Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Here we are, folks. The last day of the year.

I have to admit, I had a pretty good year. My first two novellas came out this year with The Wild Rose Press. I’ve made some great new friends between this blog, Facebook and Twitter. I got to go RWA National Convention, I made PRO, I finished up my associate degree I’ve been working on forever, and I’m back to writing full-time. Those are just the highlights. I can’t complain.

I’m expecting next year to be even better. I’ve got a full load planned for writing, I’ve got great friends and critique partners to help keep me on track, I’ll be starting my bachelor degree, and I’ll be pursuing an agent this year. I’m excited to get started.

I'll be spending the evening with wonderful friends, playing games and having fun. Tomorrow is family day and Sunday I'll be winging my way back to Germany to brave the snow.

How has 2010 treated you? What are your highlights? What have you got planned for 2011?

Have fun celebrating, but stay safe.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I arrived in Texas, safe and sound. Maybe a little bit frazzled, but that's another story.

Since I've been tied up with family the last two days, no blog post today.

I'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a season full of love. Be good to each other.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holidays: The End of your Healthy Lifestyle?

I’m winging my way across the ocean today (plane and weather gods willing) while you read this. Hopefully on Friday, I will be writing from sunny Texas.

Weightloss Wednesday, right before Christmas. What shall we talk about?

Should we discuss all the cakes, cookies and pies everywhere we turn? How about fat-laden mashed potatoes, all the bread you can eat, and the alcohol that flows freely at holiday parties?

What’s a poor girl trying to make healthy choices to do?

Give it all up until after the first of the year? We could do that. But that’s 2 weeks and if you’re anything like me, you’ll take license to eat whatever you want and to damn the rest. When it’s time to start back up again, you’ve gained back that 20 pounds you lost before Christmas.

Deprive yourself? You watch everyone around you shoving all those calories down their throats without abandon. You start feeling left out. Then is desperation, or possibly even spite, you indulge. And indulge and indulge and indulge.

Neither of these options sound all that appealing, do they? With a plan in place, you can weather the holidays, indulging in the traditions that make up your family holiday and keeping on a healthy track. After all, balance is what it’s all about, right?

If you have a holiday gathering, eat a little less during the day beforehand and get in your exercise. You’ll feel more in control and by conserving some calories and burning more with the exercise, the food you eat at the party won’t make a dent in your plan.

If you’re hanging with the family, incorporate some healthy snacks along with the baked goodies. If you eat a bunch of low-cal veggies, you don’t have as much room to hold the high-cal foods. You may even find that you don’t crave them as much as you thought you would.

There’s always lots of alcohol at holiday parties, right? You can still indulge. In moderation. Alternate glasses of wine with sparkling water. Or do like the Germans do and mix half wine and half sparkling wine. That’s a popular drink over here and it cuts your alcohol intake in half.

One important thing to remember is that the holidays are separate events. If you stick to your healthy lifestyle most days and indulge at those special parties or family gatherings only, you’ll still be on track in January.

What are some of the ways you balance your healthy lifestyle with the holidays?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Delivering Christmas Cheer in Germany

Thank you to Lillian Grant for stopping by on Friday and sharing such an interesting story with us. Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by and saying hi.

The winner of a copy of Lillian’s new release, Happy Birthday Nancy Tobin, is:


Congrats, FiremanPat. I couldn’t find your email address so could you please email me at I’ll get your copy out to ASAP.

So what did your weekend hold for you? This time of year seems to find people so busy.

We started delivering Christmas gifts to the neighbors. I say start because we learned another difference between Americans and Germans last year.

When we lived in Texas, we were in a fairly new neighborhood and as a result, we met our neighbors as each family moved in. Being near a military base, most of them were friendly and we did cookouts and parties together.

At Christmas, I always baked goodies and put together a gift bag for the neighbors. We’d go to each door, ring the bell, wish them a Merry Christmas and give them a gift. They’d say thank you, Merry Christmas back and we’d go on our way to the next house.

