Wednesday, October 20, 2010

sneaking in the good stuff

I just finished a 28 day detox cleanse and weight loss program. First off, let me suggest that if you decide to do something this long, go with a program monitored by a nutritionist or dietician or doctor. Don't radically alter your food intake all on your own.

The detox consisted of getting rid of dairy, gluten, alcohol/sugar, and caffeine. The first week I ate only lean protein and lots and lots of vegetables.

I'm an all or nothing kinda gal so this approach worked just fine for me, maybe other people need to ease into it, eliminating one thing at a time. The one thing you can have is oil. Healthy oil, ie. Walnut, Flax, Olive, but you don't have to skimp on your homemade salad dressing.

You learn interesting things about yourself when you undertake a program like this. What I thought would be the hardest (the caffeine) turned out to be a non-issue. (however day 30 I started drinking one cup of coffee in the morning again) I don't think of myself as eating a lot of sugar however, I *craved* something sweet by mid-afternoon. And honestly, I cheated on the alcohol on the weekends, having a cocktail or glass of wine while out.

Nowadays I try to limit my wine/cocktails to weekends only. I'll let you know if I can sustain it. ;)

The basis for the detox program is that we need more fruits and vegetables. What the program did do for me, was give me the impetus to start sneaking more healthy things into my family's meals.

So yesterday I made chili for dinner. I chopped up a little spinach and added it to the crockpot. Last week I made lasagne, I already put spinach in the cheese mixture but I chopped up mushrooms (which are chock full of good nutrients) into really, really small pieces and added them to the meat mixture. No one noticed.

When I make a salad I use romaine and spinach plus sometimes I add just a tiny bit of shredded carrots. I throw in sunflower seeds (lots of health benefits to these buggers instead of croutons. My kids complained about the seeds the first few times but then they got over it.

So now every day I sneak in good stuff and we're all living healthier because of it.


ps. a great rule of thumb which I recently saw several places: if it can go bad in your refrigerator, it is good for you. Happy, healthy eating!

Monday, August 23, 2010

first day of school

I love the first day of school.

It's a new year, fraught with potential. New teachers are like new crushes. Shiny and perfect. Maybe this year the kids will discover a passion for a new subject or rejeuvenate interest in an old one, try a new sport, read a book that completely captures their imagination, realize their potential, gain confidence, grow taller, find a direction for their life. The possibilities for new experiences are endless, shimmering in the air like sparkly dewdrops.

Even for me the possibilites are spread out like a banquet. With all this extra time I'll be able to clean out the garage, write an an additional book, paint the laundry room, lunch with friends, cruise into the city to go shopping, do some hands-on research, whip my garden into shape, finally get the house clean, write more blog posts, cook healthier more nutritious meals....

But the first day is the sweetest. The house is silent. I can do anything I want to for a few whole hours and no one will interrupt me. No one will need a ride, or money, or lunch, or to show me the funniest video EVER on YouTube. I have the whole house to myself. So I'm going to enjoy the solitude while it exists and then savor the chaos when the kids get home...ready to tell me about *their* first day of school.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cleaning up, cleaning out, and tips for submissions

Yeah, so I know it's been awhile. Sorry! I've been struggling with this as I adamantly informed my writer friends, it's important to brand. In other words, if you write mystery, don't talk about your dog unless you write dog mysteries. Except I can't bring myself to follow my own advice (yes, Soph, I know you are laughing at me right now). So I decided instead to focus on the things that occupy my time when I'm not writing espionage or most recently angels. And, maybe, possibly tie it back to writing if at all humanly possible. :)

My daughter and I volunteer regularly at a Hospice Thrift shop. One of my jobs is to go through the donation bags/boxes/whatever when they come in and sort what is possible to sell and what is not. One little note, for most places that request donations, they are going to turn around and sell the item for cash. It won't go directly to someone in need. (Yes, there are some places that give directly to the needy, but most DO NOT)

So let me give you a few little guidelines:

* No stains. NONE. If there is even a tiny speck of a stain, it's gone. No armpit stains, no collar dirt, no one little spot that if someone just took a little time and cleaned up this Versace dress would be a huge find. It will go straight in the rag bag.

* No rips or holes. That darling little boy t-shirt except for that one tiny hole where the cat's claw poked thru and it's expanded a tiny bit, but the shirt is still wearable? Two words. Rag bag.

* They need to be clean. If you have something that needs to be dry-cleaned make sure it is before you donate. Otherwise. Rag bag.

* Metal hangers. Garbage.

