Monday, April 30, 2007

Easton is not Hoboken

Continuing my rant against Arcadia Development's Riverwalk Project in Easton:

I've heard people in favor of the project say that our river area could be like Hoboken. Here's a picture of Hoboken's river front. (

I've been to Hoboken. It's beautiful in its gentrified version. It attracts people - for the day and to live. Easton is not Hoboken.
To begin with Hoboken has a vast area between it's river front park and the city's buildings. There are fewer 1800 century buildings in Hoboken than there are Easton. And the biggest reason that Easton is not Hoboken is....Easton is not a quick ferry ride from New York City. One can live in Hoboken and not spend two hours (one way) on a bus to get to work or culture or fun in NYC.
Easton cannot be Hoboken - only Hoboken can be Hoboken. (Just like Holmes is not Sinatra).
Easton has to be Easton.

A voice of reason

This is a picture of what developers want to put along the river of my hometown, Easton,PA.
Easton sits smack dab along the Delaware River - so close that there have been at least three floods in the last four years.
This building would be part parking garage and bus terminal, part businesses and part condos (the upper levels). The idea is that the building would attract people to live in the downtown area - maybe people who are now working in New York City (hence the bus terminal advantage).
The problems:
1. The flood plain - that's the obvious one. I've seen this area - maybe up to the "second floor" of this fantasy - flooded.
2. There are three other condo projects in downtown - one completed and not full and two more being developed as I write - physically and on blueprints. If one is not full and two are in development, do we need a third?
3. There are already empty store fronts in the downtown. Why do we need to build more empty store fronts?
4. This is to be built behind an historic building, the Governor Wolf building, full of original marble (more on that later). The waterfront view of and from that building will be obstructed.
5. The historic riverfront of the town itself will be changed.
6. The size and weight of the building (considering that at least two floors will be parking) will necessitate the drilling of supports into what could be sand (bad) or solid rock (even worse for the marble in the Governor Wolf building).
7. The building of the project itself would more than likely change the face of the Delaware in this area and may cause further flooding south of Easton, along such areas as New Hope and Yardley.
I live in Palmer Township but as Easton goes, so goes the surrounding communities.
In my humble opinion, this project should be on hold - or better yet, stopped all together. Let's fill up the Eastonian, the Laubauch building and the Majestic condos before we build a monstrosity.
Let's cater to the historic nature of our town.
If we build it, they will come?
I don't think so.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why do I DO this?

Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Crazy is also hearing voices in your head.
I spend many many hours of my free time writing and revising.
I've been writing since I was 12; seriously writing for submission for almost 20 years. I'm published in short story, poetry and nonfiction. But the published novel has alluded me.
I've completed three and two are crap. This last one...well...I think it's The One. But what do I know - I'm definitely biased.
The title: Elizabeth Peacock and the Body on Abbey Road. It's a series with the coming titles:
Elizabeth Peacock and the Ghost of Heartbreak Hotel, Elizabeth Peacock and the Ghost of Stones Crossing, Elizabeth Peacock and the Crop Circle of Death.
So why do I keep up this madness?
Maybe I'm not doing the "same thing" over and over. My writing has definitely improved and I've found "my voice."
Right now that voice is Elizabeth. I hear Elizabeth in my head and I need to shut her up sometimes. So soon Elizabeth will have her own blog.
Watch this site.
And no, I know those "voices" aren't real.
The difference between schizophrenics and writers?
We write the voices down and tell their stories.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My new Goddess: Fran

Fran Rizer's first book is coming out in October.

I met Fran at the Mystery Writers Symposium on April 25. I had noticed the dignified older woman with the cane and the lovely jade or agate necklace (I was too polite to ask which). I thought she, like me and most of us there, was an unpubbed or not yet pubbed. But she got up to address the first panel and dispelled that myth.

Her thought was "never give up"- keep writing and submitting - no matter how old you are.

Thanks, Fran. I needed that - had another rejection when I got home. But I'm not letting that stop me.

I have appointments with two editors tomorrow, sending out more query letters next week and have at least one appointment with an agent next Saturday.

