Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone. It's hard to believe. It came and went so fast. I have great memories of 2006. It was an exciting year for me. I got married on May 20th to a really great guy. The year did have its down moments. My husband lost a sister six weeks before the wedding. But I have so much to be thankful for.

I thank God for all the blessings I received in 2006 and vow to do all I can to give back in 2007.

I wish you all success, health and happiness in the new year.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Sparky Series — A Great Kids’ Christmas Gift

I recommend that you all check out the children’s books written by my friend Rick Arruzza:

- Sparky’s Walk
- No Rest for Sparky
- Sparky Coast to Coast
- and his just released newest book, Sparky’s Big Race!

Rick began writing children’s books four years ago featuring his female mixed pit bull/pointer dog, Sparky, as the star. He saved Sparky from being euthanized at a New York City pound years ago.

Rick’s books, illustrated by Pilar Newton, are original, cute, funny, and fun. The interior black and white pages are designed for children to color in their very own special way. And $1 of every purchase goes to Adopt-A-Dog!

If you want to give your kids something unique and original, and not the same old same old, and help save another pet from extinction, check out Rick’s books.

You can order through or directly from Rick. Just email him at That way, you can have your books personalized! You can also take advantage of special offers for the books (such as a Sparky Three-Spot Pack - any three titles for $20; and the Sparky Four-Paws Set - the set of four for $26).

And don't forget to check out Sparky's very own website: Your kids can write to Sparky and she'll write back.

Want Rick to come to your child's school and hold a book reading? Just send him an email! Rick has given book readings in children's schools everywhere from Connecticut to Miami to California to upstate New York, just minutes from the Canadian border.

P.S. All Rick’s books are also available in Spanish!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Alwaleed — A Prince of a Guy

I just read a really awesome article in an email newsletter I get from the consulting firm McKinsey. The article, written by Kito de Boar of McKinsey’s Dubai office, is a Q&A with His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud—or Alwaleed, as he’s known in the Middle East, the article says.

What completely grabbed my attention and pushed me to read the article was the fact that he owns shares in some very major corporations in the U.S., including Apple, Disney, Citigroup and News Corp.
At first that scared me. But as I read through, I realized this is a guy that the United States really needs in its court. Here are some highlights that I feel are important:

1) He believes women in Saudi Arabia should be able to drive and do much more. He employs a female pilot, jockey and flight attendant — positions apparently unavailable for the average woman in SA.

In the article, he says:
“I am Islamically conservative—I will do anything to help people, especially in the Islamic community—but I believe in the women’s cause, not just for their sake, but for the sake of the economy and for Saudi Arabia. You cannot have a population that is 50 percent female and have it account for only 4 or 5 percent of productivity. In my company I am trying to set an example. And what I do gets monitored because I have a relatively high profile. I have, for example, hired the first lady pilot, the first lady flight attendant, and the first lady jockey. And I use my media outlets to promote that. The jockey went to the Emirates, and all they talked about was her, even though she didn’t win. On television the pilot pointed out that she was not permitted to drive on the roads, but she could fly a plane and look down on everyone from the air.”

2) He says we all believe in one God, something I have been saying for years:
“There is very little difference between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism—they all believe in one God, one day of judgment, and a scripture that teaches about heaven. OK, one says the Bible is the word of God, the other that the Koran is the word of God. There are differences, but we are so close.”

It’s comforting to find a Muslim who feels we are all on the same team. I don’t think we get exposed to a lot of that in our media today. All we ever see is the hatred.

You will need to register at the McKinsey site to read the full article, but it is worth your time:

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Remember Wounded Soldiers Around the Holidays

The Wounded Warrior Project is one of my favorite charities, and one that I think about more often around the holidays. Their mission is to help critically wounded soldiers and their families during the time between their initial rehabilitation (while still on active duty) and their transition to civilian life.

One of the things they do that I especially like is the backpacks they give to soldiers in the hospital. They fill these backpacks with things that wounded soldiers need and, in particular, can use in bed, if they can’t get out of bed. Items include things like razors and other toiletries, long-distance phone cards, hand-held games, books, writing paper, etc. They even include a t-shirt.

These backpacks are tremendous comfort for soldiers during a great time of need, especially for those who either don’t have families to care for them or for those whose families are too far away to visit the hospital.

Think of a soldier during the holiday season. They’ve been thinking of you all year long.

Backpack sponsorships are $99. To sponsor a backpack:

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

More Photos Like This Would Be Nice!

