26 September 2012

GLBT Madness Hop- Road Trip

I have traveled across the United States by car many, many times.  One of the things that I absolutely love about the open road and doing nothing but looking out the windscreen is the time it gives my mind to wander and think up stories.  And this is exactly how I thought up You Can Run, a story about two different types of men who fall in love. 

This was my first venture into writing GLBT but these two men just called out to me.  Delaney Vance is an ex-soldier who watched his entire squad fall victim to hidden bombs.  When he lost it, the Army cut him lose and now he drives a big rig because he has trouble being around people because of his lingering PTSD.  Kyle Hardigan took a photo that could ruin his family.  But his mind is having difficulty coping with what he saw, so he’s on the run until he can figure things out.  Both men are dealing with issues and they each find a haven in each other’s arms.

I’ve always wanted to be the type of writer who diversifies her stories.  This can be a good and bad thing because on one hand I can appeal to a wide variety of readers, but on the other hand, I can repel those readers for that same reason.  Writers are readers and I will be the first to admit readers are a fickle lot.  We tend to stick to what we know; afraid to spend the ungodly amount of money for a paperback in case we won’t like it.  But that’s the beauty of ebooks, I suppose.  It’s easy, ok, and not so much of a risk to branch out of the comfort zone. 

I realize that there will be readers out there who won’t like my writing style or agree with stuff I write about.  I can’t please everyone, right?  But that’s not my fear.  My fear is that my stories will become boring, the romance tepid, the passion between my characters forced and unbelievable.  So finding new ways to gather inspiration, for me, is important.  Perhaps that’s why I don’t mind road trips so much, they help my brain jumpstart into finding characters who are unique, different, and whose love is just waiting to be explored. 

And since You Can Run was published, I branched out my GLBT stories with In A Chord and the upcoming The Song Bird, which comes out October 10th.  I’ll be having a contest to win a free copy so please check back that day!  In the meantime, to win a FREE PDF COPY of You Can Run, just leave a comment about the first GLBT book you ever read!  One winner will be drawn on October 1st so make sure to leave a way I can contact you!  Thanks for visiting and make sure you check out the other blogs on this hop at this link: 

17 September 2012

The Best Breakfast

My battle this weekend with the "diet" didn't go so well.  I was on the road and traveling always puts you in a difficult situation when you need to eat and want to eat cheaply.  But, though I may have lost the battle I intend to win the war.  One of the things that I struggle with is what the heck to eat for breakfast.  For years my go to breakfast has been cereal.  As a kid I ate the sugary stuff and in fact, my mom would add sugar to my cereal to make it sweet enough for me to drink!  Wow, the times have changed.  I like cereals like Chex and know that high fiber cereals are better than no breakfast at all, but what is the best thing to eat in the mornings?

Nutritionists have long stated the benefits of a well rounded breakfast to help break the mindless nibbling through the day which can add needless calories and sets up a big F for failure.  According to WebMD's site:

"A group of researchers analyzed data from a government-funded study that followed more than 2,000 young girls from ages 9 to 19. They found that regular cereal eaters had fewer weight problems than infrequent cereal eaters. Those who ate cereal occasionally had a 13% higher risk of being overweight compared to the regular cereal eaters.

Another research group analyzed government data on 4,200 adults. They found that regular breakfast eaters were more likely to exercise regularly. And women who ate breakfast regularly tended to eat fewer calories overall during the day. Those men and women who ate breakfast cereal had lower overall fat intake -- compared to those who ate other breakfast foods."

So today I got up and cooked myself an egg in Smart Sense Omega enriched butter substitute.  I got out a slice of whole wheat bread, put a slice of lacy Swiss cheese on it and slid the fried egg onto it.  I also made a cup of Empower-Mint Yerba Matte tea.  Unfortunately, eating an egg with cheese is the only way I can eat them.  I don't like eggs that much but I know they pack a high protein punch. 

So I decided to look at other options for breakfast.  Basically, I'm looking for energy density foods, foods that punch a lot of energy and fiber with small amount of calories.  These foods are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  So this is the breakfast I found:

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 Tablespoon of walnuts

This equals about 307 calories.

