from the Center for Creative Writing: Writing for Children retreat

Writing for Children retreat returns in October!

Savor the Catskill Mountains’ seasonal glories while learning how to create picture books for child audiences, Oct. 24-27, 2019.

Explore the picture book form and methods of illustration that do not require previous art experience, then transform a story into a working book dummy, all under the guidance of bestselling children’s book author/illustrator Helena Clare Pittman.

Registration for this long weekend includes:

  • Rigorous instructional workshops;
  • Ample private time to complete writing assignments;
  • Q&A discussions plus feedback on your writing;
  • A personal consultation with your instructor (optional);
  • Four days and three nights of private accommodations at the Lazy Pond Bed and Breakfast, situated on 12 acres in Sullivan County, NY
  • Transportation to and from your B&B to Helena’s art studio if you don’t have a car;
  • Breakfasts and lunches included; enjoy breakfast at the B&B on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and lunches provided by your teacher Friday and Saturday

All levels welcome. Register by Oct. 1 to secure one of three available spots!


Center for Creative Writing

Published Authors Map Out “The Road to Publication” at Nyack Center

Nyack, NY: Thursday, February 9th at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., Nyack Indoor Farmers Market at The Nyack Center, 58 Depew Avenue, Nyack NY.

Published authors from the Romance Writers of America, Hudson Valley Chapter (HVRWA), in conjunction with the Nyack Chamber of Commerce, will discuss the journey to getting a book in print at a free workshop titled “The Road to Publication.” Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

Tough questions about today’s book will be answered in “Publication Opportunities in the 21st Century,” “Self-Publishing–How to Do It Right,” “The Art of Writing Enticing Blurbs,” and finally, “Is the Contract You’re Offered the One You Really Want?”

Authors will also be on hand to answer questions about membership in HVRWA, and to sign books. Romance genres available will include paranormal, historical, erotic, medical romance, suspense and woman’s fiction. Remember, there is no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by giving the gift of romance to a special someone.

Brenda Novak for the Cure of Diabetes

All I Want For Christmas

Brenda Novak’s latest “digital box set for a cure,” ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, is a contemporary romance collection of delightful and romantic Christmas stories. It features Brenda’s Rita-nominated novella, “A Dundee Christmas”, as well as stories by some of the biggest romance authors of our time, including #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Debbie Macomber and romance favorites Bella Andre, Melody Anne, Violet Duke, Marie Force, Heather Graham, Laurelin Paige & Kayti McGee, Jane Porter, Melanie Shawn, RaeAnne Thayne, Melinda Curtis, Anna J. Stewart and Scarlett York. The set sells for only $9.99 (less than $1/story) and is up for pre-order now wherever e-books are sold. The box will be released November 1st and will only be available through December 31st.

All the proceeds will go to Boston University to help Dr. Ed Damiano (who also has a son with Type 1) finish engineering the artificial pancreas. Why is his work important? Because the artificial pancreas will go far toward helping insulin-dependent diabetics remain healthy until that elusive biological cure can be found. So, please, pre-order this boxed set today and encourage your friends and family to do the same. You’ll get many hours of enjoyable reading in exchange for a small donation that will help a lot of people.


click here for the 2016 For The Cure Press kit

When my youngest son, Thad, was diagnosed with diabetes at only five years old, and I learned of the terrible side effects he would likely face, I could not just hope for the best. I had to do something to fight back.

The drive to protect my child led me to start an online auction for diabetes research in 2005. It started relatively small–we raised only $34,500 or so our first year–but it grew quickly. I ran Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for ten years and managed to raise $2.4 million, thanks to the fabulous support I received from readers, writers, publishing professionals and advocates. I won’t be running annual auctions anymore, but I’m not giving up the fight. I’m just shifting my fundraising focus to selling my cookbook–LOVE THAT! Brenda Novak’s Every Occasion Cookbook–and curating and selling at least one digital boxed set per year that will include a collection of stories from big-name authors (like ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS).

