And Forever Playlist

One more day until the release of And Forever! One of my favorite things to do when I’m going through my writing process is piece together songs that keep me focused and in the mindset of my characters, along with the book I’m writing. I choose songs form my playlist that I feel help tell the story and have the emotional content I’m looking for. Here’s my And Forever playlist along with YouTube links. I hope you enjoy it.


1. I lived- One republic


2. Sheppard- Geronimo


3. Honey, I’m Good- Andy Grammer

4. Somebody to You- The Vamps

5. Somewhere Only We Know- Keane

6. Take Me to Church- Hozier


7. Night Changes-


8. Christina Perri- The Words


9.I Bet My Life- Imagine Dragons


10. Coming Back- Dean Ray


11. Fall For You- Second Hand Seronade

 And Forever

12. Thinking Out Loud- Ed Sheeran


What do you think? I can’t wait for you to read And Forever and tell me what songs are on your playlist!



Prom night from Jordan’s POV

For AlwaysAnd Forever

Just a few more days before And Forever is released. I thought another good refresher scene would be the prom, but this is another bonus. This is the prom scene from Jordan’s POV.


The spiral started in the limo. I couldn’t wait to get the tie off. Once I tossed it aside I glanced at Stephanie. God she took my breath away. I forgot myself for the moment, lost thinking about how much I wanted to touch her creamy skin. At least when we were dancing I had an excuse to put my hands all over her. Now it was an urge I wasn’t sure I could control.


I let out a long breath and opened the top buttons of my shirt, watching her watch me. The look in her eyes, the hunger; it was hot. I stretched out and reached my arm behind her, allowing my fingers to brush against her shoulder. I heard her inhale and moved. If I kept my arm there I’d let my hand start to roam.


I took her hand in mine, and interlaced our fingers. I hoped this would stop me from tearing her dress off and touching her in places I only imagined. I looked at our joined fingers and couldn’t hide the silly smile growing inside me.


“Are you having a good time?” I asked.


She nodded.


“It’s about time,” Maria interjected.


She pulled me back to the present. We weren’t alone in the limo, and even if we were, this was Stephanie. I cleared my throat, and let go of her as I moved away. The more space between us, the better chance I had of keeping this platonic. Just one friend helping another. I couldn’t let anything happen between us. She was too young and it was out of the question.


“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Maria explained. “You looked so happy and perfect together. It’s just . . . it’s about time.”

I wanted to thank her for the reality check, but didn’t think Stephanie would appreciate it. I peeked at her from the corner of my eye. Stephanie was spitting mad. I half expected her to shoot steel spikes out of her mouth aimed at Maria’s throat. Rob broke the awkward tension in the air with small talk. I followed his lead.


“Everyone’s meeting in front of the concession.” He said getting out of the limo.


A large crowd formed on the sand in front of the red, brick building. Music blared from a boom box connected to a pair of large speakers. Blankets were scattered about with coupled bodies cozy inside. Frisbees and beach balls flew through the air. A volleyball game ensued nearby.


I tossed my jacket aside, unbuttoned my shirt, and pulled it out of my pants. Steph’s eyes soaked me in. Every visible inch of me. I was tempted to strip down further if she promised to keep staring at me like that. I didn’t mean to be selfish. I just wanted to enjoy her wanting me, as much as I wanted her.


We took our shoes off and joined a group playing Frisbee. When I saw her dash for it, I decided to go after it too. We fell to the ground and I rolled on top of her. Looking at her beneath me in the moonlight, I almost lost it. Pinning her down, holding my hands just above her shoulders, our eyes locked and the crowd disappeared. All I wanted to do was kiss her. As I felt my control withering, I jumped to my feet and extended a hand to help her up. Air between our bodies did wonders for my teetering control.


“A bunch of us are going skinny-dipping,” Maria ran over to inform us, “want to come?”


“I’ll pass.” Stephanie answered.


“You sure?” I could see pink coloring fill her cheeks. I put my hands around her waist, wondering if she’d notice if they dropped down to her hips, or lower. “It could be fun.”


