One World Trade Center – The Freedom Tower – Photos and a Brief Review of Our Experience

A couple of weeks ago while visiting New York City, I went to the top of the new One World Trade tower, also known as the Freedom Tower. Having been to the top of both the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center over the last several visits to New York, I’d been skeptical of my need to go to the top of yet another high building. My New Yorker friend insisted I go, though, telling me that the elevator ride up made it all worth it and that, yes, there was a very nice view at the top.

As a claustrophobe, I wasn’t sure how the elevator ride could be awesome in any way, shape, or form, but my friend made me promise to at least try to keep my eyes open for the surprise. SPOILER ALERT! I am now going to tell you the cool thing about the elevator at One World Trade, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read more! Ahem, okay, so. I got on the elevator and when they crammed a bunch more folks in behind me, my heart started to race, but I kept my eyes open. As the elevator began to rise I realized that the walls were all LED screens and we popped out of the basement of the building and onto a view of what the city looked like in 1524 when it was discovered. Hint: lots of grassy fields and lots of water! Then as we rose into the air, the date changed and the city literally grew up around us through the decades. I would have happily ridden that elevator about ten more times! Alas, you only get to ride it once.

Word to the wise! Don’t get suckered into renting the iPads at the top. Basically, they are iPads that you can hold up at any window and it will tell you what buildings you’re looking at. They seem like a fun and cool idea until you’re lugging it around. They’re heavy and annoying and after a few minutes you’ll realize that you will enjoy yourself a thousand-fold more if you just stand back and enjoy the view. Basically, they were $15 bucks down the drain. Also it was harder than I thought it would be to get rid of them so I could enjoy the view unencumbered.

The view was phenomenal. The entire city was in view from all sides. It was, as you can see, not that easy to get a great shot with just my iPhone, so I eventually gave up on that, too.

There are two possibilities for meals at the top of One World Trade. The first is where most of the tourists seemed to go: a little stand-up sort of cafe with pizza, hot dogs, and the usual tourist fare. The other was a sit down restaurant that was mainly peopled with men and women in business suits conducting meetings. The prices were steep (like really steep!) but I wasn’t in the mood for some terrible greasy food. I wanted something delicious. So I paid for the nice restaurant and what a view we had! These pictures go left to right and speak to the fantastic view in the restaurant.

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My food was absolutely delicious and served very elegantly. I felt like the experience was worth the money, but I understand entirely if others might balk at the food prices on the restaurant menu.

All in all, I found the experience enjoyable and recommend it. Though, if I had to say which of the highest buildings is my favorite experience, I’ll have to stick with the good ol’ Empire State Building. The elevator ride up is terrifying but there’s just something about the place. It feels like New York to me and One World Trade felt like a very pretty experience. There’s a difference.

“This story was fantastic! Leta Blake didn’t give us a fluff piece!” Review of Training Complex #gayromance

“This story was fantastic! I so appreciate that Leta Blake did not just give us a fluff piece!”

via Goodreads | Michele (York, PA)’s review of Training Complex.

 

 

"I don't think any fans of Training Season will be disappointed in [Matty & Rob's] continued journey. Leta Blake is a story goddess!" - 3 Chicks After Dark Reviews "I just can't get enough of Matty and Rob and love them so much." - Jay, Joyfully Jay Reivews "These two love like no others. Leta brings that all consuming, old fashioned, From Here to Eternity feel to the love they have. Of course on a hotness scale it just explodes. SO HOT!" - Diverse Reader Reviews "This sequel gave me a book hangover of the best kind!" - Rainbow Gold Reviews
“I don’t think any fans of Training Season will be disappointed in [Matty & Rob’s] continued journey. Leta Blake is a story goddess!” – 3 Chicks After Dark Reviews
“I just can’t get enough of Matty and Rob and love them so much.” – Jay, Joyfully Jay Reivews
“These two love like no others. Leta brings that all consuming, old fashioned, From Here to Eternity feel to the love they have. Of course on a hotness scale it just explodes. SO HOT!” – Diverse Reader Reviews
“This sequel gave me a book hangover of the best kind!” – Rainbow Gold Reviews

Buckle up – Matty’s back!

Figure skater Matty Marcus didn’t capture Olympic gold, but he won rancher Rob Lovely’s heart.

After Rob sold his ranch and Matty hung up his skates, they started a new life together in New York City. Now Matty has taken on a fresh challenge as a figure skating coach, and Rob’s second career as a physical therapist should be everything he’s dreamed of. But in the brutal heat of their third summer in the city, Rob yearns for the wide-open country, and the intensity of city life awakens Matty’s demons.

