Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jenny Craig - week 29

One step forward, two steps back. 

I lost the battle this week and gained the half pound back.  It could be PMS and extra bloating and what not from my monthly curse but we will see.  It was kind of a defeating feeling to step on the scale on Friday morning and see the results.  I stepped on it three times thinking it must be wrong, but nope.  I gained a half pound. 

Ugh - I thew my hands up in the air in disgust and sauntered into the shower.  The warm water tempered the frustration a bit and with cranky resolve, I swore to myself next Friday I would see an entire pound shed. 

One half pound to offset the one I gained and another half to keep on track.

So here's to hitting that one pound loss - now if only the warm weather would descend! 

Until next week -

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dishing it up with Libby Fischer Hellmann

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Libby Fischer Hellmann, an award-winning crime fiction and thriller author. Libby has released her 7th novel. Set the Night on Fire, a stand-alone thriller, which goes back, in part, to the late Sixties in Chicago. She also writes two crime fiction series. Easy Innocence (2008) and Doubleback (2009) feature Chicago P.I Georgia Davis. In addition, there are four novels in the Ellie Foreman series, which Libby describes as a cross between "Desperate Housewives" and "24."

Libby has also published over 15 short stories in Nice Girl Does Noir and edited the acclaimed crime fiction anthology Chicago Blues. Originally from Washington D.C., she has lived in Chicago for 30 years and claims they'll take her out of there feet first.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book, Set the Night On Fire?

Libby: It’s my 7th novel but my first stand-alone thriller, and it goes back, in part, to the late Sixties in Chicago. Lila Hilliard, a young 30 something professional, is being stalked in the present. In order to find out who’s after her and why, she uncovers information about her family that indicates they were not the people she thought they were. In the middle section we find out who those they were and what they were doing during 1968-70. Then we return to the present where Lila and friends confront the forces that are stalking her.

JET: What drew you to the thriller genre?

Libby: I love not being able to put a book down, to stay up way too late just to finish it. A well-written thriller gives me an adrenaline-fueled energy and visceral emotion that makes me think about the story even after I’ve finished it. Especially when it depicts an issue or situation that is inherently unjust. Or it’s set during a time like WW2 or the collapse of the Soviet Union, or other places and times of major conflicts. I started out reading authors like LeCarre, Ludlum, Follett, Gifford, Deighton and others (Funny – they were all men back then), and while I’ve broadened my reading since, I ‘m still drawn to suspense.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Libby: How many do you want?  Really -- it seems the more I jump, the more there are. But I suppose the most challenging hurdle occurred when my very first agent dropped me after failing to sell my first book. I really had to rethink my objectives and decide whether I wanted to continue. Fortunately, I decided to keep going, and I eventually got published. Repeatedly. But I’m still hurdling over and barreling through obstacles today. I just keep hoping that there will be a happy ending one of these days.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Libby: That’s easy. I’m in a writers’ group – have been for 15 years. For the first couple of years, I was the newbie, and the person everyone liked to gang up on and criticize. Clearly, my craft needed work. But when I started my first Ellie Foreman book and read the first chapter in group, there was a stunned silence. I freaked out – I was sure they were going to say it was trash. Instead, the person who’d been the hardest on me said, “You found your voice.” I still treasure that moment.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Libby: I read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and then graduated to “literature.” I loved Charles Dickens and Margaret Mitchell. Then I discovered Mad Magazine. I graduated to adult literature in my teens… Salinger, Vonnegut, then Erica Jong and other female voices. They all had their influence.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Libby: I was a late bloomer. Writing was never on my master plan. I kind of backed into it in my 40s after I realized I wasn’t going to become a famous American film director. Once I started writing, however, I was relentless.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Libby: It hasn’t happened yet. I was hoping to go to Cuba because my WIP takes place there, but the trip has been postponed. Barring that, I suppose the most daring things I did happened during the late Sixties. But who knew they would provide grist for a novel years later?

