Posted in libraries

Summer Library Tour Recap

As many of you know, I’m a librarian as well as an author. My library system, the Nassau Library System in Nassau County, New York, recently hosted a summer library tour. The tour started on July 1st and ran through August 31st. Prizes were awarded to patrons who visited 5, 15, 30, or 45 of the participating libraries. There was also a scavenger hunt item hidden at each library that visitors could search for, as well as a guest book that could be signed. Some staff members wore a special shirt with the library tour insignia that I loved because it featured two cats.

I thought it would be fun to participate myself, but I only managed to visit 8 libraries including my own. Even so, I met many great fellow librarians and learned of the myriad services different libraries provide. I hope to visit more next summer, although I don’t need a tour to drop by any time during the year.

The first library I visited, of course, was my own, the Hicksville Public Library, where I signed the guest book in the Children’s Department and received my map for recording, via yellow stickers, the libraries I visited.

The first library I visited after mine was the Bethpage Public Library. It featured the lunar module as the scavenger hunt item. I found two copies of the first book of my series, A Stone’s Throw, on their shelf.

The next library I visited was the Oyster Bay Public Library. I went there on my vacation, so I could also spend some time in the pretty, North Shore town that is home to Planting Fields Arboretum, Sagamore Hill, and Theodore Roosevelt Park and Beach. There are also some nice shops and restaurants in the area. They had a cute set up for the library tour near the scavenger hunt item which was a poster of the village. I also located two of my books on their shelves.

I visited the third library, Valley Stream Public Library, also known as the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library, after a book signing at their cozy coffee shop, Sip This. Their scavenger Hunt item was a 3D printed book.

After Valley Stream, I went to the Farmingdale Public Library and met Rachel and Dana, two pleasant librarians who pointed me toward a beautiful aquarium that contained their scavenger hunt item, a shipwreck. I also located the first two books of my Cobble Cove mystery series on their shelves.

Next on my list was the Syosset Public Library. I had previously participated in a local author fair there, and the first and third books of my series, A Stone’s Throw, and Written in Stone, were on their shelf with a “local author” sticker. I spoke with a nice man, Ed, the Head of Reference, and located their scavenger hunt item, a cut-out cyclops in honor of their upcoming Sy-Con event on September 13 and 14.










I was pleasantly surprised at my visit to the Seaford Public Library when I was able to say hello to Director Frank McKenna, the husband of Donna McKenna, who had worked previously with me at Hicksville. I also met librarians Eric and Kristen who were friendly and welcoming. I loved the sign outside their door that said “Seaford Public Library: Your Doorway to the Past, the Present, The Future.” I was also happy to note that they also had the first two books of my series. Their scavenger hunt item was a map of their town.

The last but not least library I toured was Wantagh Public Library. I hate to admit that I missed the scavenger hunt item which was listed on the website as a “Wantagh Yesterday” painting. I will just have to go back to view it which won’t be a hardship because I met two nice librarians there, Jack and Ian, who were even kind enough to re-shelve my books that were split into two different areas. In addition to the first two books of my series, they also owned my standalone mystery/thriller, Reason to Die.

Although I didn’t complete my tour of all the Nassau Libraries, I was happy to have met fellow librarians and seen what other libraries offer in the way of services, collection displays, and library design. I was also able to view these places through the eyes of a patron.

Posted in Podcasts

My Podcast with Yvonne Mason’s Off the Chain Radio Show

On Friday, June 16, it was my pleasure to speak with Yvonne Mason, the hostess of Off the Chain Radio, a podcast show broadcasted in 65 countries and heard by a following of 20,000 fans.

I spoke about my childhood, growing up reading books and dreaming of becoming a writer. We also spoke about my lifelong affection for pets especially cats and how I feature them in my books and articles. We discussed my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series including the third and latest title, Written in Stone, and my other books and short stories published by Solstice Publishing. I also described my goal of seeking representation by an agent for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope, that I’d like to publish with a larger publisher. 

