Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BEST BOOKSHELF IN THE WORLD





There is one bookshelf, more than any other, that I’d love to see my books on. A shelf at the Chicago Public Library. My love affair with libraries started when I was a child growing up in the Chicago and continues today because every city I visit I try to check out the library. The library was a refuge for me. It was a place where I could go and not only feel safe, but I was surrounded by worlds and dreams that at that time I felt out of my realm of possibility.

The Chicago Public Library is the public library system serving the City of Chicago. It consists of 79 branches, including a central library, two regional libraries, and branches distributed throughout the city.

The American Library Association reports the library holding 5,721,334 volumes, making it the 30th largest library system in the United States by volumes held. The library is the second largest public library system in the Midwest, after the Detroit Public Library.

In the aftermath of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, Londoner A.H. Burgess, with the aid of Thomas Hughes, drew up what would be called the "English Book Donation," which proposed that England should provide a free library to the burnt-out city. Burgess wrote on December 7, 1871 in the London Daily News: "I propose that England should present a Free Library to Chicago, to remain there as a mark of sympathy now, and a keepsake and a token of true brotherly kindness forever..." After circulating requests for donations throughout English society, the project donated 8,000 books. Private donors included Queen Victoria, Benjamin Disraeli, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold.




Chicago city leaders petitioned Mayor Joseph Medill to hold a meeting and establish the library. This led to the Illinois Library Act of 1872, which allowed Illinois cities to establish tax-supported libraries. In 1897 the Central Library was opened, pictured above. Designed by the Boston firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge in the same neoclassical style as their design for the Art Institute, it was located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Randolph Streets on land donated by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Veterans group. The central library remained at this location for the next 96 years. It is now the Chicago Cultural Center and one of the most beautiful and visited landmarks in Chicago, housing the largest Tiffany’s dome in the world (see below). It's free to visitors so if you come to Chicago make sure you put it on your itinerary.




In 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago's new central library, named for the late mayor, opened to the public. It was the world's largest municipal public library at the time of its opening. It is accessible from the Brown, Orange, Purple, and Pink Line trains at the "Library" stop, from the Blue Line at the "LaSalle" and "Jackson" stops, as well as from the Red Line at the "Jackson" stop. Harold Washington Library





If you plan a visit to the city and have a rainy afternoon, plan a stop at both the new and old central libraries. You won’t be disappointed and make sure you check and see if I made it to the shelves because that's where most of my dreams started.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ________???



I think everyone should have...

...one person you can always count on. The person you can turn too in a time of trouble or loss. The person you know will always be there for you. This isn't a 'just in case' in the sense of a back up plan, but JUST IN CASE as in the real deal. A person who'll do anything for you no questions asked. It's the kind of just in case that's a daunting responsibility and requires the person to be solely committed to another person's happiness.

But the question isn't more complicated than that, the question is who can you always depend on? Who is the one person in the world who'll always be there for you? 

Who is your JUST IN CASE?



I think everyone should have one person in the world that they can totally count on. Most people start out with two, but for some of us we only get one and others aren't so lucky and they might not have any. I guess it wasn't in the cards for me, I never had two, but I've always had at least one. When I was a child it was my grandmother, I grew up with a mentally ill mother and a father I've never known. My grandmother was from the South and I can't imagine what her life was like moving from rural Alabama to Chicago in the sixties. In some ways this book is an homage to her and the southern roots that my feet are buried in. As an adult I found my other JUST IN CASE in my husband, he's my best friend and the one person who I know who'll always be there for me. I've tested him enough over the years to be certain of my claim.


This question of who is your just in case is the crux of my new book JUST IN CASE. The answer for Scarlett Marbry is Revell Marshall and they have a complex history and a love that somehow manages to survive. It's the story of a young woman struggling to uncover the secrets of her mother's past that just happens to be tangled up with Revell's fathers fate. These secrets are buried deep in the red clay soil of the small town of Crossroads, Alabama. It's Scarlett's journey of self-discovery and love, the kind of love that surpasses time and doesn't diminish with distance. Scarlett realizes that while taking care of yourself is a wonderful skill set, learning that you can utterly put your life in another person's hands is the way in which she wants to love. And if the person you entrust is your JUST IN CASE he or she will not only care for it, but treasure it. Revell believes this is the way in which we are all intended to live and he's happy to show her the way.

I hope this story serves as a reminder to find your just in case person and cherish them. Remember to be that special someone that others can depend on too. You never know when someone else will need you JUST IN CASE.







