5/21/15

Summer Reading Freebies


Since school is almost finished for the year, and parents will be desperate for kids to do some summer reading, I'm putting books up for FREE!

Download now. Load your Kindle. Load your computer. Give your kids something to read instead of playing games on their phone/Ipad/computer/etc.

Download the FREE Kindle app.

The books are listed below in chronological order with a short blurb under each book.

They will be available FREE from May 21-25.

Kindle download only. Spread the word.

If you liked, didn't like, or were indifferent about the stories, then do me a favor and write a short Amazon review. It will be much appreciated!




To Gnome Me is to Love Me
Book one, The Goblin's Apprentice
Amazon Kindle
When Kyte Webber finds a very real garden gnome, her life will change forever. Gnomes aren't supposed to be real, are they? But Kyte's gnome is in danger of becoming the last ingredient in a witch's magical Mythical potion and she's the only one who can save him! With the full moon tonight, Kyte must save the Mythicals, destroy a witch, and get home in time for supper!



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The Fast and the FAERIEous
Book two, The Goblin's Apprentice
Amazon Kindle
Kyte Webber's life is turned upside down on day two of the sixth grade when she rescues a faerie princess from her nemesis, Lisa Morris. But when a water nymph nearly drowns Lisa's sister, well, everything gets complicated. It doesn't help matters when Lisa tags along with Kyte to the faerie's kingdom and nearly starts a Mythical War of the Worlds!



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A Maze of Monster Mix-ups  
Halloween short story/prequel to book three, The Goblin's Apprentice
Halloween is a little different in the country, and this is Kyte Webber's first Trunk-or-Treat Carnival. It has everything from a Jupiter Jump to a goblin dunking tank to a haunted corn maze. Problems arise when a few 'unexpected' guests crash the party. 
 

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For Whom the Bell Trolls
Book three, The Goblin's Apprentice
Amazon Kindle
The war for Celestia isn’t going well—for the good guys, that is. But Kyte Webber is more concerned her missing Celestian friend Mike, who disappeared on Halloween night. After experiencing a Night Mare, she knows what she has to do to rescue Mike. It’s simple. She has to break into Mike’s house, find his journal, travel to Celestia and rescue him out from under the noses of a garrison of trolls stationed at Castle Dragonskull.
Easy-peasy, right?
Book three, The Goblin's Apprentice
 
 
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Sugar Plum Disaster
Christmas short story
Amazon Kindle
A squillion frantic faeries awaken Kyte Webber from a sound sleep on Christmas Eve. The Sugar Plum Faerie is missing! Kyte will never get to sleep with all their zipping around and sprinkling faerie dust on her when they collide, she agrees to check it out. When the faeries fly Kyte to the Sugar Plum Faerie’s kitchen, she finds a crime scene worthy of investigation.  
 
         
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Lost Leprechaun Loot
St. Patrick's Day short story
Three leprechauns need eleven-year-old Kyte Webber to find their pots-o-gold, but this adventure isn't as straight forward as it seems as the leprechauns want their gold and the reward they promised Kyte, too. They will try every trick in the book to deceive Kyte, but she has a few tricks up her sleeve and plans to beat them at their game.
 
Enjoy your summer reading!

5/18/15

A Gardener's Work is NEVER Done

58 bags of cedar mulch have finally been strewn throughout my garden beds. . . FINALLY.
To tell you the truth, I'm glad it was only 58 bags because traditionally it's been closer to 90 bags.

A couple of weeks ago, I was going all gangbusters getting the front beds finished. It took me three days of back breaking labor with all the trimming, moving and removing plants, planting new plants, fertilizing, and just all around maintenance.

Here's the result of the front yard:
front view--the hedges on the right were bears to clip as they are holly and barberry--no garden glove can keep those thorns from poking you!

Petunias around the maple tree, dianthus (carnation) and geraniums in front of the barberry bushes.

