Ivan, the bartender
Party, Party, Party. That’s the invitation I sent out to my friends, family and followers to come and celebrate the release of, Indigo Sky, my first book.
Susan and crew
After I sent the invitations, I realized that parties should be celebrations where guests can enjoy good food and drink. It’s great to talk about a party but how do I do this?
Pequot Library, Southport, CT held its most important fundraiser reception at the opening of their yearly art exhibition, with a mix of media to be sold. There was also a silent auction offering beach houses, design consultations, ballroom dance lessons, catering, and more from established local merchants. During the evening, food was ample and strategically placed with trays of cheeses, fruits, and crackers, all beautifully arranged. The open bar was stocked with your favorites and overflowing with tasty champagne cocktails. A staff of cordial servers appeared with appetizers, simple finger foods, elaborate and tasty, no mess, no bother. While enjoying the stuffed shrimp appetizer, Tom and I were reviewing the offers at the silent auction table when a woman next to us said, “That’s me.”
I turned to her and asked, “Who?”
Bob Bonitz, author, and server Barbie
“Look at this offer for a catering service, that’s me, I’m the caterer, Susan Kane.”
“You’re the caterer? You did all this? I stared for not more than a moment, took a deep breath and said, “I’m having a party this Wednesday. Will you help me?” She said, “Yes.” We made a date for Monday, she told me not to worry, all would be fine.
Susan is a local in Fairfield, CT. She spent years learning the art of cooking in the Italian restaurants her grandparents and parents owned in Pennsylvania. Susan has worked in restaurants and estates, planning meals, cooking and serving. The Inn at Pound Ridge is only one of the places where she studied food preparation and service under the head chef.
Susan is great at designing elaborate and elegant festivities. She sent me a menu, I chose, she did the rest. We had several appetizers and two desserts, chocolate mousse and fresh fruit, plus a stationary of delicious and fresh veggies, cheeses and crackers. NOT your average crudité station.
Susan cares about food source, high quality and serving aesthetics.
Kristan Higgins, author, and me
My guests have touched base, with calls and emails about the good time they had, and how they thought the caterer made the party even more wonderful. Thank you, Susan Kane, for creating a beautiful setting for a momentous night for me as a debut author.
Me, Tom, and sons Rick & Paul Ingis
Chocolate Mousse Martini
What’s your favorite finger food?
Purple/black, red & green grapes for wine, light, medium, heavy, bubbly . . . more choices than anyone could possible want in the wine world. I concluded my favorite is bubbly wine, Champagne cocktails.
Recently we rode the wine trail in Canandaigua, NY, and stopped at a few wineries. Wow! What a fun experience. Reds and whites from very dry, to medium dry, to the sweet ice wine. Strange name, it’s not icy.
Depending on the age it changes in taste and quality. No, I am not an expert, but on the wine trail there are more wineries and more wines to taste than you can count. We took the bate and took away red and white wines, and my favorite, bubbly wine.
CELEBRATE with me. My book is available today, Wednesday, October 21, 2015 Indigo Sky . . . on Amazon.
Release day, 10/21/15 Indigo Sky
Friends and family are toasting success with me this evening . . . with bubbly wine (Champagne) and hors d’oeuvres. Even an aged special wine is not as a dreamy as a flute of champagne. Like fireworks, anticipation of the pop, the sizzle, and the spill, just enough to lick your fingers! And with those hors d’oeuvres, hmm . . .
Amazon has the book ready for you to buy. Here’s the buy link for your perusal.
Indigo Sky buy link
I wrote in an earlier blog, A Dreamland of Fun, Food and Folic, about saving the Coney Island Pumping Station. Here’s newsy news folks . . .
Preservationists and Coney Island residents want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community’s use. Photos by Lore Croghan of Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Back in the day, the Coney Island Pumping Station saved many lives and properties by providing high-pressure water to firefighters.
Educator Merryl Kafka wanted to drive that point home visually — so she wore a firefighter’s helmet to testify at a city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on October 8th.
“Coney has lost much of its architectural framework, but we can save this 1938 modern masterpiece preserved as public art … with a new purpose,” said Kafka, the co-founder of the Rachel Carson High School of Coastal Studies in Coney Island. “Let this building be the one.”
