4 New York Locations that Inspire

Image provided by Vincent Ramundo via Trover.com.

As a writer, I’m always looking for inspiration. Something outside of myself that gets the writing muse speaking. Every year, I fly to New York, book a hotel with easy access to the subway, and explore. I don’t have to go far to find several spots that offer inspiration.

The Park

Image provided by Jen Jahaira Andrade via Trover.com.

No matter the season, Central Park is inspiration overload. If you’re into nature, the park is the greenest spot in all of Manhattan. I get lost in the quiet winding trails, only a few feet away from the noise of the city. In the fall, the leaves change from a brilliant green to a pumpkin orange, a picturesque scene accented by the bright blue sky. Rent a boat and take a row around the Reservoir. Animal lovers can rent a horse at the stables or, if you prefer your horses stationary, take a ride on the merry-go-round. Walk your dog or join a pickup game of soccer on the Great Lawn. I usually find a bench or a rock, with my journal and a good book, and take it all in.

The Other Park

Image provided by Esther Levy via Trover.com.

I call Bryant Park the other park because while it’s not the second biggest, it’s the most inspiring. This 9-acre patch of land in Midtown Manhattan transforms itself depending on the time of year. In the winter, check out the craft vendors peddling their kiosks to the tourists looking to take a little part of Manhattan home with them. In February and September, designers, models, and fashion lovers take over the park for New York Fashion Week. Showing in Bryant Park means you have arrived in the fashion world, and what could be more inspiring than that. I love the springtime the best. I grab some food at one of the food kiosks, find a table, and settle in for an afternoon of people watching.

The Bridge

Image provided by Kristen Sarra via Trover.com.

The Brooklyn Bridge has been the setting of pivotal moments in not one, but two of my novels. It’s been used in movies and television shows as a metaphorical background to separate people and bring people together. Why is this bridge so inspiring? It connects two boroughs with vastly different vibes. While Manhattan is button up suits and intensity, Brooklyn is hipster skinny jeans and laid back comfort. Both offer their own inspiration, but standing in the middle of the bridge, taking in the tall, menacing buildings on one side and the shorter, historic structures on the other — the Brooklyn Bridge inspires.

The Building

Image provided by Stills ‘n’ stories via Trover.com.

I’m not sure why the FlatIron Building speaks to me, but I’m not alone. Maybe it’s the location: Fifth Avenue, 22nd Street, and Broadway. It’s a convergence of creativity and money. Or maybe its triangular shape and the French and Italian Renaissance influences in the 22-story structure. What ever it is, it sparks my creative juices like no other building on the planet. If the outside isn’t inspiration enough, its tenants are creative types such as book publishers, literary agents, and some of the most famous fashion designers in the world.

Nothing like a change of scenery to jump-start inspiration. A quick trip to New York, immersing yourself into the city’s landscape, will give you inspiration in abundance for when you return home. 

Jane George – A Letter to a Snapshot in Time

I just returned from a trip to New York City. So, I was really excited to share this post by Jane George about a city I love.  It’s my pleasure to welcome Jane George to my blog to celebrate Book Clubs, her novel, X-It and the City of New York.

A Love Letter to a Snapshot in Time by Jane George

My novel, X-It, takes place in New York City circa 1980-81, which doesn’t make it quite a historical novel, but we can at least call it a ‘vintage’ setting.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]

The Big Apple is as famous for how fast it changes as much as for Lady Liberty or Times Square. Screenwriter Nora Ephron referenced New York’s changeability in You’ve Got Mail, when children’s bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly writes to her secret email pal bemoaning the closing of her business:

“In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it’s a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that’s the sort of thing I’m always saying. But the truth is…I’m heartbroken.”

The tragic events of 9/11, and more recently Hurricane Sandy, remind us that New York City is vulnerable to change from external forces as well as internal ones. This only serves to make the magic of any moment in The Big Apple more precious.

In X-It I made mention of more than one NYC characteristic from 1980 that no longer exists or has been fundamentally changed. One of the most profound is the condition and general ambience, shall we say, of the subway system. I returned to New York in 2009, not having been there since 1984. I felt safer on the New York subways than I do riding San Francisco municipal transit. But what the subways have gained in safety, cleanliness and air-conditioning they have lost in visual interest. The photography of John Conn captured the visceral truth of New York’s subways in the Eighties. The main character in X-It, J.J. Buckingham, takes the F Train from 14th Street to her job in Williamsburg every weekday to paint mannequins. She’s a sensitive soul, and the subway and its environs take its effect.

Several scenes in X-It take place on the rotting remains of the Chelsea Piers. Today, the Hudson River waterfront has been remade into a series of parks and playground on jetties. It’s beautiful, and barely recognizable from its condition in 1980. I took this shot that juxtaposes the old and new piers when I was there in 2009. The old pier is even more deteriorated in the photo than it was when the story takes place. And I’m sure Hurricane Sandy did even more damage. The water level rose above the cement shoreline in lower Manhattan.

J.J. and X-It sit on the rotting pier—it’s their special place— in the evening and watch another long-gone river landmark, The Maxwell House Coffee neon sign of a dripping coffee cup that was mounted atop the Maxwell House building in Hoboken. Here is a photo from the Hoboken Historical Museum of what J.J. and X-It saw. The bright drops have a special poignancy for J.J.


Change does not always necessarily engender some kind of loss. Once in a while we humans can remake something old and decayed into something new but keep, or even enhance, its visual interest and its heart. For instance, see how New Yorkers turned the old Highline elevated track into a community garden, art space, and walkway. This is J.J.’s task in X-It as well, how can she reclaim herself and yet remain true to who she is?




Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]

In 1980 NYC, eighteen-year-old J.J. Buckingham is an uptight trendoid. Working as a mannequin painter and a counter girl, she moonlights as a creature of the nightclubs. J.J. falls for aloof, crazy-talented artist and bicycle messenger X-It. In order to win his love, she succumbs to the dark machinations of drug dealer Marko Voodoo. X-It will love her if she’s the queen of underground Manhattan, right? Her plan backfires with horrendous consequences. J.J. must scrap her way out of a maze of drugs, clubs, and danger before she realizes she’s worthy of a better life. And true love might just come in the form of a clean-cut geek in Buddy Holly glasses.


The Reviews are in!

This book completely captivated me from start to finish. In fact, the first night I read about a quarter of it before bedtime. Then I tossed and turned for an hour thinking about the book, until finally I turned the lights back on, and read until a few hours before I needed to wake up. ~ William Hertling

X-It is a coming-of-age novel that is easily identifiable with for anyone who ever felt less-than-cool enough, or alone, or as though they weren’t living up to personal expectations, which, I believe, encompasses most of us. Reminiscent of Maggie Estep’s “Diary of an Emotional Idiot,” X-It contains some perfect moments of quiet truth. ~ Wendy Whiplash

From the very first pages I was drawn to J.J. – From her dripping purple hair dye through her slow, dark, and painful decent into the 80’s punk/club scene. Jane George truly created a dynamic character with incredible depth. To me this book read like a memoir, making it even more powerful and at times bittersweet. ~ Karen Toz

 Purchase Links:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/X-It-ebook/dp/B007PSY7X6/

Paperback Edition: http://www.amazon.com/X-It-Jane-George/dp/0985130717


About the Author

Jane George author pic Author and illustrator Jane George lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BFA in illustration from the California College of the Arts and has won awards for her art.

A dedicated writer for over a decade, she produces and publishes her YA fantasy and literary titles under her personal imprint, Paper Grove Publishing. Find out more at: www.Jane-George.com



We’re early for the show. The lobby contains very few patrons and a huge expanse of lurid purple and blue carpeting. X-It pays, takes my hand, and leads me to the center of the lobby. All I think about is the touch of his fingers on mine.

“Stand here. Close your eyes, and hold out your hands,” he says.

I do as he asks. I am being showered with paper. No, not paper, I realize as I open my eyes.

Dazzling golden leaves rain out of his messenger’s bag. Feather-light, fresh and spicy, the leaves keep coming down. Upon my head. Into my palms. Onto the purple-blue carpet, where they stick in perfect chromic contrast.

X-It’s eyes glitter. “Happy Fall, J.J.!”

