Special Friday Edition …

BEFORE WE BEGIN:  Today I am a guest in Rosemary DiBattista’s kitchen. Be nice and toggle over there when you finish here. Or do it before.

NOTE:  To those of you who have not met Sherry Isaac. My guests are always up for seven days. I rudely interrupted her week with this headline breaking news.  So, take your time. Read Rosie … then go back and read Sherry and have a great weekend. 


Now and again it becomes necessary to add a “special” day to my once a week only schedule. This is one of those days.

Two things happened in the last week I would love to share.

The first was that my dear friend Christi Corbett nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award.

Like most things in life, this award comes with a set of rules. Like most times in my life, I love to break rules. There are five rules:

Rule No. One … Thank the person who gave you this award: I would like to thank my dear friend Christi Corbett for nominating me for this award. Rule No. Two … Include a link to their blog. That’s easy. Click on her name.

Rule No. Three … Select blogs/bloggers that you have recently discovered or follow regularly. Rule No. Four … Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. This was done in my last three posts. So my gaggle of gals, consider this my thanks and give yourselves a head slap and copy this award. You are certifiably nuts versatile.

Rule No. Five … The last rule is that I tell you seven things about myself:

One … I am a person who craves order and is fond of making detailed “to-do” lists for everything from grocery shopping to plotting a story. Sadly, I am also a person who seems to thrive on chaos. These contradictions in terms, might find me on any given day, writing a detailed list and then ignoring it just because I felt like it.

Two … Since childhood I have been a rebel, tomboy, pain in the a$$. I know someone gave me dolls, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I did with the wooden-headed darlings. I love the company of people, but crave the solitary joy of riding alone, reading in small corners or my favorite solitary activity: people watching.

Three … I truly love to cook and bake, enjoy making gifts by hand, delight in entertaining, have always been a great dancer, and revel in ear-shattering rock … sentimental country … soft blues to candle light … or cool jazz. My favorite instruments are the harmonica and the sax because they are moody and plaintive … the strings of a guitar can send me to nirvana and the cello makes me cry. I might draw the line with the kettle drum but always wanted to be the kid in the back of the band who clashes the symbols.

Four … In my writerly life, I can’t stop writing stories. My head is crammed with hundreds of characters competing for my attention. Yet, I have been a total coward about submitting stories because, like so many of us, I secretly fear they suck.

Then I argue with myself. If I don’t suck then ergo (don’t you love to use an ergo every now and then?) … ergo if I don’t suck, the stories don’t either.

Five … I am a social butterfly who can’t seem to rectify this social networking gig. To wit (another connecting word I cherish) … to wit … I love blogging, have a love/hate thing with Facebook, but can’t seem to find the cadence of tweets.

Six … I tend to talk too much, but I hate to “chat.” Talking is an addiction … chatting gives me a migraine.

Those are six little known factoids about this crazy Italian.

Seven … The last and certainly not the least is that I hate blog hops. My knees are getting old and hopping is murder on the knees.


The second reason for this special Friday Edition is ROAK … Random Acts of Kindness.

As I have already pointed out, I am nothing if I am not an assortment of contradictions. This could be seen as a blog hop. So why am I  seriously participating in RAOK? 

Because someone was kind to me, and linked to another who was also kind to me.

Because those who have reached out to bring me along, to teach and enlighten and inspire me are people who have earned my respect and deserve a random act of kindness.

As a way to celebrate the release of their new book, THE EMOTION THESAURUS, Becca and Angela over at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a Random Act Of Kindness blitz. And because kindness is contagious, I’m participating.

I must begin with Laura Stanfill who was the first person to alert me to ROAK and was kind enough to send me a gift … java in the morning even without caffeine is a prerequisite to my day. Thanks Laura.

Like white lightning, I went to my second mail box and found a note from Laura Drake. She is one of those who has inspired and enlightened … and  gives me a kick in the a$$ when needed. Read Laura Drake at Writers in the Storm.

The gift of knowledge is the most cherished gift we can give to anyone. That is the random act of kindness Laura Drake gave to me.  Thanks Laura, I am certain this is the perfect time in my writerly life to study with Margie Lawson, from the Margie Lawson Writing Academy. Margie is also a reoccurring guest on WITS.

I wish to give copious random acts of kindness to those of our blog world who make the first part of my day enjoyable.

A baker’s dozen of kindness to my family and friends to thank them for putting up with me through my numerous machinations, and send a special ROAK to my Harmonica Man … my older brother.

Thanks Big Guy, for taking me drag racing along Second Avenue in your first sports car … thanks for giving me roller skates when she said I would break my neck … thanks for making me the best scooter in Sunset Park and for my first bike … even when she rang her hands, sure I would roll down the avenue and get lost. Your kindness, generosity and talents have taught your kids and mine that this is the best damn ride on God’s green earth.