Preservationists from the Art Deco Society of New York and numerous other groups turned out to testify that they want the Coney Island Pumping Station to be landmarked, renovated and repurposed for the community’s use.
The pumping station at 2301 Neptune Ave. was one of seven Brooklyn historic sites that have been on the LPC’s calendar for consideration as landmarks for many years without a decision from the preservation agency.
The hearing was a first step in an intensive LPC campaign to clear up that calendar backlog. There are 95 properties citywide on the backlog list.
The lozenge-shaped Arte Moderne-style pumping station was the only public work designed by prominent architect Irwin Chanin. It boosted the water pressure available for firefighters in Coney Island, which was frequently stricken by devastating conflagrations.
Merryl Kafka wears a firefighter’s helmet to the October 8th Landmarks Preservation commission hearing about the Coney Island Pumping Station. BEST HAT. EVER!
Decorative Art Deco-style limestone statues of winged horses were removed many years ago from the long-decommissioned pumping station and loaned to the Brooklyn Museum.
“The Elgin Marbles are waiting at the Brooklyn Museum for reassembly,” testified Sean Khorsandi, an alumnus of Cooper Union, like Chanin himself.
“The power lies with you,” Khorsandi told commissioners.
“Give a landmark to a neighborhood that basically is NYCHA public housing,” Dick Zigun, known as the unofficial mayor of Coney Island, said at the hearing.
Does this interest you? What is your take on saving America’s history?
Coney Island Pumping Station’s fans muster at Landmarks hearing
This is a repeat of this blog today 6/8/16, with the Good news as of October 8, 2015. The Pumping Station has been saved. Here’s the building now, and my oil painting of the site.
Top: Original existing pumping station on Neptune Ave in Coney Island and below: my oil painting on anodized aluminum 12×24″
Cat Johnson is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. She’s known for her creative marketing and research practices. Cat has sponsored bull riding rodeo cowboys, owns a collection of cowboy boots and camouflage shoes for book signings and a fair number of her consultants wear combat or cowboy boots for a living. A hybrid author, she writes both full length and shorter works and has series with Kensington Zebra and Samhain Publishing, in addition to her bestselling self published Hot SEALs series.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the suburbs just outside of Manhattan and have since moved farther upstate to a small farm. I think that gives me the experience to write both city and country, a theme which keeps popping up in my romance.
When did you first start writing?
I won a writing contest in first grade, but if we’re talking writing for pay, that was two weeks after I graduated college when I got my first contract with a big publisher writing work-for-hire for multiple Young Adult series. However my first romance contract was in 2006.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being my own boss. Knowing I can make the decisions and steer the direction I want to go in my career.
What are you working on next?
I have more sexy heroes to write for my bestselling self-published Hot SEALs series (in eBook, trade paperback and audiobook) after the new year, but next I’m writing a cute holiday-themed novella for Kensington Zebra that will be released in a mass market paperback multi-author anthology in time for the 2016 Christmas season.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Promoting, studying the market, engaging on social media, creating graphics, analyzing the trends, learning more about this ever changing business—and yes, I know you’re looking for what I do in my off time. Right now, there is no off time and that is my biggest failure in my opinion—my lack of work/life balance—and it’s something I have to work on.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Since I often write cowboys, and bull riders in particular, I’ve gone to the list of the real life top professional riders in the country and stolen names from there for my characters. But for my next release, Midnight Wrangler (in the Midnight Ride Series coming out in mass market paperback and eBook from Kensington Zebra Thanksgiving week) I actually met 2 cowboys from Alaska while I was in Vegas for the PBR Finals. Their names were Rohn and Colton and I told them then I was stealing their names for my book and I did. The hero of Midnight Wrangler is Rohn and one of his ranch hands is named Colton.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Hitting the USA Today Bestseller list six times. I’ve been in multi-author box sets that were on the New York Times Bestseller list twice and on USAT three times, but those were group projects. It felt different the three times my single titles hit the USAT list and I’d done it all on my own, twice were with my self-published titles which was extra satisfying.
The Midnight Cowboy series by Cat Johnson:
Midnight Ride (out now in print, eBook, audio)
Midnight Wrangler (Nov 24, 2015)
Midnight Heat (Feb 23, 2016)
Amazon Author Page: http://catjohnson.net/amazonauthorpage
Crazy questions That No One Ever Asks Authors
Do you write naked?
