Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Holiday Festivities

I was extremely fortunate to grow up with extended inter-faith family. While we celebrated the Jewish holidays in our home, we often had the chance to enjoy helping relatives and friends decorate their Christmas trees, hunt for Easter eggs and sometimes, yes, attend Christmas Eve mass. Our family and friends joined us for latkes and playing dreidels, matzah brei and long Seders, walking to shul and standing in the back with me for High Holy Day services. And the wonderful thing was, everything involved family, love, and the history of our ancestors.

Again, I live in a Jewish home and the inter-faith family connections have continued to multiply. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to celebrate your own identity and share in the joys of others as well. A lot of it has to do with mutual respect, love of a Divine presence, and sharing our cultural traditions. We had family and friends of various faiths attend our children’s Bris, naming, and B’nai Mitzvahs just as we’ve attended Christenings, Communions and Hindu Namakaran ceremonies. It just seems as if the love is multiplied in so many different ways and sometimes also languages. There are so many similarities — for instance the winter season has celebrations such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and Kwanzaa, each one is a “Festival of Lights” in its own unique way.

Growing up I did know a few people who frowned upon the inter-faith exposure, but it never hurt me. I never strayed from the religious beliefs my parents raised me with, but I did grow to respect, accept, and enjoy all my loved ones’ customs. And despite the fear some folks may have about losing their young to other cultures, it actually became a stronger tie to my own beginnings. I love who I am and I identify with my roots and I encourage others to hold on to their beliefs as well. There are those, in today’s world, who feel that religion causes wars and hate, but it shouldn’t. Parents should raise their children to recognize that every HUMAN BEING has a right to their own way of worship and to enjoy their religious festivities.  

During Hanukkah we celebrate the story of the Maccabees and how they led the fight for religious freedoms. We should all feel free to observe and celebrate our faith, to worship (or not) the way we want to. Every person has the right to find comfort and peace in their beliefs. I am aware there are fanatics in every faith but too many of them are using and perverting the concepts of their religions for their own gains, and that is not love of their fellow human beings. We have to learn tolerance and acceptance and reject the tirades of the prejudiced and close-minded. We have to teach our children that every human being deserves acceptance and deserves to be loved.

I wish you all the joys of the season. 
May you all know happiness, peace and family love.

Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah Joyous Kwanzaa

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Help me write an HEA

As a romance author I am used to writing Happily Ever After (HEA) endings — I’m hoping that someone will help us to “write” an HEA for my family. My brother, Del (legally my brother-in-law) desperately needs a kidney. Del has Polycystic Kidney Disease and is now in End Stage Kidney Disease. He is registered with RJWBarnabas Health (NJ)  and a few other hospitals as well as with Renewal
Everywhere I look lately it seems that there are many people needing new kidneys, I’m not a doctor or scientist, but it seems so prevalent. The number of people requiring a kidney transplant has been increasing each year, the number of transplants received has remained at a stable and alarmingly low level over the years.
I read stories about folks searching for matches (living donors provide the best chances AND most of us have two working kidneys so can afford to donate one). It is so heartbreaking though to read how loving relatives and friends have tried to donate a kidney only to find that they are not compatible matches. I have a suggestion for you…
If you are not a compatible match, see if you are a match for another person in need, like Del, and begin a donation chain in your friend’s name. You will save multiple lives and move your friend’s name closer to the top so that the chances of finding a compatible donation are much greater. Likewise, you can get tested for Del Du-Bois (he needs a type O kidney) and if you are not compatible you can start a donation chain in Del’s name; this goes for any blood type.
Del is a husband, dad, grandfather, brother and a wonderful friend. He has been active in his community and his house of worship, and also with a local observatory where he has helped educate young minds in the study of astronomy. He is very loved by his family and friends alike.
Would you please help give my family, and so many others who need a kidney, a chance for a Happily Ever After? Thank you.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.
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my husband & me, and my sister & Del

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Don’t Believe Everything You Read On The Internet!

The internet is filled with rumors and little twists to the truth… BUT the internet also allows very easy access to loads of research which just might be a bit more revealing and truthful.

When I am on a social media network and see a meme about critical thought, outrageous tales, or financial advice I do NOT ignore it; I also don’t re-post it without doing my research first. I make it a habit to find multiple sources about the alleged quote or incident, and I often find several conflicting views. I want to be informed so I do read or listen to several views, EVEN THE ONES I MIGHT OPPOSE. Prepared with information, various viewpoints and multiple sources (yes, sometimes foreign newspapers can give a reader a different perspective) I then MAKE UP MY OWN MIND before passing along the meme or refuting it.

It is actually liberating to be informed and THINK FOR YOURSELF!

BTW, a very important part of my research is to learn WHO is saying what. Very often honest sites will tell you a little about their political leanings or if they are producing known satire or humor; obviously a “right-wing viewpoint” would be in opposition to “left wing” EVEN IF THEY ARE EACH ATTEMPTING TO TELL THE TRUTH. Remember that reporters are HUMAN and it is natural for biased leanings, sometimes it’s just the tone of voice or the way something is worded that can alter the impression.

Some sites are not so forthright as to their leanings, search the company name or managing editor — one self-professed source of truth and honesty is actually being run by an individual who has had Dept. of Labor investigations into his firing employees who have reported on views and topics he vehemently opposes. Result, just a “bit” on one-sided reporting.

