Sunday, December 17, 2017

Blogging, Coffee, and Growing As a Writer


Although the hearts of all the members of the South Jersey Writers’ Group are still heavy over the loss of our Patron Saint of Blogging, Glenn Walker, we continue to meet. Blogfest is a monthly ritual that is held the third Sunday of every month at Treehouse Coffee Shop in Audubon, NJ. Why are we so loyal to working on our blogs? Find out after the jump

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rockettes, Disney Characters & Snow Storms! Oh My!

I don’t get to spend enough time in New York City, but that will change this spring when I plan to spend a whole weekend sightseeing with my daughter, granddaughter and travel buddy, Tracy. This December 15th, the four of us had traveled by Starr Tours Bus to see the famed Radio City Rockettes. Were the Rockettes as awesome as promised? Meet me after the jump to find out

The Trip
Tracy and I had become good friends during my first trip to Italy where I signed up for the Leisurely Tuscany Tour. Tracy had mentioned that she’d always wanted to see the Rockettes and to think of her if I decided to go. After my grandson who’d finished his five year service with Marines and his wife, Kimberlea, moved back to New Jersey, I had the perfect reason to travel to New York. We booked our trip with Starr so we knew that everything for this adventure was taken care of.

As soon as we reached the city, the bus driver handed out maps and a list of restaurants to visit before the show began. On our way to find Planet Hollywood, we came across some Disney Characters who offered to take photos with us. Stupid us thought that they were provided by the city, but after taking a few photos of us with Kimberlea’s cell phone, they began to ask for tips. My daughter gave the main spokesperson five dollars, but they wanted more. Our South Philly attitude is no match for New York con games...and the characters backed off.

The sights and sounds of the busy Times Square area were truly exhilarating. I freaking loved the hustle and bustle of shoppers and workers as they made their way to their destinations. At Planet Hollywood, we had fun checking out all the memorabilia while we waited for our food. I would definitely return to this restaurant for the ambiance and the tasty food.
The Rockettes
I can’t say enough great things about the show. The staff and security made sure the lines getting into the theatre were organized and moving steadily. The dancers were fabulous, especially performing one of my favorite routines with the wooden soldiers. There was even 3D segment at the beginning of the show. If you haven’t treated yourself to this event, please do so.

When we left the theatre we were faced with a full-fledged snowstorm. Luckily we were able to warm up with some hot chocolate at Starbucks. Our bus ride home was longer than expected due to the nasty weather and unbelievable traffic. I will never complain about Philly traffic again.
I’m a big kid at heart and I love to escape the stress from this past year’s election. Traveling to the Big Apple with family and friend, and our seeing Times Square up close and personal was a real treat as was the Radio City Rockettes.

There is one final note on those Disney photo hounds. They are everywhere and, it’s up to you to say no, then quickly run away.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Gilbert Speaks on "The Patron Saint of Blogging"