Side yard to the left of the front of the house. I ripped up about 40 surprise lilies and transplanted them to the back yard, and moved the hydrangea closer to the gate, plus the annual plantings of a different variety of coral dianthus, and I totally forgot what the purple stuff is called.

The next weekend I only managed to get half of the other beds in the back yard done, namely the back bed, the roses on the fence, and the entire bed by the pool.

This is what it looks like:
The phlox was beautiful this year, but it needed a little taming. This was the bed where I planted the surprise lilies. I'll be 'surprised' if they live because this bed is chocked full of gopher and mole tunnels. I'd rather they eat the bulbs instead of my roses.

Fireplace gardens are pretty quick and easy to fix.

Transplanted some grasses that had been growing into each other and whacked the ground rose and day lilies back. Of course, now I need to deadhead the peonies and iris . . . a gardener's job is never done, it just changes with the season.

My rose garden is on the fence, and hubs had to fixe the bubbler.

Different angle--other end of the pool. And ditto, time to deadhead the roses now since I took this picture about two weeks ago!

This bed really needs some color, but I'm at a loss as to what to put in here. The clematis is just getting started and the daylilies will follow.

I did buy a few roses to fill in a couple of spaces that I lost a couple of my roses.

Then, finally, with my hubby's help, I finished the pond garden, the strip along the deck, and the entire side yard.
I love my pond garden. I will confess that I chopped my toad lily back because by the time it blooms in August, it's unruly, so I'm fixing it before it starts to set blooms.
 
Different angle of pond.

Down the deck edge. We've had a time with moles and gophers, thus the bucket covering the mole trap because the dog would probably get her nose sliced off sniffing around it. Grass has also been difficult with the little critters constantly digging it up!
This is the side yard. It's still a bit of a work-in-progress. Some things I planted did well when they were first put in the ground, but with the tree growth from our oak and crepe myrtles AND the neighbor's bald cypress, well, many of them simply can't tolerate that much shade.

Side garden. Hubs built this new fence while I was working on the garden beds.
And that is how I've been spending most of my free time during the month of May . . . when it hasn't been raining!

Later, Peeps!

4/27/15

Writing 101--Choices

Throughout our lives we make choices.

Some choices are easy ones, such as do I choose a healthy salad with dressing on the side or a sandwich that could feed a family of four.

But then there are other choices, and dilemmas, we must face in life and many of these choices involve the easy choice or the hard choice.

Have you ever noticed that the RIGHT choice is often the harder one?

The easy choice might seem good at the time, but it can lead one onto deep, dark paths that will only mire your soul in regrets.

While the hard choice might be difficult to stand firm over in the beginning, it becomes easier as time moves on. The hard choices temper and mold you as you grow and mature, to live life, giving you hidden strengths.

No matter what choices we make in life, it is within our character to be accountable for our choices, good or bad.

The same can be said for our story characters.

When writing a story it's our job to force our characters into various situations. It's how our characters make choices in the heat of the moment that reflects upon their character throughout the story.

And no matter what happens in the story, those choices your character makes will sit with them forever.

For example, in my current project, my character has one bullet in her gun that she can use. When she shoots the noise from the gun  will alert the bad guys to her position.

My character escapes along with a young girl. The girl falls behind. One bad guy catches up to her and will, 1) brutalize her for escaping, 2) rape her, and 3) torture her because she was the only one they caught, and more bad guys are on the way.

The question is, What does my character do?

Does she kill the potential rapist? He's evil. It would be justified. But this would leave the young girl in the hands of the bad guys who aren't far behind.

Or does she make the more difficult choice? Does she choose to kill the child? The innocent who had no power to change her destiny?

No matter the choice my character makes, she will have to ALWAYS live with the consequences of her actions, and this choice will color all the subsequent choices she makes in life.

Think about it.

Are you pushing your characters to make the hard choices? Or are they coasting through the story because you want them to live happily ever after? Only by emerging from the fire of change can your characters truly grow in your story.



