Friday, June 20, 2014


Kudos to Capital Grille in Tampa, FL for what might be the best meal I’ve ever experienced. I say “experienced” because from the moment my friend and I entered the restaurant, we were treated as if we were the most special diners of the evening.
Since I was celebrating my birthday early, I was treated to a long stem rose (it actually SMELLED like a rose), birthday confetti artfully placed on one corner of the table, and a birthday card. The meal was exquisite: lobster bisque soup, bone-in Kona crusted sirloin steak, potatoes au gratin, grilled asparagus, and 3 freshly baked breads.
The surprise of the evening was dessert. Once all dishes had been cleared away, a platter with a miniature cheesecake and a miniature no-flour chocolate cake was placed in front of me. The words HAPPY BIRTHDAY between the two samplings made me smile, and a small lit candle stood in a fluffy whipped cream base.
But what made the meal spectacular was the service. I’ve never – and I mean never – eaten anywhere that catered to its customers the way Capital Grille did to us. Our waiter was friendly, sincere, had a slightly quirky sense of humor, and was gracious every minute. Then he took a picture to commemorate the evening and made sure we each had a copy of it.
If you’re ever in Tampa near the International Mall, or even if you’re not near the mall but can make your way there, please consider dining at Capital Grille. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

One Step

First steps toward the fulfillment of a dream can be exciting and daunting. The realization that one's lifelong goal might actually be accomplished is a heady rush of joy with a side of churning nausea. But the one saving grace in the maelstrom of emotions is success may be at hand.

I'm not one to rush into the unknown. I used to be impulsive and have a Scarlett O'Hara mentality about life. "I'll think about that tomorrow." The older I get, the more I realize how wise it is to be cautious and take time to do things correctly.

I've always wanted to be a writer. I remember making up poems and writing short plays as young as 10 years old. I was considered to be something of an overachiever on essays and literature projects. And I have a master's degree to teach English. But those things don't get works published.

The only way to see my name on the cover of a book is to put myself out there. It's crazy to look back at all the reasons I allowed my dreams to wait, but at the same time, everything happens in its proper time...and now it's time to move forward past the "what if's".

So what are my baby steps and dreams?

Midnight Diamonds is my first full length novel, and I hope to see it published in the near future. Yesterday I submitted the manuscript to three step (okay, HUGE step, but it's a baby step in the journey toward being published). Now I wait to see if anyone is as excited about the story as I am. Does it help that it's a series with three more books? I hope so!

What's the worst that can happen? No one buys the book. Then what? Well, there are hundreds of publishers and ebook companies to contact. But the best part has happened: I finished the book, have started the 2nd one, and have submitted my work for review.

Baby steps and dreams. Walking doesn't come naturally. We have to learn how, and sometimes we fall down hard. But we stand up with help from family and friends, and keep going, reaching for our dreams.

One step at a time.