Unity: Baseball helped America after 9/11

The Weeks After 9/11 and Baseball

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

On the morning of 9/11, I was on my way to my office in Manhattan. I saw the burning towers from my train and never made it to work. I was lucky, of course. So many others that took the train from my station into the city that morning never made it back home. Ever. I eventually did.

Baseball games were suspended league-wide in the days that followed 9/11. And when the games finally resumed, baseball in September and October never felt so right. And it helped so many kids cope. And parents, too.

My son was ten years old on 9/11. One night, just a few days after that most awful of days, he was understandably anxious about my going to work in Manhattan. I sat next to his bed, and really didn’t know what to say. The truth was, I was frightened to go to work. But I couldn’t exactly tell him that. I hated to leave him to travel into the City.

And then I looked across the room. There they were—Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, their faces on a poster hanging in his room. They were New York.

“Hey, look,” I said, pointing to the poster. “Jeter and those guys, they’re not afraid. They’re still going to Yankee Stadium to practice and to play. And Jeter lives in the City, he loves it. It’s okay.”

Baseball isn’t only a physical game. Not really. Baseball fans don’t go to the ballpark just to watch a sport being played. When they sit in the bleachers or in the grandstand or behind home plate, they’re connecting—to memories of their first ballgame with dad (or mom) or grandpa (or grandma) and to other fans cheering for their favorite team in that ballpark and at home watching on TV. And they connect the next morning while waiting in line for a cup of coffee or in the office—they celebrate after a win the night before and they commiserate after a loss.

The game is tied to the past, it is a respite from the present and, just as we can be sure that the sun will rise, we know that a fastball will also rise over the plate for a home run hit and a future filled with hope.

Until the next curveball is thrown our away. But that’s okay, baseball will always have our backs.





Writing Tip: Hook the Reader in the First Line

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You don’t have much time.  Whatever it is you are writing, you must tease the reader from the get-go so that they are craving s’more.

I recently spoke to a business group in Newburyport, MA. I spoke about how to get your reader’s attention. I started out my talk with the first line in an article I wrote that was published in Salon.com and reprinted in Working Mother magazine’s 35th anniversary issue. Here is a link. The first line is a hook and bait. Here it is: I didn’t mean to put the tampons in my seven-year-old son’s backpack.



Remember, you must come up with something clever, funny, gripping, frightening, shocking, intriguing…. And it must be well-written. Have fun with your ideas. You can come up with your first line or first paragraph (or ledes, in journalism it is called a lede, not a lead) while running or walking the beach. Or driving. Make your words dance.

Writing Tip from Murder, She Wrote

Okay, so you have probably heard that writers often write about what they know.

When I co-authored Rum & Razors, the second Murder, She Wrote novel I wrote with my father, Donald Bain, I opened the book up with an experience that happened to my mother, Jackie, and father, when I was about nine.

Jessica Fletcher’s experience parallels what my parents experienced. It was actually very frightening and my parents had to call in the FBI to our house! It was a scary time because my dad was involved in writing a controversial book about the CIA and model Candy Jones and so we thought we were being targeted. I wasn’t allowed to walk to and from school or hang out outside. Turns out it was a prank created by good friends of my parents through a community theatre group they were involved with in Westbury, NY, on Long Island

The point is this: I used a real life experience in the opening pages of the Murder, She Wrote novel. Fun, right?

Write about what you know. Yes. Go for it!

Below is a link to the scene in Rum & Razors. Enjoy! You will learn that GLOTCOYB in Rum & Razors stands for Good Luck On The Completion of Your Book. But in the real-life episode in my house, it stood for Good Luck On The Completion of Your Basement, because my father was renovating the basement in our small modest house. Crazy.

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NYC Christmas Windows With Ribbons and Lights and Magical Displays


Bundle up, hook arms and admire the City’s festive window displays. New York is absolutely magical during the holidays. The spirit is cheerful, little shops are wrapped in ribbons and lights and the biggest stores are totally decked out for the holidays through New Years. Grab a cup of steamy cocoa and hit the pavement, fa la la la la, la la la la. Here’s a little, self-guided walking tour.


Begin at the Lord and Taylor windows (38th and 5th Avenue; 212/391- 3344 at Fifth Avenue).

Walk north up Fifth Avenue, past the New York Public Library, to the Saks Fifth Avenue windows at 611 Fifth Avenue (at 49th Street; 212/ 753-4000).

Cross the street to admire the larger-than-life Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Continue walking north up Fifth Avenue to Bergdorf Goodman’s windows at 754 Fifth Avenue (at 58th Street).

Walk one block east to Madison Avenue and then three blocks north to the windows at Barney’s at 600 Madison Avenue; 212-826-8900.

If you want to take in Bloomingdale’s windows (at 100 Third Avenue), walk two blocks south to 59th Street and then a couple of avenues east to Third Avenue.

Note: The Macy’s window displays are also engaging. Macy’s is located at Herald Square and Broadway between 34th and 35th streets.

Murder, She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher Comes to NYC at Christmastime


New York City dazzles in December with lights, ribbons, carols and jingles. And then there’s this:

Manhattans and Murder is the Murder, She Wrote novel I co-wrote with Donald Bain, my father. I’ve written several with him and this was the second in the series–and now there are 42 novels. And all the novels I wrote with him are still in print and selling strong.

Manhattans and Murder is a great read for those who love a little mystery, a little Jessica and a little NYC at Christmastime.  Jessica comes to Manhattan for a visit and guess what happens? She also visits Sea Cliff, the sweet town on the Long Island Sound where I lived at the time I wrote the scene. It’s about 25 miles from Manhattan.

So, if you feel like a little Christmas, a little mystery and a little New York City, cozy up with this cozy mystery! Oh, and this novel came out awhile ago, but was reissued more recently. How do you like them apples? Also, I have two engagements coming up after the holidays where I’ll be speaking about writing the books, as well as my other writing. I’ll fill you in, so stay tuned.

Thanks, spread the love this holiday. Make it  good day and a better day for someone else. Especially your children and grandchildren 🙂

Top Ten Spots for Kids in New York City

Got kids? New York City hearts kids! Here are my picks for the top ten best spots. I wrote this piece for travelmuse several years back but it is evergreen (for the most part.) Note: I would certainly add a couple more spots like the 9/11 museum and High Line (although not for little kids, best for tweens and teens.) http://www.travelmuse.com/articles/new-york/ten-spots-for-kids


Cyber Monday is the New Black Friday. Check Out Travel Deals

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Hey, turkeys, check out my Boston Globe article about some pretty darn good hotel deals.