Sunday, December 23, 2012

And the winner of the Mistletoe Madness blog hop is...

Kimberly Holgate!

I will be contacting you by email later today!

Sorry about the delayed announcement. I decided to get a flu shot this year and yup, got sick. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Also stay tuned. The winner of the grand prize will be announced soon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop 2012!


Welcome to the Mistletoe Madness! I was lucky enough to be involved with this last year and it was so much fun, I just had to do it again. And lucky you, you have a chance to win a brand knew Kindle Fire preloaded with books from some pretty awesome authors. There are also many other wonderful prizes being offered on several other blogs. 
 

What do you have to do? Enter to win the grand prize here on PJ Schnyder's blog and/or comment on this blog for a chance to win my holiday give-away package. Because I think the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon is with a hot cup of coffee and a good book, the package includes a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks, an  e-copy of Altered Destiny, and a magnet for your refrigerator. 

At the end of this post, you'll find a link to all the other participating authors.

So come on, meet some new talented authors, visit with some old friends and enter to win prizes! The contest is open from December 14th to December 21st.

Here's a bit about Altered Destiny so you know what you're playing for: 

Selia has run her family's tavern since she was fifteen and can hunt and fight the equal of any man. When she rescues a badly wounded man and nurses him back to health, she has no idea she's about to change not only her life, but also the destinies of two peoples...

The battered warrior is Svistra—a race of bloodthirsty savages determined to destroy her homeland. Or so the stories claim. Jaden reveals a different truth: how his ancestors were driven into the barren northern mountains. Now they are strong and war parties are pushing south wanting their land back.

The son of a Svistra Commander, Jaden is looking for a way to bring peace to both humans and Svistrans. He tries to ignore his growing passion for Selia, but when she is captured he has to decide what he would be willing to sacrifice to save the woman he loves.


Good luck and have fun!

Participating Authors

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Day in the Life: Cooking


Recently, on Instagram, I saw a picture of a cupcake. Now I always pay attention to cupcakes, but this is one I'd never heard of before. Ready?

Hot chocolate cupcake with marshmallow creme frosting.

Go ahead, take a moment to savor the idea. I did.

I asked Sophie Riggsby for the recipe and discovered it's a box cake. Now I have nothing against box cake mixes. You can jazz them up. I use them to make cookies. They're convenient.

And then, when shopping the next day, I saw this:


I  bought it and made this:


Did it taste as good as I was hoping? Well, no.

You see, I expected rich decadence, fluffy marshmallow. Heaven in a cupcake. Granted I didn't doctor it up as Sophie suggested (with a box of pudding mix) and that would have made it richer. And I'd had one of those days and decided to whip the marshmallow cream from a soupy mess into whipped glory  by hand. The cake was okay. The frosting too sweet.

I expected too much. 

Guess I'll stick to the liquid kind.

Have you tried any recipes or looked forward to eating something and were disappointed?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Day in the Life: Catch Up

I smiled as I typed the title. This is something I never seem to do.

So as far as gardening. I haven't taken any new pictures because I haven't done any gardening. It's finally cool enough but I am a slave to the computer right now. Cooking, well I have some pictures I'd like to share if I can find time to post them.

Which leads me to...

I am hard at work on Book #3 in the Triune Stones Series and waiting for copy edits on book #2. What I had for book #3 was made void by what I changed in book one and two so it's a complete rewrite. That means almost 80 K in 8 weeks. I've  done it before but not with an infant.

Which leads me to...

The baby who does not sleep. She started solid food. I was hoping it would help her to sleep longer. You know. Full belly=sleep, right? Well, apparently not. She's growing and so the doctor says she's fine, she just doesn't need a lot of sleep. She didn't get that from me. Every once in awhile, she'll crash for an hour. Sometimes, I can get her down for two 30 minute naps. But she is sleeping until 9 am and going to  bed around 9 pm with three feedings between. That means I'm not a zombie, and if I wake up early or go to bed late, I can get 2 hours of writing in.

Which lead me to...

Journey of Awakening, Book #1 will be out in February. February! That's three months away! Ack! By then I will be working on the fourth book, currently unnamed, and doing copy edits on the third book.

Which leads me to...

Why this blog has seemed kinda empty lately.

And

I'd really better get back to work on Book #3

What have you all been up to lately?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Facts, Fantasy, Fun: Five facts


A recent post on Facebook about buttered tortillas led to a discussion about tortillas in general and how you can eat almost anything in a tortilla. Butter, meat, cheese, eggs... This of course made me ponder what I wouldn’t eat wrapped in a tortilla.

After thinking about it, I came up with five, okay, four things I would not eat on a tortilla. These, with a glaring exception, are things I would eat anyway.

