Why my heroine from “Dancing in the Sand” is a dancer

Posted at Aug 1, 2015 12:24 pm

Ava Woodward is a dance major at NYU where she is one of the top performers. She is doing what I would have loved to have done, had I had the talent. So in some respects, Ava is my alter ego.

Since the age of 4, I took ballet lessons, then pointe, then modern jazz and tap. While I considered myself shy growing up, being on stage was such a thrill. The nerves went right out of you once you hit the boards because the stage lights essentially blinded you from seeing the audience.

Taking dance lessons throughout my high school years defined me as a dancer – because I certainly was not an athlete (despite trying softball and basketball). I continued taking a few dance classes in college and even while I worked in NYC as a paralegal prior to attending law school – not because I had visions of becoming a professional dancer like Ava, but because I loved it.

Ava has a passion for dance that came from her mother, who was  ballet teacher. Her mother brought Ava to the studio as a toddler while she taught classes, and Ava began her dance journey at age 5. Continually practicing and going to professional performances, Ava aimed for a career in dance, attending the best schools to help her achieve her goal.

She was a brilliant star at NYU and had plans to audition for many of the major dance companies at a showcase sponsored by the school. Of course, you will have to read the book to find out what happens. If you go to the “Books” section of this website, you can read an excerpt.

“Dancing in the Sand” will be released on August 26, 2015.


31 Days to Launch – “Dancing in the Sand”

Posted at Jul 26, 2015 1:42 pm

They say “thrills are much more about anticipation than action.” I’m sure that’s true and I don’t want to wish away the summer–it’s my favorite season. But August 26th is the release date for “Dancing in the Sand,” my second novel to be published. I’m nervous, thrilled, and overwhelmed all at the same time. The critic in me whispers, “What if no one likes it?” The optimist in me shouts back, “Of course someone will like it. You know your mother will.” And that pesky businesswoman stomps on the brakes. “You are so not ready. Did you do all 25 things on your marketing plan? You only have 25?  Did you do 5?”

So here I am on the last day of vacation in Bradley Beach, contemplating the weeks to come before “Dancing in the Sand” is released. I take a breath, smile, and get to work. Maybe I can cross one thing off my marketing plan today.



Posted at Mar 29, 2015 1:35 pm

The new year has brought me back to writing, which always makes me happy. I participated in New Jersey Romance Writer’s 30K challenge during the month of February. Never guessing that I could possibly write 30,000 words in my latest manuscript in 28 days, I took the challenge and learned that if I woke up at 6am, I could write 500 words before getting ready for work. Since the goal was to write 1100 words a day, I was almost halfway there by 7:15 am.  A good thing to know for future writing. Since I am such a plotter, I had plotted my new manuscript, tentatively titled “Nicki’s Story” during a week’s vacation in January.  Armed with my blueprint, it was easy to keep those words flowing and the plot moving. I am now halfway done (at a much slower pace) at the end of March. 

The good news I received toward the end of March, was that “Unchained Memories” has finaled in the New England Chapter of RWA’s Reader’s Choice Contest for Best First Book.  I am honored, grateful, and dancing with joy that my book is receiving awards. I had also won Wisconsin’s RWA Write Touch Reader’s Award and finaled in the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest. 

The “waiting for news” has to do with my manuscript “Dancing in the Sand.” It has been with my editor at The Wild Rose Press and I have been waiting on pins and needles for the last two weeks, hoping to hear good news.  I just looked at my emails today (Sunday) at one o’clock, and there was an email from my editor saying “Guess What?” written at 5:30 am.  Now my heart is racing and I respond. “What?”  I have been checking my emails every 5 minutes for a response. Her latest is “Want a Contract?”

I believe this can now move to the category of good news. 🙂 

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Crazy Busy But All Good

Posted at Jun 24, 2014 2:05 pm

I love being busy, but I must say, my real life is interfering with the growth of my characters’ lives. My work schedule has become increasingly busy as I have added collaborative divorce to my regular litigation case workload.  To read more about Collaborative Divorce, you can find my articles and blogs on Stark and Stark’s website at www.stark-stark.com. There is also an article in the June 11, 2014 edition of US 1 that I authored about the topic

On June 15th, I was interviewed by April Sette for her radio show The Buzz on 920 AM. I talked about practicing law, writing romance, raising a family and participating on two non-profit boards. You can listen to the interview at www.newjerseybuzzradioshow.com. 

