Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE FOODS WE EAT... THERE ARE HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES...

Happy Tuesday...

It's time for another post about our health. I was lucky enough to learn so much over the past several months while I slowly made my way back to a healthier me.

We've all heard about carbs, fats, proteins, hydrogenated this and that, but there's so much more to keeping fit and healthy. It's our food choices and exercise that are the key.

Even when we buy so-called healthy food, even fruits and veggies are laced with chemicals. Washing helps, but it is enough? Seriously, wash hard fruit with soap and water. such as apples, oranges, pears, cherries, etc.

Fruits like peaches, berries, etc rinse with white vinegar and water. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but we are ingesting it so take as many precautions as you can. 

Now let's talk about water... Our bodies are 75% made of water, so we should be aware of chemicals, metals, and impurities of the water we drink. Tap water isn't healthy, then again neither is most bottled water. Educate yourself. Filtering does help, but it's not enough. The way to go is drinking distilled. It's the purist water we can drink.

I actually discovered something very interesting. Whenever I drink green tea with distilled the color of the tea is yellowy-green. BUT, on the occasions when I didn't have it and used filtered water from my fridge, and now remember this was boiled, the same green tea had a brownish red tint. Amazing. Boiling water really doesn't purify you water completely.

My next discovery is buy ORGANIC... yes, it's more expensive, but it is worth it. Why would you want to eat meat and chicken with hormones, chemicals, and God only knows what else is pumped into the meat? At least with organic you are eating a healthier meat with more nutrients and vitamins.

Many stores are now featuring organic and it isn't as difficult to find as it used to be. Changing my eating has helped tremendously with my weight loss. These factors along with exercise will give you more energy and a better nights sleep.

So now you have your organic meats, fruits, and veggies. I know you're asking about breads, pastas, and  deserts. Well if you lay off of them for a few weeks you really won't miss them. Seriously. Once you break the sugar addiction you don't thing about it. Retraining your eating will go a long way for keeping the weight off and feeling great. After you loose your desired weight, you can slowly and I mean SLOWLY introduce health sugars and starches, such as sweet potatoes, yams, beans, brown rice, oatmeal, and the occasional piece of multi grain bread or whole wheat bread. 

Surprisingly MANY people have wheat allergies so if you feel great without eating wheat, stay away from it. Test yourself. Don't eat wheat products for a week. See how you feel. Your body will certainly let you know.

Here's a great way to make chicken... beat up a few organic eggs with chopped basil and a dash of salt and pepper, dip the chicken in the eggs and then into finely chopped almonds or walnuts. (It's SO much better than bread crumbs!)Saute in a distilled water... yes, you are reading right. Oils are fattening and not necessary. Cook until done. Add more water when needed.

Toss organic arugula, spinach, celery, berries of any kind, chopped almonds or walnuts or both and fresh fennel for a wonderful licorice taste. Add a dash of red wine vinegar or balsamic. You can use a bit of olive oil too if you are so inclined. 

Slice chicken into strips and garnish salad. This is a filling and DELICIOUS dinner or lunch.  Next week I will have more tips and other wonderful things to eat that are healthy and satisfying... 

REMEMBER also to get off the couch or desk chair and MOVE.... Eating healthy is great, but you MUST balance it with some sort of exercise EVERY day.

HAVE A GREAT DAY EVERYONE!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

EARTHLY ANGELS- SPECIAL EDITION- J.C. MARTIN ... THE STORIES OF SENDAI.

Welcome to my Special Edition Earthly Angels Saturday post.


If you are looking for  Shelly Watters' First  page Blogfest click here.


As many of you know, during the last blizzard in Chicago, I introduced my first EA post. Today's feature introduces J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer. For those of you who know J.C., you shouldn't be surprised by her generosity and care that she has given to co-editing THE STORIES FOR SENDAI, a charity anthology to help the victims in Japan. J. C. and co-editor Michelle Davidson Argyle brought together this anthology of uplifting and inspirational short stories of the human spirit written by twenty truly amazing authors.

Welcome J.C.

Thank you Michael.
J. C. I love the fact that you are a living contradiction. In your About me section on your blog, I discovered something very interesting about you that most of our blogging friends might not know. You say you embody the word “oxymoron.” Could you tell us what you mean by that?

*LOL* I'm glad someone reads the "About Me" section! Apart from the fact that the things I do can seem pretty moronic at times, I think of myself as an oxymoron because some aspects of my personality are totally conflicting. Here's a prime example: being a martial arts instructor, I'm bit of a tomboy. I wear flat shoes every chance I get, I hardly ever wear a skirt, I can't do my own makeup to save my life, my beauty regime is almost non-existent, and I can't tell a Jimmy Choo from a Christian Louboutin. I ended up decapitating my Barbie doll as a kid with my clumsy hair brushing! However, I can also be a bit of a girly-girl: my favourite colour (apart from the purple of bruises!) is cotton-candy pink, and if I see a cute fluffy bunny/puppy/kitty/, my squeals go ultrasonic!
Since you are my featured ANGEL today, how soon after the tragedy did you take part in organizing the Stories for Sendai anthology?