Hot dogs
Fish
Chocolate
Doritos
Human flesh

Uh, a brief explanation for that last one:
Me to seventeen-year-old daughter. I’m trying to think of something I wouldn’t eat in a tortilla.
Her: Chocolate.
Me: Got that.
Her: Human flesh
Me: Thinking she plays too many video games. 

I asked my husband the same question. He loves hot dogs and fish in tortillas by the way, but he’d never eat mayonnaise on a tortilla. I didn’t even think of mayonnaise. But I guess I wouldn’t eat it anyway... I have eaten peanut butter and jelly tortillas. Don’t knock it. Butter and cinnamon sugar...serious yum.

So my question to you. What wouldn’t you eat in a tortilla?



Friday, November 9, 2012

Facts, Fantasy, Fun: Fall!


My husband watches a lot more TV than I do. I usually pick one or two shows to watch a season and that’s it. But he introduced me to the Food Network and the various shows therein. We discovered Once Upon a Time and were both hooked. Okay, I made him watch the first show but he loves it as much as I do. Friends have recommended shows and I became hooked. Mostly I record and watch when I have a few minutes (read fold laundry or feed the baby).

So it is that I find myself this fall discovering show after show that I need to record or watch OnDemand. There’s a lot.

I mean a lot. 

How will I find time to get my fix? Here’s a list of the shows I want to watch this fall.

Bones (although this one is fading...they wrote themselves in a corner)
Vampire Diaries (Team Damian)
Once Upon a Time (This show has some good writers...okay suspend disbelief just a little but...)
The Office. (this is my go-to-I-need-a-laugh show)
Dexter (antagonist and hero...how can you help but be fascinated?)

There are others I watch with my dh. Sweet Genius, Chopped, Iron Chef, any contest such as the Great Food Truck Race or The Next Iron Chef.  Newly discovered this year, but kinda meh about so far but still watching: Revolution. (Anyone else see the similarity between this premise and S. M. Stirling’s Emberverse series?)

And we recorded but haven’t yet watched Nashville... I know...  but I’m a huge Hayden Panettiere fan since Heroes (why do they take off the best shows?) Save the cheerleader; save the world!
I used to be a huge Dancing With the Stars fan and my interest was piqued this season but so far I haven’t watched it. America’s Next Top Model kinda fell off my watch list too.

So what are you watching this fall? Which show did you most miss this summer? Do you watch shows as they air or record? What’s one show you wish they’d never taken off air?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Facts, Fantasy, Fun: Folly

I haven't been sleeping as much as I should. Baby still isn't sleeping through the night and naps are iffy...but getting better. But nap time for baby does not mean nap time for mommy. Despite the fact I'm home, I'm still a working mom.

That said, I can see that the sleeplessness has affected my powers of observation. Take this for instance. In the grocery store to pick up food for dinner, I walk by the various face masks and think I deserve to treat myself a little. So I read through the various packages and pick out this one: 


Do you all see it? Yup, this is a face mask for a man. It says so right on the upper-right-hand corner. In my defense, it's a very feminine-looking man but....

When I got home, and read the package again, realizing my mistake, I offered it to my husband who very firmly let me know face masks were not for him. (a manly man is my man.) ; ) 

So what am I gonna do with it? What would you do with it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Facts, Fun, Fantasy: The Upside-Down Garden


Upside-Down Garden.

In Journey of Awakening, Sara is lying in bed at an old healer's house. She stares up at the herbs drying from the rafters and thinks it looks like an upside-down garden. I thought from time to time, it would be fun to discuss some of the ways she, and I, use herbs in day-to-day life. Today! Lavender




Lavender is one of those plants that grows really well where I live...and I’ve managed to kill every time I’ve planted it. Why? Because it doesn’t need a lot of care and I over water or fertilize... and yeah. Dead lavender. 

But did I mention I love it? So I’m trying one more time. This time, I’m putting it in a container so I can better control the water and it won’t get fertilized with the roses and trees.

So why do I love it so much? Lavender is beautiful with spiky purple flowers and grey-green, very fragrant leaves. But it's also useful!

The use of lavender dates back thousands of years and is synonymous, in some circles, with stress relief. Its name derives from the Latin word Lavare, (to wash) and has antiseptic properties. During WW2, lavender was used not only to dress wounds but to disinfect floors.

The leaves and flowers are often used in potpourri but lavender leaves are also an insect repellent, and I read not too long ago, about a woman who used tied bunches of lavender to stop algae from growing in her bird bath.

Healers and herbalists have used lavender as an antispasmodic, a diuretic, a sleep tonic and as a remedy against headaches. I can attest to its effectiveness in two ways: I‘ve always been a bit of an insomniac and keep a vial of lavender spray by my bed to help me relax. Lavender oil is also the prime ingredient in a lotion I rub on my temples when I have a headache. It seems almost miraculous to me how fast it works.
Lavender is also a culinary herb, which shouldn’t be surprising since it’s a member of the mint family. 


