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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Calories #Dieting Week 6

It is amazing how much I am aware of calories now. There are days when I think my budgeted calories for the day are not enough and others when I feel I can’t eat that much. It truly is a daily battle.

For those interested, here is the formula to lose a pound. 


There are several calorie calculators online to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Find one and plug in your stats and it will tell you what calorie count to maintain. In order to lose weight you need to be negative 3500 calories. The method I choose for myself is to reduce my calorie intake by 500 calories a day below my ‘maintain’ weight ideal there by giving me a negative 3500 calories after 7 days. By this method I should lose one pound a week.

By upping my activity level and staying with a 1200-1400 calorie a day diet, I can increase the speed by which I lose weight.

There is a science to all of this; but you still have to figure out what is best for you. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Review: Minotaur Revisited by David Gelber



Legend states that the Minotaur was confined to the Labyrinth, slain by Theseus and then laid to rest by thousands of years of Greek mythology. But, the truth is far different. Read the Minotaur’s own words as he recounts his full life as god, king, warrior, matchmaker, midwife, monk, sage, father, mother, husband and, most of all, witness. The fierce Minotaur lived to see and be a part of the best and worst of humanity during a life spanning thousands of years. Part bull, part human, the Minotaur struggled to find his place in this world and, in the end, left his unique mark on history.




 Review:

This was a tough one. I loved the concept, but felt it dragged a little. One of those on and on stories. But let's start off with the positive: Wow, what a concept! I love mythology, Greek, Roman, Viking, Native American, ancient Japanese, whatever, I love it. And to see a character from mythology working his way through history is pretty cool.

And not so cool. It may be that I've been sick, or it may be that I've been reading other things lately, but this one seemed a little bogged down in the middle. Course, he did go through quite a bit of history (like all of it) and was pretty much everything and everyone he could possibly be. Which did make for interesting changes in perspective.

 All in all, if you want something a little different, enjoy history and mythology, and don't mind it being told from the Minotaur's perspective, then this is the perfect book for you. Not that I know of another Minotaur-type book out there, but all that aside, definitely try this one.

David will be awarding a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter at the conclusion of the two tours.


About David:

David Gelber, a New York native, is the seventh of nine sons and one of three to pursue medicine. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1980 and went on to graduate medical school in 1984 from the University of Rochester.

He completed his residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, followed by three years as attending surgeon at Nassau County Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y. Gelber has since joined Coastal Surgical Group in Houston, Texas.

Gelber has been a surgeon for more than 20 years, but over the last few years he began to pursue his passion for writing, initially with his debut novel, "Future Hope" (Emerald Book Company, January 2010). The novel speculates about future Earth and what the world might have been like if man had not succumbed to temptation in the Garden of Eden. "Joshua and Aaron" is a sequel to "Future Hope" and follows the battle of wills that transpires between unsung hero Joshua Smith and satanic Aaron Diblonski.

Dr. Gelber has added two books about surgery, "Behind the Mask" and "Under the Drapes", both of which provide the reader with a view of the world of surgery rarely seen by those outside the medical professions.

"Last Light" is an apocalyptic short story which starts off asking the question: "What would happen if nobody ever was sick or injured?"

"Minotaur Revisited" is an entertaining romp through history seen through the eyes of Quint, the famed half bull half man monster of Greek Mythology. It was in October 2012.
 

Gelber was raised in reformed Judaism, but joined the Presbyterian Church 15 years ago. He is married with three teenage children, four dogs and 24 birds of various species. His interests include horse racing, mechanical Swiss watches and, of course, writing.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Michel Prince, her new release, and a chance at a butterfly necklace!


Michel Prince is an author who graduated with a bachelor degree in History and Political Science.  Michel writes young adult and adult paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance.

With characters yelling "It's my turn damn it!!!" She tries to explain to them that alas, she can only type a hundred and twenty words a minute and they will have wait their turn.  She knows eventually they find their way out of her head and to her fingertips and she looks forward to sharing them with you.

