Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I is for...

The state of NJ isn't exactly famous for its I letter things.  We don't have too much going on with the I, but this is what we can think of:

Irene: Even though she has already passed through town and caused some havoc, Irene left her mark on NJ.  The hurricane that just came through town last week caused rain and wind damage while it was here, including causing some Tornados to form.  It was scary and unfortunately it still is, there continues to be flooding rivers and dams breaking.  She is gone, but not forgotten and will forever be a part of NJ.

Islands: We have some of the nicest barrier islands around.  They range in style, expense, and quality, but they are all decent.  From the million dollar homes of Avalon and Stone Harbor, to the condo filled Sea Isle City and Wildwood, there are plenty of different islands to check out.

Thanks to Fleur de Aleta for the ABC of your home state.  Next week we will bring you J.

ABC Your Home State

Monday, August 29, 2011

M. The Point of Your Story

Do you think that your story has a hidden message?

When you write, do you write to tell a story or do you try to teach people?  There are some great books and stories that I have read through the years that don't teach a thing.  They are there to entertain and that seems to be all that they do.

But, then you have stories with hidden messages or ones that are closer to the surface.  They are meaningful and I feel that after I read it, I walk away with some knowledge I may not have had before.

So, what do you think you write for?  Do you want to teach through your stories or would you rather just entertain?  Are you looking to add meaning or possibly you added meaning and didn't know you did it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

M. Post Storm

The rough part of the storm is now past our house.  All that seems to be left is some wind and maybe just some more rain.  Good news is, we all evacuated to a place that only got rain, we are safe, but I have no idea what our house looks like.

Over night, we were receiving pictures through Facebook of our flooded town.  Not that this was the first time our home town has been flooded, but these pictures were amazing.  Also, there were those few morons that decided to stay and loot other people's homes.  Again, I hope that the looting wasn't employed in our neighborhood, but if it did, at least we are safe.

There were reports that 90% to 95% of the entire county was evacuated and only about 5 to 10% stayed.  The sad part of it is that most of the people we know stayed.  I have gotten reports from most of them that they are alright, but I have no idea what possessed them to stay.  I hope as the wind hammers the county, as the tail end of the storm goes by, they will remain well and safe.

This wasn't taken by us, but it was posted to Facebook by one of our friends.  The place in the photo is several blocks from the back bay and it is sort of a dive bar anyway, but shows just how high the water got.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A. Jester, Our Hotel dog

Due to the upcoming hurricane (IRENE) we have been forced to evacuate and leave our house. We have two dogs Jester, and Chloe and Cat Shaggy and fish a bird and hamster that belong to my 8yr old.  We lucked out and found a hotel that takes dogs. Chloe our black lab is not a dog dog. She is very protective and can get very mean around other dogs. She is now staying with one of many sisters in safer ground. The fish , bird and hamster are riding out the storm back in our house. I feel bad but its just too much and I pray they are ok.

Shaggy the family cat; we tried to take to the hotel with us but they don't take cats. We did find a kennel and I know he is safe. I miss him like crazy. He is the oddest cat that I have ever seen. He follows us around like a lost puppy, waits at the door when you come home and talks. He is the very vocal and answers you when you talk to him. He jumps in the bath tub and shower with me. He also does not like to be insulted. The first time my mom met Shaggy she said he was cute but not as cute as her cat. That was 3 years ago and he still has not forgiving  her.  He hisses at her every time she comes near him. He normally is  a very friendly cat just don't insult him.

Then there is Jester, he is our 2yr old Golden Retriever. He is my third baby. I wanted 3 children and medically we can't have anymore but are very blessed with the two we do have so my husband got me a puppy. He IS my baby. He is spoiled rotten. He follows me around the house and always has to be touching me. It can be very annoying but I love it. He is with us at the Hotel. I wasn't quite sure how he would do, but he is loving it. He rides the elevator like a pro and even sat at the Bar with us last night in the lobby.  He is doing very well living in one room. We have a backyard at home so we don't walk him like we should. He has taken to leash here and is loving his potty walks. Something we will be
doing a lot more when we get home.