Don’t be afraid to read and learn about opposing viewpoints, it’s not going to contaminate you to listen to what someone else has to say, not if you are sure of your own viewpoint. When I was in grade-school, long loooonnng ago, I had a few fantastic and open minded teachers. One teacher, Mr. Newman, taught us how to debate but before assigning topics he had us each fill out a poll about semi-controversial topics. When he handed out assignments he ALWAYS had us arguing the opposite side of what we personally believed in. Frustrated I asked him why he did that and he told me “unless you understand other viewpoints you can never be sure that what you believe in is really right for you.”

So use the internet, local libraries, different news channels and listening to to others, REALLY LISTENING. Gather as many facts as presented by multiple sources as you can and THINK FOR YOURSELF, don’t follow the crowd just because it looks like the popular thing to do.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Who Am I?

I was so excited to find that my “report” was available today, it was more than a week before I expected it. I sent in my “sample” to one of the more popular DNA companies and while I already know SOME of my ancestry (a few cousins and I did lots of research), I want to know more.

Unfortunately my parents died when I was just a young adult and I never had the opportunity to ask questions that I didn’t even think of until I was raising a family. Now grandparents, aunts and uncles are also gone. It is startling to realize that I am now among the elders of my family (I really don’t feel that old!) I have an amazing thirst for my past, where I came from and stories that might also be a bit embarrassing. In many ways my ancestry is what made me who I am today.

My maternal grandparents immigrated to this country as youngsters or teens, I’m really not sure. My paternal grandfather was born in Puerto Rico but that was before PR was a United States territory. I’ve heard romantic stories about my paternal grandmother being conceived (and maybe born?) on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. What made each of them come HERE, to the mainland where I was born and raised? Without their decisions I would not be here. Heck, without my grandparents’ journey to the United States mainland, my parents might not have even met.

I’ve heard rumors of notable ancestors but without substantial proof. I cling to the tales my folks told me as a child about how they met and bits and pieces about their courtship. And even those stories leave questions as my sister remembers some slightly different tales than I do. So I want to know more. I want to leave a WRITTEN history of my family for my offspring and the generations to come. 

A few years ago a distant cousin began a search into our shared lineage (my maternal grandfather’s line) and it was fascinating, it went back eight generations to eight sons, but even that was incomplete as none of the possible daughters were recorded in the many sources. But it was still fascinating to learn some of the details. And imagine my surprise when I talked about some info I learned and an acquaintance that I had known for a little more than a year actually asked me why I was talking about HIS family! I had no idea that I was (even distantly) related to him.

There are those who don’t share my thirst for knowledge of ancestors. Some of these people don’t believe in genetic memories… or maybe are even wary about what they might find out. I respect their sense of “privacy” and not wanting to delve into yesterday — but that is NOT me. I say bring it on, bring on my ancestors and the stories of their lives, bring on my relatives both close and distant. Several of us in my maternal grandfather’s family tree don’t bother with the numerical designations, we are just all cousins.

And yes, if you ever do an Ancestry kit and find my name in your list of DNA matches please reach out, I will always welcome another Cousin!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Reason for Thanks

As a child I wanted to be an actress or a police officer… at some point I think I wanted to be a wild cowgirl riding horses for a living. What I remember wanting the most was to be a child forever in the loving and protective arms of my parents and always tagging along with my big sister.

I was just six-years-old when my paternal grandfather died and I saw my father cry. I crawled onto his lap and cried on his shoulder telling him I never wanted to grow up if it meant losing people you loved. (Daddy called it The Peter Pan Complex) He hugged me so tight and told me that he had no regrets about growing up because it meant that he met my mom, married her, and they had my sister and me. He said that growing up was a good thing even though sometimes you might have reason to cry because I would have so many more wonderful things come my way. He told me to enjoy everything that life brought to me and to treasure every memory that came before.

Truthfully I had a fantastic childhood. We never had a lot of money, but I always felt that I had everything I could want. I remember having a terrific dollhouse and furniture — the dollhouse was a big cardboard box, the furniture was plastic throwaways from the manufacturing company where my dad worked, the window curtains were remnants of cloth left over from the school clothes my mom handmade for us, and while the dolls that “lived” there didn’t really fit, it didn’t matter, I loved it. My sister was my best friend and she let me tag along with her friends and I always had fun because everyone treated me so nicely, I was everyone's "little sister". Our parents always made time for us whether it was watching TV (in costume!) with my dad or baking cookies with my mom, and so many more things.

Both of my parents passed away shortly after I was married, so did my husband’s folks, and I cried. But I remembered my dad’s words to me and I looked forward to what the future would bring. We struggled to have children, a couple of miscarriages and then our daughter, and another miscarriage and then our son was born. As is our custom to name after the deceased, our daughter is named for my mom, and our son for my dad and my mother-in-law (a niece is named for my father-in-law). Watching our children grow to be adults has been a joy and seeing them happy with their own spouses is so fulfilling. Daddy was so right, I have so many memories to treasure and so many wonderful things that came into my life.

My mom used to make a huge Thanksgiving feast for the family, including aunts and uncles and cousins, each year and I swear I can still remember the savory smells from her tiny apartment kitchen (I marvel at how much food she was always able to cook for so many!). Life is different, the family schedules are tighter and distances are greater (and two of my four children work on Thanksgiving), so we don’t always have the same gatherings, but the sentiment is still there. This year my husband and I (we’ll be married 44-years next month) went to a grand Thanksgiving feast at our community association — our first since we moved here last December — and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Thanksgiving is a time of appreciation and gratitude, and I have so very much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the love of my life, the man who is a hero in every way (and yes, the man who influences my concept of every romantic hero I write about), I am so grateful for our children and their mates, and my pussycats and grand-fur-babies. I am so happy to still have my sister (who is still one of my best friends), her husband (who is more like a brother to me), and their sons and families. I am also blessed with great sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws, and nephews and nieces and their families. I'm grateful for my readers and their support.