When Michel can suppress the voices in her head she can be found at a scouting event or cheering for her son in a variety of sports.  She would like to thank her family for always being in her corner and especially her husband for supporting her every dream and never letting her give up.

Michel is a member of RWA Pro and Midwest Fiction Writers.  She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, son, cat and new puppy. 






BLURB:  

In the annals of dysfunctional families, the Chisholm’s are working their way to the top. Drug abuse, an unwed mother with multiple fathers, and the questionable cash flow for the 'pretty one'.   All this from a seemingly normal, two parent middle class family. But were the choices truly made of their free will?

            Bad choices are a Chisholm family trait, one that confounds the youngest child, Ellie, who's trying to separate herself by making smart decisions. And falling for Oscar Jeffreys, the hottest guy at school, would be number one on the list of  Chisholm family disasters.  Yet the crazy part is it’s not a one sided attraction.  Somehow Ellie has caught Oscar Jeffreys’ eye.   Sure she could see the barriers between them.  Race, age, popularity.  They were at opposite ends of the spectrum.  But a demon set to destroy her family? She can't see that.  

            Oscar provides security and acceptance Ellie never imagined she deserved.  As the passion of first love grows, Ellie honestly believes she has a chance to beat the odds and live a happy, normal life. Then her world collapses around her. With the help of a guardian angel, Ellie learns of a world that has unknowingly surrounded her for years.  And she'll have to find strength buried deep inside to save not only her future, but flush out and stop the demon in her midst.

            And Ellie will have to learn that sometimes the hardest lesson about growing up is accepting that you're worth more. 



Thanks, Michel for stopping by! Today she's talking about the top 3 things on her bucket/life list, her best vacation ever, and several other fun things. Plus a cool giveaway!

Michel will be awarding a butterfly gift basket to one randomly drawn commenter and a butterfly necklace to a second randomly drawn commenter.




Top 3 things on my bucket/life list:


1. Stay at least a week in Bora Bora at the Softel in a hut over the ocean.

2. See Europe…at least the Western countries if not a few of the Eastern. 
3. Get at least one of my novels turned into a movie.


As for best vacation ever that I’ve taken--it would have to be Florida with my husband and son.  We hit Coco Beach, Cape Canaveral and Universal Studios as well as one evening at Medieval Times during what was deemed “mom’s geek day.”


 


Interview Questions:
1. At any given time do you work on only one story at a time and maybe plot out the next one or are there many ideas racing around your head?
I have many stories running around my head and laptop at varying stages of completion.  There have been only two books that I worked straight through from start to finish; Chrysalis and The Guardian’s Heart.  Otherwise I usually keep between 2-5 stories up so I can switch with my muse.

2. Is there a genre you haven't written in but would like to? Or wish you could write in? 
I wish I could do espionage or spy novels.  I’m not versed enough it the alphabet agencies, weapons and security systems.

3. Do you add an element of romantic suspense in your stories?
If so, how difficult is it to maintain the integrity of the mystery?  In Chrysalis there’s more of a romantic strain than suspense.  In other books there is a suspense element, but I think we all question ourselves in our own relationships so the story wouldn’t have much integrity if there wasn’t that mystery of will it or wont it happen.

4. Say you have unlimited funds: What kind of writing office/cottage would you create for yourself? 
I’ve seen a few that have really gotten my fingers all tingly at the thought.  One of my favorite ones was like a tree house or playhouse separate from the home with two levels of books, because there has to be a library for down times.  I’d need a comfy chair with good lighting, wifi and maybe a fireplace.  Basically a desk somewhere but I’d need to have music pumped in for editing days.

5. If you could turn your novel into a TV show, which novel or series would you do? Where would it be set? Network TV (ABC, NBC, CBS), Cable (AMC, BBC, Lifetime) or Premium Cable (HBO, Showtime, Starz)?
Most people say that Chrysalis would be a great movie…but if I was going to do a series it would have to be The Frozen because as that story grows in future novels there are great twists coming up in that series.  I’d say Showtime, maybe HBO with demon sex it’d need to be on one of those two.

