Archive for September, 2010

Story Time With Mom

September 30, 2010

Rainy days were storytime days. A day to hear my mom’s stories about her childhood in New York and the family’s adventures in Bristol, R.I. Like the time, mom was walking her youngest brother, Johnny, to school and they cut across a field. Mom was wearing a bright red dress and it attracted the attention of a bull. The bull wasn’t open to endearments so mom grabbed Johnny’s hand and they ran and ran until they found the Veteran’s Home where a group of elderly Veteran’s lived. They were entertained with tales of war and heroism and plied with cookies and milk. Mother never tired of telling Johnny, after he served, that there would always be a place for him in the home.
Then there was the story of Uncle Morris and his cigar store. Uncle Morris was probably the only person in New York City who did not like Fiorello LaGuardia. It seems the Mayor did not approve of pool tables and dumped them in the river. Since the table added a good deal to Morris’s living, he had no use for the Mayor. I can imagine what he would think about our currnet Mayor Bloomberg and the ban on smoking. After the cigar stor closed, Uncle Morris went into the cloak and suit business. He became very popular with all the his wive’s- Betty- sisters. he was the one to turn to when a button needed sewing or a dress needed to be shortened.
Mom had a story about everyone in the family and I wish she were here so she could read mine. I hope, somewhere, somehow, she knows I’ve become a writer. to learn more about me, please log on to Scene Stealer, my mystery is available at,,, and wherever eBooks arre sold. An audio version is being produced by and will be available Oct.15.

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Make Yourself At Home

September 27, 2010

We’re in Rotorua, New Zealand and our day had begun with a not to be missed learning experience at the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village; a living Maori village bordered by hot thermal springs, bubbling mud pools and steaming vapor discharged through vents. Guides welcome us with the story of Rangi, their sky father, and Papatuanuki, the earth mother and the tribe’s history. For me, a writer, I listen to the stories with the anticipation of a child.
Several guides talk of a personal genealogical past that goes back 25 generations. Forty thousand years ago, the Maori of WhakarewarewaValley believed that here the Goddesses of fire, Te Pupu and Te Hoa rose from the center of the earth. As they drew and exhaled breath, geysers, mud pools and hot springs were born. Seven, amongst the approximately 65 vents are active and there are at least 500-mud pools. Visitors are impressed with Po Hutu which sometimes erupts to 98.3 feet. Residents use the hot steam from Roturua’s thermal wonderland to heat homes, cook, warm hot tubs, and immerse themselves in geothermal mud baths for a relaxing beauty treatment.
Te Puia, adjacent to Whakarewarewa, presents three Maori Cultural Performances a day. Stories are told through song and movement with the beguiling Poi dance, a war dance (Haka) and games performed with sticks where the dexterous performer dances with eight high flying rods.
Conservation is of major importance at Te Puia; in 1976, the Kiwi House opened; the house became a sanctuary for injured birds and by 1999, a breeding program was introduced. Te Puia is committed to the survival of New Zealand’s national symbol as well as other birds that live and thrive in this sheltered and natural environment.
Ancient arts and crafts are taught at Te Puia to insure the preservation of Maori traditions for future generations. Masters teach a three-year course in carving to 12 full-time students from all over New Zealand; The School of Weaving offers practical hands on teaching. Designs that stem from each tribe’s history are often employed and the work is exhibited all over the world. The shop offers artwork that ranges from carved wall hangings to serving bowls to woven art. The crafts are all beautifully fashioned by students and graduates.
A perfect day in Rotorua, 220 miles S.E. of Auckland, New Zealand in the heart of the Taupo Volcanic zone, was drawing to an end for two happy travelers. My husband and I finish a superb dinner at Zanellis, accompanied by a refreshingly different New Zealand fruit wine. The restaurant has appealed to hungry diners in downtown Rotorua for over twenty years. Satisfied, we stroll through the square; stop and enjoy line dancing performed by a group of Maori women to the strains of Begin the Beguine. The sound of a jazz band beckons us to the far corner of the square; the music is irresistible and we join the locals dancing in the street.
To learne more about me, please log on to My eBook titled Scene Stealer is available at,,, and wherever eBooks are sold
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September 23, 2010

