Friday, April 21, 2017

NYC On My Mind April 2017 Day 2 - The Rain, The Wind, The Museum of Art and Design, Tziporah Salamon

With fashion styling icon Tziporah Salamon at her book signing
Two days before I left for NYC I became ill. While I was improving, it was still a struggle every morning to get up and and get out the door. Normally I'm a night owl, but to keep my energy up in NYC I made an effort to get into bed really early every night, even if I just read for awhile.

Day two I woke up and found myself even less motivated. Just as predicted, the weather had turned foul over night. Heavy rains and driving winds made a lot of the things on my to-do list not that appealing. Anything indoor was the best choice.. I had visited The Met, The Guggenheim and MOMA last time, but here were several other museums of interest that could fill a rainy day. One of particular interest was The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD).

I decided to make this a shorter day of exploring as a friend back in Vancouver let me know about a book signing in the evening that looked interesting. This museum was perfect as it was close by, only 2 short subway stops from my Airbnb.  It also featured a new show I thought might be interesting called Counter-Couture:Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture. The focus of this exhibit was not about the full range of what people wore at the time, it was specifically about the handmade fashions that became a cultural signature in the 1960's and 1970's.

"The pursuit of a personal style proved a transcendental tool toward self-realization, enlightenment, and freedom from conventions. Counter-Couture exhibits garments, jewelry, and accessories by American makers who crafted the very reality that they craved, on the margins of society and yet at the center of an epochal shift. The works on display encompass the ethos of members of a generation who fought for change by sewing, embroidering, quilting, patch-working, and tie-dyeing their identity. Putting the handmade at the center of their daily revolution, they embraced and contributed to establishing a craft and folk sensibility in a seminal moment for the development of American Craft."

 Counter Culture was a large exhibit covering two full floors of the museum and a fascinating walk back in time. Displays featured garments created using quilting, tie dye, denim embellishment, crochet, knitting, hand painting and more. Large jewelry showcased hand crafted metal work. Music, vintage images and power points on a few designers completed the show.

I thought I would find the show amusing and perhaps a bit tacky.  I was wrong. The exhibition featured garments from the best designers of the era. There were a few that obviously look dated such as a quilted suit, but several timeless pieces as well that could be worn today. I was lucky when a young guard joined me at a display to give me some detailed background on one garment. It had been hand painted with a dye that is no longer available and cured in the sun.

Most interesting was the inclusion of work by San Francisco designer Kaisik Wong. His garments were offered hints of futuristic samurai that stood apart from the more "hippie" look of the rest of the collection.

After I finished exploring this exhibit fully, I discovered there was another great one on a lower floor - Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story. Although I have done hundreds of interviews with those working in the fashion world, my interest has always been the designer's personal journey. I have little knowledge of fashion history.  This exhibit offered me a chance to learn more about Leiber - a well-known craftsman, luxury handbag designer and business woman. It offered a large selection of unique pieces created during her long career that stretched from 1963 to 2004.

Most of the handbags on display were clutch size. They ranged from finely crafted leather, to textile covered, to Swarovski crystal-encrusted. Art Deco hardware, Lucite and even seashells were incorporated. What I also loved in this exhibit was the long time line along one wall that covered the fashion scene on a larger scale overlaid with Leiber's moments.  It was too long to photograph and too many people stood up close reading it for me to walk along and film it.

My final stop here was MAD's gift store, I had noticed a very cool folding wooden bowl created from recycled chopsticks and stained to a colour perfect for my living room. Luckily it was also in my price range. Sold!

Next I worked my way along the sidewalks - dodging umbrellas and trying to keep mine from being turned inside out by the storm - to get to MOMA. While I didn't want to see the museum displays this time around, I was on a hunt for unique gifts and they have two stores full of great ideas. The first is a gift/book store attached to the museum. Nothing specifically popped for me this time, but I did snag a MOMA coffee cup and Magic Wallet.