Now for the gardening side:
There are several types of lavender: Spanish, French and English are the most common. (If you really want the Latin names, I can put them in the comments if you like) English lavender has the sweetest fragrance and is most commonly used in cooking. French or Spanish lavender is better for crafts and dried arrangements.

If you grow lavender, and I recommend you do, make sure it has sandy, well-drained soil and lots of sun. If you have clay soil, which is one of my problems, add a considerable amount of sand; a raised bed helps too. Or a pot. Definitely trying a pot this time.

Disclaimer: Dried herbs are always more potent than fresh and never use herbs from florists or nurseries as it could have been treated with pesticides. 

Have you used lavender? Do you grow it?



Monday, October 22, 2012

A Day in the Life: Gardening

Okay, as promised, here are the pictures of my garden. It pains me to reveal these, really it does.
So you have a better idea of the problem, here is a comparison.

Before:


After:





The second picture is taken later in the year but... yeah, pretty bad.

Here's another. (It's like ripping off a bandaid!)


I am hoping to post a few pictures of my progress in a few weeks. Wish me time, folks!

Have you ever let anything go so long you wondered if you'd ever catch up? Considered trashing it and starting over?

Friday, October 19, 2012

My little bumblebee



October is anti-bullying awareness month and I am honored to join together with other authors to raise awareness of this widespread problem.

Some consider a little teasing part of growing up. I know I did. At twelve, just entering junior high, my mom moved us from a tiny town in Western Washington where we attended a school of about twenty children to a fairly large city where my moccasins, dresses and old-fashioned clothing just didn't fit it. Yup, I was a social outcast. I was told to ignore it, but you know, some of those scars still remain.

But I honestly don't want to talk about me.

My daughter is a vibrant, gorgeous little girl with curly red hair and the biggest blue eyes you've ever seen. She was also born with Poland's Syndrome and Brachydactyly. Which means she doesn't have a pectoralis major muscle, the one that goes from your shoulder to your breastbone--It looks like the right side of her chest is caved in--and her fingers and toes are stunted and misshaped. At two she had to have surgery because she was missing several teeth and adult teeth were growing sideways in her gums. Her jaw is also misformed a little. She has an under and over bite. She doesn't have the muscle to support her breast growth on one side, which will mean a future surgery once she starts developing more.

She wasn't able to suck when she was born. The doctors and lactation coaches tried everything, but she was labeled failure to thrive. I don't think I can convey what that does to a mother. I finally followed my gut and fed her with an eyedropper.

The doctors said she'd need physical therapy. She went from two months to five months when the physical therapist threw her hands up in the air and said she didn't know how she did it, but she was on the late side of normal and catching up. 

That's when I started calling her my little bumble bee. No one had told her she shouldn't be able to push herself up or roll over. She just did. She walked at nine months and kept up with the other kids. I was told she'd never have strength on her right side. No sports, tumbling, etc, but she could live a fairly normal life. 

When she was two she started going cross-eyed. I took her to the eye doctor to discover she couldn't see very well. When we put glasses on her for the first time, she looked around the room and said, "I see people!" She never took the glasses off.

She was a head shorter than all the other kids in Kindergarten. It was all I could do not to run after her and take her back home. She was the only of my kids that just smiled at me and waved goodbye.

It was with a bit of reservation that, after she insisted, I enrolled her in gymnastics. She thrived. So far she has done everything she set her mind to do. A bumble bee.

But now she's in junior high. She just joined the cheerleading squad. She's already come home several times telling me that the other girls have told her she's too short, too fat, and asking her why she is even there. Her best friend even got in on the name calling. She's started asking me about her hands, and why her fingers aren't straight and when is she going to have a growth spurt. She wants to fit in. She wants to be like the other girls. She won't be.

I've spoken to her and she wants to handle it herself. She talked to her coach, but I wonder. Girls can be vicious. 

So I worry. When will the taunts start dimming her light? How many times does it take to hear she's not good enough before she starts believing it? 

And I'm angry, because she doesn't deserve it. But then no child does. 



Below you'll find the links to the other author's blogs. Thank you for visiting.