And most of all what I am thankful are my dad’s wise words to me, to look forward to life and all the joys it can bring my way.

My wishes for all of you — have a truly wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Peppe was a cat and he taught us many wonderful lessons about love in the all too short time he lived with us. We affectionately called him "Peppe Le Pew" because he wasn't very well groomed when we first met him.

First of all, I “stole” him…

Mark and I lived in a condominium with our two cats, Pumpkin and Dusty. We had a ground floor apartment with a covered patio which we used as our main entrance since parking was so close.

The first fall that we lived there, this mangy, but still beautiful, white and dark-grey long hair cat started hanging around. He started greeting us at our car when we came home — I had no idea who he belonged to, he looked well fed even if not well groomed. Since we already had two cats (one of which adopted us shortly after we moved to the condo) we really weren’t looking to take in a third; we still let this stray take refuge on our patio in inclement weather.

After about two weeks a young blond haired little boy came bounding on to our patio screaming “TJ, I found you!” and started hugging the cat. Of course I came out to meet him and he tearfully told me how TJ had gotten out of the house a few times, but this was the longest it took for him to find his cat. He told me that he lived on the other side of the condo complex and that this was the second cat they had that kept getting out. After a little while he bundled this big cat into his arms and took him home.

The next day TJ was back! And a little while later, so was the little boy. There were several repeats of this scenario, it worried me because the weather was beginning to turn frosty. Finally one day my next door neighbor, whose patio was next to mine, knocked on my front door to complain, she had an unbearable fear of cats (which I didn’t know about) and asked me to stop hosting this cat so close to where she had to walk (she also used her patio entrance primarily). It was clear that she regretted having to ask me but I also understood her fear.

When the little boy showed up again, like clockwork, I asked him for his home phone number and last name. While he played with TJ on the patio I went inside and called his mother. The phone call did NOT go as I expected.
·       The mom: No, he’s not getting out. I don’t want him anymore. (She then told me that she was upset that her son kept bringing him home) Besides, I’m planning on getting another kitten, I like kittens, not full grown cats.
·       Me: Look your son keeps coming here to find him. My neighbor is scared of cats…
·       The mom: (angrily) So just shoo him away! Eventually he’ll disappear. I know, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this.
·       Me: (my blood was boiling) Look you know that there are laws about letting animals run free and the association has rules about that as well.
·       The mom: (expletive deleted) Alright, I’ll be right over to get him to take him to the shelter to have him euthanized.
·       Me: Wait a minute! You don’t want this cat even though your son does? Tell you what, he is not yours anymore, he’s mine.
·       The mom: Hell no. You want him? You can’t steal him like that. He’s purebred Angora, I have his papers!
·       Me: Screw his papers. You’re going to come over to get your son and tell him you gave me the cat. And I better not ever hear that you went out and got another kitten. (I cut off her protest) You have five minutes to get here or I am calling the police, the humane society and then the association.
And that was how Peppe came to live with us… INDOORS.

Mark and I were still not convinced we wanted a third cat, but there was no way we would abandon him. BTW, as long as the woman lived there, I never heard of her getting any other pets.

My recently widowed mother had suffered a stroke after my dad’s death. She was in a facility receiving therapy and we had hopes she would one day be able to live in a nearby handicap-accessible accessible apartment. I remembered how much she enjoyed playing with my other cats so I asked her if she wanted one; she was excited at the idea. I brought Peppe to visit her one day and it was instant mutual love. Unfortunately my mom passed away before being able to leave the facility. Mark and I promised her that we would always love and take care of “her cat”. It wasn’t just my imagination, even the cat seemed to know she had passed.

Peppe guarding Jenni
I always referred to Peppe as my mom’s cat although we loved him just as much as our other two. We moved into a house with the three felines and started our family. Our first child, Jenni, was named for my mother, and I think Peppe knew that because, as far as he was concerned, she was his. He watched over her at night and played with her during the day. As toddlers often do, she got away with doing anything to that cat and I learned when I heard insane giggling he probably needed rescue, but he seemed to never mind. By the time our second child was born Peppe, along with his two feline brothers, watched over both kids.

Peppe soon developed severe kidney problems and required medication and eventually fluids (under the skin) which we were able to administer at home. An acquaintance commented that we should get rid of the cat, he was costing too much money, but Peppe was a family member (and I did ask the vet if he was suffering). We managed for a few years like that until Peppe seized and coded late one night — he had been a part of our lives for about a dozen years. We buried him in the backyard. My children stayed home from school that day and we lit a Sabbath candle (that burned for about an hour) and sat Shiva* for that hour to give each of us time to mourn Peppe’s passing; we’ve done the same routine for each subsequent loss.

Through the years we’ve had the joy of living with several more pussycats, each of them with very individual personalities. The strange thing, and very beautiful, is each of my cats have often conversed (meowing) with “someone(s)” unseen. It’s a comfort to know that they are each with us to this day. When we moved a year ago we took a handful of dirt from above each of their graves and buried it in our new backyard and I am sure that all of them have come with us. We will never forget any of our beautiful felines, they’ve been more than “cats”, they have truly been family.

