Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolutions by the Numbers

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions
  1. Lose Weight
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Stick to a budget
  4. Save more money
  5. Find a better job
  6. Become more organized
  7. Exercise More
  8. Be more patient at work/with others
  9. Eat Better
  10. Become a better person
-Compiled by the Toronto Star Library

Top 5 reasons people fail to keep their resolutions
  1. Go big or go home syndrome. eg: "I'm going to lose thirty pounds so I can wear a bikini on holiday next month." "I'm going to work out 20 hours every week." "I'm going to save enough money to buy that Lamborghini I want and still send my kids to Harvard." (Also see #3)
  2.  Fuzzy-wuzzy goals. Take any of the top ten resolutions as example. There's no how, when or where and the what is so vague as to be meaningless.
  3. Reality check needed. Sure, anyone can try to do anything, but the people who do well learn about the task first. For instance, if being more organized came naturally to you, you wouldn't have to make a resolution about it. But there's lots of information out there about reducing clutter, organizing time and materiel and how to do it in stages so it doesn't overwhelm the naturally disorganized person.
  4. Other people. There are a few ways other people can undermine your resolutions and only one of them is their fault. If you decide that it isn't just you that needs to work out, your spouse needs to exercise too, don't expect them to go along with your plans. If your friends order doubles at the bar and you make do with soda and lime, it's not their problem (but get their keys). On the other hand, if your buddy keeps offering you cigarettes (or alcohol or cream puffs or whatever) and tells you it's too late to worry about your health, drop them like a burning coal. Now. I mean it.
  5. Resolution - or lack thereof. This isn't about willpower or never stumbling. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. For most of us, this results in the temptation to wallow in self-pity and to quit. Okay, I ate too much chocolate* today and I'm suffering for it. Tomorrow I'll do better. In fact, I'll start doing better right now because frankly, my stomach is too upset to face anything but water and an antacid. 
- Compiled by me using course work, a bunch of boring references and common sense.

(*Note: See Pop Culture Divas for my chocolate resolution.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Romance Before Christmas

Countdown Sale on and

Twas the night before Christmas 
And eReaders were stocked

With the following romance
Novels that rocked

Near Lake Athabaska
A waitress named Sadie
Was sipping hot chocolate

In Bridgeport, Connecticut
An ER physician
Was taking a break

On a top secret base
Watching spy drone flyovers
An agent surreptitiously

In a nursing home in Florida
In a room down the hall
I'm sure someone is reading

A file clerk in Moncton
Who's never travelled far
Has gone back in time

And at Pierson Airport
In a long ticket line
A homeward bound student

And each of these readers
Though not obvious at first glance
Has all of these books in

1. LANCELOT’S LADY by Cherish D'Angelo/Cheryl Kaye Tardif – A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

2. BLONDE DEMOLITION by Chris Redding – Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where no one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security. But a twisted serial killer has found her, as well as her former partner and lover, Trey McCrane. Now Mallory and Trey are on the run, and time is running out.

3. CHASING CLOVERS by Kat Flannery – Mail-order bride, Livy Green, is desperate to escape the memories of her past. John Taylor will never love another woman again, but his children need a mother. As Livy's past catches up with her and suspicious accidents begin to happen on the ranch, she is tempted to tell John the truth. But will he send her back if she does?

4. ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL by Melodie Campbell – When Rowena falls through her classroom wall and lands in an alternate world, she doesn't count on being kidnapped―not once, but twice―and the stakes get higher as the men get hotter. Unwanted husbands keep piling up, but that doesn't stop her from falling for the wrong brother. Good thing she can go back through the wall. Or can she?

5. UNDER A TEXAS STAR by Alison Bruce – When Marly Landers is fooled by con man Charlie Meese, she's determined to bring him to justice―even if it means dressing up as a boy and setting off across the plains to find him. Texas Ranger Jase Strachan is also after Meese. Under the Texas stars, Marly and Jase are drawn together, yet fate plots to tear them apart.

6. SWEET KAROLINE by Catherine Astolfo – Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline's mysterious death than meets the eye? Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals.

 Available around the world...
But on sale in the US and UK

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Deadly Dozen Redux

Have you ever looked at a book title and imagined what it might be about without looking at the blurb and finding out? Fifty Shades of Grey, for instance, might be a how-to book about decorating executive offices.

How about looking at twelve titles and making them into one story?

Bob The Bridgeman sat in his booth taking tolls all day. Between cars, he worked on his Sociology essay on the Deadly Legacy of imperialism on third world economies.

He was just composing a brilliant closing line to his introduction when he was interrupted by a text message from his sister. She had just found A Purse to Die for and could he lend her a hundred bucks.

Train of thought derailed, Bob turned his attention to Cheat the Hangman, a role playing game he was developing with his college roommate. They had their steam punk world all worked out, but were having problems with A Human Element, their main non-player character: Lakota Honor.

Suddenly a pickup truck ran the toll gate. Bob speed dialed the OPP and took note of what details he could see. It was a late model, white Chevy Silverado with a Pelican Bay logo painted on the side. That was the resort down the road on Safe Harbor.

A moment later, a black Ford Explorer came through, lights flashing. When he got through to the dispatcher, he was able to tell her that a police vehicle was already in pursuit.

"What is it about that bridge that attracts so much trouble?" Bob asked. "I'm beginning to think you arrange for these incidents to happen when I'm on shift so you can talk to me."

The dispatcher huffed. "That's a fine thing to say on a call that's being recorded. You're going to get me fired or worse. I'll be here today and just Soul and Shadow tomorrow."

"I was just joking. Joking is one of the Innocent Little Crimes."

"Say that when you joke your way into the Room of Tears."

"Does this mean you won't go out with me Saturday night?"

"Only with Divine Intervention."

Reviews for the books in Deadly Dozen:

"You won't catch your breath until the last page [of The Bridgeman] turns."--Lou Allin, author of She Felt No Pain

"Deadly Legacy grips your attention from the first page...a treat for the senses." --Garry Ryan, award-winning author of Malabarista

"[A Purse to Die For has a] page-turning pace, fascinating characters, sly wit, and a plot that will keep you guessing." --Janet Bolin, Agatha-nominated author of Dire Threads

"Cheat the Hangman is a refreshing and chilling paranormal mystery you won't want to miss." ―Jeff Bennington, author of Reunion

"A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended." --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero

"Transport back to the old west with this paranormal historical [Lakota Honor], and its alpha hero, and a heroine hiding her secret talents." --Shannon Donnelly, author of the Mackenzie Solomon Urban Fantasy series

"Christiansen offers a tale sure to entrance readers--a story of love and wisdom and the mystery of a forgotten graveyard under the waters of Pelican Bay." --Man Martin, author of Paradise Dogs

"[Safe Harbor] offers a coherent structure, an exact feel for the Toronto locales, and, in Pat, a hugely attractive sleuth figure." --Toronto Star
"Soul and Shadow is a deep and complex tale of deceit, danger and love. Well plotted and extremely engrossing that I couldn't put it down." --Romance Junkies

"Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold in this fast-paced, thrilling story...[Innocent Little Crimes is] a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breath the whole way through." --Publishers Weekly

"[Room of Tears is] a beautiful and gut wrenching story...Miss Merlino weaves a flawless tale that will have you sobbing by the end of the book." --#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken, author of The Bet

"Great imagination, fabulous imagery...This chilling page-turner [Divine Intervention] is a genuine Canadian crime novel...Tardif gives her readers plenty of twists and turns before reaching a satisfying ending." --Midwest Book Review


Monday, December 1, 2014

Dear Santa

 "May you live in interesting times."

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a Chinese curse or even Chinese. But it can be a bit of a curse.

For instance, after finalizing a manuscript that includes a character suffering a concussion, my son got a concussion. Interesting. The writer in me wonders why he couldn't have done this while I was in the editing process so I could use the first hand knowledge I've gained. (The mother in me wants to slap the writer silly.)

Twenty-two years ago, when I first had Bell's Palsy, I was told that I'd never have to go through it again. Ten years later, I was told that I wasn't supposed to get it again. Ten years after that, the same thing. Two years later, I found out that it is rare for Bell's Palsy to affect someone twice, but if they get it twice, they might get it a third time. However, only a tiny proportion of those people ever suffer it again.

I'm one of the rare few. Interesting.

When I was an adolescent, I actually wished for my life to be more interesting. By this time I had traveled to Mexico, across Canada, to London, Paris, Rome and through what used to be Yugoslavia. My life was already pretty interesting, I just didn't appreciate it. My day-to-day life was safe, stable and financially secure. I didn't know a good thing when I had it.

So, dear Santa, my Christmas wish is for my family to have good health and to enjoy less stress.I'm not against adventure, but I could do without the curse of Interesting Times.