We are riding out IRENE in this gorgeous hotel with our children who think this is a mini vacation, my parents, their dog, my grandma, her dog, my brother and his roommate and of course Jester. I can't wait to see all my other animals but I have to say it Jester is my favorite.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

M. Evacuation

After work today, I spent the evening evacuating our home in Wildwood, NJ.  I have heard stories, predictions, and hypothesis as to what is going to happen.  But, I don't know what to believe.  The news keeps changing how bad it's going to be, but either way they say it is going to be bad.

As of tomorrow evening, Cape May County is going to shut down power to the entire region to avoid electrical fires and surges.  So following the suggestions to the county and town, we evacuated and we are heading up the road further tomorrow.

I don't know what is going to happen in the coming days, but I know one thing; we will be safe, well, and we will pray that when we come home there will be a home to come to.  I have to say that this has to be one of the most exhausting weeks of our lives.  I hope every stays well, safe, and dry.  Have a great weekend, we will let you know how we are doing when we are able.

M. Natural Disaster

Well, it appears that our comfortable little corner on the Eastern sea board is now under attack.  Not from missiles and bombs, but from Mother Nature.  Usually, being in the state of NJ has you safe from most hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, but this year seems to be testing the limits of our buildings abilities to withstand nature.

Yesterday was my first experience with an earthquake and being on the fifth floor of a ten story building made it just that much cooler.  At first, I thought, it can't be, but when the slight shaking turned into the walls flexing around us, I knew something was up.

People went right into panic mode.  Since we were on the fifth floor, we kind of just hung out, but other ran down the halls to the elevators.  That is, until some of the more intelligent people told them not to.  Why would anyone ever get on an elevator in an earthquake, that's just stupid.

After we were all reassured by the news that it had been a quake and it was over, I really got to appreciate the fact that I had been through something that statistically almost never happened on that scale on the east coast.  So, I tucked it under my belt and went back to thinking about what was really important yesterday.

Of course, now there is another natural disaster marching toward us like a trained army.  A hurricane that just passed through Puerto Rico and is on the southern coast is planned to draw the battle line between Cape May and Atlantic City.  Just in case you didn't know, our house is in the Island town next to Cape May.

The wind force is suspected to be somewhere around 100 mph and while our house has been on the Island since 1909, I am scared.  What the hell is going on.  Usually we are given a reprieve from the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  The storm lands there, usually, is broken up, and gives us just a tropical storm.

I am not really sure what the rest of this week will bring, but one thing is for sure, if we were ever going to get inspiration for an End of the World story, this is a good week for it.

I hope that any of you that are reading and may be in the path, will be okay.  Just remember one simple piece of advice.  If you are told to leave, then leave.  It isn't worth staying.  I hope all of you are well and I will leave you with a task.  Please pray for a strong gust of wind from the west to knock this thing out to sea.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

H is for...

This week in the ABC of your state, brought to you by Fleur de Aleta, we are discussing the letter H in NJ.

There are only a few places that we can think of and want to share them with some fun.
Hair style: Well to start we will just get this out of the way. I know that most people that few NJ through a microscope and watch us through a tube, can tell that our sense of style is different. One of those fashion sense items is the big hair, enormous amounts of hairspray (enough that there may be a hole in the ozone above NJ), and varying styles.

Horses: Believe it or not, as the garden state, we have horses. We already told you that the first state that housed a rodeo was NJ, but little do people know we still have them today. There are horses on our farms and some are bred for racing.

Hammonton: The town of Hammonton is also known as the blueberry capitol of the world. While they have other business and history, their key fact is that the town is filled with blueberries and they are proud of it.

Hamilton Mall: One of the small malls in NJ, Hamilton mall services the Atlantic City region and houses all of the great things you would expect to find in a mall, from a Spencer’s Gifts (A place to by naughty junk) to Kay’s Jewelers (A place to buy Amy’s next gift).