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Libby: That’s a hard one. Which of your children do you love the most? I loved my third Elllie book, AN IMAGE OF DEATH – it said things about women and their choices (or lack of them) that I didn’t know I wanted to say. I also loved EASY INNOCENCE, because it pulled the rug up on an affluent suburb and showed what was really going on. And I love SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE, because it’s personal.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Libby: Join a writers’ group. Or start one. Hopefully, in your genre. If you get the right people, it can make all the difference in the development of your craft. And it is a craft. If you’re willing to learn it, you will do well.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Libby: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Libby: Steak. Rare. On the grill.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Libby: Both.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Libby: Rock. No question. (Except for Dolly Parton’s “There You Go Again..” – which was crossover anyway)

JET: Leather or Lace?

Libby: Leather.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Libby: Demons

JET: Paper or Digital?

Libby: Digital.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Libby: I’m tired of Charlie Chaplin. And Eisenstein. Cheesy B Horror for me.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Libby: Depends on my mood.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Libby: It’s funny. I used to say “sweet” – no argument. But recently, I’m liking salty. A lot. What does that say about me? No… don’t answer that.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Libby: I’m writing a multigenerational thriller that is set largely in a Caribbean country. It’s my most ambitious work to date. So we’ll see how and if it turns out.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Libby Hellmann and her work at the following places:




Next Friday is the first of the month and I’ll be highlighting some new releases coming out in April. Catch you then! Have a great week.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jenny Craig - Week 28

Another half pound - WOOT! 

Nice end to a week of craziness.  My PT is now over - or at least going to the center is - but I have a slew of exercises that I'll keep up with to get some of the last range of motion issues worked out. 

I'm getting antsy for our beach place to open - once that does, weekends will involve a lot of daily walking and who doesn't like to walk on the beach.

When I started the Jenny Craig adventure, I was hoping to hit my goal in 3 months, but that turned out to be unrealistic.  Even 6 months was unrealistic considering I was only looking at a grand total of 25 pounds.  I'm 8 pounds away and it has been 7 months.  In the beginning I averaged close to 3 pounds a month - which is a respectable loss, especially when encompassing the holiday season.  In the last couple of months it has slowed considerably - to a pound or two a month.  I'm hoping I can get to goal by July - by my birthday.

So here's to that end goal - it's finally within sight and I'm feeling great, nevermind looking pretty good too, fitting into all my old clothes.

Hope you all are meeting and exceeding your goals too!  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dishing it up with David Lender

Folks, I have the pleasure of having David Lender on with us today. David writes thrillers set in the financial sector based on his over 25-year career as a Wall Street investment banker. He draws on an insider’s knowledge from his career in mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch, Rothschild and Bank of America for the international settings, obsessively driven personalities and real-world financial intrigues of his novels. His characters range from David Baldacci-like corporate power brokers to Elmore Leonard-esque misfits and scam artists. His plots reveal the egos and ruthlessness that motivate the players in the financial sector, as well as the inner workings of the most powerful of our financial institutions.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book Trojan Horse?

DAVID: Trojan Horse is a thriller based on the question: What if an ordinary man falls in love with an exotic woman and then discovers she’s a spy, and that he’s being used as an instrument in a terrorist plot? Daniel Youngblood is an oil and gas investment banker who’s just realized he’s no longer a young man in a young man’s business, but wants to end his career with a splashy deal. He’s hired by a Saudi Prince for an OPEC deal where he can net himself $25 million as a swan song. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with Lydia, an exotic European fashion photographer, who he later discovers is really a CIA-trained spy with a shocking history with the Saudi Prince. She convinces Daniel to enlist in what becomes a race for the lovers to stop a Muslim terrorist internet plot to bring down the Saudi royal family and cripple the world’s oil capacity, all before they wind up dead.

After finishing Trojan Horse, I re-worked it over 18 months with a seasoned publishing exec who had edited Ludlum’s first nine thrillers, fashioning it into a high concept, Ludlum-esque international espionage thriller. Then I worked with a talented Hollywood script development exec, who coached me on sharpening up plot and character elements of the novel from that perspective.

JET: What drew you to financial thrillers?

DAVID: I’ve been an investment banker for over 25 years, and understand the professionals, clients and institutions in that world. As such, it was a natural choice for the setting of my novels. And I’ve always read and enjoyed thrillers, so when I started writing, my reading interests drew me toward that genre.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

DAVID: Finding a quality agent to get a major publisher to take me on. I’ve had offers from agents who I didn’t think would be a good long-run choice, so I’ve continued to wait for the right fit.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

DAVID: Deciding to pursue writing full-time and then living with that commitment.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

DAVID: I read a lot of Jack London growing up. F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite writer and I think The Great Gatsby is the great American novel. Few write with his rhythm, economy (Gatsby is only about 50 thousand words), or mixture of romantic sensitivity and understanding of human depravity. I was an English major, so I read all the big names you might expect. I also admire Hemingway, Joyce, the Bronte sisters, Henry James, Conrad and Steinbeck. Thriller writers who have influenced me are Frederick Forsyth (The Day of the Jackal may be the best thriller ever written), John LeCarre, John Grisham (although I don’t think he’s ever gotten close to The Firm again), Robert Ludlum, Ken Follett, and Thomas Harris. Elmore Leonard is the contemporary author I most admire. Out of Sight is his best, with Get Shorty a close second. Nobody does dialog or backstory like him. And his Ten Rules of Writing should be on every novelist’s desk.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

DAVID: About ten years ago I decided it was something to stop thinking about and start doing.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

DAVID: I spent a few months researching what the life of a concubine would be like in the Saudi royal palace, for the character of Sasha in Trojan Horse. Searching the internet and reading books isn’t particularly crazy, but interviewing hookers and high-end call girls in retrospect seems a little out of character for an investment banker. The most interesting fact I uncovered is in the novel.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

DAVID: I can’t answer that. Parents aren’t supposed to have favorite children (even though I believe some do, but don’t admit it).

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

DAVID: Find good tutors or editors and keep writing.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with:

JET: Paper or Plastic?

DAVID: My own recycled, reusable plastic.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

DAVID: Steak, medium rare.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

DAVID: Both.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

DAVID: Rock.

JET: Paper or Digital?

DAVID: Digital.

JET: Classics or Modern?

DAVID: Both.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

DAVID: Silent Classics.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

DAVID: Won’t happen.

JET: Sword-wielding Ninja or Gun-toting Momma?

DAVID: Gun Momma.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

DAVID: Green tea.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

DAVID: I’m working on a memoir on our fist year of life with our recently adopted rescue pit bull puppy, Styles. I’m three months into it. I’m also writing another thriller, about an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has a drug industry whistle-blower give her evidence of a concrete link between the national vaccine program and autism, and then races to expose it before a megalomaniacal drug industry CEO can have her killed. And I’m finishing up a novella set on Wall Street about a young investment banker who helps an elderly CEO buy his company back out of bankruptcy after the Wall Streeters have driven it into the ground.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about David Lender and his work at the following places:

his website:

his email:

link to Trojan Horse on Amazon:

link to Trojan Horse on Amazon UK:

Thanks for joining us this week.  Next week I've got Libby Hellman on tap.  Swing in and say hi!
Until then,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jenny Craig week 27

No loss (and more importantly - no gain) this week - but that isn't bad considering I started off the weekend after my last weigh in going completely off the program for three days. 

Day one - co-worker at my house and I cooked pepper steak - which I had 2 helpings for lunch.  Bad girl.   I also had it for dinner that night - but only one helping then. 

Then Saturday - my daughter's birthday party - big ass sweet sixteen party so that included: Pizza, Cheese & Crackers and cake.  And Sunday wasn't much better with the party continuing and a big breakfast, and leftovers for lunch and dinner. 