According to the CDC, nearly 10% of Americans have diabetes. That’s just an unacceptable number. So I thank everyone who has supported my efforts in the past–and I ask for your help in the future. Together, we can raise the money necessary to beat this terrible disease.


Cancer! Not A respecter Of Age Or Gender, Nationality Or Religion

Rejoicing Through the Tears
by Brenda George

For author Brenda George, life was good. She and her husband were planning their daughter’s wedding, buying a new sports car, and planning a much-needed vacation, things couldn’t have been better…until cancer rudely invaded her life. She was having the time of her life … until cancer rudely invaded her life. That one word changed everything!

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with cancer? Rejoicing through the Tears has been written with you in mind. You can learn not only to survive, but to thrive. You can come through your wilderness journey of cancer and let God turn your mourning into dancing. No matter what challenges you may be facing, you can learn to embrace the hand of a loving God. He will walk with you whether you are up on the mountaintop or down in the valley; you will learn to rejoice wherever you are, because what you are rejoicing with is heartfelt joy from deep within. Your faith will be ignited, and you will be encouraged. You will learn to live each day with passion and enthusiasm. Let the God who flung the stars into space walk into your storm, refresh your soul, and bring you streams in the desert.

About the Author
Brenda George was diagnosed with thyroid cancer four years ago. This is her personal story of the trials she has faced and her journey to being a cancer survivor. She wants to inspire people from all walks of life to never give up hope. They too can learn to rejoice through their tears and come out stronger than they were before. Brenda lives in Marysville, Ohio, with her husband, Mark. She is the mother of two grown daughters, Sarah and Bethany. She also has a teenage son, Travis, and three adorable grandchildren, Savannah, Landon and Jackson. Last but not least, she has a lovable Old English Sheepdog named Maggie.

Available at bookstores and all online outlets
Rejoicing Through the Tears
By Brenda George
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Westbow Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449724027
ISBN-13: 978-1449724023

buy links

People in Our Lives by Chelle Cordero

“No one can cross the path that is your life without
leaving some footprints behind” ~ Chelle Cordero

It is my belief that every person we encounter in our life changes us, sometimes significantly and sometimes barely. We have conversations where we can learn, we bump shoulders and get attitudes, we share a special smile and their cologne lingers. Later we smell the cologne and automatically smile, we see someone frown and we think of our annoyance, or we suddenly have an answer to someone’s query and can’t remember where we learned it.

There are strange friendships formed with random people. We find ourselves enjoying discussions and look forward to our next chance meeting. What is the reason these people are placed in our paths? Is there a higher power controlling these encounters? Or is it just plain simple chance? Whatever the reason for these acquaintances it helps us to grow and learn, and we should be grateful for these experiences. When we listen as well as talk we open our minds, we learn, and we think. We engage in conversations that interest us and these are the opportunities where we can immerse ourselves in topics that might not normally be part of our everyday existence.

While I do not like the vitriol that often accompanies political arguments before elections, I do enjoy the well-informed sharing of ideas. For the most part I admit that there has been no FaceBook discussion that has changed my mind about who to vote for, but when these cyber friends are willing to share researched and verified facts I like to absorb the information, and it is especially welcomed when they are willing to listen to other verified facts, even those that present another view; for me I have more clarity and confidence in my perspective and decisions.
And while you may ask how we both present true facts and yet still disagree on our chosen candidate, we each have priorities and what may be important to me is not necessarily the most important to someone else. In Junior High School I had a teacher who taught us how to debate by arguing the side we did not believe in; he said that it taught us how to see things from other viewpoints and it certainly did.

Of course the people I believe have had the most influence in my life are my immediate family members: my parents, my sister, my husband and my children. These are the people who have taught me how to love unconditionally and still feel entitled to my own opinions. My parents, now long gone, left me lessons that help me work out problems and challenges even now, many years later. My family has shown me that true love means seeing someone’s faults and Laurels and still knowing how deeply you need and love that person.