Hoboken: While we haven’t ever been there, we have been told that it is one of the greatest party places in the Tristate area. Also, don’t forget, it was the home of the great Frank Sinatra.

High Point State Park: Just as the name says, it is the highest point in NJ. It stands at 1,800 feet. Compared to most places it isn’t that high and we are lucky our state gets that high.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

M. Fingernails

I am blogging right now, just to give my fingernails a break.  Amy is currently in for a surgery and it has been about one hour and twenty some minutes.  The doctor said it would take about two hours, but I was starting to think that if I didn't do something else with myself, then I would be missing at least an index finger.

It's strange, I never know how anxious and neurotic that I can be, until I am forced to wait.  I am impatient, nervous, and a worrier.  I know that everything is fine and my subconscious is telling me to calm down, but no amounts or reading, The Corrections by Franzen is helping.  I probably should have brought a less controversial book with less talk of Xanex, alcohol, and all of the Franzen-like crazy ideas that he has.

Either way, at least I was able to vent out some feelings and release some of my frustration on all of you that will listen.  Thanks for stopping in, caring, and we will let you know how everything is once this is all done.  I hope all is well, again, thank you for letting me vent, Mike.

Friday, August 19, 2011

M. Everything New

To fill everyone in; aside from having to force Amy to drive extra miles in a day, I love my new job.

To put it in perspective, the company that I used to work for is a direct partner with the company that I work with now.

I feel slightly like a free agent that was placed with a league rival.  There is no reason for me to hate doing what I do, because it is the same thing, I am now just doing it for someone else.  The people that I once worked with are at the shop daily and I still see them, which is nice, but it is different now.  Maybe it's because I've gone to the "dark side."  Who knows.

All I know is that all of the anxiety that I was having about the decision has passed.  I feel, without a doubt, that I have made the correct decision and will be happy with my new found future.  Oh yeah, and we have to keep writing.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A. Amy's Taxi Service

As a mom of a 7 and 8 year old.  I am a taxi service, between school, dance, football, wrestling, golf, basketball, cheer leading, girl scouts and play dates. Geez i am tired just typing it. I love that my children are very active and before you judge they choose to do these things we don't push. The only rule we have is if you start something you finish it, and if you don't want to do next year then that's fine.

I now have another passenger in my Taxi, my husband. Due to medical issues he is not allowed to drive till at least Sept 9 and maybe longer. His job used to consist of mostly driving and he had to resign. Luckily he was offered another job making more money. The only problem is I have to drive him and its about an hour away. So i just added 4 hours of driving to my day.

I am not complaining I love the extra time I get to spend with him and like we have said before a lot of our writing is done in the car.  I just don't like getting up earlier to get him to work and then drive back so I am at work in time.

G is for...

This week in the ABC of Your Home State, brought to you by Fleur de Aleta, we talk about the letter G.

So, here it is, in the state of New Jersey we have some interesting G things:

Great Adventure - In the central to northern part of NJ there is a Six Flags theme park.  There they have great rides, a safari, and enormous prices.

Great White Roller Coaster - Wildwood's own wooden roller coaster. 

Galloway - An extremely large township in southern NJ that is home to a large number of great sites to visit.  There they have Smithville a small shopping area now, but set in old homes and shops from the past.  Renault Winery is also a place that you should stop at.  Of course there is the other mystery that comes from Galloway as well, it is houses in the boro of Leeds Point, which is the suspected place of birth for the Jersey Devil.  A mythical creature that only haunts the forests of NJ and has been there for centuries.  Granted, several of the towns and counties in NJ take credit, but it has always been the one that made sense.

P.S. We promise to go more into the Jersey Devil in a few weeks.

Gas - Yeah, one of the benefits of NJ.  We have gas, like all other states, but we don't pump our own gas and it's cheaper then most other places.  For once, we are spoiled!