And equally as bad - no structured workout on the weekend.  I did walk around at the party snapping pictures and carted stuff in and out but I didn't do my gazelle or anything that weekend.

I got back on track Monday - but still to end the week stepping on the scale and seeing no gain after the crazy weekend was a big win. 

Now - back on track with no major events coming until the beginning of April.  Happy dieting!

Swing by on Friday when I am dishing it up with David Lender, author of Trojan Horse!

Until then,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dishing it up with Thea Atkinson

Happy Friday. Today I have the pleasure of having Thea Atkinson on my blog. Thea is the author of several e-books all of which are available on Amazon.

JET: Can you tell us a little about your latest book, Anomaly, which came out last November?

Thea: Anomaly was an exercise in exploration for me. I've long been thinking about prejudice and bias and the need to label things in our world. I never really thought I would write a book about it until I sat on a seminar given by our regional LGBTQ organization. During this three hour session, I started thinking about things in ways I never had before. It sounds almost silly, but I never gave any thought to what gender might actually mean. I never thought about how difficult it might be for a person to fill out gender on a form of two choices when they might be very different from what they obviously looked like. I never considered how difficult restroom choice might be. I just always assumed that prejudice ran along the lines of heterosexual to homosexual, Caucasian to African Canadian, Christian to Muslim etc. but the seminar made me begin thinking of things in very different ways. It made me begin to realize that bias lies everywhere, even in the special communities. Thinking about how prevalent it really is made me explore the life of a person very different from my own sensibilities. I think I gained a lot of a spiritual perspective from writing Anomaly even though it is very far away from a spiritual level. In fact, there are some downright deviant things within.

JET: What drew you to psychological thrillers?

Thea: If I had to answer this one honestly, I think I would have to say that I've always been the kind of person who wants to know why people do the things they do. I've always wanted to know what made people think. As a young adult, I had a friend succeed in a suicide attempt just hours after I had spoken to him. He certainly didn't seem unhappy. It always bothered me to think that he must have been suffering and had told no one, and I always wondered how badly he must have really felt to actually attempt something that goes so against our ingrained sense of self-preservation. I've always been attracted to tragedy in that way, but for me it's also about what it would take to bring the light back to the darkness. So every one of my novels is really a study into human nature for me. Whether or not I do it well is another story.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Thea: I'm not sure I can answer that adequately. I find everything challenging. Straight from the daily writing -- which I love but have to dedicate myself to -- to the editing process, which excites me but frustrates me too, to the submission process. Then there is the worry about people purchasing. Then there is the worry about people reading and enjoying. Then there is the worry of what you will write next. And yet I keep coming back. So I guess the most challenging thing for me is to actually work at improving the basic writing skills. That never stops. I'm always learning. I'm a much better writer today than I was three novels ago, but that also means that I understand exactly how much work goes into writing and publishing. And so the challenge is a daily one: to improve, to persevere, to improve again.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Thea: Every little success no matter how small becomes my favorite moment of the moment. I received an e-mail from a reader three days ago who told me she had read one of my novels and that it really resonated with her. That became my favorite moment. Then today, I had someone tell me that I write like Annie Proulx. That became my favorite moment. It will be hard to top that one, though.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Thea: I pretty much only read Stephen King and Robin Cook and Anne Rice when I was young, except for Zane Grey and Jack London, so I could never say any one author would have influenced me more than another I read a lot. I always did. Every single writer, even the ones I don't enjoy who I doubt spend a lot of time at their craft, influences my writing in some way.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Thea: I was 12. I submitted a story to a Canadian show that acted out submissions with puppets. It was called pencil box and I know no one remembers it, but that was the first rejection letter I ever received, and so that was the first time I decided to actually take the plunge. I kept the letter for years, and I think I still had it when I got married and moved out of the house.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Thea: I'm pretty straightforward with my research. I can't say I've done anything crazy, unfortunately. I'd have to say the most interesting thing I discovered was how to get the harmful chemical out of certain prescription medications so that you can take huge quantities without harming your liver. Don't ask why I needed to know that.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Thea: I'm pretty proud of Anomaly even though it's a difficult read for many people. It can be dark and deviant in some places but I think it is very authentic. I'm pleased with the character of J because he taught me so many things, not the least of which was acceptance. I'm probably showing my bias here, but I think if a reader can get a few chapters in they will come to love him as much as I do.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

Thea: Write everyday. Read a variety of genres. Don't be afraid to try something new, but don't be afraid to change it if it doesn't work. When you become successful, always open the door for someone else.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with Paper or Plastic?

Thea: Cloth

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Thea: Chicken

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Thea: Beach. I live near the water and couldn't live without it

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Thea: Rock-n-roll, baby

JET: Leather or Lace?

Thea: Leather

JET: Angels or Demons?

Thea: Both. I think they show true duality

JET: Paper or Digital?

Thea: Digital

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Thea: Cheese

JET: Twilight or True Blood?

Thea: Trueblood

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Thea: Tea always except for that 1 cup of coffee a day

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Thea: I just finished the opening novella to a planned series that involves a girl with very real powers and the complexity of various incarnations

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Thea Atkinson and her work at

Next week, I’ve got David Lender dishing it up about his release, Trojan Horse. Swing in and say hello!

Until then,



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jenny Craig - week 26

Another half pound drop - yay!  And an INCH off my stomach measurement.  I'm back on track - which feels fantastic!

Now I just need to get into the groove with excercise - consistency is needed. 

The closer my goal gets the more impatient I get.  I want that figure now - and this slow burn is annoying, expecially in this immediate gratification society. 

But I know doing this slow is the right way. 

So patience and perserverance is key.

Until next week

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dishing it up with Cat Connor

Welcome to another fabulous Friday! Cat Connor is back and she’s dishing about her latest novel, exacerbyte.

JET: Can you tell us a little about exacerbyte?

Cat: EXACERBYTE is the 3rd _byte book. It starts 17 months after TERRORBYTE, there is a little bit of a revenge element going on, and there’s a rock star. Have to say - creating him was a lot of fun!

Here’s the blurb:

Hawk is hunting again. SSA Conway is his nemesis – she wants justice and is determined he should keep his appointment with the electric chair.

FBI Agent SSA Ellie Conway has decided it is time to step up and stop Hawk, not only to prevent the abduction of vulnerable children, but to avenge the murder of FBI Agent Mac Connelly.

The pursuit takes the Delta A to New Zealand, where Hawk has widened his net and increased his activity.

As the FBI team track him and investigate the disappearance of more children, a far more sinister reality emerges which demands the might of the Military, CIA, NCIS and the Russian FSB.

Exploiting her quirky intuition, together with help from an unlikely source, Ellie realizes she must heed the augury ‘it is all about the music.’

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Cat: There are so many, crazy and interesting things. (Chances are they’re only interesting to me though.) I did learn a lot about rock stars and life on tour while writing exacerbyte, which was very interesting and fun. And am lucky enough to have a very cool friend who helped me out with that. (This is where y’all run off and buy the album ‘Soul Shifter’ by Lorenza Ponce – don’t question me, just do it!)

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Cat: Recently it was terrorbyte but I have to say – exacerbyte is now my favorite. Yeah, there is this rule, the most recent work is always the favorite… but exacerbyte is certainly worthy of favoritism. Let’s hope the others don’t get too jealous!

If we disregard that rule and I can choose any book I’ve written… I’d be tempted to go with my first, which very few people have ever seen and will ever see. It’s sitting on my hard drive waiting patiently for me to make a decision regarding its future. Meanwhile, two of the characters have made it into The _byte series.

As for short stories, a story titled “Into the Daylight.” It’s the newest story on my blog, and I just like it. Can’t tell you why, because the others are good too – but that one just does it for me. (And no it’s nothing to do with the latest work rule!)