Thanks again, Fran.

I just pre-ordered your book.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Me and Stephen King

I listen to King read his book "On Writing" at least once a year. I listen to it because the sound of his voice...well...makes the sound of his writing voice even stronger.

Seeing him and "hearing" him yesterday inspired me to get out the cassettes (that's how long I've had it - before I had a car with a CD player). I started listening today. Once again I'm amazed by the similarities in our lives - at least up to a point.

Here are the things we had in common as kids:
Born in 1947
Lower middle class families (but I had a father)
Many painful visits to an "odiologist" (King's word as a child) in the early to mid-1950s to have eustascian tubes drained because of multiple ear infections - and each time each odiologist told both of us it wouldn't hurt (they lied)
Loved to read and sometimes...well...always read outside age group and topics (like pulp fiction/adult books/horror)
Wrote on a Royal portable typewriters that were Christmas presents.
Submitted our first short stories and received our first rejection letters at the age of 12
Loved horror movies - especially the "Poe movies" that were nothing like Poe's books. Those were the only horror movies I was allowed to watch because my parents thought they really were about the books. Goddess bless Susie Spence who would relate the plot to all the other Grade B horror flicks I couldn't see (at least not until I was 18).

I may have missed one or two things and will probably hear them in the coming days as I listen to King tell his story.

Of course this doesn't mean that someone with these similarities could be a writer or a writer near King's level of literary expertise. It doesn't mean that I ever will be - or I ever would have been.

But the huge difference is really, really a huge one. King went to college and I went to nursing school. His writing talent was encouraged just from being in college - one must write and write and write to graduate.

Nursing school was, of course, completely different. Yep - I do have an issue with not going to college - will carry that issue with me forever but that's another blog.

Would I be a published author today - a multi-published author - if I had gone to college? I really think I would be. Would I be of King's caliber - maybe not. But I would have had the chance earlier in my life.

Now I'm taking every chance. One day there book will be on a shelf at Barnes & Noble with Mitzi Flyte on the spine.

I will have one last thing in common with King.

Wednesday in NYC

The Mystery Writers Symposium was one of the best writerly days I've had this year. I met some wonderful fellow writers - from the midwest, from LA, from Georgia. I heard panelists like Janet Evanovich, Harlan Coben, Don Westlake and Nelson DeMille.
And, of course, an hour of discussion with Stephen King and the book signing.
One of the most (if not the most) intelligent men of letters in this country. Not only intelligence on writing (pun intended), but also on life. And Mr. King has experienced a lot in this life - made it and made it through.
But, Goddess, would I love to give the boy a few cheeseburgers - too thin, too fragile-looking.
Take care of yourself, Stephen, we don't want to lose your voice until "we" are very very old.
To Sandra, Cheryl, Barb, Judy, Alesia and Martha: Hey, there, ladies - lets do lunch again next year. I'll be there for the whole week - with a contract from a publisher!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Beginning of the End of Herr Rove ?

Picture originally appeared on:
The LA Times reports that the Office of Special Counsel will be investigating Karl Rove and his politizing of our government. Read the entire article at:
If not carted off to jail as in this fantasy picture, maybe Rove will resign and write a book. I can suggest a title: The Worse and the Dumbest

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Will


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Invisible Woman and the non Nurses Day Card

In defense of the truth:

If, by some stretch of any imagination, someone out there is looking for a Nurses Day card - you must google it and you will find this link. Sooooo much easier if one could just walk into a Hallmark store (or is that "an" Hallmark store?). And isn't it interesting that the link starts with "pressroom"?

Suddenly I don't give 2 freaking cents. I know that surveys have nurses at the top of professions that people trust. How about recognize, too? We're the vaccum cleaner in the closet - no one knows we're there until needed to clean up a mess.

One RN tired of cleaning up messes - puke, poo or pee included.

Can you work overtime tonight? I mean there's no one else - you're the only RN available....
And I'll respect you in the morning. Yeah, right.

And please - no Happy Nurses Day cards for me. No longer a "Happy Nurse".

