Happy Mardi Gras 2014!

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Today is Fat Tuesday! You know after today, Lent begins. Never practiced it before, as it is not part of my particular faith, but think I may this year. It’s about giving up something that would be a sacrifice. See, if I said no dark chocolate for Lent, that wouldn’t be acceptable because I don’t like it anyway. Saying no sweets would be more in line because I don’t let a day go by without something sweet. I would be putting myself to the test with this one. Actually, I could last longer being placed on “The Rack”, the medieval torture device of choice, than I probably can going without processed sugar. We shall see. This will also help me meet my goal of losing 10 pounds in the “Scale Back Alabama” challenge. I have to weigh in with my team on April 4th. Can’t let down my teammates. My husband, also a teammate, has apparently gotten confused. He asked if it wasn’t “Spring Forward” because he seems to be complying with that set of rules. I have a new piece of fitness equipment…a mini trampoline with a handlebar. I envision myself becoming one of those women going cowboy wild on the video that’s been on Facebook recently. It is fun and a real workout, but I can only last about as long as the Pitbull song, “Timber”. I will keep you posted. Maybe I will work harder making all of this public knowledge. I do recommend that song for a good dance workout!! Check it out below (hope it works). Have a great day!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHUbLv4ThOo

 

Seismotherium

Seismotherium

Move over Smaug….there’s a new guy in town.

Here is one of my son’s latest creations. I meant to post it on his blog, “Monsters and Beasts”. Oops! I must say he is really good at this. I think he should design for the company. Of course, that’s Mom talking! :)

Thankful Thoughts…

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It’s been a long time since I last made an entry on this site…too long.  Joan Chandler had herself almost four months of publicity for her latest book, Bama Bride, as it was my last entry before I went off the grid.  No, I didn’t spend the last four months at a weight loss boot camp, though I certainly would have benefitted from such an adventure.  I finally changed the background on my computer this morning.  It had the quote, “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.”   Well, yes, I will, but I just keep pushing back “today”, so I changed it to another inspiring background, a picture of Richard Armitage from the Esquire UK photo shoot. Now that, my friends, is truly inspirational, yet I don’t think weight loss is what it inspires in me.

This year has been one of the most difficult of my life.  It rivals twenty years ago when I was at death’s door with pancreatitus.  It rivals those months after giving birth to my incredible son when I fought post partum depression (having a baby at 40 when you are a person with very rigid routines can be overwhelming).  Yet, in spite of it all, I recognize I have MUCH to be thankful for today.  Here are a few of those things, not necessarily in any order of importance (sorry, but the list is more for me than you):

  • My husband is madly in love with me, and thinks I am “so beautiful” (now I will NEVER add my picture to this site!)
  • My son is healthy, smart, kind-hearted, and has a sense of humor that he thinks will have him being “the last comic standing”
  • My father is beating the odds and mystifying his doctors by still being alive when given only months to live after being diagnosed with mesotheilioma over a year ago.  He is not bed-ridden, uses oxygen only as needed, and walks around the yard picking satsumas and lemons off trees he planted years ago.  He will be at our Thanksgiving dinner this evening and not “on the hill by the pond” at a local cemetery.  (This does kind of rank at the top of the list this year!)
  • I have a family that loves each other ( even if we don’t always agree with each other’s choices/opinions )
  • I have close friends I can be my true self with – one that I work with, and one that was my college roommate.  They’ve seen me through the good, bad, and the ugly and have made me laugh through it all, and I mean laugh until you cry kind of laughing!
  • I have found joy in writing, and best of all, there are people that seem to enjoy reading what I write.  That humbles me like nothing else.

This year has been difficult for multiple reasons, but the most challenging of the difficulties has been centered around family issues (Thankfully, not concerning my husband and child.).  It has been over a year since I have been able to write anything.  Writing had become my outlet when needing an escape, but during this time, the words wouldn’t come.  During the last month, a seed of an idea has been planted in my brain, and it hasn’t withered yet.  I am going to move forward with this idea, and hopefully it will grow and flourish, becoming a new story that can provide an escape for those that have honored me with their interest in my work.  Maybe today will be that “today” that I start a new book, and another year won’t go by without something to show for my love of writing.

