A VALENTINE’S STORY

Silhouette of lovers in heartWhenever I tell the story of how my husband and I ended up together, people inevitably say, “You should write the story of that!”

I haven’t written in detail about our love story, but in all the romances and other fiction I’ve written since 2009, there are bits of us and our journey to where we are today. As an author, I freely admit that small pieces of my life and the people in it slip into my work. I have a sticker on my file cabinet, which should be tattooed on my forehead. “Be careful what you tell me or you might end up in my next novel.”

So for this Valentine’s Day, here’s the story of Robert and Patricia Zick, edited to protect those who didn’t ask to be a part of our reuniting.

To begin, we go to Michigan in 1972, when Robert was twenty-two, and I was beginning my senior year of high school. My brother Don and Robert were good friends so I began hanging around my brother’s apartment whenever I knew the handsome Robert would be there as well. Within a few months, we discovered we were falling in love. But Robert had an opportunity to move to Pittsburgh, and I needed to finish high school. He left, and we both remember a profound sadness at our parting. But there was no drama. Both of us knew there was no future for us. He married someone else in 1973, and I married my first husband and moved to Florida in 1980. We had children and lived our lives, but we never forgot one another.

Sadly, in 2008, my brother Don committed suicide. It devastated me. I had no one with whom to share my grief because the rest of my family had severed ties to Don years before. For months, I kept thinking about Robert and remembering the happy times we had spent with Don all those years ago. When I received an ad for Classmates.com for a free trial period in April 2009, I decided to try it. The first person I searched for? Yep, that’s right. The young guy I’d fallen in love with when I was seventeen. And surprisingly, there he was. He, too, had received the same ad and decided to give the site a try, which is amazing in and of itself. Robert is not that savvy on the computer, and he never joins anything. He still refuses to have anything to do with Facebook. Yet, for some reason, we both joined Classmates.com in the same month.

“Where are you these days, Bob?” my message to him read. Nothing more. I wanted to keep it simple because I wasn’t certain he’d even remember me after thirty-six years. Within twenty-four hours, I had a long response filling me in on his life. For days, we exchanged our stories and found we had many things in common.

One day in early May, he called. I knew his voice immediately. Within ten minutes, we were sharing our beliefs on spirituality, politics, and life in general. We clicked, and there was no hesitation in our sharing. During our second phone call, he ended it by saying, “I love you.” It shocked me. On the next call, the first thing I asked was why had he told me he loved me.

“I don’t know, except that it felt right, and I always regretted I never told you that all those years ago.” I turned to mush at the confession.

Daily calls for a month led to the decision that I would fly to Pittsburgh for a meeting. Nerves jangling and expectations high, I went, telling myself that if nothing else, I’d reconnect with a good friend. We would share stories about my brother, and I’d feel better about his death. And all of that happened. But there was one more thing. When we met in person, all the feelings from thirty-six years before were still there. The attraction, the connection, and the love surfaced, and we knew our lives were about to change forever.

By July, we were together, and I made arrangements to move to Pittsburgh. We married the following year. And now almost eight years later, our rekindled love still flames and burns brightly. It feels as if we’ve always been together. 015847d4b5d079eaeaa160f2b7e886d10b728c3e3e-2

We celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together in 2010, and seven years later, we celebrate once again. We celebrate finding one another, and we celebrate love. Has it always been smooth? Of course not. We were two people in their fifties fairly set in our own ways of doing things. But we adjusted–still adjust–because we know that there must be something that ties us together. I don’t have the answers as to why, but I know I’d rather travel with him than without him. Since he’s still hanging around, I assume he feels the same way.

Before I reconnected with Robert, I’d been a lonely divorcee in her fifties. I struggled with my loneliness. I tried online dating, and I hated it. I longed for love but felt at my age, it was over for me in that department.

For those of you who might feel the same, never give up. And the best way to draw love is to live a life of love. It will come back to you tenfold.

Happy Day of Love to you all and a couple of gifts.

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Click here to download a free copy of Odyssey to Myself, a collection of essays about the decade between 2000-2010 and how travel helped me recover and stand again.

 

 

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Click here to download a free copy of my first romance, Behind the Altar, and the first book in the Behind the Love series.