The Invisible Woman - Reprise

Take a good look at this picture. This is what student nurses looked like "back in the day." This is what I looked like. This is what MOST nurses working today looked like as students. The median age of today's working RNs is 47 - that's forty-frigging-seven. They're the ones who are passing meds, standing at OR tables, moving patients, starting IVs and cleaning up poo, puke and pee.

And our numbers are dwindling.

Today I went to Jill's "Gold Crown" Hallmark Store on 25th Street in Easton, PA to get Happy Nurses Day cards to send to my 18 Directors of Nursing. No cards. There are piles of Administrative Assistant Day cards - no Nurses Day cards. Must be an oversight. I'll check on the website. I did - looked everywhere. NONE. Not a frigging one.

So what - no one really needs nurses.

Not until you're sick, having a baby, going for surgery, have an accident, need rehab...

Next time you need an IV, need assist in surgery, need someone to change your surgical dressing, or clean up your poo, puke and pee - call on an administrative assistant.

This RN is retiring as soon as she can. Very few people out there, especially those who work at Hallmark, will even notice I'm gone.

And speaking of The King

April 25 at the Mystery Writers Symposium in NYC, I may get to meet him. Not getting my hopes up - but he will be there for a book signing and an interview.

If Stephen King and Paul McCartney were in the same room and I had to choose between spending five minutes with one of them. Sorry, Sir Paul.

Horror Writers and Mass Murders

Click on the subject line and you will find King's views on predicting violence by looking at someone's writing - as in the case of the VA Tech shooter.
I've been talking about this to various friends - King fans, nonfans, writers, nonwriters.
There are some short stories I've written that, should a creative writing professor have been too concerned, would have had me spirited off to counseling - or more.
However, I have at least two things going in my favor: 1) I am a middle-aged female who really doesn't fit the profile of an alienated potential killer 2) I never really had a creative writing professor since I was never a young college student.
I have to say (blowing my own horn or marking me as a sick-o) that one of these blood and guts stories was about revenge and did win a horror-writing contest. And I love this story - absolutely love it - blood, guts and all.
Creative writers who choose to write about the horror of the real world or the supernatural world do not commit mass murder. The operative word (as King so succinctly says it in the article) is "creative".
And besides, the only gun I have is an air rifle - and my back hurts too much to even pump it up.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Invisible Woman... not an action heroine with special powers.
She's a middle-aged woman.
I'm a middle-aged woman.
There are times when I'm invisible.
I was at Newark/Liberty airport baggage claim with only 20 minutes to get my bag and make it to the bus stop to catch the next Transbridge Bus to the LVIP. The next one wouldn't come for 2 hours and I was not looking forward to a two hours wait in the airport.
I'd hustled my almost 60 year old butt off the plane, into a bathroom and then down two floors to the baggage claim, all the while hauling a large pocketbook and a carry-on (both full of books - of course). Then I'd taken the very best position at the turnstyle - right where the bags dropped.
It wasn't long before I was being inched out from my staked-out spot by giggly, svelt, long-haired almost 20-somethings - a bunch of college kids (male and female) coming back from some group trip. It was the girls who were the pushiest, the guys stood back as the girls elbowed their way against me.
But chubby does come in handy sometimes, it took them all their strength to move me an inch and I pushed back. My bag rolled out before any one of theirs (nah-nah-nahnah) and I whirled it around, barely missing a shapely bare leg (one of theirs, not mine).
I was outside the airport sitting under the Transbridge sign while the college kids piled into their chartered bas - their bus would have waited for them (no need to push an invisible woman out of the way).
I've decided to act as if I'm a college girl - or better yet, a sorority girl - the world owes me just because I exist. Like, yeah, of course - like, really.
I never had the chance to act as if the world revolved around me. Never was able to develop that attitude - wasn't in college. I was locked up in nursing school where you were told, constantly, that "you" were not important but "everyone" else was.
So now I'm out to get what I'm owed - after 40 years.
Watch out, sorority girls - momma is on the loose and she's no longer invisible.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Whose Life Matters Most to the Media

In a recent Christian Science Monitor article, Sam Dagher writes about returning to a Baghdad market one day after 135 Iraqis were murdered:

The most striking image, for me, was the old lady. She was wrapped in a black abaya, wandering through the wreckage of charred buses and mangled vehicles. She kept repeating: "This is doomsday. God is greatest."

