Writers, we need to stop saying this

Usually I limit myself to one writing-related post per month. But something has been irritating the living hell out of me for years, and the more time that passes, the angrier I get. So, lest I morph into some female version of The Incredible Hulk, I’ll expel that rage here, as a semi-productive rant. Because if …

Source: Writers, we need to stop saying this


Throwback Thursday: All-Star Converses

When I’m so inclined, I will catch a rerun or two of “That ’70s Show” to relive my youth and see how close they come to getting it right.

Yes, I grew up with hot pants, tie-dye shirts and platform shoes, which by the way I should have kept. Who knew they’d be back in this millennium?

I grew up watching the Knicks (when they were worth watching) and stars like Walt Frazier, Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, Bill Bradley (now Senator Bill) and Dave DeBusschere.

But when I really want to relive my ’70s days, all I need is a pair or two of All-Star Converses. Oh yes, I’m a Converse girl!

Back in the day, I wore them until the soles were hole ridden, the color faded or until my mother found them and threw them away! And, I am–along with countless others–dedicated to carrying on the genius and comfort of salesman and basketball player Chuck Taylor’s mega endorsement.

So, I’m starting to rebuild my collection with the four pair pictured above. And my eyes are focused on three more pairs: the pink, purple and brand-new all black leopard pattern.  There’s even the Wonder Woman pattern!

A while back my daughter and I saw the movie, “The Judge,” and afterwards wouldn’t you know–a showdown ensued–in the middle of the parking lot–between Converse or Vans!

Who won you might ask? I’ll let you decide. 🙂


A lesson in living from my deceased cousin

Two days ago, a cousin of mine died of a heart attack. He was a few years younger than I and only the second cousin of my generation to pass away. My family tends to have a long lifeline.  (My great-grandmother lived to be 98.)

As kids, I remember sharing summer days with him on my aunt’s lawn, eating ice cream and bragging about what we wanted to be when we grew up. He wanted to be an astronaut and a police officer.  I argued that he had to pick one or the other because he couldn’t be both. (I know, opinionated and bossy.)

I, of course, wanted to be a writer. Even at eight years old, I had a one track mind.  I knew I wanted to tell stories. Decades later, I followed my dream.  I am a writer.  Becoming a romance author is following close behind.

But my heart is heavy.

Although our lives took different paths I often thought about my cousin. I wondered if he’d chased the dream, he shared with me so many years ago. I’d wondered if he’d nurtured his passion.

About four years ago, we connected and chatted on the phone. He’d move from New Jersey to Tennessee and wasn’t in the best of health. Much to my dismay,  I learned that he had not fulfilled his dream. That saddened me. I wanted to reach through the phone and smack him. He had so much potential, which had diminished to nothing.

I couldn’t imagine that I wanted my dream more than he did his. Going to the moon was all he talked about.  Perhaps  life  and situations got in his way. Maybe circumstances snatched away his passion, and he was helpless to stop them.

Like many of us, death always makes me take stock in life–to reassess, to recalibrate. It sounds cliché, but life is terribly short. And the older you become, the more compressed it seems to be.

But my goal in life is not to dwell on getting older. It’s to focus on getting things done while I’m here. My goal is to do exactly what the quote in the picture suggests, “go to the grave skidding sideways.”

My cousin’s death again reaffirms my belief about life. I should recognize its potential and act on it.

Although heaven is not where I’d like my cousin to be right now, I’m sure he’s walking on the moon and directing traffic. 🙂

Thursday’s Toss—Live your dream. Enjoy the ride. Skid in sideways.

Batman’s Lady: Sexy. Vulnerable. Wicked. Varied.

I love Batman. Well, if you count the original with Adam West and the Dark Knight series with Christian Bale, I LIKE Batman. And although he’s a talented actor, I’m lukewarm with Val Kilmer’s Batman Forever. I did enjoy Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face. Go figure.

Bottom line, my allegiance is to Michael Keaton’s portrayal. Last night, I watched Batman and Batman Returns (for the fiftieth time), and had a brain scramble. (Thoughts that pop in without order or reason.)

I started to analyze the evolution of Catwoman and the women who brought her to life. (I know. It’s right up there with splitting an atom!)

According to historical data, “Batman’s creator, Bob Kane, was a great movie fan and his love for film provided the impetus for several Batman characters, among them, Catwoman. She was primarily inspired by Hedy Lamarr and partially inspired by 1930s film star Jean Harlow who at Kane’s then-early and “impressionable age… seemed to personify feminine pulchritude at its most sensuous.”

Who knew?

Wikipedia goes on to say, “Wanting to give his Batman comic books sex appeal and someone who could appeal to female readers as a female Batman, Kane and writer Bill Finger created a ‘friendly foe who committed crimes but was also a romantic interest in Batman’s rather sterile life.’ She was meant to be a love interest and to engage Batman in a chess game with him trying to reform her. At the same time, this character was meant to be different from other Batman villains like the Joker in that she was never a killer or evil.”