* Gorgeous china plate with that tiny chip on the edge that no one ever sees. Garbage.

* Matching coffee mugs with coffee stains inside. Garbage.

Polishing a manuscript is a lot like sorting through your donations pile. Make sure there are no dangling participles or run-on sentences. Fix that one paragraph that you think, 'oh, it's a bit rough but no one will notice'. Or maybe that section of the plot is like an insubstantial metal hanger, unable to bear the weight of the twists and turns, but I'll leave it there anyway. Just don't. *Don't* put in the bag and send it off.

Otherwise that editor or agent will do the same thing we do with unacceptable submissions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

inspiration of the very best kind

Today’s reality can be bleak--and four hundred pages of an imaginary world where everything turns out okay in the end is the perfect antidote to the constant barrage of bad news these days.

The mark of a truly gifted writer is the ability to draw you in so deeply to her world that you want to hop right in.

Years ago, I used to knit. It was more of a hobby I picked up. I knit some and then I stopped. I tend to be that way with crafts. I’ve had friends learn to knit and they tried to get me to get back into it. And I always demurred quietly, re-iterating that I didn’t have enough time, too busy with other projects, too whatever.

Last year at a local RWA meeting, I happen to sit at a table with a new member, Rachael Herron, who had just sold her first book, How To Knit A Love Song, to Avon.

In the past year, we've become friends. I’ve gotten to hang on her coattails through the adventures of publishing and actually seeing the book in a bookstore and it has been a very fun ride.

When I read Rachael’s book, her absolute love for her characters, her town, and knitting is communicated on every page. And suddenly, I HAD to knit. Seriously.

So a few days before Christmas, I went into a yarn shop, bought a pattern, needles and yarn and away I went. I’d forgotten how soothing the repetitive motion is and how much I love the multi-tasking aspect and how cool that at the end, I have something to wear. Run out and buy this book. I guarantee you’ll be knitting in a week. :) And you'll be anxiously awaiting book two in her Cypress Hollow Yarn series.

The pieces.

Now I just have to sew it together....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

san francisco rwa rocks!

why? because we have the best board ever.

and how do i know this? because i'm the secretary.

Martha Flynn and I at the first official board meeting of 2010

i can't begin to say enough about volunteering for your local writing group, whether it is sisters-in-crime, mwa, science fiction/fantasy (sorry, their exact name is escaping me at the moment!), scbwi, or pretty much the largest and most organized group, romance writers of america.

why? the connections (and although networking is great that is not the kind of connection i am talking about) and the friends that you make are immeasurable.

as a writer, you work in a vacuum. you can spend your days in isolation, tortured by the twisted meanderings of your own mind. it's easy to get lost in that world and forget the real one around you...until it's time to submit your work.

Trish Cetrone, Rachelle Chase, Sophie Littlefield, and Adrienne Miller

that's when the connections you make with other writers will come to save you. they encourage, commiserate, and celebrate right along with you in your journey to publication. whether you've already published or you are just starting, volunteering with your local organization gives you the opportunity to make connections that will sustain you through the bad and the good and the great.

i am so happy to call these women my friends. thanks for everything!

Monday, January 18, 2010

collaging for the visually un-artistic

it's a new year which means...a new collage. i love collaging. it's taken me awhile to get a handle on the process, i'm not visually artistic but i'm working on it. honestly, my collages are never going to be masterpieces but as long as they inspire me, i'm happy.

if you haven't ever done a collage. they're fun. it's even more fun when done in a group. our critique group gets together with colored paper, magazines, fun sparkly do-dads, foam letters and shapes, glitter writing pens. sometimes i have a theme in place. other times, i let my subconscious guide my color and picture choices and theme emerges later.

this year's theme is 'love to write'

which i do. go forth, get some craft supplies and go crazy. :)


Friday, January 8, 2010

chance to win free books

by posting your New Year's Resolutions, Intentions, Goals, Whatever over at

you could win a copy of BAD DAY FOR SORRY by Sophie Littlefield, SECONDHAND SPIRITS by Juliet Blackwell, a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card, and a book of your choice!

happy new year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

failure to connect the dots

if I worked in the intelligence community, I would be frustrated with Obama's chastisement of their 'failure to connect the dots'.

the number of intelligence agencies and the amount of intel collected from all sources is staggering. In my most humble opinion, it's a freaking miracle that many plots are stopped.

kudos to all the people out there keeping us safe.


Monday, January 4, 2010

hiatus over

so my blogging hiatus is over...i'll be back later this week.

happy new year to all-may 2010 bring happiness and productivity :)