Friday, October 11, 2013

Shelly Beans Book Review

Relative Identity Memorable Quote:

It was Saturday night and people were jammed so closely that it would take a crowbar and a vat of petroleum jelly to navigate the crowd, and from the looks of it, half of them would have enjoyed the combo way too much.” (pg. 63)

Read the rest of her review here :

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Virtual Tour and Giveaway!

I'm, doing a Virtual Book Tour and on the first stop we are giving away both of my books, 'Death Is a Relative Thing' and 'Relative Identity'. Enter to win! Great holiday gift if you have them, and if you don't have them, fun to read!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Marshmallow Autumn

I went to the grocery store last week and grabbed the usual, milk, bread, and eggs.  As I was about to check out, on an endcap...were MALLOMARS!
Check out the post reprint:
The weather is getting cooler.  For some people it is a sad signal that summer is over, for others it is a sign to head upstate and watch the leaves turn brilliant shades of scarlet, yellow and orange.  For yet another subset of people it is a time of introspection, the fall equinox, the natural order of things.  For me, well, the fall means celebration, a time of joy for once again, it is Mallomar season. 

I'm sure you're familiar with these cookies, but just in case...a Mallomar is a gently domed marshmallow enthroned on a round graham cracker that is then covered entirely in pure dark chocolate.  Eating one is exotic and dangerous- a little retro- kind of like having sex with a biker dude on the roof of a VW van...(Just heresay mind you, no first hand knowledge!) but it is THAT good. 

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I developed sudden cravings for Mallomars somewhere around my sixth month. It was June. I went to Waldbaums, money gripped tightly in my fist- ready to pay whatever price. 

Anticipating my first luxurious chocolate covered bite- I searched the shelves, walked up and down the aisles, but there were none. Undaunted, I headed down the road to King Kullen were alas, also, not one box was to be found.  

A store employee was stocking shelves with animal crackers a little further down the aisle so I approached him and asked ... 

"Where would I find the Mallomars?"  By this time my best guess was that they were enshrined in some special area of the store, probably in a goldtone case with MALLOMARS spelled out in Diva lights. I just needed him to point me in the right direction.

"Mallomars?  Oh well, you won't see them until the end of September." 

"Huh?"  I felt a wave of faintness as a few pregnancy hormones did a full head rotation. "Ok look, that is unacceptable, you need to order them and get them in NOW!" My voice dropped a few octaves and the "N-O-W  came out sounding much like Darth Vader.  

He backed up a few steps, shrugged nervously and said "Look Lady, they don't ship them all summer. They melt. You won't find them anywhere." 

I went home and immediately called Nabisco headquarters in New Jersey where I asked for the president of the company. When they refused to put me through I asked for the vice president.  When that didn't work, I asked for Willy Wonka.  

CLICK! Somehow we got disconnected. Figures.  Jersey!  

I tried again, pushing various option buttons until I got connected to a saleswoman who introduced herself as Pat. "Pat! Hey!  I need some Mallomars- the stores here don't have them- can you please send me a few dozen boxes direct please?" 

"Uh, no.  Lady, we don't ship Mallomars from April to September. They melt" 

"I've heard that- But look Pat...I am right here in New York...we're neighbors- They won't have TIME to melt." 

"Sorry- we don't even have any to send. We've stopped production  for the summer"

My voice took on the same low deep timbre as it did with the man in the store. I spoke slowly and carefully into the phone. 

"Pat...Pat...look, I'm six months pregnant and desperate. I KNOW there are a few boxes kicking around there, maybe under your desk even. Pat....Pat...Are you holding out on me?  Keeping all of that rich gooey chocoate goodness to yourself?  I know where you live Pat....I'm even sure your desk is on the first floor...are you sure you don't want to send me a few little cookies? Pat...I have ways...."  


I sighed and rubbed my belly.  My poor daughter would never experience a Mallomar in utero.  I had introduced her to a number of the finer gastric pleasures like hot naked buffalo wings, White Castle Hamburgers and dirty water dogs from a roadside truck, but this delight would have to wait. 

I took a graham cracker, a slab of dark chocolate and a marshmallow, stacked them and threw the pile into the microwave for 10 seconds. It would have to do.
Then I made 4 more...   
and waited.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

I've joined NaNoWriMo this year.  A month of literary abandon.  An idea that in 1999 had 21 participants and has grown to being something of a  movement.   In 2011 over 250,000 aspiring novelists signed up and over 30,000 of them completed the challenge. 

