Tuesday, May 21, 2013
As I've mentioned yesterday, we've been hard at work on our garden. Well, I've been hard at work. The girls simply reap the rewards.
This year, we did things a bit differently. I put together a spreadsheet so I could track when we planted the seeds and when the crops needed to be harvested. Not sure if that will help, but I never claimed to be a master gardener.
So far we've planted:
The broccoli, spinach, squash, and cauliflower haven't done anything. I had trouble with the same seeds last year. I ended up buying a spinach plant at the store and added that to the garden last weekend. I tried again, unsuccessfully, to grow tomatoes and strawberries from seed and never got any seedlings. Then a storm came and blew down our small greenhouse, so that was the end of that. I bought two tomato plants and one strawberry and added them this weekend, too. Might be a bit too early for the tomato, but usually I plant on Memorial Day weekend, so it should be okay.
The sunflower, bean, cucumber, pea, and pumpkin seeds are sprouting. My onions are also doing well. I bought herb plants instead of trying to grow from seed this year. Last year, I didn't get much from the herb seeds, so I figured it would be easier just to buy the plants. All of them are doing well except the oregano. The leaves are turning brown. The darn rabbits are eating my parsley, too. Not seeing much progress in the potato bag, but it's probably too early yet.
The one surprise this year is the lettuce. I've never had trouble growing lettuce from seed before, but this year I'm not seeing any progress and they've been in the ground since the first week of the month. I'll probably try to plant again this week, but it might be too hot soon.
I've got to put up the temporary fence so the animals stay away, but for now the planting is done. I'll have to buy two or three more raised beds in order to add the corn and watermelon later.
I'll share more gardening news as it comes.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Not a lot of great stuff ending up in my mailbox lately. I've been concentrating on the garden and not paying too much attention to the catalogs. The usuals show up: Land's End, FrontGate, Oriental Trading, but I'm not even browsing much.
The latest Gardener's Supply Company catalog is on my table. I haven't gone through it yet, but I know I want to order some type of irrigation system for the vegetable garden. It's too hard to keep hauling out the hose and water each night.
The only book I've received is Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl. I am hosting her book tour at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. This books sounds fascinating. It features a young Emily Dickinson solving the murder of a handsome stranger. We're not too far from where Emily Dickinson lived, so I like to read books about her.
That's it for now. Hope you have a great week.
Friday, May 17, 2013
In this thrilling debut novel, by Michael Bigham, Sheriff Matt Harkness faces a perilous challenge. He isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, he drives an old battered pickup and his faithful companion is a wiener dog named Addison. Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness has a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?
Purchase at Amazon!
The Lay of the Land
Landscape in Fiction
by Michael Bigham
There’s a feeling you get driving down to Casper at night from the north, and not only there, other places where you come through hours of darkness unrelieved by lights except the crawling wink of some faraway ranch truck. You come down a grade and all at once the shining town lies below you, slung out like all western towns, and with the curved bulk of the mountain behind it.
Annie Proulx, “A Lonely Coast” from Close Range: Wyoming Stories
If you live out west, you’ve probably driven this stretch of road, maybe not this particular stretch in Wyoming, but perhaps one similar somewhere in Idaho or Colorado. In Central Oregon where I grew up, there’s a ten-mile down grade running from the shoulder of Grizzly Mountain into Prineville. When you crest that rise, the town lights seem so distant.
Annie Proulx is a favorite writer of mine. She creates complex characters and is a master at using landscape in her prose. Whether you’re reading The Shipping News or Brokeback Mountain you can be sure that the landscape will play an important role.
Another of my favs is Flannery O’Connor. Let’s look at A Good Man is Hard to Find:
They turned onto the dirt road and the car raced roughly along in a swirl of pink dust. The grandmother recalled the times when there were no paved roads and thirty miles was a day's journey. The dirt road was hilly and there were sudden washes in it and sharp curves on dangerous embankments. All at once they would be on a hill, looking down over the blue tops of trees for miles around, then the next minute, they would be in a red depression with the dust-coated trees looking down on them.
Here O’Connor uses description of the landscape to foreshadow danger for the story’s characters.
In my own novel, I use the landscape not only to give the reader a sense of place, but also to define my protagonist, Sheriff Matthew Harkness:
The ride up the valley to the North Redmond Ranch was pretty enough in summer or winter, just too long on washboard roads for my taste. I kept the window down and hummed to myself as the countryside drifted by, sagebrush and juniper, up and over the hill out of town, then along wheat and alfalfa fields, faded to brown by August, and up the Paulina Valley. I could buy a few acres up here. Good land, plenty of water, cheap, and undiscovered… so far.
Michael Bigham, Harkness: A High Desert Mystery
Landscape in fiction enhances the reader’s experience and can play a role in character, plotting and creating tension.
You can find Harkness: A High Desert Mystery in both e-book format and in paperback on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to check out my blog at www.michaelbigham.com
Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.
Visit the author online at www.muskratpress.com and his blog at http://blueparrot.blogspot.com/
Enter for your chance to win a free paperback of Harkness. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
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Thursday, May 16, 2013
As a busy mom, there’s so much to do to get ready to leave on vacation:
· Hold the mail
· Hold the paper
· Arrange pet sitters
· Clean the house (so I don’t have a mess when we return home)
· Make sure we have enough good clothes for the trip (the kids seem to grow out of half of their things before we leave)
· Help the girls pack
· Confirm reservations before we leave
· Confirm coverage for my clients while we’re away
· Grocery shop so the pet sitters have what they need
Pretty much, I’m exhausted before boarding the plane. Thankfully, when we finally go away, we’re at least going somewhere where we’ll be too busy for me to work. I rarely even read when we’re in Florida.
The other nice thing about going to Disney is that I don’t have to plan meals. When we go to the Outer Banks, I’m usually cooking two meals a day. With Disney, I simply make dining reservations ahead of time for all our meals.
Once we return, I’ll have six days of laundry for four people to wash and then have to go grocery shopping again, but at least once I set foot on the plane, I’m truly on vacation.
What’s your favorite vacation spot? Is there somewhere you would love to go that you haven’t been to yet?
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Thanks so much for the opportunity to introduce Fat Chance! The no-going-back Weight Loss Workbook to your readers. A bit about myself? Well I have had an interesting range of life experiences from being an overseas volunteer (like a Peace Corp volunteer) to being a university lecturer, from being a mother to being an author and business owner.
But my chief qualification here is that I was significantly overweight for many years, so I can identify with anyone who is overweight and wants desperately to lose weight. I was tired of the debilitating effect it had on my life and when I looked into the future I didn’t want to be like that for the rest of my life. I couldn’t keep up with my children. It was hugely embarrassing to tell the shop assistant that the XXL was too small. So I gave up shopping for clothes.
Physically I snored, I got headaches and heartburn, my skin chaffed and I was borderline pre-diabetic (all those are gone now). It was hugely embarrassing to walk at normal speed with friends, trying desperately to hide my puffing. So I dropped out of activities (or was not included). I was an observer rather than a participant and I desperately wanted to participate in life.
But for me personally one of the biggest issues was that I had a lot to contribute but was not taken seriously. I was undervalued and overlooked in my professional career. Despite my size I was invisible. I wanted to be taken seriously – that was a key motivation for me.
What made you decide to write Fat Chance! The Weight Loss Workbook?
When I was losing weight I was always looking for good advice but I never found what I was looking for on the bookshelves. There were certainly inspiring personal stories of weight loss. There were prescriptive books full of diet plans written by professionals who had never been overweight (many of these did contain good technical advice which, incidentally, overweight people already know). And there were a range of ‘wacky’ restrictive pseudo-science options.
But most focused on dieting or sticking to diets and there was nothing (in my view) that combined a comprehensive approach to changing your lifestyle, including dealing with emotional hunger, changing your thinking, habits and behaviors, eating better, working with your body and getting active, with a personal, reflective, interactive workbook format.
So after I had lost weight I decided to research and write it myself. I had written a book before and I know how to research so I decided to fill what I believe is an enormous gap in the market. So when I wrote Fat Chance! I combined the best current research with my insider knowledge of what it was like to be overweight and how overweight people think. That combination is key.
How is it different from other weight loss books on the market?
The Fat Chance! slogan sums it up in a nutshell: “Forget about how fat people diet. Focus on how slim people eat.” The key point of difference is Fat Chance! is absolutely definitely not a diet. Instead it facilitates a lifestyle change focused on learning to think and eat like a slim person, forever.
The greatest misconception people have about losing weight is that you lose weight by dieting for a certain time (and then going back to your old behavior). One of my first insights was the realization that if you eat the amount of food needed to maintain your goal slim weight every day, you would, over time, reach and maintain that weight, just as slim people do, keeping the weight off forever.
