On October 6th, 2007, I went to Central Park with the dog and my iPod. I sat on a bench by Turtle Pond and listened to the Will Write For Wine episode on NaNoWriMo. Less than two months later, I had a 50,000 word manuscript that eventually turned into Daphna in the Rough. This is why I feel so indebted to Lani and Sam. They got me to write a book. I wonder what other crazy things my addiction to their poscast could cause me to do.

I’m now a card carrying member of Romance Writers of America (National, New York City, and Chick Lit chapters). I’m currently writing my third novel.

In addition to being a writer, I’m a computer teacher and freelance editor. If you want to know more about me, read on:

I also go by Melissa, which in Greek means honey bee. My mother will tell you it’s the perfect name for me because “I’m sweet but have a stinger.” In Greece, my relatives often call me Melisoula or Melisaki (my little Melissa).

The name is also fitting because this bee pendant is one of the symbols of Crete:

Here’s a Greek song my cousins used to sing to me. It’s called “Mikri Mou Melissa” or “My Little Honey Bee.”

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My birthday is March 28th. It’s also Jennifer Weiner’s and Lauren Weisberger’s birthdays. Not sure what to make of that. Maybe it’s a Jewish women’s fiction author thing.  Who knows?

Daffodils are my birthday flower. And I love them because I feel like they’re going to sing to me. They also play a big role in Daphna In The Rough.

I was born in Berkeley, CA, but I live in New York City now. My mother’s family is originally from Queens, and I seem to have inherited the New York gene.

All of my relatives on my father’s side of the family live in Greece. Most of them live in a tiny village on the southern coast of Crete. (You can see photos here.)

While my mother was pregnant with me, my parents played in a Greek band.  They sometimes played for money at Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. My mother played the rhythm on the guitar, which she believes is the reason for my love of music.

Speaking of my love of music, I study voice, piano, and Arabic percussion. Not kidding about the Arabic percussion. I even went to a world music camp to study in the woods. Fresh air, music from all over the world, some of the planet’s most glorious trees. . . What could possibly be better? (See photos here.)

Here’s a picture of my dumbeks (the one on the left is from Turkey, the one of the right is from Egypt):

Someday, I hope to be able to play like this. That’s Sarit Hadad playing. I absolutely LOVE and adore her! Her song Yam Shel Ahavah was the springboard for my very first novel.

When I was 15, I shook the hand of the king of Belgium. I once saw Bill Clinton through the window of a restaurant. I’ve seen Paul McCartney in concert. When I was five years old, I sat on Joan Baez’s lap. I’ve also had wine with Lani and Sam. I know! Talk about brushes with fame!

I spent my junior year of college at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Rothberg School. So did Wolf Blitzer (from CNN)!

Hamudi (aka Creature), my cocker spaniel, looks like he’s right out of a Disney movie, but really, he’s just 25 pounds of trouble. Although now that he’s out of puppyhood, he’s a much better roommate, even though he’s managed to steal two loaves of bread in the past year. If you ask me, that’s a bit too Jean Valjean for such a spoiled animal.

My coolest job ever was teaching kids to build robots out of LEGOs. I taught Kindergarten and first grade for four years, and have a degree in Instructional Technology and Media.

If I could choose to have a super power, it would be stopping time, like in that show from the eighties. It would be such a cool power to have when the alarm clock starts shrieking every morning, don’t you think? Then again, maybe I’d prefer the ability to be “beamed up” like on Star Trek. That would seriously cut down on my commute time and keep me out of rush hour. And just think of all the places I could visit and save on airfare. Plus, I wouldn’t have to deal with motion sickness. Such a tough choice.

I spend an embarrassing amount of time having useless debates in my head about stuff like what super power I would choose if given the choice. This is scary.

I cook with a ton of garlic. Just visit my recipes page and you’ll see what I mean. Oh, and just so we’re clear, I make the absolute best hummus in the world. Well, to me it’s the best because I make it exactly the way I like it. You personally, although really I don’t see why, might possibly like it another way. Mine is very garlicy and lemony, and definitely not for wimps.

Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about me! If, for some reason, you feel compelled to learn more, take a look at my favorite posts.

Thanks for stopping by!  It was great to meet you!

Feel free to drop me a line at melina@melinakantor.com