Both Sides Of Love

Hello Friends,

I know. I’ve been MIA these past weeks (okay, month). I’ve been spending the bulk of my time getting ready for the release of my debut novel, Both Sides Of Love, and I wanted to take a break and say hi.


I decided to self-publish, so after doing my homework, after many re-writes, feedback from beta readers, and edits, I hired a professional editor. Now, my graphic designer and I finally decided on a cover.

In the meantime, my To-Be-Read list is growing because I haven’t been reading – something I do so much, it’s a part of who I am. And I miss it!

This is what’s on my TBR list:

Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves, who wrote the amazing On The Island (also a self-pubbed book!)

Bellagrand by Paullina Simons – I have to read the love story of Alexander’s parents. And…I’m just a tad fanatical.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker. I’ve heard so many great things about this book.

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. Because it’s by JoJo Moyes. I don’t need another reason.

There are more, but those are my top titles. And I look forward to taking a break and diving into one. Reading is a great source of inspiration and a necessary hobby for a writer. Maybe next week I’ll offer my opinion on the books I’ve read since I last posted my reviews. There have been a few. But for now…

I’m really excited about the upcoming release of Both Sides Of Love – a story about friendship and lost love.

Here is the cover:


cover_400Isn’t it beautiful? I  have my graphic designer, Suzanne Fyrhie Parrott, to thank!   I wish you all a wonderful week. I hope the weather is beautiful where you are. Here in NY, Spring has finally arrived.

Speak to you soon!

Meeting Paullina Simons

Thanks to personal hygiene and a little luck, I met my favorite author, Paullina Simons, last Friday.

I just happened to pass the Book Revue – a wonderful gem of a place in Huntington, NY, where every major author stops on their book tour – on my way home from my waxing appointment (see ‘The In-Between’ for details). Stuck at a traffic light, I happened to glance over to see a huge sign in the window, PAULLINA SIMONS, APRIL 11th. The light turned green and I accelerated  thinking, HOLY S—! My favorite author is going to be right here in Huntington, ten minutes from my house, on April 11th! When is April 11?

Oh God. It’s today. Without thought, I dialed my childhood bestie, who also loves Paullina.

We were the first ones to arrive at the bookstore that evening and decided to sit strategically at the back, right near the desk where Paullina would be signing her latest release, Bellagrand. We bought the book and sat, chatting, excited, catching up. Gradually the seats filled, but to my surprise, there wasn’t a large crowd – no one had to stand around the room. There were just the fifty or so of us. I couldn’t understand it. How was this store not packed wall to wall with her readers? How could I be so lucky to be here, one of only a few, privileged to meet this woman?

Paullina walked in and started to speak. She was gracious, humble, funny and endearing. I enjoyed her stories about her father, how he learned to speak English in the Gulag, so he could get his family out of Russia and to America. She spoke of Bellagrand, why she wrote the story about Alexander’s parents, Gina and Harry, how she related to Gina, an immigrant from Italy, and how Bellagrand is really, at it’s heart, a love story.

I regret now that I didn’t record her speaking so I can listen to her again and explain in more detail her entertaining, enlightening anecdotes. But at the time, I didn’t want to. I wanted to enjoy the experience first hand, fully present.

Paullina had the room under her spell until she stopped and opened her forum up to questions. Most of the people there wanted to know more about The Bronze Horseman, about Tatiana and Alexander, was there a movie in the works (Answer: trying, but need money). Not me. I wanted to know about her writing and asked her if she always knew she wanted to write.

To paraphrase her answer: Yes. After the company she worked for went under, “through no fault of her own,” she found herself unemployed and since she always thought she would write, decided to do it. Tully was her first book. She was 23.

I was the first one on line- my friend, Monica, behind me- clutching my book, waiting for Paullina to make her way to the table and sit. With a warm, welcoming smile, she looked at me and asked my name. This is what I said:




I’m sure I didn’t scare her. Well, almost sure.