Recently took another look at the beginning of a draft of a new novel. There are about fourteen rough chapters and I wanted to see if the novel was worth finishing. I like my characters-they’re very real to me and I hope that when the novel is completed and hopefully published, readers will feel the same way.
I put the novel away when another-a mystery-was (to my great delight) chosen for publication and I became caught up in rewrites, networking and marketing. Then there were bread and butter articles to write, research and the keeping up with contacts. Put the characters have stayed in my mind and I’m beginning to work on the chapter again.
On beginning research for Chapter Five, I noticed the names of two of my people had changed from Chapter Three; now who had changed them? It had to be me. So I’m back to Chapter Three after realizing the names in Chapter Five were much better suited to the characters. Perhaps while I was busy with my mystery, my characters changed their own names-they do tend to take over.
To learn more about me-please log on to My eBook Mystery titled Scene Stealer is available at,,, and wherever eBooks are sold.

Little Devil

September 20, 2010

Fierce and ugly, with forty-two needle-sharp teeth by the age of two, the terrier-sized Tasmanian Devil is not the most loved of Australia’s marsupials. But on a visit to the Tasmanian Devil Park and Wildlife Rescue Center in the Port Arthur region of Tasmania, Australia, my husband and I met a little Devil that the unwary might find as cuddly as a plush toy.
The jet-black, course-furred, eight-month old was an orphan being raised in the park’s nursery; this carnivore’s sleepy appearance gives him a look of complete innocence. A triangle of white accents his hindquarters and matches a strip across his chest; dark eyes and pink ears complete the picture. Born blind and deaf, young Devils called “Joeys,” have bad eyesight and flash photos are forbidden. Lactose intolerant, infants are fed special formulas to keep them healthy. It takes about forty weeks to wean a baby and Joeys are encouraged to drink from bowls as soon as possible. At about five and one-half months they begin to teeth and chew on bony shin bits.
A loner, the Devil begins to breed by the age of two; the female visits the male den for a interlude of about two weeks in March and the blessed event takes place about three weeks later. At birth, the Devil has been described as being the size of a jellybean. Up to thirty “Jelly beans” try to make their way to their mother’s backward-styled pouch; nature’s way of ensuring that dirt doesn’t enter when mom is tearing into carrion. Since there are just four teats in the pouch only three or four survive. The Joeys latch onto mother’s milk teats for about three months then they’re left in their grass and leaf lined den – a cave, a hollow log or an old wombat burrow – while mom forages for food. Later, they may hitch a ride on her back or follow along behind. Though they achieve independence by twenty-eight weeks and are agile enough to climb a tree, many never reach maturity as predators often attack them. At night, these nocturnal creatures usually meander along secondary roads looking for road-kill; unfortunately automobiles often hit them as they feast on a diet of wallaby, rodents or lizards. A Devil, fortunate enough to survive the hazards Devils face, may reach the age of six to eight years.
Grown Devils feed at 11:00 am; the former jelly bean now has a broad head, reminiscent of a bear, a muzzle with long whiskers and a squat body with a short, thick tail and back paws with four toes. Devils enjoy nothing so much as a good fight or chase around the enclosure; when angry their pink ears turn red with increased blood flow. Weighing anywhere from nine to twenty-six pounds, they’re particularly aggressive when it comes to food. Snorts, whistles, growls, screeches and demonic screams, worthy of a Stephen King horror movie, rend the air when a Devil protects its find or a competitor ignores the challenge of a sharp sneeze. An overwrought Devil emits a pungent odor only a deodorant manufacturer would enjoy. Often a Devil will sport scars or missing patches of fur earned in combat. Endowed with the strongest jaws and teeth of any animal, nothing edible goes to waste when this marsupial devours carrion or prey. The Tasmanian Devils at the Park are either orphans or have been bred here. Females and their young are kept separate from the males who exhibit no paternal pride in their offspring and would make a happy meal of them.
Fossils have been found all over Australia, but living Devils are alive and well only in Tasmania, having lost a battle over the same food supply favored by the Dingo, a wild dog brought to the mainland by the Indigenous People over 600-years ago. The Dingo never crossed the 150-mile Bass Strait that separates the Island of Tasmania from the southeastern mainland and here, the Devil survives.
A rough period for Devils began in 1830; farmers considered them a nuisance as they ate livestock and poultry. Van Dieman’s Land Company paid a bounty of twenty-five cents for males and thirty-five cents for females and many a Devil was poisoned or caught in a trap. It wasn’t until June 1941, that Devils came under the protection of the law. Today they are a symbol of the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service and farmers realize they have a place in the food chain; they clean up the carrion that would pollute the land and prey on mice and other pests that consume agricultural produce. NOTE: Since our visit, the Tasmanian population has been devastated by disease. Australian scientists and medical personnel are doing their best to find a cure and keep the Devil from extinction.
The Tasmanian Devil Park offers shelter to other animals in need of medical assistance and loving care. Visitor may spot a hand raised Brush-Tailed Possum curled up in a log or a Long-nosed Potoroo (a small Marsupial,) recovering from a broken pelvis or engage in a staring contest with two Tasmanian Masked Owls. The owls – one with only one wing and one with a broken wing seem as interested in us as we are in them. Wedge-Tailed Eagles, White Parakeets, a Pacific Gull, Green Rosellas, who can no longer fly because of damaged wings, and a parrot who doesn’t appreciate travelers, and is likely to take a nibble, also find a haven here. We were able to walk amongst orphaned marsupials – the name comes from the Latin word meaning pouch – as Bennett’s Wallabies and Forester Kangaroos are comfortably situated in a large field. When rehabilitated they return to the wild. A Conservation Centre for Raptors, in association with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, was completed in October of 2001 and is used for breeding and conservation of rare birds of prey. At the present time, anyone seeking a Tasmanian Tiger at the park is doomed to disappointment. There have been no sightings since the 1930’s but the Tiger is wholly protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1970 and many believe the Tiger still lives in a thick Tasmanian Forest.
for more information about me, please visit, My cozy mystery titled Scene Stealer may be purchased at,, and anywherre eBooks are sold