My daughter is getting married in December which requires invitation lists to be put together, photographers to be siphoned through, gowns to be ordered, a shower to be planned and dozens of other tasks too numerous to mention, but all seemingly important. I’m not complaining (really)! I love weddings and hosting a gala event is almost second nature given the years I’ve been involved in planning Thomas Edison State College Foundation’s Annual Gala (which I am still planning for this October).

October is a big month for me this year.  I am being inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame. The black tie event is October 25th in Atlantic City and I am thrilled to be a part of it. 

Sliding back a month, the Italian American Festival is in September at Mercer County Park.  I will be featured in the cultural center speaking on my roots in the Italian community, my career, and of course my book, “Unchained Memories”. 

Now if I can only get back to writing. 





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Radio Interview at Babs Book Bistro

Posted at Mar 27, 2014 5:34 pm

Last night I was invited to an internet radio show for an interview. The half hour went by so quickly since I was talking about UNCHAINED MEMORIES, the inspiration for it, my characters, the setting , the cover and my new work in progress. To listen to the interview, just go to  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/broadcast-from-the-bistro/2014/03/07/author-maria-imbalzano


Guest Blogging

Posted at Feb 23, 2014 11:49 am

For the past two months I have been busy visiting other author blogs. During these visits, I have talked about the characters in UNCHAINED MEMORIES, my path to publishing, how my day job as a lawyer interfaces with writing romance novels and many other topics.  Below are the places I have visited along with dates, topics and links in case you would like to read them.

1/17/14     JM Stewart’s Website  – Favorite Hero Friday – Meet Dr. Clayton Montgomery, hero of UNCHAINED MEMORIES at http://jm-stewart.blogspot.com/

1/17/14     Lilly Gayle’s Website – An Interview with Dr. Clayton Montgomery http://lillygayle.com/blog/

1/20/14     Babette James’ Website – An Interview with Charlotte Taylor, heroine of UNCHAINED MEMORIES http://wp.me/pjagl-2k4

1/22/14    Angela Hayes Website – Author Interview http://authorangelahayes.blogspot.com/2014/01/author-interview-maria-imbalzano.html

1/29/14 Barb Bettis’ Website – Author Interview http://barbarabettis.blogspot.com/

2/5/14 Rebecca Grace’s Website – My Writing Corner http://rebecca-grace.blogspot.com

2/6/14  Melissa Snark’s Website –  Book Spotlight http://melissasnark.blogspot.com/2014/03/maria-imbalzanos-unchained-memories.html

2/18/14 Jean Drew Adventures in Authorland – Interview http://adventuresinauthorland.blogspot.com/

2/19/14 Melissa Snark’s Website – Scene Spotlight http://melissasnark.blogspot.com/2014/02/scene-spotlight-unchained-memories-by.html

2/22/14 Sandra Dailey’s Life’s a Beach – Author Interview http://www.sandradailey.blogspot.com

2/27/14 BTSemag – My path to publishing http://btsemag.com/opposites-attract-by-maria-imbalzano/





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The Setting for Unchained Memories – Princeton, NJ

Posted at Jan 26, 2014 3:14 pm

“Unchained Memories” takes place in Princeton, NJ. The hero and heroine of my novel (Clay and Charlotte) both live and work there; Clay as an ER doctor at Nassau General Hospital and Charlotte as a medical malpractice lawyer at a local law firm. They can walk to work from their respective residences. Clay lives in a condo near Palmer Square, right in the center of town. Charlotte rents a furnished house a few blocks north of the heart of Princeton.

The borough of Princeton is dominated by Princeton University, a beautiful ivy league campus, with many gothic style buildings.

In Charlotte’s free time, she roams the Princeton University campus with its many residence colleges (dorms). Several photos are on my website. They are (in the order presented) Prospect House Gardens (1,2,3), Nassau Hall (4), McCarter Theater (5), University Chapel (6), Arched walkway between Holder Hall and Hamilton Hall) (7), Alexander Hall (8), Blair Hall (9), Walkway toward Nassau Street (10), Archway at Holder Hall (11), Graduate College (12) Cleveland Tower (13, 14) and Pyne Hall (15). See previous blogs for a little bit of history on some of these venues.