So last year, I put together gift bags and one night after hubby got home from work, we thought we’d run gift bags around and then eat dinner. We only had 4 houses to visit. No problem, right?

At House 1, the neighbors were gone. So we left their bag inside the doorway for them.

House 2 is where our master plan began to unravel. Instead of a quick stop, we were invited in. Wine was brought out. Then another bottle of wine. 2 bottles of wine, several schnapps, and 2 hours later, we left.

At House 3, again we were invited in. This time it was beer. 2 beers each, 2 schnapps each and 1 hour later, we left.

Keep in mind, this is 2 bottles of wine, 2 beers, lots of schnapps (which is powerful stuff here in Germany. Think tequila) all on empty stomachs. I was drunk and we still had one more house to go.

We popped into our own place and ate a quick snack of sausage, cheese and crackers in which I proceeded to slice my finger open while cutting the sausage. Then on to House 4, which happens to be our upstairs neighbors and we KNEW that would be a long visit. It was.

Moral of the story: We needed more than a quick visit to deliver our goodies. Friday night, we were invited upstairs. We took their gift. Today, we visited House 1 & 2 and tomorrow we’ll hit House 3.

In addition to all this impromptu neighbor visiting, we had hubby’s work Christmas party and then a co-worker’s Advent party this weekend. Lots of fun, lots of socializing.

We’ll also get a lot of the same over the next 2 weeks. We’re heading to Texas to visit hubby’s family and see all our friends for the holidays. We fly out of Frankfurt on Wednesday (good travel thoughts please as there have been a lot of cancellations lately) and straight into Dallas. We’ll be there until after the first of the year.

So what about your weekend? What kept you busy?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Welcome Lillian Grant

What English?

As an Aussie seeking publication in a US dominated e-publishing world some things you assume are a given clearly are not.

When I wrote Happy Birthday, Nancy Tobin, I wrote it in English. At least I thought I did. Turns out, nothing is quite that simple.

Story complete, critiqued, polished, rewritten, re-critiqued, whisked into outer space by aliens, prodded, probed, formatted and good to go, I sent a sample on its merry way to my publisher of choice. Happy with the final copy, I sat back and waited, and waited, and waited, until at last I got a nibble. Could I send the whole manuscript? Mai oui, of course. Then, would I rewrite the sex scenes to make them hotter? Well, in for a penny in for a pound. Finally, an offer to publish my baby, in English.

BUT, hmm, whose English? The contract said I had to use US spelling. So, who cares? What are a few lost U’s and the occasional S morphing into a Z between friends? If it got my book into the public domain and made women weep with unrequited lust for my hero, I could sacrifice the odd letter here and there.

Contract signed, I waited for my first round edits. They arrived and I opened the file. What eternal hell was this? My editor had interpreted, use US spelling, for make it a US novel…NOOOOOO!! Thankfully, she is an angel and when I emailed my horror at having my gorgeous Aussie hunk, that would have the ladies panting with pent up frustration, changed to a down home American boy, she spoke to ‘management.’

Oh, what sweet joy it was when the answer came back, lose the Aussie spelling, keep the Aussie slang. However, this came with a caveat. Keep the Aussie slang that made sense. So began a period of tense editing where words like ‘lounge’ were tossed aside to be replaced with ‘living room.’ Would American readers understand the word ‘git’ if read in context. I even got complemented on how clever I was to know when it was appropriate for my hero to use the word ‘bugger’ in a sentence. After much deliberation, the process was complete. My hero and heroine are still Aussie’s living in Australia and most of my slang survived. I was thankful I hadn’t used some of our more colourful expressions, such as ‘cooked chook,’ because nothing could have saved them, and it seems the names of more intimate body parts are universal.

I recently read pages and pages of comments on another blog about changing stories for the US market. Which begs the question, as a reader, do you want books set in other countries to be adapted to become stories set in the country you live in?