I have traveled a long way to get here today. Five years ago, I was standing at a crossroad, unsure of where I was to travel next. Someone stopped and took me with her for the next leg of my journey … an act of kindness and generosity I will find hard to pay forward.

She has become my life coach, reader, best friend and a woman who has taught me with tough love that I am so worth all this effort. Thank you Harriet Amato.

Harriet’s favorite authors are Doris Lessing and Enest Hemingway; two stranger bedfellows I have never known. Since she often “borrows” our book club selections from me or another member … my random act of kindness is to send her the second book selection of our book club for next fall … A Room With a View, by E. M. Forster. A wonderful story of love, relationships and family, and one of the few books that translated well on the big screen.

Harriet, you don’t have a blog and will never aspire to write a novel. You are not a writing expert, although you might be the best damn editor in South Florida. Thanks for turning me back into myself and teaching me to write what is in my heart. You will be remembered by all of those who have been fortunate to know you.

Yes Laura Drake, the day will come when I can return the love and the numerous random acts of kindness by giving of myself to another. Laura is a member of OCC-RWA, the largest chapter in RWA, celebrating its 30th Year of service. Kind of makes you want to pull up stakes and move to Southern California. I would like to end this special event with the slogan used on the OCC banner:

 “One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back, in an unbroken chain.”

Who do you want to thank with a Random Act of Kindness?

Leave your comments and take a few minutes to visit ROAK. 

Graphic credit.

For the remainder of this month and all of June, I will revisit my favorite feature … City Scapes.

Instead of the New York landmarks often visited by tourists, I will show you the lesser known pockets of my city.

Or if you like, I’ll take suggestions.

What place in New York City are you curious to know more about?

fOIS In The City




Filed under City Scapes

25 responses to “Special Friday Edition …

  1. So cool to learn more about you from the seven things, Florence! All those contradictions make one interesting person! Not to mention great characters!

    So happy to have met you – though we haven’t yet met in person. Go submit something!


    • Aw sucks, Laura. Thanks a heap … again. Yes, nag. I am sending as we speak. Three more agents this week and counting. I might be a later bloomer, but once I get my stride it’s like riding my bike along the beach. I never went home until the sun had set. And I won’t give up until this deed is done 🙂


  2. WOW! You are one VERY interesting woman. All those seven things come together to make an incredible you. I’ve been impressed with you since the day I read a post you wrote somewhere (don’t recall). You’re generous with your praise for others and always helpful whenever asked.
    It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.
    Are there quiet places in New York City?


  3. christicorbett

    Love love LOVE that you make detailed “To Do” lists, and then ignore them! I do the same thing! I still have a daily cleaning list on the fridge that detailed everything I wanted done each day. And each day I walk by it, smile, and then head to the computer to hang out with my characters instead.

    Congrats on your awards!

    Christi Corbett


    • Darn, I got so lucky when I tripped over your blog post. Thanks for always being there for me, Christi. Yes, soul mates revel in the truth. I would rather daydream on paper than scrub out the frig 🙂


      • christicorbett

        That last sentence made me laugh out loud since my fridge is a conclomeration of spills right now!



  4. Congrats on your blog award. And as for submitting – the key is to not take it personally. Think about your stories as nothing more than conversations. You love to talk – I know, because I read your blog. So share your words with the whole wide world by sending them out there. Sure, some will be rejected. So what! They’re just words. Nothing more than syllables strewn onto paper – (alright so I am a freaking prehistoric caveman) – that’s all they are. They aren’t diamonds or precious jewels. They aren’t really a part of psyche or your soul. They’re just words you’ve thrown down into a certain sort of order. Odds are, by the time that rejection comes back you’ll already have written something new. That’s the key- really. Is get so many stories out there that you don’t notice the rejections so much. So heap a big pile of stories – say about thirty or so – and then fire them out there. Keep writing. Fire more out there. You get that certain magic number and the acceptances will come in fast enough to overpower the rejections. I’m not saying they’ll outnumber the rejections – but let’s face it – celebrating ought to be a lot more memorable than mourning. If it isn’t – well, you’re doing it wrong. Practice your Snoopy dance of joy and don’t let the speedbumps break your stride.

    Shoot, who put this soapbox under my feet?

    yours in storytelling,

    Steve Vernon


    • Steve, you can climb on that soapbos any time. Thanks so much for your kind remarks. Yes, they are paper dreams and not etched gold 🙂 What I am learning from so many who are generous, like yourself, is that it only takes a second to read a rejection, a few more to send something else out and the sum total of those seconds can last a lifetime once we get to the next part of our journey.