The photo on the cover of the book is the Cleveland Tower at the Graduate College. The bells (67 of them weighing 12,996 pounds) play on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. except during exams.

Princeton University has two theaters on campus, McCarter Theater which hosts dance troupes and plays and Richardson Auditorium at Alexander Hall which has bands and ensembles. In one scene from the book, Charlotte and Clay go to Pendleton Theater (based on McCarter Theater) to see “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.

Princeton University is a beautiful campus in a quaint town. The Main Street is Nassau Street which has upscale shops and a mix of eateries which cater to students as well as patrons from the area. Whether wandering the town or the campus, you won’t be at a loss for interesting destinations.



Exciting Happenings

Posted at Jan 19, 2014 12:06 pm

On Friday, January 17th, UNCHAINED MEMORIES had its worldwide release.  That means its available in print from amazon.com and The Wild Rose Press as well as many e-book outlets such as Kindle, Nook, ITunes, Kobo, AllRomance, Bookstrand and Google Books.

Leading up to this wonderful day, I had a book launch celebration in December at my law firm, Stark & Stark.  Family, friends and colleagues joined me to celebrate the release of my first novel, making it a very special night.

I was recently interviewed by a writer for Real Woman magazine and participated in a photo shoot at Princeton University, since my book takes place in Princeton. It was so much fun having a makeup artist and professional photographer do their thing while I posed with my book near The University Chapel. The issue should be out in the beginning of March. 

I am also being featured in the next issue of Moxie Woman, a magazine that celebrates and illuminates professional women in the New Jersey/Greater Philadelphia area.  That issue is coming out soon.

This has been a very busy two months, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thanks to my family and friends for being so supportive of my dream. 


A Free Gift for the Holidays

Posted at Dec 14, 2013 1:00 am

Everyone seems to be into cooking.  Or at least posting recipes. Everywhere you turn – live TV shows (not even counting the Food Channel), blogs, magazines – there is food being prepared, talked about, and eaten. Not that I’m against food. I just don’t like to cook. Too much time, too messy, and gone in a flash.

I have a repertoire of about five things that I make for dinner – pasta with meatballs and sauce (and on occasion pasta with prosciutto, asparagus and mozzarella), breaded chicken, salmon with mango sauce (that’s a new one), hamburgers and macaroni salad and chicken paprika.

You may ask how my family survives. There is always cereal in the closet and milk in the refrigerator. Bread is also a good staple. You can do a lot with bread – add butter or jelly or peanut butter or Nutella or some combination of the above. If necessary, I can make grilled cheese.

Recently, my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, decided to put together a cookbook for the holidays featuring their authors. We were to provide a recipe in a cultural category (Italian, German, French etc). By the time I agonized over this, the Italian and American sections were filled. So I chose French. Interesting choice for me since there is not one French recipe in my repertoire. However, I didn’t mention that I like to make breakfast. And one of my favorite breakfasts, especially on holidays, is crepes with a sweet cottage cheese filling and fresh fruit.  Voila.

The holiday cookbook is out and it is a free download as a gift from The Wild Rose Press, Inc.  It is called “Holiday Garden Gourmet 2013.”

I couldn’t wait to download it and print it out.  I can now add someone else’s fabulous recipe to my repertoire (if it is easy enough). But the main reason to own this book was to see my recipe in print.  No one in my family is going to believe that my name is associated with a cookbook.

Question: Do you like to cook? Or bake? What is your favorite (easy) meal to make?





Book Launch Celebration – Thursday, December 5th

Posted at Dec 1, 2013 9:33 am

I am thrilled to celebrate my book launch with family and friends and readers. My law firm, Stark & Stark,  has been wonderful in supporting me in this endeavor and has welcomed the celebration. It is my home away from home since I joined the firm in 1983. Over the years, I have met many friends with whom I work as well as my husband, who started at the firm two weeks before me. So, if you would like to join me in celebrating this very happy event in my life, please drop by.  The address is 993 Lenox Drive, Lawrenceville, NJ and the time is 5-7PM. I hope to see you there.

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