NB: No U’s or S’s were harmed during the writing or publication of this article.

Suddenly single on the eve of her fortieth birthday, Nancy Tobin’s not sure turning middle-aged is worth celebrating. She's stuck in a dead-end job as the boss’s bitch with only her morose Labrador for a companion. What does she have to party about? Maybe if she ignores the whole birthday thing, it will just go away.

Hot, twenty-six-year-old Jake Turner has other ideas. When he bumps into Nancy at the library, he sees a woman in need of a wake-up call. Determined to unleash the beauty hidden beneath the sad façade, he schemes to relight her spark. He wants to give her a birthday to remember but he ends up being the one who can't forget: a visit to his apartment becomes a weekend in his bed where he discovers an offbeat, unpredictable, sexually adventurous woman he never wants to let go.

With Jake, Nancy can do anything, her life can be whatever she chooses. But this new and exciting relationship teeters on the edge of destruction when her soon-to-be ex-husband reveals the reason for Jake’s initial interest in her. Can Nancy trust Jake when he finally tells her he loves her?

Nancy sat alone at the table near the student café. Despite her best intentions not to, she searched the male population for Jake. He must have been teasing. Why would a cute young guy be interested in her? She stared at the nubile female bodies as they walked past, their belly buttons proudly displaying all manner of trinkets and tattoos and yelling to the world, I’m young, supple, and the best shag you could ever have. She looked down at herself and saw the roll of flab above her waistband. Her body appeared to yell, I’m old and saggy and too fucking tired to care if I ever shag again. Why would he even give her a second thought? Perhaps it was a dare or a joke.

“Excuse me; is this seat taken?”

The voice dragged Nancy back to reality, and she looked up, surprised to see a familiar face. Her cheeks burned, and she struggled to speak.

“No, please, feel free.”

Jake slid into the seat next to her. “So, Nancy, we meet again. Are you stalking me by any chance?”

Nancy was quick to shake her head. While she had been hoping to see him again, she had no intention of revealing that to anyone. She could barely believe it herself. Was she so desperate for love she would latch on to the first male who showed a glimmer of interest? No matter why she attracted him, with her track record, she should avoid good-looking young men like the plague. “No, absolutely not. Are you sure you’re not stalking me? I was here first.”

His deep, sexy chuckle resonated through her. “Touché. You guessed it. Someone is paying me to follow you.”

“Well, they’re wasting their money, I can assure you. There is nothing to see here.”

“Let me be the judge of that. Did you miss me?”

Nancy tore her eyes away from his and tried to sound nonchalant. “I haven't given you a moment’s thought since you left the library.”

He put his hand over hers, and she felt the blood rush to her cheeks again. When he leaned closer, she closed her eyes. The smell of his musky cologne and the feel of his breath on her face as he whispered in her ear made her stomach lurch and her heart rate lift.

“Liar, but it’s okay. I’ve been thinking about you too.”

Nancy opened her eyes and snapped her head around to glare at him. No one in their right mind would think about her. She refused to be the butt of anyone’s joke. Her hand hovered in midair as she fought the urge to slap his face. Jake leaned back and put his arm up. Deciding he wasn’t worth it, Nancy dropped her hand and snatched her empty Coke bottle off the table instead.

She clenched her teeth. “Fuck off, you git; you’re not funny,” she spat out.

Without another word, she got up and stomped back to the library, tears of frustration stinging her eyes. Stupid, stupid woman!

Thank you, Lillian, for joining us today.

If you’d like to read more about Jake and Nancy, one lucky commenter will win a free copy of Happy Birthday, Nancy Tobin.

If you can’t wait, you can buy it here.

And to keep up with Lillian, you can visit her site.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And the Winner is...

Last week’s winner of a copy of Paige Tyler’s new release, Dead Sexy, is:

Lynne Roberts. 

Congrats, Lynne. I sent you an email, but please let me know if you don’t get it.