She froze. I recognized the panicked look on her face before she answered. “You can go if you want. I’ll wait here.”

“Nah,” I laughed, “I just wanted to see if I could get you out of your clothes.”


The walk had been my idea. There were too many people. And if we stayed, I’d focus on getting her out of that dress and into the water with me. I rolled my pant cuffs up so we could walk on the hard, wet packed sand. The cool sea foam rolled over our feet every now and then. Again I took her hand in mine. We walked, talking, holding hands in the silvery moonlight.


“Let’s sit.” I motioned toward a lifeguard stand.


We climbed up and took a seat. An awkward silence hung between us, and with nothing to say I imagined all the things we could do with the privacy the lifeguard stand had to offer. Suddenly I thought we would’ve been safer staying with the crowd.


“Stephanie.” She looked at me with so much hope in her eyes my chest ached. “You’ve really grown up.”


“Thank you.”


“I can’t believe I’m here with you.” I gave her a sly sideward glance hoping she’d pick up on what I couldn’t say.

“You mean the beach?”


She was always so naïve, so innocent. I chuckled and moved my hand to the nape of her neck. I ran my fingers through a few loose strands of hair hoping this would quench my need to touch her. She gasped. I felt it, throughout my body, but mostly there, where I shouldn’t have.

“You look . . .” I let my eyes crawl from her sweet face, down to the exposed area of her breasts, all the way down. “Incredible.”

She smiled, and I realized I’d do just about anything to keep the smile on her face.


“You’re amazing.”


“What do you mean?”


I had to think of something quick to cover what I really wanted to say. “I’m sure tonight wasn’t easy for you. I know it’s not the night you planned.”


“No.” She took a deep breath. “It’s so much better.”


I looked at the water. Afraid of where she wanted to take this.


“Charlie’s an idiot you know? Anyone who would let you slip through his fingers is.”


Her teeth chattered. I pulled her close hoping to warm her up. With her face nuzzling into my bare chest, I hoped she wouldn’t catch on to how much heat she was causing me. After a moment she placed her hand on me, right beside her cheek. I pressed down on it. I wanted her to know she was in my heart.


“Present company included?”


Again I looked away. How could I answer? I didn’t expect Stephanie to ever push the issue. I thought she was too shy to ever say anything like that to me. She touched my face and forced me to look at her.


“I know you have feelings for me.”


Uh oh. My stomach dropped. “I never said I didn’t.”


“You pretend you don’t.”


Didn’t she realize I only asked to take her to the prom because of my feelings for her? I squeezed her hand gently, “Stephanie, you’re young and idealistic.”


“Idealistic?” She looked insulted. “If anyone knows a big, heavy foot is about to come crashing down at any minute, it’s me. And age has nothing to do with it. You’ve hidden behind that since the day we met.”


Where did this bravado come from? “Age has everything to do with it.”


“I see your point when we were younger, but not now. Not anymore.


I cleared my throat. I had to end this conversation. Now. “Do you understand everything you’re going to experience I’ve already been through. You’re starting your first year of college, I’m starting my last.”


“Great. Help me prepare.”


Was she for real? How? “It’s not an academic issue. It’s social. You need to experience things without anyone holding you back.”


“Let that be my decision.”


She’d want to go to parties, get involved in campus life, and what if she wanted to date other guys? I wouldn’t hold her back. For four years I kept us in the friend zone, this is where we needed to stay.


“I can’t. I don’t want to hurt you.”


“Then don’t.” Tears filled her eyes.


I looked away. I just wanted to wrap her up in my arms and kiss her until I made it better. “It’s not that simple, Steph. Things aren’t black and white.”

“If you don’t want to be with me, Jordan, say so. But don’t you dare tell me you’re doing it for my own good.”


“You think that’s the problem?” Why couldn’t she see how hard this was for me? “That I don’t want to be with you?”


She nodded.


I brushed my hand over her back, hoping if she knew how much more I wanted, it might scare her a bit. “If you only knew how hard it’s been to keep away from you.”


“Then don’t.”


She’d be the death of me. If you could die from desire she’d kill me a hundred times over. I looked at the waves biding time. Thinking.