4/15/15

Weighty Wednesday -- Hard Work Pays Off

I've been absent from Wednesday blogging for quite awhile as I feel that I've already said everything that needs to be said about losing weight.

I have.

But the interesting takeaway is that, for some reason, I have to keep relearning those same lessons over and over and . . . over again!

Last week I had a large weight gain +2.6 pounds. I knew it was a fluke number because of a few things I had eaten in the previous couple of days--pizza with pepperoni and prosciutto (sodium anyone??) and pancakes (flour makes me retain water).

I also knew that even though I suspected it was a fluke number, I really needed to focus this week.

I did.

And had a weight loss of -3.4 pounds.

Bringing me to within 7 pounds of my goal weight. Though my goal is to reach my goal weight by the end of school (5 weeks away! Eek!), I would actually like to get to the weight that is on my driver's license, 120 pounds. While this seems like a huge challenge, another 20 pounds, it really isn't too low of a weight for my height. Actually, it's right in the middle of my recommended weight range.

Another interesting thing that I learned about myself, I'm okay if I stay at the top of my weight range.

I look good. I feel good. And I'm old. I don't want to denying myself just to get to the "right" weight for my height. That's just crazy.

Want to know something else that's interesting?

Now that summer is here, it's short season. I have shorts that are sizes 4, 6, 8 AND 10 that all fit me the same way. In fact, some of my size 6 shorts, I've had to safety pin them because they are too large!

Remember, clothes sizes are just numbers, and no two designer/manufacturers use the same number system.

Get to a healthy weight where you feel good and look good.

Clothes sizes are a guideline. Don't get your nose out of joint because of a size. It's just a number.

Time for walkies!

Later, Peeps!



4/11/15

AWOL

I confess that I've been AWOL from my blog for quite awhile.

This was for a couple of reasons, 1) I didn't really have a whole lot to say, 2) I was judging some contest entries that took a bit of concentrated time, and 3) I was busy rereading the Harry Potter books, and that, my friends, is a blog of its own.

Oh, and I also managed to go to a Q and A with Jim Butcher. I had to leave early though to pick my hubby up from the airport. Bummer, right?
Jim Butcher
Dude kept walking back and forth. I'm just glad it isn't really blurry like the other ones!

Though many of the people in the audience were Butcher fans, they were also LARPers (Live Action Role Players--the geeks you see fighting with wooden swords in the park when spring is in full swing) and asked a lot of LARPing questions.

There were a few writers in the audience and it was through their questions that I had a "Coming to Jesus" meeting that was a long time in coming to this writer.

Jim learned his lesson in college when he decided to prove his professor wrong when the prof asked him to write a detailed outline of a story, character development papers, along with the first three chapters of a story.

And thus, Harry Dresden was born . . . along with a 23-book outline.

I tried to find character sheets, but I must have no clue as to what I needed to look for.

But I did rediscover the Snowflake method of plotting and thought I'd give it a shot. I'm at the beginning stages of it, so I don't have anything to report quite yet.

I'll try to post a little more regularly, but it's springtime at the Golla Oasis, which means lots of yard work as we clean out the old and plant the new along with adding tons of mulch.

Time to fold some laundry, so to that end, I'll say adieu!

Later, Peeps!




3/11/15

Weighty Wednesday -- Chart the Big Picture

I should have posted last week, but by the time I thought about it, it was Friday!

Last week, I had a nice weight loss of 1.2 pounds, but managed to derail myself this week by a gain of 1.4 pounds. With a net gain of 0.2 pounds.

That's what happens when one purchases a bag of Bunny Bait trail mix and consumes the entire bag the day before weigh-in! Yeah, it's that good.


See? I am human. I do make mistakes. But the key is to 'fess up to those mistakes! AND not let them effect you the rest of the day/week/year/lifetime.

I erred. You will err. It happens. Get over it. And don't let it cloud your judgment and food choices for the rest of the day.