6. Finally, tell us about your latest release!
The latest would be book two of the Chrysalis Series called The Beam.  In the first book we meet Ellie who learns her family’s bad choices were influenced by a demon set out to destroy them.  As she harnessed her powers to destroy them she also learned that she was worth more than she ever thought. 

Now in book two her boyfriend has asked her to marry him as she enters her senior year of high school.  Although she has learned to destroy demons she now has to pull her family back and separate them from a demon that has completely infiltrated her home.  All the while fighting with growing up as suddenly people that didn’t seem to notice her for the first 17 years of her life suddenly decide she’s still a child and needs to be corralled. 

Ellie is the only one who knows about the demons and who can save her family.  With them blocking her at every turn she has to walk the line of being an adult and child as she desperately searches for the strength to save her family and finally find the peace she needs.



Buy Links:



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Changing Habits: Snacks #Dieting Week 5

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty of stopping and buying a Hersey’s bar or a bag of cheese doodles or chips in the middle of the day when I get hungry. It is the worst thing you can do for any diet. Obviously fruits and veggies (veggies I don’t like at all) are the preferred snacks. I like oranges and bananas. So a banana is great and an orange range under 100 calories or so; they are great snacks.

But sometimes you don’t want either; I have gotten into the habit of carrying the Special K bars in my purse. I really love the vanilla one and the chocolate and pretzel ones. They are great on the go, you know the calories and they satisfy the need for sweet. There are also all sort of granola bars and snack bars on the market just find the one that suits your taste and that craving for a snickers might be tamed.   
 Also, Trader Joe’s is a good place to find something healthy to snack on that doesn’t have several hundred unneeded calories!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Changing Habits: Food #Dieting Week 4

Oh yes, I am SO guilty of the McDonald’s run for lunch and sometimes dinner. I love me that greasy fried chicken and that saucy pasta. This is probably were the change is most noticeable for anyone trying to lose a few pounds or just get into healthier habits.

Now, I know if I deprive myself of my fried foods I'm not going to be a happy camper and I’d likely fall off the diet wagon sooner rather than later. So my motto all in proportion; find out the calorie count and instead of having what you really desire as a overflowing plate fit for a family of four for just your dinner; have half or a quarter of it.

A trick a friend taught me recently I have really appreciated. I love fried chicken as opposed to baked – though baked isn’t bad. But there really is nothing like a nicely fried wing or drumstick. So she gave me this advice:

  • Use about two tablespoons of oil (or a tad more if you are frying a lot of meat) and use about ¾ cups of water. 
  • Place both in a pot (a pot not a skillet because the contents will rise in a boil) and make sure *both are at room temperature* do not under any circumstances heat the oil before you add the water.
  • Combine both room temperature oil and water into the pot. 
  • Add the meat. 
  • Bring pot to a boil.
  • The boiling water will essentially poach the meat, thoroughly cooking it and when the water evaporates it leaves the oil at the bottom which will give the meat a gentle fry. 
  • Then remove the meat and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

This process reduces the amount of oil absorbed by the meat and while not as healthy as baking; it will satisfy the craving for fried foods while reducing the grease consumption overall. However, whenever possible baking of course if preferred but changing ones eating habits is a process and this could be step one.

Monday, February 11, 2013

#Review: Wisteria by Bisi Layton

Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters.She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Wisteriabooks Current Blog; Old Blog; Twitter; Goodreads





 

Blurb:

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

Review:
I can go either way with a YA book. Some are fantastic and I devour the entire series in a week. Some have the stereotypical teenager I hated in myself and despise in books I wish to read for pleasure. Wisteria fell into the former category. She didn't make me want to scream and beg for it to end, she was a very well-visualized teen. I liked her a lot and felt really awful for her over the abuse and treatment she endured from everyone throughout.

Seriously, I'm amazed she didn't go zombie-psycho on the town. Maybe in book 2...

The zombies were simply the world, the Nero virus how it all started. The story really centered on the characters, however, not the zombies so much.