And if you’re familiar with the movies of Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow, there’s no doubt that the core of Catwoman’s personality is sensuality.

All the women who have portrayed Catwoman over the years, brought their own special finesse and style to the character.

Julie Newmar. BATMAN (THE TV SERIES) 1966
Lee Meriwether. BATMAN: THE MOVIE (1966) and BATMAN (THE TV SERIES) 1966

Eartha Kitt. BATMAN (THE TV SERIES) 1968
Michelle Pfeiffer. BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
Maggie Baird. BIRDS OF PREY (2002)
Halle Berry. CATWOMAN (2005)
Anne Hathaway. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES  (2012)

Actresses who lent their voices as this “good to be bad” character in animated series or programs include Gina Gershon, Melendy Britt, Adrienne Barbeau and Courtney Thorne Smith. (yes, of Melrose Place and Ally McBeal fame.)

During the 1960’s, which embodied war protests, peaceful sit-ins and the sexual revolution, American TV tested the waters of sexuality with sitcoms such as Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. However, they skimmed the surface when it came to programming, where the target audience was children. In the Batman TV series, Judy Newmar, played the part with womanly (or feline) wiles and suppressed sexuality.

By the ‘90s, the gloves were off, and it was full-blown sexuality both in TV and cinema. Which is why, I think Michelle Pfieffer’s portrayal of Catwoman is closer to the character than those of her predecessors.

She embodied the smoldering character created by Kane and Finger, and brought  sexiness, vulnerability and wickedness. And the things she did with that whip? Enough said.

IMHO the role of Catwoman will always belong to Michelle Pfeiffer. She is such a class act in any role she plays. It was nice to see her cuddle up and then go toe-to-toe with Batman. The footprint she left behind is huge and I’m not sure any actress after her will be able to fill it. We will see.

Anne Hathaway is a good actress and tried to make the role of Catwoman her own. In all fairness, her portrayal stayed truer to the fact that Catwoman was a cat burglar with expensive taste. However, something was missing. Hey, that’s just me.

Julie Newmar, the original Catwoman is my second favorite, followed by Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt and Halle Berry. Yes, the plot in CATWOMAN wasn’t that great. But Halle wore the hell out of that outfit.

My favorite line, (and probably quite a few folks enjoy it) is between Selena (Catwoman) and Bruce (Batman) in Batman Returns.

Selina Kyle: A kiss under the mistletoe. You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.
Bruce Wayne: But a kiss can be even deadlier… if you mean it.

NOTE TO SELF: (Is there room for a Catwoman-like character in one of my books? Must think about that.)

So, which Catwoman did you purrfer? Sorry, couldn’t resist! Just a brain scramble for Thursday’s Toss.

Microsoft “Surfaces” with a new tablet and I’m just looking


We made it to another Friday, just in time for the mounting technology frenzy. I admit I’m a technophile and usually have to have the latest and greatest, especially if it makes my writing life easier. Yet for some reason, I’m not feeling the pressure to buy.
(Woo Hoo! I’m cured!)

(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)
Microsoft’s Surface tablet is hitting the scene on Oct. 26, and while it looks really slick, I’m not clamoring to buy one. I STILL love my IPad.

HOWEVER …I am checking out the features!

The Surface will run on two different platforms, Windows RT and Windows Pro. It seems light enough to carry around, just like the iPad. I’m going to assume it has all the apps for standard Microsoft features such as Word etc. What’s the point if you can’t write on the go?

The pricing is about the same: the $499 32GB version without a Touch Cover. But the $599 32GB and $699 64GB models, both have the Touch Cover included. You if buy the $499 edition, it doesn’t come with the Touch Cover so you have to spend an extra $120 for one.
(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)
The Type Cover keyboard (which is nice protection for sticky fingers and dust) that Microsoft offers would cost an extra $130. In the long run, it’s probably worth it to buy at least the 32GB, so you can get the Touch Cover. You’re doing to spend extra for the Cover anyway.

CNET reports on its functionality and some of the highlights they’ve tested. Here’s a rundown of the official specs that they provide:

Surface (Windows RT) tablet key specs
• Windows RT operating system
• Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU
• 9.3mm thick
• 676 grams/23.85 ounces
• 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display
• 31.5 watt hour battery
• Ports: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro-HD video, 2×2 MIMO antennas
• Storage options: 32GB and 64GB for Windows RT
• Front- and rear-facing “HD” cameras

Surface (Windows Pro) tablet key specs
• Windows 8 operating system
• Intel third-generation Core i CPU
• 13.5mm thick
• 903 grams/31.85 ounces
• 10.6-inch ClearType “Full HD” Display
• 42 watt hour battery
• Ports: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort video
• Storage options: 64GB and 128GB
• Front- and rear-facing “HD” cameras

Microsoft is allowing people to reserve before the Oct. 26 release, which is cool. Building momentum always helps make money. From what I can see, it’s a thin tablet with a quite a bit to offer. I like the kickstand. Very slick.