My daughter once countered me during a disagreement by saying that we had only ourselves to blame for raising our children to think “for themselves”, something which, to be perfectly honest, I greatly respect them for. I learn from each member by hearing and seeing things through their ears and eyes. So as they have thought for themselves and married people just as headstrong, they have easily shared their opinions and given us lots of “food for thought”.

Value every person that you cross paths with. Every person adds something to your life even if it was just a momentary contact. Treasure the good experiences and rely on those memories when you need encouragement — and, while I hope they are few and far between, use the negative moments to help you make decisions which will avoid the disappointments in the future.

Organize Work, Maximize Productivity by Kirsten McNeill

Do you ever get bombarded by stress because you have so much work to do? You need to finish everything on time, but you don’t have enough strength or energy in the day to complete everything.

Multitasking your writing jobs isn’t always as smart or productive as you’d think. Here are three tips to feeling accomplished when there’s too much on your creative plate.

  • Focus all your energy and brain power on one task.

At the start of the day, choose one project to work on. When you finish a big chunk of that project, you’ll feel relieved and proud that you’ve finished as much as you did.

Focus only on your chosen task and take short breaks in between. When you’re staring at a screen all day, that’s a big drain on your eyes and thinking abilities. Go outside and soak up vitamin D.

  • Alternate your to-do list.

Write a list of all the tasks you have to do that day. Blog posts, short stories, freelance work, etc. Split those tasks into two groups.

On Day 1, work on the first half of your list and make sure to even out the amount of time spent on each task. On Day 2, work on the other half of the list and alternate with each new day.

  • Finish smaller tasks first.

When you complete quick tasks at the start of the day, like chores or errands, those are done and out of the way.

That gives you more time to focus on the bigger projects, like your first novel. Clearing away a few items on your list can calm your mind and help you feel more accomplished very early.

If you follow just one of these ideas, you’re more likely to feel less stressed and more organized. I have a day planner to help me and I write out my list of tasks the night before so I don’t have to worry. When I have everything planned out beforehand, I am more productive and accomplish more in the day.

Kirsten McNeill is an aspiring YA writer and hopes to change the world with the written word. She loves to create stories, play music, and read whenever she has the chance.

Kirsten’s website is You can also find her at,, and



Meet Dr. George S. Glass

Helping Parents Blend Families Seamlessly
And Avoid The Pitfalls Of

While there are many books written by psychiatrists on parenting and blending families, their medical jargon is often confusing to parents. George S. Glass, MD, PA, did something extraordinary with his latest two books, Successfully Blending Families: Helping Parents and Kids Navigate the Challenges so that Everyone Ends up Happy, and The Overparenting Epidemic: Why Helicopter Parenting is Bad for your kids and Dangerous for You, Too! (Skyhorse Publishing). Drawing from his thirty-year career as a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Glass presents invaluable information in a common sense, often humorous, approach that is understandable and easy to apply!

We are a society of blended families, with less than fifty percent of our children now growing up with both biological parents. In Successfully Blending Families, Dr. Glass helps parents understand the challenges of beginning new lives as a blended family and explains how to approach unavoidable dilemmas when they occur, offering valuable lessons about the link between divorce and issues of self-esteem, depression, substance abuse, and relationship failures that often result from the breakup of a family.

Dr. Glass understands that blending a family is a process – it takes time to develop trust and acceptance. By combining his own personal experience as a member of a blended family with experiences from his many years in practice, he created an inspiring toolkit for families in need that provides specific advice and practical solutions to help improve communication skills and ease the transition from separate households into a larger, blended unit.

We can call it what we want, but overparenting may have finally backfired! In The Overparenting Epidemic, noted psychiatrist and parenting specialist Dr. George Glass cites studies that show parents who are anxious, invasive, offer excessive favors, or erase obstacles that kids should negotiate themselves, are producing children that are ill-behaved, narcissistic, anxious, entitled – and unable to cope with everyday life.

Sadly, the obsession to provide everything a child could possibly need has created epidemic levels of depression and stress in our country’s youth, and it could all be avoided if parents would just take a giant step back, check their ambitions at the door, and do what’s really best for their kids. The Overparenting Epidemic is a science-based, yet humorous and practical, book that features an easy-to-read menu of pragmatic advice on how to parent children effectively and lovingly without overdoing it, especially in the context of today’s demanding world.