Canal Saint-Martin

September 16, 2010

The Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysees, the Jardin des Tuileries and the Arc de Triomphe, whew! It’s time for my husband and me to catch our breath, time to enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Canal Saint-Martin from Parc de la Villette to Port de L’Arsenal.
In the 19th century, Napoleon planned an 81-mile waterway that would supply the citizens of Paris with fresh drinking water and Saint-Martin is one part of the system; the canal runs underground for one-and-a-half miles between Bastille and Republique and ends in the 19th arrondissement where it joins Canais Ourcq and Saint-Denis.
The cruise takes us through the canal’s four double locks and two swing bridges; our boat slowly rises, the gates open and our canal boat glides though the water. We steal a look at young Parisian lovers strolling across a foot bridge, who stop to share a kiss under a chestnut tree on the quay while the rest of the world drifts by.
The Marcel Carnes film Hotel du Nord, filmed in 1938 and starring Arletty, Jean Pierre Aumont and Annabella, replicated the canal. The original hotel can be seen at 102 Quai de Jemmapes. A bit more recent is Amelie, a motion picture where the star, Audrey Tatou, portrays a shy and mischievous sprite who skims stones across the water.
Our boat drifts past the tenth arrondissement, a few metro stops from the center of Paris and once the exclusive home of the working class; today the arrondissement attracts the artistic, creative and imaginative who have succumbed to the canal’s charm and lower rents. Boutiques, cafes, bars and the fashionable have followed the trend-setting artists.
Bikers follow a path that ends near Claye Souilly just outside Paris while ramblers breath in the air along the canal side path that extends from Republique to Parc de la Villette where the Cite des Sciences et de l’industrie is located. Walking encourages the appetite and picnickers often pause for a light repast along the quay. Lunch and a refreshing drink may also be enjoyed in one of the many cafes or bars close to the canal.
As I glanced at the sides of the passage, petite mussels spit streams of water in our direction; a comment perhaps. We had enjoyed huge bowls of mussels and frites the evening before at Leon de Bruxelles, a chain of moderately priced seafood restaurants who specialize in succulent mussels cooked in a variety of styles. Internet address:
The Canauxrama boat may be boarded at 8:45 am and 2:30 pm at the Arsenal Marina -50 Boulevard de la Bastille (Public transportation to the Arsenal – by tube to Station Bastille, by bus – lines 20, 29, 65, 86, 87, 91) or from the Bassin de la Villette at 13, Quai de la Loire at 9:45 am and 2:45 pm (Public transportation to the Bassin – by tube to Station Jaures, by bus – lines 26, 48, 2, 5, 7.) The cost is 13 euros for adults, 8 euros for children under 12 and free for children under six. Reservations are necessary. The narrated cruise takes approximately three hours. Canauxrama, Basin del la Villette, 12 Quai de la Loire, 57019 Paris, telephone 01 42391500
For more information about me, please log on to Scene Stealer, my cozy mystery eBook may be purchased though Carina Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, borders and wherever eBooks are sold.