It’s Wednesday, which usually means Weightloss Wednesday here. Not this week, folks.

I woke up Sunday with the crud and have been mostly sleeping. I’m hoping to knock this in time for our trip to the States next week, so today is short and sweet.

Check back here Friday for guest blogger, Lillian Grant.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Show a Zombie Some Love

Thanks so much for letting me guest blog today!

Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas for my books, so I thought I'd give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I came up with my new release, a paranormal erotic romance from Ellora's Cave called DEAD SEXY.

Before I say anything else though, isn't that cover too hot for words?!  When the art department sent it to me, I probably gazed at it for a good ten minutes in mouth-drooling appreciation before I could email them back telling the artist it not only rocked, but totally fit the book.  The hero is "Dead Sexy," after all!

Okay, back to the story and how I came up with it.  First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself.  Well, about my hubby and me, actually.  We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including "Walking Dead," the new series on AMC.  You just can't go wrong with  a movie full of walking dead people, can you?  Well, if you've ever seen a zombie movie (or even you haven't), then you know the creatures aren't the heroes of the film.  I mean, how can they be, right?  They're all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary.  Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero.  I was like, you're kidding, right?  What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy?  No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.

Turns out, my hubby wasn't kidding.  In fact, he started working up ideas for the story.

"The hero didn't have to be a zombie all the time," he told me. "Think outside the box - take a little literary license!"

Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded. 

My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes. 

"I'm listening," I said.

"And when he does go zombie, he doesn't have to be like the kind in the movies," my hubby added.  "Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn't have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross."

So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!

"Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I've got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea."

I thought about that for a minute.  "So, the hero's dead, but he's still sexy, is that what you're saying?"

"Exactly," he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.

By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea.  Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel.  And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!  I still had to find a publisher for it, though.

About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora's Cave and I thought what the heck?  Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks?  So I did, and she told me to send it to her.  She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing.  Well, long story, short, she liked it.  A lot!  My zombie romance with it's dead-sexy hero had a home!  I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, "I-told-you-so" look on his face.

I've been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I'm thrilled with the interest from readers who can't wait to get their hands on it!  I can't wait for them to read it, too! 

Now that I've revealed the story behind the story, I thought I'd share the blurb and an excerpt just to whet your appetite for more!

Romance author Simone Kent thinks she might just have found the most perfect guy in all of New York City - in bed and out. But Drake Parrish is about as far from perfect as any man can get. Eight years ago, he was cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess to live part of his life as a zombie. Since then, he has lived like a recluse on New York’s Upper East Side, afraid to go out for fear he’ll suddenly turn into one of the walking dead.

The sex if the hottest either of them has ever experienced and Simone discovers just how naughty she can be with Drake, while he finds himself feeling things for her that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. When the Voodoo priestess learns of their relationship, however, she comes after him again. She is determined to make sure he won’t have a future with Simone, even if that means killing both him and the woman he loves.


As she led him up the steps to the second floor, Drake found himself wondering if she would ask him in. And wondering what he’d say if she did. When they came to a stop outside the door to her apartment, Simone turned to give him a smile.

“I had a great time tonight.”

“Me, too.”

She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.

Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.

Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.

She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.

Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.

He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.

Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.

Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.

Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”

Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”

God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.

“You don’t know how much I want to,” he groaned. “But I can’t.”

Simone looked up at him with those big, blue eyes. “Why not?”

“Because I…” He hesitated, trying to come up with something that would sound believable. “I have a column due in the morning and I haven’t even started on it yet.” She knew all about deadlines, so she would understand that. Besides, he did have a column to write, it just wasn’t due until next week. “Rain check?”

She looked disappointed, but she smiled anyway. “Absolutely. How does coming over for dinner tomorrow night sound?”

It would be crazy to agree when he could be so close to having an episode, but he couldn’t say no. Not when she asked in that soft, sultry voice. “Sounds great.”

“Good. Be here at seven.”

“Seven it is.”