*Shiva — A structured period of Jewish mourning

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Moving On

As we grow older we experience many changes in our lives, we move on from jobs, lifestyles, and losses. When we reach retirement we often find ourselves moving on to new residences, new surroundings. It’s a wonderful new beginning!

The problem is as we move on to new places we wind up leaving a lot behind. We can take our memories with us, but we leave behind attachments… and friends. Often we’re not the only ones leaving a place behind, our friends have chosen to move on as well. Nowadays our best friends are scattered from L.A. to North Carolina and back to lower Manhattan, all people we once shared neighborhoods with. It’s hard and rare to see each other in person, gone are the last minute impromptu dinners and the touch of a friend’s arm across the shoulders to help work out some problem.

With the miracle of technology we don’t have to say goodbye at least, we can call on the phone, email, or even see each other on a screen as we video chat and all in real time — still it’s not the same. Being pen-pals isn't enough, the letters take their time getting to your friend's door. The benefit of social media allows us to stay in touch without much effort and in the company of thousands, kind of loses the intimacy of that special bond that friends can form. It’s what we have.

We can always make new friends without letting go (completely) of the older friends (not in age but in longevity). The problem with new friends is that you don’t share history, it’s harder for new friends to just “get you”. How much of your own personal history are you willing to share, how much do you need to share before your new friends really KNOW you? And do you rewrite your history to fit in with your new crowd?

This is life in 2019. It’s a rare individual that is born, grows up in and dies in the same small town for all of their life. We make moves and follow jobs and passions. Is what we are leaving behind too great a loss?

It’s not our fault we made the move, sometimes we weren’t even the first to leave the old neighborhood. I guess that part of growing up is knowing how to keep your friendships even across the miles… it’s not always easy, but definitely worth it.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Second Chances

We hear about people getting second chances all the time — marriages reconnect, employees are rehired, friendships rekindle… But sometimes that “second chance” is really a new beginning.
A woman gets burnt by a selfish and abusive husband and gets the gumption to leave him and build a new life. And so the newly divorced woman finds a new love, someone who treats her as an equal with all the respect and courtesy she deserves. Sounds like a romance novel, right?
Or how about the employee who made a mistake and is blamed for costing the company a fortune, he gets fired on the spot. After a few tears, and maybe even a few drinks (not too many I hope), he decides to pick himself up and get out there again. So he pounds the pavement for a while and finally lands himself an incredible job and in the ideal world he gets to stay there a long time moving up the ladder. Another Hollywood movie of inspiration?
How about the young teenager who struggles with homework and freezes with every class quiz. Then a special teacher offers her extra help and she manages to pass the class and graduate with the rest of her peers. Maybe this is only a fairy tale we tell our kids to make them work harder?
These are all second chances, a do-over to hopefully get it right this time. Sometimes the changes we face in life may seem insurmountable, sometimes we really aren’t interested in moving on, maybe we feel too defeated or things happen that leave us totally scarred and afraid. Sometimes we can’t get past that feeling of failure, or maybe we are just too scared to try again.
But everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone deserves to feel happiness. None of us are infallible, that’s actually part of the beauty of being human.
If you have suffered a disappointment and are finding it hard to try again, or maybe even just go on, then please know that YOU deserve GOOD, you deserve to forgive yourself or others. The world would be far worse off without you in it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, counselors, your faith, or your own heart. We need you.
Don’t be afraid to grab that second chance — as many times as it takes.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Skeletons in the Closet

Since it’s the day before Halloween, I felt inspired to tell you two TRUE humorous stories about skeletons Hope these bring a smile to your lips

I always loved Halloween, I loved the dressing up, the laughter, and of course, the bounty. (My dad always had to inspect the candy and then took his “fair” cut of the profits, LOL).
By the time I reached my teens many of my friends and I thought we were too old for such shenanigans, but I didn’t quite want to give it up. Each year my parents allowed me to decorate the apartment hallway so that when I opened the door to the kids, I was also in costume, they would get a thrill as well as a stuffed Trick-or-Treat bag. My prize decoration was when I hooked up a pulley so that as I opened the door a (paper) skeleton came flying down the hallway towards them. Their screams and laughter were so rewarding!
Each year I saved as many of the decorations as I could so that I didn’t have to spend too much each Halloween. When I met my husband-to-be (Mark) it was a whirlwind courtship and since I was always busy with my own brand of haunting, he never saw my creativeness on Halloween.
Early December, the year we got married, he was sitting in my bedroom while I packed my belongings to move into the apartment we rented to start our marriage in. Mark decided to joke around, we were still learning about each other.
He asked me, with a smirk on his face, “So, do you have any skeletons in the closet you should tell me about?”
I looked at him puzzled, I really didn’t think he was joking. Then I looked at my closed closet door and without a word I went over and opened it. He literally fell off of the bed laughing when the paper skeleton I had hung in there for safekeeping presented itself to him!
He married me anyway.

I recently posted this story (again, TRUE) on my Facebook page
Mark and I were out today getting some errands done, on the way home I stopped and bought a cute little skeleton to use for a decoration on Halloween night.
I was in a goofy mood and sat the thing in the backseat with the seat-belt on. When we got home we drove up our very long driveway and pulled the car into the garage.
Still giddy I said "Ok kiddo, we're home!"
Mark says, "Who are you speaking to?"
I explained, "The skeleton I buckled in the backseat."
Mark starts shaking his head... just then we hear a voice behind us, "How ya' doing folks?"
Startled the #### out of Mark.
I turned around and we quickly realized that neither of us had heard the FedEx truck come up the driveway behind us!
The poor guy couldn't understand why we couldn't stop laughing.

