Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Join us!

It's that time again! Time for another fabulous Cherry Forums Book Club with your hostess, me. (Ha. It's my turn. There's 5 of us.) Anyway, August 1-10, 2007 (That would be tomorrow) we are pleased to welcome Susan Holloway Scott and her fabulous book Royal Harlot: A Novel of the Countess Castlemaine and King Charles II to the Book Club. She will be with us Aug 1-7, 2007 to answer questions and talk with us about Harlot as well as her Miranda Jarret books.

If you haven't read this book, you're in for a real treat. Here's a little taste:
"February, 1660

I was, I think, a gambler born.

I don’t mean a few pennies at whist or ombre, a piddling hand of pasteboard cards. I speak of grander games, where the stakes are power, titles, great fortunes, even the heart of the King of England. Mark you, I’m no coward. I wouldn’t have survived so long if I were. I know how to take my risks, and my vengeance, too, on those who dared to cross me. But how I did parlay my beauty and wit to rise so high: that was the game I chose, the game that became my life."

*Read More*


I suggest you order yours today! :)

If you have read any part of the book, are a fan historical fiction, the British Royal Family and European history in general, don't miss our discussion. You don't have to be a member to read the Book Club Board or comment, so come on over and have a look. :)

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

I love my mailman

Actually, it's a mail person. What do you call a mail lady? A letter carrier? Sounds good. I love her anyway--she's adorable--but I love her even more this week. One arrived on Thursday and the other on Friday. Please be suitably jealous.

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Day 6

Here I am at day 6. Surprisingly enough, I don't feel the least bit deprived. We even ate out last night at a nice little Mexican place that makes the best fish tacos. Not the breaded and fried kind, the grilled white fish, cabbage, pico de gallo and a sprinkling of cheese on tiny little corn tortillas kind. Heaven! I treated myself to 3 chips and some of their wonderful fruity sugar-free iced tea with Splenda. Yes folks, you can still eat out on a diet. it can be done.

This morning I weighed myself and I lost 5 pounds!

Yes, I know it's all water, but I could have kept those 5 pounds on, so I'm considering this a victory none the less. The next five pounds will probably take me a month, but that's ok. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Someone please remind me I said that when I'm whining in a few weeks.

Off to the grocery store. Lots of yummy fresh produce on sale. Red and black plums, broccoli crowns, white corn, green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, blueberries. I'm hungry already!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

New (Fiscal) Year Resolutions

Well... It doesn't seem that long ago that I typed that bio over on the right side of the screen. A new year to get healthy and blah blah blah... I made a whole lot of false starts too. But this week I began anew with a simple thing, making a food journal. I'm lucky enough to have been raised by a registered diet technician mom, so I can mostly do all the calorie and fat counts off the top of my head.

It's a simple thing and something you hear all the time. Write down everything you eat. You'll be surprised. Well, for me the writing everything down and adding everything up becomes more of a challenge. Can I make my goal? Can I save calories from breakfast and lunch if I know we're eating dinner out? Etc.

I don't have a problem with making healthy balanced choices, I was raised eating healthy, but I do like my treats. I also realized that when trying to eat low calorie, I do have to take calories into consideration, not just fat grams. I generally try to watch my fat intake for health reasons even when I'm not dieting--even when I'm really blowing it. But my morning cappucino mix that only has 2 grams of fat (for my X-L mug)is 220 calories. That's not so bad, but I'm trying to get down to 1,200 calories. 1/6 of my calories on a mug o' joe? Uh-uh. The morning cappucino is now classified as an occasional treat. Since I also love hot tea, I have an X-L mug of that (with Equal) for 0 calories and 0 fat instead. Go me.

This is my fourth day and I've done very well. No one really reads this anyway, but I thought if I posted my progress, it might make me stick to it a little better. Here are my totals for the first 4 days:

Monday- 1,375 calories, 32 fat grams
Tuesday- 1,133 Calories, 17 1/2 fat grams
Wednesday- 1,475 Calories, 30 fat grams
Thursday- 1,375 Calories, 22 1/2 fat grams

An interesting note: Mon & Wed were days I ate leftovers from restaurants. It's much harder to watch your fat when eating out, but it can be done. I believe there's something like 30 gm of fat in a Big Mac. Even on my higher fat days, I had a whole day's worth of food for the same amount of fat. Much more heart healthy.

I want to work my way down to about 1,200 calories a day and keep the fat grams at 20-25 grams, but I feel like this week has been a good experament and I'm pretty close and not trying too terribly hard.

Exercise is an important part of it too. We walk 5 or 6 nights a week and Tuesday (I have a dentist appt Monday) I'm back in the gym at least 4 days a week. My goal is 5, but sometimes I have an appt, so 4 is ok, especially since we also walk at night.

That's all for now. If anyone out there is trying to eat healthier, work out, or set any other goals, let me know. We can cheer each other on!

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Sunday, July 22, 2007


My friend Viki was in the paper!

Victoria Campbell just re-read the sixth “Harry Potter” book in anxious anticipation of Saturday’s launch of the seventh — and last — J.K. Rowling novel about the boy wizard.

