The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. Sometimes in life you just have to stop, inhale deeply then, look around and count your blessings.

2013 has been pretty tough for me but I've also had many successes thus far. There's been a lot of change, a lot of turmoil and a lot of uncertainty in my life this year.  I let all that go today to focus on what's positive.

I spent the day with my daughter and her family. My Prince is embarking on a new phase in his life as today was his birthday. My nephew who I raised from a little boy has a family of his own. It's very gratifying to see the changes in their lives. It's nice to see your children build their own lives, start new traditions forcing you to look at them differently.

I watched my daughter today host a feast for fifteen people including myself, her in-laws, her "little brother," his family, her childhood friend and her boyfriend, my sister and my brother-in-law. When I think back to when my daughter and nephew were little kids fighting the way siblings do, I never would have imagined a day like today.

The chatter.

The laughter.

The games.

There was complete and utter joy. Three generations of MY family; people that came from ME. I am a matriarch.

Today I am thankful for that and more. I am blessed to have the friends I have, for the good things in my life, and above all, I am grateful for my health; my ability to live independently. I am thankful for the opportunities afforded me -- ones I never would have imagined in a million years coming my way.

Days like this especially, I miss my Dad. I miss my Mom -- the woman she used to be. Nothing could replace the memories I have of the life I had with my parents. But, today, I've been blessed to oversee my own branch of this family --- my family.

Thank you Joseph Sultana and All Media Radio for the faith and support you have shown me. Thank you to my station colleague and friend, Scott Samain for your support and kindness.

Thank you Edward Medina for the love you have shown me.

Thank you to my readers, my Twitter and Facebook followers. I am nothing without you all.

Thank you to my Pink Diamond Inspirations -- Kevin Swarbrick, Johanna Pitcairn, James L. Rubart, Montgomery Granger, Robbi Sommers Bryant, M.J. Kane, Carmen DeSousa.

I owe you lovely souls so much. So many of you inspire me. This post does not adequately express my deep and abiding gratitude to you all. I know I left people out and I apologize. You are all blessings in my life.

So often we are quick to point out and dwell on the negative. I have been guilty of that, but the fact of the matter is that I would not be able to do what I love without you all. You all keep me bouyed.

You are all inspirations for me.

Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, September 9, 2013

I Don't Believe in Coincidence

Have you ever met someone and instantly loved them ... or hated them; or vice versa? If so, have you ever wondered why?

This has happened to me. Sometimes it's just nice for me to meet them. Sometimes it's not so nice -- there are no fuzzy feelings on either side when it's not so nice. Sometimes the not-so-nice-feelings emanating from that other person make me uncomfortable; sometimes they make me defiant and I decide not to go anywhere until we get it straightened out. 

I think this is all part of the message in that famous poem "A Reason, A Season or A Lifetime" that is so widely quoted. If you've never read it, watch the video below.

In my day job, I am always on the phone with clients. Some love me; some merely tolerate me. That's fine by me. 

In my personal life, I don't have any trouble starting conversations with random people. Hell, I'd talk to a tree if I thought it would talk back to me! And, every once in a while, some of those random conversations plant the seed for new friendships.

In my media life, I regularly talk with experts when doing research for whatever novel I'm working on and I'm conducting interviews all the time for my radio show. All of this I love doing because I am naturally curious about the human experience.

But it is rare for me to meet anyone who so moves me as to blog about it. This is one of those rare occasions. So, why? What is it about this/these person/people that's got me so charged? 

Well, here's the thing:

In this new era of virtual relationships/friendships, it is easy to hide behind a keyboard and create a persona; an image that will be appealing to an audience. Like I said, I like to meet people, but oftentimes, when I meet someone in real life after a virtual friendship, I am disappointed in what the reality is.

Yesterday was different.

For several years, I've had an ongoing virtual friendship with fellow Indie Author and NuYorican Edward Medina (click on his name for his FB page). Most recently we'd exchanged emails after the release of his short story AWILDA. He'd just released it, I'd just downloaded it and I wanted him on my Pink Diamond Inspirations Radio Show with All Media Radio. He agreed and said he was in the midst of moving back to NY from Florida and that we should plan on doing this interview in person once he arrived. 

Cool! I responded. But, honestly, I was a little bit concerned. I mean, I don't know this guy from a hole in the wall. Hello? Has anyone heard of catfish?? LOL!! Ok, that may be a little bit out there, but I DO write psychological thrillers, so you can't blame me! 