I just received this awesome photo/article in an email from a friend. Here's the copy that's underneath:

Comforting Embrace
Airforce Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt of the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad, Iraq, cradles a young girl as they both sleep in the hospital. The girl’s entire family was executed by insurgents; the killers shot her in the head as well. The girl received treatment at the U.S. Military Hospital in Bagdad, but cries and moans often. According to nurses at the facility, Gebhardt is the only one who can calm down the girl, so he has spent the last several nights holding her while they both sleep in a chair.

The photo is courtesy of David W. Gilmore Jr. of the U.S. Air Force. I can't source the newspaper because it didn't show in the email.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Finally, a Better Search!

If you’re like me, you don’t have much success when doing a Yahoo! or Google search. I still get a ton of responses to my queries, and after the first half dozen (if that much), the rest aren’t very helpful. I tend to look at the top 3 to 5 links that come up (called ‘organic’ links — meaning links that come up naturally) and completely ignore the links across the top and along the right hand side that are in blue (called ‘paid’ links — links that companies pay money to have come up, like advertising). I hardly ever scroll down below the fold (the fold is the bottom of your computer screen — anything you can’t see without scrolling is called ‘below the fold’) and almost never bother clicking to the next page, because the responses get less and less useful.

Well, finally, after more than a decade of using search engines, I have found a real solution to that problem. It’s called ChaCha. ChaCha is a search engine that combines automated technology with real people. Yes, real people!!! Called Guides, who are part of the ChaCha ‘Underground’, each person has certain areas of expertise, which determines who gets the search request. They live all over the United States. Also, they prewrite and submit information that goes into the automated repository based on their expertise, similar to the way Wikipedia is built.

The first time I tried it, I got the best answer to a search query I’ve EVER gotten. Try it! Go to and put something in the search box. Underneath, you’ll see two links. The first is called ChaCha Search. That’s a fully automated search without human help. I tried that first and got a great answer to a question — the same question I had asked Yahoo! and Google, neither of which gave me an answer that satisfied me.

The link on the right — Search with Guide — brings up a live chat box on the left side of your screen. The automated system instantly locates the best person for your query and sends it to them. If they accept your query, you’ll see them listed in the chat box and they’ll begin looking. You can chat with them while they’re looking. Guides get paid for their work, so they definitely want to help you find what you’re looking for. Also, you get to rate them at the end of each search!

And by the way, see that banner on the bottom of the home page that is a collage of photos? Those are real pictures of real guides!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What’s the Difference Between the House and the Senate?

Somebody asked me this question the other day and I didn’t feel that I answered as well or as thoroughly as I wanted to. So I decided to surf the web for better, more succinct definitions. Here is some very detailed information I found on Wikipedia, by way of Lisa, a search consultant, or ‘Underground Guide’, on

The United States Congress is the legislature of the U.S. federal government. It is bicameral — i.e., having two sides, those sides being the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 435 voting members (plus non-voting delegates from American Samoa, the District of Columbia, i.e., Washington D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Island, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), each representing a congressional district and serving a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states on the basis of population. Each state has two Senators, regardless of population. There are 100 senators, who each serve six-year terms. Both Senators and Representatives are chosen through direct election.

The powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Through Acts of Congress, Congress may regulate interstate and foreign commerce, levy taxes, organize the federal courts, maintain the military, declare war, and exercise certain other necessary and proper powers.

The House and Senate are coequal houses. However, there are some special powers granted to one chamber only. The Senate's advice and consent is required to confirm presidential nominations to high-level executive and judicial positions, and for the ratification of treaties. Bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives, as well as any impeachment proceedings.

Congress meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The term Congress may also refer to a particular meeting of the Congress. For instance, as of 2006, the 109th Congress is in session.

In a separate search on, I also found this:The Senate is presided over by Dick Cheney. He has some very major influence in the structure of commitee formation, which, in essence, determines the introduction of bills. It is A LOT harder to start a bill in the House, but it is even harder for Senators to get their bills to the President due to fillibusters who are common among House voters. The House seems to attack Bush more frequently over homeland security matters and the proposed militarization of Mexico (as well as the biometrics part that they employers will need to verify while completing I-9 documents). The Senate, as they appropriate budget bills, seems to be more concerned with defense spending and getting us OUT of Iraq ASAP.

If you want to read more, here’s another interesting article I found:

Thanks to all the contributors!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Recycling — It’s Not Just About What You Put in Your Blue Bin

As consumers, we recycle what ever the state allows and what ever the state demands. That usually includes newspapers, magazines, catalogs and colored direct mail pieces, brown kraft cardboard, bottles, cans and plastic. In my state, we only recycle plastic that has a number 1 or 2 on it. (Sadly, the little numbers in the recycling triangle on the back of plastic containers go up to 6, so we are still throwing away quite a bit of material.)