I just need to work on the timing of my naughtiness. The day AFTER weigh-in would have been preferable, but no, I had to go grocery shopping on Monday. Oh well.

Though I had a hiccup in my weight loss journey. That is all it was . . . a hiccup.

* I tried to copy my weight loss chart (documented since June 2011) from Weight Watchers, but they have it encrypted so I'm not able to copy it to show you. Even when I printed it, a pull down was inserted on top of the chart so I couldn't print it, scan it to my email, to put on my computer to clip and paste it here. Even with the pull down, I decided to share it anyway.*


Fact one: It has been over a year since I have weighed this low. No, I'm not at my goal weight, but it is a huge accomplishment.

Fact two: Even with hiccups in our weight loss journey, don't let a hiccup become the trend.

Fact three: Though I'm doing Simply Filling and only really need to document any food that would cost me weekly points. I found out that I need to document EVERYTHING.

Fact four: Prior to starting my weight loss journey in 2011, I had been at this current weight for a very, very long time. Plateaus happen. They happen for a reason. When they do, you need to shake it up.

Fact five: I've been very focused for over ten weeks, which means I've become complacent. Don't allow ennui to sabotage you. Recommit mentally.

The one thing to remember that what we see as setbacks might simply be a blip in the war to get to a healthy weight.

Later, Peeps!

2/20/15

Weighty Wednesday-- My Journey, NOT Yours

Oops--I didn't post on the correct day, but then again, I didn't really have much to say two days ago . . . but now I do!

First, though I didn't have an official weigh-in this week (due to hubs taking my car on the icy roads), I did weigh-in at home, which I do anyway especially on weigh-in day.

I had a loss of 0.7 pounds.

Not a stellar number, considering I have been clocking in around two pounds a week. But I'm not surprised due to two large meals over the weekend--P.F. Changs on Friday and Fleming's Steakhouse on Valentine's Day.

Still a loss, which is the most important thing. Right?

Confession time: With the yucky weather on Tuesday, I made a pan of shortbread . . . and ate virtually half the pan. This is probably the worst type of cookie one could indulge in since all it contains is flour, sugar and butter.

And then I made pizza for dinner.

AND opened a bottle of wine.

It wasn't a stellar day for me. And no, I didn't calculate how many points I ate while in the process.

So what did I do?

I counted ALL OF MY 49 WEEKLY POINTS the next day.

Yeah, I wasted all my weekly points on one poorly conceived day. It happens. I'm focusing the rest of my week on my allowable Simply Filling technique.

And I weighed myself today, unofficial of course, but to illustrate the point I'm about to make. Even with a horrible Tuesday, by today (Friday) I still managed to lose 0.7 pounds!

Meanwhile, my hubby has been extraordinarily successful on the WW tracking points technique--22 pounds, so far--but he's inserting himself into my process by accusing me of 'cheating' on my technique.

Yes, I had a bad day. Everyone does.

But did I 'cheat'?

No, because I counted the points. . . and I really, really hate that term. It's right up there with 'life style' change, thanks a lot, Dr. Phil.

But even if I hadn't counted the points, I still have an ace up my sleeve--I'm still losing weight!

His teasing/harassing/accusing me of cheating could have had an adverse effect depending on my mindset, but all it did was make me mad enough to prove I wasn't cheating and though I stumbled, I'm still losing weight.

Ultimately though I stumbled, I got right back into the technique and am working it to my advantage.

Don't let anyone cause you to stumble or distract you on YOUR JOURNEY.

This happened to me over a year ago, when someone's ill-timed comment (NOT my hubby--who really is very supportive!) distracted me from my focus. Over a year later, I'm finally coming to terms with my insecurities.

Your challenges aren't anyone else's challenges. Don't let your journey be about them, or allow them to influence your journey.

You are on this weight-loss journey for you, don't forget that.

Later, Peeps!