“Jordan, this isn’t a silly school girl crush.”


“And they called it puppy love…,”


“Not puppy love. What I feel for you, it grows year after year.”


“I know you like me.” I smiled hoping to soften the blow. “You’ve always liked me. I know that. I like you too. I do. But…”


“No. I don’t like you.”


“You don’t?” I brought my hand up to my chest, “That hurts.”
She shook her head looking exasperated. Good. I hoped it’d be enough to stop her. As long as she didn’t say those words we were okay. Any words but the three trite words that made prom night a cliché. If they slipped out, everything would change. It would have to.


“It’s more than that. I’d die for you.”


“What?” My heart hammered, shooting the blood through my veins with such force I didn’t realize at first all the places the blood was flowing. Did I hear right? She didn’t really say that. So much for the cliché. I would’ve taken that over this.


“If a bullet was coming your way and I could save your life by giving up mine I would. That goes far beyond like.”


I wanted her. Right there in that moment. It would’ve been so easy to take her. Just reach under her dress and rip her underwear off. But I knew nothing worthwhile ever came easy. We couldn’t be together. After tonight it was back to the real world. Back to Madison.


“Why are you doing this?” I closed my hand around her shoulder, her soft, silky shoulder. I wondered if every part of her was that soft. “What do you want to happen?”


“I want to know how you feel. I think I deserve that much.”


“Don’t you get it Stephanie? When I’m with you, it takes every ounce of self-control I have . . . and then when I’m not with you . . .” I looked away and then back at her, “You always leave me wanting more.”


“Then have more. The only thing standing between us is you.”


I smiled. She made it seem so easy. Like it really could happen. “This is what I mean about being idealistic, you believe everything will work out and we’ll live happily ever after.”


“Give me one good reason why we can’t.”


“Because things will get complicated. We’ll forget how to talk and trust each other.” My heart was thumping hard in my chest. What was I doing? This sweet, beautiful girl was offering herself up and I was saying no. Someone shoot me! “We work great as friends and I don’t want to lose you. If that means we need to sacrifice so we don’t mess this up than I’m okay with it.”


“What if I’m not okay with it? Then things will get complicated anyway.”


I never thought of that. I just expected we could go on as normal. But now everything was going to change whether I wanted it to or not.


“Haven’t you ever thought about us as more than just friends?”


“All the time.” I stared into her eyes and pulled her close, moving towards her lips. I could do it, taste the sweetness of her mouth. I imagined it for years, and now I was centimeters away. I just had to give in. I wanted to do it. I closed my eyes poised to kiss her and drew back at the last moment, kissing her forehead instead. “Let’s head back.”


“Kiss me!”


“I can’t.” It wouldn’t be fair. I had a girlfriend. “Madison.”


I don’t know what was harder, not kissing her or knowing I caused the pain in her eyes.


“I thought you were seeing other people.”


“It’s all or nothing Steph.” She wouldn’t be the other woman in my life. She deserved so much more than that. And I sure as hell wasn’t about to start a relationship with her before I ended things with Madison. “It’s the least you deserve.”


She nodded and bit her lip.


“So, which is it going to be? All or nothing?”


“I need a little time. Is that too much to ask?” I didn’t want to answer. I didn’t want to risk making a life altering decision in a heartbeat.


“Don’t you think four years is long enough?”


“A few days. That’s all I need.”


She pulled back and looked away, but not before I saw the disappointment in her eyes. “What’s the point?”


I swallowed hard, “I need to do this the right way. I have to end things.”

“Do you mean it?” Her eyes lit with hope and happiness.


“You’re not giving me much choice.”


I stuck my chest out, proud that I was the reason for that light. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her, and I would do nothing to dim the glow in her eyes. It was rare to see, and that’s all I ever wanted for her. No one else made her happy like that. If I could bring it out, if I could make her days better, I’d lay my heart and soul at her feet. I’d give in and love her the way I wanted to, back when I leapt off the bus. Back when I found her at the cemetery. All along I wanted her. I knew her heart was mine. Now it was time to give her my heart in return.