But recycling is about much more than just what we put in our blue bins. For instance, do you recycle your printer ink cartridges? Staples has always had a bin in their stores where people can drop their used ink cartridges for recycling. For several months now, they’ve also been running a promotion that gives a $3.00 coupon for every ink cartridge handed in at the checkout counter.

Stop & Shop grocery stores have a carton in the entranceway that accepts used plastic bags. There are companies that recycle cell phones, and if you do a web search, you should be able to find one you can mail your phone to. For decades, we’ve been recycling glasses — not in the sense that they melt them down, but they are given to less fortunate people who need them. In fact, there are recycling bins for glasses in every Pearle Vision Center in my market. I even take my old hangers to the dry cleaners for recycling, and of course, any books, clothes or other materials that might be useful to others to the Goodwill.

The point is, recycling is not something we should take lightly. The planet earth is our home. When it takes one bag of garbage 50 years to decompose, and we produce millions of bags of garbage every year around the world, how much longer do you think we can go on before we run out of landfill space? In some areas of the U.S., children’s parks and even entire living communities are built on top of landfills, leaving the residents there to silently inhale the gases that composting garbage emits.

Please think about this every time you throw something away. Ask yourself, is this item recyclable? The survival of nature and your very own neighborhood depends on it.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fight Back!

About four years ago, I had a really bad customer service experience with Sears. I was so enraged by their clueless lack of proper customer relationship management that I surfed the Internet for a website I could vent on and found one:(
I wrote a scathing and detailed description of my experience, posted it on the website and walked away feeling like I had unloaded a burden. I did receive satisfaction from Sears, but I still felt the story needed to be told — I’m a writer, and writers can’t resist a good story.

The interesting thing is that about every six months, I get an email (still!) from someone who is in the midst of a horrifically awful Sears experience that has not yet been resolved and found my scathing missive. One woman and I exchanged several emails where she asked my advice on how to get them to pay attention to her and to solve her problem to her satisfaction.

Here’s what I told her, and these suggestions would apply to any company you could be having a problem with:

1. Write a letter to the CEO of Sear’s and FedEx it so it gets hand-delivered to his/her desk. Write under your signature that you have CC’d your lawyer, the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, the Direct Marketing Association, all your local newspapers and television stations, The New York Times and any of those TV programs where the investigative reporter goes out and fights for the consumer. Then, make sure you send out all those copies. Don’t pretend to do it. Do it.

Note: If you don’t have a lawyer, find one and ask their permission to include their name on the letter and to send them a letter. Tell them if you decide to hire a lawyer for your case, they’ll have first dibbs.

2. Call those TV programs where the investigative reporter goes out and fights for the consumer and try to get your situation resolved by them, on television.

3. The day after the letter arrives, pick up the phone and call the CEO’s office. When the admin asks who you are and why you’re calling, tell her your name and that you’re following up a letter you FedExed to him/her yesterday. If she wants more information, tell her it’s a personal matter. Always be pleasant, never rude or upset. Usually the CEO will not toss your letter. He or she will forward it on to the head of customer service or some other executive, who will be required to follow up because the directive came from the CEO.

4. If you don’t get any satisfaction, call the Better Business Bureau and/or the FTC and any other organization and file a written complaint. For instance, if you’re complaint is against a doctor or medical facility, you can call the American Medical Association in your state.

4. If you still don’t get any restitution or satisfaction, consider hiring a lawyer and taking them to court.

When the Westin Hotels chains started advertising that they were equipping all their rooms with feather pillows and comforters, I wrote a letter to the CEO of Starwood Hotels, the parent company, questioning their judgment. I told him that I was allergic to feathers, as were most asthmatics, and that they were losing a very large group of customers who could never sleep in a Westin, since about one out of every 10 persons has asthma (that’s not a real statistic, just a good guess). I got a personal phone call from the director of marketing of Starwood Hotels. Today, the Westin chain still uses feather pillows and comforters, but they stock enough cotton comforters and pillows to replace the entire suite of rooms if they have to. And the few times I have stayed in a Westin, housekeeping has arrived within five minutes to change out the bedding for me.

When you’re right, it pays to be the squeaky wheel. If you believe in your cause, don’t give up!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Don’t Forward My Email Address!

Everybody does it. You get a funny joke or an inspirational message and you want to pass it on to your friends and family. So you put a dozen names in the “to” field of a new email and you hit send. But there is a serious problem with doing that—you are putting your friends and family at risk of receiving spam and other unsolicited messages. Also, I believe that you are violating someone’s privacy when you show their email address to others without their permission.