This past Wednesday on December 6th we lost a literary knight in shining armor. Sir Glenn, a nickname that was lovingly given to Glenn Walker, was a mentor to the members of the South Jersey Writers’ Group, and a friend to anyone who strived to be the best blogger out there in social media land.
I am still trying to come to terms with his death. I’m not alone. Glenn touched everyone and anyone who wanted to write. He is sorely missed by his friends at SJWG, and his fellow bloggers at the Canadian Pop Culture site: Biff Bam Pop!
Andy Burns, who is the Editor-In-Chief of Biff Bam Pop, wrote a beautiful tribute to Glenn and you can read it here. Glenn Walker was involved in so many projects: Welcome to Hell; Biff Bam Pop; The Gar Podcast; The Make Mine Magic Podcast; but his love was all about pop culture. He was a library of information on almost every comic book out there, and although he loved to review movies and television series, his blog “French Fry Diary” was a big hit with many who considered themselves true connoisseurs of fast foods. Glenn’s short story “Live to Write” is featured in the anthology of speculative fiction, Strange World.
Glenn and I first met after I had retired from the Academy of Natural Sciences. My granddaughter, Katrina, was already a member and it was she who introduced me to the members of the South Jersey Writers’ Group and to Glenn. Glenn was responsible for me becoming one of the writers for Biff Bam Pop.
My fondest memories of Glenn were when I began writing the reviews for “The Walking Dead” on BBP. I was a retired grandmother of nine, who was not only tech challenged, but na├»ve with the mechanics of blogging. Glenn would wait until the early morning hours for me to post my review. As Andy’s second-in-command, Glenn was responsible for editing the post before it could go live.
Glenn never lost his patience even after explaining the purpose of tagging multiple times. It became a running joke after a while, but he never gave up on me. I was always eager to get Glenn’s input whenever I wrote a review for Biff Bam Pop even if we often had a different point of view on a specific episode.
Before moving to Florida with his lovely bride, Jennifer, Glenn would hold court at a local coffee shop once a month. He gave freely of his time and experience to anyone who needed help with their blogging. It wasn’t long before we grateful bloggers began calling him “Sir Glenn the Patron Saint of Blogging.”

I miss my friend very much, but maybe if the universe is kind, Sir Glenn will find himself in some heavenly coffee shop. Maybe they will serve French fries and milkshakes in that angelic coffee shop. Maybe my friend will be surrounded by other writers and bloggers. I miss you, kiddo.

R.I.P Glenn Walker

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Gilbert Speaks on "The GOD Particle"

Although I was raised a Catholic, I have turned against most organized religions. I truly love GOD. Not only do I love our Creator, I’m always trying to lead people back to him both with my writing and psychic readings. Recently I was thinking about a book I read called The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. How does a book about evolution tie in with the science behind the “God Particle and Saint John’s bible verse 1:1? Meet me after the jump to find out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Weekend of Wizardry, Muggles, Vendors, and Insights

I’m constantly attending events as a vendor to sell my sci-fi Roof Oasis Series and to do Psychic readings. I love the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting new people. Although I’ve seen every Harry Potter film, I’ve never read the books, so I was a bit hesitant when my granddaughter asked me to share her table for a Twitch-Twitch Production Event.
My granddaughter, Allie, is a big Harry Potter fan and she wanted me to join her for the Pomynauk Academy Event that celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter. This event was held at the Old Bethpage Restoration Village in Old Bethpage New York. It was a two day event that offered Wizardry classes for the kids while offering a shopping spree for the adults. How could I refuse the offer?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Science vs Alternative Facts


This post is part of Blog March 2017. This is a peaceful, but thoughtful movement that will run throughout the month of May. The purpose of this written march is to raise our voices against an administration that is hell-bent on stripping away all the hard won protection of our natural resources, air and water. The previous blog marcher before me was Max Mania on May 24 and the blog marcher following me is Pamela Means on May 26.

I don't know the girl who is holding this cool sign, but it's perfect for Blog March 2017. My post is about the fallacies on climate change that this administration is so eager to shove down our throats. Does science prove our use of outdated methods of energy brings us closer to extinction as a species? Find out after the jump.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Steampunk Granny interviews Anna Brandimarte of Beyond Belief


I meet a lot of talented people with both my book signings and my psychic events. I met Anna Brandimarte several years ago when we were part of the same ghost investigation team. I was recently at a Spiritual Awakening Expo and discovered that Anna was making her own products. It was time for an interview.
Marie Gilbert:  How did you get interested in making the scented candles?

Anna Brandimarte: It just came across me one day and ever since then I just started making candles.

Marie Gilbert: How are your candles different than store bought candles?

Anna Brandimarte: They are like no other ones you buy in a store and the reason why is because I put my own energy and herbs into them along with the power inside the candle.

Marie Gilbert: What else do you make besides the candles?

Anna Brandimarte: I also make bath bombs to help with relaxation when taking a bath! 