The rest of the book, however, I had some difficulty with. For instance Bach. As in most all of Bach--his back story, his Family, his speech. Didn't like him at all. Nope. I could have done without his storyline and equally bad treatment of Wisteria. In fact, he's not worthy of being her love interest OR of having a distinct storyline.

Other little things that bothered me were the slang and the lack of description for the Isle of Symthe (Is this a real island? Or one of those places where it's made up like in Hunger Games and Panem?) I had no real physical layout of the place and found myself confused over distances and locations. As for the slang, I'm all for that, don't get me wrong but a little description on what it means would probably have helped. Are these English words? Or the post-apocalyptic world's words?

I'm all for Indie writing, definitely, but I'm also all for editing. I think Ms. Layton needed another pass with a really great editor. There were continuity errors, weird sentence structuring, repetitiveness, and lack of character development until the very very end. Hey, don't get me wrong, there's that in a 'publisher' published book, but again I recommend a great editor to weed some of that out.

Overall I'd give this book 3 stars for the interesting plot, the execution of said plot, and Wisteria. Give it a chance and see for yourself.


Excerpt:
Thirteen months after the first official case of Nero Disease


“Wisteria, run!” Rebecca O’Leary screamed over the radio.

Wisteria Kuti whipped around and came face-to-face with the blood-red eyes of a hungry flesh-eating biter. The biter was a man, infected by Nero Disease, who had long lost his mind. He looked more animal than human and he wanted one thing—to feed on the flesh of uninfected people. The biter growled and staggered toward Wisteria.

She fled down the deserted road to the nearest house. The front door was locked. She kicked at the door, but it didn’t open. Taking out her handgun, she smashed through the window of the door.

“Ugh,” more biters growled behind her.

She spun around, fired once, and hit one in the head. She unlocked the door by reaching in and turning the lock. Once inside, she chained and bolted the door.

Crash—a biter smashed through another window into the house.

Wisteria’s heart jumped and she darted up the stairs as fast as she could.

“Get out of the house, Wisteria!” Rebecca radioed.

I’m trying.

A biter grabbed her ankle as she ran. Falling hard on the steps, she wailed in pain. “Ah.” No time to cry, Wisteria. She fired at the biter holding her. One bullet left.

Three more biters appeared below and started coming up the stairs. Leaping up, she sprinted to the top floor and dashed into the first open doorway that led to the master bedroom. Locking the door, she headed straight for the window.

The infected clawed at the door, tearing it apart and snarling as they entered.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Changing Habits: At my desk Dieting Week 3

So it has been a few weeks since I started my diet/ weight loss journey and I am coming along if painfully slow. Everything is a change of mindset. As a writer I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting at my desk; in fact it is common for me to sit here for nearly 8 hours straight with the only break being ye ol’ potty break.(OK and food. Definitely!)
So this is where I started to change my habits. I set an alarm on my computer and every 45 minutes – 1 ½ hours (I have it varied) it goes off and I know I should get up and do something – no matter how small.
I either take a few minutes and do a fairly thorough stretch, back, hamstrings, arms, etc or I go off and take a short walk or do a flight of stairs or two before returning to my desk. I have also gotten into the habit of keeping small hand weights near my desk and at one or two of the alarms I do several sets of reps of different exercises.
What I have found since I've increased my activity level is that my energy level has gone up dramatically. That is a fantastic benefit! And you don’t have to start with a one hour intense cardio workout; just an increase in activity in the beginning.
 This isn’t The Biggest Loser – it is just the beginning of a healthier lifestyle and a healthier feeling.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#BookBlast: Saffron Nights by Liz Everly

About the Author:
Liz Everly is a passionate cook, writer, and traveler. Exploring food and romance in Saffron Nights, Liz ombines her lifelong love of action-packed romance with her culinary expertise. She loves to interact with readers. Please follow her on Twitter @Lizeverly1, check out her website  You can also find her on Facebook and blogging.
Amazon Page
eKensington:

Liz will be awarding organic saffron and cedar bath gel and handmade soap to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY).