 

Click on the images below to check out the rest of the Behind the Love series.

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BOOK REVIEW FRIDAY – BLEEDING HEART BY STACI TROILO

bleeding heartOn Author Wednesday this week, Staci Troilo wrote about her choice to write multi-genre novels. After reading Bleeding Heart, her first venture into suspenseful romance, I can attest that she’s made a wise choice to branch out from mainstream fiction and mystery. She titled it Bleeding Heart for a very good reason (you’ll find no spoilers here), but I can tell you it was heart-stopping, heart-throbbing, and heart-pounding as well.

The novel, the first in her Medici Protectorate series, never allows the reader a moment to relax and take a breath for a variety of reasons. It’s a novel that crosses genre lines in a fascinating cross-pollination of lives, eras, and continents. There’s suspense, mystery, intrigue, and history. But overriding the whole thing is a romantic sensuality that tops anything I’ve read of late.

I’m impressed with what Ms. Troilo accomplished in this book. It’s intelligent and explores an area of mystery that has plagued generations from the United States to Italy. But she’s also written some of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read. I’m embarrassed when I read some steamy romances because the plot line can delve into cheesy. Not so with this novel. She matched the personalities of her main characters–Franki and Gianni–perfectly. Both proud, stubborn, and with streaks of anger that are down right frightful. Even Franki’s sisters and Gianni’s adopted brothers fear that anger. What a combustible combination when the two meet and then eventually collide into one another on an explosive sensual ride.

It’s a roller coaster of a book that takes the reader from a city in the U.S., loosely resembling Pittsburgh, to the past of Michelangelo’s Italy.

But there’s more, if that’s not enough. There’s the paranormal aspect of the Medici line that’s been passed down to Gianni and his family tribe. Franki only begins to understand her family’s role in the whole Medici mystique after her father’s murder. That’s right–there’s murder, too. And the threat of murder always overhanging the sisters who are beautiful, talented, and devoted to their mother and dead father.

Be forewarned–not everything is solved at this end of this novel because Book Two is now being readied for release in 2016.

I highly recommend reading this book to add lots of spice and excitement to your life! I know my heart is still bleeding all over the floor after my voyeuristic visits with Franki and Gianni through all their trysts.

Blurb for Bleeding Heart—Franki, secret legacy of the Medici, is prophesied to return Italy to its former glory. Targeted for assassination and ignorant of her enemy’s identity, she is protected by Gianni, the warrior destined to defend her. He must conquer her fears and his demons to save them both.

Purchase Links:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.

 

 

#NEW RELEASE – THIRD BASE

I’m happy to announce the release of my romantic baseball story, Third Base. The writing of the love story between Adriana Moretti and Tomas Vegas is my tribute to love on many levels. First, I wrote about a team that has captured my heart in the past five years. The Pittsburgh Pirates were in a major two-decade long slump when I moved to the Steel City. I’ve watched them grow, improve, and win, so I put them as the winning team at the forefront of Third Base. Also, the couple’s instant attraction, despite the road blocks in their way, rises above it all.

It’s my favorite kind of love story, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. Thank you for your support for all my writing efforts.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

Apple

 

 

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Work in Progress Blog Tour

My WIP

My WIP

I’m excited to participate in a different kind of blog tour today. Darlene Jones over at Emandyves tagged me to participate in a Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour. Click here to see my interview with her on Author Wednesday. I also reviewed the first novel in here Em and Yves series, Embattled. I’m honored this talented author chose me for this virtual tour. Check out her WIP by clicking here.

There are rules for this tour, and I’ve completed the first step by linking to Darlene’s delightful blog. I love reading her vignettes of her life traveling and living. I hope you’ll visit her site!

Next, I’m to nominate two other author/bloggers to participate in this tour. This way you’re introduced to three other author/blog sites besides mine. I’m delighted to share my nominees with you. They are both talented writers. I first met Christoph Fischer when I read one of his reviews and asked  him if he would review my novel Trails in the Sand. He said he would add it to his TBR list, but within the week, he not only had read that novel, but he’d read all of my books and posted thoughtful reviews for all. Christoph is a prolific writer and the lead man when it comes to supporting Indie Authors. Through him, I met Lori Crane, who has become one of my dear Internet buddies. She’s a gem who writes historical fiction and makes me laugh with her lovely, positive, and humorous approach to life. But don’t take my word for it. Check them out yourself.