Marie Gilbert: Can clients request a certain scent for you to create?

Anna Brandimarte: Yes they can. I can make whatever their wish is for the candle 

Marie Gilbert: Can clients use your candles as protection from negative energy? What candles would you suggest for this?

Anna Brandimarte: My candles are very good for protection because I use herbs to help fight the negative energy.  Lavender is a very good protection for happiness and peace. To keep negativity out of your house, I would suggest Bloodroot herb to be placed in the doorways and windows of the home. These are just a few examples of the herbs that I use in candles, but there's so much more that I haven’t mentioned.

Marie Gilbert: I know that you also do ghost investigations. Can you tell us how you got started?

Anna Brandimarte: I got started with investigations after I got out of high school.  I found the Paranormal fascinating, plus I had some weird things happen and I wanted to find answers. After my family passed away, I was getting signs from them and I decided to become an investigator.

Marie Gilbert: Can clients contact you if they suspect their house is haunted?

Anna Brandimarte: Yes they can contact me. The investigation is free; no charge. I will walk through the entire home, room by room, and tell the clients what I can pick up. 

Marie Gilbert: Can we look forward to new creations from Beyond Belief? 

Anna Brandimarte: Yes. I am always doing something new that's why it's called “Beyond Belief.” 

Marie Gilbert: How can people contact you for an order?

Anna Brandimarte: By cell and email cell 2014783544 Email 

Thank you Anna, for doing this interview and I hope to see you at a few Psychic Expos.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Author Leonardo Ramirez's Buy a Book. Feed a Family Campaign



When Friends ask me to help them with a worthy cause, I always say yes!!! What my fellow author and friend, Leonardo Ramirez, is doing for young readers and their family is worth shouting from the roof. Check it out and I will share updates as they happen. Thank you, Leonardo!


Buy a Book. Feed a Family.

Author Leonardo Ramirez to Launch Crowdfunding Campaign to Benefit Young Readers and Families
‘Buy a Book, Feed a Family' campaign to launch in 2017
MARCH 15, 2017 - Author Leonardo Ramirez has announced that he will be launching a brand new crowdfunding campaign that will benefit both young readers and families.
The “Buy a Book, Feed a Family” campaign will launch on March 20 and will offer backers the ability to support a cause that will offer multi-faceted benefits.
Leonardo’s newest book, The Orb of Terra, will be available via the crowdfunding campaign. The book offers thought-provoking concepts and memorable characters that tell a deep story about a character whose father left him at an early age.
According to Leonardo, the book will provide hope and inspiration to children everywhere, and a portion of money raised will be donated to a Nashville area Food Pantry to help feed families.
Details can be found at where you can sign up for updates.
About Leonardo Ramirez
Leonardo Ramirez is an author, husband, father, and 4th Degree Black Belt instructor. He lives with his wife Kristen and their daughter Mackenzy in Nolensville, Tennessee.

His first graphic novel, Haven of Dante, is a supernatural Young Adult story centered on an ancient war between the Dante Family and the nine circles of hell. Haven of Dante: The Staff of Moshe takes readers much deeper into the world of the family line with a prologue that begins with the plight of Dante Alighieri himself.

His follow up is a Children's Steampunk book called The Jupiter Chronicles: The Secret of the Great Red Spot. It follows the adventure of two children as they are transported to the steam-powered cities of Jupiter, find their long-lost father, stop an attack from Mars and witness the birth of Steampunk.


Download a copy of the press release by clicking here.
To watch the campaign video, click here.
Copyright © 2017 leonardoverse, All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Steampunk Granny’s Day of Writers and Frighters


Congratulations! You’re a writer, and you’ve published your first book, but the really hard part is just beginning. You have to get your little tush out there and sell yourself and your book. It’s not easy to wear different hats: author; marketing; vendor, and if you’re an introvert, then the marketing part can be physically and emotionally daunting.