Think about all the emails you receive from your friends. There are often about five different sets of forwards in the email before you actually get to the joke. Now you probably couldn’t care less about these names. But think about it. Your name is on that list. Do you want your email address given out to tens of dozens of people you don’t know?

Just recently, I received an email from a woman who’s name I didn’t recognize. She turned out to be a friend of a friend. Someone I had had dinner with once. My friend had sent out a blanket email once to gather people for a brunch, and this woman had kept all of her friend’s friends’ email addresses. That really bugged me, because I hadn't given her my email address myself.

Here are some rules of email etiquette I believe we all should follow:

1. Only group together the email addresses of friends and family who already have those other email addresses. Otherwise, send out emails to your friends and family individually without other people’s addresses in it.

2. When you receive a joke or another type of message you feel is worthy of passing on, after you hit the forward button, go down into the body of the message and delete the names of the previous recipients. Keep deleting until the actual content of the email comes up in the window.

Remember, if you’re forwarding messages with other people’s email addresses on them, then other people are forwarding messages with your email address on it. Start respecting other people’s privacy today and teach others to do the same. Not only is it good etiquette, but it’s less fodder out there for spammers to get ahold of.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What Time Is it in Heaven?

Have you ever wondered what time zone Jesus is in and whether it’s the same time in Heaven as it is where you are? For instance, let’s say you’re in the Eastern time zone and you go to sleep at 10 p.m., but before climbing into your comfy bed, you get down on your knees and pray. Well, if Jesus resides directly over the Middle East, it would be about 4 a.m. where he is. Would your voice be waking him up?

Or, suppose Jesus likes to hang out “over” sunny California. That would put him in the Pacific time zone. If you pray at 10 Eastern, would you be interrupting his dinner?

Perhaps Jesus has a recording system that sends all prayer requests to voicemail so he can choose not to be disturbed if he doesn’t want to and can pick his messages up later. Of course, there would have to be an automatic alert mechanism for emergency requests.

If he sits at the tippy top of the universe, where all time zones converge into one, could it always be all times at one time in heaven? Or would they cancel each other out to become no times at all?

Hmmm. I wonder….

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tips on Planning a Destination Wedding

I’d never even heard the term “destination wedding” until I had one. So for those of you who don’t know what it means, it’s having a wedding outside your local geographic area.

On May 20th of this year, I got married in Nassau, Bahamas. I live in New England and had to plan everything via phone and email. Fortunately, things went really smoothly and our wedding was absolutely beautiful. But it helps to work with a hotel that has experience with people coming in from out of town (and outside the country) to get married.

For anyone who might be planning a destination wedding, or would at least like to consider the possibility, here are a few tips from my own personal experience to help you get started.

1. Look on the Internet for a hotel that advertises wedding packages. If they don’t advertise a wedding package, chances are they’re not well versed in putting a wedding together, so stay away from hotels that don’t have it listed as a core competency—something they specialize in. We were married at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau. They did an absolutely supurb job and the catering sales staff was fabulous to work with. I really have to say we had zero complaints.

2. Let them do as much as you’re willing to pay for. It just so happens that my husband is from Nassau, so we knew people who knew people. Even so, we let the Hilton do almost everything. We did just three things on our own:

- Got our own minister: saved $100
- Got our own DJ: saved $400
- Got our own wedding cake: saved $400

They handled the entire menu, all the drinks, the serving, the outdoor ceremony set-up, and the flowers.

We wanted a buffet meal to provide our guests with a multitude of flexibility. We started with a menu package that the Hilton gave us and customized it from there, and they worked with us.

3. Make sure you understand the marital laws of the country or, if it’s within the continental U.S., the state you are going to. We first wanted to get our marriage license in our home state and just have the official ceremony down there, so that we would have an American marriage license. No go. Our state didn't allow that, but some other states might.

Also, the Bahamas has a law that says you have to “live” in the country in order to obtain a marriage license. Their definition of living in the country was just 48 hours, so you will need to arrive in the country 48 hours prior to applying for a marriage license.

4. If you are divorced, bring an original certified copy of your divorce papers with you. They won’t marry you unless you can prove you are legally unmarried and able to get married. They are very sensitive to people thinking they can jump ship from their own country and go tie the knot somewhere else where they can sneak under the rules. Not happening in the Bahamas!

5. Call ahead to see what kind of other paperwork or meetings might be needed. We had to go down there a monthly early to file some additional paperwork and to book an interview with the Registrar (again to ensure that it is not a marriage of convenience).

6. No blood tests are needed, but then, I’ve heard that they’ve eliminated those here in the U.S., as well.

7. I don’t know how the other islands work, but when calling the Bahamas, you don’t need to dial an international code. Simply dial 1, 242 (the area code), and the number.