AVAILABLE AT B&N


On sale for 99c until June 27th


GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment telling me who your JUST IN CASE person is and I'll select one person to win an autographed paperback copy of JUST IN CASE. (US residents for paperback & international residents can win an ebook copy)




STOP BY ONE OF THE STOPS ON MY TOUR FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $75 CHARMING CHARLIE GIFT CARD!!!


JUNE 16













JUNE 17




JUNE 18






JUNE 19




JUNE 20







JUNE 21


JUNE 22



JUNE 24






HAPPY READING & REVIEWING

Who is your JUST IN CASE?

WIN A $75 dollar Charming Charlie Gift Card

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE BEACH, BEACH READS & A GIVEAWAY!


Sandy toes and salty kisses....


You might think a Windy City writer doesn't know much about the beach, but you'd be wrong. Chicago is on the Great Lakes and we have wonderful beaches along both the north and south shores of Lake Michigan. I grew up in the city and the place everyone wanted to be was at North Avenue Beach. Now I live about a mile from Sunrise Beach and Park on the North Shore.


The beautiful thing about Sunrise Beach is that it's very quiet and peaceful. There is a huge bluff that overlooks the beach and traffic and cars remain above and you have to walk about two stories down to the beach. It's nestled into this lovely little cove.


 "In1876 Solomon Thatcher, Chicago business man & minister described Lake Bluff; "A paradise complete with its ravine and running brook; its bluff and beach; its wooded parks." So what's the best thing to do at this little piece of paradise??? Read a book of course. 

I'm doing a little giveaway with the help of some other Romance and Paranormal authors. We're giving away 18+ ebooks. All you have to do to be entered to win is follow the link in the RAFFLECOPTER to YouTube and click on the share button to share our Beach Reads video.


"You all want to know what is my dream? Very Simple. To walk along the beach, holding the hand of my lover." Michelle Bachele

Leave a comment where your favorite beach is. Thanks for stopping by & Happy Beach Reading!

Friday, March 13, 2015

??? Friggatriskaidekaphobia ???







Friggatriskaidekaphobia

Ever suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia? Me neither, but friggatriskaidekaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.
Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became common. So why do people think Friday the 13th is a fateful day? It’s probably the combination of two older superstitions: thirteen is an unlucky number and Friday is an unlucky day.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve Apostles, etc. Whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, breaking this rule of completeness. Another superstition, thought by some to derive from a Norse myth is that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.

So here’s the thing, my birthday is on the 13th, though not on a Friday. I’ve always considered 13 my lucky number because I was born at 13:13 p.m., the 13th hour and the 13th minute of the 13th day. I also have five brothers and sisters who were all born on the 13th   day of their birth months. So the 13th seems like a very blessed number to me.
Please leave a comment with your lucky number and are you superstitious about it? And more importantly, do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia???



Friday, October 17, 2014

WELCOME WITCHES

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
'tis near Halloween.
~Author Unknown










I wanted to do something a little different for my front stoop this Halloween. I've done more traditional topiaries in past years and the photo to the left is last years candy corn topiaries. The directions for building a standard topiary is located below.

SUPPLIES: You'll need 3 pumpkins in large, medium, & small sizes, wooden/bamboo kebab skewers, hammer & decorative accents, i.e. fall leaves, beads or garland.

Make sure the bottom pumpkin, or the largest one is large enough to fit into the bottom of your urn tightly, at least part of its weight should rest in the soil. Place the base pumpkin in the urn, you do not have to cut or gut this pumpkin and do no remove its stem.

Select your middle pumpkin, make sure you have one with a nice stem, cut a circle in the BOTTOM of the pumpkin large enough that it can fit over the stem of the base pumpkin, remove all the seeds and guts from the pumpkin. Now place this second pumpkin on top of the base pumpkin and hammer the long kebab skewers into the second pumpkin until the skewer reaches the base pumpkin. Take your time and hammer the skewer all the way in, it will secure the second pumpkin to the base pumpkin. I usually use about six skewers around the perimeter.

Now repeat the same process to secure the top pumpkin as you did for the middle one, cutting out the BOTTOM and gutting it before securing this top pumpkin to the middle one with skewers. Now add plastic leaves, cattails, branches or Halloween tinsel around the base and fall colored garland for the in between layers. 


Once you have the topiary built you can decorate it. The first step was to add the witches hair I used the purple/glitter spray with spiral ends from the floral department. The spray comes about 3 feet long so I had to trim them down to about 10-12 inches. 