Have a Happy and Fun Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Oh my, that word sounds so ominous! Dead… line, it almost sounds like “you will hang at dawn”. It is so final, just like there is nothing beyond. A deadline is a noun and according to, there are three meanings to this formidable noun: “(1) the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something: a five o'clock deadline; (2) a line or limit that must not be passed; (3) (formerly) a boundary around a military prison beyond which a prisoner could not venture without risk of being shot by the guards.”

No wonder the term strikes fear in students, masses of office workers watching the clock, and writers. Missing that deadline could mean a failing grade, an angry boss, or a lost contract. Sometimes life interferes with the assigned deadlines, (a party, an emergency, an illness) but most times that won’t make a lick of difference to the person waiting for that finished product. “The dog ate my homework” just won’t work anymore. It’s truly anxiety producing.

As a creative sort, otherwise known as a freelance writer, I’ve learned the importance of deadlines. In all my years of professional writing I have truly only missed one deadline, I honestly can’t remember the reason why, but it certainly didn’t go well. Now creative people are not usually known for routine or well-controlled organization, but when it comes to a deadline, oh boy! In addition to my paid writing gigs I sometimes offer my services in a volunteer situation, and I treat these voluntary pacts the same way I do my business dealings, as professionally as I can muster.

This past week was a challenge on a voluntary gig. I had to wait for input from another individual who does not live by the golden rule of YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE DEADLINE. I am not sure what her business is but I do know that she controls her hours and her work output. So I finally got her input and set about to editing it and then placing it in the item that was due for publication just four days later. And I sent it (via email) to the next step, the person in charge of distribution — only that person, unbeknown to me, had a family event and was away for the weekend and so my finished work sat unattended. As the date of distribution came without any progress I do admit feeling some (minor) palpitations.

Now this was a challenge. I had no way of getting this item out to the people who were promised its receipt. What to do???? Well to make a probably boring long story short, I did manage to get the item posted on a substitute site and the item was emailed from another source a day late. I had posted an apology to those waiting for it and promised delivery as soon as possible. In the end it was no harm no foul, folks appreciated being kept in the loop as such. Within three days of the original deadline everything was back to normal and I got to breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course now I am sitting here wondering, just where did my once fun-loving, free-wheeling self go? And when did I become so rigid? I don’t want to have an anal personality! I am NOT reserved and meticulously neat. A long, long time ago a teenage boyfriend once dedicated the song Wild Thing to me and everyone agreed it fit. I’m fun-loving and wild and unpredictable… or so I thought.

Sigh, is this what it means to be a grownup?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to engage in a relationship, to lead astray,
as from duty, rectitude, or the like
;” (Wikipedia)

Although it’s often been used as a sexual-conquest tool seduction can also apply to so many aspects of our lives. Marketing gimmicks attempt to seduce the consumer, politicians seduce their followers into voting for them, realtors seduce their clients into homes beyond their budgets, and even some job hunters are seduced into taking relocating for jobs that sound a whole lot better on paper than reality. Seduction is a tease, a front of only selected facts which may be far from the whole truth. Seduction is a way to entice someone to do something they might not have if they had the full story in front of them.  

Most sexual seduction is NOT sexy — it’s one partner tempting the other to engage in sex based on promises and conditions that (intentionally) might not be accurate. Seduction is trickery. Please excuse the metaphor, but seduction is something a “snake-oil-salesman” would do. In the instances where seduction is used in a true romantic setting, it is a way of using sensuality to tempt, not lies and half-filled truths. The seduced comes out of the encounter feeling cheated. Sexual seduction has frequently been used in romance novels in very “hot” scenes in order to grab a reader’s imagination and interest. Seduction has also been used in instructional guides telling men AND women the various techniques they could use to “win” their way into bed with a partner. Face it, alluring is sexy, trickery is just a lie.

Television commercials try to seduce the viewer every 8-to-10 minutes: “Come buy this product”; your clothes will be so clean it’s almost as if you didn’t even have to wash them; how about the more blatant sexy female model who shows up to help you decide which soda machine to choose for your cola or the housewife who is bored by her husband’s sloppy loungewear while she eats yogurt and suddenly she is facing a very attractive male actor. The possibilities seem like dream come true, but they really aren’t.

Cynical or not, most politicians will tell their would-be constituents what they want to hear and not necessarily the truth (even if it is just a few unmentioned facts). Folks go off to the polls believing in what they heard only to find in later years exactly how much they were never told and may even regret being led astray from the “other guy” they had planned to vote for. And even that job offer you received that came with a salary at least 25-percent higher than what you earn now is certainly enticing, but what the offer fails to tell you is that the cost of living where you would have to relocate to is a minimum of 38-percent higher than where you are living now.

Be wary of being seduced. Don’t be coerced or shamed into doing anything you might not have considered. Truth is a heck of a lot sexier and certainly more rewarding than deception.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


We are on this planet but once, and to spend it holding back our gushing appreciation of the things that light us up is a shameful waste.” ~ Jen Sincero

          Some people find it very easy to say the word “Thanks” whether they truly mean it or not. For many it still is a welcomed word to hear, others may hear a “Thanks, but…” when it isn’t sincere. Perhaps we should be grateful for the speaker’s civility and the attempt to acknowledge our efforts, after all there are far too many times when our extra efforts are just, expected.