George S. Glass received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Swarthmore College, earned a medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, and did his psychiatric residency at the Yale University Medical School. His post residency training included intensive studies in the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. In 1972 he set up the U.S. Navy’s first alcohol treatment program at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, and has since served as chairman of departments of psychiatry at several Houston hospitals. For thirty years, he has helped families, attorneys and courts deal with the psychological consequences of divorce, has served as a forensic expert in family court cases, as well as conducted group presentations and divorce workshops.

Dr. Glass’s academic credits include appointments as a clinical associate professor of Psychiatry at the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical School and School of Public Health, and the Cornell Weill School of Medicine. For more information, please visit:

Available at bookstores, online outlets and Amazon
Successfully Blending Families: Helping Parents and Kids Navigate the Challenges so that Everyone Ends up Happy
Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN-10: 1629144312
ISBN-13: 978-1629144313

Available at bookstores, online outlets and Amazon
The Overparenting Epidemic: Why Helicopter Parenting is Bad for your kids and Dangerous for You, Too!
Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN-10: 1628737301
ISBN-13: 978-1628737301

Tips for Wellness Success in 2016

How To Reprogram Yourself
For Success In 2016

Wellness Expert Says Mind, Body And Spirit Can Work Together To Help You Replace Bad Habits With Good

Some people start each day with an early morning jog.

Others begin with a cup of coffee and a donut.

“Everyone knows that people are creatures of habit,” says wellness expert Scott Morofsky, author of the books “The Daily Breath: Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time” and “Wellativity: In-Powering Wellness Through Communication” (

“But too often, the habits we nurture are laziness, procrastination, self-serving biases, justification and rationalization.”

Such behaviors put people on a path to destruction, all the while making them look forward to the trip, he says. In the process, they are robbed of essential happiness and joy.
The trick to improving isn’t just by ridding yourself of habits, he says, but by replacing the bad ones with good ones.

“I really believe people can use practical methods to reprogram themselves for life-enriching habits and overcome any affliction they suffer from,” Morofsky says. “After all, we all know the things that hurt us and we know that we shouldn’t be doing those things. So why don’t we stop? Because we don’t know how to go about making these changes happen.”

For Morofsky, the key is for people to become conscious of something they take for granted – breathing. By conditioning yourself to improve the quality of your breathing, you do a better job of taking in oxygen. A lack of sufficient oxygen in our cells is known to contribute to many health issues, he says.

“The important thing to remember is you don’t need pills, potions, gadgets or gizmos to make a change for the better happen,” Morofsky says. “Your desire for a better life and a system that helps you achieve it are all you need – if you’re willing. It’s a matter of getting your mind, body and spirit working together in a practical way.”

He offers these tips to get started going into the New Year:

• Conscious breathing. Morofsky made conscious breathing the centerpiece of Wellativity, which is what he calls his personal method for helping people overcome afflictions such as obesity, smoking, lethargy, eating disorders and any other behavior that inhibits wellness. This is much like the advice people hear their entire lives to “take a deep breath” when they face stressful moments. “The core focus is conditioning ourselves to stay as connected to conscious breathing as possible and to clear away anything negative or detrimental,” Morofsky says. Breathing awareness in itself helps reduce bodily tension, improve rational thinking and increase oxygen to the entire body.

All in good time. One of the most common pitfalls people face when they want to improve their lives is trying to do too much too soon, Morofsky says. That’s especially true with exercise or physical fitness programs, but it applies to other areas of life as well. It’s fine to be ambitious about trading bad habits for good, but don’t set yourself up for failure by creating unrealistic goals.

Healthy boundaries. When you are establishing a healthier lifestyle, it’s important that you have healthy boundaries. “An alcoholic in recovery shouldn’t join the crowd at the bar while waiting for a dinner table,” Morofsky says. “A person with a gambling problem shouldn’t vacation in Las Vegas. As much as possible, when you are trying to trade bad habits for good, put yourself in the best position to be successful.”