Guests - Also known as tourists.  Because we have beautiful beaches, theme parks and amusements, fairs, fishing, rockclimbing, canoeing, camping, and so many other things I don't even know about, the state of NJ is full of tourists all year long.

Golf - We have hundreds of golf courses through the state.  Some of them are tour quality and others are more for amatures like us, but either way they are nice, clean, and fun.  Oh yeah, and for the not so savvy golfers, we have the ones with windmills, dinosaurs, and astroturf greens - yup we have mini-golf.

Grapes -  As we stated above, in NJ there is the Renault Winery, which is famous in itself.  However, few people realize that we have several wineries throughout the state.  Natali Vineyards, Hawk Haven, Cape May Vineyard, Cape may Winery, & many more that we haven't even tried yet.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tristen Giveaway!!!


Now with the help of, we were able to set up a Tristen & the Magic Shop giveaway.  If you are interested in winning one of the five copies up for grabs, then click the link below and enter to win!!!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tristen & the Magic Shop by M.A. Leslie

Tristen & the Magic Shop

by M.A. Leslie

Giveaway ends August 31, 2011.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, August 12, 2011

M. Decided.

Well, as most of you had heard, I was in a small car crash a few weeks ago.  Mainly because of the obnoxious neurological issues that ail me on an intermittent, but now permanent basis. 

This can only be explained as a life altering situation.

So, what to do?

I finally decided to change my career.  It was a hard decision, but it was for the best.  For the past few years, I was an insurance adjuster, which required exorbitant amounts of driving.  As you can see, my ailment keeps me for at least a few weeks and months a year from doing my job.  It sucks, but I am stepping out of corporate America and going to work for a smaller business.  I will basically be doing the same job, but I will be in one location and starting, not from scratch, but over again.

It is a strange feeling and one that I haven't ever experienced.  I am happy to have a new job and the opportunity to still be able to work, despite my issues, but at the same time I am sad to close the door on a chapter in my life.  I loved the company that I worked for, the people I worked with, and the pride that I had every day.  It is going to be a tough adjustment, but now that it has been decided, it is the right decision.  I will go forward on Monday and learn to love a new company.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Finally, after a year and a few months of writing, rewriting, editing, & copy-editing, our paranormal thriller, Liberty is available.  We decided, like Tristen, that it would be best to self publish and without further ado, we present:

Liberty Sytes has spent her entire life trying to forget her mother’s schizophrenic episodes, the fear on her mother’s face and the paranoia that would broadcast in her eyes.

However, while standing on the Wildwood Boardwalk, as a part-time class two cop, she begins to remember. Not because of sadness or longing for her mother, but because suddenly she feels the paranoia of being watched.
Unfortunately, the feeling of being watched turns to blacking out and then the blacking out leads to the sights of murder. Libbi is forced to prove her own innocence and sanity after being found directly in the center of a gruesome murder scene.
Will her own new found secrets, if told, prove her innocence or seal her guilt? She remembers one thing, from watching her mother, that it may be best to leave some secrets untold.

LIBERTY is available from Amazon for the Kindle and as a paperback, as well as being available from B&N for the Nook.  The EBook is only 99 cents and the print version is $9.99.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

F is for...

This week in the ABC of Your Home State, brought to you by Fleur de Aleta, we talk about the letter F.

In New Jersey there isn't too much going on geographically with the letter F, at least not that I can think of.  We talked about it and Amy and I came up with these fun NJ favorites, we hope you enjoy.

Fried Oreo - The fried Oreo is exactly what it sounds like, aside from a heart attack style cookie.  It originated on the Wildwood boardwalk and has been a Jersey Shore favorite since.  I know that it sounds kind of nasty, but if ever given a chance to try it, it is worth it.

Funnel Cake - Again with the fried stuff.  I think that most states might have funnel cake by now, but we have a special multi flavored array of choices.  All you have to do is fry up some pancake batter and cover it with confection sugar, oh the sugar rush!