Across the street is their design store.  Things here are more modern with a design/technical orientation. There was one science kit that intrigued me. If I still had kids at home or grand kids to buy for, this would have left the store with me. What did catch my eye were Bao Bao handbags by Issey Miyake.  Oh my - there were several I would have loved to take home. Unfortunately they were way out of my budget running from $350 US to over $1100 US! Convert that to Canadian dollars and you'll understand my reluctance.

I didn't head out until almost noon and was going to have a short day today, so it was time to head home.  I had noticed Cafe 53 on the way to MOMA, so stopped in on my way back to the subway station. This was the perfect place to snag food if you wanted to take it home in particular. They had two coolers filled with beer, wine. an assortment of non-alcoholic drinks, yogurt, etc.. There was a large, two-sided salad bar. Next to it was a large two-sided bar of hot entrees.  There was a sushi bar where you could buy pre-made or have it made fresh fresh, and a juice bar where someone was making smoothies and deli sandwiches.

Cafe 53 did offer a reasonably large seating area, but it was crowded and pretty utilitarian.  I filled up one container of hot food for today, a second full of salads for tomorrow night, snagged a bottle of white wine and was out the door.  It was great to be back in my Airbnb early and relax while enjoying my evening meal with a glass of wine. I did a little SEO work, uploaded my pics to my laptop and Facebook, sent my husband an email about my day and then I curled up to relax for a bit.

NYC is full of these unexpected moments,
There may have been strong wind and heavy rain. I may not have felt 100%.  But there is something about NYC that just creates a spark to sustain you.  A short bit of down time and a little food were all it took before I was ready to head out to the book signing. While it was still gray, the rain had stopped. Then came a miracle. I stepped out of the subway into beautiful sunshine. The clouds had parted and it was lovely. My spirits rose accordingly.

The book signing was in an incredible vintage store called Sarajo that sold antique textiles and artifacts, costumes, art, jewelry, furniture and much more. Author Tziporah Salamon, a style legend known for her “The Art of Dressing” seminars, was dressed in a style that fit right into the store's ambiance and I was immediately charmed. Her new book The Art of Dressing: Ageless, Timeless, Original Style profiles ten stylish women over age 50, including the dancer Carmen de Lavallade, Marjorie Stern, and artist Michele Oka Doner. “Style does not just happen; it needs to be cultivated, chiseled, refined All are over the age of 50 because it usually takes that long to master this thing called style."

I quickly purchased a copy of hers new book which she signed and offered her a signed copy of my book as a gift. Then we posed together (opening picture), each of us holding the other's book. She was total class and went along for the ride. I am so grateful as it meant the world to me to get this pic. Even better, the pic was snapped on my little camera by photographer Mitsuhiro Honda - now a new FB friend. Thanks Colleen Tsoukalas - I wouldn't have been here to get this shot and a personally autographed copy of her new book without you giving me a heads up.

What a day. Even better, the weather is supposed to be improving tomorrow so I can head back out onto the streets and explore.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

NYC On My Mind Day April 2017 Day 1 - Randi & Kate, FIT, Pitopia, Macy's, The Hat Shop, Archerie, Dr. Marten & Parm

Image by Randi Winter
Why is it I can hear that music from the Wizard of Oz
running through my head when I look at this pic?
dum dum dum dum dum dum..................
My dear friend Randi Winter, a travel agent and former NYC resident with family still in the area, happened to arrive in town the same day I did.  Before we left, we decided to book one day together. That day ended up being my first day in town.

There would be no slow start to this holiday. Despite being tired and a little under the weather, I needed to get up and out the door fairly early this morning. I was a bit late.

The first stop for anyone who really wants to get into the feel of NYC is the subway. It can be confusing, especially on the weekends when some lines don't run. Despite the occasional struggle, I still feel it's well worth the effort.

As you go down the steps, you'll see a couple machines where you can purchase your one week pass. This pass is not only good on the subway system, but all buses. This time around the cost was $32 US for a 7-day unlimited pass.  The machine in my local station wasn't accepting credit cards that day, but fortunately I had cash on me.  Last time visiting, I purchased a fold up transit map so I had already laid out my course with it in the morning before I leaving home. I highly suggest this.

Subway pas machines and some of the great tile artwork you'll see in the subway.