About Scott Morofsky

Scott Morofsky is the author of the books “The Daily Breath: Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time” and “Wellativity: In-Powering Wellness Through Communication” ( Morofsky created the concept of Wellativity, which uses 12 principles to target crossover afflictions such as obesity, smoking, lethargy, procrastination and any behavior that inhibits wellness. He has national certification as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise and various other certifications in the health and fitness field. He is a New York State licensed massage therapist and a graduate of the Swedish Institute of Massage and Allied Health Sciences. For more than 30 years, Morofsky has maintained a private practice specializing in joint replacement rehabilitation and physical training for seniors, as well as fitness training and massage therapy, and has given lectures and taught seminars on these subjects.disability

Order your copy of Wellativity, TODAY!


Barnes & Noble

Meet Peter Andrew Sacco, PhD

The Internet Apocalypse?  It Could Happen.
Would The World Be Better Or Worse Off?


There is no doubt that technology has changed our lives – but is it for the better? Could we survive and manage without it? Kids would undoubtedly have the worst time since most can’t even “unplug” from their phones or social media when they should be sleeping. Peter Sacco is an internationally-renowned, bestselling author whose new book, The Internet Apocalypse? The world without internet…How would you survive? is a fun read that challenges us to think about how, or if, we would survive a world without technology.

Zombie apocalypses: the Ebola virus, Sars, AIDS, earthquakes – you name it – tend to scare the heck out of people with “What ifs?” Word gets spread rapidly through the Internet and social media and people start wondering if this is ‘the beginning of the end of the world!’ Could the world really end because of one of these catastrophes or pandemics? So what about an ‘Internet Apocalypse?’ Would people, especially young adults, survive? How many people would literally go insane, turn to drinking/drugging, or become violent without access to texting or online social media? Would this be like the ice age for technology? Don’t forget, this is the only life the ‘Y’ generation has ever known!

This highly entertaining book explores what the world would be like without Internet technology should the earth get attacked with solar flares or meteors. It is a survival guide of sorts that points out we might actually not be worse off, possibly better, considering how people’s communication skills have suffered thanks to texting, or online addictions to pornography, infidelity, gambling, shopping, or social media bullying. Do you have what it takes to survive? A challenging thought since the threat of an Internet Apocalypse is more real than we think…

Peter Sacco, psychology professor and former private practitioner and author of many popular international books and over 700 magazine articles, presents some thought-provoking questions should a catastrophe of this magnitude occur:

•    If the Internet and texting went away, what do you think would happen?
•    How has texting changed the playing field for communication, especially between men and women?
•    Why has the Y-generation become the most entitled population?
•    Do you think this generation has become more illiterate, poorer problem solvers, etc.?
•    Do you think that the Internet/technology has increased or created a dependent or addicted population?
•    Is the Internet and texting addictive and, if so, the same way as alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc?
•    What do you think has become the number addiction because of the Internet?
•    Why has on-line bullying increased so much?

About the author:

Peter SaccoPeter Sacco has received the Award of Excellence in Teaching and lectures at universities in both the US and Canada. He currently hosts a weekly radio show, “Matters of the Mind,” which features celebrities with whom he discusses mental health, relationships and addiction issues. He is an award-winning executive producer and has hosted many documentaries on relationships, psychological issues and child issues. Peter has also written scripts for TV commercials, as well as for Los Angeles/Canadian movie production companies. He worked with Academy Award winner Joe Mayer and also wrote Vices commercial which premiered at the Boston Film Festival. For more information, please visit his website at:

Contributing author Michael Fox has his bachelor’s of Arts in Communications/Writing and associate’s degree in English. He is a featured writer with many articles and publications.

The Internet Apocalypse? the World Without Internet... How Would You Survive?
The Internet Apocalypse? The world without internet…
How would you survive?