Countdown for the And Forever release

Today I’m starting the countdown to the release of And Forever the long awaited, highly anticipated sequel to For Always.
And Forever

Today I’d like to give you some insight into the Eternity series by sharing some fun facts about it with you.


1. I really did start a fire with candle and a paper towel when I was six. My mother was napping on the couch when she heard me blowing on the flames shooting out of our garbage pail.

2. The original setting of For Always was Canarsie Brooklyn, the area I grew up in, but I had to change that because of the drastic changes that area has gone through.

3. The Halloween scene in For Always was inspired by real events.

4. The smoky bus scene really did happen. I watched in awe and horror as the guy I liked flew through the window.

5. I always wanted to learn how to play the drums.

6. Although I never come out and say what college Stephanie is going to, I tried to describe FDU Madison campus with the beautiful fountain behind the mansion.

7. As far as I know, no students went skinny-dipping in the fountain.

8. After reading For Always, my two best friends each thought they were the Character Maria (neither is), so I dedicated And Forever to the both of them.

9. While writing And Forever my husband and I went to Dave and Buster’s and it seemed like the perfect place for Jordan and Stephanie to go on their first “official date.”

10. For Always was a standalone. I had no intention of ever writing a sequel.

It is because of the tremendous fan response I received from For Always, and the never ending requests for a sequel that And Forever came to life. It’s been a labor of love, but now that it is finished I’m glad that I wrote it, and want to thank you, my fans for convincing me to do so.
I hope you enjoy this next part of Stephanie and Jordan’s journey as much or more than you enjoyed the first part. Please continue reaching out to me. It may take a day or two to get back to you, but I love interacting with my readers. Happy Reading.



Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day Card.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my friends and followers. I hope your day is filled with sweet treats and lots of love! While I’m hard at work finalizing things for this week’s release of And Forever, I’m hoping to do my share by reposting one of my favorite extra scenes. I wrote this two Valentine Day’s ago, hoping to use it in Waves of Love. It didn’t work into my time line, but I know this has been a fan favorite, and one of mine as well. This is a scene between Tyler and Jenna. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the Heart Waves series, just take this for what it is, a sweet, and sexy treat.


I stood outside the door to Tyler’s suite, my stomach fluttering like a flock of wild birds, fast and with abandon. I felt so awkward. Instead of focusing on Tyler and our first Valentine’s Day together, I couldn’t get Reece out of my mind. This should be a year of firsts with Reece. Instead, I was doing my best not hurt this amazing, but fragile heart I’d been so lucky to be handed. Of all the things I felt being with Tyler, lucky was at the top of the list.


I knocked before I lost the courage, cut and ran. I couldn’t do that to him. I owed Tyler so much, I was just nervous tonight he’d want to collect on it. The door opened, and I couldn’t breathe.


Tyler stood in front of me, dressed all in black, which brought my attention to his smoldering green eyes as they moved over every inch of my body. A half grin played on his clean shaven face, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He reached for my hand, his tongue touching the right corner of his upper lip. I knew I was in for it. He pulled me against him hard. I didn’t expect it and stumbled forward. He inhaled, making it perfectly clear what he was thinking of.


I swallowed hard, knowing I had no chance of resisting him. Not tonight. His hands already moved down and cupped my bottom, pulling me against him. His teeth gripped my earlobe, and moved down my neck. And this was just his hello.


I pushed him away, biting my lip. “Let’s leave something for later.”


He laughed, it was such an unusual sound, but I’d been hearing more of it lately, and every time I did, a small part of my heart melted.


“Don’t worry, I have plenty planned to keep us busy.” The way he raised his eyebrows, the pure heat in his gaze, I was afraid to imagine.


“Come,” Tyler took my hand and moved further into the living area. I’d been so preoccupied with him, I didn’t notice the indoor picnic he’d set up on the floor. Should we eat first?”


I nodded, since I couldn’t find my voice.


We got down on the neatly laid out blanket Tyler had spread on the floor. Next he handed me a peanut butter and banana sandwich.


“I made it myself. It’s my favorite.”