I was to connect with Randi and a young fashion designer - Kate Miles - at a coffee shop where they were having a meeting with Eric Gordon of Beyond Time Square about collaborating on a project. I got on the right train without a problem and got off at the right stop.  BUT - it was my first morning and I was tired, so I didn't have a solid feel for north/south/east/west yet.  After I few blocks walking the wrong way, I sorted it all out and arrived about 15 minutes late.  

As soon as they finished, the three of us headed out for a day of exploring.  The first thing I discovered was I had forgotten the memory card for my camera at home. There would be no early pics for me other than a few on my cell phone which doesn't have a very good camera. SIGH!  I would have to pick one up sometime during our walk about.

Kate, Randi & I in front of F.I.T, Kat and I on the street,
Randi & Kate waiting for me at B&H, me posing with one of the fab F.I.T. guards

The Museum at F.I.T. was our second stop. There we found two fashion exhibits awaiting. In the Fashion & Textile History Gallery on the main floor was a show called Black Fashion Designers, which explored the experiences of several generations of fashion designers of African descent from the 1950s to the present. 

Downstairs in the Special Exhibitions Gallery was another called Paris Revisited 1957-1968, highlighting one of the most groundbreaking time periods in fashion history.

After walking through both galleries, we decided to head over to B&H Photography.  I stumbled across this amazing, huge, internationally known store on my last visit. Randi knew about it as well, but Kate had never been there. It was fun to introduce her to this unique experience.  The store covers a whole block and has two full floors. It is truly a photographer's mecca.

To get a memory card, you have go to the counter on the second floor and order it.  The order is then placed in a bag on a conveyor belt which goes around the top floor and then downstairs.  You take your receipt to the cashier to pay, then behind the cashier is the pick up area where it is already bagged and hanging on a hook.  All this for one little memory card. Too funny.

LUNCH TIME!  There were so many choices, but the three of us choose the easy option. Across the street from B&H is a tiny Kosher deli with a few seats called Pitopia. It's top offering in my opinion is their Falafel. It's the best I've ever had. When I tried Falafel in the past I always found it dry. Here it is cooked fresh to order - crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Delicious!

First you pick the type of pita (or the no pita option in a bowl) and then you choose up to five additions from a long list of possibilities including - Israeli Salad, Pickles, Lettuce,  Sauteed Onions, Tomatoes, Sauerkraut, Carrots, Cucumbers, Raw Onions, Charif , Chili Aioli, Garlic, Mayo, Tahini, Ultimate Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Honey Mustard. Sweet Teriyaki. Hummus, A few Fries or Scoop of Mac. Turns out it's traditional to have a few fries tucked in, so I chose that as one of my five additions.

Hunger sated, we headed off. Our next destination was one that drew women in droves - the shoe floor at Macy's. We decided, though, to make one stop along the way. Mood Fabrics has become famous through being featured on Project Runway. Honestly, as a lifelong sewer, most fabric stores are pretty much the same.  I did see some wonderful buttons made in Italy, but my favourite moment was snapping a photo with Randi under the Moods sign.

Remember I said to slow down and look around as you walk. In the distance is the Empire State Building.
I love this view of it  framed by other buildings. In the middle is one of many fashion walk of  fame squares inset
in the sidewalk. On the right is a very cool old building entrance. It reminded me of the 40's

We arrived at Macy's and headed up to the second floor to look at shoes. The store's shoe floor is the largest in the world, with more than 250,000 pair of women’s shoes showcased in a posh 63,000 square-foot space. There was a shoe sale going on which was exciting. But even better, Randi knew the side rooms where all the seriously discounted shoes were. I picked up a pair of rhinestone encrusted black sandals for under $30 and a pair of metallic animal print  Michael Kors heels for under $70.  Fist pumping ensued.

Then we descended to the main floor to check out the annual flower show. It's impossible to explain what it was like coming down the escalator into a sea of floral displays. First the lovely aroma hits you. Then you're visually overwhelmed with a sea of colours and textures. It was such an interesting experience I went up the escalator and came down again to enjoy it a second time before I strolled through the large show. The theme this year was Carnival and they pulled it off beautifully.