She pulled him down for another long, slow kiss on the mouth. “Don’t be late.”

His mouth twitched. “I won’t.” He bent his head to kiss her again, then groaned. “If I don’t go now, I’ll be here all night.”

Simone laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing?”

“Not to me, but my editor at Money Issues might not be too understanding when he doesn’t find my column sitting in his inbox tomorrow.”

She sighed. “Deadlines can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Okay, go home and write your column. I’ll cuddle up with a bowl of ice cream instead.”

He chuckled. “Sounds better than taking a cold shower, which is what I’m going to be doing when I get home.” He closed his mouth over hers once more. “See you tomorrow night, beautiful.”

Resisting the urge to pull her into his arms again, Drake turned and walked down the hallway toward the stairwell. At the top of the steps, he glanced over his shoulder to see Simone standing where he’d left her, a sexy curve to her lips.

It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to go back and pin her against the door for one more long, lingering kiss. God, what he wouldn’t give to spend the night with her. Man, it was going to take more than a cold shower to get her out of his head.

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and that you can't wait to read more! You can get DEAD SEXY from Ellora's Cave at

You can also check out the trailer here!

If you decide to pick up DEAD SEXY, let me know how you like it!


Thanks for joining us today, Paige. Your zombie actually does sound sexy. Can't wait to read the whole thing.

Were you readers intrigued? If so, leave a comment. One lucky person will win a free copy of Dead Sexy.

Everyone have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Skinny on Fat

Today we’re talking about the role fat plays in a healthy diet.

For years, fat has been the bad boy of the diet world, blamed for obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. With the advent of low fat diets, most people should be able to control their weight better or be healthier. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true.

It’s when you factor in the type of fat with overall intake that makes a difference. There’s a lot of info out there and some of it is contradictory. What’s a poor girl just trying to make healthy choices to do? Research!

Despite the bad name, fat is important for our bodies to function properly. It helps brain function, learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Over half, actually 60% of our heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves. Our lungs, eyes, digestion, organs and immune systems all use fats to keep our bodies in working order. Whether we like it or not, fat is here to stay.

As I mentioned before, there are different kinds of fats. In order to make the best choices, we need to know what to look for.

Monounsaturated fats are found in plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Other sources are avocadoes, nuts and seeds. People following a Mediterranean style diet that incorporates a lot of monounsaturated fats usually have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Polyunsaturated fats are found in sunflower, corn and soybean oils, as well as walnuts and fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in this group. These fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and your body can’t make them. They’re also found in very few foods.

Saturated fats are found in animal products like red meat and whole milk dairy products. Tropical vegetable oils such as coconut oil or palm oil are in this family. Poultry and fish contain saturated fat but less than red meat. Our bodies actually produce all the saturated fat that we need if we consume enough of the good fats, making it unnecessary to eat these sources of fat.

Trans fats are vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods. Trans fat raises your bad cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease and lowers your good cholesterol.

I think we’re all smart cookies and know that we should limit our intake of saturated and trans fats. But how much fat do we actually need to maintain a healthy body and how much is too much?

That depends on you. Your lifestyle, your weight, your age and your overall health factor into the equation. General guidelines recommended by the USDA are:

1. Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of your total daily calories.
2. Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily calories.
3. Limit trans fats to 1% of your calories.

The bottom line is that we need to be aware of what we’re putting into our mouths. I’m so guilty of this, but in the last few months, as I’ve made more conscious choices, I’ve noticed a difference.

I feel better. My body thanks me now. I used to get heartburn 4 times a week or more. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had it since August. I have more energy to do the things I want to do. For the first time, I really get the whole balanced diet thing.

How about you? Do you watch the fats you use? What tips do you have for keeping in the good fat and getting rid of the bad?

Also, I’ve got a poll up on the right hand side under About Me that I’m going to keep up until Tuesday of next week. I’ve been doing Weightloss Wednesdays for quite a while now. I’d like to know if you all like this and want me to keep it up. So please, place your vote.

