Category Archives: Writing

Buried on Page 7 (100 Word Challenge)

Extra! Extra! Read all about it…

That’s the way she’d always imagined it.

Their love affair adorning the front page for the whole world to see


But instead of it meriting the headlines

or even the rush of celebrity fame

(on the page before it)

it sat in the middle of the ink like a forlorn maiden.


“Soon…” he whispered

tattooing kisses along the back of her neck.


But she wouldn’t believe him

 not one little bit

until she spied the march of ladybugs

promenading across her windowsill


What a simple stroke of luck!


SO she melted into him

and turned the page.  


I missed the 100 Word Challenge with Tara last week so this week I am using both words/ideas.




100 word challenge

Pondering A Rainy Afternoon

Hey Mister

Whatcha doin over there, so far away, when

we got stuff we should be doin?

Laundry needs foldin’

dishes need washin’

tchotchkes need dustin’

lawn needs mowin’

and that floor needs moppin’.

We ain’t got time for channel flipping or dozing today.


But when I hear the rain weeping down those french door windows

and Carole’s voice moving the earth, climbing the soft tuft at the back of my neck

I can’t help but sigh, settlin’ myself  down into that chaise beside you.


Hey, that bed still needs makin, Mister

but if you’re willin’, I got me an idea.

100 word challenge


Week 2 of Tara at the helm of the 100 Word Challenge.

This weeks word was “idea“.

Are you playing along yet?


A Quiescent Love

Peculiar isn’t it?

Even with its rounded corners the shape of the world doesn’t bend

beyond time-

decades have passed

or space-

kingdoms have fallen; there are mountains, valleys and beaches between us

to our wishes.


Yet, what is this kinetic electricity connecting us?

So now, when I am neither

friend nor foe

monster nor mistress

temptress or tyrant

We still {foolishly} seek the lull of perceived peace.


But there, deep in the quiet, the noise of love quivers.

Stirring me from sleepy dreams, from daydreams of old

and the rush of you lands as softly as your kiss did.

100 word challenge

Tara, my dear friend and one of my writing heroes, has taken up the post of mistress of the 100 Word Challenge originally started by Jennifer, the amazing. The word this week is Peculiar.

This blog has been quiet and unloved but today I decided to jot words again.

If you’re here, and reading, thank you.

Tara! SO exciting. Congratulations!


Pour Your Heart Out: 10

I’ve always been a talker, a writer, a dreamer.


My desire to chronicle moments and memories didn’t just appear one day; instead I  believe I was born with it. I have notebooks and journals stacked among my favorite paperbacks, I have highlighted passages and small pieces of paper with quotes and my own thoughts and stories scattered in the zippered pockets of my purse and bulging out of the drawer in my nightstand.

I can barely pay attention to you because I am  busy writing our story in my head, right now. People watching is one of my favorite activities next to naps and shoe shopping and drinking in a story is the best way to spend a day, afternoon or evening.

So my journey to spreading words didn’t begin ten years ago when I published my first piece to Kir’s Corner. No, it was a part of me yearning to get out and the only difference was it now had a home and a name.

In the last ten years of my blogging journey I have written so many words, shared so many stories, divulged so many secrets and realized so many dreams. It doesn’t seem possible that a decade has passed since I began offering myself to you in the form of essays and haiku.

Blogging is different now, it’s less and more simultaneously. It’s about going viral and taking a stand, picking a side and honestly it’s exhausting. Yet, I can’t say goodbye to it because it’s brought so much to my life and my hope is that my words return, that I find something to say that is worth reading.

In the meantime I have been pondering and reminiscing about the decade gone in this space. I’ve never gotten famous or rich, but I am the first person you think about when cupcakes or high heels are mentioned and that fills my soul. I’ve learned where my strengths lie, that in building a community I built friendships that my life would be empty without.

I’ve accepted that perhaps I can use the term writer when I describe myself.


And to that end I found that I write about so many things; from the happy to the tragic, from the wild creative stories of fiction to the memory tugging words of memoir. I have invited people in to share Proud Mommy Moments and I have blog-hopped, music-shared and meme-ed myself silly.