Shoes purchased, flowers enjoyed - it was time to explore the garment district where Kate was interning.  We first jumped on the subway where I took a picture at the tile sign for Houston - pronounced HOW-stun - and just one part of the acronym SOHO (South of Houston Street). Our end goal was a street that had two of Kate's favourite shops on it.

Left - Love this building. Kate calls it the Jenga building.  Centre - posing in front of the Houston St. Subway Sign
Right - The older buildings have their fire escapes down the front, unlike where I live.

Linda Pagan's The Hat Shop - This store has been a part of the NYC scene for 20 years. The owner used to work on Wall Street but walked away to pursue her passion.  I was excited from the minute I looked at the window display.  As it was Easter this weekend, the focus of many hats followed this theme.  We were fortunate that Linda was in the store and had a little time to chat with us, sharing a bit of her history and about all the hats displayed. Turns out there were several designers represented, each with their own unique aesthetic.

Linda shared a book with us that she has a featured chapter in - An Englishman in New York by Jason Bell (Photographer) & Zoe Heller (Introduction). I definitely need to order a copy.  Want to know more?  Check out this great YouTube video.

Jillian Kaufman's Archerie - This is the designer Kate is doing her current internship with. Jillian is self-taught and has been in the industry for over 25 years. Her label -  Archerie - is designed for women of all figures and ages They are clothes to be lived in. She shares, “For me it is the craft and the richness of the fabrics in which we wrap ourselves. As we travel through our lives our clothes become a language with which we define ourselves and our experiences."

We were fortunate that Jillian was in the store that day as well, so we had a chance to talk with her about fashion, her collections (I really loved the purple dress with unique neckline) and feminism. Yup feminism. In fact I bought a small book in her shop called We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I thought I took images here, but in my excitement obviously forgot. SO, I snagged some S/S 17 images from her website.  Best of all - she decided to be the model for this season's collection. LOVE IT!

After being inspired by both of these incredibly talented and unique artists, it was getting time to start thinking about supper. The three of us picked up Kate's mum at a Greek coffee shop where she was waiting and headed over to PARM.  I enjoy watching a show called Unique Eats. Parm had been featured on one of their episodes. I was intrigued and fortunately everyone else was game.  It's a small casual Italian restaurant and sandwich shop with several locations. We headed off to the one in Little Italy on Mulberry Street.

As always, when walking the streets of NYC, slow down and look around. You never know what you'll see or what new experiences await.  On the way to Parm, we walked by a Dr. Martens Store. The doors were propped open, the space was packed with people and high energy music was playing. There was food.  In the window we noticed an artist drawing on a pair of white shoes.  First we walked by. Then we turned around, walked back and stepped in to see what was going on.

The store was having a special event evening.  There were tacos from Ola Viva Bar, beer from Old Blue Last and artist Rob Anderson was up front offering free customization with any purchase.  He had a permanent marker and was creating unique lined shapes as he talked, working until every last inch of the shoe was covered.  WOW! If we didn't have a destination in mind, we would have hung out here for a few hours.

A few short blocks later we found PARM.  We were just ahead of the crowd, so had no trouble snagging a table. 40 minutes later the place was crowded. Unique Eats featured the eatery's classic parm sandwich so I definitely had to try that. There were several options to choose from. I decided on the chicken parm. Even though I chose the smaller roll version, it was still incredibly filling with two big pieces of chicken tucked in. Kate and her mother shared a platter of some kind. Randi had the Eggplant Parm (not a sandwich). We all shared the spicy Buffalo Cucumber starter. You can check out the menu for this location HERE.

Everything was fabulous and conversation over great food the perfect note to end my first day exploring NYC. What will tomorrow hold? Who knows!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NYC On My Mind Day April 2017 - Prep and Getting there

Before I start I want to offer my personal thoughts on visiting New York City. If  you really want to experience it as more than a tourist destinations and get a deeper feel for the city, it's history and the interesting people who live/work here, you need do more than stay in a 5 star hotel, visit tourist sites and eat in 5 star restaurants.