(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

If you’re in the market for a tablet, but don’t know where to start, CNET offers a comparison of prices and specs to get you going, in addition to their favorite picks. Although I’m not buying, I will go take a look in person, probably over the weekend with my grandson. You know …just because.

Today’s my grandson birthday. He’s four. And what kid wouldn’t like to go scope out the new Microsoft toy with his grandmother on their birthday weekend? 🙂 (Fun, fun!)

Hey, he loves me. Therefore, he puts up with me!

Have a great weekend! See you Monday.

‘Tis the privilege of friendship …

“Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected.”
― Charles Lamb

I’m fast approaching my 100th blog post (tomorrow, exactly) and despite pictures of the best gang of friends around–the “Little Rascals,” I’m feeling a bit philosophical.

It has been quite a journey since I started this blog three years ago. If I’d been consistent in my blogging, I might have tripled the number of hits, comments and posts. However, I’m not going to think about the would haves, could haves or should haves. Life jumped behind the wheel—as did my mission to finish my first book—and I had to let them drive.

This year, in between writing, I found my way back to my blog, self-expression and to friends, near and far, who matter. Whether we realize it or not, we’re making friends—through our shared interests, thoughts, lives, and our willingness to help others.

I’ve been fortunate to meet artists whose greatest joy is to hold a paintbrush between their fingers. I’ve chatted with photographers who rather hear the sound of their camera’s shutter first, and get laid later. (No joke, they said that!)

I’ve met mothers who love being a mom, but everyday yearn for the opportunity to pick up where they left off with their dance or art lessons. And that desire doesn’t make them a bad mother. If anything, it makes them better, fully faceted individuals.

And with each encounter, I realize that it is oftentimes the people furthest from you, who understand you without reservation.

At times, I feel that way about my writing. Although my family is super supportive, they don’t understand that I can sit in the house all weekend at the computer and be quite content. At times, they shake their heads at the thought that I’d rather revise a chapter or agonize over the correct word usage, than go bowling or go to a show. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing those things, or get the chance to do them. I do.

But I live a writer’s life.

    A writer’s life consists of more nouns and strong verbs than endless chit-chat over the phone.
    It consists of countless hours of trying to reason with characters who believe they’re in control.
    It consists of destroying the dangling modifiers and adverbs that threaten to weaken our prose.
    It consists of sacrificing all you hold dear, so that your baby—your manuscript—will be so endearing that an editor or agent will want to take it home and keep it. (When that happens, drinks are on me.)

I look back over my blog and I see how far I’ve come not only as a blogger, but as an individual. I’ve opened up and invited others in, and it’s so exhilarating when they accept.

Speaking of accepting …On the my 100th post, a dear friend and new author has accepted my invitation to stop by and chat. Can’t wait!

Thank you for listening to my thoughts, my attempts to be helpful and my nonsense (because I KNOW I have moments of insanity).

“Tis the privilege of friendship …”

Sept 11: What it taught me

For many of us, September 11, 2001 was a turning point in history and our lives. And it seems with each passing year, we can still recall where we were on that fateful day, what we did and how we coped.

Moreover, we can reflect on how our lives may have been, and how different they might be now.

I was never one to live in fear. However, 9-11-01 changed the person I thought I was—temporarily anyway.

I remember looking out of the tenth floor window of my office building in downtown Newark, New Jersey, and like many others, noting the beauty of the blue sky. Seconds after placing my pocketbook in my desk drawer, I glanced up again, finding it weird that the sky near the World Trade Center had suddenly darkened.

The first plane struck. It had to be a mistake, I thought.

I literally saw the second plane hit, and became angry. I wondered who hell was flying the blasted thing, and why couldn’t they see those huge towers in front of them?

Then it sank in as I watched the news unfolding on the television monitor to my left and the flames growing outside the window to my right—just across the Hudson River.

It was deliberate.

From that day forward, I kept the blinds at the office open at all times, glancing at every plane that flew to and from Newark Airport. I became obsessed with anything flying near my office building and watched every aircraft, be it a helicopter or plane—until it flew from sight.

I lived in fear for a long time. I didn’t like it.

It’s the eleventh anniversary of 9-11, and while I still think of the events of that day, I haven’t kept my eyes glued to the skies as much. Instead, I’ve learned to be better prepared, always have a plan and take nothing for granted. I’m on guard, but not afraid.

I’ve since lowered the blinds in my office, which is a big deal for me. However, on occasion, I will glance out the window at a passing aircraft, pause for a moment in remembrance, and then get back to living.

Take a moment to remember those who are no longer here, kiss and hug those who are, and live each day with strength, passion and love.