Mom offers it by the bucket. Advice is her specialty, solicited or not. “Well,” I say, curious to know if she’s happy or not to maybe have Stella Androvich patterned after her, “Do you think you are?” “I don’t know. Maybe.” Pause. “Stella makes homemade pasta just like I do. She makes bread, too, and chicken soup.” Yup. “She’s a great character, Mom.” Her voice softens. “I like her children. Oh, that Michael. He’s something else.” She’s talking about Michael Androvich, the son who’s always getting in and out of trouble—usually of his own making. “Just wait until you see what happens to him, Mom.” “Oh? What’s going to happen?” she asks, like we’re talking about one of her soap operas. “You’ll see. He’s getting his own story. Remember the books about the guy with the secret family? He’s in that one. I called it A Family Affair: Fall.” “Well, hurry up and write it. Who knows how much longer I’ll be here.” “Mom.” My mother is eighty-five and a half, not to be confused with eighty-five. Heavens no. She wants everyone to know she’s almost eighty-six and very independent. She also wants us to know that she’s the matriarch of the family, which means she’s still calling the shots. Mom’s finally agreed to attend the Senior Citizen luncheon once or twice a week, and yes, has sent me the monthly menu selections for my reading enjoyment. But participating in activities and such? Well, Mom maintains that’s for “old” people. “I’m sending you some very good articles,” Mom says. “Now, I know you’re busy with your book, but these won’t take long to read. Take them in the bathroom with you. There’s one on migraines, another on strengthening your core, and a good recipe for chicken with broccoli. Use the coupons I sent you, too.” “Okay, Mom. Got it.” Mom not only clips the articles, but she writes side comments and usually a note to forward on to my sister or brothers. Most of the time I remember to do this because guilt won’t let me forget. “Now don’t just throw them in a drawer. They’re good articles.” Pause. “Oh, someone’s at the door. Come in!” Muffled sounds and then my mother laughs. “My neighbor just brought me two quarts of fresh-picked blueberries. What am I going to do with all these berries? Guess I’ll be...

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