1. Slow down.  You're on holiday. There is no rush.  If you've booked something that has a specific time, go early and if you're have extra time, use it to explore the area around the venue.  You are surrounded everyday by interesting things to see and interesting people talk with if you just slow down enough to notice.

2.  Walk, walk and walk some more.  And while you walk stop worrying about the time and destination.  Look right, look left, look up, look down. Pause to say high to a stranger, listen to a street musician or just enjoy the architecture. The buildings are a mix of old, new, classic and innovative.  While strolling to the High Line, everyone around me rushed ahead. I noticed a tiny garden park tucked in between the buildings - Alice's Park. It was set up in the middle of chaos in honour of Alice, whoever she is. No one else notice.

3. Ride the subway.  Here you'll meet immigrants living in NYC, tourists visiting and those born and raised here. Take a chance and open a conversation with those you're sitting by.  Ask those you talk to what they recommend you see or do.  A local can tell you about something you wouldn't have known about otherwise. Tip the musicians and let them know they've lifted your spirits.

4  Take at least one free walking tour (you tip the guide at the end) that will expose you to the history of an area.  These tours make an area come alive. No longer is it just streets and buildings. You learn the significance of sites and what happened here.  Free Tours on Foot offer the following tour areas - SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown; Greenwich Village; Central Park; Harlem; Lower Manhattan; Chelsea and the High Line; Midtown Manhattan; and Grand Central Terminal. I took their Greenwich Village tour with guide Renee Rewiski and highly recommend it. She was amazing.

5. Go to a play. I didn't on my first visit, but did this time and it's now on my permanent list. There are a wide range of plays at a wide range of costs to suit everyone.  As they are in a permanent location the sets are better and the actors amazing. But what makes it extra special is the audiences. They are audibly enthusiastic. They come ready to vocally support the actors, urging them to their best performances from the moment the curtains open. And then there is the wine sippy cup.......

6. Always carry some cash. The subway machine might have the credit card option not working or you might want to snag something special from a street artist.  Always good to have a few dollars in your pocket

= = = =

I last visited New York City when I traveled there in September 2012 with designer Katherine Soucie and musician Shockk Mongoose.  Katherine was showing her current collection in a fashion show, Shockk would be providing live music for the models to walk to and I was her show assistant. I only had commitments two nights while we were there, so took to the streets each day exploring all alone and fell in love with the city. For three years now I've been trying to get back.

A few things were different this time around. Last time I purchased a ROAM phone for use in the U.S.  That is no longer necessary as most cell phone companies have very affordable plans that are much more convenient. To save money, I only put on phone and text, then used WiFi wherever available. If you want to do FB Live or Snap Chat videos, you will have to add data. But beware. Video uses a LOT of data. It can really add up.

Last time around we booked a car service to get us from the airport to our lodging. It was pricey, but we split it between all of us and there was enough room for all our luggage. We stayed at an amazing Airbnb in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn and had the whole top third floor to ourselves. The only negative was having to carry our suitcases up two full flights of stairs. The suite included one bedroom, a pull-out in the living room and full kitchen  This area was also on the dividing line between gentrified Brooklyn and areas that were still run down which made for interesting photography strolls.

As I was completely solo this time, I decided to look for an Airbnb in Manhattan.  There were many to choose from, but I decided on a really unique situation that was centrally located. It was also offered at an incredible price.  I was 1/2 block from the West side of Central Park, one block from the subway station and one block from the American Museum of Natural History which was on my to-do list.  It could not have been more convenient for what I had planned.

My host was a young professional woman working in venture capital.  The apartment was a small loft in an old brick building. She had hung a blackout curtain to create a second bedroom under her loft with a queen-size bed, shelving and some space to hang a few clothes.  We shared the living room, small kitchen and bathroom. Most days she was gone from 9-9:30 to 8-9 at nights so I had lots of privacy. We also had time to chat and get to know each other a few nights which was fun. I love hearing how others live and her story was really unique.

