Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Walking Tour: LIONS, TIGERS & BREAK OUTS, OH MY!!!!

Admission is FREE, escape eminent….

Lincoln Park zoo is a wildlife Mecca situated among sprawling urban landscape on the North side of Chicago. It is one of the oldest zoos in the country and is home to a wide variety of animals. Chicago’s Lincoln Park zoo was opened in 1868 after New York City gifted us with a pair of swans from Central Park and remains one of only a handful of free zoos still in operation.  So getting in is easy, escaping, well that’s a whole other story.
In 1874 a bear was the first animal purchased for the zoo for ten dollars, by 1879 he was adept at escaping his enclosure and would be found wandering Lincoln Park by street lamp. In 1899 several seals escaped and were located waddling in a restaurant on Clark Street, they were all rescued except for one who avoided capture by slipping into Lake Michigan. In 1931 the first lowland gorilla arrived at the zoo from Africa, his name was Bushman and he drew huge crowds and attempted escape many times.  In 1983, Otto, a 450-pound gorilla scaled a 10-foot glass barrier and was strolling around the zoo when a zookeeper shot him with a tranquilizer gun. Then in 1986, three gorillas got through a door someone left open, and one of them bit the keeper's hand!

Lincoln Park Zoo is an urban zoo set on 49 acres in the heart of Lincoln Park. Some of my favorite attractions are the Nature Boardwalk, Farm in the Zoo, which is a replica of a Midwestern operating farm and the Great Ape House. Admission is FREE and the zoo is open year round, hosting educational activities on a daily basis. The zoo's exhibits include big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totaling nearly 1,250 animals. It is especially beautiful during the Zoo Lights holiday festivities.

So if you visit Lincoln Park Zoo don’t be surprised if you hear the cry of a big cat bouncing off a neighboring skyscraper. Getting in will be easy, but there are lions, tigers and break-outs, oh my.

Lincoln Park Zoo is located off Lake Shore Drive at the Fullerton Parkway exit, just minutes north of downtown Chicago. From I-94, exit at either Fullerton Parkway or North Avenue and go east.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



As a romance writer you know love is messy, as a matter of fact, the messier you make it the better the story is, so for today's walking tour in Chicago I'm going to take you somewhere messy, but easy to clean up.

“Do you smell that? It smells delicious?” That's what I heard two women on the street say to each other. And it’s true you will catch the scent of popcorn in the air before you ever enter a Garrett’s popcorn location.
Garrett’s popcorn opened in 1949 at 10 West Madison in downtown Chicago and there has been a line outside their doors ever since. Garrett’s is Chicago’s premiere popcorn emporium. The blend of CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn, known as the Chicago blend, has been a staple Chi Town favorite snack, combining of the sweet/salty experience since childhood. They hot-air pop the blend of kernels and mix the fluffy puffs with the secret family toppings recipe in handmade copper kettles daily. They don’t use fat or oil to make the popcorn so the taste is impeccable, but be forewarned the CheeseCorn is finger licking good. This is where the “love is messy” printed on their napkins comes into play. The popcorn is packaged in wax bags or brightly colored tins. Garrett’s is right around the corner from the old Marshall Field’s store and during the holidays you will see children and adults alike, munching on these fabulous morsels while checking out the famous Christmas window display.

If you come to Chicago this is a must have experience. Garrett mail-orders all its products and you can shop online here: it’s special fun to stop in the store, while you wait in line on the sidewalk to place your order, you watch the corn being popped, the butter being poured, and the CaramelCrisp stirred so it sticks together just enough not clump. Not only is Garrett’s a Chicago tradition it’s one of Oprah’s favorite things.
Come visit this Chicago landmark and see if you can walk away from the inviting popcorn aroma. I can't, I followed the ladies in and had a 'love is messy' bag or two. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

COMING SOON...Binding Arbitration

BINDING ARBITRATION is Coming out in trade paperback....

Through the corridors of the Windy City’s criminal courts, single mother Libby Tucker knows exactly how far she’ll go to save her cancer-stricken son’s life. The undefeated defense attorney is prepared to take her fight all the way to the majors.

Circumstances force Libby to plead her case at the cleats of celebrity baseball player Banford Aidan Palowski, the man who discarded her at their college graduation. Libby has worked her backside bare for everything she’s attained, while Aidan has been indulged since he slid through the birth canal and landed in a pile of Gold Coast money. But helping Libby and living up to his biological duty could jeopardize the only thing the jock worships: his baseball career.

If baseball imitates life, Aidan admits his appears to be silver-plated peanuts, until an unexpected confrontation with the most spectacular prize that’s ever poured from a caramel corn box blindsides him. When he learns about his son’s desperate need, it pricks open the wound he’s carried since he abandoned Libby and the child.
All Libby wants is a little anonymous DNA, but Aidan has a magical umpire in his head who knows Libby’s a fateball right to the heart. When a six-year-old sage and a hippy priestess step onto the field, there’s more to settle between Libby and Aidan than heartache, redemption, and forgiveness.

If you can't wait for Amazon to release it you can order a copy here:
If you want immediate gratification the ebook version is here:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Thinking of Chicago brings to mind images of skyscrapers, bustling traffic and windy blustery cold. People don’t tend to think of building sandcastles and beach volleyball. But spending a day at North Avenue Beach, the beach I went to growing up in Chicago, will give you a real taste of summertime in Chicago.
The first City of Chicago Public Beach opened in Lincoln Park in 1895. Today, the entire 28 miles Chicago lakefront shoreline is man-made, and primarily used as parkland. There are thirty-three beaches in Chicago along the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan. Typically, Chicago beaches take the name of the east-west street that runs perpendicular to the lake at each beach's location.
The North Avenue Beach is located at 1600 North Avenue and is considered to be Chicago's premier beach. It has the largest lifeguard staff and is home to the most developed beach house. The beach house resembles an ocean liner and contains bike and sports equipment rental, Castaways, a bar and restaurant, concession stand, a lifeguard station, and restrooms.
North Avenue Beach runs to Diversey Harbor in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, and is characterized by its piers which hold the sand in place and create a scalloped shoreline, terminating in a Cape Cod-like hook. The beach hosts international volleyball tournaments as well as millions of sun worshippers every year. Chicago Park District lines the beach with poles for individuals and leagues to hang volleyball nets. These nets and this portion of the lakefront bike/running/rollerblading path attract large numbers of people on weekends and weeknights. North Avenue is also center stage for the Chicago Air & Water Show, which draws over a million people a day.
So if you come to Chicago in summertime don’t forget to plan a day at the beach and bring some good reading material...