I've committed to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's almost 1700 words a day.  Not an easy task.  Especially difficult for a perfectionist.

Friends for years have asked me if I was going to 'do' NaNoWriMo.  Personally, I've never seen the point.  My feelings?  How good can any writing possibly be if the author is only concerned with churning out words?  Quantity over context?  Never!

Yet here I am.  All signed up and steeling myself for November 1.  Why?  Well I am probably my own worst enemy when it comes to writing.  I love it and I do it every day but I find myself  making little progress.  I read, re-read, edit and re-edit my work as I go along.  I slow to a snails pace because I can't move forward until what I've written is the best I can make it.

I'm looking to break free and learn to just write.  Let the words flow and allow my writing to be flawed.  Trust that it will come together in edits, and re-edits.

I think NaNoWriMo may help me grow as a writer.  I'm not sure that I will create something that is publishable (even after numerous edits) in that thirty day time, but I am hoping to break free of my writing OCD, and that in itself would be a win for me. 

The rules also state that it needs to be started from scratch, so I won't be finishing up I'm working on currently or dragging out something I have had shelved.  I'm going to do this by the book.  

It should be interesting. And a lot of work.  And very gratifying. Wait... did I say terrifying or gratifying?

If anyone wants to check it out and/or join up, head over to

Look me up.  My NaNoWriMo name is Shakeabop. 

Counter starts  November 1.


NaNoWriMo Word Count

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Merciful Thing To Do

My son Joe gave me a beautiful hanging planter on Mother’s day.  Pink and white blossoms in a huge basket, long flowery tendrils hanging over the side, robust dark green leaves.  He walked into the house, kissed me and handed it over. 

“Happy Mothers Day!” 

“Thanks Joe” 

Then, chiming in from the corner of the room, another voice. 

“So, Joe what did that plant ever do to you?   Did it indicate in any way that it had a death wish or were you just being sadistic?” 

Rob.  My second child.  How well he knows me! 

Enter my mother. 

She said to Joe, “Nice plant!” Then turning to me she added, “Maybe you should just give it to me.”   

Everyone’s a comedian. 

I decided it was high time I grew something… and had it survive.  

How hard could it really be?  I mean, it’s spring and the whole neighborhood is brimming with people tending little plants. If they could do it, why can’t I? Most are growing vegetables, a booming business in this economic downturn.  Because of it, walking around my neighborhood has become a lot more fun than it used to be!  I get guys talking to me about their jumbo cucumbers-and they are quite forthcoming with details related to how big they will get with some tender loving care.  The lady down the road told me that she traded in her Small Fry tomatoes for Supersonic VF Hybrid grafted ones- explaining that they will keep their firmness when everyone else’s have shriveled and were hanging on the ground.  I was able to learn a number of fertilization techniques from the couple next door, but I digress…. 

I created my own little garden, a small piece of heaven and cost effective nutrition.   

Growing  tiny seedlings and transplanting them to the tilled and fertilized outdoor garden went better than expected.  I made sure they would have enough sun and made certain they were close to a water source as insufficient quantities of both have derailed my gardens in previous years. I planted them tenderly, with little stakes at the beginning of each row indicating what vegetable my family would be enjoying in a few months and watered my little bambinos.  Then I put up a little fence so the area was cordoned off- a necessary visual barrier for the kids as verbal instructions are rarely successful without reinforcement. 

All was going very well for close to 18 hours.  

Just so you know, that’s probably a record for me.  

As I was letting my puppy in from outside, I noticed she had a sprig of green in her mouth. I stood there, not quite comprehending for a few very long moments, knowing it looked a lot like one of the carrot plants I had sown, but not understanding how it possibly could be.  Reality slowly dawned.  I eased my head toward the garden, terrified to look. Glancing out of the corner of my eye, my worst fears were confirmed.  I was met with a vast, nuclear wasteland here my garden should have been….grey, flat…..dead.    There were partial plant carcasses  strewn about haphazardly, holes were dug, and a little pile of  puppy dung sat in the center where my one pumpkin plant should have been. My fence had been breached, violated by an overzealous ten pound Boston Terrier. 

I have concluded that I will serve our economy best by purchasing vegetables at our local farm stand… 

I stopped in front of my Mother’s house, knowing that what I was about to do was the right thing.  I tenderly placed the basket Joe gave me in a blanket, nestled a bottle of plant food between its blossoms and placed the bundle on her stoop. I rang the doorbell, then ran and hid until I was sure mom answered and watched as she brought it in the house.
Under the circumstances, it was the merciful thing to do.