Campbell is no kid. She’s the head of youth services for the Beaverton City Library.

Just like thousands of other Harry Potter readers, Campbell is counting down the hours until the hefty 784-page “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” will be popped onto bookstore and library shelves.

“People are excited about this,” Campbell said. “In a way I’m kind of sad that this is the last one. All the previous (Harry Potter) books just fly off the shelves. You see kids and teens really excited about reading.”

Go here to read the entire (short) article. Congrats to Ms. Campbell on her 15 minutes of fame!

Viki was also nice enough to mention my other blog, Today's Beautiful Thing, on her wonderful Blog. Thank you!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Political tidbits

This made me so angry I wanted to hit something. If you know me, you know this is HUGE.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House on Friday appeared resigned to the fact that the Iraqi parliament is going to take August off, even though it has just eight weeks to show progress on military, political and economic benchmarks prescribed by the United States.


``You know, it's 130 degrees in Baghdad in August,'' he said, sympathetically.

Why do we feel sorry for the Iraqi soldiers but not our American Soldiers? Why are our American soldiers giving the Iraqi soldiers a vacation from the 130 degree weather? Pardon me, the last time I checked, 130 degrees was hot for Americans too! Even hotter for our troops who are not FROM the area and may not be used to 130 degree weather like someone who was born there! Imagine some poor kid from Alaska or Minnesota? Grrrrr!


made me so upset I cried. (Thanks to Vaishali for sending it to me) I really don't need to comment. It speaks for itself. I watch it and I wonder how much more of this we are going to sit by and watch before people stand up and join us in saying NO MORE!

Your vote is your voice, people. Do not squander it. People died so that we could vote.


story made me so mad I couldn't see straight. FEMA just doesn't know what to waste our tax dollars on, do they?


GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — After nearly two years, thousands of truck miles and $12.5 million in storage costs, a cold relic of the flawed Hurricane Katrina relief effort is going down the drain.


The ice, held at AmeriCold Logistics in Gloucester and at 22 similar facilities nationwide, is being melted. The cost of storing the ice at all the facilities since Katrina is $12.5 million.

I wish someone could tell me why these people who call themselves Christians, are wasting MILLIONS of dollars that could feed poor people!


What do you think?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The day after

Yesterday was my birthday. Thanks to everyone who sent me good wishes! In spite of it being on a Monday (and no planning at all!) I had a very nice day. There were numerous thoughtful gifts (and cake!) at work, my pal J bought me lunch at a favorite little mom and pop outdoor restaurant in Old Towne we like, the hubby bought me flowers, sweets & took me to dinner and a movie. After my cousin's hectic wedding in Vegas/trip last week, this birthday was just my speed.

I hope you all have birthdays that are perfect for you this year. :)


Sunday, July 15, 2007

YA: Not just for teens anymore!

I woke up this morning and found this fabulous pic. What a great thing to see first thing in the morning. Here's Barb holding the pretty golden lady.
(L to R: Katy, Barb, Cory, Chris & Ellen in front)

Also, Katy is the winner of a 2007 RWA Service award, a huge honor! She's volunteered tirelessly at her local chapter (where she's served as president, among other things) as well as for the RWA on the National level. Congrats to Katy for her hard work and accomplishments!

Congratulations one more time to Barb (Caridad Ferrer) and Adios to My Old Life for kicking some serious Rita ass!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Congratulations Barb!

Congratulations Barb (AKA Caridad Ferrer) on winning the Rita for her book Adios to My Old Life. This is a wonderful book from a fantastic new author that everyone should put on their "new authors to check out" list.

Barb calls this book "the little book that could." She originally entered her little book in the YA and Best First Book categories of the Ritas. The YA category was cancelled and Barb was stuck. In order to enter the Best First Book category, you also have to enter another category. But none of the other categories fit. The second best category had a word requirement that Adios didn't meet, so Barb chose her third choice, Contemporary Single Title. That meant that Adios, a YA novel, was being put up against adult novels that could have been much longer, but she had no other alternative.

Imagine her delight to find out that she'd finalled in BOTH categories. And now imagine her glee (and the glee of her friends) to hear that she won the Contemporary Single Title Category, rather than Best First Book, which seemed her best chance. But Barb shouldn't be surprised. The little Book that could has been surprising her all along. She should be used to it by now.

Congratulations Barb! I hope you are enjoying yourself tonight. You deserve it!

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Ritas 2007

Courtesy of the Smart Bitches. Thank you ladies!

Best short contemporary romance: From the First by Jessica Bird aka JR Ward

Best long contemporary: The Mommy Quest by Lori Handeland

Best inspirational romance: Revealed by Tamara Alexander

Best paranormal romance: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Best romantic novella: Tis the Season from A Nascar Holiday, by Roxanne St Claire

Best first book: The Husband Trap by Tracy Anne Warren

Best romantic suspense: Blackout by Annie Solomon

Best novel with strong romantic elements: A Lady Raised High by Jennifer Ashley

Best long historical: On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn

Best short historical: The Book of True Desires by Bettina Krahn

**Yeah Bettina! She's a Cherry too!**

And finally.... ::drumroll::

Best Contemporary Single Title: Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer!!!