BLURB:
Wherever they travel, there’s an aphrodisiac waiting to whet their appetites…
Brazil…Hawaii…India….As a food writer, Maeve has just been handed the hottest opportunity of her career. She’s being sent on an international research tour for an aphrodisiac cookbook. The downside is that she has to travel with rock star photographer and womanizer Jackson Dodds. And the upside is that she has to travel with Jackson Dodds. Because once they meet, Maeve understands why he’s been named “America’s Most Eligible Bachelor”—and despite her best intentions, all she can think about is putting their arousing recipes to the test…
Sexy and talented, Jackson can have any woman he desires. But lately, the thrill is gone—until he lays eyes on Maeve, who exudes sensuality like no one else. She’s determined to keep things professional, but he knows the attraction is mutual. And as they travel the world, sampling warming saffron, juicy papaya, silky avocado, rare herbs and teas—and a mushroom whose very aroma sends women to heights of ecstasy—both discover a hunger they’ve never known, and don’t want to resist, even amid unexpected danger…


Excerpt:

“Hard to imagine these ugly little truffles are so delicious,” she said to Jackson, as they walked toward the villa.

“Better than the jellyfish?”

“Ah, no, I don’t think so. I was surprised I like them,” she said. Mr. Mei Lei had carefully prepared jellyfish for her dinner on her last evening in Hong Kong. They weren’t fishy at all and she loved the golden-ink color of the gel and the way it felt, so smooth, on her tongue, all the way down into her throat.

“I’m surprised you remember how much I liked the jellyfish,” she said.

“Why?” he said, tilting his head just so and she imagined tilting her head the other way, just so. Lips on lips. Tongues twirling. The memories of their kiss tugged at her.

“I just didn’t think you were paying attention,” she said.

“You’d be surprised what I see when it looks like I’m not paying attention,” he said, moving closer to her. She could see, now, the faint pink tint around his nose and lips from the cold. He grinned. Don’t do that, don’t look at me like that while I’m trying to work. Don’t look at me as if you know exactly what I’m thinking, as if you know exactly what to do with all these body parts standing at attention, tingling.

She looked away at the resting dogs.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blast: Wind's Aria by Tessa Stockton

About the Author:
A veteran of the performing arts and worldwide missions, Tessa Stockton also contributed as a writer/editor for ministry publications, ghostwriter for political content, and she headed a column on the topic of forgiveness. Today she writes romance and intrigue novels in a variety of genres. In addition to her fantasy romance, WIND’S ARIA, she’s the author of suspense/thriller, THE UNSPEAKABLE, political intrigue/romance, THE UNFORGIVABLE, and a literary short story, LOVE AND LULL, with more in the works.

Tessa will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her reviews tour.


BLURB:

Aria falls into the hands of the dreaded angel who seems to have stolen more than her voice . . .



Excerpt:


“Who are you?”



He pushed further back into the shadows as she strode closer. “Someone you need not know.”



“What’s that supposed to mean?”



When he didn’t answer, she sighed.



“What a strange, terrible day,” she mumbled. “Well, at least tell me your name . . .”



He stood, speechless, knowing he shouldn’t be there at all—conversing with a Meleyan—especially not their musical deliverer that he was set to doom the day after tomorrow.



A peculiar grumbling interrupted her insistence, to his relief.



“Sorry.” She patted her stomach. He could see, even in the blackened night, how her face turned a deeper shade of red than her hair. “I’ve forgotten to eat. I guess I’m hungrier than I realized.”



He plucked an apple from the tree he’d nearly become a part of and held it out to her. The girl approached tentatively. She reached for the fruit but recoiled when her fingers brushed his.



“Is touching me so horrible?” he asked.



Her jaw dropped open and her delicate brow furrowed. She inclined her head. “It . . . hurt.”



“How?” he asked, for her fingers felt good to him, soothing. Warm. He wanted to try again.



“I don’t know how to explain . . .”



“Hum.” Unsatisfied with the answer, he tossed the apple to her and watched as she crunched her teeth into it.

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Soul Mate Publishing

Goddess Fish Blog Tour Partner

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