Reveal: Tara's Cross, a 9/11 memoir by G.J. Bachmann

Tara's Cross

Rescuers pulled George Bachmann, a New York City firefighter from Ten House, from beneath the rubble of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. He survived the terrorist attacks, but somehow, his memory had been temporarily left behind. As Bachmann recuperated, he knew he needed to remember what had happened and he needed to confront his dreams, which was not an easy task. His mind was privy to an unknown piece of history that drove him to the brink.

In this memoir, TARA’S CROSS, Bachmann describes the unimaginable events at Ground Zero. He tells not only of his physical recovery, but also shares the return of his memory through a series of dreams. He reveals the details of the magnificent sighting on West Street where he witnessed the two highest ranking NYC officers saluting each other at the foot of the North Tower before they perished on 9/11.

A tale of survival and salvation, TARA’S CROSS is a testament to how the mind and soul heal themselves and how the spirits of the honored dead guide them home. This love story, set against the backdrop of the attacks on the World Trade Center, is also one of courage and recovery.

The Author:

G.J. Bachmann worked more than twenty-seven years as a New York City firefighter and survived the events of 9/11. He was awarded the World Trade Center Double Star Rescue/Recovery Citation. Bachmann and his wife Annie live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, with their daughter Tara Bridget.

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Organizing a Gift Wrapping Station

I live in a small cottage in Southern Louisiana and some organizing problems require innovative solutions. One of these problem areas for me was a gift wrapping station (other than the dining room table.) The neighbors were selling off an old house that had a wash shed attached. Hubby came up with the fabulous idea to take it off their hands and bring it over to our piece of land. He and a friend quite literally drug it over – behind a tractor. The two of them admitted later that they had a contingency plan – one I never knew about. If it began to fall apart as they entered the highway making the corner into our yard, they were just going to scrape it off to the side of the road. I, for one, was so happy that plan never came into play. However, I have to admit that my fingers and toes were crossed as they slid it down the long driveway and turned into place at just the right angle for me.

IMG_1003The old wash shed came to rest in its place next to a large and growing oak tree in our back yard. This is also the dog kennel and each of my shepherds has a matching house under the overhang to the left.

I went to work demolishing the inside to better utilize the space. Hubby built shelves along one side and came around the corner to the front and back doors. Along the opposite side, he built a long countertop with shelves underneath and a shelf along the top.

One end houses my craft supplies and the other houses my newly organized gift wrapping station. For anyone who has had to drag out the containers of gift wrap and hunt for scissors and ribbon due to lack of space to wrap gifts, knows that this is a godsend.



Before setting up the gift wrapping station permanently, it was tucked into the corner. As time went on and I took the time to use it, I began to figure out how I needed it to work and set about accomplishing my goal.

I added a rod under one of the shelves to hold my collection of ribbon and then mounted mop racks on the wall beneath the shelf to hold my wrapping paper. I actually used two of the racks that mounted across hold mops and brooms. I installed them vertically and the polls holding my wrapping paper fit perfectly.


I store extra rolls of paper upright in a tall garbage bin. Some ribbon is stored in glass jars and I have since added a basket with my tape dispenser, cards, and scissors.

I will reveal the remaining side of my Garden House in another post. It is set up with areas for gardening, my cookie cutter collection, and items for entertaining.

Review: Between Boyfriends by Sarka-Jonae Miller

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At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills.

Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it’s time for Jan to grow up.

Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it’s time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she’ll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her?

BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is a sexy, hilarious story of living life, finding love, and growing up… but not necessarily in that order.

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About the Author:
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a novelist and freelance health writer. She has more than 4,000 articles published on topics such as fitness, sports, martial arts, yoga, nutrition, travel, spirituality, and natural health. Her work has appeared on websites such as,,, and, as well as in the “Post-Standard” newspaper and both the New York and Washington Home & Garden online magazines. Sárka-Jonae is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is as a former personal fitness trainer and massage therapist. She is also an avid traveler, having spent time in Costa Rica, Canada, England, Mexico, and Paradise Island. She has also been to France and Thailand researching her next books. She lives in San Diego with a menagerie, including two cats, two dogs and a horse.

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BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is exactly as described – “sexy, hilarious story of living life, finding love, and growing up”. The author describes the protagonist to a tee which allows the reader to picture her exactly as she is – a spoiled, little rich girl who is used to getting what she wants.