To think in ten years I didn’t get pregnant and then I did, I talked about karma and Aruba and IVF. You’ve seen my miracle boys born and  grow up and in a larger sense you saw me grow up too. We’ve hugged and shared, laughed and celebrated my birthdays (and more) together.


We are friends inside this screen and outside  of it.

I’ve attended Blog conferences and Bloggy Boot Camps (connecting, networking and just talking), I’ve been published and syndicated, seen my name added on an Amazon page and read my own words about my incredible sons on a stage in New York City.




I’ve found my center being a cheerleader and supportive commenter. I’ve never been happier than when my friends found success with their own words or been more motivated to dig deeper, kill- my-darlings, share all I have in an effort to someday be like them.  I have spent every day being so grateful for the friendships this space has poured into my life from every corner of the world.

And while I procrastinate and ponder my place in this space I know I still have a long way to go, so many things to share, words that are bursting and stories that are still simmering.

This year two of my greatest dreams came true:  I was able to direct Listen to Your Mother-Lehigh Valley and a piece of mine  was chosen as a Voice of the Year by BlogHer for the first time!!!

My life continues to change and evolve here in this corner.

LTYM2015 CastPicture1PM

Ten years ago I hit publish and introduced myself, thank you for coming into my life and enriching it, you mean so much to me.

Thank you for reading the words I share.


It’s all been worth the wait and now I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store for me.


So thankful for people like Shell who gave us Pour Your Heart Out so that I have a place to share this milestone with all of you.



I Want To Tell The Stories

This morning the rain started as soon as we pulled out of the garage. Then once we hit the highway the sky was still dark, as if it was still night and not early morning, and the rain began to smack the windshield; banging against the glass.

I tried to ignore it and the cars flying by us, their speeds in no way indicative of the hazards that water and blacktop could imagine if not taken seriously. I closed my eyes and attempted sleep and then I opened them again to check my phone in the wake of feeling guilty that I was not taking full advantage of the extra twenty-five minutes the phone app had added to our trip. But even that proved fruitless. My brain and body were tired. Social media would only add to that kind of exhaustion.

So I hoisted my tablet into my lap and typed out the password offering me passage into my latest read. My eyes focused and within a minute I was immersed before I knew it, lost among the characters and their lives.

One reason I love television is related to this. I enjoy getting caught up in someone else’s life, their narrative. I don’t watch reality TV, instead I am slave to the scripted drama and my DVR is full of hour after hour of well written and acted shows that take a peek into a plethora of emotions, relationships and idiosyncrasies.

I have so many stories swirling in my head lately. Some are purely fiction and they fight with nap time and homework time, soccer time and DVR time for the right to haul me over to the computer to express themselves.

But then there are the tales of my own life, the memoirs begging to be told. The stories, that when I am in company and spinning those yarns, hold my audience captive; hanging onto my words, tears springing to their eyes.

They are in.

And I feel strength and weakness all at once.

The stories in the wake of losing Ben are powerful things, they push and poke at me to write them down and share them.

Some of the stories are not mine to tell, they are, instead, like bowls of accompaniments passed down the table from one person to other until they end up on my plate sitting under my fork. And because of that they might be cold or just different by the time they found my mouth.

Yet, there are too many to ignore. Some bordering on the religious and others firmly planted in the simple, sacred world of perhaps it’s just coincidence that are shouting for their time.

So I’ve decided to tell them.

One by one, story by interlinking story, until they no longer sit only on my tongue but inside the hearts of the people who read them.


My amazing friends Mel and Michele (The Ketchup With Us Gals) are putting the top on their bottle and their link for a little while. But before they go they wanted us to link up, tell a story, admit we’re going to miss them and their outfits (I will!).

Starting next week I am going to share a story a week for four weeks about the amazing things that have happened since we lost Ben. Extraordinary and special things, comforting and peaceful and at times, even funny things.

I want to tell the stories.

Be. {Pour Your Heart Out}

It didn’t start out as a mantra.

In fact, if we’re truth telling here, it started because I had yelled the night before.

So deep in frustration and beyond a reasonable reaction to the fact that my son could not recognize the word “my”, I stood in complete disbelief as he stood still, staring at the two letter word as if he’d never seen it.

My son could spell and recognize Harry Potter and Christmas from memory, but “my” was going to be a game changer?