The earthquake struck on March 11th. Within the first week of news photos streaming in, I felt compelled to do something. Now my idea isn't entirely original; it was inspired by the Tales for Canterbury100 Stories for Queensland and similar charity anthologis to benefit victims of natural disasters in Pakistan and Haiti. I figured I could make a bigger contibution with the help of fellow authors rather than by just a simple individual donation. By March 17th, Stories for Sendai was born!
Did you approach Michelle Davidson Argyle or did she approach you to co-editor.

I approached Michelle on the recommendation of a fellow blogger. Having self-published her first novella, and being co-editor of the Literary Lab, she has a wealth of experience in editing and publishing, both of which I lacked! I am so glad she said "yes!" Without her expertise, I'd probably still be bumbling along now...
I find the human spirit in all its fragility to be an amazing force to reckon with. In your life, what was your toughest climb to overcome?

I've lived a pretty comfortable life compared to most, so my toughest climb will pale in comparison to everyone else's. I think I'm still trying to overcome it now: my decision to pursue my writing seriously. My ultimate ambition is to be able to write fulltime, but that time is still far, far away. I'd like to think I've taken a few baby steps to get there, including investing in writer's conferences and seminars, networking with publishing professionals, and a change in career. I quit my job as a high school teacher to become a fulltime martial arts instructor to free up more time for my writing. It has severely dented my paycheck, but I have definitely gained lots of writing time! I'm hoping it'll all be worth it someday!
I’m curious to know, how many authors submitted their works for this noble cause? How difficult was it for you and Michelle to choose out of so many submissions.

That was probably the most difficult stage of the project: picking the final list of accepted entries! We received a total of 46 entries, and it was sooo difficult to whittle it down to 20. We had to be so choosy because of the stupendous quality of work we received. Even many of the unaccepted ones were wonderful, and I'm really grateful that so many writers were willing to contribute their stories for free for a worthy cause!
The launch date of June 30th is only a few days away, so where can we purchase our copy of this inspirational work of art?

The easiest place to purchase would be through Amazon. It will be available in both print and Kindle formats. If you purchased it through our direct site on the CreateSpace website, we will receive a larger chunk of your donation. Look out for direct links coming up soon!

Well, J.C. it's been great learning more about you and this amazing publication. 

It was my pleasure. Thanks again Michael.

The blog tour continues until July 7th. So don't forget to Drop by J.C's blog for the other hosts here.



Friday, June 24, 2011

IT'S TIME FOR THE MC BLOGFEST... DO YOU KNOW YOURS AS WELL AS YOU THINK?

Happy Friday everyone...

I finally made it to 400...YAY! Thanks to Hektor. Of course I will do something fun to honor all of you. As soon as life slows down a bit.

Well Another fun weekend is upon us and to start it off is Jeannie Campbell's Getting to Know your MC Blogfest hosted by the talented Elizabeth Mueller. The challenge is to ask your MC three pertinent questions to get to know them better.

My entry is from my second novel THE BLINDED GARDENER. So I'd like to introduce you to my MC, Aidan Forester.

1. Aidan, what is your greatest fear?


Dude, if you’ve read my story you’ve gotta know what my greatest fear is. For the few who haven’t, let me lay it out for you. I’m seventeen, my Dad thinks he owns me. He’s a frickin' militant, alcoholic Marine Corps Captain. He pounds on me daily and his personality flips from Dr. Jekyll  to Mr. Hyde. 

I never know if I’ll see another day and I fear I’ll never make it to eighteen to escape from my psychotic tormentor.



2. So, Aidan, what is your biggest accomplishment?


Up until about a month ago, I would’ve answered this question with a simple “Surviving another day.” But after meeting Danny, ah, well, for the first time someone needed me. And not just as a buddy, but as one messed up person reaching out to another for emotional help. Who can relate more than me about the mental torment a kid can go through? After all I could write a book on the subject ... funny, I actually did.

3. Now for your final question, What is your biggest regret?

I don’t have time to worry about regrets. Everything I had to do and the people I might've hurt along the way was necessary for me to keep Daddy Dearest away from his favorite punching bag ... me.

It's amazing what you can find out in just three questions. And don't forget to drop by Elizabeth's blog for the rest of the entries here.

I am posting a special Saturday edition of Earthy Angels, so don't forget to drop by and meet J.C. Martin and THE STORIES OF SENDAI: an anthology to benefit the victims of Japan. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FROM FROST, FIRE .... LIMITED TIME ONLY. S-W-E-E-T_S FROM ERIN.

Since I am only ONE new friend away from 400, I'd like to thank all of you for all your words of encouragement, for your laughter, for your tears, and just for being the AMAZING people that you are!

It is my great pleasure to welcome some new friends. The Thumber, Renate, Pam. Ann, Donna, Dave, Eva, Julie, Nicole, Jennifer, Empty Nest Insider, Arcadia, Steven, Liz, Jeannie, Kimberly, and Eliza.

It is so wonderful to meet all of you. I'll drop by soon to catch up. Life's been a bit nuts lately. Know I'm wondering who my 400th friend will be.... WHO? I hope to find out soon, so we can have a party...

I'd also like to play a bit of catch up this week. I have been awarded a while back and awarded again this week.