Mandy M. Roth Yasmine Galenorn Lauren Dane Michelle M. Pillow Kate Douglas Shawntelle Madison Leah Braemel Aaron Crocco NJ Walters Jax Garren Shelli Stevens Melissa Schroeder Jaycee Clark Shawna Thomas Ella Drake E.J. Stevens Ashley Shaw Jeaniene Frost Rachel Caine Kate Rothwell Jackie Morse Kessler Jaye Wells Kate Angell Melissa Cutler PT Michelle Patrice Michelle Julie Leto Kaz Mahoney Cynthia D'Alba Jesse L. Cairns TJ Michaels Jess Haines Phoebe Conn Jessa Slade Kate Davies Lynne Silver Taryn Blackthorne Margaret Daley Alyssa Day Aaron Dries Lisa Whitefern Rhyannon Byrd Carly Phillips Leslie Kelly Janelle Denison Graylin Fox Lee McKenzie Barbara Winkes Harmony Evans Mary Eason Ann Aguirre Lucy Monroe Nikki Duncan Kerry Schafer Ruth Frances Long

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Day in the Life: Gardening



Those of you who know me, know I love to garden. For me, it’s not a chore...well, most of the time its not. Pulling weeds is cathartic and has from time to time, has been inspiration for a story idea. I think because it’s fairly mindless. I mean if you know the difference between a weed and a flower, or just what you want growing where (some weeds are gorgeous) you don’t really have to think about what you’re doing. This quasi- comatose state is when most of my really good ideas have hit me. That or the shower/right before I fall asleep but that’s another post.

And I love to go out in the garden and watch the changing of the seasons by which flowers are blooming. For me, it’s an exquisite combination of pride and wonder.  I may have trimmed, weeded, fed and watered, but I didn’t create the plant or cause to it to grow.

At the risk of sounding like a kook, I think each plant has its own personality and after awhile they feel like old friends. This was my garden last year.

That’s why it’s hard to walk into my garden now. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I couldn’t go out there and weed. Then there was a newborn and now? 6 months of neglect means weeds as tall as my roses. There is almost as much grass in the flower beds as in the lawn. Everything is overgrown. There are more dead flowers on stems than live ones and my neighbor’s blackberries are once again threatening everything in the east bed.  That and I lost many container plants. Some of them old friends.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’ll regroup. This winter when everything is dormant, I can go out there and reclaim my garden. It was a choice I had to make. A hard choice but a choice. So this winter, if you like, you can follow me in the reclaim the garden marathon. I’m pretty sure it will take all winter. I will *gulp* take some pictures of now so we can track the progress.

Have you had to let something go recently? A hobby? Job? Pastime?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Facts, Fantasy, Fun: Contest




The authors at Here Be Magic, of which I am one, have decided to pull out our bag of treats and celebrate Halloween with a series of month-long giveaways, culminating in a grand prize of a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet (loaded with ebooks from participating authors) to be awarded to one lucky person on Oct. 31! We'll also announce weekly prizes, including chapter critiques for writers from five of our published authors; promotional services, including promotional tweets, reviews and blog spots; a one-month long mentorship from author Jeffe Kennedy; and a Meet and Greet with authors during the New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book Conference on Oct. 13.  Be sure to visit the blog for more information and to enter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mid-week update

I know I promised an interview with CJ Redwine today on Everybody Needs a Little Romance, but unfortunately it's postponed until next month... anticipation is the best seasoning, right? But I'm still there talking about one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. : )

http://everybodyneedsalittleromance.com/

Also, don't forget on Here Be Magic, we're having a huge Halloween giveaway! Week one is already gone, don't miss out on the fabulous prize for week two!

http://herebemagic.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Day in the Life: What's cooking?


What’s cooking?

Recently we celebrated my husband’s birthday. He’s quite the foodie. We watch several cooking shows together and he had a subscription to Food Network Magazine, which he loves!

When I asked him what cake he wanted for his birthday, he grabbed the magazines, picked half a dozen contenders (not just cake but pie and crumbles, etc) then asked me to surprise him.

After going through the recipes, and based on the look in his eye as he was pointing them out, I chose a peanut-butter-cream-filled cupcake with a chocolate ganache frosting and topped with a salty peanut garnish. A bit labor intensive...as compared to a plainer cupcake but oh-my-gosh so worth it.


But unbeknownst to him, I’d also decided to take cupcakes to soccer practice that day. My husband is a coach. So because it’s one of his favorite drinks, I created a raspberry lemonade cupcake. It’s a lemon cake with a raspberry filling and topped with a cream cheese/butter cream frosting.




I totally cheated with this one. It really couldn’t be easier. I blended box and homemade but if I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Serious yum!

So what's cooking in your home? Any recipes you'd like to share?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Facts, Fantasy, Fun: Book Review-Defiance by CJ Redwine.


I received this book as a wonderful ninja birthday gift and was in no way coerced, or expected, to write a review. Just sayin'

I don’t usually write reviews, mainly because I’m not very good at it. But every once in awhile, you read something that you just want to rave about. So rave I shall.