Friday, Paige Tyler will be here guest blogging with us. Her new book, Dead Sexy, releases that day. Her hero is a zombie and she swears he’s sexy. She’ll tell us more about the premise of her hero and we’ll be giving away a copy for one lucky commenter.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday's Disappointment

First things first, Autumn Shelley won the copy of Blood Diamond.

Second, I had wanted to post pictures of the Nuremburg Christmas market today, but that’s where my disappointment comes in.

When we go to Nuremburg, we take the train. The station in our town is only 2 blocks away and it’s an hour train ride. Same amount of time to get there as by car and the 2 of us can ride on a Day Plus pass for less than 15 euros. Totally worth it when you consider gas prices (which are higher than in the States, even for those of us on base), wear & tear on the car, parking prices, and general driving nuisances.

Anyway, hubby had to work this weekend, but he got off work around 3. We decided to go when he got in. We got up to the station, bought our ticket, no problem. We’re on the platform waiting for the train and minutes before it’s supposed to arrive, it cancels.

My German isn’t good enough yet to catch everything said, I just know that train isn’t coming. So I go up to a man about my age or so and asked if spoke English. Generally, my age and younger usually speak it pretty well. He said yes and I asked about the train. He said it wasn’t coming and we’d have to go through Bayreuth to get there.

Okay, not the best option as it doubles the ride, but do-able. So we’re on our way. When we get to Nuremburg, it’s almost 7. There is drama in the train station there. Not sure what was going on, but the polizei had the middle section of the station cordoned off, they stood there with automatic rifles and police dogs to make sure no one crossed. As the Queen of Nosy, I’m dying to know what happened, but don’t know where to look so I’ll be asking my neighbor where I can find out.

Anyway, we exit the train station the back way and head over to the Irish pub near the station where our friends, who arrived around the time we were supposed to, were waiting for us. Or so we thought. We got our wires crossed and ended up meeting at the big church in town.

We meet up with them, get some sausage sandwiches, some gluhwein for hubby, hot chocolate with amaretto for me. Pick up a few things we like to get. Walk towards one end of the market until we see it peter out and then head back toward the center.

That’s when we got our surprise. The vendors were closing. It was 8 o’clock on a Saturday night and they were closing early. It was a disappointment. We didn’t have enough time to purchase everything we wanted to and see everything.

And, lovely readers, that is why I have no photos for you today. Everything folded up before I could snap them.

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why the Congo?

Blood Diamond released this week. Wednesday, in fact. As I’ve shared here before, it’s my romantic suspense novella set in the Congo jungle.

Why did I choose such an exotic locale?

Well, it mostly had to do with the parameters of the call. I wrote Blood Diamond in response to call for romantic suspense stories for the Jewels of the Night series at The Wild Rose Press. The rules were simple: high suspense, romance, include a blue diamond.

At first, I was at a loss as to a story line. Up to that point, I’d concentrated on paranormal type story lines. So I put it to the back of my mind for a while.

I was watching a rerun of Bones, the pilot episode where she’s at Dulles airport with a skull in her bag and Booth has her detained. It got me thinking about how a forensic anthropologist works in some interesting, out of the way places. It started a niggling thought. What other professionals would be in out-of-the-way places. Then I thought about Doctors Without Borders. Now I was getting somewhere.

Next, it was time to research blue diamonds. Where in the world are they mined? I had a thought about using Russia as a backdrop, but there just wasn’t anything there that sparked any ideas. Then I read an article about blood diamonds and how the Republic of the Congo or Congo Brazzaville (there’s another country in Africa called the Democratic Republic of the Congo) had been sanctioned by the Kimberly Process in 2004. There had been a large number of diamonds exported when there were no registered mines there.

This really got me thinking and that story, combined with my heroine who was a part of Doctors Without Borders gave me the bare bones for a story. With the help of a critique partner, Rachel Lynne, who was also writing a story for Jewels of the Night (her book, Ring of Lies, comes out December 22), I was able to iron out my plot.