The complete broadcast can be heard here on BlogTalk Radio:

and also on Speaker:


Posted in Monday blogs

The Best Day Trips Can be Booked with a Library Card

Jericho and Hicksville Library staff and patrons that went on the “Long Island by Land and Sea tour” conducted by Carole Lucca (Photo by Vladimir Reyes)

I recently took a library trip called “Long Island by Land and Sea.” While the itinerary included locations within a two hour’s drive, I and my fellow travelers visited a variety of places including the Peconic River Herb Farm and the Raphael Winery. The final stop was a lighthouse tour aboard the Peconic Star Express out of Greenport. There was also time for a bit of shopping and lunch in between.

Our tour guide on the trip was Carole Lucca of All Around Long Island Tours. I was not surprised at how informative and friendly she was because I had gone on a previous library tour that she led to the Hamptons. Some of the interesting tidbits she shared included the fact that Suffolk County has ten townships while Nassau County only has three along with two cities – Glen Cove and Long Beach. We traveled through both Brookhaven Township and Riverhead Township during the trip.  She also pointed out that Martha Clara Vineyards was owned by the Entenmann’s of the famous bakery.

The gift shop at the Peconic River Herb Farm includes a variety of gardening and souvenir merchandise
My friend and library co-worker Teresa and I in front of the Peconic River.

We arrived at the Peconic River Herb Farm in the late morning. The sun was shining, and it was the perfect temperature for a relaxing stroll around this lovely garden center. After picking up a few souvenirs in the quaint gift shop, many of us meandered down to the river where we took photos by the water.

Seating that overlooks the Raphael Winery’s vineyard.
Our group sampled four wines with cheese and bread.

A short drive away was the Raphael Winery where we were treated to tastings of four wines on their comfortable patio overlooking the grape vines. Along with our drinks, we were served bread and samples of cheese. While we partook of the refreshments, the winery’s owner, Julie Petrocelli Vergari, filled us in on the history of the winery and winemaking. She explained that Raphael was family-owned and spoke about the process of turning grapes into wine and the fact that Long Island wines have a lower alcohol level than California wines because of the lesser number of sunny days during the year. Afterward, guests were invited to shop at Raphael’s gift shop or purchase their own bottle of wine at a tour discount.

Me standing by the Peconic Star Express before our lighthouse tour.

Following our pleasant time at the winery, we headed to Greenport where we were to board the Peconic Star Express for our lighthouse tour. Before boarding the ship, we took a break for lunch. A few people including myself chose to eat at Claudio’s a well-known restaurant in town not far from the dock and then walk through the village for some shopping.

The first lighthouse we viewed was the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, more commonly known as “Bug Lighthouse.” (photos by Vladimir Reyes)

The day had turned overcast when we met by the dock to start our lighthouse tour and; although it was cold on the water, passengers had an option to stay inside and just go out on deck or aboveboard for photos when we passed the lighthouses. The first lighthouse we saw was the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, commonly known as Bug Light. According to our Captain, this offshore lighthouse can be toured by appointment and is automated so does not have a keeper. Our next stop was the Orient Point Lighthouse which is also unmanned and is currently for sale for around $250,000. The captain told us we were in a dangerous body of water because of the rocks in the area.

The Fire Island Lighthouse

When we arrived at the Fire Island Lighthouse near Plum Island, our captain informed us that it played a role in the first battle of the Revolutionary War. This lighthouse includes an oil house next to it and New York City rocks around it.

One of the seals swimming in the water near Race Rock Lighthouse (photo by Vladimir Reyes)

We continued on to Great Gull Island which we learned serves as a nesting area for terns. Race Rock Lighthouse, by Fishers Island,  attracts seals. We were even able to view a few as they poked their heads out of the water near the rocks. Race Rock Light is an active lighthouse noted for its foghorn that sounds 24/7. It is also automated and, like the Orient Point Lighthouse, is also up for sale. The last lighthouse we viewed was Little Gull Lighthouse. We then made our way back to Greenport where photographer  Vladimir Reyes took shots of our group. After dropping off passengers from the Jericho Library, we headed back to the parking area that serves as the drop-off for the Hicksville passengers. It was a long day but a very enjoyable one, and everyone was already talking about signing up for the next trip.

The library group after disembarking from the lighthouse tour. (Photo by Vladimir Reyes)