Barb did it! Congratulations Barb! I'm so proud of you! Yeah!!!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Rita & Golden Heart Awards 2007

It's about 24 hours until we find out who the winners of the Golden Heart & Ritas are. I am very excited this year because Caridad Ferrer's (Barbara Ferrer) YA novel Adios to My Old Life has been nominated for 2 Ritas! Best First Book & Best Contemporary Single Title Romance.

The full list of Rita finalists is here.

The full list of Golden Heart finalists is here.

The first time I met Barb was at the 2005 RWA National Con in Reno. I was with my friend and critique partner, Michele (who knew Barb--I didn't) when Barb came up to tell us that she'd just sold Adios. It was a moment I'll never forget.

Last year Adios was published and this year Barb is up for two awards. I even moderated when Adios was our Cherry Forums Book Club pick for January 2007. (I posted a short note in Blogger here.) Barb went through a lot with this book she lovingly refers to as "the little book that could" and it brings me such joy to see her nominated. I'll be much more joyous if she wins at least one Rita, though I'm thinking she'll get both of them. I've read Adios three times and it's a fantastic book!

Her next book is called It's Not About the Accent and it sounds like a winner. YA or not, I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Congratulations Barb/Caridad on your nominations! I know you'll be holding that pretty lady in your hands Saturday night. Here's hoping it'll be two fisted!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

RWA National 2007~ Dallas

It's that time again! This week is the RWA's Annual Conference. If you've ever attended one of these things, you know what a great time it is. What could be more fun than a 2,500 fiction writers, round-the-clock workshops, free books, great meals, rooming with your buddies, meeting your favorite authors, making new friends, and a moonlight madness bazaar? I can't think of much. Top it all off with the Saturday night Rita and Golden Heart Award Ceremony (think the Oscars for writers) and it's a seriously great week!

The hardest part is being one of the people left behind. I love reading my friends' blogs and looking at the photos they're posting and I thank them for doing it. I'd be climbing the walls if it wasn't for them.

I'm also giving a big shout out to Jude who is once again running Blogging National. If you are going through National withdrawals like me, check it out. It's got a nice list of links to many National attendees who are blogging.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lucky in Love

Last Saturday (AKA 7/7/07, the luckiest day of the century) my cousin Kari married her fiance Rob in Las Vegas, Nevada. No, they weren't married by an Elvis impersonator on the Strip, everything was planned ahead of time. The wedding ceremony took place in a beautiful garden with a gazebo covered in little white lights and the reception hall overlooked the same beautiful garden.

It was a change for our family. No one has ever gotten married in a place we had to travel to before. Nearly everyone in the family was able to make it and we all enjoyed the excursion very much.

As for the dollar dance, I danced with the bride instead of the groom, returning the favor since Kari did the same at my wedding reception nearly 15 years ago. I wasn't alone. Pretty much all of my female relitives lined up behind me. What can I say? We're huggy, emotional bunch of Italian females.

Congratulations to the new Mr. And Mrs. May your new life together be filled with happiness. *Mwah!*

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In honor of the holiday

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. The other day I watched a rerun of a 1999 documentary on PBS called Not for Ourselves Alone. It's the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and their lifelong fight for women's suffrage, among other issues.

It was a beautiful documentary. The commentators were historians who specialized in the women, a curator from the Susan B. Anthony House, etc. All women. All thoughtful, intelligent and knowledgeable. The letters to and from Elizabeth and Susan were my favorite part. The beautiful language of their words, the passion they felt toward their cause and advancing the lives of American women. They were true friends, even though they were such different people, and they shared that true passion.

At the end they interviewed women who were around in 1920 when women were given the right to vote. Each recalled how she felt as she stepped into the voting booth, what an important thing she knew she was doing, how she wanted to make sure she voted for the right person. They didn't take it lightly. Neither should we.

I shed many a tear watching this wonderful documentary, but during this part I'm not ashamed to say, I cried very hard. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked their whole lives for the cause, knowing that women's lives would be better if they could vote, and they never lived to see that day.

Whether or not you've ever studied the women's suffrage movement, this is an excellent documentary and I highly recommend it. I dare all women to watch it and not feel proud to be female, grateful to live now, and cherish your right to vote. Please don't take that right lightly. These women (and many others) risked their lives and were shunned by many in "polite" society just so you and your daughters and granddaughters could live in a better world. We all know that it is a better world because women have equal rights.

On this day, our Independence Day, I salute Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and I thank them for fighting the good fight, for me and for all women in the United States. Women like them make me proud to be female.

"I wonder if when I am under the sod—or cremated and floating in the air—I shall have to stir you and others up. How can you not be all on fire? ...I really believe I shall explode if some of you young women don't wake up."
Susan B. Anthony, 1898

Happy Independence Day everyone!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm baaack!

Well, would you look at that! Both my Blogs are back up. Yeah! Thank you to the Blogger Gods. :)