Air Miles was responsible for my plane ticket, so I had little choice in how I traveled. I had to take a one-stop which added 3 hours to my travel time, and flew into JFK. If you can do non-stop - do it. Even if it costs more.  I have also since learned that La Guardia is a better choice as it is closer to NYC and that means cheaper transit and shorter transit times, but that wasn't open to me at the time. JFK it was.

There were several options on how to get into NYC from the JFK. Car service was way outside my budget this time as I was alone.  A taxi is always a good choice, but I was concerned about the cost. They are flat fee now - currently I think it is $52 US - but then they say plus tax, tip and tolls IF APPLICABLE. That IF APPLICABLE worried me. I never like things that aren't clear. If you're young, money is tight and you're travelling light, you can take the subway. It is definitely the cheapest, but it can be hard work if you're lugging a big suitcase.

Fortunately for me there was a fourth option. If you only have one suitcase and are not in a hurry, there are shared ride shuttles that pick you up at the terminal and drop you right at the front door.  I decided this was my best choice and chose to book with Go Airlink. The price depends on the distance, but as you pay for it up front, it's all clear from the start. To go from JFK to where I was staying in upper Manhattan only cost $25 US plus tip. You book and pay for the trip online, then tip your driver at the end.

On arrival the process is super simple. After you pick up your luggage you look for the Ground Transportation Desk in the same area.  You tell the person at the desk which shuttle company you are booked with and your name. They let the company know you're here and give you an ETA on the driver. Usually there is a bench to sit on nearby and you just rest until the driver comes in and calls your name.  Because of the airlines I flew and the upper Manhattan address, I was the first one they picked up and the last one they dropped off. That meant it took about an hour and a half, but that would probably be the longest.

When I arrived at the Airbnb, my driver got out with me to make sure I made it in the building safely - a good thing as my hostess needed to step out and had hidden a key outside. I couldn't find it. My driver did and he waited until I was safely locked inside. I could not have been more grateful.

By the time I slipped into bed that night I had been up and in transit for 15 hours. I don't even remember my head hitting the pillow. Best sleep I've had in a long time.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Truths Not Spoken (A Shifting Sands Novel) by Pamela T. Starr

A contract she had no choice but to sign. A secret she had no choice but to keep. Love she had no choice but to feel.

Synopsis -

Single mother Laura Walters had her life under control. She had a jewelry business, a generous best friend and a careful watch on her nine-year-old daughter, Emily. Then, Emily is seen on national television with Vic, the man who could tear their world apart. With one thirty second news clip, Laurel's life turns into a tailspin. The paparazzi chase her. Two men from her past want her: Vic is a former lover. Kyle a former friend. They both know her secret, and either one could ruin the careful life Laurel built for herself and Emily.

Faced with no other option, Laurel turns to Kyle to protect her and her life with Emily. But just as Laurel and Kyle are beginning to trust each other, they learn of shocking betrayals they each have been hiding. Some secrets are made to be broken. Some secrets never should be. But how does Laurel learn which ones are which? Truths Not Spoken is the debut novel by promising new author Pamela T. Starr. It is a must-read for every woman who balances her dreams of love with a man with the needs of her child. Truths Not Spoken shows readers that yes, dreams can come true.

Review - 

Truths Not Spoken is the debut offering by author Pamela T. Starr and it falls squarely in the category of Women's fiction.  It's offers a contemporary twist on the classic love triangle.

Single mother Laura lives in the shadows, providing a life for her daughter Emily.  Money comes hard, but she makes enough to scrap buy. With the support of her friend Ashley who manages a resort that has a kid's program Emily can tuck into at no cost, she manages to juggle it all, keep her head above water and get some much needed time to herself.

Then two men from her past, Vic and Kyle, come back into her life. Each has knowledge of a secret she has carefully protected for years, Emily is thrust into the spotlight and the carefully constructed world Laura has created for them begins to crumble.  Who can she trust?  Can she control the players and come out on top? And can she keep the one deep secret that is hers alone from surfacing?

Truths Not Spoken is a light fiction offering a great escape at the end of the day with love, intrigue, betrayal and redemption woven into the plot. And the theme of a strong woman standing against the tide is always one I enjoy.