This has been a week of death - 32 innocents in Blacksburg, Virginia - 135 innocents in Baghdad.
But the world was focused on the 32 - almost ignoring the 135.
Violent death is unexpected on a university campus.
Violent death is a fact of life in Baghdad.

Have we become immune to violence unless it's dropped on our doorstep?
Why are the deaths at Virginia Tech more worthy of media attention than the one hundred more deaths half a world away? Are we that immune to the destruction we have created under the guise of spreading democracy that we can bypass 135 bodies while we go to memorials for 32?

I grieve for the families who lost loved ones at Virginia Tech - but also for the Iraqi families who lose loved ones daily. Can we not take a moment of silence for all of them - every innocent death?

Maybe the old lady in the black abaya was right - it is Doomsday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

RV Dreams

I have to see if someone’s doing this – a Charles Karault-type blog.
“On the Road” with Charles Karault was one of the most popular segments of CBS news.
That’s what I want to do – travel the country in my RV (just me and the cats), blogging about what I find – the places, the people, the history.
Travel, meet interesting people and hear their stories and then write about it all as I go.
Steinbeck had Travels with Charlie.
Mitzi could have Travels with Murray, Huusker and Miss Kittie. Or, in homage to Stephen King, From a Minnie Winnie.
I don't need a big RV - just one that has a good bed, kitchen and indoor plumbing - old lady on diuretics does NOT want to walk to a latrine in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night. I'm not afraid of the woods at night - only wet pants.
So, my retirement will be living with Heather in the winter and driving the country in the summer.
Sue Henry writes marvelous mysteries about a woman in her sixties who does just that (only she lives in Alaska in the summer and travels the Lower 48 in the winter). She's my hero - Sue and her fictional counterpart.
I could do this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Moving to Washington?

This is Mt. Pilchuck - sometimes viewable from Heather's apartment. It's the namesake for Pilchuck Books in Everett, a wonderful used bookstore.

The more often I visit Heather, the more I fall in love with the area. Even the air is different - I notice it as soon as I walk out of SeaTac Airport.

I love Third Place Books (nuh- duh), the tall evergreens, Heather's friends, the green grass, the lakes everywhere, the large grocery stores loaded with variety and organic food, the clean streets, the laid-back people, flowers hanging from the lightposts, sculptures and plants in the parking garages, coffee everywhere (have I mentioned Third Place Books??).

But I know I would fall in love with any place that had my daughter.

If she stays, I may move. I will become an official resident of the Emerald City. But I doubt if I will climb Pilchuck.

Third Place Books - reprise

The place is awesome! I spent $150 on books for me and Heather. My book budget is blown, I tell you, blown!

But ya gotta love a bookstore that has Cal Ripkin and Tim Gunn signing books and where you can buy tchotkies for friends. Too bad I'm leaving tomorrow - before Cal and Tim are scheduled.

Third Place Books

This is one of my favorite places - ever: Third Place Books in Lake Forrest, WA. This is where I bought my "Cat Butt" bag - so, I have to love it. Of course it's also full of books - used and new - and near a food court. Heather and I will be there today. Life is good.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Morning in Everett WA

First I must say that Taste Washington was wonderful. I had some great wine and marvelous food. The show was a big success and Varsity Communications ( deserves ALL the credit. Yes, I am biased since Heather works for them.

She was in the "supply hut" passing out extra forks, napkins, spit cups. "It's Hip to Spit." When tasting many different wines (for those of you not used to fancy shindigs like this - like me), one is encouraged to just taste the wine and spit it out (into a cup, please)- then swirl some water in your glass to prepare for the next taste. The food can complement the wine or cleanse your palate for the next gulp (er...taste).