I don't believe in coincidence. Ed and I hit it off on Twitter when I first joined. Little did I know then that we had so much more in common than our heritage, the similarities in our upbringing and, in my case, a little old book -- his books are far from little old books. From the very beginning, I felt a kinship with him. This was a person who appeared to be very much like me. He came from where I came, looked like I did, wrote the way I wrote and he thought the way I did -- to wit, outside the proverbial box.

In any event, Ed, myself and his IT Goddess (I love that he calls her that!), Nate Hinkle met for brunch yesterday in the city. We broke bread, we chatted and drank mimosas. :) We had so much fun though there were moments where I could have cried -- but I sucked it up and kept it together. The bottom line is: I could not be happier to have met them both -- in person -- nor could I have been more inspired to continue on in what is now a multi-media journey that began with my writing.

Edward Medina and I 

Nate "Ed's IT Goddess" Hinkle and I
At one point I realized that I was sharing memories of me and my Dad and I wasn't crying; I was smiling!! Here it is two days before the 12th anniversary of the tragedy that was 9/11/01 and six days before the 8th anniversary of my Dad's passing and I'm not feeling sad even though those two dates have made me feel inconsolable and morose in the past. The fact that I had that realization while hanging out with these two beautiful souls will never be forgotten by me and that alone will be what binds us.

The three of us have founded a beautiful friendship and for me that is so, so important particularly in this day and age when anything can happen at any time. Stay tuned my friends. You're going to be seeing/hearing a lot from me about Mr. Medina and his IT Goddess, Nate :)  (Hover over their names for links to their twitter accounts and follow them!)

In closing, I ask you this: what girl can't use another girlfriend to do girly things with??


Friday, January 18, 2013


If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you might have learned a few things about me. Not the least of which is how sensitive I can be, how I might lose patience and gripe about things I can't change or how nerdy I can be when I learn some seemingly useless (to some people) piece of information.

One thing you might not know is that when I start to feel lost or melancholy, I tend to pull back and go within myself to figure things out, learn things about myself. That's where I've been, and this is what I've learned:

2012 was a very full year for me. I was still high last New Year's Day from the headiness of having released my debut novel eight months earlier. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn't believe I was still in that euphoric state and how long could I do that?  But by May I was planning long delayed orthopedic surgery and my recovery. I thought: "Cool! Yea, I'll be in pain but I'll be off from work for 3 months and I can write!"

I truly envisioned myself writing the whole time I was in recovery. NOT!!!

I was barely able to move during the first two weeks and heavily medicated for 6 weeks. I know there are some writers who write really good work while sipping on a cocktail or two, but I can't. My mind goes blank -- my brains are, literally, mashed potatoes.

My brain on mind-altering drugs

I can almost hear them squishing about in my head. So imagine how worthless I was feeling during those first six precious weeks. Eventually, I was able to finish "Divergent Lives" during that time and a few weeks later, I returned to work as did that dark shadow hanging over me. What a cruel twist to have had the opportunity to get a taste of what life could be, only to have reality smack me on the forehead.

I know. I'm rambling. Bear with me ... I'm getting there.

This week a co-worker/friend died unexpectedly. We used to work together on the same floor but two years ago, my firm's NY office moved and departments were split between two locations. Dion worked at the second location, so except for facebook exchanges I had very little contact with him after the move. He is the second person working out of the second location who passed away in less than a year.This saddens me especially since I don't handle this kind of loss very well. Are you kidding me? I still cry over my father's passing 7 years ago.

That's the way I am.What can I tell you?

In addition, I've not been entirely happy since I returned to work.I am extremely grateful to have a job, particularly since I am my sole source of income. So, please don't chastise me for my feelings. The truth of the matter is that I got a taste of what it would be like to be able to write whenever I felt like it. I got used to not having to rush to go anywhere during rush hour and dealing with the masses. When you work someplace for as long as I have, things might linger until you return, or things might change. My job has changed a bit, I've changed .. a lot .. but life goes on and I've learned to adjust.

I am happiest when I'm creating; writing; talking about creating, and writing some more. In fact, writing this post has lifted my spirits to heights I haven't been in weeks.

I am the luckiest girl in the world to be able to openly share my thoughts and feelings without fearing ridicule and looks of confusion someone might have who doesn't get it. Some of you might feel or have felt the same way. To share with people who are like minded makes me feel less alone and grateful to have found my passion.

My friend Dion's passing is testimony to the fact that life is precious and you never know when it's all going to be snatched away. All the more reason to follow your bliss. Writing is mine.