He’s magical. He is everything I ever wanted to be. I move to throw my arms about him, but he holds out his bag and shakes it, making sure all the leaves are out.

I take a step back.

We walk home after the film. X-It veers away from me, drawn to a newsstand by the image of Karisma smiling from several magazine covers at once.

“She’s so perfect,” he says.

I grit my teeth, yet straighten my spine in an effort to measure up.

“And here’s Brooke Shields in her Calvins. Incredible. Who do you think is more beautiful?”

I think Brooke looks like a gilded giraffe-child, but that doesn’t prevent me from envying every inch of Miss Shields. I want to scream at X-It, “Look at me! I’m beautiful! And I’m just your size!”

But I say, “I don’t know. We don’t have a mannequin head of Brooke, just Karisma. So it’s hard to say.”

“I think Brooke is perfect,” he says. “But if she was a mannequin, just think of all the Prismacolor pencils you’d go through doing her eyebrows.”

So he was listening when I told him how a mannequin’s eyebrows are drawn.

“Thousands,” I say.

I collapse against the brick wall in a fit of giggles. He joins me. Our heads arc close together. X-It’s face swims before me, isolated by the electric and bracing October night. His breath brushes my cheek. Our lips circle each other more than once.

And never manage to connect.

The first time I visited New York was in 1980 as a young kid and I have been back several times since. I can relate to the changes in the City Jane talked about in her post.  Very few can capture the pulse of the city in the written word and Jane does it perfectly.  

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to visit other stops on the Book Club Bash Tour.  


My Weekly Update – I Love New York

I have been in New York for 4 days, now. Thanks to Ava J. Easterby.  Her post Location, Location, Location (For your Novel) got my mind thinking, I need to visit some of the spots in my last few projects to make sure I have the locations correct. This is also my first time in the US in 2 years.

I love food. I love shopping with my mom. I love walking the streets with a latte in my hand in the cool crisp air. I love winter and I love New York.  Some things never change.

I will warn you right now, I see several New York/New Jersey related post in the future.

But, I will tease you with this for starters.


Blog Award

inspiring-bloggerThank you so much EM Castellan for this beautiful award.  I am a rebel award winner, I am going to refer to my And You Are? Bloghop post in lieu of sharing another 7 things about myself.

I would like to nominate the people in the Posts to Read below. They all inspire me to no end.

Flashback Blog Hop – The Peasant Revolt

909406_83318260-2-1-300x213The Peasants and Felicia Scotzig are celebrating her first blogoversary! To join in on the fun, the rules are simple:

  • Sign up at Flashback Blog Hop.
  • Look back at your work from January 2012–blog posts, stories, poetry, etc.–and find something you’d like to share. Whether you wonder, “What was I thinking?” or find something that you’re still proud of and want to share with a larger audience, I’d like everyone to share a piece of their work or a short reflection.
  • Hop around to the other blogs and meet all of the great folks participating.
  • At the end of the week, everyone who participates will be eligible to enter a giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card.
  • You can also earn additional entries, by answering questions about some of the sponsoring blogs (questions will be released here on January 4, 2012).
Posts to Read
Update on the Plan from Angi Black – Haters need to lay off Angi, she is doing her thing. 
Go Deep! Deeper! YES! Deep POV Rules in Fiction from Donya Lynne – great lessons on writing
Adding Humour in our Stories from Rachna – if you want to be funny
Fake It ‘Til You Make It from R.C. Lewis – i had to do this, too.
What Type of Writer are You from Philip Overby – i am a combo of all of these
Write Romance?  Get Your Beat Sheet Here! from Jami Gold – for the organized romance writer
Post Inspired by our Great Writers
Vonnegut on Creating Characters
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Top 10 Tips for Writers
New Followers
The Fitzroy
Beyond the Hill 45
Rhonda Albom
Next Weeks Schedule
Monday – Book Club Blog Hop
Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday – Jennifer 
Wednesday -Jennifer George Guest Post
Friday – E – Book Challenge
Sunday – My Weekly Update

Sydney Quotes the Movies – Limitless

What if a pill could make you rich and powerful?

Good tag line = Good movie. Great actor (Bradley Cooper is totally underrated), Great visuals (I love time lapse photography used in a movie) and Great use of light (on the drug; bright and clear, off the drug; dark and dull) = Great movie.