Over my dead, word-loving, body.

So I ranted, raising my voice half an octave before stopping short of admonishing him which was, admittedly, not my finest hour.

We all went to bed that evening with sore throats and sore hearts.

The next morning, as I am apt to do, I crept into their room to shift bodies and sheets, wiping tiny whorls of hair away from sweaty, foreheads to kiss them goodbye before I ran off to work.

I whispered, “I love you most” into their ears, hoping my deep affection for them would creep in among their dreams but that day I added, “be smart” before I told them I’d love them forever and ever. Their sleepy selves’ readjusted, small hands and legs entwined as if they were back in their NICU incubators, and I could only hope they’d heard me.

But as we drove to work, a lump formed in the back of my throat and I found tears threatening.

Be smart.”

I’d meant it to be motivational but in that moment I worried that it sounded condescending. Didn’t I already think my son’s were intelligent little people?


Yes, I did.

So the next morning when I sank to my knees at the edge of their bed and smoothed cowlicks away and kissed their sticky cheeks, I whispered, “Be kind. Be smart. I love you most.”

There is a power in kindness I wanted them to hang on to as they drifted from their dreams into their busy little boy days.

The days stretched into a week and a weekend when my sons (as little boys are apt to do) acted out, ignored simple tasks and sent my blood pressure soaring with their back talk and tom-foolery.

So on Monday morning when I found myself leaning over their messed sleep I found myself murmuring,

Be kind. Be smart. Behave! I love you most.”

No guilt with that one, reminding myself that I wasn’t unlike any other mom who knows her children, inside and out, good and bad. Asking them to behave throughout the day wasn’t a bad thing; it was simply a necessary request of growing boys.

And my little prayer for their day stayed that way for a week or so, until one morning, feeling very sentimental while starting down at their restful, dozy sleep, I found words just tumbling out of my mouth into their ears as grateful tears rolled down my cheeks:

Be kind. *kiss* Be smart. *kiss* Behave. *kiss*. Believe.”

It wasn’t until one morning, teetering on my three inch heels and hurrying through the incantation when I realized Gio’s mouth was moving in time with mine, even as he drifted in and out of his dreamy state.

Believe.” he repeated with me in a sleepy voice.

My wishes had found purchase in the minds of my children and I smiled as I imagined a life where our family prayer was always one of kindness and intelligence sprinkled with the certainty of magic.

Linking up with my amazing friend Shell and her weekly meme that allows us to Pour Our Hearts Out.

You can link up here too.


TMT: I’ll Write You a Story, You Sing Me a Love Song

My Skewed View



I’ve been absent from TMT for the past few weeks.(Sorry Jen!)
Snow, birthdays and well more snow have been keeping me away but I have also been writing, editing and rewriting parts of


And when I am writing love stories like theirs I have certain albums & songs that I play over and over to keep me motivated and inspired to follow the story through.

The past few weeks I had the same idea for my lists.

Motivational songs? (I hate exercising) so I  planned to write about the songs that I had on repeat  when I am weaving love stories.

Love songs? I’d planned to share the songs that are the background to my own love life, the highs, the lows, the make ups and break ups. Turns out they overlapped with my storytelling.

This week is My choice? : I’m  choosing to weave all three weeks into a Mix-tape of songs that are the background music to my writing. These songs inspire, these songs motivate me to change a storyline or add a ripple, these songs remind me (in the best possible ways) of love, redemption and the power of words and melodies.


My go to girl for love songs is Adele, always and forever.

My  English gal pal brings the pain, passion and perpetual search of love to every melodic and smoky number she serenades me with.

Her album 21 is always in heavy rotation if I’m writing.

Turning Tables is a favorite of mine:

Since high school Phil Collins has had a minor (but significant)  role in my love life. His songs have seeped under my skin and played in my head during first kisses, early mornings and late nights, falling in love and falling out of it.

I was 16, dating a college freshman, when he took me to a party and I heard this song off “Face Value” for the first time.

I remember hearing this song in my head every time I fell in love afterwards.

This album and “Hello, I Must Be Going” are favorites of mine for love writing sessions.

This Must Be Love

Kimmy & David is the story of a romantic triangle, and how time, distance and initial feelings are not always the end of the story. This song, by America, is one that I have come back to again and again because it’s become part of the landscape of my love life. Many times, I’ve been called Sister Golden Hair:

Well, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, Sister Golden Hair surprise
And I just can’t live without you; can’t you see it in my eyes?
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn’t mean you ain’t been on my mind

this girl means something to him, just like Kimmy does to David, even if it takes a while to admit it  to himself.

Sister Golden Hair

No one does love like John Legend . I have swooned have Barry White and Manilow, appreciate John Mayer and gotten my sexy on to smooth jazz from Brian Culbertson. But John Legend takes sex and sexy, love and passion to another place.

From Ordinary People to PDA (We Just Don’t Care) his music puts me in a mood and normally makes for some sexy writing.
The song I  always hit repeat for?
Tonight (Best You Ever Had)

…and because Kimmy & David come full circle in the end, returning to each other after their choices and decisions separate and distance them,  I thought I’d end with the voice of Miss Whitney and her song about forgiveness,  second chance and a new start from the beginning.

While it’s not my favorite Whitney Houston song it is the one that always finds its way onto my writing playlists  because it’s about coming back to the arms you belong in.

Like I Never Left


 I’d love to hear about the that remind you of falling in or falling out of love. Share them in the comments.

You can find out about Twisted Mix Tape Tuesdays right HERE and play along.

The Lyrics Pound My Heart {Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday}



Hello my music loving friends.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome last week and all the great comments. I enjoyed listening to your songs and I’m so glad that many of you found something to Sing to your own Spirit here.

Thank you for inviting me back, even if you know that you’re getting a lot of vanilla from me.


This week, in honor of Jen’s Halloween Party, we were asked to share songs that scare us for any reason. I gave this a lot of thought, more than I actually wanted to, since I truly hate Halloween and being scared. Until I came up with five songs that scare me for various reasons: One will be a surprise since it’s a popular song by a popular band but with all these songs it came down to the lyrics for me.

Just because I have lousy taste in music doesn’t mean that I am not purely affected by the artists that I love listening to. Music, like theater, literature, art or even television, is very subjective and interpreted in the places that speak to you.

So with that in mind, I give you the 5 songs that Scare Me:


I am going way back to 2 songs that have scared me since I was a little girl.

First, Helen Reddy,  best known for her ballad homage to female empowerment, I Am Woman, released this song in my childhood  that chills me every time I hear it. The 70s’s channel of Sirius XM radio has this song in rotation and it still turns me cold with fear whenever I hear the catchy chorus.

Angie Baby


The second is another song about killing and sung by Vicki Lawrence in the 1970’s. A small town, a lonely and promiscuous girl, a jealous husband and the politics of a backwards Southern district. Add in a baby sister who doesn’t miss when she points and shoots and you’ve got a song that scares me because god knows it could happen.

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia (My favorite rendition was the cover by Reba McEntire)

Third takes me back to my childhood home and my teenage years. While I was still listening to Andy Gibb, Barry Manilow and venturing into Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue felt like a walk on the dark side for this Catholic School girl my sister, Dana, had fully embraced Guns N Roses, Pink Floyd and of course Led Zeppelin.

Every night Reo Speedwagon competed for air time on the second floor of our house with Stairway to Heaven. Once we get to my 4th song, I’ll explain a little more fully, but whenever I hear this song by this incredible band I feel scared and hopeless. It feels like that time in your adolescent when everything was “too much” and while this song reminds me of my baby sister, it’s in a relieved sense that “thank god we got through that.”

Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin


So that brings us to the fourth song and the one that is going to frustrate and annoy  many of you along with losing me some friends. See I know that you music lovers (read: snobs) love that angsty punk rock. You love the songs that scream and yell their way into your brains. But (and I’ve thought a lot about how to not bring down this completely fun little meme) they scare the hell out of me.

You see, I grew up in a house of landmines. I have never been silent about my history as a survivor of domestic violence, so when I hear screaming lyrics, when my brain is assaulted by the guttural melodies I am instantly cowering in a corner, hoping that the hitting will end soon. My stomach tumbles, my thoughts cloud and I find no enjoyment or talent in any of it.