Although most people do a job well out of self-pride, or hold a door because that is how we were taught to do, or give a thoughtful gift just because we want to bring a smile to someone’s face, it still is wonderful to know that our actions are appreciated. I recently read an acknowledgment page in a fellow author’s book (Brenda Hill, With Full Malice) and upon seeing my name listed it filled me with a nice feeling that I was thought of and remembered for simply answering a (medical) question.

It doesn’t take a huge life changing action to do something to help another person, and it shouldn’t take that huge life changing action to be appreciated. We remember our school teachers that always seemed to fill our learning with excitement. We remember our parents for feeding and clothing us. We might even remember a doctor who helped us through some physical pain. But how often have we really taken the time to say “Thank you” and really mean it? How often have we shared our appreciation with remembrance and even passing along a kindness?

Don’t take advantage of the folks who have made your life better, no matter how minor or major their actions might have been. Get into the habit of letting someone know that they have made even a part of your day a little more pleasant, or your life a whole lot easier. Let your children know the joy they bring to you daily, and let your parents know how much you appreciate every time that they put you first. If you are a boss your employee’s paycheck may be very welcomed, but also letting him/her know that you appreciate the good job she is doing will make her day that much more pleasant.

Showing your sincere gratitude has benefits not only for the recipient but also for you: “Tossing off the half-hearted "thanks" won't cut it; deep gratitude has to come from within and in a meaningful way. This spotlights the highly social aspect of feeling grateful. Gratitude is also getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Practicing gratitude means paying attention to what we are thankful for to the degree of feeling more kind and compassionate toward the world at large.” (Psychology Today)

And in that vein of practicing sincere gratitude, I am thankful for each and every one of my blog readers and those that follow me on social media. Your support is a great part of why I love what I do.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Happy New Year!

Many of us are not used to hearing those words except at the beginning of January, but there are some cultures who celebrate the changing of our calendar years at different times. Some of these are the Chinese New Year which corresponds to the Lunar months; the Islamic New Year beginning on the first day of the first month in the Islamic calendar beginning in late Autumn; the Thai New Year is a springtime celebration; the Ethiopian New Year is a spring celebration which comes after the “big Rains”; and the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur in the fall. The December 31st and January 1 New Year’s celebration is based on the Gregorian 12-month calendar.

Although each of these merriments may be celebrated in unique ways, they all represent a new beginning. Before January 1st in America many of us make a list of resolutions, things we want to do in the coming year to improve ourselves. Those of us who celebrate Rosh Hashanah ask for forgiveness from those we may have unintentionally hurt, forgive those who hurt us, and we promise to do better in the future; the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the ten days of repentance or the ten days of return. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to celebrate more than one new beginning every “year”, but how many of us truly realize how special an opportunity we are given.

There are several greetings we use for Rosh Hashana, my favorite two are Shanah Tovah Umetukah (wishing you a good and sweet new year) and L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu (may you be inscribed in the book of life). Those who are lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends often share feasts of good food and sweet delicacies to hopefully signify a good and sweet year. We say blessings over wine or grape juice thanking G-d for giving us the fruit of the vine, and we dip pieces of round challah (bread) and apples in honey thanking HIM for the fruit of the earth and sweetness. We use round uncut challahs instead of the usual twisted versions to symbolize the cycle of life. We listen to the sound of the Ram’s Horn (the Shofar), light candles and read from parts of the Torah as we are commanded to do by G-d. It is often believed that the Shofar arouses us to examine our deeds and renew our relationship with G-d.

 The time between the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish holidays always begin the evening before at sunset) and the end of Yom Kippur allows us time to reflect on our deeds. No one, not even G-d, expects us to be perfect, but we are always expected to strive to do better. These ten days allows us the time to examine our deeds, to be repentant for our misdeeds, intended or not, and allows us to find the peace within us to forgive those who have dealt unfair blows in our lives. The “Book of Life” opens on Rosh Hashanah, this “book” contains pages for each of us and G-d examines what has been written by our “own hands” (our own deeds). G-d judges and decides, by the time the book is closed on Yom Kippur, “who will live and who will die”. Despite the gravity of the words in our prayers, this is really not a frightening time, rather it is a time in which we find peace and self-awareness. We promise to do better, it is not the promise that is weighed by G-d but the sincerity in which we mean it.

Whatever time you may use for self-reflection and whatever belief system you subscribe to, the time you have to truly look inside yourself, to make peace with others and to plan how you can live a happier and better life is a precious thing indeed.

May your new year be sweet with hope
and new possibilities.
Wherever you go...blessings. Wherever you
Wherever you are...peace. L'Shanah Tovah

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


Divorce isn’t a subject you would expect a romance writer to write about… but actually we do. In my novels there have been a few cases where the hero or heroine is divorced. Jake in FINAL SIN, Laynie in COMMON BOND, TANGLED HEARTS, Dave in KARMA VISITED, and Annie in ANNIE’S KARMA; I also had a divorcee in my short story THE VACATION. Basically the rate of divorced characters in my novels is close to the national (expected) rate of divorce — “The marriage breakup rate in America for first marriage is 41% to 50%”.