A while ago the FROST LORD himself was kind enough to bestow on this humble blogger The BLOG ON FIRE award. It is totally awesome! Thanks T. D. For anyone who doesn't know this funny, charming, and full of life, superhero, make sure you drop by his blog. His effervescent boyish enthusiasm is the perfect writer for m/g for young boys, since I believe he's still a boy at heart.



Since I am honoring all of you today, I would like to offer this unusual and hard to find award to all of you, BUT for only 24 hours. LOL. We must put a little twist on this, right?

My next award is from Erin Kane Spock of the blog Hold On to Your Bloomers! The name of her blog says it all... Drop by and read her edgy and insightful posts. She nominated me for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. So I need to tell you seven random facts about myself.... Gee. Blushing.



First ... I have become obsessed with getting healthy by eating right and exercising like a maniac.

Second ... I am diligently working at meeting as many of my blogger friends in person as I can. We all need this connection. TOO FUN~

Third ... I don't read nearly as much as I should. I have a PILE of books to read this summer.

Fourth ... I am currently redesigning my very formal living room into a personal showroom and work area for my writing and design business. Pics to come.

Fifth ... I'm going to visit Canada in August to see Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Montreal.

Sixth ... I love to BAKE and am planning on creating healthy and organic recipes to enjoy without gaining weight. Look for future recipes.

Seventh ... I am becoming a Techno Geek... I never would've believed it. I am having too much fun with my new toys, especially my new IPad two.

Now for  my Nominees.... drum roll please ...

Lisa M. Potts @Pursuing Love, Laughter and My Elusive Muse. Lisa is one of THE sweetest people in the blogosphere!

Siv Marie @ Been there, done that.  Siv is my adopted Norwegian sister. She writes and translates charming folk stories from the northern lands as well as writes heartfelt, soulful poetry. Her sweetness exudes from her blog.

Mooderino @ Moody Writing. Mood writes amazing thought provoking and powerful posts on writing. I have learned a great deal from his amazing insights. Mood is so sweet for helping all of us analyze our own writing. Thanks Mood.

Donna Hole @ Donna Hole. Donna is The most helpful and amazing blogger. She is the first one to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. She'll write a review for you, advertise your blogfest, spend time to polish you ms or story. I wish I had Donna's drive to continue to push in all aspects of writing. Thank you Donna.... You can't be any sweeter that those goodies.

OF course there are many more of you who deserve this award, but I would listing all day....

So on this very dreary day in Chicago, I have time to give tribute to all my wonderful blogger friends.

Don't forget to post Elizabeth Mueller's MC Blogfest entry for tomorrow... HAVE a GREAT DAY EVERYONE!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT'S IN YOUR FOOD? FIND OUT NOW!


I'm so glad you stopped by today. I have designated TUESDAYS to be my new featured post on Health.

I was sent this unbelievable article a few days ago by a close friend. Needless to say I was appalled and angry. You will understand why as you read through it. I do apologize for the length of this post, but we ALL should be aware of what is happening to our food. The more aware we are the healthier we will be!

Please pass this on to your friends and families. EVERYONE should know this information. Remember KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Let me know your thoughts....

Subject:  WARNING about MSG

All should read........I always thought I stayed away from MSG!!!!!! for allergies. Sure didn't know it is in all this stuff.
No wonder we gain weight and Just "love " the coffee , low fat salad dressings, chips, even certain soups. They ALL say they don't add MSG but they don't mention "HYDROLIZED PROTEIN " do they ?
YOU WILL BE SHOCKED when YOU read this article.        
Be extra vigilant in checking labels from now on.

The content of this article has links to substantiate its claims - Scary stuff!
MSG (a slow poison)
Very interesting

The food additive MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is a slow poison. MSG hides behind 25 or more names, such as
 
"Natural Flavoring."  MSG is even in your favorite coffee from Tim Horton's and Starbucks coffee shops!

I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, and so did a friend of mine,
 John Erb.  He was a research assistant at theUniversity of Waterloo in OntarioCanada, and spent years working for the government.  He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called The Slow Poisoning of America.
 
In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies.  No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born.
 
The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese.  They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: "MSG-Treated Rats."

When I heard this, I was shocked.  I went into my kitchen and checked the cup-boards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything -- the 
Campbell's soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the "healthy low-fat" ones.

The items that didn't have MSG marked on the product label had something called
"Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein", which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate.

It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff.  MSG is hidden under many different names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they don't catch on.  (Other names for MSG are 
"Accent",  "Aginomoto", "Natural Meat Tenderizer", etc.)
But it doesn't stop there.

When our family went out to eat, we started asking at the restaurants what menu items contained MSG.  Many employees, even the managers, swore they didn't use MSG.  But when we ask for the ingredient list, which they grudgingly provided, sure enough, MSG and
 
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein were everywhere.
Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, every restaurant - even the sit-down eateries like TGIF, Chili's, Applebee's, and Denny's - use MSG in abundance. Kentucky Fried Chicken seemed to be the WORST offender: MSG was in every chicken dish, salad dressing. and gravy.  No wonder I loved to eat that coating on the skin - their secret spice was MSG!
So why is MSG in so many of the foods we eat?  As a preservative, or a vitamin?

Not according to my friend 
John Erb.  In his book The Slow Poisoning of America, he said that MSG is added to food for the addictive effect it has on the human body.

Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.

A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?

"Betcha can't eat [just] one," takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight!

MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products.  It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added.

Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance.  Since its introduction into the American food supply fifty years ago,
 MSG has been added in larger and larger doses to the pre-packaged meals,soups, snacks, and fast foods we are tempted to eat everyday.The FDA has set no limits on how much of it can be added to food.  They claim it's safe to eat in any amount. But how can they claim it's safe when there are hundreds of scientific studies with titles l ike these:
"The monosodium glutamate (MSG) obese rat as a model for the study of exercise in obesity." Gobatto CA, Mello MA, Souza CT , Ribeiro IA. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2002.
"Adrenalectomy abolishes the food-induced hypothalamic serotonin release in both normal and monosodium glutamate-obese rats." Guimaraes RB, Telles MM, Coelho VB, Mori C, Nascimento CM, Ribeiro. Brain Res Bull. 2002 Aug.
'
Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: An animal model of multiple risk factors."  Iwase M, Yamamoto M, Iino K, Ichikawa K, Shinohara N, Yoshinari Fujishima.
AHypertens Res. 1998 Mar.


"usunoki. Exp Neurol. 1978 
Hypothalamic lesion induced by injection of monosodium glutamate in suckling period and subsequent development of obesity." Tanaka K, Shimada M, Nakao. Oct 1978.

No, the date of that last study was not a typo; it was published in 1978. Both the "medical research community" and "food manufacturers" have known about the side effects of MSG for decades.

Many more of the studies mentioned in 
John Erb's book 
link MSG to diabetes, migraines and headaches, autism, ADHD, and even Alzheimer's.
So what can we do to stop the food manufactures from dumping this fattening and addictive MSG into our food supply and causing the obesity epidemic we now see?

Several months ago, 
John Erb took his book and his concerns to one of the highest government health officials in Canada .  While he was sitting in the government office, the official told him, "Sure, I know how bad MSG is.
 
I wouldn't touch the stuff.." But this top-level government official refuses to tell the public what he knows..

The big media doesn't want to tell the public either, fearing issues with their advertisers.  It seems that the fallout on the fast food industry may hurt their profit margin.  The food producers and restaurants have been addicting us to their products for years, and now we are paying the price for it.  Our children should not be cursed with obesity caused by an addictive food additive.

But what can I do about it? I'm just one voice!  What can I do to stop the poisoning of our children, while our governments are insuring financial protection for the industry that is poisoning us?

This message is going out to everyone I know in an attempt to tell you the truth that the corporate-owned politicians and media won't tell you.

The best way you can help to save yourself and your children from this drug-induced epidemic is to forward this article to everyone.  With any luck, it will circle the globe before politicians can pass the legislation
protecting those who are poisoning us.

The food industry learned a lot from the tobacco industry.  Imagine if big tobacco had a bill like this in place before someone blew the whistle on nicotine?

If you are one of the few who can still believe that MSG is good for us and you don't believe what John Erb has to say, see for yourself.  Go to the National Library of Medicine at
 
www..pubmed.comType in the words "MSG  Obese" and read a few of the 115 medical studies that appear.

We the public do not want to be rats in one giant experiment, and we do not approve of food that makes us into a nation of obese, lethargic,addicted sheep, feeding the food industry's bottom line while waiting for the heart transplant, the diabetic-induced amputation, blindness, or other obesity-induced, life-threatening disorders.

With your help we can put an end to this poison.  Do your part in sending this message out by word of mouth, e-mail, or by distribution of this printout to your friends all over the world and stop this "Slow Poisoning of Mankind" by the packaged food industry.

Blowing the whistle on MSG is our responsibility, for our health, safety and lives, so get the word out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

KINDLE KRAZ .... KINDLE VS. NOOK VS. IPAD...

I thought it was time for a fun topic on this very rainy and GLOOMY Monday in Chicago. Over the past few days I have been reading several blog posts on bloggers preference to which e-readers they ended up buying.

By far I am NO expert on this subject, but I do own two of the the three that I have mentioned.  I love techno toys and I hope to own the third at some point. It's not a priority it's just my insane obsession for books and trinkets.

My first device was a Kindle and for reading pages upon pages it truly is soothing on the eyes. To me it is the closest to reading a live book. There is no glare and the screen mimics the printed page almost perfectly. You can adjust it to whatever type size is most comfortable for you .... which is great for people who don't wish to wear reading glasses.

The Kindle also saves your page and the battery life is pretty long. The best aspect of this device is that Amazon is connected to it so the choices for books are endless. AND you get download your favorite classics for FREE.... yes FREE. I am an avid classic English literature lover so for me this is like a pound of Godiva chocolate for FREE. Dickens, The Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Shakespeare, just to name a few. There are literally hundreds to choose from and within a few seconds they appear magically on your Kindle.

Now I know this works similarly on Nook and Ipad, but for some reason it seems easier on Kindle.

Speaking of Ipad.... I finally got one for my birthday and I do LOVE it... I am still leaning all the amazing things this device is capable of....  I ADORE anything from Apple. My laptop is a Macbook pro and I have an Ipod and soon as I can upgrade my phone, yes, the IPhone will be my next new toy.

Now, as much as I love my Ipad, the screen mimics that of a computer so it does tire the eyes out eventually. BUT, this amazing device does SO much more than any reader, it's almost like a computer.... just ask Alex J. Cavanaugh... he is the one who convinced me I had to have one! He is the TRUE expert on this subject, and if you drop by his blog and go to his archives, you can read it post on the Ipad II. My most favorite part about this device is that I can go anywhere with ease and be able to write, edit, blog, etc. SO much more convenient and LIGHTER than carrying a round the good old laptop.

As for the NOOK... this device I am least familiar with. But it looks intriguing especially now that there is a color version. For anyone who owns one, I would LOVE your views on this device.

What  e-reader do you own? I would like to know which one and why you are so addicted to it.

PLEASE drop by tomorrow, I have a VERY important post. I am continuing to post on health every Tuesday, since the response was amazing last week on first health feature. You will not want to miss this... I was SHOCKED and FURIOUS when I first found out about this.

Until tomorrow, have a terrific day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

BRENDS DRAKE'S REDESIGN BOOK COVER BLOGFEST ...

This weekend Brenda Drake is Hosting the Redesign Book Cover Blogfest Contest. You can either redesign a cover from a classic OR design a cover of you own work, which I did.

Cassandra Marshal fabulous agent intern/freelance editor extrordinaire is offering a cover design as the prize. You have until midnight on the 20th to enter at Brenda Drake Writes ... So drop by and enter or just hop around to the other entries.


My cover design is the cover I created for my first m/g fantasy novel AMBER AND THE WHISPERING WILLOWS. I not only designed the cover, but I also painted the illustration. If you'd like to view the full illustration just click on to My Illustrations at the top of my blog.

So here is my entry... I hope you like it... let me know what you think...  If you have a problem viewing the cover let me know and I can email it to you. Also several people commented on the medium. This was acrylic painted on canvas.





Friday, June 17, 2011

THE RECAP.... SOME WEEK IN THE BLOGOSPHERE!

What can I say? IT'S FRIDAY, and it looks like the weekend is revving up with sunshine and warm temps... at least at this moment anyway. The DEMENTORS can swoop in at any time. This is Chicago after all.

It has been a very exciting week in the blogosphere. For those of you who have missed some of the great posts, here's a short recap for you....

If you haven't seen, Elana Johnson's POSSESSION has made quite the hit this week. If you don't have your copy of POSSESSION yet drop by her fan site here. There are copies of her book to win! But hurry today's the last day!

Erica an Christy are celebrating summer with a fantastic book giveaway! If you're not familiar with these two ladies you surely are missing out. Their fun and quirky approach to all the demons of writing is a hoot. Visit them ... you won't be disappointed.

My dear friend and fellow blogger Heather McCorkle of Heather's Odyssey is featuring Ebony Mckenna's book ONDINE -THE AUTUMN PLACE. Ebony needs our help, apparently her publisher is considering not releasing the last book in her series because of poor sales. Please drop by Heather's Odyssey and The Critique Sisters' Corner blog and show your support for a fellow author in distress. Heather and the Critique Sisters are offering a chance to win a free copy of Ebony's first two books in the ONDINE series.

For a bit of fun, why not join in for the MC Blogfest on Elizabeth Mueller's blog? It should be a blast! It features Jeannie Campbell's questionnaire on how your MC would answer three pertinent questions. IT happens on the 24th so check it out here.

I'd also like to thank all of my blogger buddies for the great comments over my past few posts. It's great to see I'm not alone in fighting my battles with the frustrations of writing. WE all need to write because it's part of our soul, but we also need to step away and not forget to enjoy being alive.

As you can see I am SLOWLY inching my way to 400 followers. When I finally reach that magic number stay tuned for something fun that I have planned for all of you.

So for now, I say so long.... HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND and as I had asked in my last post, let me know what wonderful treat you are giving yourself this weekend .... I haven't made that movie yet so I am determined to do so the weekend. IT just might have to be SUPER 8.... If you've seen it let me know how much you love/hated it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

HAVE YOU ....

Today I decided to dedicate this overcast day to Author Appreciation Day... or the AAP.

Have you beat you head against you computer in frustration?

Have you stressed to the point of inducing a catatonic state?

Have you FREAKED OUT over the smallest of situations?

Have you endlessly snapped at your spouse, significant other, children, pouch, or kitty?

Have you flung you laptop across the room? Let's hope not. But I know you want to.

Have you eaten every piece of chocolate in the house, gallons of ice cream, whole pies, or whole pizza's?

Have you screamed at the top of your lungs, pulling tufts of hair out.

Have you worked endless hours and achieved only 200 words?

Have you stayed awake until wee hours of the morning playing out different scenes in your mind?

Have you wrote one sentence over again dozens of times?

If you answered yes to ANY or ALL of these questions than you, my friend, must be a writer. What I'd like you to do is just for today be super kind to yourself. Treat yourself to a new toy. Take yourself out to lunch or dinner. Buy a special bottle of wine and share it with you honey. Or just stay in your P.J's, lay around the house, and stuff yourself with anything your little heart desires. Not out of frustration but as a well deserved TREAT!

On this gloomy hump Wednesday be kind to yourself. Let me know what you plan to do for yourself as a fun treat.

I think I will go to the movies. I haven't been in ages and it's truly a luxury for me....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

THE WEIGH IN ....

As I have been reading posts throughout the blogosphere, I've come to realize that I wasn't the only one who's life has dramatically changed because of writing.

We all know that is it a MAJOR commitment and require lots of time, but to what expense? It's happened to me and it just might have happened to you as well .... lack of movement and unwanted weight gain.

I have written a post about this before, but I never realized that it has happened to many others. Have any of you gained a substantial amount of weight since starting that first novel? For me I put on 25 pounds my first year of writing and didn't even realize it until the second year I put on even more. I wrote every spare second and stopped decided my work out time should be replaced with writing time.

DON'T let this happen to you! I can become a vicious cycle. For us to stay mentally healthy and clear minded we need physical activity. Even if it's only for a daily half hour walk make sure you do it. Even if you don't have a weight problem you should step away from your laptop, desktop, Ipad, or Kindle. The endorphins we produce during physical activity is wonderful for our mental as well as physical health.

As most of you know I have taken my life back this past winter and became physically active again. I dropped almost all the weight I gained during my first two years of writing and I feel fantastic. I never liked to live by schedules, but this one is working for me so well I'm even surprised. I start early with an hour or so of blogging, then mid to late morning I zip out to the lakefront for my 90 minute power-walk.

By noon I take care of my design work and when I finish I get to writing/editing. By late afternoon, I trekked to the gym for an hour of weight training, return home, and get back to writing.

Now I know most of you have full time jobs, family, etc, but I'm sure you can create a schedule that works for you. Squeeze in 30-60 minutes into your day for you.... Yes, this is for you. Staying healthy with exercise and eating right really will get you through you busy day much more pleasantly.

In my next post I will talk about healthier ways to eat. I know we all have our addictions like CHOCOLATE, chips, cookies, etc. There are healthier choices....

Let me know what you do to keep fit.... Perhaps some of your suggestions might be able to help others. We are a supportive community in all of our writing endeavors, let's now help each other stay fit and live longer and healthier lives so we can keep writing those award winning novels....

I'm off to the lakefront. Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2011

DID DEMENTORS COME TO CHICAGO?

Well, it's Monday again. I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. I am sure many of you were busy enjoying the hopefully warm weather and spending special times with family and friends.

An icy mist and wind chilled Chicago this weekend. But as you know I am determined to keep up with my daily workouts both physically and mentally. For all you Harry Potter fans out there you will appreciate this story ...

As I hugged the lakefront in the late morning hours little light reflected in the iron-gray lake. Frosty winds chilled me to the bone. I yanked up the hood of my sweatshirt over my head to shield myself from the the icy droplets trickling from the sky.

A silver mist inched it's way to shore and the world famous Chicago skyline disappeared from view, swallowed up in a veil of a mysterious shadow. Have Dementors traveled across the Atlantic and settled in the midwest? Has Lord Voldemorte resurfaced in the United States?

It sure looked that way to me. The winds kicked up another notch and I felt the happiness drain from my soul. Where was Harry? I needed a patronus big time. As I met the faces of others, goofy grins plastered their faces. How could that be? Have them been possessed?

At North Avenue volley ball beach I u-turned and picked up my step. The fringe on my forehead dripped icicles. Is this really June? My eyes darted east and to my surprise the shoreline faded away. Have I been transported to an alternate universe?


I shook my head and focused my eyes on he trail leading north. Visibility of only five feet or so revealed itself to me with each step I took. "Don't loose sight," I kept mumbling to myself.

What seemed to be an eternity ended in the faint outline of a bridge. The Brocklehurst bridge from HP6 flashed through my mind. I scoped the murky sky for streaks of black.... Will death eaters blow up the bridge as I'm crossing it?

I jumped at the sound of the crashing water as a ghostlike boat coasted past me. Whipping my neck in every direction I looked for any sign of the mist clearing ...


Bright emerald popped into sight as I managed to enter into the park. I escaped the Dementor's kiss. I would be happy again.


I hope you all enjoyed my insane thoughts during my power walk on a misty day in Chicago.

What runs through your mind when you are exercising and you mind is free to explore? I'd love to know.


Friday, June 10, 2011

COLOR... WHAT TO DO WITH IT. BRIGHTEN UP LIFE!

Happy Friday everyone. Although our temps dropped 40 degrees in a mere 24 hours, I still feel the summer light. After a cold, dreary, and GRAY winter why not take up a weekend project and excite your walls.


Yes, it's time for another design tip.....