At 8 PM when all the tasters were out the door, it was time to do "take down" (as they say during Bethlehem, PA's Musikfest). Heather had to box up all the extras (paperware, etc - NOT bottles of wine) and stack them on pallets. She did have two guys helping and I even did a bit. We left Qwest Events Center after 10 and didn't get home until 11. We were both pooped.

This morning she had to finish a project for work - that's done, but she's still tired.
Alpacas and tulips can wait. We're just going to spend some good mother-daughter time.
Anyway, I'll be back in July.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tomorrow I will be... The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
And at the Alpacas of Misty Ridge.

I confess: I love alpacas and llamas and goats. Would love a little barn with one of each. But I'm not sure Palmer Township, PA would like it - they're just tooooooo upscale.

Taste Washington

Later today I will be here - at Taste Washington, Qwest Events Center in Seattle. Wine, food, jazz, time with Heather (all free) - life is good.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Progress on the Book... book.

My email queries are paying off. Out of five I had on rejection. One request for a partial (sent out) and one request for a full as an email attachment (also sent).

"If not now, when?"

So I'm doing it now.

BTW: In my mystery, Mrs. Peacock isn't a suspect, she's the amateur sleuth. And she has a "clue".

Seeing the Cascades

On a clear day you can see the Cascade Mountains around Everett, WA. And they're magnificent from the air, too.

The plane ride was smoooooth - after a 2 hour wait in Newark. Rainy weather in Jersey - sunny in Seattle.

But drizzle and cool today.

Heather's working today. Tomorrow she's helping to set up for Taste Washington in Seattle and I'll be haunting downtown Everett - especially the "witch shop". But Sunday I'll be at the Qwest Event Center as a guest for wine tasting and sampling the best of Seattle restaurants. Monday and Tuesday will be days with my daughter! Life is good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lucy and Me

I love this picture. I love the fact that Lucy's trying out one more "scheme". I can't remember exactly what she was writing - a book, a play, a musical. But knowing Lucy Ricardo, it would be funny - maybe not successful, but funny.

The difference between Lucy as Writer and Mitzi as Writer is that Lucy will go on to the next crazy thing (dragging Ethel with her for good measure) - forgetting that typewriter and glasses.

Mitzi won't - go on to the next crazy thing, that is. Mitzi as Writer is Mitzi. I'll just keep writing and just keep submitting. There's no other "crazy thing" for me. Writing is my "crazy thing."

I sent out five email queries to agents at lunch today. So far I received one rejection and one request for a partial. I have the partial ready for the post office tomorrow.

I even sent off my romantic short story (1000 words) to Woman's World.

I've decided to query ten agents a month - I have a list. I'm just going to keep at it.

I even have a new WIP - work in progress - along with Elizabeth Peacock and the Ghost of Heartbreak Hotel.

Unlike Lucy, I'm sticking with this Crazy Thing - and no s'plainin' to do, either.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Only a few more days

Only a few more days before I fly to Seattle. I have an aisle seat and have no problem getting up and walking the aisle when the back hurts.

Can't wait to see Heather.
Can't wait to see the city. I love it.

Putting Me First - at last

Up early this morning with extreme back pain.

I was supposed to go to a facility this morning - a drive of three hours both ways - not a good thing when you have back pain. Once upon a time (like last month), I would have just gone and suffered. Not now - I'm calling the Regional Nurse to tell her I won't be there and to tell her what I expect the building to fax to me weekly.

I stood under a hot shower. I took three Advil. I put on lidocaine patches. I'm only driving to the office.

Maybe I've finally realized that I have to take care of Mitzi before I can take care of anyone (everyone?) else.
It's about damn time!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Arthur's Birthplace?

This Tintagel Castle on a northern Cornwall coast. Legend has it that Merlin cast a spell over Uther Pendragon so he could make love to his rival's wife, Igraine - and conceive Arthur.
I want to return to England - soon. I have an ach in my heart sometimes - homesickness, I would guess.
The first time I felt a plane touchdown at Heatherow, I started to cry - homecoming.
I need to return - soon.