Matty asks for increasingly intense BDSM scenes, and his disordered eating and erratic behavior ramp up the stakes. Rob struggles to stay in control, and after a well-intentioned anniversary gift goes awry, he still thinks he can handle the fallout. But the concrete jungle is closing in and his coping skills are unraveling.

Their love is deep, but Rob will have to admit the truth about what he really wants before they both tumble into chaos.

Click for reviews and praise for Training Complex!
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Can a Master Belong to a Slave? – A Master’s Fidelity (GQ Book 2.5) released! | Darrah Glass #free #gay

“Can a master belong to a slave?

It’s a season for celebration, and Martin is falling in love. Henry has always been adamant he won’t share Martin with any other master, but when Henry accepts an invitation to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, Martin wonders if Henry has changed his mind. Certain that this will turn out to be one of the masters’ notorious swapping parties, Martin resolves to do whatever Henry asks of him, with whoever Henry chooses, without question. But faced with the idea of Henry being intimate with any other slave, Martin despairs, wanting Henry all to himself. A good slave would never ask for a master’s fidelity, but that’s just what Martin wants to do.

This story is told from Martin’s point of view and runs parallel to events that take place in the final scenes of A Proper Lover, the second book in the Ganymede Quartet.

PLEASE NOTE: It is my intention to offer this story for free, but some retailers don’t allow authors to set a price of zero. If you want to pay $0.99 for this story, I won’t stop you, but I do encourage you to let Amazon know it’s available elsewhere for FREE. If they get enough requests, they should eventually match that price.”

via A Master’s Fidelity (GQ Book 2.5) released! | Darrah Glass.

AMF @ Amazon

AMF @ B&N

AMF @ Smashwords

AMF @ Kobo

AMF @ Scribd

What Happens to NYC’s Homeless During Harsh Winter Weather? #writing #badperson

What Happens to NYC’s Homeless During Harsh Winter Weather?.

Proof that writers are bad people: when I read the above story, aside from being glad these measures exist, I immediately imagined a story about driver in a DHS van and a homeless LGBT young adult, meeting, falling for each other, and all the rest of the happily ever after. I’m pretty sure that was not the point of that article.

But, uh, I might write it. IN TEN YEARS WHEN I HAVE TIME.

Andrej Pejic Is Way Prettier Than Me (And Probably You) #model #androgyny

When I was in NYC, eating a cupcake with a friend in the West Village, I looked up to see a beautiful woman walking toward me talking on her cell phone. As I listened to my friend talk about the story she was writing about a man who was into the falcons that nest on some big tall bridge somewhere (um, the details escape me now, I’m sorry!) , I thought rather absently, “That girl looks a lot like Andrej Pejic.”

Then the realization set in.

Holy crap, it was Andrej Pejic!

Now, I have no idea how many people would recognize Andrej Pejic as he randomly sauntered with his boyfriend down a sidewalk in the West Village, but I froze mid-reply to my friend, and stared–probably rudely and open-mouthed–as he walked by, thinking, “Wow, he’s so beautiful. He’s the most beautiful girl I’ve seen today. No, the most beautiful girl I’ve seen since I got to NYC. And that’s saying something.”

He didn’t look too impressed with my gaping, which I should’ve really controlled, but I was in shock, people! And his boyfriend didn’t seem to care at all. He walked on by with this, “Yeah, this beautiful guy? He’s my guy. Yeah, that’s right,” swagger that was all “eat your heart out bitches, you’ll never be as gorgeous as him.”

And I won’t be.

And you probably won’t be either.

It’s just not going to happen.

But he’s nice enough to get his picture made a lot and to be a kinda famous model, so feel free to scroll through this Tumblr and or this tag get your fill of his prettiness. Between awesome cupcakes, an awesome friend, and an Andrej Pejic sighting? That was a successful day in NYC, my friends.

Oh, and, yes, though Andrej models women’s clothes and appears feminine in his day-to-day life, he prefers to be called a boy (because he is) and so I’m using the right pronoun to talk about him.

 

ETA: Okay, according to Anastasiya in the comments, this is a printscreen from Andrej’s ex (?)  boyfriend Remy Duran’s Tumblr. (By the way Andrej was with Remy when I saw him in June, and I assumed they were together, since they looked together, but what do I know? I was fame-adjacent on the street for like 10 seconds. Ha!) So, perhaps Andrej does prefer female pronouns? In future posts, I’ll try to just not use any pronouns, though, until I see a direct statement from Andrej.

 

Uh, did I already post about this here? I’m suddenly having the feeling of deja vu. Oh, well, can never have too much Andrej! Enjoy!

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3. Pretty recent pics he put on Instagram.

Don’t forget! August 16th is the last day to comment to win for a free copy of Love’s Nest!