Buy the Book: Amazon  

About the Author:

Check out a great author interview - HERE!

Pamela T. Starr has been recognized as an outstanding new author with a promising future. Truths Not Spoken is the first in her Shifting Sands series, all set in her home state of Florida.

An accomplished trainer and public speaker, Pamela has motivated more than 60,000 people at live presentations and workshops. She has also logged more than 30 hours of live national television appearances.

Pamela is inspired by the two men in her life. The one she mothers is still young enough to be excited by life and the many opportunities he discovers. The one who is her life-long partner is old enough to know that life is an adventure and he embraces it every day.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Interview With Pamela T. Starr, author of Truths Not Spoken (A Shifting Sands Novel)

As this is your first novel, can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I wrote my first draft of my first novel when I started my first job after college. That novel (like so many other people’s first novel) is in a box in my closet. Eight years ago I started the first draft of what came to be Truths Not Spoken. I got about 20,000 words in, then lost interest. At the end of 2015, I finally got tired of hearing myself say “I’m going to write a novel.” I told myself I had to step up, or shut up. So I joined a local writers group, resurrected those 20k words and plowed into it.

Where do you find inspiration for the story line in Truths Not Spoken? For the main characters, especially Laurel, Laurel's friend Ashley, Kyle and Vic?

Eight years ago, there was a lot in the press about the paparazzi hassling celebrities. My original plan was to write a love story between a celebrity and a photographer who was following her. The celebrity evolved into a regular woman (Laurel.) Kyle is pretty close to my own fantasy man, so he wasn’t difficult. I was single for a long time so Vic is a mashup of the worst characteristics of some of the men I dated in the past. He was actually the most fun character to write! Laurel’s friend Ashley is more like the woman I’d like to be. She’s a bit quirky, flirty and is the star of my next book. I wanted readers of Truths Not Spoken to get to meet her so they can look forward to getting to know her better.

How do your organize your time - writing, research, pre-marketing, etc.?

In the summer of 2016, my fiancé was on a cross-country, self-contained bicycle trip. I knew he would be gone for two months and that was the perfect time for me to sit down and crank out the majority of the book. I wrote every night after my day job was over. I worked with an editor before I made my final draft. I did pre-marketing, started my social media and email newsletter list when the editor was reviewing it.

What did you enjoy most about writing process? What was the hardest for you?

Like many women, I often feel like my life is out of control. So the early writing process was great. I could make people do whatever I wanted them to do! That was my favorite part. The hardest part was dealing with all the pesky details. I did A LOT of cutting and pasting and I needed to be sure I didn’t have gaps in the story. That drove me crazy. Thankfully my early beta readers caught a few places where I took out too much information.

Interview HERE!
You are also a trainer and public speaker. Was there anything from that area of your life that affected your work as an author?

Public speaking is a huge fear for a lot of people. For most, it is a fear that the audience won’t like them. A long time ago I learned to stride onto a stage with the confidence that most people will like what I have to say. And if a few people don’t, that’s not the end of the world. I embraced that same attitude when it came to my book. Truths Not Spoken is a casual, easy read. I know some people who claim to only enjoy literary fiction. If they don’t like my book, that is fine. Once I came to realize that, I felt less pressure and was able to enjoy the writing process more.

What would you most like readers to know about you?

I’m just a regular person, just like them. I’ve met people who are in awe of the fact that I published a novel. I even had someone on an airplane ask for my autograph! My book has a sleek and shiny cover, but my real life is just has bumpy as everyone else’s.

What do you do to relax and unwind?

I love to bake. There is something relaxing to me about pulling out an old, trusty cookbook and seeing the drips and stains on it from years of making yummy treats. I have special memories of all of my favorite cookies, muffins and brownies. When I make them, it feels like all is right with the world.

Is there any advice you can offer someone just starting to write their first novel?

I know this is overused, but just do it. Don’t worry about where to start, how perfect it is, if you should outline or not, or what people will think. Don’t worry if people will buy it or not. Once we become adults, we figure out some dreams will never come true. But anyone can write a novel. You just need to do it.