Mark's name is, of course, bantered around in my therapy sessions. My psychologist said something very interesting to me yesterday. She's found (I'm thinking professionally here), that men do not say: "This just isn't working for me. I'd like to be alone - get my own place. Work on myself..." Nope. Men don't notice that they're "unhappy" with one relationship until they've already started on the next one.

So, I finally voiced what I've "known" all along - he was cheating on me. He had "found" someone else and wanted to end it but was...what?...a coward? Maybe. Passive? Definitely -I'll just slowly distance myself from her and maybe she'll get the hint. I did.

That makes me very sad. I expect people to treat me the way I treat them - sort of a reverse "Golden Rule". I'm loyal - and as far as Mark was concerned - to a fault. I had chances to cheat and didn't. I (pretend it's Oprah saying this next word) luuuuuuuuuuved him. Oh, well.

Lesson Learned.

A Table for One, Please

I treated myself to breakfast this morning. I had some running around to do (my term for chores that take me from K-mart to PetCo to Boscov's to Wegman's) but I decided to go to Friendly's for breakfast first.

Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out and since Heather moved to Seattle, I really haven't had any "dates" for breakfast. Sunday mornings were mother-daughter time at "St. Perkins" - we'd have coffee, a big breakfast and chat. Now I sometimes meet Donna for breakfast and a couple of times Heather's dad - but that's about it.

And this isn't a "poor me" post, either. I've learned as a single woman, if you don't just go out and do it alone, you will never get out to do it. That's how I took my first trip to England ten years ago - alone. Why wait for that elusive "someone"?

I sat in a booth, had the entire pot of coffee to myself and wrote a to-do list for the morning. I also wrote a few notes about a story I'm writing. Sitting alone with couples and families around me didn't make me sad - it made me think.

I thought about how adaptable I've become and how contented. My therapist asked me why I wasn't looking for the next man in my life. I told her I was basically happy (Then why go to a therapist, you might ask? Good question. J-O-B stress). I love my little apartment full of my collections (dragons, antique hats, witches) and books - hundreds of books. ("Have you read all those books?" my ex-brother-in-law asked once. Uh - yeah.).

I really don't need to say to a man: "You complete me."
I think I'm pretty damn complete as it is.
I wouldn't turn down a loving, intelligent man - make that a loving, intelligent, loyal man.
But I'm not pining away for one, either.

And I have no problem going into a restaurant and saying, "A table for one, please."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Can't I Stop Soon?

I do NOT want to be this woman!

Monday, April 02, 2007

"If you can't change the situation.....

....don't let the situation change you."

Taking my own advice.

The situation: Rejection by an agent

How it could change me: I could stop sending out queries. I could stop writing.

I can't stop writing - like I can't stop breathing.

I could hold my breath and turn blue - but eventually I would pass out and start breathing again.

I could stop writing - but eventually all the characters and stories inside my head would jump out (like in Alien).

Appointments with two editors at the end of this month.

At least one appointment with an agent at the end of next month.

Sending out tons of query letters, per advice of Deb Dixon.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Well, I should be used to it. But it's still depressing.

The package was in my mailbox when I returned from the PADONA convention - the complete manuscript and a nice rejection letter - "doesn't fit our needs at this time."


Deep breath - move on.

Editor appointments at GLVWG ( - Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group - next month: Berkley and Eschelon (a small press from... ta-da...good old Laurel, MD - if the editor doesn't like the book we can at least chat about my hometown).

Then a month later I'm hoping to get to the Book Expo America for the Writers Digest day with 60 agents. I'm in the process of doing online research into those agents - do not want to be directed towards someone who is only taking nonfiction proposals when I have a cozy mystery series in my hot little hands (and brain).

And, in the meantime...more research into those publishers doing cozies. That's what Deb Dixon told me to do -- I just happened to have dinner with her the last two nights (she was our speaker at PLRW's first day-long workshop). I'll follow the advice I gave a good friend about her resume - shotgun - spread it out - cover a wide area.

Stephen King was rejected so many times he wallpapered his room with the letters.

If rejection was good enough for him - it's good enough for me.