I’m working on the fourth book of my Roof Oasis Series so I speak from experience. Yesterday was spent with two writer friends selling their debut novels followed by a trip to Cherry Hill’s Monster Mania. Did I have fun? You better believe it.

Author Fair at Deptford

Deptford Mall in Deptford NJ was hosting a Book Expo and I wanted to drop by and support two of the authors: William Howard and Tom Minder. William is a science fiction writer like me, and this is the first book of his series called The Eye of Hermes. I did an interview with William Howard about his book and you can check it out here. The Eye of Hermes is a dystopian tale about two criminals on a prison asteroid who must join forces against a powerful enemy. You can buy the book on Amazon, or you can come out and see the author in person on March 25 at the Treehouse Coffee Shop in Audubon NJ.

Tom Minder’s book is a suspense thriller called The Long Harbor Testament. The story is about an unholy alliance between a priest, a detective and a mob boss who join forces to solve a murder. You can purchase the book on Amazon or meet the author in person on April 8th at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Delaware.

Monster Mania

The last time I was at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill NJ, I have the pleasure to meet several cast members from “The Walking Dead” I wrote a post about my experience of meeting, Tyreese, Carl, Beth and Hershel on Biff Bam Pop and you can read about it here.
I wanted to say hello to a few of my friends who were vendors at this big event. One of the vendors was Dave Nagy of Dave’s Dark Realm and besides wearing his products, he sells them to film companies and special effects crews.
I also met with friends from Jersey Paranormal Investigations. They are having a big event “Peg Leg’s Paracon on September 16, 2017 that will benefit the Red Mill in Clinton NJ. The event will be held at 56 Main Street in Clinton. Here is the Facebook page for the event.
Monster Mania featured well known stars like John Cusack, Louise Fletcher, Nick Castle, Ashley Bell and a few cast members from Stranger Things. My favorite was Louise aka Nurse Ratched from the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. What a beautiful and classy lady!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Heads Up for a Psychic Dinner Event


On March 14th, come to a Psychic Dinner at Bahama Breese Island Grille in Cherry Hill. The featured gifted Psychic Medium will be Judy Dingler. The event begins at 5:30 pm

Are you open to gaining valuable insight about your past, present or future? Would you like to hear from a loved one who has crossed over into the spirit world? Do you want to have an enjoyable dining experience with stimulating conversation? If so, then come to this fun and enlightening event. The event will be held in a private dining room where Psychic Medium Judy Dingler will give messages to the attendees after they have dined. Judy Dingler has been a Psychic Medium for the past twenty-four years. She is able to help people connect with their loved ones, guides and teachers during gallery readings. Judy also shares messages that assist attendees in all the important aspects of their lives.

In addition to being a Psychic Medium, Judy is a meditation facilitator, Reiki teacher and the Founder of “Gathering Together,” a bi-weekly get-together for spiritual seekers held in Blackwood, NJ. She also teaches intuitive development classes. Her warm, down-to-earth personality combined with Judy’s unique blend of knowledge and experience, make her highly sought after by a wide range of clients.


This even is for women and men, friends, couples, families and anyone over the age of 18. If you come with friends, we will seat you together. Dinner is from 5:30 to 7:30 with the gallery readings starting from 7:30 to 9:00

For more information, and to buy a ticket, visit this site. Steampunk Granny will be there to help Host Stacy Joyce with the seating arrangements
Your host for the Psychic Dinners is Stacy Joyce who is a Psychic herself, and the Producer of thePsychic & Healing Expo held every March and September at the Holiday Inn in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Osmosis of Malicious Nature


I waited a while before posting this article because I wanted to see where we are going as a nation. I should have titled this blog “Birds of a Feather” because this has to do with how we see ourselves and how others see us by the company we keep.

Osmosis: is the spontaneous net movement of solvent molecules through a semi-permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, in the direction that tends to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides. ... Osmosis is a vital process in biological systems, as biological membranes are semipermeable...