The writing is good, but at times tends to get bogged down with detailed descriptions. I think the targeted audience (young adult – 20ish) would enjoy the book a little more than someone my age.

I am giving the book three stars.



“So, what happened with Mike? Are you okay? Did you get dumped again?”
Jan knew it was obvious. She might as well go down the street to a tattoo parlor and have “reject” permanently etched into her forehead.
“Yes, but I’m over all that. I’ve given up dating. I’m focusing on—” Oh no, I have to say something, “—school. And my health. I’ve started working out.” Jan hated lying to Raven, but rationalized that it was already tomorrow somewhere.
Raven cocked her head to the right like a curious puppy. “You’ve given up on dating?”
“Well, I’ve just realized that dating is a ridiculous concept and is better left to people without hearts.”
“Like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz?”
Jan took a drink of her iced tea. It tasted delicious after she had spiked it with three Splenda packets she had kept in her purse.
“No,” Jan answered. She began to feel confused again. She just didn’t know how to explain her logic. “It’s just that most relationships end in either breakup or divorce. So why bother? A lot of girls seem to jump into them even when it’s obvious that it’s not going to work out.”
Raven nodded. “Yeah, I know a lot of girls like that. Some guys too. They want someone to tell them they’re attractive, take them out, and to keep on reserve for weddings and parties. Sometimes, it’s worse though. They need a guy to give them an identity. If they aren’t someone’s girlfriend, they feel lost because they don’t know who they are.”
I wonder if she ever thought that about me? Jan fidgeted with her straw.
“It’s weird, isn’t it?” she agreed. She thought back on times she had panicked because she couldn’t find a date for a social event. “If you believe in soul mates, then there’s only one person out there for you, so why stay with someone once it was clear they weren’t the One?”
“Well, define ‘clear’,” Raven challenged kindly. Jan couldn’t. “Besides, if a girl doesn’t know who she is, then she won’t know what she wants out of a relationship. I hear things all the time in the salon from girls who date guys that never take them out, flirt with their best friends, blow them off consistently, and forget their birthdays or anniversaries. But these girls make up excuses instead of seeing the obvious truth that their boys just aren’t that into them.”
Jan opened her mouth to rant about what jerks those men were, but Raven cut her off.
“But it isn’t only the guys’ faults. These girls let them get away with it. They may verbalize to their guy that it’s not okay, but they stay with him no matter how many times he screws up. Their actions say it’s all right, so why would the guy change?”
Jan was stunned. It had never occurred to her that men may notice her actions and draw assumptions. She counted on people to listen to her words and forgive her tone, body language and actions inconsistent with what she said.
“But shouldn’t guys be considerate and loving to their girlfriends irregardless?”
Raven raised an eyebrow. “Why would you date a guy that wasn’t considerate to begin with? Why agree to become his girlfriend when his actions say that he doesn’t love you?”
Jan’s perception jumped to a new height. She felt like someone had switched on a spotlight and an iceberg had appeared in front of her. She choked on the emotions, ideas, and opinions clamoring for attention. She’d never really considered having a choice in becoming someone’s girlfriend, or that there should be a prerequisite for monogamy. Obtaining a boyfriend was the point of dating, wasn’t it? Why bother otherwise, and why take it slow if it was what you wanted? Then again, she had to admit that a lot of the guys she had dated had been jerks, some from the moment she had met them. So, why had she pursued them?
“I guess that makes sense,” Jan answered. “I’m not sure that people care so much about finding a great person that treats them well as they do about finding someone who’s attractive and willing to spend time with them.”
Raven shrugged. “Personally, I’m much happier spending time with my friends — male or female — that make me feel good, rather than with a boyfriend that brings me down.”
Jan couldn’t help but wonder, Is there any other kind?

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Challenge – Organize your planner supplies

After using only my iPhone the last year for keeping track of my life, I have recently gotten back into using my paper planner. I have always loved Day-Timer products and have been using them for twenty-five years.

When I first began using a planner, the choices for inserts were quite limited. Today, the world is literally your oyster as the saying goes. Everywhere you look, someone has designed an insert. They are readily available through blogs and on the popular site, Etsy.