The first thing that struck me about Defiance is the gorgeous cover. A cover that I grew to like more as I read the book. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine when the picture on the cover doesn’t even look like the hero/heroine, but with Defiance, they captured Rachel Adams perfectly!


After reading only the first few pages, the reader is transported into a complete, actualized world. I actually went back and studied how the author did this. In very few words, the reader gets a sense of an entire civilization, history and way of life. Not only that, you also get an immediate sense of who Rachel Adams is and you want to get to know her better.

CJ Redwine wrote this book in first person. Even though much of YA is written in first person, I don’t care for it. Sometimes it puts you too close to the character. In this novel, it works. What I haven’t seen much  is a two-person first-person POV. Each chapter lets you know whose POV you’re in and I was grateful for this. It added depth to the story.

Rachel Adams wasn’t raised the way the rest of the girls in Baalboden were. Instead of learning how to be the perfect wife, she was training how to handle weapons, defend herself and track in the forbidding Wastelands that surround the small township.  When Jared, her father, doesn’t return from a mission across the Wastelands, he’s pronounced dead. But Rachel won’t accept it. She begins to plan how she’s going to escape the town and find her father. Logan McIntire apprenticed as a courier under Rachel’s father, even though his skill lies in inventing machinery.  He too wants to find Jared, but his biggest concern is how to keep Rachel safe. A monster, called the Cursed One, lives out in the Wastelands, killing anyone who crosses his path.

The antagonist, the commander and ruler of Baalboden, has his share of secrets. Secrets that cause him to hate Rachel and Logan. He wants something that Jared was carrying and will stop at nothing to get it.
I loved this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced story with lots of adventure and just enough romance to keep in interesting.

All in all, I loved this book. To find out more about CJ--she has a sense of humor you can't help but love-- or read more about her work, visit her here. And next Tuesday, I will post an interview with CJ at Everybody Needs a Little Romance. Why not check out the blog now! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Facts Fantasy Fun: Cover Magic




There’s this moment when you read the art department has your new cover that everything just freezes, your breath catches. This one picture represents the book that has taken you months or even years to write and perfect, or come as close to perfect as possible. 

It represents late nights, too much coffee, piles of undone laundry and dishes, pizza or cereal for dinner, hopes, dreams and yeah, you get the picture. And this one image has been created for you by someone else’s interpretation of your books. Heavy stuff. The time between reading the email and downloading the picture stretches as taut as my nerves. And...then...there it is.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a cover image and immediately loved it. Probably for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above. So I look, take it in, send it to my trusted web expert and my husband for their opinions, wait a day or two, take another look and love blooms. It helps that the art department at Carina Press is incredibly talented.

So... Are you ready?

What do you think?



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I forgot a birthday


No, not mine, which was last week. Not my husband’s, which is next week, or any of my children. I missed Altered Destiny’s first birthday. Yup, a year ago, September 19th, my very first full-length manuscript was released. This is a cause for celebration don’t you think? But amid the looming editing deadlines, (three books!) meal planning, child raising, house keeping and trying to keep a healthy marriage, it got lost.
I was sitting on the couch in the living room, feeding the baby when I checked my phone’s calendar to see if I had anything pressing to do in the upcoming week when I noticed the date. I turned to my husband and said, “It’s Altered Destiny’s birthday today”. He looked at me with a combination of I’m sorry and congratulations.
So the emotional me was a bit upset at myself, but the business part of me was even more upset. I didn’t do nearly the amount of promotion I should have done for this book when it was released.  The anniversary of its release was a perfect time for giveaways, contests, blog tours, shouting from the rooftops “you really should read this; it’s awesome!” Not to mention I have a new book coming out in February so building a little interest in me and my writing would be smart. Very smart. *big sigh*
Promotion and me get along like water and oil. Unless we’re agitated and forced to blend, we just drift apart, sliding off each other, oblivious.  I’m seriously thinking of hiring someone to help me promote Journey of Awakening and her sister books next year.  Saying “buy my book” is ridiculously hard for me. 
So, lets share some virtual cupcakes in honor of Altered Destiny’s belated birthday. I’ll throw some confetti and pass the alcohol. You’ll have to drink for me, I’m still nursing.  On second thought, have two! : )

Have any of you ever dropped the promotion ball? What kind of promotions do you think work? Make you want to enter, comment or buy the book?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blogging

One of the first things you learn about blogging is that you should be consistent. I have attempted this over the my life as a blogger with varying results. As my alter-ego, I had blogs scheduled at least a month in advance for three days a week. When I switched genres, I planned on doing the same thing. Didn't happen. I'm wondering if it's because I decided to be more...me on this blog and so I feel more vulnerable. Or maybe it's just because it's a different time in my life and my priorities have changed. Either way I could only categorize this blog as haphazard.