8. Regarding cell phones, the only cell phone that works in the Bahamas is Cingular, and I think you have to have a certain brand of phone that works worldwide. Check with your carrier. Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T all purposely block their signals down there because the Bahamas still suffers from too much signal theft. Although I heard a rumor that BahamaTel was going private within the next two years, and that when it does, that will pave the way for service for all.

9. Note that, in the Bahamas business community, they don't have the capability to keep their email up and running 24/7. They tend to check it once a day. So don't expect the catering staff to get your message in 3 seconds. If you need a quick response, I recommend you call down there and alert them to the fact that you have sent them an email and you are looking for a quick response. Otherwise, they'll respond about once every 24 to 48 hours, but even that takes some prodding because, like us in America, they're overworked.

One final word of advice: If you’re allergic to nuts, make sure you tell your cake baker! The islands use a lot of nuts in everything, particularly cake!

Happy nuptuals!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Love the Freelance Life!

August 6th marks the third anniversary of working for myself and I feel so blessed at the amount of work that keeps coming and at the great clients I have.

I am a freelance writer and editor. I get up every morning and walk from the master bedroom to the spare bedroom. It takes me about 10 seconds. I don’t have to warm up my car in the winter, or scrape the windows. I don’t have to put on business clothes, face the general public, or deal as much with the gas crisis. I went from filling up my tank once a week to filling it up once month.

I work just as many hours now as I did when I had a full-time job, but it’s so much easier doing it from home. I can split the hours up with short breaks, get my housework done on my lunch hour, run errands when I feel like it…go to the gym when I feel like it. I could even jump in the pool at lunch time if I wanted to…I never do…but I really should start taking advantage of that opportunity!

If you want to be a freelance writer, or even a full-time writer, and you're just getting started, here's my advice:

- Start writing for free. I did. And I eventually got a full-time paying job from it. Write for the newsletter of a local charity, your church, a rock band, anything, just to get started and build a portfolio. Then once you have something to show, solicit your local newspapers for writing assignments. And don't give up. Eventually, one will hire you!

- Take writing classes, read books on writing, join writing organizations and go to writing events. Mingle with people, and listen and learn from the best.

- Start at the bottom. Be willing to be an editorial assistant, or to take the worst shift or the worst assignment just to get started. If you're good, your work will speak for itself and you will move up quickly. I worked my way up the ladder in the business for 14 years before I went out on my own. When I finally did, everyone knew me and knew my work.

- Remember that, to make a living at it, you can't just write when the mood strikes. You need to be able to learn how to turn it on at 9 a.m. and turn it off at 5 p.m., and still have it be good material. That was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn, but it can be done.

- And finally, be willing to listen to constructive criticism. The best editorial advice I ever got was what I did wrong in my articles. It's the only way to learn.

I thank God for everything I have and hope that I will be able to write this same post a year from now!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Want to Start a Blog of Your Own?

By the way, in case you read this and think, cool...I'd like to do this can. It's easy and it's free. Just go to and follow the steps!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Down With Underarm Hair

One of the reasons I wanted to write a blog was because I have some whacky thoughts and ideas that I wanted to present to the world.

The first is about underarm hair. I think everyone - male or female - should shave their armpits. Tell me, what is sexy about underarm hair? Nothing. And even more "nothing" when it is dripping wet, like on a basketball player. Gross!

Wouldn't it be great if every time an athlete, mechanic, swimmer...or any guy lifted his arm up in the air, there was nothing under it? After all, we live in a world of exercise and health buffs where short hair - or no hair (i.e. bald shaved heads) are the standard. Men shave their heads and their faces, why not their armpits?

So I think clean armpits are the way to go and I encourage every man to start making this the norm today!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Introducing...Lynn's Blog!

Hi all. This is something I've been thinking about doing for months. Why now? Because I have so much to say and so many thoughts in my head I felt I just needed an avenue for getting them out and couldn't wait any longer. I think blogging is about the coolest form of online media to come along since...well, online media came along.

I've always wanted a website for my writing business but didn't have and still don't have the time or budget to put one together. This is the perfect solution.

I don't expect a bazzillion readers and I will post no advertising, unless of course I actually reach a bazillion readers and somebody makes me an offer I can't refuse. Then I'd be writing this from a chateau in France or the Bahamas...or both and I'd hire my brother Tommy as ad director to manage all the advertising stateside while I bask in the sun and write best-selling novels.

For now, this is for me, and for any of my family members, friends, business associates and other acquaintances who care to read it. Enjoy!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.