922159_10151345337037132_1303709604_oWriter Christoph Fischer – Christoph Fischer is an independent writer from Germany, based in the UK. He is also a reviewer of independent books, and on this site he features interviews and reviews of the books that have most captured his attention and appreciation by genre. He writes historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction that address such topics as Alzheimers, mental illness, and drug companies.

 

w-1-9A Day in the Life of Patootie is Lori Crane’s blog. “Best-selling and award-winning author of Southern historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Dueling pianist. Cute shoes. From Lori: “A Day in the Life of Patootie is named after my puppy. So far, he’s chewed up 7 rugs, 2 pairs of shoes, and every throw pillow in the house. I love him!”

“Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order.”~Writer’s Digest

I’m so very pleased that these award-winning and bestselling authors agreed to be a part of this tour, but now it’s time for the rest of the requirements. I’m to share the first sentence (or two) from the first three chapters of the WIP.

My WIP is a contemporary romance novella that I’m writing for a box set, Score One for Love, to be released in August. All of the novellas within the set must feature an athlete at the center of the story. Other authors are featuring hockey, football, and soccer stars, along with a race car driver, and lots more. I chose baseball because it’s one of my favorite spectator sports. Most of my novels are set in Florida, which you probably know if you follow my blog. However, I decided it was time to write a story set in Pittsburgh where I now live, and what better way to write a baseball story than to feature the Pittsburgh Pirates who have come from a losing team to almost winning their division this past season. To paraphrase, Leslie Gore, It’s my novellaso I’ll have them win if I want to. The hero, Tomas Vegas, from Puerto Rico hopes to emulate the example set by the Pirates own Roberto Clemente. His love interest, Adriana is young, wealthy, and widowed, but her tight-knit Italian family in Pittsburgh may keep her from getting anywhere near third base, let alone home, with the handsome and talented Tomas.

Chapter 1 – Adriana – Larson made love to me all night, caressing my cheek and rubbing my breasts with his large and rough hands. I woke up smiling, until daylight shot bolts of reality through my psyche. It infuriated me that he only came to me in my sleep now.

Chapter 2 – Tomas – I let the shower wake me. It also took me away from her incessant chatter.

“Why do I have to go to this house today?” Madrid kept asking me as I drank my coffee.

Chapter 3 – Adriana – “I’m honored to be able to turn the key to this new bungalow over to you and your family,” I said, standing on the front stoop of the white two-story home just off Liberty Avenue. I handed the key over to John and Samantha Chapman with tears forming behind my lids.

And there you have it–my current WIP–along with the opportunity to meet three talented authors with interesting blogs.

bb_PBOOK005I’ve been getting emails and messages from folks asking about the second book in the Behind the Love trilogy. I’m thrilled to say that Behind the Bar is in the final stages of production and should be available within the next few weeks. Rest assured, I’ll keep you posted.

I don’t say it enough, but thank you to all stop by my blog, like the posts, and leave comments. You’re all appreciated and virtually hugged.

 

 

#Civil War – From Detroit to Pittsburgh

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I love this excerpt from my great grandfather’s Civil War Journal. He joined the Union army two weeks after the first shots at Fort Sumter and became a member of the 2nd Michigan Infantry. This is his description of the first days of travel to reach Washington, D.C. for orders. Since I was born seventy miles west of Detroit and now live twenty miles northwest of Pittsburgh, I very much enjoy his descriptions.

By Harmon Camburn from Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier

“June 7 – Landing at an early hour, coffee, bread, and meat were served to the men while standing in the street.

Many citizens of the place came to see the Michigan boys and give them words of encouragement.

A company of juveniles, fully armed and equipped, paid the regiment a visit. The little fellows conducted themselves in true military style and gave the 2nd Michigan three rousing cheers as a send off.