I laughed. It seemed so out of place considering the atmosphere. Once we finished. Tyler went in his bedroom and came out with a gift wrapped present. I’d expected a chocolate heart, not an actual gift.


“Go ahead, open it.”


As I unwrapped the paper I could see a pile of books stacked one on top of the other. It wasn’t until I got the paper completely off that I could see what books they were. I felt my face fill with color. I’d heard about these books, but hadn’t even attempted to read them. What if my parents saw them? What would they think?


“I thought, since you love to read, and I just want to ravish you, I’d bring both worlds together.” His arm came around my waist as he leaned against me. “And when you read these,” he whispered, “you can highlight the things you might want to try.”


I put the books down and reached my hands behind Tyler’s neck. “Thank you.” I stood on my tiptoes ready to get lost in a steamy kiss, but Tyler leaned back and unclasped my hands from behind his head.


“Not yet. That’s only the first part of my gift.”


“I can’t imagine what else you have in store.”


“Wait right here,” Tyler ordered. I did as I was told and watched him disappear into the bedroom. When he returned, he carried his desk chair. He cleared away the picnic blanket, and placed the chair in the middle of the open space. I watched curious.


Tyler sat me down in the chair, “Don’t move.” He kissed his finger then touched it to my lip as he continued to move around. “And no peeking.”


I giggled, hoping to hide how silly I felt. The silence broke. Loud music blared through the open space. I tried to turn my head, but Tyler placed his hands on either side of my face and didn’t let me. “Don’t move,” he whispered.


I recognized the music. Bree played it in the Zumba class. This was the song he mouthed to me in the mirror, the one that undid me. Tyler leaned over the back of the chair and placed his hands over mine. I heard him sing the lyrics as he took control of my hands and moved them, slowly, seductively over my body. He moved my hands up my legs, slowing down as they reached my inner thighs, up and up he continued to go. Together our hands moved up my center, grazing over my breasts, up my neck, lifting my hair along the way, all the way up to my head.


Never releasing my hands, Tyler came around to the front of the chair so I could see him. I could see desire and raw need in his eyes. He looked how I felt. As the music continued, Tyler swayed his hips from side to side before starting our hands on a journey of his body. Again he started with the legs. His legs were so muscular and strong, over his growing bulge, all the way up to his chest. In a sudden move, Tyler let go of me. His hands moved up his neck over his face, into his hair, with moaning and heavy breathing sound effects that matched the sentiment.


I stared with an open mouth, heat surging through my body, a strong need growing in my belly and down below. Tyler’s hands moved back down to his black shirt opening each of the buttons as he continued swaying in time with the music.


When all the buttons were opened, he asked, “Do you want to take it off?” Did I!


“Yes!” I just wanted my hands back on him. I stood and took my time moving the shirt back over his shoulders and off him. When I finished, I reached out to touch him, but he shook his head and pushed me back down onto the chair.


Tyler disappeared behind me once again. I wanted to look, but I was rather enjoying the show.


“Can I look?” I asked.


“Only if you want me to take you over my knee. But I think you should read those first,” he teased.


When he showed himself again, Tyler’s chest glistened. I watched him touching himself, dancing suggestively in front of me. Then his hands moved down. Down his naval, over the fly of his pants. I watched the pleasure on his face as he stroked himself. He unbuttoned his pants and slid the zipper down. I was bursting with desire. I needed him to stop teasing me. I never wanted anything so bad in my life.


Tyler straddled me on the chair. His hands went around me and held on to the frame so that he wasn’t touching me at all. He leaned into me, his eyes burning, his lips dipped down, I closed my eyes waiting for him to kiss me. It was such delicious torture to be teased like this. His lips never met mine.


“I want you so bad, Jenna.”


“I want you too.”


I couldn’t take anymore, I grabbed his hair, wound it between my fingers and pulled him to me. My hands fell to his shoulders, ran over his chest, all the way down passed the open fly.


“Oh, Jenna,” he threw his head back, eyes closed. “I love you.”


“I love you too.”


Tyler’s head snapped forward. He met my stare. Although he’d said it the night we first kissed, I’d never before told Tyler I loved him.




