Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prairie Chick Changes View

Anyone who has followed this blog knows I enter writing contests. And that I have an entry out there in the Genesis and Touched by Love contests at this moment. No - I haven't heard any results yet - those won't be coming until the middle of May.

I know that for a fact because I'm judging 3 entries for the Touched by Love contest myself. And no, they're not in the same category as the one I've entered. That would really be a tempting my honesty now wouldn't it?

So today I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance about my thoughts on the judging process.

Here, I'll share one of the pics I've used over there... it's a photo I took of my eldest daughter, Crystal, when she was home last Christmas. Isn't she adorable? And no, she doesn't remind me of Medusa in the slightest. Nope, not one little bit. Really, how could you even think that!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Win an Angela Breidenbach e-Cookbook

I haven't been on-line for a few days because I've been in my cave writing. But I've come out to help a friend promote her new e-Cookbook, Creative Cooking for Colitis.

I'm blogging about over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance and one of the questions I've asked the author, Angela, is if the cookbook is only for people with digestive problems. She said, no. That it's also for celiac and weight loss. It's getting back to good healthy eating is what it is.

And for those computer illiterate types, an e-Cookbook simply means her cookbook is not an actual book you can hold in your hands. Once you save it to your computer, you can view it at any time without needing an nternet connection. And I'll be here if you have any problem saving or viewing it.

Oh - Angela's also let me post of the recipes from the cookbook along with her interview. It's Spanish Tortilla and it looks really good.

So mosey on over to Prairie Chicks and leave a comment so you get your name put in for a PDF copy of this cookbook.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chauffeuring JJ

It's a glorious spring day and I'm going to be spending it chauffeuring my son to his activities. The little guy is 3 months shy of turning 12 so he hasn't been able to attend any Youth retreats yet like his big brother.

However, this weekend he was old enough to attend a Jr retreat in the city so he's been gone since last night. The trouble is this is also the big coin show weekend and he's the president of the Regina CoinHawks.

So that means I have to skedadle into the city, pick him up from his billet, scoot him over to the Western Christian College to set up his coin display (on Canadian Tire money), then scoot him back over to his retreat activities. He should be in time for his first session.

Then at noon, I pick him up, bring him back to the Coin Show to preside over the CoinHawk meeting, then shuttle him back to the retreat for the last session. He'll be done by 6pm and then we can come home.

Phew!

Somebody tell me why the 2 biggest things in this little guy's life have to happen the same weekend when he's free every other one?

Have a great day! Oh, this is what it looked like at 6 am at my house:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Google Earth Photo Shots

I'm blogging at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today about my research trip to Wyoming last fall.

Or more specifically, it's about how I identified a pine tree species using Google Earth satellite images, Google Earth camera images, and some of my own photos. Lots of images in this post.

Oh, and I can't forget to thank Professor Stephen Jackson over at the University in Wyoming in Laramie who was the biggest help of all.

And just to show you how educating Google Earth can be, here's a photo taken from the Google Earth vehicle looking at the 30 ft Eiffel Tower here in my hometown of Montmartre, Saskatchewan. Someone told me they spotted the Google Earth vehicle last week in Regina, an hour away, but I didn't think it'd stop here for a visit. Neat!


As for my question today, it's all about Google Earth and whether you've been checking it out for either research or recreation. If you haven't, you should take a peek. It really is a fascinating way to look at the world we live in.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Barn Cats Invade the Inkwell

My youngest son and I are blogging about Barn Cats over at Inkwell Inspirations today.
















Come on over and tell us if you like cats.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: Midnight Caller

Midnight Caller by Diane Burke - Love Inspired Suspense Mar 2010

Have you ever read a manuscript and then held the book when it was released in print? Have you ever been in on the early stages of critiquing a manuscript but can’t take any credit for it because it’s gone through so many hands since then? That’s how it is with Diane Burke’s debut novel, Midnight Caller. I've known Diane for a couple years now and we read each other's writing before it was ready for anyone else to see - at least mine was in that category. Diane on the other hand, was ahead of me all the way.


Last year with a working title of Whispers in the Dark, Diane won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense in the Inspirational category. Now with a name change, Diane's first book, Midnight Caller, has been released as a Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense (Mar 2010).

I ordered Midnight Caller from eharlequin.com as soon as I saw it listed on the website. I don’t think I’ve ever been as eager to read a book. And yet, I was filled with trepidation. Would I like it? Sure I liked it before when Diane was working on it, but that was in the early stages of it’s creation. What about now?

Diane Burke is a master at instigating suspense and fear. Midnight Caller starts in the Point of View (POV) of the villain. You want a lesson in hooking the reader? Here’s her first line:
His fingers tapped an angry rhythm against the handle of the scalpel hidden in his pocket. Where was she?’

Okay, I lied – that was 2 lines. And I was hooked. The characters are well-defined with unique characteristics. The villain is chilling. I was creeped out when in his POV and yet he could be anyone living in the neighborhood. Diane maintained the suspense throughout the book and didn’t stop until the very end when the villain was exposed. I won’t tell you when I guessed who the villain was, but it was just a guess and yes, I was thoroughly satisfied when I got to the end and realized I’d guessed right.


Erin O’Malley, is a single mother determined to give her handicapped son whatever he needs to grow into a strong adult. There’s only one thing she won’t give him… a cop for a father.

Enter the hero, detective Tony Marino who just wants to devote all his time and attention on being a cop. From experience, he knows cops don’t make good husbands and fathers. And he just refuses to go that route. Except he didn’t figure on a 5 year old handicapped child asking him to be his ‘pseudo-dad’ so he could be like all the other kids for just one day.

And how can Erin deprive her child of this one simple wish when he understands their circumstances even at that young age and never asks for anything beyond what she can give?

So for one day, they’ll pretend to be a family and that’s that. But is it? Tony finds himself drawn to the child and his mother even before realizing Erin is being stalked by a serial killer. And much as Erin would like to push Tony away, she finds herself responding to his offer of help in catching the villain. Because it’s not just what she wants that’s important. Her son needs his mother alive.


Here’s the back cover blurb: Three deaths, one connection—the anonymous calls all three women reported in the weeks before they died. Detective Tony Marino wants to close this case before another woman disappears. Especially when he meets a fatherless little boy whose mother is being stalked. Single mom Erin O'Malley tells Tony about her anonymous caller's heavy breathing and unnerving silences. And the feeling of being watched—constantly. Now, after years of thinking he had nothing to offer a wife and child, Tony will do anything to protect the family that feels like his own. Because Erin is next on the killer's list.


Diane lives in Florida, nestled between the excitement of the Daytona Speedway and the quiet, historical St. Augustine. When not writing, she enjoys spending her time with her family and friends, reading, sitting by the ocean and playing with her dogs, Thea and Cocoa.

Diane is eager to hear from her readers. She can be reached at diane@dianeburkeauthor.com

You can also find her at eHarlequin and Facebook.
 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

10 Pounds in 28 Days

I just had to tell you. I changed my eating habits on March 10th and so far, I've lost 10.5 pounds. I'm not dieting. And I'm not starving myself. What I am doing is this:

- drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily
- limiting my calorie intake to 1800 daily
- eating something healthy every 3-4 hrs
- not denying myself anything
- am taking smaller portions especially sweets
- weighing myself every 3-4 days
- using motivators on my iTouch to keep track of my water intake, calories and weight loss

My Easter bunny with Toffee is still sitting near my spot at the table because I just haven't felt like eating it. If I do want it, it'll be there waiting for me. I know that if I have one small bite, I'll want to eat the whole thing and I'm not willing to put myself through that. I also haven't touched the cookie jar for the same reason. But, I have eaten desserts and sweets when I wanted them. I just ate a smaller portion and drank lots of water to go with it.

I'm also exercising but only once or twice a week. These last 2 wks, I didn't do them at all. I want to - because my clothes are getting loose and I need to firm up - but I needed to get my contest entries out before and now I need to get my book rewritten and wrapped.

So, we'll see how I do. I've registered for the Romance Writers of America conference in Nashville in July and want to feel comfortable while flying. As well as being able to spend time sightseeing while I'm there. Which means I'm going to be a busy little beaver during these next couple months, but that's okay too because I need all the help I can get.

By the way, one adverse effect about losing the weight is that I'm always cold. Always. Used to be I could go outside when it was below freezing and not wear a coat. Now I'm packing on the sweaters in the house. Weird, eh?

And here's something else weird... everyone keeps saying you need extreme cold for a sun dog to appear. Well, here's a pic of one I took in the Home Depot parking lot a couple nights ago. Not sure what it was all about but the temp was around 10c/50F. Now that I think about it though, the Northern lights made a rare appearance a few hours later as we were driving home. You think there was something in the air?


Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's April! Robins and Prairie Chicks

No, I won't pull an April Fool's Day post on you this year. I've been too busy writing to make one up. I'll get you next year, though. : )

I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today. We're discussing the use of 'who' and 'whom' and whether we really need 'whom'. Please join us.

I've changed my photo up top to a current one. It was taken yesterday - March 31st. It's not as pretty as the all white winter scene but it shows you what it's like up here right now.

As for my writing - in the last couple days I've submitted Emma's Outlaw in both the ACFW's Genesis contest and also in the RWA FHL's Touched by Love contest. The waiting game is on now as I won't know if I final until May.

With the warmer temperatures, I've been writing in my garage office whenever the family is watching TV or playing the electronic games in the living room. It quiet out there. I have room for my 4'x4' pegboard which has one of those huge pads of paper so I can make all kinds of plot or character notes. A white board, too. Not exactly high tech but it'll be a long time before I have the type of smart board that was shown on Castle these past 2 weeks. Wasn't that something to brighten your eyes!

I was out there in my office when I saw this robin fly in. My first robin of the year. He thought I couldn't see him. Heh. And yes that is snow in the background. Because it's in the shade, that snow will be there for awhile yet.

Do you know when to use who and whom?