With the surge of women returning to paper planners (or some never having left) blogs and Facebook groups are popping up to unite and support women in their efforts. Never has it been more fun than now to track your life in a planner. I have jumped on board with the new wave of planner decorators who are combining their scrapbooking talents with their life organization skills and in the process I have accumulated a collection of “planner supplies”; pens, stickers, Washi tape, sticky notes, and notepads.

At some point, the supply mound will begin to topple and some organization is needed. This post is all about my Planner Organization Cart. I spend a good deal of time in my office and want it to be full of happy colors. My cart is a refreshing addition. It was purchased from IKEA and is heavy duty. It is heavy and what I like most about is that I can reach over and pull it out from beside my desk when I need supplies. It rolls easily.

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The front of the cart
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Front view, side view and rear view

Each shelf is dedicated to a different element of planning. The top shelf holds a pink Craftsman Tote. I use the tote to store a few color pens, scissors, hole punches and decorative papers.

The second shelf is dedicated to paper products. I have a few favorite containers that I like to use and I can fit three of them stacked comfortably on the shelves. I have containers for note pads, my 2014 planner pages, stickers, and various sticky notes.

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The containers I use nestle on top of one another. A few other containers that I am partial to can actually be found on the fishing tackle aisle! I use plastic tackle boxes for an assortment of things in my house. I use them to organize my makeup. I use them to organize jewelry. And I use them to organize my Washi tape in my cart.

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Tackle box
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Plastic containers with locking lids

I find some of the craft containers that feature some of the same setups as tackle box are not quite as tall and tend to crush the Washi tape. The plastic containers with locking lids (these are from Wal-Mart) sit nicely one on top of the other and the handles secure the lids. Here, you see the Washi tape in the tackle box and my pens are sorted by colors and housed in 4×5 picture cases that I purchased Joann‘s on-line.

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The bottom shelf houses color pens, stamps, washi tape and my label maker
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Small container holding stamps and ink pads
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Sticky pads, washi tape, supplies

And, that is how I have organized my Planner Supplies. The challenge I am issuing is for you to start the new year with your supplies organized. I am the moderator of a planner’s group on Facebook and I invite to join us and post pictures of your planning station. You can find Southern Charm Planners at

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Washi tape in a tackle box
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A back view of the cart. The wash tape container stands on its end and fits perfectly. The smaller container of washi tape is a 5×7 picture case.
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I love this label maker. I can plug into my computer and use all the fonts available there.
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Labels made using computer generated fonts.
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Color pens
Post-it notes and tape
Post-it notes and tape

I’m sharing in the Thursday Favorites Blog Hop:

thursday blog hop

Join in the fun here and hop across the blogs as you make new friends.

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All for You by Jessica Scott

Cover Reveal

Camp Taji, Iraq


Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli had seen better days. He closed his eyes, wishing he was anywhere but curled up on the latrine floor in the middle of some dirty, shitty desert. The cold linoleum caressed his cheek, soothing the sensation of a billion spiders creeping over his skin. He had to get up, to get back to his platoon before someone came looking for him. Running patrols through the middle of Sadr City was so much better than being balled up on the bathroom floor, puking his guts out.

He’d sacrificed his dignity at the altar of the porcelain god two days ago when they’d arrived in northern Baghdad. It was going to be a rough deployment; that was for damn sure. Dear Lord, he’d give anything for a drink. Anything to stop the madness of detox.

Why the f… was he doing this to himself? Why did he pick up that godforsaken bottle every single time he made it home from this goddamned war?

The walls of the latrine echoed as someone pounded on the door. It felt like a mallet on the inside of a kettle drum inside his skull. “Sarn’t Ike!”

Reza groaned and pushed up to his hands and knees. He couldn’t let Foster see him like this. Couldn’t let any of his guys see him like this. “You about ready? The patrol is gearing up to roll.”

Holy hell. He dry heaved again, unable to breathe until the sensation of ripping his guts out through his throat passed. After a moment, he pushed himself upright and rinsed out his mouth. He’d definitely seen better days.

He wet his brown-black hair down and tucked the grey Army combat t-shirt into his uniform pants. Satisfied that no one would know he’d just been reduced to a quivering ball of misery a few moments before, he headed out to formation, a five- to seven-hour patrol through the shit hole known as Sadr City in his immediate future.

He was a goddamned sergeant first class and he had troops rolling into combat. They counted on him to do more than show up. They counted on him to lead them. Every single day.