JET: What’s on your ‘to read’ list right now?

Cat: Absolutely nothing! How awful is that? Mostly because I’m smack in the middle of writing and don’t need the distraction. At the moment my waking hours are consumed by writing and music, it’s simultaneous arrangement. I do have plans to read a lot while I am away. (Presuming there will be some down time!)

JET: I understand you will be visiting stateside this year. Do you have any book tour plans for your visit?

Cat: My editor is working on that right now! We’ll see. It will be an awesome trip, and there will be filming for upcoming trailers. Everything is all done now – I even have my authorization to travel from Homeland Security. (That wasn’t at all scary…. Does anyone seriously ever answer yes to the espionage and terrorist question? I had to speak to myself severely and remind my mouse hand that it would not funny to check yes!)

Roll on April!

JET: All right – since you’ve been here before, you know what’s coming next. Yes it’s the geeky quick ten of mine. . . starting with: Leather or Lace?

Cat: Both

JET: Angels or Demons?

Cat: Angels

JET: Paper or Digital?

Cat: oh tricky… I’m going with both

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Cat: cheesy B rated horror

JET: Twilight or True Blood?

Cat: NEITHER – I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Cat: Both. Although I do love the joy of discovering those unknown books.

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Cat: Ain’t gonna happen – and if it does will probably be my birthday 12/12/12 (I kid you not)

JET: Sword wielding ninja or Gun toting momma?

Cat: Not a fan of blades. Going with Gun toting momma.

JET: Chocolate bar or Ice cream cone?

Cat: Chocolate

JET: Classic werewolf or Modern werewolf?

Cat: Classic

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Cat: Flashbyte - my publisher is looking forward to it. This is the same woman who told me I out did myself with exacerbyte – no pressure, right? (and a new _byte book has just emerged… it’s got diamonds and thievery.)

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog.

Cat: Thank you for having me over!

Folks, you can find out more about Cat Connor and her work at the following places:





Thanks for joining us today. Next week I have Thea Atkinson on my blog. Swing by and say hello!

Until then,



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jenny Craig week 25

Another no-loss, no gain week.  Inches went down a little though, so that is good.

Next week I'll see a loss - At least that's what I keep telling myself. 

Happy March all!

Until next week.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy March First!

Welcome March!

Today my daughter turns sixteen and is getting her driver’s permit – Lord help us all!

With such a thrilling event on tap, I figured I’d share with you folks some equally as heart pumping books. In the mix are my Backspace brethren’s releases as well as some from a great group of Indie authors. Relax, grab a glass of wine and one of these puppies and enjoy a nice quiet evening.

Blake Crouch – RUN – February 26, 2011
5 D A Y S A G O
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country...
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.

4 D A Y S A G O
The murders increased ten-fold...

3 D A Y S A G O
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace...

2 D A Y S A G O
The killers began to mobilize...

All the power went out...

They're reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they've just read yours.

Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don't know why, but you don't have time to think about that any more.

You only have time to....

Mel Comley - FINAL JUSTICE – February 18, 2011

After suffering a breakdown and quitting the force, former Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins is contacted by a friend at MI6 to help in a covert operation. Against her will, Lorne is convinced to help track down an old enemy, a sadistic and calculating criminal whose ambition is to become the world's richest man.

It’s up to Lorne and the agent to prevent him, which results in a chase through France.

Claudia Gray – AFTERLIFE – March 8, 2011

Destiny awaits Bianca and Lucas . . .

Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a wraith but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.

Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help . . . Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her ghostly transformation has given her.

A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They've overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?