Although statisticians have noted that the divorce rate has gone downward in more recent years (due to couples getting married at older ages, higher education and financial independence, and more couples living together without marriage, etc.), what breaks a marriage up? Obviously some folks just aren’t “right” for each other and may have gotten hitched because “everybody else was doing it”, sometimes unexpected pressures/tragedies put serious strains on the relationship, interference from outside sources (in-laws? friends?), and sometimes people just grow-apart as they grow-up. Two people can never really be in total agreement about everything, not if they retain their individuality, and it would be kind of boring if they never had different opinions, but if you can’t move past those differences it doesn’t bode well. Unfortunately statisticians also noted that there is an even higher risk of divorce the second time around, possibly that is because “once burnt” means someone’s defensiveness is up.

So can we find love with a divorcee? I believe in the possibility of Happy-Ever-After’s, but I also believe it’s worth understanding what went wrong in their first (or subsequent) marriage. Having seen divorces happen to people I know, my personal observations tend to make me believe that outside interference is a huge risk factor. A meddlesome mother-in-law who can’t let go of her son, a father who pressures his child into a family business that makes him/her miserable, siblings or friends who insert themselves into personal matters and instigate arguments… While I am a firm believer in marital counseling, it can help couples see beyond their alleged differences, it doesn’t always save a marriage.

Aside from finding out what went wrong in the first marriage, and many times you can rely on simple verbal honesty, I would say beware someone who is hiding information or purposely keeping you away from other past friends or family (who might be able to tell you a different story). Also listen to the ex-spouse but don’t necessarily take her/his word as truth. Definite red-flags to note, if anyone suggests that your intended may have been abusive, carefully watch how he/she treats you (not all abuse is physical); if there are children involved in the past relationship, is responsibility being taken (not just financially), this is especially important if you hope to have children with this individual; and of course, if your intended cheated (with you or someone else), you might have a problem.

I think the most important red flag to watch for is did he/she actually let go of the ex-spouse? I have seen it happen where one person said they were divorced when in reality the divorce wasn’t finalized because one of them never signed or it was hung up in a lawyer’s office because there was a disagreement on the settlement of property, alimony or even child care. Make sure that your chosen one is free to begin a new relationship (even if you’re both willing to put the formal ceremony off for a while). Even if a civil divorce can be proven, be aware that there are some religious divorce requirements as well and for any number of reasons one party may be avoiding doing what is right after being married in a religious manner — and why would anyone want to marry a man (or woman) who is still hanging on to their “ex” spouse? And especially if someone is avoiding getting the religious divorce in order to make their ex miserable, would you really want to marry someone who is that spiteful?

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (for example) require certain procedures in order to release each party from the marriage commitment and enable each to marry someone else if they choose. In a Jewish divorce a husband must submit a written form, known as a “Get”, to his wife as proof of their divorce, without it neither one of them should be able to marry again, but if he is withholding the Get for spite, chances are he is also lying to his new wife (only the man can provide the Get). In an Islamic (Muslim) divorce, the civil divorce (if there was a civil marriage) holds no bearing on the ability to remarry as a Muslim; a lawyer familiar with Islamic precepts must work with the couple’s Iman to create an equitable parting of the ways and possessions. A Catholic divorce will not allow either partner to remarry in the Church, the marriage must be “annulled” which basically denies that the couple was ever married in the sacraments of the church. So make sure that your intended partner is truly free to marry you and is honest from the beginning.

Even with all of this talk about divorce, this romance writer is still a romantic-at-heart. I believe in second chances and true love. I also believe that any commitment, partnership, marriage, or whatever you are calling your relationship, needs to be founded on truth and trust. My parents were married for almost 32-years when my dad suddenly passed away and I truly believe they would still be married and very much in love if they were both still around; the day my mom died there was a cloud in the sky that looked like a staircase to heaven and I’m sure that my dad was waiting at the top as my mom went to him. No marriage is perfect, there will always be disagreements and sometimes tears, but when you put each other first, when you like yourself as well, and when you are openly honest and communicating, then each year is special and life can be pretty wonderful.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Perils of Being a Romance Author

Ever since my first book, Bartlett’sRule, was published in 2008, people have come to me to discuss “personal issues” thinking I would have the right words to help them reach their Happy-Ever-After. I only wish I had the advice to help them, but the truth is even my storybook characters have had to go through a lot of their own false starts and some mistakes before they found their true loves. The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me because of the books I write was when the husband of one of my then close friends came to me to complain about his wife’s “performance” in the bedroom and wanted me to give him some advice to get her to be “willing to experiment”! Pushed for an answer I haltingly told him to just talk to her and tell her how he feels. (It was hard to look her in the face after that.)

The truth is that while many writers are told to “write what you know” we also have to use A LOT of creative imagination. I remember at a book discussion appearance for His Lucky Charm one audience member actually asked me if I was describing my husband in the love scenes! I think I turned beet-red right then and there. (I still refuse to answer that question, it will forever be a mystery.) I remember a fellow-romance writer friend whose husband refused to read any of her books because he was afraid if the hero wasn’t him he would be jealous. By the way, I have always used at least one of my husband’s traits in every hero I create, but I will never say which one it is.

Not all of my books are sexually explicit, and never just for shock value, I basically use what I feel is appropriate for the story. In my first EMS-based novel Final Sin the villain was a sexual predator so, yes, I went there. Then in my first paranormal story Karma Visited the two would-be lovers weren’t really ever together (until the very end) so there wasn’t exactly too much they could do; while the sexual innuendos went further in the sequel Annie’s Karma, the sex was still rather downplayed even while the passion was heated.