Limitless was visually an awesome movie.  And the lines, oh the lines. Such great lines. Here we go . .

“You see that guy? That was me not so long ago. What kind of guy without a drug or alcohol problems looks this way? Only a writer.” Opening line of the movies. Bradley Cooper plays a guy name Eddie who is a struggling writer. He has a book deal already, which is annoying, but turns out the book was in his head, he just needed help getting it out. As a writer, I can related.

“Time someone shook up the free world and got things done.” Eddie is offered a drug to help him tap into the full capacity of his brain. He sees what he wants and puts a plan together to achieve it. We can all take a lesson from that — you know, minus the drugs.

“I don’t have delusions of grandeur, I have an actual recipe for grandeur.” Eddie is trying to get in on the financial world, after writing his book in four days (hate him). He has to talk his way into his new career. It works.

“My capacity for self sabotage wasn’t boundless after all.” Eddie was trying to get his girl back. She dumped him because he was such a loser. Self deprecating charm worked, they got back together.

“Don’t wear the same coat and suit. This isn’t The Matrix.” Eddie finds himself in danger and hires a couple of bodyguards. In his directions to them, he references one of my favorite movies. It was a funny line in the circumstance.

“You should really be glad about this, because you know me working for you, you’d end up being my bitch.” DeNiro’s character was the experienced business man who had paid his dues and got to the top and although he didn’t want to give in to this brass new young hot shot, he had no choice. He wanted the deal. Turns out he still tries to keep the upper hand over Eddie, but once again, our Eddie proves to be “50 moves ahead.”

Another star of this movie was the city of New York itself. Really makes me miss NYC.
Good suspense filled action movie with a gorgeous star, acting royalty veteran, shot in the greatest city in the world. You can’t go wrong.

What is Going on in that Place?


Central park was unusually loud on 5th Avenue at this hour, Alana noticed. The park side of the street was crowded and she was having trouble getting into a rhythm on her morning jog.  She couldn’t remember ever having to dodge people like this at 6 am.

At 82nd Street, Alana barely missed running over a man who was sitting on the sidewalk crying. He was in an old dusty grey suit.  Strange.

Alana decided to slow down and walk until she could continue her run at the 72nd street entrance to the park.

Moving through the crowd, Alana began to notice that the people in the crowd were not dressed appropriate for the time of day or the weather.  It was November.  Everyone was dress for summer. They looked like they were going to a garden party.  To Alana, they looked happy and drunk.

As Alana passed by, a handsome man gave out a chuckle.  The man looked like an extra from the party scene in The Great Gatsby.  He was talking to two women. Both were stunning, in ankle length sun dress with big yellow, purple and pink flowers on them.

“The lights. Did you see the lights?” One women said.
“The music was phenomenal.” The guy with the smart looks and loud laugh said.
“I loved the food.” the other women said, “I hope we can go back.”

Suddenly an elderly women interrupted the three hipsters.

‘That women looks like my grandmother,’ Alana thought to herself.

“You can’t go back in.  They never let you back in.” The old women was dressed in a similar dress as the two young ladies.  But, where they looked like they were ready for a fashion photo shoot about the 1920’s, the elderly women looked like she had been wearing her clothes since 1920.   The only reason Alana recognized the dress was because the large colorful flowers were still visible on the faded fabric.

Alana continued on towards where the crowd was entering Central Park.

A younger women grabbed Alana’s arm, “Have you seen it?”

“Seen what?” The women lead Alana to the park entrance.  As they turned the corner, Alana saw it.

It was magnificent.  It was a castle. A castle in the middle of central park. Alana had taken this route many times and she was sure that it had not been there before.

The women let go of Alana’s arm and took off towards the castle.

Most people walking towards it were like Alana, mesmerized and curious.  Those walking away were drunk and happy, but those who had been before, just stood around looking old and angry, like the old women and the old man crying on the street.  Angry and desperate to get back in.

jet flew overhead confusing Alana.  You don’t hear jet engines overhead in New York City.  Which made Alana realize she wasn’t in New York anymore.

“What is going on in that place?” Alana said.