I hope that each of you find a moment to think of the things you are thankful for today.  When I was a child, I belonged to a girls’ group at my church, and the scripture verse we quoted weekly was Philippians 4:8 (KJV).  It spoke of thinking on things that are true, just, good, honest, lovely, and of good report.  I believe I am going to begin dwelling on such things, even in the face of adversity.  I’ve felt that during the last four months I have “dropped my basket” (YA-YA Sisterhood term).  I felt tired of fighting things I really had no control over, and let a sense of hopelessness settle over me until I had unknowingly wrapped it snugly around me like a hooded cloak.  I have hidden inside that cloak of hopelessness for far too long.  I’ve let myself go for far too long.  I haven’t taken care of myself like I should, and it will be my husband and child that suffer if I don’t turn my ship around now.  I’ve tried to always be positive and encourage others to be positive.  Now, I guess it is time to pick up my basket and start filling it with those things that are “good, pure, honest, lovely, and of good report” because they do exist, I just haven’t looked very hard for them lately.  I’ve been living  Scarlett O’Hara‘s philosophy of “Tomorrow is another day.”  It’s time to start living and doing things that count TODAY.  I can never get these hours back.  I’ve wasted too many precious days already.  I’m glad we had this time together.  You have helped me more than you know.  I hadn’t planned on any of this chatter, but I seem to have convinced myself to move beyond hopelessness and see all the many bright paths that are open for me to follow.   I will just have do what the song says from the Christmas children’s TV special Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and that is “Just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door!”    HAPPY  THANKSGIVING  EVERYONE!!

Ladies, here’s a little something “lovely” to think about…

untitled.png2You know I had to do it! :)

BAMA BRIDE……by Joan Chandler

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This is an exciting day for me! I am hosting a Goddess Fish Super Book Blast Tour for Bama Bride by Joan ChandlerIt is a special day because Joan and I are not only best of friends, but writing buddies as well.  We’ve been on this writing journey together since the first book we each published about two years ago.  Who doesn’t love a story about a bride?   Joan’s new book, Bama Bride, is set in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama and the CRIMSON TIDE (Roll Tide Roll).  Yes, more than championship football goes on there, and Joan tells this romantic tale beautifully as always.  She scores a touchdown with this one for sure!  Commenters have a chance at scoring a $25 Amazon Gift Card, so leave a comment for Joan and get in the game!  This is a story you will love no matter which team you root for on Saturdays!  Here is a short blurb from Bama Bride:

BLURB:

Neal Sinclair meets David Bankston in a college town bar. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, and wears a Stetson like nobody’s business.

When they dance, inner passion heats up while inhibitions melt away. Neal quickly discovers David’s not a Southerner at all. He’s a Boston architect, in Tuscaloosa for only one night. The next morning, they struggle to walk away from something that caught them both by surprise.

Time doesn’t diminish the ache they feel in each other’s absence. Unable to stay apart, David arranges to take Neal to watch her beloved Crimson Tide play in a football bowl game. Reunited, they’re determined to make it work. When separated, they perfect the art of open communication. They each know that true love is a long shot.

But distance isn’t the only thing standing in their way. Unbeknownst to her, Neal’s overprotective father is, too. With so much conspiring against them, can a natural disaster turn the odds in their favor?

Here is a sneak peek at what you’ll find in Bama Bride:

“Hey, cowboy. How about a dance?” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she cringed. Wow, even to my own ears that sounded way too cheesy.

She looked him over as he stood with the sole of one boot propped against the wall, and a Stetson perched atop his head. He had sinfully good looks, and his olive complexion and wavy black hair gave him a swarthy, pirate-like appeal.

“Evening.” He nodded, but his gaze remained focused on the room, never lingering in one place too long. Clearly, she had been dismissed.

So much for my skill at playing the vamp. This is shaping up to be an epic fail.

With each swig he took from that long-necked beer bottle, however, she found herself wanting nothing more than to offer to lick off the moisture that clung to his mouth after every swallow. She decided not to give up so easily.

“You’re about empty. How about a second round? My treat?”

He locked eyes with her then, and humor glinted in his. The gorgeous stranger rewarded her with a dazzling smile even as he shook his head in polite refusal.

“Thank you, but no.”

His fingers were long, and his hand was broad. He exuded sex appeal. But she wasn’t used to these games of pursuit. It was usually the other way around, and she was fending off the unwanted advances.

Jeez, I must look utterly pathetic to him just standing here with doe eyes. I don’t know what possessed me to think I could ever stand a chance with someone like him.

She started to back away when suddenly the band began to play the first strains of “Sweet Home Alabama.” She took it as a sign that this might be her lucky night after all. She quickly downed the rest of her sour apple martini to bolster her courage and then deposited the empty glass on a nearby table.

“Are you just passing through?” She spoke loudly to be heard above the cacophony of their surroundings.

“I only came in for a beer—nothing else. I leave town in the morning.”

“I get it. No entanglements, right? But it’s just one dance. And judging by your accent, you aren’t from around here. So I’m willing to overlook the fact that you don’t know it’s an unwritten law that when that particular song comes on, it’s lady’s choice. She can ask any man to dance, and he can’t say no.”

“Can’t, huh? Is that a fact?” A playful grin toyed at the corners of his mouth.

“It is when you’re in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That song’s a sacred anthem around here. So, cowboy, I’m asking you once again. You wanna dance?” She put one hand on her hip and extended the other toward him, waiting. Hoping he would acquiesce.

His hesitation surprised her. Instead of accepting immediately, he purposefully raked his eyes over her from head to toe.

“Go ahead. I’ve got all night.” She teased him at the flagrant assessment of her assets. She welcomed the appraisal. She knew she looked good tonight.

Finally he budged, putting both feet on the ground and taking a step closer. “All right then. You lead the way.” He smirked, as if amused by the whole incident.

She smiled and turned toward the wooden floor near the stage, their fingers joined behind her as they walked. When they were front and center, she put her hands on his shoulders while his immediately came to rest on her hips. Although it wasn’t a particularly slow song, he pulled her close until their bodies touched, and they began to move in time to the music.

He was tall and towered over her, despite her high heels, so he bent slightly and introduced himself. “I’m David. What’s your name?”

The feel of his warm breath against her face made the air around her crackle. She inhaled the scent of him. It was equal parts of shampoo, spice, and suds, and it was more intoxicating to her than the vodka had been. She breathed deeply then looked up into his brown eyes.

“Neal.”

He raised an eyebrow in apparent surprise at the revelation. “That’s an unusual name for a girl. My best friend in high school was named Neil.”

“Cowboy, it may sound like a boy’s name, but I can assure you I am one-hundred-percent genuine woman.

He let his hands wander over the luscious curve of her bottom. Pressing his lips against her ear, he dared her. “Prove it.”

Honey, she makes a believer out of him, but you’ll have to get the book to find out how! :)  You can purchase Bama Bride at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It is available as an e-book and in paperback. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Joan Chandler is a Florida native who has lived in the Deep South all of her life. She is married with two children who are her pride and joy. She lives a double life of sorts, holding down a nine-to-five job during the day, and writing steamy romance at night—often with her black cat curled up in her arms as she types.

When she’s not spending her spare time working on her next novel, she loves to go camping, sharing girls’ night out with her friends, walking her two dogs, and watching college football.

BUY Links:

AMAZON:   http://www.amazon.com/Bride-BookStrand-Publishing-Romance-ebook/dp/B00CT35YFW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369583017&sr=8-1&keywords=bama+bride

BOOKSTRAND PUBLISHING:    http://www.bookstrand.com/bama-bride

BLOG:  http://www.joanchandler.wordpress.com

twitter account:   @joanchandler1

Find me on facebook:  Joan Chandler

email:  joanchandler13@gmail.com

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Workout Motivation

I’ve mentioned before that fellow author, Joan Chandler, is one of my best friends.  We not only get together as writing buddies, but do things with our kids (who can forget our trip to New Orleans with “Little Guy”?) , as well as many other types of adventures.  If you follow her blog, you know that she and I recently joined a local gym to yet again give ourselves a chance to make good on that universal New Year’s resolution.  Today was the Fourth of July (actually yesterday, but since I haven’t been to bed yet, it still seems like today), and we got together to write.  We decided to go through the gym before settling down with our laptops, dictionaries, thesauruses, reference books, etc., so off we went even though it was a wet, rainy night.

When we got there, we were almost the only people in a usually packed out facility.  We were thrilled!  We tried out some machines we haven’t had the nerve to try before, lest we make a spectacle of ourselves.  While I was wrestling a machine intended to define and sculpt the muscles in my arms, I looked over and spotted a man who could have been a double for Richard Armitage.

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He was dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt and black track pants like he wore during dwarf boot camp, preparing for The Hobbit.

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   Each time he pulled down on those weights, his biceps looked ready to pop, much like John Porter in Strike Back.

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When we went upstairs to do the elliptical machine, there he was again, on the treadmill, sprinting wide open, like Lucas North in a scene from Spooks/MI-5.

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Needless to say, I had no problem staying motivated to do my workout plan tonight!  I accomplished more than I’ve ever done since joining this gym.  With scenery like this, I was unaware of minutes and worked longer than ever with no whining or complaints whatsoever.   It would be great if I could always have this same scenery each time I go, but that is most unlikely.  Instead I’ll have to look deep within to find daily motivations.  Most days, I feel like the girl on the right with the chocolate, who is secretly debating whether or not to tackle the girl on the left so she can have her apple to dip in some of her melted big ass chocolate bar (hence the need to join a gym):

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My dream is to look like this gym bunny, and only have to strike sensuous poses as I lounge around the equipment rather than actually using any of it to workout:

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 When I got home tonight, I got on the scales, so I could set up my account for the Weight Watchers online program.  This is what went through my head when I did:

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I came across these two photos while looking for images for this post and said a silent prayer that Joan and I will have similar successes:

imagesCAANAGSZ   imagesCAQLOM2L

I’m happy for these women.  I don’t know who they are, but I know they are brave, determined, and faced down their moments of feeling like giving in (maybe not the blonde…that could have been photoshopped, but it is still motivating, because her starting weight looks pretty damn good to me!).

Now here comes the part when I tie in the topic of discussion with what’s going on in the bigger scheme of things….

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Fireworks have died down, barbecue grills have been cleaned, and the  signs of yet another Independence Day celebration have been cleared away.  I stress the word “Independence”.  For me, I hope to be free from weight and body issues that have been part of my daily life since childhood.  It is something I battle constantly.  Sometimes I win for a while, and sometimes I wave the white flag and give up.  Right now, I’ve got to fight harder and with more dedication and determination than ever.  Food is my addiction.  You may have the same problem.  You may be one that battles alcohol, drugs, smoking, negativity, overspending….the list goes on.  One addiction is no easier to break than another, because for the person in the war, it’s always there.  Let’s metaphorically pull ourselves up by our boot straps, and push ahead, celebrating every victory along the way, no matter how big or small.  Don’t look at the whole picture, or you will run away screaming and crumble.  Take it hour by hour, half a day at a time, a day at a time, a week at a time, etc….wherever you are in your war against addictive behaviors, keep pressing on.  Surround yourself with voices that say “You’re doing it, you’re doing it!” rather than “You’ll never make it.”  Separate yourself from enablers.  Hang out with those that love you enough to be tough enough to talk straight to you even if it hurts sometimes.  At the close of each day, try to focus on each positive move you made toward breaking the bad habits and forming good ones in their place.  We are blessed people to have our independence as a nation.  Let’s now begin/continue to work for our independence as individuals free from those “chains that bind us” and keep us from being our BEST SELF!!  Love you guys.  WE CAN DO IT!  WE ARE DOING IT!!

Now I know I only have to think about Rick hanging out at the gym, and I know I can last a few minutes longer on that blasted elliptical machine that taunts me, and snickers  (I would use a candy bar word!) at me as I approach it.  Nah…it’s not doing that at all….it is running for cover just like the scales in the cartoon above!!!

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!!! 

Another Father’s Day….

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This Father’s Day is extra special.  It wasn’t supposed to happen.  My father wasn’t supposed to have lived to see another Father’s Day, but he’s still here.  Today, at 3:00, my sisters and I will go visit with him, and take a stroll down Memory Lane.  In about two weeks he will celebrate his 82nd birthday.  His doctor told him he may not make it, but Daddy says he will.  I’m betting on Daddy.  He is the most determined, strong-willed person I know.  We’ve said the song that suits him best is Frank Sinatra’sMy Way“.   There was no other way.

I love my father deeply and unconditionally.   My childhood seemed perfect.  It wasn’t until I began college that I realized things may not have been as they seemed on the surface.  He has lived his life “his way”, and made choices that suited him best, regardless of the resulting ripple effect on loved ones.   There has been a lot of hurt over the years because of these choices (the makings of a great Southern novel), but I have to say, regardless of the choices he made for himself, he loves his children “supremely” (his words).  He has always been available to me with words of advice, support, encouragement, hugs and kisses, and always, a sincere “I love you”.  Not everyone gets that from their father for a lifetime. I have.   That is what I am going to choose to remember when he is finally gone.  The past will be the past, bittersweet as it may be.  I can be angry and wish things had been different, but that will only make me older faster, bitter in my own relationships, and someone no one will want to be around because of the negativity.  I CHOOSE to latch onto the positive, because God knows this story is loaded with negative.  I hope I have learned some lessons from him.  What to do and what not to do.   Maybe these lessons can help me become a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend.

I hope you have good, positive memories of your father that you can recall today.  If not your own father,  then a strong father figure in your life.  Latch on to those positive moments, no matter how small or how few.  Let them steer you toward finding the best parts of yourself, so that the positive cycle of behavior continues rather than any negative.  Let’s all strive to leave positive ripples in our wake.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.  I love you, now and always.   This one’s for you..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXr59ZKaVTI

Identity Crisis….by Eliza Daly

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Today, I am hosting Eliza Daly’s Goddess Fish Book Blast Tour for her new release, Identity Crisis.  Read below for more about Identity Crisis.  If it suits your fancy, and you find yourself wanting the whole story, check out the links at the end of the post to see where you can get your copy!

Eliza will be awarding a one $20 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificates to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificate, winner’s choice, to four (4) randomly drawn commenters during the tour. A $10 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificate, winner’s choice, will be awarded to a randomly drawn host.

To follow the tourand mke more comments, click on the link to get a full list of where this tour is headed!

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/02/virtual-super-book-blast-identity.html

BLURB:

When Olivia Doyle’s father dies under suspicious circumstances, rather than inheriting a family fortune, she inherits a new identity. She learns they were placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program when she was five years old. Her father was involved in an art forgery ring and testified against the mob. Brought up not to trust anyone, Olivia has a difficult time relying on U.S. Marshal Ethan Ryder to protect her, and to keep her secret. She fears her father may have continued his life of crime through her art gallery. She has little choice but to depend on Ethan when she realizes someone is now after her. Olivia’s search for the truth leads her and Ethan across country to a family and past she doesn’t remember.

At the age of ten, Ethan witnessed a brutal murder. He vowed when he grew up, he’d protect people in danger. Protecting Olivia is difficult when she won’t trust him. He soon realizes his desire to protect her goes beyond doing his job, but if his judgment becomes clouded by emotions, her safety could be jeopardized.

Can Ethan and Olivia learn to trust each other when they uncover secrets that will change their lives forever?

EXCERPT:

Olivia stood paralyzed, her mind racing, trying to comprehend the letter. Was this some kind of sick joke? For the past twenty-four years her dad had lived in fear that somebody would hurt them? What had forced him to leave behind everyone he’d loved? Everyone she’d probably loved, but obviously couldn’t remember. And if her mom wasn’t buried in San Francisco, whose grave had Olivia been visiting here all these years? She tried to hold the letter steady in her trembling hands. Of course it was vague. Her dad had been a man of few words. However, these few words expressed a lot of emotion, something he’d never been good at doing.

“Is everything all right?” Father Clifford’s voice penetrated her thoughts.

Concern creased the older man’s brow and from the curiosity filling his gray eyes, he had no clue what the envelope contained. Her dad hadn’t even trusted a priest with his secret. Her dad had been the only person she’d ever really trusted, and it turned out she hadn’t truly known him.

She merely nodded, unable to find her voice. She inhaled a deep breath. The scent of beeswax candles and incense did little to calm the panic racing through her veins. She unfolded a clipping from a Chicago newspaper, dated twenty-four years ago. The headline read Art Dealer in Bed with Mob Blows Whistle on Forgery Ring and Vinnie Carlucci. The article included a photo of police officers escorting her dad. She started reading the article. Prominent Chicago art dealer Andrew Donovan confesses to having sold more than a hundred forgeries…

Her stomach dropped. She slapped a hand over her mouth, certain she was about to vomit right there on the pew.

Her dad had been a criminal.

The nature of his crime made it all the more surreal.

She stared in disbelief at the papers in her hand. His name had been Andrew Donovan, not Alex Doyle. Her last name was Donovan. Was her first name actually Olivia? Instead of inheriting a family fortune, she’d inherited a new identity.

Or rather, an old one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eliza Daly's Author Pic

About the Author:

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy.

You can find Eliza on the web at:

Website:  http://www.elizadaly.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ElizaDalyAuthor

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/ElizaDalyAuthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/elizadaly

Where to Buy:

Identity Crisis is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, All Romance, eBooks.com, and Kobo

 

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