I love the idea that people like to read about passion and hot romance, it’s certainly one of my favorite book topics as well, but read the stories and let them get you in the mood. One couple I know (because one of them told me so) likes to read a chapter together and cuddle — I don’t ask what else they may do… Some women who have attended my book discussions have said that they like to read passionate, sexy stories because it gives them a wonderful escape from the mundane; that’s why I write romance. It’s not auto-biographical, it’s just a fictional story that enthralls me and I feel needs to be shared.

I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I like writing them.

visit Chelle Cordero on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 — 18 years later

In Judaism the number 18 corresponds to Chai (Life) and for the past 18 years people have gone on living, but never forgetting the precious lives lost on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Living… but life was never the same for the widows and widowers, the children and parents, the brothers and sisters, and the friends and co-workers. Some have remarried, children have grown to have families of their own, but the mourning continues. It’s said that you never stop missing someone, instead the hole inside of you just becomes a part of your everyday, and as time goes on you can’t help but wonder how different life might have been if your loved one was still here, walking beside you, and sharing in the many joys that could have been. So many of the loved ones of those lost have lived courageous lives, they’ve raised their children, children have found their paths, siblings have created lasting tributes, and none have never forgotten.

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” George Eliot

Every year I selfishly count my blessings. My husband had been scheduled to be working that Tuesday at 3 World Trade Center (destroyed under the collapsing towers), but thanks to the grace of God (if you believe), or a stroke of luck (if you don’t), the 2-day financial show he was working on was rescheduled for the 10th and 12th instead due to a scheduling conflict of one of the keynote speakers. Instead he was at home, by my side, and we watched on TV as the towers fell. I will never forget the panicked phone call from our son, in school, asking about his father and not knowing about the changed date; then a second phone call from our daughter, away at college, checking in on our welfare and saying she was headed home. And later that evening, he was on one of a contingent of (volunteer) ambulances that went to the site to hopefully assist in the rescue of survivors — unfortunately those trucks returned without any patients, no survivors were found by then.

There were 2996 people killed on 9/11 (including people at the World Trade Center, airplane passengers and crews, and Pentagon employees) In addition to the memories and the losses suffered that day 18-years ago, by 2019 we’ve had many more tragic losses due to respiratory disease and cancer from those who were exposed to the dust from the collapse of the epic buildings. The NYPD, which lost 23 brave souls on Sept. 11, 2001, 37 from the Port Authority police also died; they have to date lost 241 more members of 9/11-related illnesses. 343 courageous firefighters, plus 1 heroic fire patrolman, died 18 years ago, since then 202 more FDNY members have died of illnesses related to their service on Sept. 11.And 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private agencies also died on 9/11. 

Thousands more (including rescue workers, employees at WTC, and area residents have been reported to be suffering from illness related to 9/11. Researchers have now linked cardiovascular disease (heart attack or stroke) to exposure at the WTC site. And there are no available numbers of the effects of PTSD on anyone who was physically present or even watched the news reports of that day. The horror continues.

Since I was a Rockland County (NY) resident at the time of the attacks, I often listed the names of Rockland residents that died; I personally only knew two individuals and a few of the families. Before I moved out of Rockland I met more families and friends and heard many more stories. Although I am no longer living there I will post and honor those individuals (links to more names are below):

       Rockland County Residents

Ø Janet M. Alonso 41 Stony Point NY
Ø Calixto Anaya Jr. 35 Suffern NY
Ø Japhet J. Aryee 49 Spring Valley NY
Ø Richard E. Bosco 34 Suffern NY
Ø Sgt. John Gerard Coughlin 43 Pomona NY
Ø Welles Remy Crowther 24 Upper Nyack NY
Ø John D' Allara 47 Pearl River NY
Ø Bernard D. Favuzza 52 Suffern NY
Ø Thomas Foley 32 West Nyack NY
Ø Andrew Fredericks 40 Suffern NY
Ø Robert Joseph Gschaar 55 Spring Valley NY
Ø Dana Hannon 29 Suffern NY
Ø Capt. Frederick Ill Jr. 49 Pearl River NY
Ø Farah Jeudy 32 Spring Valley NY
Ø Joseph Marchbanks Jr. 47 Nanuet NY
Ø John Marshall 35 Congers NY
Ø Patricia A. McAneney 50 Pomona NY
Ø Robert Garvin McCarthy 33 Stony Point NY
Ø Robert William McPadden 30 Pearl River NY
Ø Luke G. Nee 44 Stony Point NY
Ø Gerald O'Leary 34 Stony Point NY
Ø David Ortiz 37 Nanuet NY
Ø Lt. Vernon Allan Richard 53 Nanuet NY
Ø Thomas G. Schoales 27 Stony Point NY
Ø Mohammed Shajahan 41 Spring Valley NY
Ø Gregory Sikorsky 34 Spring Valley NY
Ø Catherine T. Smith 44 West Haverstraw NY
Ø Robert W. Spear Jr. 30 Valley Cottage NY
Ø Loretta A, Vero 51 Nanuet NY
Ø Benjamin Walker 41 Suffern NY
Ø Weibin Wang 41 Orangeburg NY
Ø Steven Weinberg 41 New City NY
Ø Capt. David T. Wooley 53 Nanuet NY

To view a full memorial list of 9/11 victims go here:

To view a list of law enforcement officers from 10 agencies, go here
(includes those who have died from 9/11 illnesses)

To view of list of FDNY officers who died on 9/11, go here:

To view a list of all Emergency workers killed in the September 11 attacks, go here: