Jul 172017
 
He has loved Jeeps for a long time!

He has loved Jeeps for a long time!

An essay I wrote about my son has made it to the final round of a contest to win an air conditioning system for his Jeep. Between being on a swim team and being a lifeguard, he’s often gone for 10-12 hours a day. I sure would like to give him a break with a cool vehicle to drive home.

Could you please, please, pretty please click on the link below? It’ll take you to my essay on the Jeep Air Facebook page. Just like the post and that’s it! The finalist with the most “likes” at the end of the week wins. With your help – maybe it’ll be my son. Thank you in advance!!

https://www.facebook.com/jeepairparts/posts/2001759560054796

 July 17, 2017  Posted by  General, Writing Life 2 Responses »
Jun 202017
 

 

You could win this handbag! (1)

Gemma Halliday Publishing is having a fun contest. All you have to do to enter is follow on BookBub any or all of the authors, listed on this Facebook post, before June 29, 2016. Good luck!

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 June 20, 2017  Posted by  General Tags:  1 Response »
Jun 142017
 

Nail Polish

I have decided that I shall wear glitter nail polish on a regular basis. I very rarely paint my nails, but I am going to start. And I will raid my teenage daughter’s massive polish collection and try ALL of the glitter ones.

Why? Because I like sparkle. My blonde hair has added sparkle now from all of the gray threading through it. So why can’t I add some twinkle to my fingers too?

It looks like magical fairy dust adorning my fingers…which type stories on my laptop. Creating people and places out of thin air, as a writer, is a special kind of magic, don’t you think? So isn’t it fitting that I pretend, just for the fun of it, that my fingernails are sprinkled with a bit of extra magic?

Is glitter nail polish appropriate for a woman who is closer to fifty than forty? Possibly not.

Do I care if the beauty industry might think I’m too old for sparkly nails? Absolutely not.

You see, for many years now, I have been receding into drabness. Neutral clothing colors, little makeup, no jewelry = a very bland look. Why? Because I have become plumper than I’d like. Because the gray hair, that I am determined to embrace, sticks up and corkscrews – making me look like a Dr. Seuss character. Because I have convinced myself that I am a shy introvert, when I’m really not. Because for most of my life I have had a deeply embedded limiting belief that calling attention to myself in any way is bad.

Over the last few years I have done a lot of work to discover who I really am, not who I think I should be. The real me doesn’t want to be a chameleon who disappears into the background. If I pretend to be invisible, I never meet new people and never have conversations that capture my attention. And if I don’t experience new things and meet new people, where do you think I’ll draw inspiration for my writing from? A boring, sedate life is counter-productive for me as a writer.

So…I will wear glitter nail polish (on my finger and toe nails), brightly colored clothes, bold jewelry, and lipstick (something else that I have never been fond of until recently). Why? Because I don’t want to become bland and boring. I don’t want my daughter to have that type of mother. Looking back now, I can see that I let the unpleasant things in my life drag me down to into the mundane muck. But not anymore. Glitter nail polish will be a life preserver – my personal touch of whimsy and a reminder that life is magical if I make an effort to find the magic.

 

Oct 262016
 

It’s a new school year for my kids–the time of year where many people, including me, are compelled to make fresh starts. And that is what I am doing. This past year I smacked into a mid-life “awakening” (we won’t call it a crisis – even though it has felt like that sometimes).

Do you know what I mean? That feeling that something with life isn’t quite right, but you’re not exactly sure what the problem is. That you need to change, but you don’t know how or even what to change.

I’ve read books and perused websites, even worked with a life coach. One thing that became very clear while I was doing research is that I’m not the only person who feels this way. A lot of people get the urge to move around the puzzle pieces of their life into a different configuration when they reach the middle of their life. The image above is the centerpiece of a vision board I did with my life coach, and it says a lot about how I feel right now.

I’ve been quiet on my website and social media over the summer as I’ve decided what, exactly, I want to do. Okay, I admit, that the plan is more fluid than exact, but you know what? That’s wonderful! When things are moving…they aren’t stuck. And who wants to feel like their life is stuck in a rut?

For quite a few years I have focused my social media and author platform toward my career as a culinary mystery writer. But there’s a lot more in my life than cooking and writing mysteries. So I’m going to start sharing more of my interests in the hope that maybe someone else will enjoy them too. A lot of things will be changing from the look of this website to the style of my newsletters. (Do you subscribe to my newsletter? I hope you do because the new format will be launching soon, and I can’t wait to share it with you!) I’m writing new books, but at a slower pace since I’m also focusing on my family, and uncovering tools to navigate through this mid-life reinvention.

Some of the things that I plan to share are on the new age-y side, or as I say…woo-woo. If that’s not your thing and you no longer want to follow my blog or get my newsletter, no big deal. Feel free to unsubscribe, because life is too short to spend time reading things that you don’t enjoy. If you stick around I hope you find something useful…or that makes you smile…or that gives you an aha moment. I’m taking the scenic route, instead of the freeway, through this part of my life. I can’t wait to share some of the stops with you!

 

 

 

Jun 142016
 

Banana Muffins & Mayhem Treasure Hunt Blog Tour

Welcome to the Banana Muffins & Mayhem Treasure Hunt Blog Tour!

Banana Muffins & Mayhem was just released, so I’m having a blog tour and grand prize giveaway to celebrate. Stop by the blogs listed below to learn more about my new book…and me. :) Each blog has a letter that helps spell a secret phrase which can earn you bonus points in the Grand Prize Giveaway – A Muffin Baker’s Prize Pack.

You can enter the giveaway any time you want (like right now!) without the secret phrase. After the blog tour is over and you know the phrase, just come back and fill in the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to earn the extra points. Want an easy way to keep track? Click here for a Google Doc to print out and record the letters.

6/14 – My Cozy Book Nook has Letter #3

6/15 – Book Babble has Letter #5

6/16 – Life’s A Stage has Letter #8

6/17 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews has Letter #1

6/18 – Joy’s Book Blog has Letter #4

6/20 – Knyttwytch’s Crafts and Stuff has Letter #7

6/22 – Savvy Verse & Wit has Letter #2

6/24 – Romancing The Books has Letter #6

What could the extra points from the secret phrase help you win?

MuffinPrizePack

A Muffin Baker’s Prize Pack containing: a square muffin tin with silicone liners, a cake & pancake pen, measuring spoons, a dry measuring cup set, a liquid measuring cup, a silicone spatula, and a banana nut muffin baking mix.

Contest open to US residents only. I will email the winner when the contest is over on June 30, 2016. Winner has 1 week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Entries will only be accepted by the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Feb 142016
 

BetterThanBeforeBetter Than Before
By Gretchen Rubin

It’s that time of year. When resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Many of us have the best intentions to start the year fresh with a bounty of new, life-improving habits. But many times what we intend to do and what we end up doing are very different. It isn’t easy to establish new habits or break destructive ones.

“Better Than Before” isn’t a one-size fits all solution to forming habits. Instead of giving general advice which could work for some people, Ms. Rubin realizes that every person has a different habit-forming personality. First she helps readers decide on what disposition they have: Upholder, Obliger, Rebel or Questioner. Building on that basis she goes on to help people decide their habit-forming styles: lark or owl, sprinter or marathoner, simplicity or abundance lover, etc. These sections were a real eye-opener for me. I loved that it provided a way to zero in on habit establishing methods that work the best. Plus I had never really thought about how beneficial habits are. Of course, if you eat good foods and exercise you will be healthier. But habits also free up mental space. When you do something by habit, you don’t need to think about whether you want or don’t want to do something.

The rest of the book goes through different ways to establish habits like scheduling, abstaining or using rewards. Ms. Rubin gives examples from her own life as well as from her friends and people who have commented on her blog. And the many examples really drive home the point that people form habits differently. So many times I read how Ms. Rubin established a habit, and I would just shake my head. There is no way I would try the methods myself. Most of them sounded like torture since I have a different style than she does. And that is the beauty of this book. Once you decide what style works best for you, there is an abundance of advice to help you establish habits. Personally I found the advice Ms. Rubin dispensed to her sister and brother in-law, both television series writers, to be very helpful. My copy of the book is full of highlights and notes which I plan to use to start my own set of healthy, productive and efficient habits.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 February 14, 2016  Posted by  General, Review Tags:  2 Responses »
Dec 172015
 

CastIronBrownie

Since my new book is Fudge Brownies & Murder, I figured brownies would be the perfect thing to giveaway to celebrate the release. And these aren’t just any kind of brownies. No, they’re made in a miniature cast iron skillet that you can use over and over to make ooey, gooey brownies for two (or one). Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win. I’ll choose a winner after Christmas. Good luck!

U.S. entrants only, please.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nov 052015
 

BrownieMasonJar

To celebrate the release of my Culinary Competition Mysteries Boxed Set I am giving away this mini Mason jar mug filled with brownie mix…because the next book in my series is Fudge Brownies & Murder. :) Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. This contest is open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 262015
 

Raid My Bookshelves Giveaway #4

Halloween is almost here, but there is nothing spooky about this giveaway! You can simply win books, pulled from my own bookshelves. All you need to do to enter is subscribe to my newsletter. If you are already a subscriber…congrats! You’re already entered in the giveaway. If not, you can become a subscriber below. I only send out monthly newsletters and a few special announcements. I promise I won’t drive you crazy filling your inbox with emails, and I will never share your email with anybody else.



Books in this giveaway are (links go to Amazon where I am an associate):

The Bookfair Murders

B as in Beauty

30 Meals/30 Minutes: A Healthy Exchanges Cookbook

A Penny Saved

The Great Salsa Book

 

 October 26, 2015  Posted by  General, Updates Tags: ,  2 Responses »
Sep 092015
 

Raid My Bookshelves Giveaway #3

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these giveaways. Can you say crazy busy summer? :) BUT it’s finally time for another newsletter giveaway. If you would like the chance to win one of these gently used books, culled from my very own bookshelves, just subscribe to my newsletter. If you are already a subscriber…congrats! You’re already entered in the giveaway. If not, you can become a subscriber below.



Books in this giveaway are (links go to Amazon):

Jewelgami

Patio Daddy-O

Exit Ghost

La Cucina

A Writer’s Book of Days

Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish

 September 9, 2015  Posted by  General Tags: ,  13 Responses »