I blog once every two weeks over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance with an awesome group of women--You really should go check us out-- so I over maternity leave I was wondering how often should I blog here. I'd started this blog thinking three times a week, but obviously that hasn't worked. I thought maybe I could do a feature such as my tidbit Tuesdays, but that really hasn't seem to draw that many readers...besides I blog at ENALR on Tuesdays.

I tried to build the readership with contests and wasn't really successful  giving things away (but I think that has more to do with the reluctance to comment than reading)

So maybe twice a week? Once a week?

So I'm throwing this out there. Do you want to hear about my writing only or would my garden or cooking exploits interest you? What about my family, which is a big part of who I am. Do you want writing advice?

Throw your two cents in, please! And if you're a blogger, feel free to tell me what works for you.

I'd really appreciate it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Insane Part Two

Okay, where were we? Oh yeah, on the brink of insanity. If you're interested in catching up, you can find part one here.

So he morning arrives. I wake up to feed the baby, planning to let the kiddos sleep until right before we're getting in the car. You know, drowsy, sleepy kids make traveling easier. Unfortunately, I didn't share this information with my husband who jumps on their beds, tickles and generally rouses--at least the 6yos--into a traveling frenzy. Hyper, energized kids make traveling...interesting.

Okay back on track. My biggest fear was how I was going to feed the baby. After talking with a lactation nurse, her advice was to try and feed her by leaning over the car seat. Um, sounds good in practice but in reality. I'm only 5'2" and and um... yeah. Did a dry run--so to speak--and just had to laugh. That was not happening.

So it was actually with a huge dose of trepidation that I climbed in next to the car seat and we backed out of the drive way.

Wouldn't you know, feedings were not a problem...diapers were. You see, if necessary, I could give her a supplement bottle while we were driving, and I brought the pump but using it in a car full of kids seemed...yeah, I didn't do it. But I couldn't change her without taking her out of her car seat. So although every stop did take a bit longer so I could feed her, we used that time to let the kids run off some energy, we had to make special stops to change the poor baby. She seemed to have a special affinity for Winnemucca...there and back. Thank God for sturdy plastic bags and aunts with really good washing machines.

Another thing, my gorgeous infant who takes 10 to, rarely, 30 min catnaps during the day slept almost all the way to Utah. She'd wake up, be happy, look around, eat and go back to sleep for sometimes 2-3 hours! We thought she wouldn't sleep that night but her night schedule didn't change....go figure.

And baby is awake again so I will end with saying I made the trip there and back and don't seem any more insane than when I left. Of course that's not saying much. ; )

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Insane?

This summer my husband and I drove six of our children, including the newborn, from California to Utah to visit family. Several friends questioned my sanity upon hearing this plan and I do have to say it sounded a lot more feasible in November than in early July as I was working out the statistics.

You see, baby girl eats at least every two hours and nurses for an hour each time. Yup, that would mean stopping every two hours for an hour. It's roughly a 12 hour trip depending on stops. You do the math, it hurts my head. That's a long trip...

We also have two six year olds, one a very active boy, a 14 year old boy who has sprouted up so tall he can't sit in the back back of the van any more. There's the 17 year old girl (with the laptop that I think has fused to her lap) and the 11 year old girl who "does not want to sit with the six year olds in the back because they are so annoying."

Um yeah.

So the night before I'm trying to organize everything to take. You never really understand how much stuff a baby needs until you try to shove it in the  back of a van. Thankfully my aunt has a washer and dryer so I didn't have to empty her drawers.

I'm sleep-deprived on my best day. This just happened to fall on two consecutive nights that baby girl slept only a combined 5 hours...which gives me about 4. Sandwiches needed to be made, a run to the store for a cooler (ours mysteriously disappeared) backpacks full of clothes checked. (Six year olds will forget things like underwear and instead bring five pair of pjs) Diapers had to be counted, blankets, toys, bottles, formula (I was never so thankful for supplemental feedings but more on that later) The lap top packed safely--I'd planned to work while on vacation...more on that later too--as well as video and still cameras... my head was buzzing trying to remember everything and reminding myself that we weren't going to Egypt, but to a place that had Targets and Wincos... But, and this is a big but, there is hours of desert between here  and there. I added two gallons of water just in case.

We packed snacks for the trip. I nixed the candy and cookies and donuts my husband was leaning toward and instead got fruit snacks and graham crackers. It's hard enough to be stuck in a house with sugar-high kids let alone a van.

My husband wanted to leave at 6 am. The baby usually wakes up around then to eat so I was encouraging him to plan on 6:30 at the earliest.

It was after 1 when I finally crawled into bed.

To be continued (sorry  baby is awake and hungry) : )

Monday, July 30, 2012

Did you miss me?


