Chasing Inspiration

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December Reads

Night Lost, Evermore and Twilight Fall by Lynn Viehl -- the Darkyn series continues through these books with more intrigue and the series long plot lines getting ready to tie up in the final book that comes out in 2009. Well done. Very well done!

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern -- I haven't seen the movie and I'm not sure I loved this book but it was a great freshman effort and I'll read more of CA's work.

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh -- This was a reread and is the first book in Nalini's Psy/Changling series. It was great to revisit because I remember why I loved it all over again.

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton -- A nice escapist read.

What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris -- Sebastian St. Cyr. S'all I'm saying!

Heating Up The Holidays anthology with Jill Shalvis as contributing author-- Good holiday fun with hot and spicy firemen. Mmm, mmm.

Bound by Shadow by Anna Windsor -- The first book of her Dark Crescent Sisterhood series. I'll read the next books, for sure.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay -- The book that sparked the Showtime series.

Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James -- Lawyers, Hollywood and sexual tension, oh my!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

Just got back from Christmas Eve service at church and am finally feeling the yuletide spirit. Nothing like some candles, carols and that awe that comes from being in a holy place does for one's attitude.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. May you experience peace and joy and love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightful

And I don't have a fire to warm up with so the weather inside is merely better than the cold wind and snow that is outside. If you haven't guessed, it's freezing here! Which is normal for winter. Except the past winters have been anything but normal so I've been lulled into believing that winter doesn't dip below zero and the winds don't blow you into the next county.

The job search continues. I have some leads and an almost dream job that I'm applying for. Almost because it's not really my dream job but has elements of that job and wouldn't be so taxing that I have no energy to write and coach once the work day is finished. Please pray/send good thoughts regarding this position. I just feel...right about it.

On the writing front, I'm doing a lot of brainstorming right now. I've started back at the beginning of the materials in Holly Lisle's How To Think Sideways: Career Survival for Writers course and that has really helped. I powered through many lessons this summer and then after the layoff just stopped looking at it. I have all the lessons (22 weeks worth) so decided to start over. Best decision I have made regarding my writing. I feel organized, I feel confident and I feel like I have someone who's been there, done that looking over my shoulder whispering words of advise and encouragement. I love this course! LOL. If you haven't checked it out, please do.

The home office is starting to feel complete. Nothing like being forced to spend time in four walls to make a girl want to organize. I still want more bookshelves and may convince The Man to help me organize the shelves that are attached to the wall to give me more space. He's much more spatially oriented than I am. Me, I just pile stuff on. He actually maximizes the space. Good thing I'm married to him.

Okay, it's back to work for me. Yes, work. Job hunting is a lot of work and I must find a job so I must work. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I lost my job recently and the one job I really hoped to obtain fell through. I thought I was dealing rather well with this set back and with being unemployed. Sure, it's not fun and the money is going to run thin and I worry about our finances at the best of times. But I had time to find that good fit instead of looking for just another job.

And then the stark reality hit. The job market isn't strong and lay-offs are becoming the norm. And it could happen to my husband. And wouldn't that really really bite the big one if we were both out of work at the same time?

So what's a girl to do? Find a job doing what she doesn't love so the family can be sure of survival? Or hold out for that perfect fit? All the coaching I've received lately focuses on fit. But our personal fear is that we need to ensure we are paying the bills. Life marches on and the mortgage needs to be paid.

Today I am shrouded in fear. But I'm working through it. Because there is no reason life should be driven by fear. Fear lies to us. Fear holds us back. Fear keeps things the same. Caution is healthy - it makes us thing, evaluate, analyze. But fear? It does nothing but hold us back. And as much as I would love to curl up into a little ball and forget the world around me exists, that's fear talking and I cannot, will not let it win.

How do you combat fear? I don't have the answers...yet. But I do know that a lot of fear is in our heads. So I'm going to start to combat the fear. And move forward with purpose toward that new job. Praying the entire time that things don't get worse for us before they get better.

Monday, December 01, 2008

November Good Reads

If Angels Burn, Private Demon and Dark Need by Lynn Viehl -- This is a new-to-me series about vampires. It's another fresh take on an age old mythology told by an amazing storyteller. If I could spend a day in her head, I would gladly do so to learn everything I can about this business and writing.

A Perfect Groom by Samantha James -- This is the final book in her Sterling family trilogy.

Wild and Hexy by Vicki Lewis Thompson -- Book two of her sexy new series set in Big Knob, Ohio. Witches, wizards, dragons and true love...oh my!

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. Covey -- A great book on the value of trust in business and life by the son of 7 Habits icon, Stephen R. Covey. A must read!

Salvation in Death by J. D. Robb -- the latest book in the Eve & Roarke saga. Loved it! But then I love all these books. Now, if I could just figure out how many more she was going to write so I could ensure shelf space for them all...

Suite 606 Anthology featuring J. D. Robb -- A great short story.

Enchanted, Inc, Once Upon Stilettos, Damsel Under Stress and Don't Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson -- Harry Potter meets Bridget Jones is the tag line, but these are way more than fantasy light chick lit. The world building and word economy to tell fantastic stories blew me away. I've had these books since the 2007 RWA conference (all but the last one, which was released in 2008), so this was a reread, but these books are staying on my shelf and I'll reread them again. Here's hoping the movie option actually becomes a movie and that Shanna will be able to write more wonderful books in this series. Seriously, I want to know more about Owen!

The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts -- The long anticipated book 3 in her Sign of Seven trilogy was a great book. I wanted more at the end - like a picture of the protagonists in the not-too-distant future, but I was satisfied with the culmination of story arcs, the characters themselves and the world building. Nora can always spin a great tale. I seriously need to study the books to see what I can learn from this master. *sigh*

Merrick's Eleventh Hour by Wendy Rosnau -- The wonderfully poignant and action packed close to Wendy's Spy Games series. If you haven't read this series, you are missing some well crafted books about lies, spies and redemption. Yeah, these stories are not to be missed. Check Wendy's site for details. And please, don't let the fact the books are published by Silhoutte put you off! Good writing is good writing, no matter who the publisher is.

[Edited to add books I forgot I read]

The Trouble With Witches. Witch Hunt and The Witch Is Dead by Shirley Damsgaard -- With each Abby & Ophelia book, Shirley gets better and better. I'm looking forward to The Witch's Grave, which is book 6 and out now. Book 7 has just been written so will likely be out sometime in 2009. *sigh* I hate when I have to wait. *g*

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

October Reads

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl -- a lovely debut novel of the historical romance variety! Looking forward to reading additional books by her

Rogue Angel: Swordsman's Legacy by Alex Archer -- Michele Hauf contributed to this adventure series, writing as Alex Archer. Wonderful history, rich venues and lots of twists and turns!

Rogue Angel: Destiny by Alex Archer -- Where the series all started. A solid novel to set up this bi-monthly series.

Intimate Enemy by Marilyn Pappano -- MP does a great job spinning a tale in a short word count. Her Silhouette Romantic Suspense novels are wonderful!

Rises the Night, The Bleeding Dusk and When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason -- This rounds out the four current novels in CG's Gardella Vampire Chronicles series. Totally sucked me in! And while I want to see how the series ends in March, I don't want to leave these beloved characters behind.

Witch Way to Murder and Charmed to Death by Shirley Damsgaard -- Great mysteries set in small town Iowa. Yes, there are paranormal elements, but don't let that stop you from reading them!

Over Hexed by Vicki Lewis Thompson -- There's a theme here...a witch, a wizard, a dragon, and a couple who don't know it yet, but they were made for each other. Fun times!

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kennyon -- Long awaited and amazing. There are just no words to describe the story. If you are a Dark Hunter fan, you must read this book.

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning -- okay, the story didn't end on a high not, but it's the middle book of a five book series, so I'm hanging on for the ride. A wonderful installment of the Fever series!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Life Themes - Gratitude

I found this today over on the Zen Habits blog (great blog! Check it out!). It fits with my current situation and some of the themes I'm finding from writers I admire and have been reading lately.
I hope you enjoy reading this article. It gave me pause. And feel free to share your reaction!

8 Temendously Important Ways That Gratitude Can Change Your Life

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” - Meister Eckhart

It’s amazing how one simple, easy, positive action can change so much in a person’s life.

One of the things that has had the biggest effect on my life is the realization of the power of gratitude. Simply giving thanks.

It has affected everything. It has made me a more positive person. A more productive person. A better achiever. A better husband and father and son and brother (at least, I like to think so). A happier person. I’m not perfect, but gratitude has made me better.

Can it change your life as well? I can guarantee it. You might not get the exact same benefits as I have, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the simple act of gratitude on a regular basis will change anyone’s life, positively and immediately. How many other changes can claim to be that quick, that easy, and that profound?

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can incorporate gratitude into your life, and how it will change your life. These are just some examples, based on my experience and the experiences of others I’ve talked with, and not all will apply to your life. But pick and choose the ones you think will work for you.

1. Have a morning gratitude session. Take one minute in the morning (make it a daily ritual) to think of the people who have done something nice for you, to think of all the things in your life you’re grateful for. You won’t get to everything in one minute, but it’s enough. And it will instantly make your day better, and help you start your day off right. Can you think of a better use of one minute?

2. When you’re having a hard day … make a gratitude list. We all have those bad days sometimes. We are stressed out from work. We get yelled at by someone. We lose a loved one. We hurt a loved one. We lose a contract or do poorly on a project. One of the things that can make a bad day much better is making a list of all the things you’re thankful for. There are always things to be thankful for — loved ones, health, having a job, having a roof over your head and clothes on your back, life itself.

3. Instead of getting mad at someone, show gratitude. That’s a major switching of attitudes — actually a complete flip. And so this isn’t always easy to do. But I can promise you that it’s a great thing to do. If you get mad at your co-worker, for example, because of something he or she did … bite your tongue and don’t react in anger. Instead, take some deep breaths, calm down, and try to think of reasons you’re grateful for that person. Has that person done anything nice for you? Has that person ever done a good job? Find something, anything, even if it’s difficult. Focus on those things that make you grateful. It will slowly change your mood. And if you get in a good enough mood, show your gratitude to that person. It will improve your mood, your relationship, and help make things better. After showing gratitude, you can ask for a favor — can he please refrain from shredding your important documents in the future? And in the context of your gratitude, such a favor isn’t such a hard thing for the co-worker to grant.

4. Instead of criticising your significant other, show gratitude. This is basically the same as the above tactic, but I wanted to point out how gratitude can transform a marriage or relationship. If you constantly criticize your spouse, your marriage will slowly deteriorate — I promise you. It’s important to be able to talk out problems, but no one likes to be criticized all the time. Instead, when you find yourself feeling the urge to criticize, stop and take a deep breath. Calm down, and think about all the reasons you’re grateful for your spouse. Then share that gratitude, as soon as possible. Your relationship will become stronger. Your spouse will learn from your example — especially if you do this all the time. Your love will grow, and all will be right in the world.

5. Instead of complaining about your kids, be grateful for them. Many parents (myself included) get frustrated with their children. They are too slow to do things, they have a bad attitude, they can’t clean up after themselves, and they pick their nose too much. Unfortunately, sometimes parents will communicate that frustration to their children too often, and the kids will begin to feel bad about themselves. Many parents have done this, and while it’s not perfect, it’s a part of parenthood. But there’s a better way: follow the method above of calming down when you’re frustrated, and thinking of reasons you’re grateful to your child. Share these reasons with your child. And then take the opportunity to teach them, instead of criticizing them.

6. When you face a major challenge, be grateful for it. Many people will see something difficult as a bad thing. If something goes wrong, it’s a reason to complain, it’s a time of self-pity. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead, learn to be grateful for the challenge — it’s an opportunity to grow, to learn, to get better at something. This will transform you from a complainer into a positive person who only continues to improve. People will like you better and you’ll improve your career. Not too shabby.

7. When you suffer a tragedy, be grateful for the life you still have. I’ve recently lost an aunt, and my children recently lost a grandmother. These tragedies can be crippling if you let them overcome you. And while I’m not saying you shouldn’t grieve — of course you should — you can also take away something even greater from these tragedies: gratitude for the life you still have. Appreciation for the fleeting beauty of life itself. Love for the people who are still in your life. Take this opportunity to show appreciation to these people, and to enjoy life while you can.

8. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, look at what you do have. Have you ever looked around you and bemoaned how little you have? How the place you live isn’t your dream house, or the car you drive isn’t as nice as you’d like, or your peers have cooler gadgets or better jobs? If so, that’s an opportunity to be grateful for what you already have. It’s easy to forget that there are billions of people worse off than you — who don’t have much in the way of shelter or clothes, who don’t own a car and never will, who don’t own a gadget or even know what one is, who don’t have a job at all or only have very menial, miserable jobs in sweatshop conditions. Compare your life to these people’s lives, and be grateful for the life you have. And realize that it’s already more than enough, that happiness is not a destination — it’s already here.

“Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” - Dalai Lama

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Themes That Pop Up In Life

I've been doing some reading on the craft of writing and on letting go in order to live a simpler life and a few things keep coming back to me. Themes, if you will.

The first - Write Out Loud.

I have J. R. Ward and Susan Wiggs to thank for this theme. Ward mentions it specifically in her Black Dagger Brotherhood Compendium which hit shelves this past month. Through out the book she discusses her rules of writing and how her writing grew and develop with this series. And the thing that caught my eye was Write Out Loud. Sort of like living out loud. Give it all you've got. Don't hold back.

On Susan Wigg's blog, she has been posting some of her notes from a writer's workshop she recently attended and I see this theme woven through her words. Michael Hauge, the screenplay master himself, presented the workshop and I know I really want to sit and absorb all I can from him some day. But back to the theme. While the workshop was around writing craft, at the end of the day he asked everyone to fill out this statement:

“I’ll do whatever it takes to be a successful writer; just don’t ask me to (fill in the blank), because that’s just not me.”

I thought about that after reading Susan's blog and I have a lot of caveats and addendums. I want to write, but I'm afraid. Of many things. I'm afraid of failing, of finding out that this is just a childish dream and that I've wasted my time. That's the biggest fear. And it holds me back in really giving myself to my stories. It holds me back from really finding myself.

Write Out Loud.

I recently found out that my position is being eliminated. I may not be completely out of a job. That will depend on internal positions where I work. But I decided to not worry about this set back. I was looking for a new road, a new path anyway. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't afraid about what would happen if I changed jobs or lost this income. It's been an excuse I've been using for a long time. I haven't been writing my own life out loud.

Well, for the sake of argument, this excuse has been whipped out from under me and I find that I'm not as afraid as I thought I would be. I'm sure that will change if I don't start getting a paycheck in the relatively near future because, well, we've based our savings plans and our renovations on two incomes. But, we can still be fine.

Yes, I'm going to look for a new job, but instead of jumping on the next thing because I feel guilty for not contributing to the family income, I'm praying I can use the time to discover what I really want to do and find fulfilling work that lets me write, and live, outloud.

More themes to come...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is from April and Susan Wiggs. Hee!

You can click on the picture to get the full work cloud. It's a lovely way to sum up my months of October and September. Nice! I just wish I knew how I could delete words from it, lol!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, Monday

There are days I wish I was more organized, had more energy, was more creative, was more driven, etc. Days I wish I was, well, more.

Today isn't once of those days. Today I just want to go home and be a slug. Not because I'm not feeling well. Although the tummy is being weird today. Not because what I have to do at work is awful or draining or icky. No, I want to be at home, snuggled under a blanket with a mug of hot cocoa and either watching a movie or reading a book because it's raining today. And I always want to be snuggled in at home when it's raining.

I don't know why. I love rain. In the summer, I love walking outside in it, letting the coolness of the raindrops batter my warm, sticky skin. I adore thunderstorms. When the sky lights up with electricity and the earth rumbles, I get a huge grin on my face and sit back to enjoy the show.

But I like to do all this from the comfort of my home. I think it may have something to do with the fact that when it's raining during the day, the sky is grey and it feels like I should be somewhere else. Like in a coffee shop sipping a latte or on my couch with a good book and a steamy cup of tea. It's a day where the world should slow down and breathe. Work isn't fast paced today, but it's faster than the weather tells my my day should be.

Maybe I'll take a longer lunch, slow down with a good book and some tea and enjoy. Because when it rains, you don't have to be more of anything. You just need to be.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Blanket

A while ago, as in May or earlier, I started a knitted lap blanket for J. R. Ward. Yes, I'm that fan girl. Get over it.

I finished it in September during Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend (RAW) and was able to present it to J. R. Ward at the booksigning. She loved it! Which is great because this was my first knitting project I have ever completed. I rather miss working on it.

Anyway, here is a picture of it. S6300611The pattern can be found on my friend Courtney's blog. She was gracious in helping me figure out what to knit, and walked with me through the process. Next up, dish clothes. Seriously. Stop laughing.

It was a joy to meet up with J. R. Ward again and to give her the blanket. I hope she remembers me the next time we meet, because, seriously, she totally forgot who I was from last year! LOL! Not that she should remember me. Mostly, I hope she loves the blanket and uses it a lot.

Someday I'll make another one and keep it. Maybe make it out of a different yarn or use a different color. But it turned out fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

September Reads

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas -- I enjoy stories that focus around couples who are or have been married and are finding themselves in a situation that gives them a second chance at love.

A Perfect Bride by Samantha James -- This is the first book in SJ's Sterling Family trilogy and it hit the spot! Looking forward to books 2 & 3.

Sweet Spot and Sweet Trouble by Susan Mallery -- Books 2 & 3 of her Keyes Sister's trilogy. Highly enjoyable.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris -- The inspiration for HBO's True Blood series, this is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Vampires, telepaths, shape shifters, oh my!

Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen -- Another great thriller from a master! Mummies, what's not to like? :D

The Charm School by Susan Wiggs -- A great historical and the first of SW's Calhoune series. I'm looking forward to more of these rereleased books.

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning -- Book two of KMM's Fever series finally made it to mass market paperback. I had read it before, but read it again as I wait for the library to tell me I'm next in line for Faefever.

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer -- Hilarious fun! Better than their first collaboration.

Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh -- Hot! Smokin' hot! That's all I can say about book on in LL's Tempting SEALs series.

Karma Girl and Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep -- Sex. Lies. And superheroes. A winning combination for JE's campy and well written Bigtime series! I have book 3 on my night stand now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Road Trip!

This Thursday, before the butt crack of dawn, I will be getting in my car and starting a road trip toward Hungtington, West Virginia. Why? Because a friend and I are heading to Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend, that's why!

I think this event started last year. It was designed to be a way for writers and readers to get together and have fun, without a lot of agendas or workshops like most writing conferences have. I didn't go last year, but I had heard it was a blast so when a friend told me about the registration window for this year, I jumped at the chance!

So my friend and I got in and on Thursday we are hopping in the car and driving about 14 hours to West Virginia. It's going to be fun. I love road trips. I know there are people who don't but I do. There is something wonderful about getting in a car and just driving somewhere. I love cranking up the radio and singing loudly. And badly. I love watching the world as I whiz past in my car. There is always so much to see, even if what you're driving through is farm land or open plains or cities get it. You have to be willing to see, to look, to observe. I love doing that.

My friend and I are bringing music, food, books, knitting and perhaps even movies. We'll split the driving. Which means I hope she takes the first leg because I have to get up earlier than her so I can get to her place which is an hour away, lol! I'm going to need some strong coffee.

I have no idea what to expect when we get to WV. I just know that it's going to be fun and I can choose to participate as much or as little as I want. It's not a conference. It's a gathering. And right now, I'm all about the relaxation aspect of gathering together. *g*

I will blog about the weekend when I'm done. Or perhaps while I'm there. While I'm gone, you all have a great week!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cubicle Blues

They moved me from my nice, quiet office to a row of cubicles in a new building. I'm sad but adjusting.

I have a cube near a window. It's very sunny in the mornings and relatively light in the afternoons. And the set up is nice. I have enough space to spread out in, though I'm trying to keep things neat and not horde paper and stuff. Sadly, it's just outside my manager's cube. No sneaking in and out. *sigh*

I miss the office. Mostly because I could shut the door. I enjoyed shutting the door and keeping the world out while I worked. Okay, while I played.

Still, being out in a cube means I'll interact more with my colleagues, right? Well sure, if I get stop listening to music on Pandora and rip the headphones away from my ears. Let's face it, I may be a social creature, but at work I just want to hunker down, get the job done and then do some writing, some blogging, some networking. I'm not a cubicle kind of girl.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thinking Sideways - Ah Ha Moments

I'm starting month two of Holly Lisle's six month course on How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School For Writers and I've had some interesting "Ah Ha!" moments. I want to share some of those with you.

For copyright purposes I am not going to share details on the exercises and materials. I do recommend you investigate this course. Seriously. It's the beginning of my week six in this self-paced course and while I'm "behind" in the lessons, I'm definitely not behind in the learnings. The first month of the course is filled with so much information and guidance that I had to give myself some extra time to work through it all. That and my life is a big scary mess at the moment. But that's a discussion for another day.

One of my biggest Ah Ha! moments so far has been what I'm drawn to as a writer. Holly had us do some cluster maps on things that we're drawn to, or make us happy and things that we're not necessarily drawn to when it comes to writing. I struggle with why genre I fit into as a writer. Holly's exercise helped me to let go of the labels and to look at what motivates me write. What gives me those cool little butterflies and you know what? I can write those elements in practically any genre out there.

I'm not a romance writer. I'm not a women's fiction writer. I'm a writer. A storyteller. And that knowledge has been incredibly freeing!

I am loving this course! And I recommend it to you as well. Please check it out on Holly's site. She is taking registrations for a new offering of the course and if you are serious about the business of writing and career development/survival, this is for you! Check it out here - How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School For Writers You won't regret it!

Books Read in August 2008

Heart of Stone by C. E. Murphy -- The first book of her Negotiator trilogy, which focuses around a human who becomes the mediator between several paranormal races.

The Wild Road by Marjorie M. Liu -- this is book 8 in MML's Dirk & Steele series and revisits some characters we met in Dark Dreamers and Soul Song.

Flashback by Jill Shalvis -- The first book in a new mini series by Jill. Hot firefighters, need I say more?

Pitch Black by Susan Crandall -- Susan's first romantic suspense has everything you love about her women's fiction with a believable suspense plot that kept me on the edge of my seat.

In Deep Voodoo and Finding Your Mojo by Stephanie Bond -- Fun, fast reading about live, love and murder in the Deep South.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen -- a whimsical and haunting debut novel.

The Darkest Night and The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter -- The first two books in Gena's Lords of the Underworld series.

Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs -- read this!

Term Limits by Vince Flynn -- Vince's first book and a great reread for me.

Superb & Sexy by Jill Shalvis -- The third book in Jill's Sky High Air series.

Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery -- Book 2 in Susan's Keye's Sisters/Keye's Bakery series. I hope to read book three in September.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chocolatey Goodness

I kyped this from Marjorie M. Liu's blog because it looks so amazingly sinful and easy and wonderful and I'm going to try it this weekend, South Beach Diet be damned! LOL


4 tablespoons cake flour ( that's plain flour, not self-raising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla essence
1 coffee mug

Put dry ingredients in mug mix well
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla essence, and mix
(you can also do all the above in a bowl and then pour it in your

Microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake
will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.


Note: This can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I Am A Lobster

Yesterday there was a celebration for the successful launch of a project at work. We went to this fantastic British-style pub down town and had all sorts of great food, beer, wine and desserts. We also played lawn bowling on a green they put on the roof of the building.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Books Read in July

  1. Master by Collette Gale -- A delightful and rather sensual retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo.
  2. Bollywood Nights by Shobhaa De -- Being unfamiliar with Bollywood and Indian culture so this book was an interesting read for me.
  3. Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas -- A follow up to LK's first Contemporary Romance, Sugar Daddy.
  4. Fallen by Erin McCarthy -- A fallen angel over coming addiction. A woman who's family appears to be caught in a pattern of addiction and death. New Orleans. What more do I need to say. *grin*
  5. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot -- Better than the movies!
  6. The Horsemaster's Daughter by Susan Wiggs -- Book 2 of SW's Calhoun Chronicles. Recently re-released.
  7. Tribute by Nora Roberts -- Another great contribution by Nora!
  8. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich -- I could have used some more Ranger, but book 14 of JE's Stephanie Plum series is a great, fun read.
  9. Flashpoint by Jill Shalvis -- Firemen. Need I say more? This Blaze novel is the first in a short series. The next book comes out in August.
  10. Into The Fire by Suzanne Brockmann -- Book 13 of SB's Troubleshooter series. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
  11. Ready by Lucy Monroe -- Book one in LM's Ready, Willing, and Able trilogy. April suggested these books to me a year or so ago. Ready was worth the wait.
  12. The 5th Horseman by James Patterson -- Book 5 of the Women's Murder Club series. A strong addition.
  13. The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu -- Book 1 of MML's Hunter Kiss urban fantasy series. (not including the short in the anthology Wild Things). Darker than her Dirke & Steele series, but very satisfying.
  14. Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery -- Book 1 in SM's Keyes Sisters trilogy. Book two is out in August and book 3 is out in September.
  15. Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It by Cali Ressler & Jody Thompson -- If you feel caught in a work world that no longer makes sense, this is the book for you! I've been reading it and it makes me angry and hopeful at the same time. Angry that in this global economy, we are tied to 9-5 and inflexible rules around the nature of work. Hopeful that there are people out there questioning outmoded/outdated assumptions and doing something about it. Thanks for this book!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Writing Courses

I've been leary of writing courses and workshops for a long time. Sure, as writers we need to better our craft and understand how the business works so we aren't taken for a ride. But most classes/workshops don't really push me forward. No offense to those who take the time to make these classes/workshops work. I think it takes a lot of guts and talent to even think of one of these. And I'm sure there are people who grow through the use of them.

For me, it's a way to procrastinate and keep myself from actually writing. The thing that has really worked for me is my writing coach -- who I don't see anymore due to, well, financial decisions we had to make as a family. But Judy, you were seriously the best thing to happen to my writing!

Now I've found something that I think will give me the push I need and practical information I can learn from in my learning style. Holly Lisle has been writing for about 15 years and making a living from her writing and writing related endeavors for that same amount of time. She has recently started a course called How to Think Sideways. The inaugural class is underway and sold out. But I encourage you to take a look at what she's offering and if you're interested in this course, get on her mailing list.

The first lessons, which I will not be sharing due to copyright and my wanting to support Holly in this way, are dealing with why you don't write and moving past excuses. This was really helpful to me. I make excuses all the time. Most of these aren't grounded in reality. Facing my excuses using Holly's exercises has helped me to reframe these excuses and give me a mantra to move forward. In essence, I'm removing the power of the excuse. And that's powerful stuff!

That's just week one. Week two is more about finding your writing sweet spot. I have no idea what this means because I haven't started reading the lessons for this week. But I'm intrigued. And know I will find something useful that I can apply right now to one of the three works I've started. Yes, three. I have three going right now and one whispering to me. This, too, can be procrastination. I need to focus on one and get it done. At least that's what I tell myself, lol!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thank You For the Music, The Songs I'm Singing

I love ABBA. I mean, I really love ABBA. I saw ABBA - The Movie. I owned several of their records. Okay, I was really young when all this occurred, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I loved, and love, ABBA.

I've seen Mamma Mia! every time it's come to my city on tour. I saw it once in NYC. Naturally, I had to see the movie. I waited for the chaos of opening weekend to pass and on my half day off from the day job, I went to a matinée. And I'm glad I did because I have got to see this movie again! And paying matinee prices means I can afford to actually go again. And go I will! I see a girls night in my not so distant future - a night of music, eye-candy, belly laughs, and maybe a tear or two. Ah, the fun!

If you haven't seen this delight of a movie, well, why the heck havne't you? Embrace your inner dancing queen and go for it! You know you want to.

Friday, July 18, 2008

iTunes fun!

I've done this before and I'll do it again. It's just that much fun!

Stick your iTunes, iPod or other music device on shuffle and for the first 15 songs, post the first line of the lyrics on your blog so your blog friends can guess what you listen to. No skipping through songs just to look cool. And yes, we all try to do it!

So, here are my 15 songs. Have fun trying to guess them. I know I had to listen closely for a few of them, and they are on my freaking iPod! How much music can one woman listen to? Apparently enough for over 12 days of listening.

1. Your smile lights up a room like a candle in the dark, and warms me through and through

2. I've been cheated by you since I don't know when

3. Peace is what they tell me, love am I unholy -- Torn by Creed. Guessed by Nicole H

4. I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined and heard my cry.

5. For his age he is wise, he's got his mother's eyes. There's gladness in his heart, he's young and he's wild

6. You say you wanna live some, move out into the fast lane.

7. Welcome to the real world, she said to me condescendingly No Such Thing by John Mayer. Guessed by Gabby!

8. You can't imagine so many monkeys in the daily mail, and all of them coming anonymously so they leave no trail

9. Got your invitation to the dance, wear your party dress

10. The tar in the street starts to melt from the heat and the sweats runnin' down from my hair

11. This old world well don't it make you wanna think damn

12. The wind blows hard against this mountain side, across the sea into my soul

13. I want you to know that I'm happy for you, I wish nothing but the best for you both --You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette guessed by Sue!

14. Why should I care? Why should I care? Girls of fifteen sexually knowing...

15. Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell, Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Horrible!

I'm not usually all fangirl. Okay, I am but not usually on this blog. It's time to change that, at least temporarily.

I lurv Joss Whedon. I think he's a genius with his storytelling and character development and world building. Buffy, Angel, Firefly - come on people! These are some of the best shows that ever hit television. Especially Firefly, in my opinion.

Well, during the writer's strike, Joss started working on a little independent project known to the world as Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. Joss strong armed Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion to play the key male roles in this little love triangle. Felicia Day plays the object of their desires. But wait...there's more.

These two men are super hero and super villain. How cool is that? And they sing! Seriously kids, they can all sing. I wasn't too sure Nathan could pull it off, having never heard his voice before, but I'm a believer now. Oh and he struts around in all his arrogant goodness. It's a sight to be hold. But as nuts as I am about Nathan, it's Neil Patrick Harris who tugs my heart strings. *sigh*

Yeah, you totally have to watch this. The first act is up now on Act two airs on the 17th and act three on the 19th. They all come down on/after the 20th but are also on iTunes and there will be a DVD release with extras coming soon to somewhere near you.

I have to admit, I already bought the iTunes season pass and I will be buying the DVD. Joss, you had me at evil laugh!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Renovations are time consuming and suck. The end product is great! The blood, sweat, tears, dust, swearing, money, time, and general pain of renovations sucks. I'm tired. I'm sweaty. And I want to curl up with a book. Or with my computer and write.

Wish me luck. It's going to be several days of renovation "fun". Lucky me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

Living in the USA means I don't get a chance to really enjoy Canada Day. Unless I take the day off, I work. There are no fireworks in the town I live on July 1st. And when I smile and say Happy Canada Day, people look at me like I'm out of my mind.

But I'm Canadian and love my country, even if I don't live there. So, Happy Canada Day! Kiss a loved one. Delight in being Canadian or knowing a Canadian. And if you don't have fireworks near you, make some of your own. *grin*

Canada Day

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Books Read in June

Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward -- Oh. My. God! This latest installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series is, in a word, amazing! If you have not started this series yet, you must! It's not your mother's vampire series. Trust me, if you loathe the traditional vampire fare, you have a great chances of liking this series.

Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen -- Mayan prophesies of the end of the world. Demons, prophets, mages and magic. This is the first book of Jessica Andersen's Final Prophecy series and it is not a book to miss if you are a fan of the paranormal/other. Seriously! The book is so well put together that it doesn't read like your typical first book of a series. It reads with such adept world building, character development and plot arcs that you are immediately thrust into the action and you believe every moment of it. Truly one of my best reads for June and perhaps the year. *grin*

Twin Targets by Jessica Andersen -- Jessica Andersen developed her storytelling skills writing for Harlequin Intrigue. Her latest Intrigue is perfection.

The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn -- Julia Quinn is back for me. I ran a bit dry during her Bridgerton series, but I've loved her last two books. I look forward to the sequel to TLDOW this fall!

My Immortal by Erin McCarthy -- Demons. Deadly Sins. Lust and a man who gives his soul. I really loved this book! It was different and dark and all twisty and turny. I will definitely give her next book in this series a try.

3rd Degree by James Pattersen -- Not as good as the first book in his Women's Murder Club series, but still a solid mystery. I had a serious WTF moment that shocked me to no end. I can't share or I'll give away a major plot point, but that alone made this a good book to read.

Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah -- This was a reread for me. And it was just as poignant this time as it was the first time. This book speaks to me about the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of love.

4th of July by James Pattersen -- Much better than the 2nd and 3rd books. I grabbed onto the plot and felt the same twists in my gut as I imagine Lindsay did at various points. I did figure out some of the bad guys early on, but I was always a little iffy on the motivation so I'm glad there was a surprise for me at the end. *grin*

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -- I started this before the evil gallbladder decided it needed removing. I haven't finished it yet. But I started it in June so thought I would mention it here. So far, I'm very intrigued by the plot...and the time travel.

Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson -- This was a good solid romance. Second chance at love is one of my favorite romance hooks and Rachel did a good job with this. I did with for a little more paranormal than the hint of it here and there, but that didn't keep the book from being a good read. It was also a satisfying end to this quartet of books about for single authors and the directions life, writing and love take them.

The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney -- Wow! MJ Putney doesn't ever disappoint. I have loved everything I have read of hers. Okay, so I haven't read her paranormals except this one, but I'm sure I would enjoy them. TMS is romance and magic at it's best. There's amazing inner conflict, wonderful historic accuracy and characters you want to care about. I hope she follows this up with stories about the hero's three friends. Those are stories I would love to read. *smirk*

Dead and Loving It by MaryJanice Davidson -- An anthology with stories about a vampire queen's honeymoon, a mermaid and a wayward adventurer and werewolves. All with MJD's trademark snark and humor. I. Loved. It!

The Shadow & The Star by Laura Kinsale -- Wow. There are no words for this amazing book that travels deep into the soul to find restoration and love.

The Hidden Heart by Laura Kinsale -- The prequel to The Shadow & The Star and Laura's first published novel. I'm glad I read this story and I loved Tess and Gryph's struggles and the distant lands, but geographically and internally, that I was invited to travel. I think Laura is the author to break me of my historical novel drought.

Friday, June 27, 2008

SYTYCD - Lyrical Hip Hop?

Okay, so I watched this week on and off until my couple was on. Everyone on the show can dance but Chelsie and Mark move me. Sure, they are the quirkiest people ever, but they move so well together. And they let their moves tell a story. I love that about them. But then I'm big on stories. Surprise Surprise.

So, what is lyrical hip hop? Is this like a real thing? *shrugs* I don't really care. They look good, that's all I care about. *grin*

Am I the only one on the planet who had not heard this song until now? Damn! This song is perfect for my current WIP. Perfect. It sums up Mallory and her relationships so well. Another good reason to watch So You Think You Can Dance. It can lend inspiration to my writing. *grin*

I love what the judges have to say about this couple at the end of their routine, and I love learning more about what the dance was supposed to represent. Here's the longer version. It's worth watching. Even if you're sick of Bleeding Love. :)

More SYTYCD - Tango Baby!

On the June 17th episode, Chelsie and Mark really did the Argentine Tango justice. Mark was so sleezy! It was great.

And if you want the preview and what the judges thought, here's a longer clip:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recovery Milestones

First, I know that gallbladder surgery is not life-threatening. It's fairly routine and recovery is fairly quick - my fibro not withstanding. Still, it's nice to have some milestones to mark recovery by. Especially since I've never had surgery before.

I got in the car yesterday and went on some errands with A. Getting in the car means twisting and sitting down. That has hurt ever since the operation. Yesterday, it still hurt, but not too bad to keep me from getting out of the freaking house. We hit the library, Home Depot and an auto supply store. Then I came home and rested for a bit. Yay for getting out of the house!

I did dishes. I hate doing dishes, but this is a great milestone because of the twisting and jiggling that happens during dish washing. Now A thinks I should vacuum but I still have an embargo on lifting, pushing and pulling.

I put on my pants by myself today! I could bend forward enough to do this by myself. So exciting! I think I may even try to shower by myself later. Well, A will need to be in the bathroom just in case. But I like the idea of being more independent.

I ate pizza last night. And eggs. I've been avoiding high protein foods and acidic foods because I have no idea what not having a gallbladder will do for my digestive system. Both were just fine! Today, I will celebrate with either a Green Tea Frappaccino from Starbucks or ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

I'm still napping in the afternoon and need pain meds at bedtime, but I'm only taking Advil during the day and the body is doing fairly well. No dancing for me, yet. But I'm getting better and better all the time. Phew!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Weekends Go Wrong

Saturday was supposed to be my catch up day. I was supposed to mail out some books and gifts, go to the library to return some books, get groceries, pay the mortgage...all that good stuff. But, alas, it wasn't to be.

On Saturday, after waking up at 3:00 freaking a.m. to what felt like an iron ball below my sternum and sharp pain in my back, my body decided it was going to rid itself of everything I had eaten on Friday. And then continue to rid itself of stomach fluid. This went on for a couple of hours when I had enough and A took me to urgent care.

One blood test, an IV of nice rehydrating fluids and two doses of anti-nausea medication later, and I was off to ER because the docs at urgent care thought it might be my gall bladder rather than food poisoning or the flu.

I got to ER at 10:30am (or there abouts). More IV fluids and some wonderful pain medication helped to ease my suffering before they wheeled me up to have an ultrasound taken of my abdomen. Gall stones. Two freaking big ones. One blocking a duct. The prognosis? Surgery.

Funny thing is, I've never had any of the symptoms they asked me about. I've never had pain like this before. Never felt like I was having a heart attack or been wakened by pain like this. I've never had pain like this after fatty meals. Sure, I've had indigestion before, but have been diagnosed with mile reflux. Tums usually took care of it and life went on.

It was busy at the ER so they admitted me and then at 6pm I went down to see the doc. The surgeon was great. Very calming and very kind. He told me they would try to remove my gallbladder laparoscopically but if the stones were too big to be removed via my belly button, they would have to cut me open. The stones were almost too big, but they managed and I have four nice little holes in my belly.

I was in the hospital until Monday. The pain was not under control on Sunday so they kept me an extra day. It was kind of nice. They had cable. I don't at home. *sigh*

I'm still not at work. I'm sleeping a lot and it hurts when I do certain things, but I'm walking around, eating relatively normally and am not becoming a couch potato. Tonight, we're going to try a brief walk outside.

I have a tonne of gas. Some of it's from the carbon dioxide they use to push organs and such out of the way. Some of it is my body getting used to not having a gallbladder any more. But gas hurts. So does belching. And don't get me started with the hiccups. Ouch!

The Man's been great. Work's been okay. And my belly is hurting from sitting at the computer, so I'm going to go. Who knew that when I went to bed feeling fine on Friday that I would end up having surgery on Saturday? Crazy.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Crap on a Cracker!

The power went out last night.

This wouldn't be a bad thing except I had left my current WIP open on the computer and while I thought I had saved it, when I opened it after the power came back on today, two pages were missing. And it was two pages of rewrites I had made for a major plot change. I think they are some of the best writing I've ever accomplished. And yet they are gone. Poof! Into the ether.

I'm sick over this, but figure it's God giving me a lesson in backing up and saving every thing. Early. And often. *sigh*

And I figure if I could write something amazing, I can take what I remember - the emotion behind the scene and some basic set-up material - and I can writes something equally amazing. Just different. Because there is no way I can get all the words back from yesterday.

So, I'm going to go make myself a fruity blended alcoholic beverage, put in The Bourne Ultimatum because Jason Bourne is a source of immense inspiration in his angsty hotness, and start again. And back up. And stop kicking myself in the ass because what's done is done and all I can do now is move forward, right?

I hope you all are having a better weekend than I. Celebrate the small moments this weekend. It's always good to be celebrating something! I'll raise my fruity blended drink to you during my own celebration. *grin*

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Books Read In May

Small Favor by Jim Butcher -- OMG! This series just gets better and better. Geeky yet some how hot hero who battles his baser side in order to fight the good fight against evil. Complex bad guys. Women, and men, in peril. This book has it all! It's really too bad JB only puts out one book a year for this series cuz I don't want to wait for more. I want it and I want it now!

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips -- This was a reread. I love this book. It's a great, funny love story that focuses around family and forgiveness and trust. Love it!

The Hollow by Nora Roberts -- People are split about this book and this trilogy so far. Personally, I loved it! Fox is my man. One of them anyway. But I think I'm going to love Gage best. He's got a hint of bad boy and Naomi loves her bad boys, lol! Anyway, this is paranormal light, but amazing character development and a great love story.

Don't Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson -- I'm a huge fan of Shanna Swendson's Enchanted, Inc series and really hope her editor does the smart thing and contracts her for some more books. Magic/fantasy meets chick lit in a refreshing way. Love Shanna's voice and her heroine is not a flighty shopaholic but a smart woman who loves deeply and because of that love is willing to sacrifice. Mix in some of the fantastical and you have a great storyline!

Stars of Mithra Series by Nora Roberts -- (Hidden Star, Captive Star, Secret Star) I enjoyed hte series and I think Captive Star is my favorite with Hidden Star a close second. The series became contrived with the last book, but over all, a fun way to spend a couple of afternoons.

Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts -- What do you get when you have four women who all have body issues but all love food? The Bikini Club. This is a wonderful story of camaraderie and believing in oneself. A great story.

Hunters: Heart and Soul by Shiloh Walker -- Not as good as the previous Shiloh Walker books I've read but still entertaining. I'm looking forward to meeting SW at RAW in September.

Express Male by Elizabeth Bevarly -- A cute book. And a rerelease. It's a fast read and interesting. I found myself wanting more of the secondary storyline than the main characters, but still a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer -- Okay, I like the books. I really do. But I do not understand the fascination with Edward. I feel like I need to reread the books once I finish the last one. LOL.

Without Remorse by Tom Clancy -- I like Tom Clancy. I love this book. John Clark is one of the best and most complex operatives in the history of fictional operatives. And this story shows you why. Even if you don't like political or military intrigue, read this book. Seriously.

1st to Die by James Patterson -- This is the first book in JP's Women's Murder Club series. I really liked the TV Show and wish ABC hadn't axed it. Anyway, the book was good. I'll read the series. They are quick reads, and while not overly gory, had a high enough body count to satisfy my blood lust while also having some great angst and character development that didn't focus solely on the murder investigation.

The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson -- Another amazing installment of VP's Signs of the Zodiac series. The angst is notched up and the action is sublime. I swear, with each book this alternative Las Vegas becomes more and more real. If you have not started this series and your looking for a paranormal series that has nothing to do with changlings, were-creatures or vampires, this is your series!

2nd Chance by James Patterson -- Not as impressed with the second book in JP's Women's Murder Club series, but it was a solid effort. We learn more about Lindsay's dad and there is more bonding around crime and personal crises. I hear there are some jaw-dropping moments in the third book so I'm looking forward to that.

I also read some non-fiction books in May. It was a nice month for reading. June is looking hot with several new releases of some of my favorite authors. Now, if I could figure out how to make more time for reading...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Updates on my life

1. I'm exhausted. After a long weekend. Go figure. *g*

2. We put Denali's stuff (dog dish, treat canister, leash, grooming tools, etc) in a rubbermaid container yesterday. It was a very hard day. Like saying good-bye all over again.

3. I'm knitting my first real project. A little lap blanket. I'll post pictures as soon as there's enough of the blanket to make interesting pictures.

4. I like knitting, even if it makes my hands hurt a bit. I think I hold on to the yarn and needles a tad tight. *shrugs* I'll learn to unclench. *g*

5. No writing this weekend because I was sealing grout in the bathroom. I think I did something wrong. I did a test and sprayed water on the grout. In some places it beaded off like it's supposed to. In other places the grout absorbed the water. Not supposed to happen. *sighs*

6. Still waiting for the counter top/ sink we ordered three weeks ago. They said it would be done in two weeks. Yeah, right. For every day you delay, I'm going to demand money off my bill. Like that's going to make a difference.

7. Watched Firefly this weekend while grouting. I never get tired of that show. I hear that Fox is going to release a newly packaged box set with new extra features and crap. Cuz I need another copy of the show on DVD. *snort* Still, you know I'll buy it. I'm such a sucker.

8. Starting this week I get to work from home on Fridays. You have no idea how huge a deal this is. Finally, a day where I can sleep in a little and make it to work on time. And I don't have to get all dolled up for the office. I'm so excited!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Good Reads - April

Rogue by Rachel Vincent -- Book two of her Werecats series. Wow. The world building is excellent, the main character grows in this book and the plot threads bring more urgency to the world of the werecats. A very good read!

No Control by Shannon K. Butcher -- I liked No Regrets. Didn't love it, but liked it. No Control I loved. SB's storytelling was spot on and her characters were delightfully flawed and yet somehow made me care about what happened to them. The villain was wicked and needy. Loved it!

Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian -- I have had this book in my to-be-read mountain for some time. But I didn't want to start yet another vampire series. I'm not sorry I read the book, but it didn't wow me. I'm going to read the next book in the series because the first book of a series is always the set up book and that means it's usually not the best book in the series. We'll see.

Smart & Sexy by Jill Shalvis -- reread

Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie -- reread

Thigh High by Christina Dodd -- I've read all of CD's contemporaries. They were all good. I've read some of CD's historicals. None of them grabbed me. I haven't read CD's paranormal series. I have to say that Thigh High is the best book I have read by CD ever! Great plotting. Excellent characterization. And the setting - you can't go wrong with New Orleans!

In Twilight's Shadow by Patti O'Shea -- O.M.G! This was an amazing story. Seriously. I loved it. Everything about it. The characters, the paranormal world, the plot, the action. Everything! This is the second book in Patti's Light Warriors series and it is just amazing. No vamps. LOL. Magic (dark and light), demons, politics, redemption and trust are all themes and they weave through the story in amazing, and surprising ways. Patti is a must read!

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer -- I have put off reading this series because I buck following the trends. I was 4 books late with Harry Potter. Three books late for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I'm late again with Twilight and I'm just fine with that. This young adult series is all the rage, and while I enjoyed the first book, I'm not sure what the rage is about. I'm waiting for the library to let me know the second book is available for me to read. Maybe I'll figure it out when I read more of the series.

The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne -- I wish Joanna Bourne had a website. She has a blog, but I can't find it. Anyway, if you like historical novels and you like something a little different in your stories, run and get this book! There are amazing twists and turns and characters that leap off the page. The Napoleonic wars never looked so good. *g*

Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy -- There are uses for candy in this book that I never thought possible. S'all I'm sayin'! LOL

You've Got Male by Elizabeth Bevarly -- This is a rerelease of EB's Opus series. This was a fun read and I'm looking forward to the library alerting me to the next two books being available for check out.

Raine by Elizabeth Amber -- If you thought Nicholas was freaky strange for an historical erotica, then Raine is well beyond freaky strange. Interesting, but, well, wow. So not sure what I think, but I don't recommend this for the weak of heart.

Fast & Loose by Elizabeth Bevarly -- This was a sweet and funny romance that does but doesn't center around the Kentucky Derby. I was expecting more about racing and horses in this book, but they were rarely mentioned. That didn't detract from the two love stories the book contains or the great characters that EB created to entertain us all. A fun read!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Day After

The day after tax day, that is. Usually we get our tax information in by the beginning of March, especially if we get a refund. This year, we were finished figuring things out by March 18th. And, uh, I forgot to mail it until the 14th. But hey, I still made it in before the deadline, right?

Today is the day after Tax Day. April 16th. It was as though everyone around me breathed a huge sigh of relief. Well, except those people who forgot to submit their information. Those people are contemplating the quickest route to a country where they can't be extradited for tax evasion and where they will never have to be income tax again. Part of me wants to join them. But the responsible part of me will stay right here for now. I hate it when responsible wins. *sigh*

Monday, April 14, 2008

Yay for Bones

Bones is back! I love this show and it's been a long, long wait for new episodes, thanks to the writer's strike. Not that I begrudge the writers for striking. They had their reasons.

Anyway, today is the first new episode of Bones for the rest of the season. I think there are 6 new episodes in total. Yay! 5 more weeks of Bones! I'm too excited for words. LOL!

I own Season 1 and Season 2 on DVD and have been watching them to help bide the time. That and Seasons 1-3 of Gilmore Girls. I have the best friends ever! They pooled resources and bought me The. Entire. Series. How cool is that?

But watching DVDs is not the same as new episodes of Bones. And right now, I need to go watch. *squee*

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Than You Wanted to Know...

About the day I was born, lol! I snagged this from April's blog, and am so glad I did. I had no idea was born on the same day, many, many, many years after Albert Einstein. Amazing! You, too can find all sorts of trivia and useless information about the day you were born by clicking here. Hours of endless entertainment, I promise!

You were born on a Sunday under the astrological sign Pisces.

Your fortune cookie reads:
There is a true and sincere friendship between you and your friends.

The year 1971 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/27/1971 and ending 2/14/1972.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Pig.

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 11 April 1971.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 24 February 1971.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 23 February 1971.

As of 4/9/2008 1:38:53 PM EDT
You are 37 years old.
You are 445 months old.
You are 1,934 weeks old.
You are 13,541 days old.
You are 324,997 hours old.
You are 19,499,858 minutes old.
You are 1,169,991,533 seconds old.

Celebrities who share your birthday:
Taylor Hanson (1983) Kirby Puckett (1961) Billy Crystal (1947)
Michael Caine (1933) Quincy Jones (1933) Frank Borman (1928)
Hank Ketcham (1920) Les Brown (1912) Albert Einstein (1879)

Top songs of 1971

Joy to the World by Three Dog Night
Maggie May by Rod Stewart
It's Too Late by Carole King
One Bad Apple by Osmonds
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart by Bee Gees
Knock Three Times by Dawn
Brand New Key by Melanie
Go Away Little Girl by Donny Osmond
Family Affair by Sly & the Family Stone
Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves by Cher

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 5.29980430528376 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)

There are 339 days till your next birthday on which your cake will have 38 candles.

Those 38 candles produce 38 BTUs,
or 9,576 calories of heat (that's only 9.5760 food Calories!) .
You can boil 4.34 US ounces of water with that many candles.

In 1971 there were approximately 3.7 million births in the US.

Your birthstone is Aquamarine

Your birth tree is Lime Tree

There are 260 days till Christmas 2008!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

From Courtney's Blog

I consider a lot of scenarios in which I would have to defend my home or my family. I think it's the creative writer in me. And the fact that I watched way too many woman-in-peril movies growing up. And I so don't want to be that woman. LOL

But in all my musings, I never once considered having to protect myself and my family from zombies. If this quiz is any indication, I'm far too nice and I need to figure out how to be less nice and learn where all the safe places to hide are. Oh, and take up target practice. LOL! Here's hoping the world doesn't end due to zombies. *g*


Monday, April 07, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

Actually, it's not too bad for a Monday. It is snowing. And I did oversleep, but I made it to work close to on time. And for being the start of a new quarter at work, things are fairly quiet. Which pleases me to no end.

The Man has class tonight, which means I have an evening mostly to myself. I'll tape our shows (Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men) to watch when he comes home. This also means I can watch what I want, eat what I want, do what I want. At least until 9:00pm when The Man comes home.

So, while I'm working on our April budget, I'm going to watch some more of season two of Gilmore Girls. Because lucky me received the entire series on DVD for my birthday! I loved this series when it was on the air. Okay, for the most part. And it's sort of nice to have it on DVD so I can watch my favorite episodes whenever I feel like it. Not something I would have bought for myself, but thank you, and you know who you are, for thinking of me and being so generous!

I watched season one last week and remembered how much I loved the episode where the girls went to the Bangles concert. Ah, good times. Last night, it was Rory's coming out party. I'm so glad my family wasn't rich enough or prestigious enough to require a coming out for me. I'm so not that girl. LOL!

And how nice is it that for once, my Monday isn't manic? I could get used to this. *g*

Friday, April 04, 2008

From April's Blog


Honestly, I don't drink a lot. But I do know a lot about different drinks. One year The Man gave me a book on mixed drinks. I love reading about them. I don't like drinking them. How strange am I? Please don't answer that, lol.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Good Reads - March

March was a huge reading month for me. I'm not sure why. I think it's the stress. I tend to avoid everything and read more when I'm really stressed. Here's hoping April is a lighter month. *grin*
  1. Nicholas by Elizabeth Amber -- This book is not for the faint of heart. It's an erotic historical layered with Greek/Roman mythology. Strange. Very strange.
  2. Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts -- This is the first book of NR's new Circle of 7 trilogy and this is my second time reading it. Fantastic! I can't wait for May and the second book.
  3. The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis -- A debut novel by a wonderful author.
  4. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell -- This book made me want to go tour historical points of interest linked to some of our dead presidents. LOL!
  5. Master of the Night by Angela Knight -- An intriguing blend of vamps, shape shifting and Authorian legends. I'll keep reading the series.
  6. Jacob and Gideon by Jacqueline Frank -- These are the first two books in JF's Nightwalker series. They were okay. Not sure if I'll keep up with the series.
  7. Passion by Marilyn Pappano -- This out-if-print treasure was a treat to read. Great locations. Great hero. Interesting mistaken identity. Definitely worth the wait!
  8. Almost Dead by Lisa Jackson -- This was a good serial killer/suspense novel. Not her best suspense novels, but a good read nonetheless.
  9. Visions of Heat, Caressed by Ice and Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh -- I am now caught up on NS's Psy-Changeling series and it's getting better and better with each book!
  10. No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman -- I love Laura Lippman's books and her Tess Monaghan series in particular. This story had a great twist and the series remains fresh.
  11. Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan -- A great book with a high body count and gripping characters. It's a great start to her Evil series. All three books are out now.
  12. Hunting the Hunter by Shiloh Walker -- I have the opportunity to meet Shiloh in September so I thought I should read some of her books. She started in ebooks and if this mass market is any indication, I'm going to enjoy her stories!
  13. Your Saving Grace by J.L. Wilson -- A great mystery. It's my first JLW and I am so going to read more of her. And you should, too!
  14. Unmanned by Lois Greiman -- Book four in the Christina McMullen series. As hilarious as Stephanie Plum with a hot cop hero and a smart, slightly klutzy and definitely funny heroine. Keepers, all of them.
  15. The Paper Marriage by Susan Kay Law -- In a word, AMAZING! I have loved every book by SKL and this one put me through the wringer and was incredibly satisfying. I've bought copies for friends, it's that good!
  16. Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs -- I've been a fan of KR's books long before Bones made it to the Fox network. I'm getting a little tired of Temperance and Ryan's on-again-off-again romance, but the murders and investigation and the character development reminded me why I love this series. And the fact that Bones is coming back with new episodes on April 14th doesn't hurt either. *grin*
  17. Sleeping Beauty and The Baby Chronicles by Judy Baer -- These were fun, quick reads by one of my favorite inspirational chick-lit authors. I'm glad I had them in my TBR and they ended the month of March out nicely.
That's what I can remember reading in March. There are some great reads coming up in April

*edited to add a book I forgot I read!*

I almost forgot! I love Nancy Martin and I read her latest Blackbird Sisters mystery last week. *smacks forehead* Murder Melts In Your Mouth was a great romp of a story. A light read, with compelling characters and Nora finally figured out why she's on again/off again with her bad boy beau. I can't wait for the next story but alas, it's not likely to be out until next year. Good think I don't mind rereading. *grin*

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Your results:
You are Wonder Woman
You are a beautiful princess with great strength of character.

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

From April's blog...

Your results:
You are Wonder Woman

You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Things To Do When You Turn 37

My birthday was on the 14th. I turned 37. Most of my friends stay 35 forever. Not me. I embrace getting older.

Of course, I don't feel older. As evidenced by my choice of birthday movie. Every year the Man takes me out to dinner and a movie. This year we're trying to cut back on spending so we skipped dinner out and saw a movie instead. There are a lot of good movies out this time of year. And I could have picked any number of moving or comedic movies to see. What did I pick?

Horton Hears a Who.

This was my favorite Dr. Seuss book growing up. I loved Horton and his heroic journey to save the Whos of Whoville who happen to live on a speck that's landed on a clover. I loved the Sour Kangaroo, the Whos in Whoville. I even loved the Wishersham Brothers. So, when I found out that Fox was making a movie and that it was opening on my birthday, well I had to be there.

And I'm so glad I was. It was wonderful fun. Great animation. Wonderful music. Great nostalgic fun. And after the movie, I went to and adopted a Who. It was the best birthday ever.

I hope, when you turn 37, or whatever age your turning on your next birthday, you grab yourself some whimsy and see a movie full of childish enthusiasm and wonder. It's totally worth it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Good Reads - February 2008

February was a good reading month for me. I read several new-to-me authors and wasn't disappointed with a single book.

Time For Love - Kelly Kirch (ebook)
Kelly's debut novel was a treat, blending time travel and love. See my review here.

Strangers in Death - JD Robb
Love me some Roarke! This was another great installment to the In Death series.

Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah
Poignant, funny, and devastating all at the same time. There's a reason it's been compared to Beaches.

Strong & Sexy - Jill Shalvis
Another fun book filled with hot men, amazing women and lots of lovin'. *g*

Really Something - Shirley Jump
I like SJ, and I really liked this book, until I realized how young the hero/heroine were supposed to be. That totally distracted me. Then I made them older in my mind and all was well. LOL

The Haunting - Hope Tarr
Reincarnation, karma (to a degree) and ghosts are the foundation of this romance. The end left something to be desired, but the story was creative and well developed.

Blue Smoke - Nora Roberts
A re-read for me of a book that will always remain on my keeper shelf. So much better than the Lifetime movie version of the story, lol.

Slave to Sensation - Nalini Singh
I give Nalini total props for world building and story telling. She brings us into a unique version of Earth and life in the not-so-distant future. I really enjoyed it and will check out more of her Psy-Changeling series.

Megan's Mate - Lora Leigh
Great storytelling skills. I was in the world Lora created. But there was something that bothered me about the story. I'm not sure what. May require a re-read. Good enough that I'll get the next book of her Breed series from the library.