“I love you, too. It’s time for my gift, all though I don’t know if you’ll find mine as awesome as I’ve found yours.”


My eyes never leaving his, I reached down and opened my locket. I had no idea how he would react to this, but for me it was very symbolic. Opposite Reece’s picture, I placed Tyler’s. I loved them both, and they were both a part of me.


“Jenna. Do you mean it?”


“Wait there’s more.” I reached down for my bag and pulled from it a binding ring with laminated slips of paper, and handed it to Tyler.


“What is this?” His lips curled up in a smile.


“Read it.”


“Coupon book,” Tyler read. “This coupon is good for one foot massage. One use only.” He flipped to the next one. “This coupon is good for home cooked meal. One use only. This is cute.” He reached out and stroked the side of my face.


“Keep going.” I kept my eyes glued to him as he turned to the last coupon in the booklet.


“This coupon is good to ravish my body. Use any time you’d like.”


His mouth fell open as eyes met mine in disbelief. “Jenna, are you sure?”


I nodded. I didn’t blame him for being skeptical, I asked myself that same question even as I gave it to him.


“Do you like it?”


Instead of answering, Tyler met my lips with a deep all-consuming kiss. A kiss filled not just with longing, but with love.


“You’re sure?” He asked again. I kissed him back to answer. Tyler stood and pulled me to my feet. “In that case,” he swept me up in his arms. “I’d like to cash in one of these coupons.”


“Oh yeah? Which one?” I asked leaning my head into the crook of his neck as he started walking to his bedroom.


“The one that’ll have you screaming my name all night long!”


I knew this was going to be one of the greatest nights of my existence!



For Always & And Forever Cover Reveal

I’m so excited to reveal not just one, but two covers today!

The first- It’s the same love story, just with a fresh new look! Here’s the new cover of For Always-

For Always Full

“There’s nothing you can’t do if you want it bad enough.”


I entered the world with a massive defect. I attracted death. Like a magnet. I could feel it all around me. It wrapped its icy fingers tight around my chest, leaving me no room for escape.  That was my life before I met Jordan Brewer, the boy I became infatuated with. Obsessed with. The boy that became my everything.


I knew he wanted me, too. I saw it. I felt it. But he was older, and wouldn’t act on his feelings. I knew in time I’d make him mine. Just as he promised me a future together, his life was torn apart. He turned away from me and shut me out of his life. Could I convince him to let go of his past and hold on to me? Or would he continue to punish us both for something he couldn’t control?


My readers and fans have been so wonderful contacting me via email, or on Facebook and Twitter asking for more of Stephanie and Jordan’s story. It took a while, but you convinced me, so I’m happy to reveal the cover to the long awaited, highly anticipated sequel to For Always, And Forever.

And Forever Full

“Sometimes being with the one you love hurts more than being without them.”
“There’s nothing you can’t do if you want it bad enough.” This is the mantra Jordan Brewer drilled into my head since the day I met him. He convinced me nothing is out of my reach, not even him.
I love Jordan, and Jordan loves me, but something always gets in the way. I had to fight tooth and nail to convince him we belong together. Now he’s mine, but I’m not sure our love is strong enough to survive.
I’m away at school and Jordan’s playing drums for a local band. We hardly see each other, and when we do, he’s haunted by demons from his past. I’m struggling to fit in and he’s struggling with his ever-growing mountain of guilt. Will we be able to hold on to each other through the tough times, or will it all come tumbling down around us?


These beautiful covers were designed by CT Cover Creations.  I hope you love them as much as I do. Well?  What do you think?



And Forever update!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve given an update on And Forever the sequel to For Always. But if you’ve been waiting for news, I have some. The And Forever cover reveal will be on February 5th, 2014. Along with this cover, will be the new cover of For Always. Yes, For Always is getting a new look. I’ve been torn about changing the cover since For Always was my first book and I love the current cover of For Always.