I'm back! Please don't tell me you didn't realize I was gone. I can't believe how quickly eight weeks flew by. Then again those eight weeks were so full of new experiences and adventures that it also seems like it's been longer than that. For those of you who don't know, baby Emily Hannah Guzman was born on May 31st.  It's been a busy, sleep-deprived, joyful, and awesome time, but I have missed all of you.

Although there is a lot going on with me professionally right now, and I will share, today I'm going to stick with the mom hat I'm wearing more often than not. If I had a wallet with pictures, I'd pull it out right now, or the more modern cell phone with pictures. I really do this by the way. Go ahead, ask how the baby is and I'll grab my cell phone and show you one of over 300 pictures I have on my phone. I've even been known to randomly attach pictures to messages or emails because of course you want to see my little angel. I'm really not sure what the mortgage broker thought of that...
Any way, here she is!
This is a birth announcement her Auntie Crystal made:

Here she is last week.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Maternity Leave

Although I've scheduled a few blogs, I am now officially on maternity leave! I may stop in to post a few pictures...depends how much sleep I'm getting. ; ) Yup, for a writer, maternity leave is way different.

Thank you all for your support. I will be back full time in August.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit

I am a WWE fan. Although I think the Undertaker is a genius,  Triple H has the best entrance music, and tons of respect for the high flyers such as Rey Mysterio, my current favorite is Sheamus, the Celtic Warrior. Also known as the Great White. Why do I like Sheamus? Well, the fact he doesn't grease up before a match is nice, but I really like him because he has so much fun! You can tell he really enjoys beating people up. This, my romance-loving friends, is a Celt that in a different time would have wielded a broad sword with finesse, honor and a smile. He defends the weaker and isn't afraid to speak his mind. He wouldn't look too bad in a kilt either. ; ) 



Friday, May 11, 2012

Baby Shower Day Five

Today is the last day of the baby shower. I hope you all had fun!

Today we'll keep it simple. Comment on any of the subjects in the previous blogs or a random piece of advice, funny story, good wishes, etc.

 Leave a comment and you could easily win an e-copy of Demon Crossings by Eleri Stone! This is a gorgeous cover!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baby Shower Day Four




Welcome back! Today we're going to play a game. Don't worry, the answers are found in blogs posted earlier this week. The person who gets the most right, wins an e-copy of Veronica Scott's Priestess of the Nile!


Ready?


How many children do I currently have?

Is the baby a boy or a girl?

What's the baby's name?

How many weeks am I?

There you go! Good luck. : )


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baby Shower: Day Three

It's Wednesday! And for today's baby shower fun, I'm going to ask you what your favorite baby shower game is. Least favorite?

I hate the diaper game. You know, with the mustard.... ewww. but I recently went to a baby shower that had us make a baby collage. We cut parts of babies from magazines to make a single baby. I won't lie, it was kinda hard to cut pictures of babies, even babies I don't know, but the results were adorable! My team didn't win (even though ours was awesome) but it really was fun.

Also, random advice and good wishes are also welcome and are eligible for the prize.

Which brings me to today's prize: A $5 gift certificate to Bath and Body Works!

Spread the word and don't be shy, leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Baby Shower Day Two

Welcome to day two of my Internet baby shower!

Congratulations to Jax who won the $5 gift certificate to Amazon by commenting on yesterday's blog!

Today I'm asking for a funny story about you, your significant other, a relative or friend and a newborn.

However, if you want to give me advice on anything else, I'm up for that too. Can you tell I'm not picky here?

So what's today's prize you ask?

Today I'm giving away a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks to one lucky commenter!


Today I'm also over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance!   So after you leave a comment here, swing on by! : ) I'm giving away something there too!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Baby Shower!


As most of you know, I'm expecting a baby. My official due date is June 6th, which makes me 36 weeks along, but the doctors are thinking it's not likely I'll make it past 38 weeks. By the way, she's a girl and her name is Emily Hannah Guzman. : ) 

As friends and family plan a baby shower for me here, I'm a little melancholy. You see, a good portion of my friends live on the Internet—at least from my perspective. ; )  I suppose it's part of the world in which we live and the fact that, as a writer, I spend a lot of time on the Internet. When asked who I wanted at my baby shower, friends from Twitter, Facebook and members of my group blogs came to mind. I really wanted to invite all of you to celebrate with me.

I think I've figured out a way. ; ) 

This week I'm having a baby shower giveaway. No, not asking for gifts, instead, I'm giving them. Think of them like party prizes. 

This is not my first time at the rodeo, but it is the first time I'm going to attempt to work from home with a newborn—a task that seems more daunting as the day approaches. Also I have six other kids that will need my attention. How thin can you spread mommy? Don't get me wrong, I have an absolutely wonderful, supportive husband, but after our 8 weeks maternity/paternity leave, he's going back to work.