I’ve tried so many times to read the lyrics, see a song for more than the outward appearances and put my vanilla to the test but it comes down to this, I relive the worst parts of my life when I listen to a song like

HEAD LIKE A HOLE: Nine Inch Nails (sorry guys!)


and Fifth is my surprise, because it shouldn’t scare anyone. However, from the first time I heard it last summer my stomach clenched. I write about LOVE a lot. It’s my go-to emotion. I believe in love, I trust it and harbor a very childlike ideal of it. So when I heard the lyrics:

I know your insides are feeling so hollow

and that’s a hard pill for you to swallow

but if I fall for you, I’ll never recover

If I fall for you, I’ll never be the same. 

I thought about asking someone to be sure about their feelings for you. To confess that you were standing in their presence, scared to death and willing to give the best parts of yourself , but asking them to not hurt you. To promise them that if you fall, you’ll never recover. That’s scary. It’s terrifying to think that even after you ask for an honest emotion, you might still be lied to, used and thrown away.

The hardest part of this song for me? (well along with the fact that I adore Adam Levine?) is that my son Giovanni loves this song. LOVES it. Asks for it to played over and over again in the car, knows all the words and will warble it in the cutest voice you ever heard while it stings my heart a little for everyone who has been hurt like that.


So there you have it, the songs that spook me.
I can’t wait to read about all of yours.

(and if you’re not joining us for Twisted Mix Tape Tuesdays, what are you waiting for?)

My Skewed View



A Letter to My Father {Pour Your Heart Out}

Dear Daddy,

It’s been 17 years and yet it feels like just yesterday that I was standing in a college dorm room in Shippensburg, PA listening to mom telling me that you were gone. She had all the details, gave me all the information that a first born child should get. Her voice was even and emotional but behind it was the strength and care that is the very core of her, as a nurse, as a mom, as a wife.

Our family was sinking into shock. You were only 52 years old and even as I type that it seems inconceivable that you could be dead then and now. You weren’t ill in any conventional sense. Sure high cholesterol and heart disease would be classified as reasons for your heart to stop beating but back then there were no pills being hocked hourly to deal with those culprits. I think of those miracle drugs and how they might have kept you alive if you’d lived long enough to have your insurance cover them every time I turn on the TV.

Death is unfair. There is no denying that.

I think of you so often now, more in the past few years than I had previously. I see you in Gio’s dance moves and Jacob’s deep and unapologetic love of music and fashion. How much I wish I could see your face light up as they run into your arms or stand over you with my hand on your shoulder as they made good use of your lap and you read Green Eggs and Ham. I don’t pretend to know what kind of grandfather you would have made, but I know that these little boys would have lit your world.

In writing about you I always sit on the invisible fence of remembering the good or  the bad. There were so many bad times, so much hurt and ache in our history. Screaming, yelling, fear and bruises and yet when I bring you to mind my thoughts scurry to the good side: to the sight of you as I attended my first formal dance, or the times you danced me around the kitchen. I choose deep down and forever, to forget the bad as I embrace the happiness that you gave me. I close my eyes and hear you imitating Fr. Guido Sarduci, I reminisce about how much you adored music, Halloween and the special wrapping paper that you bought every year for mom’s Christmas gifts. I tear up thinking of the way you used to look at her, a mix of love, lust and pride, which I always promised myself that I would find in the man I gave my heart to.

There is a saying that I have grown to adopt, “don’t let your struggle become your identity”.  So many times I could have made my writing and my existence about my past. I could have been the ‘Daughter of an alcoholic”, ‘The daughter of domestic violence”, “the daughter of a Vietnam vet with PTSD”, “the daughter of a survivor of domestic violence “(because your childhood was even more painful than my own). I could have chosen to make that my whole story, claim it as my identity but I know that’s not what you would want for me.

You loved me as much and as deeply as you could. I was the daughter you prayed and hoped for, I was the little girl who was so much like the woman you married that she frustrated and entertained you as much as her mother.  I was the girl who loved tap dance class more than ballet and listened to Anita Baker and Lou Rawls with you. I think that if you were around now, we would have been good friends. You would have loved that I am writing and published and you would have been so proud that I never gave up on my wish to be a mother.  Tenacity would have been a trait that you would have given me a lot of credit for. Many times before I hit the publish button I think of how you’d feel about what I’m about to share with the world (most times I’m sure you’d like it).

