Saturday, May 26, 2012


     On the west side of the Greve river, approximately 7.5 miles south of Florence, Italy, set against a backdrop of hills dense with London Plane trees, headstones belonging to 4,402 American Military Dead stand on 70 acres of foreign soil. Pine, cypress, willow, oak and cedar trees enclose the section along with oleander, crepe myrtle and laurel-cherry shrubs.
     A bridge set between the cemetery office and the visitor’s center at the entrance to the cemetery leads us to row after row of crosses and stars of David. The cemetery is hushed except for the occasional rustle of a leaf or a fragment of a bird’s song. We wander among the headstones that bear the names and dates of birth of the servicemen and women who were lost to friends, loved ones and our nation. Here and there, we see a pebble placed on a stone; a way to say “We are here. We came to see you. We will never forget you.”
      Americans, traveling through the area, stop at the cemetery, on the west side of the Via Cassia, a major highway that links Florence with Rome and Sienna, to pay their respects to the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. The majority died in the fighting that occurred after the liberation of Rome in June 1944 and during the fierce battles in the Apennines right before the end of the war.
      The cemetery is one of 14 permanent memorials built by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The site was liberated on August 3, 1944 by the South African 6th Armored Division; the stone used to construct the chapel and headstones was supplied by Italy. 
     On the highest of three terraces located in back of the burial site are two open sections partially enclosed by walls; to the east is the American flag. Tablets of the Missing, constructed of Travertine stone, connect the two sections. Visitors barely breathe as they read the Baveno granite panels; on the tablets are inscribed the names of 1,409 Americans—United States Army and Air Forces and the United States Navy—who died in our nation’s service and rest in nameless graves. They came from every state in our union but Alaska and Hawaii. 
     Men study the north section’s west wall where two marble operations maps tell the story of the American Forces in the area. Inscriptions in English and Italian provide an explanation for the maps and the military operations. A forecourt at the south end of the tablets leads to a marble and mosaic chapel—a place to meditate and pray for the peace represented in a sculpture that rests on a pylon.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ah, The Books We Read and Love

Photo by GrafPhotographer

Authors have always been affected by the stories they've been told and the books they've read since they were babes in arms. The magic of fairy tales, romantic adventures of our parents and relatives and bedtime narratives dramatically illustrated by the reader. Many told over and over again. I remember my first two books--one was titled Rags, Tags, Wags and Obediah, the other Three Little Kittens and How They Grew. Like most children I went on to read The Bobbsey Twins and Heidi (loved the goats.) In my teens there was Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and Edna Ferber's Show Boat. The last introduced me to Show Business and an exciting career. Since I love fiction whether mystery, general, or literary and non-fiction that ranges from biography, and travel to politics I'm always reading and being influenced by words. I've loved words all my life which is one of the reasons I began to write and after my first short story was published began to call myself a writer. I'm at my computer every day and carry the usual pocket notebook with me. I'm hooked. How about you? What books have changed your life?


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Monday, May 21, 2012

4000 Miles

4000 Miles is now playing at the Mitzi Newhouse at Lincoln Center Theater. Four of us went to see the matinee last Sunday and werre introduced to a marvelous playwright Amy Herzog. Her work has been perfomred in festivals and repertory theatres all over the United States but this was the first opportunity we had to see a play whe'd written. I want to see many, many more. A superb cast was headed by Mary Louise Wilson--fine and funny and sharp. If you're in NYC, don't miss it.

The audience did have a few weird happenings. One member of the audience burped for about twenty minutes. A hearing aid pulsed loudly. A cell phone rang and a woman screamed, "Get your hands off me." through it all the actors carried on.


Scene Stealer is available through Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Carina Press and wherever e-books are sold. An audio version has been produced by

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Sunday, May 13, 2012


     My debut e-book Scene Stealer is a cozy and the book I’m shopping now, while it has plenty of romance doesn’t fit a well-liked and impressive mode of telling a tale called Romance Fiction. But when I read that readers buy more romance fiction than any other genre—it tops the sales charts—I began to think about romance and why readers are so drawn to its pages.
     I have a feeling that in addition to tales of bravery our early ancestors sat around their camp fires telling stories of romance. Shakespeare’s works are both literary and romance fiction: for example Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest where Prospero talks about “such stuff as dreams are made of”—the plays.
     Our mothers and fathers read bedtime stories to us that tell of Cinderella and her prince (perhaps that one explains why we love shoes,) Beauty and the Beast where a red rose bestowed by love enables a happy ending and Rapunzel, a tale of a twelve year old beauty with long fair hair imprisoned in a tower, a lover blinded in an attempt to rescue her—his sight is later restored by her tears. In our teens we read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre about the orphan girl who becomes a governess and falls in love with Rochester her employer and the master of Thornfield and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, romantic, gothic and socially relevant.
     When our own hormones start raging and adolescent love disappoints we play music—Rodgers and Hart or a ballad by Sinatra—or for the younger generation something that speaks to and for them alone. We’re all looking for love.
     There’s a vast variety of sub genres. Historical, Regency, Victorian, love stories between a man and a woman, two women, two men , paranormals, inspirational, erotic, punk or sweet, or chock full of suspense but followers of romantic fiction are loyal to their favorite authors and the genre sells more books than literary fiction or mysteries.
     Are you and why are you drawn to a specific genre and do you write primarily in that particular genre or does it change with each story or novel you write?

Scene Stealer is available at the sites listed below and anywhere e-books are sold.    

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

See, Hear, Taste, Smell, Touch

     New York is my city—that sounds possessive—I was born here, grew up here and it will always be part of my life. The city’s sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch appear in many of the stories I’ve written. Streets, neighborhoods, architecture and parks are an important part of my debut mystery Scene Stealer published as an e-book by Carina Press.
     The idea for Scene Stealer and its three leading characters began when I took the subway to Lincoln Center to buy tickets for a play. A ragged, unkempt man and a well dressed boy were sitting diagonally across from me. The child appeared tense and anxious. I began to wonder if they were related and— if not—why they were together. And why—why was the child frightened. The pair left the train at the next stop but I couldn’t stop thinking about them and they became the characters—the heart of Scene stealer. The child turned out to be Kevin Corcoran—a young actor and spokesperson for the “Cowboy Bob’s Big, Bad Burger,” commercial, the unkempt man—Lawrence Dunn—an aging, underemployed would-be Shakespearean actor. And my amateur detective—Miss Weidenmaier—a retired schoolteacher who won’t be stopped in her quest to find Kevin.
     In her search for Kevin, Miss Weidenmaier explores an off-Broadway casting call, Greenwich Village with its aromas of coffee and spices, a verdant Central Park where a motion picture is being made, a legendary building that once housed song writers, cold, glass skyscrapers that hide the sun, and a church transformed into an off-off-very-off Broadway theatre.
     Added was Miss Weidenmaier’s distaste for fast food, the blindness of night, a fit of sneezing caused by dust, the sound of unexpected foot steps, and the roughness of a canvas drop.
     Characters included—a villainess as icy as the skyscraper she reigned over, a hard-nosed detective—for Miss Weidenmaier to frustrate, suspects including Kevin’s parents, school-friends, his agent, an obnoxious talk show host, an eager ingĂ©nue and assorted citizens of the Big Apple.
     I had a great time writing Scene Stealer and a bit of aggravation too—when my villain refused to do dastardly deeds and I had to change my plot. I admit—he was right.

Scene Stealer is available through Barnes& Noble, Carina Press and wherever e-books are sold. An audio version has been produced by



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