Maybe by the time he reached thirty days in country, he’d stop heaving his guts up every morning. But sick or not, he was going out on patrol with his boys.

The best he could hope for was that he wouldn’t puke in the tank.

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Jagged Edges by Doris H. Dancy

Derek Wellington had his life set.  He was born into wealth, graduated with honors from Harvard Law, and, since high school, knew he would marry the beautiful Morgan LaRue.  …but somewhere along the way, everything he thought he knew about himself, about Morgan, and even about life itself will boggle his mind, and catapult him into a world of betrayal, deception, and confusion. Somewhere in this darkness, he must search for The Light to find his way out of a maze that, if he fails, will destroy his heart and soul forever.

About The Author

Doris H. Dancy is an accomplished and award-winning educator, speaker, writing consultant, playwright, wife, mother and now author. Her life’s focus has been educating our youth in an appreciation of both the written and spoken word.   She received her BA Degree in English from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina and began a teaching career in both English and Spanish.  She was graduated from Hampton University with a MA in English Education and eventually became Chairperson of the English Department, English Teacher Specialist, and later Curriculum Leader of English K-12 for Hampton City Public Schools.  Teaching and supervising were both rewarding careers, and each taught her a different level and focus of professionalism and commitment.  As the Curriculum Leader, along with many other responsibilities, she developed and provided staff development for a writing program that guaranteed student achievement.

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Why I Wrote Jagged Edges

            I will be honest and say that it took me quite a while to realize why I was writing Jagged Edges, a Christian romance.  I was just enjoying the ride.  However, as I do all things, I sought God for His guidance, and, soon it became quite clear that there are many reasons for writing this novel for the society in which we live today.  Below, I detail a few.

There are numerous young men and women who are confused about love for a lot of different reasons.  They confuse infatuation with real love, and, in the excitement of it all, begin to give too much far too soon.  Many times intimate relationships begin before these young couples have an opportunity to see who they really are and what they actually want for their own lives.  Once intimacy is involved, young ladies often become emotionally attached when that may or may not be the young man’s position at all.  These relationships are often short-lived and hurtful.  The impact of this kind of disappointment sometimes is revealed in unwanted pregnancies, low self-esteem, and a constant attempt to find true love in all the wrong places.

In chapter seven of Jagged Edges, young women are given a lesson in how to say no to intimacy, and young men hopefully realize that they don’t have to ask in order to be masculine, and that, many times, it would be a great idea if they avoided the question.  One of my main characters, Arianna, who has only recently met Derek, the protagonist, is not lured by his good looks, his wealth, or his education.  She is unwilling to allow him to push her into a deeper relationship that she is not yet ready for, even if it means an end to their new friendship.  Arianna is firm and clear that she is “nobody’s rebound or one night stand or convenience or friend with benefits.”  She knows who she isShe says,  “I want to be your friend before I’m your lover…I don’t want to get caught up in my own imaginations, and I definitely don’t want to be caught up in your fantasies.”  She tells him that she wants him to know her, and she wants to know him before there is intimacy.  Derek also realizes that, despite the fact that he is asking, he should not at this point because he is in a relationship with someone else even though, at the time, he is not sure where that relationship might be headed.  He is in a confused position and knows that he should not complicate things by bringing someone else into his life.  In both cases these two people can see that rushing into intimacy is a bad idea.

Too many people ignore these kinds of red flags, and in writing this novel, it is my wish to make the warning signs crystal clear and bring them to the forefront of our awareness.  Hopefully, this can help, if even just a little, in stopping the pain of so many bad and misguided relationships that end with children who live in turmoil.

Additionally, I wrote Jagged Edges to give those of us who love romance an opportunity to read it without numerous expletives and lurid explicit sex scenes.  I believe that there is an audience for the type of novel where you have to use your imagination, where men know how to treat women with respect, and where those who are in a search for God realize that they can find Him in all the right places.  He is available to help us find the right mate who is willing to help us build a relationship and grow in love with respect and dignity.


JAGGED EDGES is a book that contains a wonderful message of love – God’s love and human love. In that, the book holds a wonderful enlightening message.

It is a good book and definitely one worth reading, however, in my opinion I felt the book had a tendency to be overly descriptive and the dialect was somewhat overdone. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but quickly fell into a pattern of skimming.

I am not going to rate the book as I feel I may not have been the targeted audience and I think the reader should make up their mind about the book.

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