So that’s the story behind why I set my story in the Congo. I know I shared my blurb and excerpt a couple of weeks ago, so I chose a new, never-before-seen excerpt for today.

As if he read her mind, he pulled the cup of her bra down and sucked the puckered tip into the wet warmth of his mouth. The pulls on the tender bud shot red-hot need directly to her core, wetting her panties. A moan broke free from her throat as she grabbed his head, but she didn’t know whether it was to push him away or to hold him in place. 

“Mack.” Her plea broke on a gasp as one of his hands slid past the barrier of her pants to stroke plump lips moist with her desire.

His whisper cut through her haze. “Do you want me to stop, Jillian?”

His assertion earlier that he didn’t go where he wasn’t invited floated through her mind and she knew what he wanted. He might not trust her, but she was learning to trust him. Though, it might be a huge mistake, one she would pay dearly for later, she couldn’t deny that she wanted him now.


Her mind made up, she rubbed his erection through his pants. “No. Don’t stop.”

In celebration of the release, I’m giving away a copy of Blood Diamond to a commenter. I’ll announce the winner on Monday.

Do exotic locales make a book more exciting for you? Are you drawn to certain settings?

Make sure to leave a comment for a chance at the giveaway. Everyone have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Interview at A Possessed WIP

I’m over at Rachel Firasek’s blog today. She’s got a copy of my new release, Blood Diamond, up for grabs. If you don’t win one there, stop by here tomorrow. I’ll be talking about why I chose the Congo jungle as the setting in my story AND you’ll have another chance to win a free copy.

Head over to Rachel’s here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


First of all, Happy December. Christmas is catching up fast. Are you all ready for it? We've got snow on the ground here and it really feels like winter.

Today's Weightloss Wednesday again. We’ve discussed fruits, veggies and proteins so it’s only right that we discuss carbohydrates in a healthy diet.

In the past few years, carbs have gotten a bad rep. We’ve all seen those high protein/low-or-no carb diets. They’ve been popular for quite a while. Carbs aren’t the villain. As with anything, they just need to be eaten in moderation and there are some that are better than others.

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient and they’re easily converted into energy by your body. Glucose, which is a sugar, is essential fuel for the brain. Obviously carbs have their place in a healthy diet.

As I mentioned, some are better choices than others. As a rule, the more natural and unrefined it is, the healthier it is. A low glycemic index (GI) is also an indicator of a good choice.

The GI classifies carbohydrates by their immediate effect on our blood sugar. Carbs that are converted to glucose very fast have a high GI value. Those that metabolize slowly have a low GI. Here’s a link to the Glycemic Index so you can check out your own choices.

So what are good carbohydrate choices?

1. Fruits and vegetables. They’re usually low in calories and high in nutrients.
2. Whole grains. Unrefined carbs are higher in fiber and keep you feeling full longer. Companies are making it easier for us with whole grain pastas and noodles and brown rice. Choosing wholegrain bread when possible is another way to make better choices.
3. Potatoes. These have higher GI values. New white potatoes are better choices, but sweet potatoes are the best of all. I’ve even seen sweet potato french fries in the freezer section. Potatoes are fat-free and their higher GI can be reduced by eating them with other low GI foods as part of the same meal.

How many do we need? If we’re making smarter choices and eating less refined carbs, anything between 40 and 60 percent of your daily calories can come from carbs. Lower carb is fine, but try to avoid the very low carb diets except for very short periods of time. Yeah, remember when I said glucose was food for the brain? ‘Nuf said.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with carbs. I loved them and they loved me back since they wanted to stick around, but I hated how my body looked. These days, I’ve got a better self-image and I’m making better choices. I’m learning that anything is okay in moderation.

What about you? How do you feel about carbs? Have you done the very low carb diets? How did you do? Would you do it again?