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Confessions of a Non-Techie

September 13, 2010

Before learning that my mystery Scene Stealer would be published by Carina Press as an eBook, I used my computer to write, research and email. I wrote articles, short stories and plays. Wow- Publishing a novel leads to a lot of learning. Networking, socializing and as the “KIng of Siam,” said in The King and I etc., etc., etc. In the beginning-there was and is WordPress, then a website, Facebook and Twitter, loops and forums and an eReader-where does everybody find the time?

And if all that didn’t keep me busy enough, I decided to buy a thin screen television and DVD player (I know I wasn’t in the 21st century.) Somehow I bought a HD and for that I needed a new cable box; looked at the directions and thought I can do it, after all I set up my computer and printer. Then I turned the page-columns upon columns of programming. I chickened out and called the friendly neighborhood Geek Squad. A little more money but better than a nervous breakdown. After I finish wordpress, twitter and facebook, I think I better go practise.
To learn more about me, please log on to Scene Stealer may be purchased at,, and wherever eBooks arre sold.


September 6, 2010

My husband’s eyes are as big as a starved puppy’s. Tonight his dinner will be pasta with marinara sauce and a big, mixed salad. Yesterday he was served salmon, vegetarian baked beans and a big, mixed salad. Tomorrow–chicken marsala is on the menu along with noodles, green peas and a big, mixed salad. He longs for a thick medium-rare porterhouse, a succulent rib roast with oven-browned potatoes on the side or my specialty in days long gone by– juicy leg of lamb with pineapple stuffing. Whenever guests were invited to dinner, leg of lamb was on the menu.
My taste for meat began to its slow journey to oblivion when I auditioned, got the job and worked as a singer at New York City’s Radio City Music hall. The holidays had begun and I joined a large ensemble of singers, dancers and Rockettes performing in the Music Hall’s annual Christmas Show. Dressed in 18th Century finery we sang a medley of carols, and then dashed to our dressing rooms to change into our costumes for the major highlight of the show-the procession to Bethlehem. Clad as common folk, we accompanied the three wise men from the east and walked across the Music Hall’s huge stage as we made our way to the manger to worship the Christ child.
Joining robe-clad singers and dancers were camels and sheep and I began to bring
carrots to feed the sheep between the shows. My favorite, Sally, a wooly charmer, began gaining weight and one day she missed a performance. Since the motto for both chorus members and animals is “The Show Must Go On,” I rushed to Sally’s dressing room as soon as the Nativity Scene ended and discovered Sally in her stall, now a proud mother of lambs. Before the end of the holiday season, the lambs had joined the procession.
There was no way I could serve a festive dinner whose main dish were members of the theatrical profession. I had trod the boards with soft, warm, cuddly and affectionate fellow performers. Lamb was now off my menu.
I began to take a closer look at cows. I no longer saw a prime cut, to me they were big eyed bovines with long lashes; introspective and calm creatures, wanting nothing much out of life but a chance to chew their cud in a green meadow under a sun-filled sky. Soon steaks and roasts, stuffed peppers and cabbage, chili and my famous (amongst friends and relatives) meat loaf went the way of legs of lamb and lamb chops.
Somehow I don’t feel the same way about chicken- a most versatile item on my bill of fare. And if someone has a chicken for a pet, please…I don’t want to know about how charming, funny or intelligent she may be. I admit to worrying about our oceans, over fishing and the poor fish that are being slowly poisoned with PCBs. But hey…I’ve been married a long time and marriage is a compromise.
Still, I love pasta-pasta marinara, pasta ai fungi, pasta with egg plant, pasta with clam sauce and then there are risottos-vegetable, mushroom, cheese or seafood. For a change I may serve cheese blintzes, cherry blintzes, apple blintzes and blueberry blintzes topped with non-fat sour cream. And what about all the things you can do with vegetables?
Speaking of vegetables, someone once asked me if I had ever heard a carrot cry; I don’t think that’s true, do you?
For more information about me – Scene Stealer my mystery may be purchased at,, and anywhere eBooks are sold