Greetings from Rochelle
I’m experiencing mixed emotions as I sit and compose this newsletter. Firstly, I’m so relieved the elections are over. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted from all of the ads, debates, misconceptions, pundits and overall disrespect politicians have shown one another during the during the past few campaigns. It is a good thing presidential elections are held every four years, because it will take that long for me to rid my psyche of the ugliness that has pervaded our political system.
Those of us in the northeast are still reeling from the devastating effects of Sandy. Not since the hurricane of 1938 – dubbed the New England Hurricane or Long Island Express – has this area experienced not only power outages but such widespread devastation. We thought we were geared up for the storm, but nothing in my imagination could’ve prepared me for hundreds of downed trees, power lines littering the roads, ripped up sidewalks or the rapidly dropping temperatures. I was constantly reminded that I am a descendant of survivors when we were forced to endure six days without electricity, heat, phone or cell phone service. Fortunately it was only six when a month later many still don’t have electricity, heat or a place to call home. I’d become Laura Ingalls – going to bed at sunset and getting up at sunrise. Generators became a necessity, but gasoline shortages rendered them ineffectual. I managed to pass the time listening to audible books. Thankfully I hadn’t discarded several Walkman, so I had to go old school for cassettes and the radio. I wasn’t as fortune with the books on CDs because I’d thrown away my disc player.
Despite the temporary inconveniences my family survived with no property and water damage, unlike so many others whose lives were not only disrupted but turned upside down. Hurricane Sandy, like other natural disasters, is a constant reminder of what is important: human life. Any and everything material can be replaced, so instead of overdoing it with Christmas shopping I wrote a check to the American Red Cross. It has been a month and there are still thousands without heat and power and with the approach of winter it will not be an easy time for those who continue to feel the lingering effects of this super storm.
It is with profound sadness to report that former Arabesque editor Monica Harris Mindolovich has been called home at the tender age of 44. She leaves behind her husband Paul and two young children, Robert and Simone. Monica was as beautiful and gentle inside as she was outwardly. She touched the lives of so many writers, many she put into print for the first time. There is no doubt she was be missed and remembered. I attended her memorial service Saturday, December 2, 2012, and the outpouring of sadness and praise for this remarkable woman, wife and mother was palpable. Friends, family members, writers and those from the publishing industry were in attendance in what had become a standing room only event.
My close relationship with Monica began when we sat down at lunch to go over the soon-to-be published Hideaway. Although I’d published three prior titles it was this novel that had become the book of my heart. I’d written it in 1985 and it would become another ten years before it came to life on page. Monica helped me with plotting and pacing, while making recommendations as how to set up the novel for a prequel. Her advice proved invaluable in launching the Hideaway series.
Friends and family have been asking where to send donations. If you would like to contribute to a fund benefiting Monica’s children, Robert and Simone, the family requests that donations be sent c/o Paul Mindolovich to the home address at 522 East 20th St., #6D, New York, NY 10009. Please make checks payable to Paul Mindolovich and write, “Monica Mindolovich Memorial Fund,” on the memo line.
Two more losses have affected our romance community. Gwynne Forster lost her beloved husband, and Gwyneth Bolton her mother. Please remember them in your prayers as we approach this holiday season.
On a much lighter note I would like everyone to think about making a small sacrifice this Christmas season. Buy a book for a child; adopt a needy family for Christmas; donate $10.00 - $25.00 dollars to a deserving charity of your choice; help a widowed senior or veteran; adopt a rescue dog or cat.
Last autumn I talked about planting tulip bulbs along the fence bordering the patio, and it has taken a year for that to become a reality. I managed to plant 4 dozen tulips in varying colors and 3 dozen narcissus blubs. I planted three narcissus blubs in a pot, put it in a closet and water it every two weeks. It will be nice to have these fragrant white flowers blooming along with pots of lavender in the entertainment and media room during the long winter months.
I will celebrate 25 years as a published author in 2013. Beginning in January there will be a weekly contest and surprise giveaways throughout the year. A jackpot prize will be awarded to one lucky reader December 10, 2013.
Until next month … don’t forget to read, love and live romance.