And Forever teaser

To all my fans, I never planned on writing a sequel to For Always. But the overwhelming amount of requests I’ve gotten since its release convinced me to do it. I took my time with this to make sure I got it right. I hope that love Stephanie and Jordan as much in And Forever as you did in For Always.
The release of And Forever will be . . . drumroll please, February 24th, 2014.  If you’d like to help out with the cover reveal, I’d appreciate the help getting the word out. The form is on my Events & Signings page!


For now, I’ll leave you with an And Forever teaser. I’ll be posting more teasers on twitter and Facebook until the release.


Go add And Forever to your TBR list!


What are you most looking forward to in And Forever? What do you hope will happen?



Happy New Year!

Wishing all my friends and fans a very Happy and Healthy New Year! Stay warm and safe. Have fun and give lots of love tonight! Thank you for making 2014 so great, and here’s to making 2015 the best year yet! All my best! All my love!

My Top 5 Reasons Why This is My Favorite Time of Year

This is a special time for most people, but for me, it goes beyond special. This is my favorite time of the year, and these are some of the reasons why.


5. Christmas music. Whether I’m listening to the radio in the car, watching a commercial during my favorite television show, or shopping for groceries and gifts, Christmas music almost always flavors the background. It doesn’t matter that most of the songs were recorded before I was born, or those old traditional ones have been rerecorded by every top ten artist of the decade. None of that taints the joy the festive music brings out. Many of the old favorites are songs that people from all generations can sing along to.


4. The Animated specials. I’ll admit that every year for as long as I remember, and I do mean my very first Christmas memories, I’ve waited and watched with baited breath for that old silk hat to animate Frosty, and for Santa to show those nasty reindeer that they’re not all they believe themselves to be, when he asks Rudolph to use his special gift and lead his sleigh. What winter would be complete without a battle between the Miser brothers? It doesn’t matter that we all know how it’s going to go down. It’s the singing these polar opposites do that many of us love. No matter how advanced and realistic today’s animation becomes, nothing can replace, or take ownership of my heart the way the old Claymation specials do.


3. It’s pretty. True the skies are often grayer than at other times of the year, at least here on the East Coast, but it’s the perfect back drop for the cool, crisp weather and the celebratory time of year. Green trees pretty lights and colorful ornaments are used to decorate anything from Christmas trees to clothes. Red, green and gold stand out in malls and stores. Animated decorations, blow-ups, and candle lights adorn the front lawns and windows of people’s homes. It is hard to leave your home without seeing some bold, bright colors drawing you in and giving you a warm feeling inside your belly.


2. People are nicer. This is the time of year people are naturally kinder. I’m not just referring to the people that donate or volunteer for programs like the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots. This is the time people generally feel uplifted by the spirit of the season and feel the urge to be generous. We’ve all heard stories about strangers buying dinners and gifts for families in need, or someone checking out at a store giving the cashier money to pay off the lay-away bill for someone they’ve never even laid eyes on. Even just the general disposition of people seems to be friendlier. There are more smiles as kind words are offered, such as Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, to total strangers. Maybe it’s just the promise of a day off from work, or the brightness of the red Santa hats people often wear. Whatever it is, the holiday cheer is one of my favorite things.  


1. The reason for the season. This is a very holy time of the year. It’s not just the Catholics that celebrate this time of year. Chanukah and Ramadan, holy holidays in the Jewish and Muslim religions, are also celebrated at this time of year. Let’s all enjoy the expression of love and joy that comes with these celebrations, and offer well wishes as we each in our own way choose to celebrate, or not, what it is we believe. Above all let us treat each other with the respect that no matter how different we are, we are all the same, each of us born of flesh and bone. Each of us will return to dust when we die.



These are my reasons I love this time of year. What are yours?  

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year!



Thank you Veterans!

Thank you to all the brave men and women who have fought past and present to keep us safe and free. To defend a country where people have the right and privilege to criticize you and voice those opinions. Thank you for doing that which so many who find themselves judging others are not brave enough to do. Thank you for your blood, sweat and tears. Thank you to your families for sharing you with us. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for being you!

