Monthly Archives: July 2013

EXERCISE YOUR WAY TO…

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Many things happened to my family in 2006: my mother-in-law passed away, I discovered I had breast cancer, and my 30-year-old nephew was killed in a  motorcycle accident. I try to pretend that year just didn’t happen. I don’t like the memories. I believe I experienced some sort of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I was anxious and depressed and every day was a struggle along with physically feeling like a pile of…well, you get my drift.

Then I found Lucinda Bassett. While listening to her cd’s, filling out questionnaires on anxiety and depression, and practicing meditation I slowly but surely came out of my fog. One of her statements was, “Don’t even bother taking this course if you don’t first do two things: stop drinking caffeine and start exercising.

Following her (I won’t call them suggestions) demands, my life hasn’t been the same since 2008/2009. It worked. I ride my bicycle almost every day, do yoga, and still listen to the mediation cd several times a week.

I did this all for myself, as well as my family.

Do you have a particular way of dealing with stress and/or depression and/or bad times?

I’d like to know.

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Always Remember Cover Reveal!

Last week, I received the final cover for my August 2013 release ALWAYS REMEMBER. Because we went through several designs, I thought I’d give you a behind the scenes peek at the cover process.

Originally, I’d found the image of a couple I wanted to use on the cover (below). Since ALWAYS REMEMBER takes place on a ranch outside of Cochrane, Alberta, I went with a western look. I loved the couple’s pose in this image and the look of the guy screamed babe-magnet. Yeah, he fit the image of Nate Coltrane just perfectly. But I didn’t like the woman’s snarky smile because it didn’t portray my heroine properly, so I asked my designer, Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs, to cover up her face.

Always Remember - Original Image

As usual, Kim did a super fab job on the cover and below is the first composition she sent me.

SheilaSeabrook_AlwaysRememeber_comp01b

The cover is beautiful, isn’t it? In fact, when I first saw it, I thought it looked like a painting worthy of being hung on my wall. Except there was one problem with it. I felt readers could mistake this book for a historical romance.

So we went back to the drawing board and Kim came up with a more contemporary look.

SheilaSeabrook_AlwaysRemember_POD_comp02b

Again, totally gorgeous. Now you know why Kim designs my covers. :) There was no way readers could mistake ALWAYS REMEMBER for a historical romance now, but the man looked like he belonged on a golf course instead of a ranch. We tried a cowboy hat on him. Uggg. And I really missed my cowboy hero from the first cover.

After some discussion, during which time we played with the first image to see if we could come up with something that I’d be happy with, I decided the original image of the couple — with that gorgeous cowboy guy — wouldn’t suit the contemporary cover I wanted.

We restarted the process and I headed online to gather new information to send to Kim. I looked at existing covers that projected the feel I wanted for my book (very contemporary) and went searching for an image of a couple that would represent Nate Coltrane and Jessie Adams, the hero and heroine from ALWAYS REMEMBER. At last, I resent my request and crossed my fingers.

Always Remember - POD Cover

And WOW! I’m totally in love with Kim’s design. With the purple hues and the romantic couple front and center, this cover is absolutely-perfectly stunning! I now have it as the desktop on my MacBook Air, my iPad, and my iPhone, so I can admire it every day before I get down to work on book two of the Rocky Mountain Romance series.

What are some of your favorite covers? Go ahead and leave links in the comments below. And out of the three covers above, would you have chosen one of the other covers? If so why? Hey, we’re all different and I get that and I’m very interested in how others perceive cover design.

Thanks for sharing this special moment with me and remember to sign up for my Newsletter!

Dog vs. House

Life with dogs can be very challenging and very rewarding. As many of you know, we have two rescue mutts, Hershey and Snickers. They have been with us for five years and our lives are much better because we found each other.Hershey

We recently went on vacation without them for ten days. It was a very quiet and lonely ten days, even though our whole family was together. Every night, my husband and I would get into bed and wish our dogs were with us. What can I say…we love our dogs!Snickers

I was walking the dogs the other day and ran into a neighbor who has a new black lab puppy. He was telling me about the chewing their dog had done and I started to think about the way our dogs have made our home theirs in the last five years. The more I thought, the longer the list got.

The most obvious marking is from Hershey where she lays on our dining room chairs tucked beneath our table. It’s her cave dining room tableand she can be found there during most daylight hours. See how she’s marked up the table with her claws? Thankfully, I discovered a fix (3/4 cup canola oil and ¼ cup vinegar) and I can hide the scratch marks as soon I can get her out.

The pom-pom pillow fringe lasted longer than I expected. They only recently started chewing on those—I think mostly when we are out of town.Pillow

They’ve chewed on the dining room hutch.Hutch

The world’s most comfortable couch (see the paw…I believe Snickers is to blame for this one).Couch

The most recent and maddening is the back door screen. We recently (as in within the last week) had the screen replaced where they’d torn it to bits during another one of our out of town trips. During the ripped screenperiod, Snickers figured out to open the door by poking her paws inside the screen and pulling on the wood. When the new screen went up, she decided to take matters into her own paws and clawed another hole.