I used these greening pins to attach the hair to the pumpkin. You can find greening pins in the floral department of any craft store. It was easy to press the greening pins into the pumpkin most of the way and then you can use a hammer to secure them all the way into the pumpkin.







Next, I attached the Witch's hat that I found at Michaels using the same  pins. Then I added the spiders with webs for the witch's eyes and another spider for the mouth.













I added this wire enforced garland in between the pumpkins layers to dress the pumpkin topiary. Adding a witches broom with a holiday message for the final touch.



I used 21" wide mesh ribbon to make the swag for the base of the pumpkins.  I gathered the fabric in my hand, twisting the pipe cleaner around the gathered fabric to make the swags. I used the same greening pins to attach the swag to the base of the bottom pumpkin.








The finished product! I hope you enjoyed this DIY project. 



Please leave me a comment to be entered to win a paperback copy of both of these spooky stories. I'll pick a single winner of both titles on November 1, 2014 from all comments. 
U.S. residents only.
Download it FREE now!
DESCENT OF BLOOD

ASCENT OF BLOOD

Friday, October 10, 2014

DIY--HALLOWEEN SCREEN


I searched by full blood moon and couldn't find a Halloween fireplace screen to complete my Halloween mantel. So I decided to construct my own. This is my family room, the focal point of the room is this wall with the fireplace. I constructed the metal fireplace screen from several items I put together from a home decorating store and a few craft supplies. The whole project cost less than   $30 and I'm really thrilled with it.


Below is a close up of the completed screen against a white wall by itself so you can see it better.


I found the above metal spider webs with black spiders on them at Gordmans. I thought since they were lightweight they'd could be bound together with metal wire and make the screen. I removed the rings at the bottom of the webs by using a pair of pliers to bend them off.

I wanted to make the spiders on the webs stand out so I painted them with craft paint and then sprinkled them with glitter in a matching color. Here's how they turned out. 

For the bases I located these pumpkin tea light holders also at Gordmans. The bottoms of these pumpkins are freestanding and I thought they'd make a great base for the screen.




After the spiders' paint dried I assembled the three webs using black 16 gauge permanently colored copper wire. (I found this with the jewelry supplies at Michaels) Then I attached the screen to the two bases uses the same jewelry wire, wire cutters, and pliers.

Then I added some additional metal spiders (Joanne Fabrics) to finish the screen. Here's another shot of the finished product with a nice fire behind it!


If you're looking for something spooky to snuggle up by the fireplace this Halloween, feel free to check out my two paranormal romances. For all those Trick-or-Treaters out there Descent of Blood is FREE!





Please leave me a comment on this DIY project. I'll be checking back for questions. Happy reading, reviewing & crafting to you!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CARNIVALE RESTAURANT CHICAGO



This year I wanted to pick somewhere I'd never been to for my birthday dinner and I've been passing Carnivale's West Loop sign on the expressway for years wondering what it was all about. Chicago's Carnivale Restaurant is Latin infusion from the Coconut Mojito to the Carnivale Ice Cream Cake! Located at 702 West Fulton, Chicago, IL 60661, CARNIVALE has a festive, vibrant, and happening atmosphere.

The lavish interior glows red and runs the gambit from a large vaulted dining space to alcoved areas with booths and small tables for more intimate dining. The bar overlooks the expressway and is fashionably decorated with leopard print tufts and French hooded canopy chairs which is both funky and fun. Here's my daughter in one of the fabulous chairs!



My husband and I started with Sangria and my girls had a virgin Coconut Mojito and Pina Colada. For appetizers we had the Oxtail Empanadas & the Octupus a la Plancha which had papas bravas. The papas bravas which is similar to a potato pancake but in a thicker form and deep friend, were to die for. 


For dinner I had the Paella which had so much seafood I could only eat about half of the serving and the bomba rice was seasoned to perfection. My husband had the Churrasco steak & caramelized sweet plantains. The girls shared the Creek Stone Farm Prime New York Strip, which was built with two in mind.


At this point we were stuffed but with all the fabulous desserts parading by and an acute desire to have something to stick the Happy Birthday candle in we trudged ahead, ordering the Banana Cream Pie and the Carnivale Ice Cream Cake with vanilla bean, guava and pistachio ice cream. Wow!

Carnivale is certainly a carnival of flavors for your palate and we'll be back again soon.

MY RATINGS:

ATMOSPHERE     5  STARS

FOOD              4.5  STARS

SERVICE          3.5  STARS

OVERALL            4  STARS