Even now, 17 years later, a song will stop me in my tracks, tears springing to my eyes. A well dressed man, good cologne or the scent of French toast will bring you right back to me. Would you love all the shows on the USA network too? Yes, yes I believe you would. This is where I choose to remember you, in the spaces of goodness. I don’t deny our struggles as a family or even yours failings as a father but if you taught me anything it was to survive in spite of them.

I have, we all have.

Dana, Benjamin, Mom and I have a bond that is tight and strong, laced with our collective memories of you. I would be lost without them, because those three people are the core and center of me, my sweetest memories and the holder of all our secrets. They are my family because of you.

So,  thank you for falling in love with my mother and bringing us into the world, for passing along a love of music, skin that tans easily and pure joy in the written word.  I’m sorry that I never fell in love with Star Trek or Tony Robbins and Rush Limbaugh the way you did, but I do kind of have a thing for Patrick Stewart, does that count?

October 23rd is the day you left me physically, but you never really did. You are always and forever tucked inside my heart in the deepest recesses and now, more than ever, you are ever present in the smiles, personalities and character of your beautiful grandsons. Thank you for helping the universe answer that prayer,  I like to think they are the gift of your hasty and untimely leaving.

We are okay. Mom is loved; George is her best mate, he is also the best dad a daughter could have in the second half of her life , the wonderful Pop-Pop  I always dreamed of for Giovanni and Jacob. Dana is a strong, capable and independent person with a mind of her own and so many accomplishments behind and in front of her  and Ben is making his way in this world,  knee deep in the world of music and economics , as if you are still tapping your foot along to his tunes. There are dogs and boats and second houses, they are beach days and family traditions that still have you living on in some part of them. There is peace and quiet, there is harmony and love.


You are unforgettable and loved, Daddy.

Rest in that knowledge, rest in peace.



thank you Shell, for giving me a place to share these words. XO


 A favorite song of ours, my Daddy danced me around the kitchen many times to this song.


A piece of my fiction was published  (I’m PUBLISHED!!!) in the newest Anthology from
Write on Edge: 
Precipice Volume 2  is available now, have you gotten a copy yet?

blog Precipice_print 3-D

Introducing Precipice Volume 2 (The Literary Anthology of Write on Edge)

blog Precipice_print 3-D

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” 

Cormac McCarthy, “No Country for Old Men” 

In the second volume of Precipice, twenty-four authors from the Write on Edge community explore the concept of luck in twenty-six works of poetry, short fiction, and memoir.


See this little blonde haired girl?

From the time she was old enough to read, she loved stories.

Loved hearing them, making them up, sharing them with anyone who would listen.

She dreamed of seeing her name on the cover of a book.

Today that dream comes true because alongside 25 other incredible authors I am proud and pleased to announce  that the release of PRECIPICE VOLUME 2 is ready to own.

I have a love story inside.

A story about dating, best friends and meeting your soul mate even when the timing might seem a little off.

Love that’s about LUCK and taking a leap of faith.

I hope you enjoy it, that you laugh and sigh your way through Kismet’s Kiss and then you get lost in the other offerings by some of the most incredible authors I know.

That little girl up there is so proud to have grown into this girl who still believes in love & luck, a girl who believes that dreams do come true because today she can say that she is a published author.


So how can you get your copy of this incredible collection?

Precipice Volume 2 (The Literary Anthology of Write on Edge)

is available TODAY on: 

 Amazon Kindle and the Kindle App (click!) 

Amazon in Print /Paperback form (Click!) 

 All digital formats on Smashwords (click!)

In the next few weeks it will also be available on iTunes, Kobo and through Barnes&Noble.


I would just like to publicly thank the staff of WRITE ON EDGE, especially Cameron, Angela, Mandy and Roxanne for their work, support and tireless dedication to the words and works of the WRITE ON EDGE community.

The Red Dress Club which eventually became Write on Edge lit the spark of my writing in 2010 and I will always be grateful to that tribe of incredible scribes for their support and encouragement.

I am so proud to be in your company.


Now what are you still doing here?

Go Buy your copies!!!!

(I’m celebrating with cupcakes today…*wink*)