This, my friends, is the price we pay for having dogs. Dog lovers will understand. Non-dog lovers won’t believe we let our furry friends destroy our homes. To us, a house is not a home without a few dog marks. Let me know about your worst offenders when you get a chance.

The Other Atlanta

ferris wheelFor those of you coming to Atlanta next week for the Romance Writers of America conference, things are looking up.  Way up.  On Tuesday, July 16 Skyview Atlanta—a 200 foot Ferris wheel will become operational at the South end of Centennial Park, next to the landmark Tabernacle concert hall. The wheel is almost 20 stories high with 42 gondolas that will be able to hold up to 6 people.  Don’t worry, each gondola is equipped with a panic button for those who find the height too, well, high.  They’re also climate controlled with A/C in the summer and heat in the winter. Each “flight” is four revolutions and lasts approximately fifteen minutes. Ticket prices vary with discounts for seniors and military personnel.  Adults are $13.50 and kids fly for $8.50.  The wheel, which originally operated in Paris, across from the Louvre art museum before being moved to Bern, Switzerland, then to the United States, promises to provide riders with outstanding views of the Atlanta skyline.  We’ve had steady rain here for the past two weeks, though, so let’s cross our fingers for better weather so we can take advantage of the great view.

Not into heights?  There’s always Atlanta’s trifecta of tourist attractions:  The Georgia Aquarium with its dancing dolphins; the World of Coca Cola with all the caffeine you can drink; or, the CNN center where you can tour the studios or simply take your picture next to a cardboard cutout of Anderson Cooper in the gift shop.  (Cheesy, but your friends will never know.)

Too touristy?  Then why not explore what Atlanta is quietly becoming famous for:  movies and television production.  That’s right, thanks to a generous film tax incentive, Atlanta, and the state of Georgia for that matter, is quickly becoming known as the Hollywood of the south.  According to the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, more than 330 feature films, TV movies and shows, commercials, and music videos were filmed statewide in 2012, which translates to more than 25,000 jobs.  The city’s most prolific production house, Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta, boasts 200,000 square feet of studio space, five sound stages, a post-production studio, a back-lot and a 400 seat movie theater.  Perry’s studio has produced sixteen movies and five television shows.  Other television shows such as USA Networks’ Necessary Roughness, CW’s Vampire Diaries, AMC’s Walking Dead and LifeTime’s Drop Dead Diva, to name a few, are filmed in and around Atlanta.

A few movies you might have heard of have been filmed here, too.  The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, The Blind Side, Identity Theft, Borat, Waiting for the Curve, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Parental Guidance are among the more recent movies to have scenes filmed in Atlanta.  This year, we’ve already seen some heavy hitters like Jon Hamm, Robin Williams, Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon filming around town.  (Okay, Reese was appearing in front of cameras she might not have wished to, but we won’t go there.)  Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are scheduled to film a movie at Lake Lanier just north of Atlanta later this summer.

Wanna see where it all happens?  Atlanta Movie Tours (www.atlantamovietours.com) offers a variety of tours including a Zombie Tour for all you paranormal aficionados.  Definitely a great way to spend an evening!

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you enjoy your stay. Welcome to Atlanta, y’all!

Summer in the Garden

Summer is not the time to be gardening. Not in Florida, anyway. It’s the time for vacations with the kids, days at the beach, the lake, a friend’s house. Summer is too hot for gardening in Florida. Pretty much too hot for anything but water fun!

However, I’m a year-round gardener which means there’s ALWAYS something growing in my backyard. And I’m not talking grass, I’m talking edible. 🙂

Sweet potatoes love the warm weather and grow all summer long to deliver a bounty of golden goodness come fall. These babies are sprawling into the beds on either side where I have dutifully made room for them.

sweet potatoes in bloom

Okra is another plant that loves it sunny and hot and this year, I’m playing around with a new variety! Red Okra, of the “Billy Bob” variety (and no, I didn’t make that name up).

red okra

My peanuts are thriving, burrowing away so that we may have peanuts to boil come football season.

peanuts like soft soil

Hot peppers also enjoy the heat. Go figure. My Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno and Scotch Bonnet are all doing well, though my sweet green peppers are struggling.

peppers

But my compost pile isn’t. Look at this baby, grow!

compost progress

And if my compost pile can grow squash, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, anyone can. Yep, that is my backyard compost pile. Eventually I’ll harvest the sweets, but it’s much too hot for the tomatoes to sport fruit and the squash, well, where I have to “dig” to get those golden beauties my be a bit much.  We’ll see.

Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy summer and the fruits of my labor! Including concocting a mean salsa with this bounty of peppers.

peppers in summer

How about you? Growing anything this summer where you live?

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