Leaving Cleveland by the Pittsburgh Road, we passed through Hudson, Ravenna, Wellsville, and other places where large crowds of people had congregated to meet and cheer us on our way. At all stopping places, the patriotic Ohio ladies were present with coffee, pies, cakes, sandwiches, lemonade, fruits, bouquets and whatever their loyal hearts suggested would be encouraging to those they regarded as their defenders. A day of excitement among these Ohio towns, relieved by long rides past oil derricks and iron foundries, terminated in the evening at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here great crowds of people were ready to do anything that seemed necessary, and many things that were unnecessary. Pocket books were open to buy whiskey to fill canteens or bread to fill haversacks. Open generosity was the rule. Real wants were not calculated. To express a wish was to have it gratified on the spot. The need of caution against the universal desire to do something for the boys was very apparent, and the road to Harrisburg was taken with very little delay.

June 8 – This bright and beautiful morning dawned upon us amid the Allegheny Mountains. To boys who had been reared in the comparatively level state of Michigan, the wild and rugged scenery, and the towering hills of Pennsylvania were something to gaze at with awe and wonder. In the presence of these majestic piles of earth and rocks, the individual man shrinks into nothingness, and the immensity of the universe is increased in our estimate.

A little west of Altoona, the railroad runs on the mountainside in the shape of a horseshoe. On the inside of the curve, there is a sheer descent of three hundred feet, while on the outside the rocks rise perpendicular to a great height. Coming upon this spot without warning, with the train rushing along at full speed, one instinctively clutches the hair on his head as if to keep it from flying away.

The ever-varying landscape, as the train sped past lofty mountains, through green valleys and over flashing streams, beguiled the time till Harrisburg was reached in the afternoon.

The Pennsylvania Buck Tail Regiment had a camp here called Camp Curtain after the governor of the state.

Each member of this regiment wore in his hat the tip of a deer’s tail, and was supposed to have killed the deer himself.

At Camp Curtain, our tents were pitched for the first time. Here we spent our first night under canvass. The regiment had brought guns from Michigan, but no cartridge boxes or munitions. Both of these were issued to us here, completing our equipment. Camp duties being all attended to everybody went for a cool bath in the Schuylkill River. Thus refreshed after our long ride in the cars, we slept soundly regardless of our, to us, novel positions.

Writers Write – It’s as Simple as That

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

It’s a rainy April morning in Pittsburgh. If I was starting a novel that would be a boring first line, unless it was followed by this sentence: “The wet ground made it difficult to drag the body from the house to the woods without leaving tracks.”

But this isn’t the start of a novel; it’s merely the beginning of a blog site where I hope to impart a little bit of knowledge, fun and inspiration on the art and craft of writing.

First, let me start with a vision I always had of myself as the artist. It’s late at night, and I sit at an antique oak desk in front of a Royal manual typewriter. A cigarette dangles from my lips as smoke curls around my head. To my right, sits an amber-filled tumbler and to my left a filled ashtray. I sit typing madly away at the next great American novel oblivious to the late hour and the ash building on the end of my fag. This vision was in my head even before I acknowledged myself as a writer. When I finally made the leap nearly 14 years ago and actually said the words, “I am a writer,” the vision was still there although not a part of my actual reality as a writer.

I type too fast to use a manual. I no longer smoke for all the obvious reasons. And drinking and writing accomplish nothing but a hangover. However, it is that unrealistic, romantic vision that remains as I sit at a large mahogany desk with my laptop taking down words as fast my fingers can type them. The light of day brightens my office as two table lamps give a softer glow. Mozart, Beethoven, Greig and Brahms concertos play on my portable CD player. No matter the differences in the vision and the reality – one thing remains constant: I love to write.

The writing and publishing worlds are in a revolution. I’m pedaling and typing just as fast and hard as I can to keep up with the exciting changes. There are days when the actual writing part of my job seems very far away. So my two blogs (www.pczick.wordpress.com and http://www.pittsburghwriter.com) give me the opportunity to write even on the most overwhelming of days as I learn to tweet, post my status, figure out what the heck  SEO means and buy domain names for reasons still unclear to me.

It’s important to always keep the simplest of reminders  at the forefront of my consciousness and so it is a good way to begin this blog site.

It’s so simple, yet one when I first heard it, wiped away all the excuses I used to make about why I couldn’t find time to write. Here it is:

Writers write.

That’s it.