Are You Ready for Some Football Food?

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I’m a bit of a football fan.  Okay, more than ‘a bit’.  It stands to reason that this is my favorite time of they year–those few weeks before the opening kick-off when we’re all still in the hunt for the NCAA championship or the Lombardi Trophy.  But there’s more to football than just watching the game or listening to the marching band.  There’s food.  Tailgate food, specifically.

Next week, the fourth book in my Out of Bounds series, Sleeping with the Enemy, will hit e-readers and bookshelves.  To publicize it, I created fun recipe cards that double as book marks.  The recipe we put on the back is a great football snack whether you’re tailgating or camping out in front of your big screen.  Since I can’t send you all a bookmark, here’s the next best thing:

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Thanks to Su at Earthly Charms for the beautiful recipe cards.

Here’s the scoop on Sleeping with the Enemy:

Dot-com millionaire Jay McManus is discovering that owning a pro football team like the Baltimore Blaze isn’t easy. An anonymous blogger is out to destroy his reputation, and now his team is being sued by its own cheerleaders. If Jay’s not careful, he could lose big—and not just financially.

Bridgett Janik’s brother may play for the Baltimore Blaze, but she’s not thrilled to be defending Jay McManus, the man who broke her heart. It’s bad enough she has to mingle with Jay during games, but working beside her former lover may be too much for her body—and her heart—to resist.

Jay’s determined not to let Bridgett slip away from him a second time. But, as the two follow the mysterious blogger’s trail, secrets—both past and present—are revealed, and Jay and Bridgett must decide if their relationship can be something more than just sleeping with the enemy.

Get your copies here:

Apple iBooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Google Books
IndieBound
Kobo
Powell’s Books

Best of luck to your team this season!!

You Can’t Have It All If You Try to Do It All

Prague astronomical clockPriorities. We’ve all got them. That constant tension between what we must do and what we want to do.

On this celestial sphere we live on, we’re bound to just 24 hours in a day. This is a hard limit I’ve been fighting since college, without success.

Once again, I’ve taken on too much. Activities that seemed manageable have spiraled out of control, leaving me without enough time to write.

I need to write.

It can be difficult to admit that something you enjoy—something that’s satisfying and makes you feel like you’re contributing—is getting in the way of a higher priority goal.

When that happens, it’s time to step back and reassess.

If we want to reach our dreams, sometimes we have to do less instead of more. Less of things that distract us. Less of things that sap our energy.

Pushing ourselves by working more hours isn’t an effective solution. We need down time. Good exercise and good sleep make us more productive.

Writers cannot live by caffeine alone.

So here I am, re-evaluating my priorities and shedding activities that I wish I had time for but don’t.

And by doing that, with any luck, I’m getting a few steps closer to my dreams.

Do you try to do too much? How do you find balance? 

(Photo Copyright: olgacov / 123RF Stock Photo)

Outside of Romance

What do romance authors do when not writing romance? You mean, other than living the dream with their real life hero? (**he, he**) They chase children to and from school, soccer practice, tennis–they cook, clean, garden and write children’s books. Children’s books?

Venetta, Dianne- Show Me the Green! (RGB)

Yep. This romance author does, anyway! And what a wild ride it’s been to publication. Completely different from writing romance where I create everything until the editing process (whereby I then change everything according to my editor’s sage advice), writing a children’s book involves artists and illustrations, a proposition that is more involved than first glance. I never realized how much work it would be to transfer my vision to someone else–scene by scene, image by image–the process can be overwhelming!

And time-consuming. But like carrying a baby for nine months, once you finally deliver, it’s a great feeling. Wonderfully exhilarating! You have no idea what the future holds, yet you’re excited by the mere anticipation of come what may. Your dream has finally come to fruition. Now, you wait patiently while others receive your baby and you look forward to their thoughts. Will they love it? Hate it? Ignore it?

That part is similar to romance writing. You work long and hard on your stories, and when you push your little masterpieces out into the world, you wait with bated breath for the outcome. Will they love them? Hate them? Ignore them?

But once all is said and done, all you can do is sit back, breathe a sigh of relief and (hopefully) say, “I love them.” And I do. Much like my romance novels, I love my new children’s series. Even if no one else ever reads it, I enjoyed the process of imagination and creation, the painstaking process of editing and formatting, and finally–the delivery. I loved it all. It’s what I do. I’m a writer. And because there are many facets to my personality, I now write children’s books. **sigh** Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, I’m off to the races and back to the drawing board to craft that next novel… :)

#amwriting but wish #amreading

I’m currently deep in the middle of writing my third book. Like, thirty thousand(ish) words to go and a looming deadline deep. Yoga pants and messy hair and not enough showers deep. Deeeeeep.