So this is what I'm asking you to do.

Leave a comment with any advice you might have on juggling work, babies, and home, a funny story about babies or siblings, your favorite memory of those newborn weeks, or just wish me luck. I may ask a question to get the conversation going.

Every day I will randomly select a commenter to win the daily prize.

Prizes include $5 gift certificates to Bath and Body Works, Amazon, Starbucks, and two e-books: The Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott and Demon Crossing by Eleri Stone. The Baby Shower will last from May 7th to May 11th.

Everyone is eligible to win every day because I want everyone to show up! So please spread the word!

Today's prize is the $5 gift certificate to Amazon!
So go! Today, just any random advice you might have on balancing work and family!

Friday, May 4, 2012

And the winner is...

Congratulations, Nicole Luiken!



You won 10 ebooks and an awesome compass key chain. You're set for summer and you'll only have to worry about getting lost in a book. ' _ ' Yeah I know, but you guys should know how corny I am by now. ; )

Stay tuned for another giveaway! I'll announce the details on Monday!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit

It's May 1st! Yay! Gulp. It's getting close. Okay, for your tidbit of the week. I love fresh bouquets. During the spring, summer, and fall, I pick a bouquet from the garden every Friday morning. This week it'll be roses, but it can be something small like pansies or huge like calla lilies or birds of paradise. My house feels more homey with a fresh bouquet of flowers and that makes me a happy woman. ; ) It's the little things, you know?

Are there any little things you do just to make yourself smile?

Footnote: This picture is not from my garden because I'm big and pregnant and too lazy to take my camera outside. ; ). It's from here. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

What's blooming

I had fulling intended to post something baking related but the garden just looks so beautiful this time of year! ; )

Here's what's blooming in my garden:

Peace is blooming in the Thomas backyard. ; )

Calla lilies are so elegant and easy to grow. I love these plants

This is the big azalea in full bloom. The heat will take it's toll fast on these delicate flowers. 

The purple flower is my lilac. I couldn't get closer  to it due to my enlarged belly. I bought this shrub about 3 years ago. They take about that long to bloom so this is the first year I have flowers. The scent of these, coupled with the orange blossoms behind it, is something like what paradise must smell like. My  copper-colored irises are also getting ready to bloom. they're my favorite.

This is the clematis that escaped its trellis. ; ) But doesn't it look pretty blooming with the geranium? This is my favorite geranium. It has delicate pink and blue flowers in the spring.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Celebration Giveaway




It's not every day yourbook wins an award and Altered Destiny winning the RT award for fantasy/paranormal is so far the highlight of my career. So I think a celebration is in order! Don' t you? And what better way to celebrate than to give away some fantastic prizes. My fellow writers have graciously offered to donate their e-books for a ginormous give away.






We have:
Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer http://www.cindyspencerpape.com/index.html


Acceptable Risks by Natalie Damschroder http://www.nataliedamschroder.com/


Target of Betrayl by Melissa Ohnoutka  http://www.melissaohnoutka.com/


Rough Ride by Keri Ford http://keriford.com/


Texas Two Step by Cynthia D'Alba http://cynthiadalba.com


The winners choice of book from Liz Talley http://www.liztalleybooks.com/


Demon Crossing by Eleri Stone  http://eleristone.com/


Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/about-song-of-the-nile/


Quarter Square by David Bridger http://www.davidbridger.com/


The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee http://www.nadialee.net/


And last, but not least,
a key chain compass in honor of the tool that led Jaden through the White Forest.

So what do you have to do to win all this wonderful? That's easy. Just mention Altered Destiny on the web somewhere. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, your blog, etc. Take your pick. Just be sure to paste a link at my blog or at Everybody Needs a Little Romance so I know about it and that's it! You're entered! The winner will be announced on May 4th 2012. So what are you waiting for? Link away! : ) 

Friday, April 20, 2012

What's blooming?

I am a writer but one of my other passions is gardening and cooking. So I thought why not indulge myself a bit? So I'm going to try to post something about either of those subjects each Friday. This are one of my favorite spring-time flowers. Here in zone 9, ranunculus bloom in April and May. This is one of those lovely, generous plants that bloom the more you cut! And as most of you know, I love cut flowers. I don't remember the exact type of flower this is but I love the vivid color. They glow in the sunlight. Ranunculus bloom in a wide range of colors though so take your pick! They grow from a bulb-no seeds-and will eventually spread. I have a cluster of them planted with my purple anemones. (I know my husband took a picture of them, but it's past time for the anemones already) Trust me, it's a gorgeous display. These are planted with pale purple creeping thyme.