Michael Haskins – FREE RANGE INSTITUTION – March 9, 2011

Mick Murphy, the newshawk hero of Haskins’ latest Key West mystery, makes a classic reporter goof. He pretends to be a little closer to the action than he really is. Both good and bad guys take him at his word, and the chase is on. At the heart of it all is a plot to bring a particularly cheap and addictive drug called paco into the U.S. As the good guys assemble behind Mick and check their guns, echoes of Miami Vice reverberate, with both its pastel glitz and its underlying despair. The cartels have more money and guns; the best the rest of us can do is hold together. Things get lively as the confrontation approaches, but this really isn’t a high-concept action novel or even a stripped-down thriller. It’s about adult relationships, and its generous use of the Key West setting will appeal to readers who like local color. Since it’s the Keys, a lot of beer and rum goes down, and there’s much eating of cheeseburgers, dolphin sandwiches, and breakfast eggs with hot sauce. --Don Crinklaw – Booklist

Carrie Ryan – THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES – March 22, 2011

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Tracey Alley - SLADE'S DESTINY - March 2011

The war has begun but there is no sign of the shadowy witch Shallendara. Her allies, Prince Ulrich of Vestland and The Dark One rain down death and destruction on the Emirate of Kemet but the witch herself pursues her own goals from the safety of Ieriendi palace. Lord Michael and Solomon do their best to lessen the damage caused by the witch’s ally’s war of conquest but the enemy are more interested in causing death and destruction and Lord Michael’s Knights and Solomon’s Monks are badly outnumbered.

Meanwhile with the help of Roulibard and a sympathetic dragon Slade and Ursula seek out their dying father, High King Erich in the bowels of Ieriendi’s dungeons. Facing death at every turn the siblings know only that to strike a blow against the witch’s plans they must somehow save their beloved father before it is too late.

Can Slade manifest his destiny in time to save, not just his father, but an entire world?

And on the non-fiction side of the fence, check these books out…

Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD – SMART PARENTING FOR SMART KIDS – March 1,2011

"My kid is smart, but..."

It takes more than school smarts to create a fulfilling life. In fact, many bright children face special challenges:

• Some are driven by perfectionism;
• Some are afraid of effort, because they're used to instant success;
• Some routinely butt heads with authority figures;
• Some struggle to get along with their peers ;
• Some are outwardly successful but just don't feel good about themselves.

This practical and compassionate book explains the reasons behind these struggles and offers parents do-able strategies to help children cope with feelings, embrace learning, and build satisfying relationships. Drawing from research as well as the authors’ clinical experience, it focuses on the essential skills children need to make the most of their abilities and become capable, confident, and caring people.

John Elder Robison – BE DIFFERENT – March 22, 2011

“I believe those of us with Asperger’s are here for a reason, and we have much to offer. This book will help you bring out those gifts.”

In his bestselling memoir, Look Me in the Eye, John Elder Robison described growing up with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the diagnosis didn’t exist. He was intelligent but socially isolated; his talents won him jobs with toy makers and rock bands but did little to endear him to authority figures and classmates, who were put off by his inclination to blurt out non sequiturs and avoid eye contact.

By the time he was diagnosed at age forty, John had already developed a myriad of coping strategies that helped him achieve a seemingly normal, even highly successful, life. In Be Different, Robison shares a new batch of endearing stories about his childhood, adolescence, and young adult years, giving the reader a rare window into the Aspergian mind.

In each story, he offers practical advice—for Aspergians and indeed for anyone who feels “different”—on how to improve the weak communication and social skills that keep so many people from taking full advantage of their often remarkable gifts. With his trademark honesty and unapologetic eccentricity, Robison addresses questions like:

• How to read others and follow their behaviors when in uncertain social situations
• Why manners matter
• How to harness your powers of concentration to master difficult skills
• How to deal with bullies
• When to make an effort to fit in, and when to embrace eccentricity
• How to identify special gifts and use them to your advantage

Every person, Aspergian or not, has something unique to offer the world, and every person has the capacity to create strong, loving bonds with their friends and family. Be Different will help readers and those they love find their path to success.

On Friday, I’ve got the talented Cat Connor on my blog talking about her latest release exacerbyte. Swing in and say hi!

Until then,