To all who serve, have served and will serve. Thank you!
In honor of Veterans Day a poem:

We were soldiers then,
Hoards of brave strong men,
Standing side by side in the face of fear,
Not knowing what to expect there,
Watching bullets kill our friends,
Our heroes, our brothers,
Wondering who would break the news
To our wives and mothers,
Trapped in a crimson sea,
My brothers and me,
In a hostile land,
The ground protested our presence,
With landmines,
Breaking our spirits as well as our spines,
Forced to murder, to kill, in order to survive,
Lest we should not leave that land alive,
Some lucky troops returned to the homeland,
With life and breath,
Never forsaking the spirits
Of those who sought refuge in death.



Happy Halloween!



Working on the sequel to For Always, I find myself going back and rereading scenes from it from time to time. The Halloween scene was such fun to write I thought I’d share what inspired the scene. This was originally posted last year on Evie Seo’s blog. I hope you enjoy it!

Confession time!
Growing up in Brooklyn at the time I did, Halloween was a big deal. Not because it was a time to get dressed as ghouls or goblins. Not because we looked forward to mischief night to toilet paper someone’s house. (I never even heard of that until I moved to NJ.) But because it was a time to either bomb or get bombed. No actual explosives were used in this process. Instead, the “bombing” was an assault of raw eggs and shaving cream.
The Halloween scene, like many of the scenes in For Always was inspired by a true life event. It was a day when my friends and I decided to go bombing. I was in 8th grade and had a massive crush on an older boy. I didn’t talk much and sort of faded into the background whenever my best friend was around. At that age she was much like Maria, a true extrovert, where I was much like Stephanie, a true introvert. Add a healthy dose of insecurity in the mix, and there I was.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll call my best friend Maria, the girl I viewed as my rival Beth, and the guy I liked Jordan. Maria invited two girls I didn’t know to go with us. It was her first year in High school, and she was branching out. I was a year behind. I didn’t know the new girls, and they weren’t particularly friendly. I decided early on I didn’t like them. I tried my hardest to ignore them, but that was hard since there were only four of us. We straggled down the street, laughing and acting silly, like thirteen and fourteen year old girls covered in eggs and shaving cream would. Until I realized where we were headed. Straight to Jordan’s house. I heard Maria mention his name and my ears perked up. Beth whispered something, all I heard was “so cute.”


My heart raced. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stop the group dead in our tracks. I didn’t want Jordan to see me looking the way I did with goop oozing off my head and clothes. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t want to see Beth flirt with him. I guessed they knew each other from high school and didn’t want to witness the budding of a new relationship between them. But I couldn’t say anything. No one knew I liked him, especially not Maria. If she knew I liked him, the rest of the world would know too.
Maria rang his doorbell. As we waited, my eyes were glued to the ground. I didn’t want him to see in my eyes how excited I was to see him. But Maria returned alone. He wasn’t home from school yet. (That meant they went to different high schools.) I wanted to do cartwheels, too bad I didn’t know how. And neither was his brother.
Now I listened to the conversation with an open mind. It wasn’t Jordan Beth was interested in, it was his older brother. Just as I let the relief of what I misunderstood sink in, I saw him. He was dressed nice, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. As he approached his house, he acknowledged us with a smile and promised to be right out. I didn’t know what to do, we couldn’t leave. He already saw us. And if we stayed, I was afraid Beth would set her sights on him and he’d reciprocate her interest. And then it happened.


Just like in the book. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see Jordan standing in front of me, a huge smile on his face. I couldn’t believe he came over to me. To me! I was so happy. Butterflies fluttered like mad in my stomach. And then I saw it. The plate filled with shaving cream in his hand. I had no time to duck or move. All I could do was look from the plate to the smile on his face. And then it hit me. He took his time mushing it in my face before pulling away and laughing.
While I couldn’t see, and acted shocked and outraged at what he’d done, I felt good. Because out of the four grungy girls waiting outside his house, he came to me. He went inside for a towel and spent the next half an hour helping clean me up. And when his brother did get home, the other girls surrounded him, leaving Jordan and I to each other. Unlike Beth or Maria, or the other girl I can’t quite remember, I left there knowing the guy I liked, liked me.


I’d really love to hear what you think. what is your fondest Halloween memory?