Design tip of the week

This weeks design tip is inspired by my current home project. When was the last time you painted those dingy walls in your home? It is amazing how one can get inspired to create just by freshening up their work or living space with a coat of paint. It is also the most inexpensive way to dramatically change your mood. 
We are all creatures effected by our surroundings ... especially writers.  Any person that has a ounce of creativity looks at their home for comfort and as a refuge from the daily drudgeries of life. 
Raise your head from your laptop and take a good look around your home. What do you see? 
If you see a soft hue that soothes your soul, then I would say, “Great! A job well done!” 
If you see a whimsical shade that brightens your day, then I would say, “Good for you! You don’t take life too seriously!”
Now here comes the but.... But if you see a plain white wall, lacking any life or if the once perfect shade is less than perfect, then I would say, “Go to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and pick out several different color swatches and take them home. You found your weekend project.”
Now is the perfect time to take on your writing space. It’s probably a cozy little office that needs to be resuscitated. Or if you feel more ambitious why not take on the Dining room or eat-in-kitchen, or even the kitchen. With the holidays only a few weeks away you have the time to spruce up your gathering places! Just think how festive you will feel when your Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations will POP!
Steps in choosing the right color. Please do this. IF you don’t you will curse me and regret spending the time it took to paint and re-paint the space.
Step one: Choose your color wisely. Most people love bright colors, but they necessarily do not look good on the walls. If you like a bright color use that color on an accent wall, Say the wall your desk faces. Keep the others more neutral. After you find a shade you like and put the tiny 1” x 1” on the wall and love it, make sure you do step two.
Step two: If you can try a get a larger sample. Even a 3x5 can fool you. Buy the smallest amount of the color and paint a 2x3 foot section on each wall in the space. If it’s an office or small room, two walls will do. Let it dry and look at the color throughout the day. If you love it great! If you don’t, then you saved a lot of time and money not painting the space and disliking it.
Color choice: 
Reds: All shades of red are active. Only use reds when you to stay awake and energized. It’s a great color for the dining room, when you want stimulating conversations and to get the palette excited.
Blues: Almost all shades of blue are tranquil and soothing. It gives the feeling of water or sky. Blue is also a “Power” color so be careful to use the softer shades for your walls.
Greens: They have become very popular over the past six or seven years. Earthy and calming most shades of green gives one a feeling of the outdoors. Trees, grass, nature. 
Yellows: Are wonderful to create a warm and inviting space. One thinks of the sun, daffodils, and spring. It’s a great color if your room has limited light. Creamy shades are a fantastic neutral to soften a home. Plus you can accent with any of your favorite more saturated colors.
Remember color can enhance the kind of living space that will bring out your inner artist. So use it. Don’t be afraid of it. And enjoy your new space. It CAN change your life.
So why not run to your local Home Depot or Lowes and pic up a splash of life for your walls! 

HAVE A FANTASTIC WEEKEND .....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

SIZZLING SUMMER FUN AND NEW FRIENDS!

As summer is beginning to sizzle in Chicago and the temps are rising into the 90's this city has become alive!

Not too long ago I was one of only a few skirting the lakefront in my grave attempt to keep fit and tan. Winds howling dropped the temps by almost ten degrees from just a few blocks west. Well this week's warm temps flushed EVERYONE out. The lakefront is a buzz with all kinds of life. Skate boarders, rollerbladers, joggers, bikers, jogging parents pushing baby strollers, and power walkers. 

And of course with all this new life opened many stands opened offering everything from ice cream to protein smoothies. Grilled everything scents the air with tempting foods. This is what Chicago is all about in the summer. Especially this year with winter hanging on for SO long.

I hope my northern friends are experiencing their cities coming back to life. Let me know. I hope we are all in the sunshine now!

Today I would also like to welcome my new blogger friends to my family. I have been so busy lately, I must apologize to my new friends for taking so long and for not visiting as many of them as I would like. I hope to rectify that this week.

So WELCOME ...

Carolina, Wendy, Marina, Stephanie, Jen, Barbara, San, Libby, The Thumber, Renate ( thanks for the lovely comment), Pam, Ann, Donna, Dave, Eva, Julie, and Nicole. I do hope I get to know all of you more personally in the next few weeks.

As you all can see I am only nine friends short of 400, so you know I must do something fun for that. The moment I reach that magic number we will celebrate the occasion.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ELANA JOHNSON'S POSSESSION AND FOLLOWING THE RULES!

TODAY's the day to purchase your copy of POSSESSION by Elana Johnson. Here in the blogosphere were are supporting our good friend and fantastic friend Elana. Drop by her website and purchase your copy! Or go to Amazon, B&N, etc. THEY ALL have copies! Support ELANA here!






Here's the first line "Good girls don't walk with boys ..."

Today is also a the day to write down how you broke the rules.... For other bloggers participating drop by ali cross's blog here.

As a guy who rarely breaks the rules, I found I had to strain my brain to come up with an answer to this.

Every autumn during grade school our school district had a poster contest. Every year I'd enter and come in second or third never winning that coveted trophy for myself. In my last year I needed to do something drastic, after all this was my final year to win and I had to!

I decided to "bend" the rules and do a three dimensional peace. Well, it still was on poster board .... I used multi media and did this wacky sculptural thing. My peers grumbled, stating it wasn't a poster at all and that I should be disqualified. Luckily my teacher at the time thought it was amazing and entered it.