All that goes to say, when I sat down to write today’s blog post, I couldn’t even contemplate coming up with another 500 words. Sorry, y’all, but I got nuthin’.

But Women Unplugged is a blog about books, and raving about other people’s books is so much easier than talking about mine, so here are a few I love from brilliant fellow authors.

81L-XdfdbgLJonathan Tropper is an automatic buy for me. I don’t even bother reading the back cover, just point my mouse at the one-click shopping button. He makes me laugh, he makes me cry, he makes me wish he would write faster. I love all his books, but How to Talk to a Widower is my absolute favorite.

51CXyA2LniL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Allison Winn Scotch has such a great voice, and she writes characters I want to be BFFs with. Time of My Life is not her latest, but she smashed it out of the park — and onto the NYT list — with this one.

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A hunky chef, a snarky writer, and a story that sticks with you long after you turn the last page. The First Husband is a charming tale about finding your soul mate, and my favorite of all of Laura Dave’s novels.

51dx30Ray5LBridget Asher has a new one coming out this fall and I can hardly wait. Her last one, Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, is heartbreaking and hilarious, a love story within a love story, and bonus! It’s set in beautiful France.

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this one. Julie Buxbaum writes so beautifully about love and loss and the secrets we hide from our families and ourselves. After You will haunt you long after The End.

If you read any of these, I hope you’ll let me know what you think!

Loving Ourselves — and Our Bodies

Show me a woman with no insecurities and I’ll show you a cat with a dog’s personality.

Even those most confident and successful with self-image, I feel sure, see bits about themselves they pick apart from time to time.

My arms are flabby.

I’ve got to lose weight.

I’m not tall enough.

The pores on my face aren’t small enough.

My stomach is not sexy.

My ears are too huge.

My boobs are too tiny.

I’ve got a weird mole. A gap in my teeth. Hairy forearms.

And so on… These things are said under our breath, or are common in our thoughts, and they become more than detached observation. They grow big enough and strong enough to feel wrong, and to distract us from our greater beauty, and our wholeness.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

We spend unnecessary amounts of time fixated on our blemishes, when in truth, we’re usually the only ones who absorb them.

Why are we so critical of ourselves?

Think about your daughters. Your sisters. Your best friends.

Does Becca Jane’s double chin overshadow her tried-and-true integrity?

Is Sonya’s Comedy Central-worthy sense of humor threatened by her overbite?

When was the last time you rolled your eyes at Tina’s thinning hair, or crinkled your nose because of Dominique’s funky toes?

Why should our own imperfections be so big? Weigh so much? We shouldn’t love ourselves any less, or be any less forgiving of our flaws than we are of our daughters’, sisters’, friends’ imperfections. It’d be pretty duplicitous of us.

On our favorite people we see tummy rolls, pock marks, wrinkles, with only detached observation. It doesn’t figure into our assessment of them, because we love them regardless. We love them for their loyalty, for their excellent listening habits, for never hesitating to help, for mad creative skills. Their giant blue eyes catch our attention. We ogle their gorgeous hair. We appreciate the softness of their voice, the strength they show when tested, the way they juggle so much in life like the best of experts.

We see our loves ones’ physical flaws — if even aware of them — as only a small part of their whole being. It’s part of their realness, that’s it, nothing more. And this endears us to them.

Who would Nina be without her trademark frizz? Would anyone recognize Sabrina if she laughed without the snort?

I would never want my girls to be as hard on themselves as I’ve been on myself over the years. One of my daughters has some warts, the other some scars from a childhood virus. These are physical flaws they’re aware of — much in the way I’m aware of the keloid on my ear, and the excess of my body that I see before anything else when I look in the mirror — but my girls are so much more than their “defects.” And so am I. None of those things should get a second thought from us. They add up with lots of other things to make us who we are.

Loving my girls for so many reasons, definable and not, and knowing the kind of confidence I want them to have as they come into their own, has taught me to go easy on myself. Why would I ever talk to myself in a way I’d never think to talk to my sweet girls or my dearest friends?

Why would you?

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha

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