Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"5 Things You May Not Know About Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis"


            As an alumni of Marymount Manhattan College, a liberal arts college on the Upper East Side, I was invited to attend a reception and book signing, author, of “5 Things You May Not Know About Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.” Judson R. Shaver, Ph.D, the President of MMC, welcomed the author, Tina Santi Flaherty, to the audience, seated in the Theresa Lang Theatre, on Sunday, October 26th. It was a double welcome for MMC’s homecoming weekend. MMC is known for supporting women in history and Tina Santi Flaherty’s book fit into its theme, offering insights into the life of an American Icon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

            The author began the discussion with a Video and Presentation of memorable Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis history. No sooner did the presentation open the audience was mesmerized. The author conducted a prime time discussion of her book, hinting to the facts in her book that there are “things you may not know about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.”

            The Q and A was an open end of provocative questions, questions posed to the author about the former First Lady. No doubt, the author satisfied not only the questionnaire, but the audience at large.

            We were honored by a grand reception to meet the author in book signing and to nourish our souls with a display of delightful food.

            I did a little of my own research and discovered that Tina Santi Flaherty’s book, “5 things you may not know about Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis” is a smash hit on the information highway and in book stores.


Friday, January 10, 2014


Fiction writers take note. Well, I took note when I’d read the feature “true” story, A Speck in the Sea, by Paul Tough. Tough begins the true saga,in the January 5, 2014 issue of The New York Times Magazine— with a question printed on the front cover: HOW DID JOHN ALDRIDGE SURVIVE. I was immediately drawn into the story by the provocative question. All the elements of a best seller was evident as I’d read the opening sentence. 

“LOOKING BACK, John Aldridge knew it was a stupid move. When you’re alone on the deck of a lobster boat in the middle of the night, 40 miles off the tip of Long Island, you don’t take chances.”

BACKSTORY, PLACE, SETTING, TENSION, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, SURPRISE-- all the elements of a best seller is evident in this non-fiction story.

As Tough wrote Aldridge’s tale, I, was swept away imagining how Aldridge would survive. I read on. What was he thinking when he was treading water reaching down to pull off his left boot. The boots, I later learned ultimately saved him. How he lived each minute in the black ocean surprised me. And I love to be surprised when reading and writing a novel. How the Coast Guard worked to pull him out of the sea must be read to be believed.

Hope I didn’t reveal too much of the fisherman’s story, but wanted to show how a good non-fiction piece can play into the genre of FICTION. Praise to the author of this story.

I blogged about this particular story because it happened to be one of the best NON-FICTION stories that like FICTION.

If you read this blog and read this story in the magazine section of the TIMES, let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


The New York City Marathon is happening right now. I hear the helicopters flying over First Avenue. I feel the excitement waving over New York City. I remember waiting by the 59th street bridge, waiting to see my husband run to the finish line—26.2 miles. I can’t believe I made it to Central Park, all ten times, to see my husband Bob, win his goal. But I did.

The New York City Marathon hits in November. The NaNoWriMo hits in November. It is an annual (November) novel writing project that links together writers who want to make it to the finish line—to write a novel with a word count of 50,000 words. When the clock strikes 12:00 midnight on the last day of November, the writers’ goal must be met. Like winning the GOLD. Writers from all over the world participate in this great undertaking. I was one.  

To equate The New York City Marathon with NaNoWrMo is right on target. To run a Marathon the runner is obsessed with their Passion. Need. Discipline. Making a pledge to oneself to run the Marathon starts months before the scheduled date. The runner needs time to set goals, timing, running schedule. What writer who wants to finish a novel doesn’t need the three disciplines. 

Back in 1996, I took the pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. How did I finish? Passion. Need. Discipline. Now, on this day that the Marathon is waving its colors in New York City and day THREE of NaNoWriMo, I am taking the pledge to finish Starstruck Girl, the novel that I can’t let go. But I must let it go out to the world by its Finish. My time span. December 31st.

To all the runners and writers out there striving to make it to the finish line, I am right there in the pack.

Monday, May 20, 2013


 One Writer's Story

Although the Katha Pollitt story is dated, it deserves to be up-dated what with the Information Highway offering writers myriad roads on the road to publication. Do you remember when we went to the Post Office with that SASE. Okay, it’s still on the road block, but most agents, if you check an agent's website call for that Query. First twenty pages. A miracle happens. Your book is published. Okay, you shout it to Facebook, Twitter; you know the rest. But did you think of submitting your book to be reviewed by the editors of the New York Times OP-ED page. 

This post goes back to 1996, but it's worth an up-date. Here's the scoop. Katha Pollitt, a published author wanted to get noticed in the New York Times. 

On Wednesday, July 12, 2006, Katha Pollitt sent her bad reviewed book, “Virginia or Death! And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time,” to the New York Times. I read her story and so did many other readers; but if you haven’t read her story, let me tell you it’s a great way to get your book noticed. She gained a higher ranking scale at 

Pollitt writes, “By judiciously purchasing one book an hour--something I was going to do anyway, I have free shipping and a lot of relatives--I had managed to raise my rating from 101,333 at 2:25 o June 17 to 6,679 at midnight --a staggering advance of 94,636 places at a cost of $110.00.” Pollitt got her book noticed. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Neil Gaiman’s Good Writing Practices

I was hooked on the first page of Neil Gaiman’s, The Graveyard Book, and followed Nobody Owens, to the END. I crave reading the writing practices of famous authors; not  only famous but it’s true. We do fall for author’s that have taken us on a ride to somewhere over the rainbow. With that, I will list Neil Gaiman’s Good Writing Practices. Number 1 says it all. But here is the rest. The article on Neil Gaiman’s Good Writing Practices was taken from, The Guardian. Bold print is my idea because that’s where I need to listen.

  1. Write.
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it. they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


After reading Paula Fox's novel, "The God of Nightmares, I was drawn to her protagonist and read with fast turns of the page to see how Fox created dire jeopardy and propelled her protagonist to go on a jolting ride.  I went on that ride and rode the waves and jumped to shore with wanting more. So it goes when I read a compassionate writer.

"The God of Nightmares," takes you to New Orleans in 1941. You smell and taste the steamy streets of the French Quarter. The book caught my interest when I read about the author--Paula Fox. She addresses the issues: "How do we go armed into the world? And what does the world do to us if we are not sufficiently prepared to understand it?"

Bought "The God of Nightmares," from Amazon. On the very last page I felt a beat for more; I pressed the last page between my fingers. Fox left me imagining more... that's the way to write a novel.