By Peter Andrew Sacco, PhD
ISBN: 978-1-63490-844-3



Personal Branding by Marsha Friedman

Keeping Your Personal Brand Alive Is A
Must For Success In Today’s Marketplace

How To Promote The Most Personal Product Of All

By Marsha Friedman

Turn on the television, pick up a newspaper or visit the Internet and you will be inundated with messages about brand products.

Tide is a brand. Pepsi is a brand. Nike is a brand.

And so are you – or at least you should be.

Personal branding has gotten a lot more buzz in recent times and has become an important tool for everyone who wants to improve their career or business opportunities. I’m a big believer and have been touting the need for personal branding for several years. In fact, it’s the essence of my book, Celebritize Yourself.

If you open a dictionary, the word “brand” is defined as a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. These days you need to be that product.

When you think about it, though, personal branding is not new. It’s just that more people have the means to do it today and, fortunately, the Internet has provided us with numerous ways to create and maintain a personal brand.

But many entertainers and athletes thrived at it long ago. While I don’t want to date myself, many of us remember the song “Happy Trails” from our childhood.  Roy Rogers was the movie and TV cowboy who made this song popular and whose name and image appeared on toy holsters, lunch boxes, comic books, puzzles, coloring books and other merchandise in the 1940s and 1950s.

Roy is a great example of someone who was ahead of his time with personal branding although he stumbled into it unintentionally. The story goes, he wanted a raise from his movie studio, but the boss balked. Bummed out by the response, Roy asked for what he considered a consolation prize – all rights to his name and likeness.

As it turned out, that was no consolation prize. Roy soon figured out that he – not the studio – was the big winner in the negotiations. Any raise would have been paltry next to the money he raked in from Roy Rogers brand merchandise.

Here’s an additional lesson about personal branding that Roy Rogers provides us. When I asked my employees if they knew of him, Roy’s name drew puzzled expressions from most of the younger staff.

Even the best personal branding, you see, doesn’t last forever. It has to be nurtured continually. (Roy, of course, nurtured his brand his entire life, and it was only the passage of time after his death that caused it to fade, so we’ll give him a break.)

The rest of us get no break and the message is clear: Don’t rest on your laurels, or in your saddle, whichever is appropriate.

So what can you do to get your personal brand launched and keep it alive? Here are a few suggestions.

•  Make sure your website represents you exactly the way you want to be seen. This is one of the best places to control your image. That could mean you want to be viewed as witty, intellectual or physically fit. It could mean you want the world to see you as an expert in a particular field. Maybe you want to convey an image of trust. Roy Rogers was the clean-cut hero wearing a smile and a cowboy hat. What’s your image?

•  Maintain a strong social media presence. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are invaluable tools for networking or getting your message out quickly under your personal brand. Also, make sure you have a unified message that weaves through your website, your social media sites and anything else you use to promote yourself. Design elements should be consistent from one platform to the next as well.

•  Keep your presence alive in traditional media, too, making yourself available for interviews. Media appearances act as a third-party endorsement, casting you as an authority in your field. This also needs constant cultivation. If you were quoted in a newspaper article last year, then you’re last year’s news. Even worse, if your competitor is quoted in an article today, they’ve become more relevant than you and are winning the personal-branding war.

•  Branding yourself is not a one-shot deal. One of the biggest misconceptions about branding is that people expect to do one or two things to promote themselves and then figure they are done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your branding effort never stops. It’s like trying to become physically fit. You don’t go to the gym for one week to get your dream body – nor would you expect that a good workout three years ago would leave you set for life. Your personal branding effort is the same way. It’s ongoing.

The bottom line is that creating a personal brand is one of the keys to success in today’s world. By branding yourself – making sure the world knows who you are and the expertise you have to offer – you not only set yourself apart from your competitors but you also open the door to new opportunities.

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman of EMSI PR & Marketing Marsha Friedman is a public relations expert with 25 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and media newcomers alike. Using the proprietary system she created as founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations (, an award-winning national agency, she secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for her clients. The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after advisor on PR issues and strategies. She shares her knowledge in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself, and as a popular speaker at organizations around the country.