      Yeah, I think I’ll do my Snoopy dance to Fleetwood Mac’s Second Hand News 🙂


  5. Florence, I never know what to expect with your blog. I do know, it will always be good and thought provoking to the very last word. Thanks for sharing parts of ‘you’ with all of ‘us.’


    • Sheri, I think of myself as a moving target, a work in progress, a half-baked nut … Love surprising my readers with little known stuff about me and the folks. You are going to love City Scapes 🙂 Thanks again for the visit.


  6. You had dolls, can’t recall what became of them… I had dolls, and I do recall what happened to one. My sister who did not share my love of dolls took the Skipper that some well-meaning relative gave to her as a b-day present to the basement, tied her by the feet to the light string, and gave her a buzz cut.

    I inherited said doll, and was the only kid on my block to have a little brother for my Barbie, Skip.


    • Aw, that’s a tragic twist for a doll story. Maybe you should have shaved both heads and let them go Goth. Imagine a Goth Barbie?

      My dad wanted a girl so badly, he bought a doll when my middle brother was born and had to give it to a lady in the maternity ward. He didn’t give up and bought a doll waiting for me to “arrive.” I was born at one minute to six in the am and he promptly ran down the streets banging on garbage cans to announce my birth. Six years later the middle one, a true devil in disguise, banged her wooden head on the wall and from that moment on she was sort of like me … a cracked wooden-headed doll 🙂


  7. I always love to find out more about people and so enjoyed your list, Florence. And I’m looking forward to reading more about your NY. The best part of that is seeing the city through your eyes … and your life. 🙂

    Now, heading over to see how your bloghopping is doing!


  8. I loved reading insight into the psyche of Florence Fois. I hope to someday meet in person and TALK. Go on…submit those stories. I constantly remind myself of the stories of the great authors who submitted 50+ times before the RIGHT person chose to publish it. 🙂


  9. Nice to stop and remember random acts of kindness as well as slowing down to do some of those acts yourself. Someone asked me what volunteering I do and I realized that I was down to a precious few, though I hope I’m helpful randomly. But what I really wanted to say was, do a blog on all the hidden places in the clock tower at Grand Central. I loved the film, Hugo? I never red the book.


  10. Thanks for the visit, Shelley. Acts of kindness, random or otherwise are good for the soul.

    What a great idea !! I love the entire history of Grand Central Station … it is one of the locations in NYC you can do a two or three prat series on. I begin with places kids play next week and then I will do locations suggested by my readers. Oh, the happy hours spent in that grand, Grand station. Thanks for the idea 🙂


  11. LOVE the random facts about you, Florence. Unlike you, my dad wanted a son. He got five girls. Finding my spot in the pile-up became a life-long mission. I was the rebel, the sneaky one, the leader of the three Muska-Sisters sandwiched in the middle.

    I suspect when you talk, you’re a lot like I am. People have asked, “Could you talk if you had to sit on your hands while you do it?” Um. Barely. And, don’t make me, ‘Cause my hands will find their way out anyway.

    I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed for positive feedback on your submission. I’d cross nose hairs, too, but, I plucked those. Sorry.

    Despite the news–good or okay (there is no “bad” attached to a completed manuscript), you, like me, will live to write another book. Off to check out your recipes now.

    You are one rocking cool kindred spirit!


  12. Gloria … all I can say is that you are also one rocking cool kindred spirit 🙂 I knew it from the first moment I read your off-beat posts.

    Yes, as an Italian I would not be able to speak without my hands.

    We will prevail and get to the next bend in the road. I will keep you posted on my submissions. If this one doesn’t work, I’ll just send out another !! Thanks for being here 🙂


  13. Dang Florence – I was so proud of myself for not checking email on Friday and I ended up missing this and these gems. You really are a marvelous inspiration in terms of community building. You’ve provided a venue to meet ‘virtually’ so many marvelous minds. Visiting your blog is a joy because of you, your friends and the amazing quips and bits of advice found within. To wit (almost as much fun as ergo), today’s favorites in order of appearance:

    :If I don’t suck then ergo (don’t you love to use an ergo every now and then?) … ergo if I don’t suck, the stories don’t either.: Florence

    “They’re just words you’ve thrown down into a certain sort of order. Odds are, by the time that rejection comes back you’ll already have written something new.” Steve

    “I inherited said doll, and was the only kid on my block to have a little brother for my Barbie, Skip.” Sherry

    “I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed for positive feedback on your submission. I’d cross nose hairs, too, but, I plucked those. Sorry.” Gloria


  14. Ditto isn’t too bad either, Liz. Ditto, I like your visits, and your posts. I think we have a great combination of people and it makes for interesting exchanges. I am so happy I found you and all the great women at GSW … each time I throw out my net into space, I capture more stars (thinkin’ Winkin Blinkin & Nod) … cast off your nets and enjoy the wonderful treasures you can catch. Thanks 🙂


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