No, but I’ve been known to clean the house and do laundry naked.
What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
That I liked another author’s book when I really didn’t.
Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?
Once my date, back in the late 1980s, did, in a bar in Brooklyn. I hid in the kitchen until the fight was over. I’m too petite to be able to hold my own in a bar fight.
(Midnight Cowboys, Book 2)
Here’s a blurb about Cat’s Midnight Wrangler:
One Lonely Widower… One Woman with a Secret… One Night That Changes Everything…
Rohn Lerner is a successful Oklahoma rancher. He’s old enough to know what he likes, and still young enough to enjoy it. But losing his wife five years ago wore him thin. He’s not ready to date, but he needs someone to share a meal with as badly as someone to warm his bed.
Bonnie Martin fled her Oklahoma home years ago, leaving behind her abusive father, and Rohn, the lost love she never forgot. Now she’s back to settle her father’s estate, but she has no idea that she’s about to bump into Rohn or that they’ll fall for each other all over again.
eBook & Print Nov 24, 2016
Did you ever sign a petition to save a building? It sometimes seems futile, especially here in the states. We are a country that forgets about architectural history. Someday, we too can be like our European neighbors, who treasure antiquity, if we save these works of historical art.
Landmark this: The Coney Island Pumping Station is a 1930s Art Deco structure that could receive landmark status after an Oct. 8 hearing.
This time, I have been asked to sign for the Coney Island Pumping Station. This gorgeous landmark was designed and built in 1938. It fits the Art Deco style perfectly, and is one of the few places left in Coney Island after storm Sandy. Would you please consider saving this building?
Here is a sample letter for your perusal. To send the letter, please see the address at the end of this post. Do it now, the deadline is coming up when the commission will vote on October 8th. Copy this letter, paste in Word, sign and send to the address below.
Dear Commissioner Srinivasan,
Please accept this letter in support of the designation of the Coney Island Pumping Station as a New York City Landmark.
The architect for the 1938 Coney Island Pumping Station was New York City architect, Irwin S. Chanin. Chanin graduated from Cooper Union in 1915 with degrees in both architecture and engineering. In 1926 he attended the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. He returned to the U.S. with a new architectural and ornamental style that was known as Art Deco. By 1930, Chanin had established himself as a major designer-developed in New York City, having built theaters, hotels and office buildings. His most compelling works include the Century and Majestic apartment houses of Central Park West and the Art Deco Chanin Building located on 42nd Street, where he maintained his own office. The Coney Island Pumping Station exists as Chanin’s only public building and marked the change in his style from large Art Deco skyscrapers to low rise Art Moderne functional buildings. The pumping station remains a testament to the work of a Chanin, documents a turniing point in his career as an architect as well as the changing attitude toward public architecture, to design for the common good of all and to celebrate progress and innovation.
The beauty of the architecture as art and its purpose make the Coney Island Pumping Station significant and irreplaceable as one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in Brooklyn, NY and one of Irwin Chanin’s most evolved and streamline Art Deco designs. I commend the Commission for holding a public hearing to include this building and urge you to designate the Coney Island Pumping Station as a New York City Landmark.
Your name here
Commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor, North
New York, NY 10007
Save this one . . . another piece of American History facing the bulldozer. It will take money to restore this, but this is Coney Island after all, a dreamland of fun, food and frolic and most important, American history. Let’s collect those letters and send them to Commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan.
This has already been designated a landmark, preserve it! Thank you for taking this into consideration. Let’s preserve Coney Island. They lost so much in storm sandy and are rebuilding. Would you consider saving this beautiful part of American history? Then copy, sign and seal this letter and mail to the above address. Do it quickly, it’s a battle keeping those bulldozers
Coney Island Pumping Station Neptune Avenue and W.23rd Street, Brooklyn, NY
Not sure where the pumping station is in this photo, it must be behind that cyclone fence somewhere. If you can catch a sunset in Coney Island, they are breathtaking.
10/2/15 Just got this additional information:
“We encourage all stakeholders to submit written testimony in advance of the hearing by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All statements and materials received in advance of the hearing on October 8th will be distributed to the Commissioners and entered into the record. The record will remain open until October 22.”