To my surprise and delight I WON! I was thrilled. And when I was awarded my prize at the assembly a week later they handed me, not the trophy I so longed for, BUT, a first place blue ribbon. I was outraged! I croaked out a thank you and whispered to the principal what happened to my trophy. She flushed a bit and whispered back, "Budget cuts."

I still have the faded blue ribbon. LOL. Oh, well, that's life!

What's you favorite rule-breaking story? I'd love to know.

Have a great Tuesday everyone and don't forget to buy your copy of POSSESSION!

Monday, June 6, 2011

FUN AND GAMES BLOGFEST! ANOTER GREAT FEST FROM ALEX j. CAVANAUGH ...

Hi, Everyone,

I hope you all had a FANTASTIC weekend! Chicago had some of it best weather this weekend so I was out and about enjoying the sunshine. That was mainly why I haven't been around lately. Sorry about that. But today is gray and gloomy so here I am. LOL.




Now for the Blogfest. My buddy Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting another super fun blogfest ... name your THREE favorite games of all time! Below are mine, but don't forget to hop around to our other blogger friends! And PLEASE let me know what your favorites are.

MY all time FAVORITE is Parker Brothers Monopoly.... I started playing as a little kid and still love to play to this day! Buying and selling real estate ... adding houses and hotels .... and charging lots of money. WHAT FUN! I bet that is how Donald Trump started his obsession!

Another fav of mine is POKER. I started loving this classic card game when I was five. My parents played and watched them for hours mesmerized. I learned quickly from a related board game called Pokeno, another fun game.

My final choice would have to be RISK.... What a amazing game. How else could a kid rule the world! We found a mint condition game from the 1950's in the basement of the house my parents bought when I was ten. The pieces were made of actual wood! My brothers and I played for hours, days, and weeks, leaving the board set up and rushing back home after school to finish. 

Of course there are many others that I love to play. Mostly board and card games. I never really got into playing with video games. I was too busy with school work, and my parents really didn't have to money to buy those expensive Nintendo games at the time. Then when I started to model and had the money I was just too busy keeping up with school and my career. So I guess I missed out on the craze.

Well I'm off to read my fellow bloggers games. Have a wonderful Monday everyone! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

IT'S TIME FOR THE PERFECT WRITING SPACE.... A DESIGN TIP FOR WRITERS.


Since I have many new blogger friends, I'd like to repeat my first design post that aired last November. We all need to be comfortable when writing and I hope this helps you create your perfect space.

This is my first piece of advice to all who seek to create a space that will enhance their life for a better writing experience.
De-clutter. We are all pack rats. Admit it you know you are. Is your mail piled up? Are books all over the place? Clothes strewn on the bedroom chair or on the floor... Do you trip on shoes when you enter the house? Kids toys everywhere? Husbands, wives, significant other’s junk everywhere. You get the picture. 
How can you even find your laptop? Let alone sit down and write. There is a very simple solution to this. THROW IT ALL OUT! Only kidding. The answer is create storage. This is a lot easier than you think. 
Step One. Start by downsizing. Honestly, start getting rid of all the excess. Junk mail, newspapers, magazines, and in my case catalogues ... the holidays are on our doorstep and so are the trillions of catalogues. Keep what you like and get rid of the rest. Even better contact the company and cancel them. You can find everything you need on the internet. You will be amazed when you see the top of your coffee table, countertop, or hall table that you thought disappeared. 
Step two: Make room in your closets. I hear the groan now. We all hate to organize closets, but it is necessary for your mental health. Admit it. How many of you have clothes you haven’t worn in years. Why keep them? Just think of all the room you’ll have for the new things you know you will buy. After you clean out the closets invest in organizers. Believe me they are worth the hours of stress to assemble them. Curse, carry on, throw things, but do it. Once the closets have organizers, the draped clothes, kids toys, scattered shoes will have their place, This will free up hours of cleaning and you can WRITE! 
Step three: If you are short on closet space, create it. For those of us who live in apartments or condo’s closet space is at a premium. Yes, even those who rent can create storage. Armoires are a great solution. Not only are they beautiful, but you can “stuff” lots of things in them. Now I do know money is tight. Go to your local salvation army or thrift store. Many of them have great deals on previously owned armoires. I live in the city of Chicago and I have seen them as low as $200.00. Another great source, Craig’s List. You will be amazed at the bargains you can find.
For condo owners, I have a tip for you. If you have a corner you don’t know what to do with, or some wall space that’s useless contact your carpenter and have a closet built. No I’m not crazy. I had this odd corner in my eat in kitchen next to the fire escape door. Only about a two by two space. Yes, I did, I put a closet there. I bought a 16” x16” self unit to fit inside. I have my coffee maker, toaster oven, cookbooks, coffee cups and assorted computer supplies inside it. It’s amazing how much counter space it freed up.
Now take a weekend and do as I suggest. You will be thrilled how much free time you will have after you pillage your house. Just remember keep only the things you really love.
Look for the next tip soon. Feel free to leave a question in Design Dilemma. I’d be more than happy to help you with your design dilemma.

Yes, everyone. I am not JUST a writer/illustrator. I am an Interior Designer, too. SURPRISE!

Do something nice for yourself today and let me know what it is....