Remembering Steve Jobs…

Last night as my husband and I sat at dinner during a date night, I saw his iPhone light up with a text from a mutual friend. I grabbed the phone, excited to see what pithy thing our friend might have said, only to see words I never imagined seeing in all my life: Steve Jobs died.

My mind immediately rewound about 11 years to the first time I had really heard of this great visionary. Eric, my husband, had always been a PC guy — he even had a business in high school repairing computers and doing tech support — but there was a new game in town. Steve Jobs was back at Apple and he was doing sexy, innovative things with the personal computer. We laid down a lot of quiche for that first Mac, and it was so buggy! I remember having to reboot it constantly from OS9 to OSx and back, depending on what I wanted to do with it. But it didn’t matter — Steve Jobs had a vision that we were on board with, no matter what.

Then I flashed to the first time we got to go to MacWorld in San Francisco. It had been Eric’s dream for so long, and it was the first and only time I’ve ever seen him pop out of bed at 3am without a single complaint. Why? Because Steve was giving the keynote speech that year, and Eric was determined to be in that room for it. He sent me pictures and updates from his iPhone, and he wore the mock-turtleneck with a pride only a true MacGeek could have.

It was at that conference when we decided to take our little side business of helping people connect their printers to their Macs — or assisting “Switchers” in moving their data — to what would become a fairly big name on the NYC stage of Mac consulting.

We took a huge risk. With only two clients on our roster at the time and not a lot of money in the bank, Eric left his very cushy day job and focused his energy full-time on our business.

We could have failed. We could have ended up back on unemployment like we were a year earlier. But wasn’t it Steve who said “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”?

Today, our Mac consulting business is thriving as we bring Apple technology to businesses, stores and restaurants. We have developed apps for iPhone and iPad. Every day, I bang out my manuscripts on my MacBook Pro. We use our iPads to read or play the piano or teach our child through innovative games and applications. We use our phones to connect to those we love through the phone itself or FaceTime or by sending pictures and videos halfway around the world in mere seconds.

There are countless ways Steve’s visions and the execution of those visions have affected and improved our lives. I will forever be grateful for the inspiration Steve provided my husband especially.

I hope he went to his death peacefully, knowing that there are millions of people in this world who feel as I do. Millions who are saddened by the fact that they will never get to shake his hand and say, “Thank you.”

Rest in peace, Steve. You will be greatly missed.


RWA Nationals: Must-Have NYC Apps!

Though I write historical romance and sometimes wish I lived in the 1800s, I’m incredibly grateful that I live in the year 2011 and have such amazing tools at my disposal, such as a smart phone. Whether you have an iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile or Blackberry, these little babies can really come in handy, especially when you’re about to embark on a trip to a new city.

Since Nationals is in my hometown of NYC this year, I’ve scouted out a few important apps for all you iPhone users that you won’t want to leave home without! (Some of these are also available for Android, but I’m not sure about the others. You may want to search for something comparable in your phone’s marketplace, though!)

Up first…NYC Way

This is a pretty neat app, and it’s free! This is kind of one-stop shopping for lots of different things around the city. It uses your location (click Allow when that warning pops up) to locate you and then when you click on, say, the Restrooms button, it will show you the nearest restroom to where you are. They’ll show you coffee shops, dining options,Wi-Fi hotspots, banks, transit, local attractions, and more! Definitely a great app to have when you visit the city!


Okay, so maybe you’re not aware there’s a cupcake craze going on in this country, or maybe you’re glued to the TV every time Cupcake Wars comes on the Food Network, but either way, you’ll want to have this app at your disposal. The City’s 50+ cupcake bakeries are listed by neighborhood, so hop from one to another in an afternoon. It’s a great way to see different neighborhoods while checking out the fun and unique cupcakes the city has to offer. It also has reviews, Editor’s Picks, up-to-the-minute cupcake news, Facebook and Twitter integration, as well as the ability to comment on the bakery and star your favorite spots.

Oh, and did I mention it was created by Yours Truly? That’s right! My husband and I embarked on a cupcake marathon tour last summer and we’ve released the app just in time for Nationals! It’s been a long time in the making, but I’m sure you’ll agree it was well worth the wait! Available for both iPhone and Android AND it’s on sale for Memorial Day! You have until 11:59pm tonight (5/30) to get it for $0.99!…

And last, but not least, Beer Gardens NYC 

I bet you didn’t realize that so many RWA members were whipping up useful iPhone apps, but here’s yet another must-have app for NYC…

For multi-published romance author, Hope Tarr, Beer Gardens NYC was a true labor of love. She and her real life Prince Charming, information architect Raj Moorjani, spent six weeks visiting their initial pool of 50 New York City beer gardens before launching on the App Store in September 2010. Within one month from launch, they received press coverage in The New York Times, The New York Post and Gothamist. Appolicious named Beer Gardens NYC as one of its six “Best iPhone Apps for New York City.” The suds-loving duo recently launched a 2.0 version that includes Foursquare integration, GPS functionality, and even more city beer gardens!

Tarr will be presenting her workshop, “Nobody Cares You Just Had a Muffin: Ten Tips for Using Social Media to Brand Your Books,” at The New Jersey Romance Writers’ annual conference on October 21-22, 2011. To learn more about Beer Gardens NYC, visit the web site at

So there you have it, folks! These are my picks for the 3 best phone apps, whether you live in NYC or are just coming here for a visit!  For less than $4 (or $3, if you buy on Memorial Day!), you can have the city at your fingertips!