Fair - Believe it or not, we are still the garden state here in NJ.  A large part of that is our County fairs.  Most counties in NJ have a fair and these fairs range in style from different rides, attractions, some are more farm oriented, and there is always the key element of the F which is FUN.

Fishing - I know that we have mentioned it before, but NJ has some of the best fresh and salt water fishing in the entire country.  And, I can promise that there are no extra eyes or fins.

Fist Pumping - An innate quality that we in NJ are born with.  Yes it is true, we can't help it most of the time.  Now, to clear something up, people down in South Jersey, where we are from, don't use it quite so often as North Jersey, but we still know how to do it.

ABC Your Home State

Thanks for reading about our great state.  We look forward to telling you about what we have with the letter G, next week on Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

M. Advertising

Advertising is one of the hardest parts of the book process.  To be completely honest, it sucks.  Telling someone about your book is difficult to start and then you have to convince them to read it.  I am not a magician and as of yet haven't figured out the best way to do this.

I equate book advertising to your first job.  I think we are all able to remember how we felt about getting it, the stress, the uncertainty.  To get a first job, you need experience and to get experience, you need a first job.  Nasty little catch twenty-two, but to get people to buy your book, you need someone to have read it.  To get someone to have read it, you need someone to have bought it.

So how does one go through the internet, post on social media and discussion boards, without being considered a pest and spammer?  It is a fine line.  If you don't do it then you will never find that first fan, but if you do it too much, you will be virtually stone and shunned from internet society.

Basically, I am looking for suggestions, comments, and what would you do's.  Because, as of yet, we haven't broken the plan of acceptable advertisement.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

M. Goodreads

Going back to what Nathan had asked the other day, what social networking sites do you use?

It seems like everyone and their mother has a blog now-a-days and a Facebook page. Then, don’t even start on Twitter. If I could just get as many followers as a simple peacock in NY that jumped off a building, how did he get so many followers? Of course there are the select few using Google+ but the rest of us have to wait.

You could even count the discussion boards on Amazon, if you would like.

That really isn’t what I want to talk about though. I want to talk about Goodreads. Have any of you tried it yet, because I finally started using my account and I am becoming quickly addicted. It is an entire online community build around the idea of a book club and it is awesome. All you need to do is go on, make some friends, join some groups, talk about books, get recommendations, and oh yeah read.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so, I think you will find it to be as interesting as I do. Also, if you are already on Goodreads and looking for a new friend, look us up, we’re listed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

E is for...

In the state of New Jersey, we have some great sites that have to do with the letter E.  One of the greatest inventors even.

Lucy the Elephant - In Margate, NJ.  A large elephant structure built in town that at one point or another we have all seen, but can't explain why it's there.

Egg Harbor - A large body of water between Cape May and Atlantic Counties that features great fishing, boating, and sometimes a not so great smell.

Edison, NJ -  Thomas Edison invented items that led to for than 400 patents at his Industrial "Invention" Park. These Menlo Park inventions include the phonograph and the incandescent lamp.

ABC Your Home State

100th Post

Today, we have finally reached out 100th post.  It has been an interesting journey and I can't explain how amazing it has been to meet the people that we have met on the way.

To everyone that reads, thank you.  To all that visit, thank you.  We can't wait to see what the next 100 posts will bring.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

M. Decisions, decisions, decisions

One of the hardest things in life is allowing yourself to relinquish control. At least for me, I hate not having control of a situation and not being in charge, except when it comes to being at home, after all I am a husband. But, when you have had control and worked to obtain a goal, it is hard to swallow that you may be losing it.

Currently, I am at a crossroad in life and instead of being a planned, outlined, and controlled person, I may have to rely on my gut to reach the next level. That scares the hell out of me.

I may take a chance in the next few weeks that could or couldn’t be one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Unfortunately, my health is forcing me to make the decision. Now, I have to let fate or whatever you may call it, guide the way.

So, here’s to all of my fellow control freaks and people that don’t fly by the seat of your pants. It’s not that I don’t like being part of the club, but I may have to take a short break to accomplish a new goal. Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted.