Did a live interview with Suspense Magazine on Blog Talk Radio today. There are three guests and I’m the last, so skip ahead to the 60 minute mark. Hope I sound okay. My husband says I say “so,” “um,” and other similar fillers a lot. But it was a fun interview and the host was engaging, which makes a big difference!
I can’t even count the number of diets I’ve quit over the years. I don’t have enough fingers and toes! It happens for any number of reasons, and level of devotion at the beginning is only part of the equation. Especially as I get older and week-to-week weight loss is harder, I find that frustration plays a big role. That’s why I’ve switched to weighing monthly instead of weekly.
My monthly weight check came back with 6 pounds gone…I used to be able to do that in a week in my 20′s but hey, I’m not 20 anymore. I’m 35 and have 2 kids. It make a difference.
The other night at the gym a fellow dieter stepped on the scale, apparently didn’t like what she saw, and announced, “I quit!” My heart went out to her. I’ve been there. I know what that feels like.
Mindful eating isn’t for everyone. Honestly, I got to this place after decades of calorie counting and personal psychological issues. It works for me because I need to feel in control, but also because I understand good nutrition.
But there’s one thing I can say for this approach: Why should I quit? I can eat whenever I want. I can eat whatever I want. I can’t eat *wherever* I want, and I have to do it mindfully, but otherwise whether I’m losing weight or not I’m doing the right things for my body.
A few years ago when my kids were babies I read a book called “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family” by Ellen Satyr. It was a behavioral approach aimed at parents raising kids, but it helped me to understand my own eating behavior as well. I wasn’t read to take the plunge and “trust my body” the way she told me to at the time, but for the past five years I have gradually moved to that place.
One of the things she said that made so much sense to me was that if you’re on a diet that you need “a break from” then you need to change your diet. Good nutrition isn’t a weekday only experience. If you’re taking off alternate Thursdays (either intentionally or because you snap and binge) then you’re not helping your body in any way. You’re certainly not learning the long-term strategies you need to *stay* healthy once you lose weight.
You’ve all heard people talk about lifestyle changes, right? Me too…a million times…but I didn’t get it until recently. A lifestyle change means an approach to dieting that I will never quit, not even after I lose all the weight I want to lose.
I spent nine months getting my mind to a place where I could do this. I couldn’t go straight from the last diet to this diet because I was too psychologically damaged from years of “have-to” and “must.” I didn’t know what real hunger felt like anymore and I didn’t know how to convince myself that I wasn’t trying to control it, manipulate it, or starve it.
I’ve been meditating. I’ve been using self-affirmations. Think it’s corny if you like, but “I am beautiful. I am strong. I do not need food all day long.” I said it to myself every day for nine months, and followed it up by NOT dieting.
When it came time to get down to business (because my hips and knees are hurting), I came up with this long-term lifelong strategy:
1. Food is not the enemy. I can eat it.
2. A wide variety of foods is the key to long-term nutritional health.
3. Food should be savored. Any food that is not worth savoring is not worth eating. (Savoring includes eating slowly, but it also involves truly enjoying your food.)
4. The kitchen table is the right place to eat. If I cannot be bothered to stop what I am doing (TV, computer, etc.) and go to a table where I can sit down and consciously eat, then I’m not really hungry.
5. Start with small servings. If it’s on my plate I will probably finish it whether I am hungry or not. If it’s not on my plate I have to think about it before getting seconds.
6. I am permitted more food if I am still hungry, but I must wait 15 minutes to be sure I am. (Often I wander away and get so caught up in other things that the second helping never happens.)
7. Life’s short. Dessert can be eaten first. I don’t eat high-calorie desserts every day, but if I’m looking forward to a piece of cheesecake, why not start with it? I may be so full afterward that I skip the meal. Not a good idea on a regular basis, but a couple of times a month having dessert in lieu of a meal is better than having a high-calorie dessert in addition to a meal — especially when I’m already full!
8. *Small* desserts are allowed every day. I have bags of high-quality chocolate in my cupboard (you know I’m a chocolate snob ). I eat one piece most days, usually putting it on my plate with lunch or dinner. I could have another piece ,but I’d have to go back to the table to eat it and well…I can always have another one tomorrow. This isn’t my last chance for x days to eat chocolate.
Did you notice that most of these are things I am *allowed* to do rather than things I am *not* allowed to do? These are all about things I will do, as opposed to the usual diet advice which tells us all about the things we are not allowed to do.
Dieting is at least 50% psychology — probably more. Most of us have heard enough dieting advice by now that it’s bleeding out our ears.
If you don’t want to quit, don’t give yourself a reason to quit.
I have to give Lisa Kleypas credit — usually when an established mainstream genre romance author takes a stab at something paranormal, the result is painful. That was not the case here. Justine is a hereditary witch, born with magic and raised in pagan traditions drawn from real-world religions such as Wicca. The world building was smooth, consistent, and believable.
Justine was cursed at birth so that she would never love a man. The reason — when a witch loves a man, he is doomed to die. Hey, the universe demands a price for magic. It doesn’t come free. Justine isn’t aware of that fact when she learns of the curse’s existence and promptly breaks it.
The next thing she knows, she’s tumbling head over heals in love with Jason — a man without a soul. Now don’t get me wrong — he’s a perfectly good man. There just isn’t anything in him that will live past the death of his body. When he dies, that will be it.
He knows he doesn’t have a soul. He wants to steal Justine’s grymoire to see what he can do about that problem.
The romantic tension was good. Chemistry was good. The romance was a bit whirlwind and didn’t have as much of a firm footing as I like, but under the circumstances it was probably better that way.
The ending was surprisingly satisfying. (That’s all I can say without spoilers. )
I would recommend this novel to both romance readers AND to fantasy readers who think they’d like to try some romance. It’s a good cross-over book, and that’s hard to find!
Title: Crystal Cove
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Published February 2013
The Internet has been buzzing about it for months…a few of you may have even purchased your ebook copies early…but TODAY is the day! Cassie Scot:
ParaNormal Detective is out!
From the Back Cover…
“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.”
You can read the first few chapters right here on my website!
Events are happening all over the place!
Shelf Pleasures — Double guest blog and spotlight
New (Awesome) Reviews are popping up like crazy:
And B&N and Amazon are off with price wars over the print version. As of when I wrote this post, B&N was winning, but check them both out. There may be some smaller distributors with better prices. You never know.
When I embarked on this journey to finish the Wheel of Time, beginning at the start because of those slippery details, I wasn’t sure what compelled me to pick the series back up. I confess it was a near thing, far closer than I have suggested in my reviews to date. Book 9 left me with a lot of hope, but I haven’t mentioned that my husband had already read book 10 and reported that it was practically a useless volume. I think I wonder, perhaps, that pushing through all of this to the end was a psychological thing — you tend to wan to like those things you spend time or money on. And lord knows with books this long, I spent a lot of time on this, and I wanted to like it. I also keenly felt its promise and potential.
Yet most of the recent volumes weren’t all that great. They were tedious. Yes, tedious is the right word. For all they could be, they weren’t a thrill to read, as fantasy should be. They spun their wheels and they felt tired.
When I learned that a new author had taken hold of the final volumes in this book it actually made me LESS inclined to read them. Could it possibly be the same? No. Of course it couldn’t. I know that, as a writer, no matter how detailed the plot outlines that the story comes alive through the words themselves.
Coming alive is precisely what happened to the story in this book. It was like taking off a pair of dark sunglasses to suddenly see the world in bright light. It was almost more real, more vivid, and more energetic.
I’m not sure what happened. As a writer, I find myself wondering if the concept had become stale for Jordan, and if he had simply been writing it for too long. Sanderson proclaimed himself a great fan of the series in the forward, and I wonder if, when he picked up the reigns, he was able to bring vitality and freshness.
This could all be terribly unfair. These three final books in the series do represent a climax, so maybe the series was building this way anyway. Maybe. Book 11 was definitely better than most of those which came before but…
Vivid. Alive. Especially the characters, and I put a great stock in characters.
Rand broke in this book. He was going that way for a long time, but he snapped. He lost it. The prophecy said he might destroy the world. It may never know how close it came to total destruction, but I do, and what’s more — I believe it. The struggle was so alive.
Egweyne’s efforts in the white tower were particularly wonderful as well.
I go into the final two books with a lot mor ehope than I had before.
Title: The Gathering Storm
Authors: Brandson Sanderson and Robert Jordan
Published October 27, 2009
Q: Happy Mother’s Day! Who is your favorite mom from fiction?
A: I’m going to be curious to read what everyone else has to say on this one! When I think of fictional moms, my mind immediately slips from the cliche of perfection to the cliches of evil with little room in between for raw humanity. I started thumbing back through my goodreads list muttering…too perfect, too dead, too evil, not there…
I stopped at A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Now, it has been a great many years since I read this book, but I immediately recalled a mom who spent a lot of time in her laboratory trying to cook dinners over bunsen burners. She tries to keep her family together though her husband has been missing for years, but a part of her belongs to that missing husband. It doesn’t maker her bad or neglectful, just sad and even a little scatterbrained. She loves her kids, but she has definition and personality other than as a mother. And I don’t remember her being perfect. (This could be partly because I read it as a teen through another teen’s point of view. )
Real moms are all kinds of things, though even in the real world I sometimes feel cliches are trying to force us into a mold. If one more person tells me I’ll be going into mourning next fall when my youngest starts kindergarten… No, I’m really not! I’m looking forward to it. Why? Because I’m not a mom cliche. I’m me, and me is looking forward to a daughter who can read, write, and play better board/card games. (Hey, it’s what I’m into!)
Anyone else know of a mom in fiction who has some kind of definition outside her role as a mother? I’d love to hear about it!
(I’m just doing twitter and google+ follows now. It’s a more useful way to follow, IMHO, and I always follow back!)
The ebook has been available for a little over a month, but now we’re gearing up for the full release on May 15th, not even a week away! You can pre-order the print version of Cassie Scot through Barnes and Noble or Amazon today.
Next week, Cassie will be going on tour. Pump Up Your Book is hosting a three-month tour of my novel including reviews, interviews, guest posts, and spotlights. Plus, there’s going to be a kindle fire givea
I’m also doing a release-day review tour with Innovative Online Tours. Ten reviews all on Wednesday. I hope they like it!way at the end of it all. (More details next week!)
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.
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-275-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-274-0
Publication Date: May 15, 2013
Vicki Lewis Thompson has a wonderfully engaging style that swept me away as I read her nerd romance novels. The humor and romance has kept me reading the werewolf series as well, but I have to admit I wish she’d move on to something else. I don’t think she will because she seemed to have set up a sequel, but I have to hope.
The problem is the same problem I’ve had ever since I started reading her werewolf stories. I don’t believe the werewolves. That’s a problem for a fantasy fan. The wolves aren’t all that magical, they don’t seem fierce (more like puppies), and the mating thing is utterly absurd. I think it was supposed to be funny at first that wolves couldn’t reproduce until they went through a mating ritual involving (brace yourself) doing it doggie-style, but I didn’t think it was funny. I have also never wished more fervently that an author would ignore internal consistency and break her own established rule in future novels. I almost thought she would try to get around it in this book — it seemed like the two might accidentally bond/mate.
I can’t recommend the werewolf romance novels to fantasy fans. If you’re a Vicki Lewis Thompson fan and aren’t as disappointed by her version of wolves as me, enjoy!
If you’ve never read Thompson, try her nerd romance novels. Funny and romantic.
Title: Werewolf in Seattle
Author: Vicki Lewis Thompson
Released April 3, 2012
After a disappointing volume that left the series in a holding pattern, this book was like the arrow suddenly released from the bow.
Mat and Perrin in particular underwent huge strides forward. I’d even say that they both changed somewhat. Perrin learned he was willing to do anything to protect his wife, and Mat…well, I’m not sure what Mat learned about himself, but he’s growing up.
The end of this book feels more on the brink than any so far. There is still a lot to resolve, but the end is near, and not just because the pattern is doing random weird things all over the place.
I confess that I did skim a bit here and there, most especially when the book slipped into minor viewpoints I was impatient to get through in order to read about my favorites. I even skimmed through Elayne’s viewpoint a bit, although she’s one of the main characters, because I wasn’t particularly interested in how she would get the lion throne, and I knew for sure that she would.
Egweyne the not-quite-novice was almost as engaging as Mat and Perrin. I wish it would have been resolved a bit, but there were three important resolutions in this book, which is about as much as I can really hope for.
The one thing this book lacked was, as I mentioned a while back, an overarching goal to tie it together. It felt very much like several parallel stories running alongside one another, set in the same world. The last battle may be nigh, but only Rand seems to be working towards that goal, and it still isn’t a concrete mission. I actually think Rand is making some big mistakes at this point, most particularly, not dealing with the black tower. He spent the entire book walking into an obvious trap and fighting the voice in his head. (Yep, still there…getting worse.) He’s in rough shape. Something has to give or he’s going to snap like a twig before he can get to the last battle.
Sadly, this is the last volume written by Jordan himself. The final trilogy was written by Brandon Sanderson, whose works I have never read. I know Jordan left behind detailed notes and instructions, before he died, so I have high hopes for the conclusion of this story, but I’m a bit nervous about it too.
Title: Knife of Dreams
Author: Robert Jordan
Published November 2