With Fat Chance! you learn to eat for your slim weight from Day 1. The new skills and strategies you adopt to do this are yours for the rest of your life. I think that is the key difference and is why this is not a diet. The end goal is to live differently. The weight-loss will happen as a result of changing your lifestyle.
The second major point of difference is the engaging, interactive workbook format. Research has shown that food journaling alone is a very effective weight loss tool but it is more than that. The question and answer format enables the reader to slow down, become much more self-aware, reflect deeply and draw out of themselves and make the changes they need to make at a very personal and individual level.
How easy is your book to use and understand for someone who hasn’t tried anything other than traditional diet plans?
I agree that it seems strange to not think you are supposed to be dieting. After all we have always been taught that is how you lose weight. But think instead of how slim people naturally maintain their slim weight.
Fat Chance! is extremely easy to use as you work through it just one day at a time. The journal style has several advantages. It provides a very safe environment in which to deal with weight issues, especially emotional issues; a sort of “dear diary.” Many people have written to me describing it as their new best friend. The workbook itself becomes the encourager, the friend who walks beside the reader on their journey each day.
Fat Chance! is well designed and organized so everything is covered. Each day of the week has a different theme: The six themes are: Thinking like a slim person, Working with your body, Establishing new habits, Dealing with emotional hunger, Getting active, Enjoying a healthy balanced diet and Day 7 is a Debrief and reflection. Groups can come together on Day 7. So each day is interesting and new but the full picture layers and builds week on week.
How much time does it take to implement the plan in your book?
Fat Chance! The Weight Loss Workbook is a colorful and stylish but very practical, interactive workbook which engages the reader every day. It can take as little as 15 minutes or up to 45 minutes a day, depending on the reader. Many prefer to delve into it both morning (to plan) and evening (to reflect).
The program is 12 weeks long, but because it is life-changing, in this sense it never ends. There is no going back to old ways. I don’t mean that you have to diet forever (a terrible thought). Instead you reach a healthy new equilibrium; a new lifestyle where you think and eat like a slim person forever.
It is important the workbook journey is undertaken one day at a time. It does take time to identify the changes that have to come from within and discipline to slowly and deeply embed those changes. The discipline is not in resisting food (we know that doesn’t work) but rather the discipline is in changing your thoughts and habits. And that is where Fat Chance! walks with you as you journal your progress.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a lifestyle change?
Completely abandon the idea of dieting, and completely embrace the idea that you are going to change your lifestyle and there will be no going back to your old behavior. If you are not prepared to change, don’t do it!
But also know that it is absolutely possible, and Fat Chance! will be there right there beside you, showing you the way. Ask yourself (Fat Chance! asks you a lot of questions): Do I want to live differently or do I want to be fat? It really is that simple.
Where can readers purchase Fat Chance! The Weight-loss Workbook?
Readers can purchase a hardcopy of the Fat Chance! Weight Loss Workbook from Amazon or www.ShoppingMoa.com Links to the specific buying pages are found at www.fatchanceweightloss.com (note it is also called “Fat Chance! Forget how fat people diet, Focus on how slim people eat” – I like that!).
Recently I have created an interactive Online web-based version of Fat Chance! which is available globally from www.fatchance.co.nz/new-fat-chance-online-programme
Do you have anything else to add?
I’m absolutely delighted with the response Fat Chance! has been getting. As well as individuals it is being used by groups of friends (meeting on Day 7) and health professionals working with overweight clients. Apart from the fact it really works, people love the design, colors and the layout of the book which is really stylish and fun as well as practical.
I’d love your readers to read the success stories of people who have used Fat Chance! lost weight and changed their lives at www.fatchanceweightloss.com/testimonials. Some of the stories and photos are just amazing and are why I know Fat Chance! works.
Your readers can also read and download the Introduction from www.fatchanceweightloss.com/sneak-peak and everything and anything else they want to know is there as well.
Thank you for allowing me to share Fat Chance! with you.
I wish all your readers all the best in their weight loss journey!
Susan Maiava PhD.
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.
Purchase at: Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Also available for Kindle.
Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)
In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.
Her latest book is Cassie Scot:
Pump Up Your Book and Christine Amsden are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!
Here’s how it works:
Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.
This promotion will run from May 13 – August 16. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on August 17, 2013.
Each blogger who participates in the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.
Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. If the form doesn't work, visit the book's tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/22/pump-up-your-book-presents-cassie-scot-paranormal-detective-virtual-book-publicity-tour-win-kindle-fire-hd/ for your chance to enter!
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