Paullina seemed genuinely flattered and appreciative. In fact, she thanked the group more than once for coming out on a Friday night to see her (as if we had a choice!) She signed my book, wished me luck with my own book and I was on my way.



This is me spewing my fanatical one-word answer.

On the ride home, my friend held her copy and said: It was fate. What were the chances that we just read her books, written 10 years ago? That you happened to get your Brazilian on the 11th, happened to pass the Book Revue instead of going your normal route home (which is to not pass the Book Revue) and that we both happened to be available?

Yes, I agreed. Fate.

Then Monica verbalized my thoughts (as she usually does) : I want to have a cup of coffee with her. Again, I agreed.  I want to talk with Paullina, hear her stories, discuss our writing, share a laugh. Because I truly believe that if we were to have met at any other time, in any other place, she would have been a friend.

Walking that line

My husband and I went to a family wedding last weekend and it was lovely. I haven’t been to a wedding in a while. My friends have all been married for decades and our children are too young to have their own.  Along with my chocolate favors, I left the reception with one thought: weddings are the ultimate age divider.

You’re old  OR You’re not old.

And I’m walking that dividing line, teetering dangerously to the left.  Upon recollection of our evening, I realized some subtle and not so subtle differences in the guests, and in myself.

Here are a few:

NOT OLD:  Cocktail hour, best part of the night, is when you really get your drink on.

OLD:     Cocktail hour has awesome pass-around food. You keep looking for the server walking around with the lamb chops.  Of course, you won’t get up to try to find her. She’ll be back.

NOT OLD: You watch the bride and groom’s first dance, impatiently waiting to get your ass on that floor and move.

OLD: You watch the bride and groom dance their first dance and reminisce about your own (from what you can remember).

NOT OLD: When they call the rest of the guests onto the dance floor, you rush out with your date with the intent to stay on it for the rest of the night.

OLD: You are called out to the dance floor and know it will be your first and only dance. Unless the DJ plays Build Me Up, Buttercup or The Electric Slide (which he won’t).

NOT OLD: You begrudgingly return to your table for dinner, which you don’t want because it interferes with your drunken high.

OLD: You ask for an extra twice-baked potato because no matter how hard you try at home, you just don’t make them as good.

NOT OLD: You completely miss dessert because you’re shaking your groove thing on the dance floor.

OLD: You enjoy the cake for three reasons. 1) It tastes yummy and 2) you like to have something sweet with your coffee and 3) you’re sober. You also know what “Shake your groove thing” is because you were through puberty when that term was invented.

NOT OLD: You don’t leave the wedding until the DJ tells you to.

OLD: You have to search for the bride and groom on the dance floor because you’re tired from all the eating and want to go home, peel off your control-top hose, and watch the news.

NOT OLD: On your way to the bathroom to pee and wipe the sweat from your  skinny, barely-covered body, you hardly notice the “sitting” table.

OLD: You’re at that “sitting” table.

NOT OLD:  You take a myriad of pictures with your smartphone throughout the night.

OLD: You remember when disposable cameras were the only way to take pictures at weddings.

So, I ate my way through cocktail hour (first time), had cake and coffee, danced once and then sat and chatted with Aunt Virginia, who’s 93, agreeing to meet at her house on Tues for lunch.

Oh, God, I don’t even think I’m on that line anymore.

Then I got to thinking about how my behavior is changing as I get older, outside of weddings,  and it further impresses upon me my age. For example, I know I’m getting old when:

  • I can’t go out two nights in a row anymore. I miss my couch and my flannels too much.
  • I hear the Beatles’ When I’m 64 and realize I’m not that far from it.
  • I get carded at the supermarket buying beer and post it on Facebook because it’s so funny.
  • I have to wear reading glasses to polish my nails.
  • I was in College when the World Wide Web was first introduced. It just turned 25.
  • I’ve lived through 4 wars.

Maybe I had an off night. We have another wedding in May. I’m going to fight against old age: drink during cocktail hour and dance my ass off. I’ve got to redeem myself.

I hope they don’t serve those tasty little lamb chops…