Raisin Girl: A 50th Birthday Celebration for Tori Amos #toriamos #music

 

I’ve been trying to figure out how I want to celebrate Tori Amos’ upcoming 50th Birthday (!!!) because it seems like a year to mark, a milestone of some importance for a musician that I truly love. I saw on Facebook today an announcement of something I’d definitely do if I lived in NYC. But, alas! So, let me share it with you!

Are you going to be in the New York City area on Sunday August 18th? Are you sort of in the area? Then you should attend this Tori Amos tribute (and birthday celebration) concert!!

The show starts at 9:30pm at Joe’s Pub (one of Rolling Stone’s 10 Top Clubs in the country), featuring some of New York’s best downtown singer/songwriters and caberet artists, performing songs spanning Tori’s entire career. Also, some of the proceeds from the ticket prices will go to RAINN. 

 

MORE INFORMATION HERE AT JOE’S PUB!

ETA: Also, don’t forget that you can LEAVE A COMMENT HERE between now and August 16th for a chance to win a free copy of Love’s Nest, my latest book with Keira Andrews.

Listening: Night of Hunters and Gold Dust

First, I’d like to point you over to Joyfully Jay’s Review Blog where she gave Earthly Desires 4.25 our of 5 stars! I’m very pleased and proud that the first book in my series with Keira Andrews has received some very nice reviews. Pleased as punch, as my grandmother would’ve said!

 I found this an enjoyable and fun story. It was an unusual tale and I was drawn into the book immediately and it kept my attention throughout.  The characters are entertaining and endearing, especially Efrosin, and I got a few giggles along the way.  If you are looking for a light and fun read, and especially if you like unique fairy tales, I’d give this one a try.

 

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Next, I’d like to talk about how I have strange (and admittedly controlling) rules about music. There are certain albums and songs which are only allowed to be played at certain times in my household. For example, the Mum album, Finally We Are No One must only be played in winter time, or else I will be displeased. (Which, for what it’s worth, just consists of me saying, “Are you really playing this in summer? Really? Can’t you tell that this is a winter-only album?”)

Last year, there was a new release that became an Autumn Only album in my mind, and my poor kiddo has suffered the last month of me saying, “No, honey, we can’t listen to that one because it isn’t fall yet.” Um, okay, I really do understand that is weird and I’m probably scaring the child for life, but, seriously, it is an Autumn Only album, okay? Ahem. And that album is awesome. It’s Night of Hunters and you can listen to two songs from it below.

Star Whisperer Short Film

Carry

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Buy Night of Hunters

Now, I’m very excited because, as it turns out, Night of Hunters was such a fantastic album that Deutsche Grammophon has chosen to support the new album Gold Dust, which will be out in October, and, I feel quite sure, is going to be an Autumn/Winter Only album, too. I’m practically vibrating with excitement over it.

Here are two videos where you can hear some music from the upcoming Gold Dust. If you only watch one of these videos, make it the first one here, Flavor, because it is just a great video, with gorgeous NYC footage, and we all know how much I adore NYC, right? So much. It owns part of my heart.

Wait, wait, wait…guys, guys, this is terrible. I just went to find the link to the video and it’s been removed by the user that uploaded it. I’m so bummed. It was seriously just an amazingly gorgeous video and I fully intended to watch it twenty more times. Dang it. Oh, well, parts of it are featured in this video below:

Gold Dust Trailer

And you can read a review of the now erased, vanished, poofed, gone Flavor video HERE, because that will totally make up for not being able to see it, right? Boo.

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Buy Gold Dust

Regardless, Gold Dust is sure to be something I’ll have to buy on vinyl to play on the good stereo, because it will, no doubt, be divine. Be sure to pre-order it and be ready to roll around in some Autumn Only joyful sounds as soon as it hits your doorstep.

I Love You, New York

Hello! Normally, I try to post on Mondays and Thursdays, but I missed this past Monday because I was in the most amazing city in all the land! New York City!

It wasn’t my first trip and I will be returning again in a little over a month for a writing retreat, but it was my first trip in a long time that was purely for fun. I met up with a long-time internet friend of mine from New Zealand and we spent a day together doing touristy stuff like meeting in Grand Central, going to the MOMA, getting lost, ending up in Central Park instead of Times Square…you know, that kind of thing. Haha!

I’m not the best photographer in the world, but I will thrust some of my people-less (well, except for random NYC strangers) photos upon you. I think I’ll try out this slideshow widget thingy. Let me know if you have any questions about any of the pictures. They each have a story to go with them, of course! But alas the slideshow prevents me from telling these stories as I’d like. Anyway, enjoy!

Tomorrow we’ll return to my regularly scheduled random rambling. I know how you missed it. 😉

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