Birds: Why do birds flock together? Scientists believe that birds tend to fly and hang out together in flocks because there’s safety in numbers and flocking together helps birds stay safe from predators.

People behave the same way. People with same tastes and similar ideologies tend to spend lots of time together. This flocking of people in designated groups helps insulate them from criticism from other groups. For example, I am very into ghost investigations. There are many people who don’t believe in ghosts and I would find myself up for ridicule if I did not have a safety net of people with the same belief in the theory of an active afterlife.
Sometimes the process of osmosis and flocking is beneficial for people as it is with married couples and families in general. When people are first married, they bring along their own individual ideals and dreams. But over time, those married couples evolve into a new creature; one that shares values.

The disturbance to osmosis and flocking usually appears when the offspring of said married couples develop their own ideologies that are in sharp contrast to their parents. It’s called life and that’s okay. It’s better to be a civilization of free thinkers than blind followers. The majority of the time, these young dissenters will point out the antiquated osmosis (ideologies) that kept their parents insulated from the world around them. The flock then has the opportunity to change direction and begin to include other species at their waterhole. Inclusion and acceptance is always good for everyone.

Osmosis of Politics

The threat to all ideologies is eminent when a mutation happens to certain birds nesting at a particular waterhole. This mutative thinking or bigotry begins to spread because all the birds of let’s say the Cuckoo species looks upon the other birds as intruders...or worse...less worthy than them.

The Cuckoos will then begin a slow, manipulative method of destroying all birds at that waterhole that do not assimilate into the new world order. With the constant use of conspiracy theories and the constant shaming of those birds that resist joining the flock, the Cuckoos slowly destroy the ecology of the waterhole forever.


Can this happen in real life? Yes! We see it happening with Trump and his cabinet that consists mostly of people who have shown in the past that they are intent on destroying anything that protects the environment, education and the survival of the American middle class. They hate the poor and dehumanize anyone who thinks or looks differently than them. Maybe Trump isn’t a person of bigotry, but if the flock he’s getting his advice from is tolerant of bigotry then Trump by association will be held responsible. Is Trump a subscriber to the Alt-right ideology? What exactly is Alt-right?

Alt-right: Bannon once described Breitbart News in an interview with the Investigative Fund as the “platform for the alt-right”. Alt-right is far-right conservatism that embraces and promotes white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. The article, which I’ll include here, goes on to say that Breitbart does concede in that article that neo-Nazis or “1488ers” make up part of the alt-right. Like I’ve stated above...the Cuckoos are slowly destroying the waterhole forever.


This is the description that I found explaining this group. It is the term given to the hardcore racists who populate the movement, though in smaller numbers. They believe in the radical and violent eradication of minority groups from the USA. The first part of the term is a reference to a 14 word, new Nazi slogan, while the second part of the number -88- refers to the eighth letter of the alphabet “H” which put together stands for “Heil Hitler  

Is Trump a follower of Alt-right ideology? If not, then Trump will need to explain in clear and concise language to the entire nation why he picked Bannon for his cabinet. And it better make sense to us on why our president is hanging with haters. If it walks, talks, and flocks like a Cuckoo, then it’s a flocking Cuckoo! End of discussion!
How do we fight this mindset of entitlement, hate and bigotry? The other birds (Republicans and Democrats alike) need to stand together and protest against any signs of hatred coming from this administration. The Free Press must be diligent in reporting only the truth and holding themselves to a higher level of journalism. We Americans must hold our representatives in Congress to the fire and demand that they explain the policies coming from the White House. And, if these policies are harmful to us as a nation, then these representatives in Congress are duty bound to protect all the other birds at the waterhole.
Because in the will be where Congress places its loyalty that will give proof to what flock they’d prefer to associate themselves with. Will they stand or the Cuckoos? The ball is in your court Messieurs Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

Side note: I wish to offer my sincerest apology to the cuckoo bird species for using them as an example for this story.