Or another option is:

2 multi-grain waffles
1 cup of blueberries
3 tablespoons of light syrup
 1 cup of plain low-fat yogurt

This breakfast has about 450 calories total. That's almost equal to the standard bagel-and-cream-cheese breakfast - yet it's much more food, and much lower in fat.

Foods that are the best to eat are high fiber foods.  But be careful first starting out.  Don't overdo it if you're not used to it, because too much fiber can cause constipation, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. 

Here are some quick breakfast ideas:
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Banana sliced into yogurt
  • Oatmeal with fruit -- like apples, blueberries, or peaches
  • Small tortilla with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and chopped strawberries. Roll it up, slice it. It works for kids and adults.
  • Breakfast smoothies -- berries, ice, and milk or yogurt.
Sadly, it's the calorie equivalent of five slices of bread so as good as they taste your diet would love it if you skipped it.  If your on the run and have to do fast food, believe it or not, eat an Egg McMuffin!

06 September 2012

Healthy Foods & Fighting Weight

One problem with genetics is that we tend to inherit not only our parents health problems but their habits as well.  At least, for me, that is.  I have been fighting my Italian genes all my life and that, combined with my love of books and writing career, tends to have me on my ass a lot.

As I approach my forties, I struggle with the weight I've picked up in my thirties, which has settled around my belly like a bulging tire.  I look at pictures of myself absolutely horrified at the person staring back.  A difficult pregnancy combined with complete stress and bad PPD all led to an unhealthy lifestyle, one that managed to wipe out accumulated years of gym workouts and racquetball games.  Six years later, I'm just now starting to try to get the body back I once had.  

The funny thing is, I'm not that big of a junkfood eater.  My problem doesn't stem from snaking on chips or cookies or ice cream.  I'm not the type of woman who can't resist bad food.  But I am the kind who doesn't know how to cook correctly, or cook smartly.  And that's half the battle.  Knowing what to eat, how to prepare it, that's the trick.  I know legumes are good for you but what the heck is a legume?  Protein is good for you, but what kind of protein is best?  

Following is some information I discovered while searching for healthy foods.  My dream would be able to eat nothing but what's on this list, but I wouldn't even know where to begin, so to start I'll with what knowledge I've gained and go from there.

Accumulated from various websites like Mayo.com and Eatingwell.com

Whole grains:  ½ cup cooked oat bran or oatmeal, barley

Fruits:  Prunes, pears and citrus fruit (like an orange or grapefruit), nectarines, peaches, plums, apples, melons, and berries..  (one website said don't eat fruit after 6pm or your body won't have time to disperse the sugar and another said absolutely no bananas)

Legumes, Seeds, Nuts:  legumes are the best soluble fiber (1/2 cup cooked legumes are better than 3 pieces of fruit), lima and kidney beans are the highest ranking, pinto, navy, black and northern beans trail behind at a close second, Lentils, whether yellow, green. or orange, have as much soluble fiber as a piece of fruit or cup of oats, but far more overall fiber. Chick peas and black eyed peas also meet this criteria.

(What is Legumes? - Adzuki beans, Anasazi beans, Black beans, Black-eyed peas, Chickpeas, Edamame, Fava beans, Lentils, Lima beans, Red kidney beans, Soy nuts)

Preparing legumes:
Dried beans and legumes, with the exceptions of black-eyed peas and lentils, require soaking in room-temperature water, a step that rehydrates them for more even cooking. Before soaking, pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled ones or any foreign matter. Depending on how much time you have, choose one of the following soaking methods:
  • Slow soak. In a stockpot, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Hot soak. In a stockpot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover tightly and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Quick soak. In a stockpot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Boil 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Gas-free soak. In a stockpot, place 1 pound of beans in 10 or more cups of boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then cover and set aside overnight. The next day 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars that cause gas will have dissolved into the soaking water.
Cooking Tips:
After soaking, rinse beans and add to a stockpot. Cover the beans with three times their volume of water. Add herbs or spices as desired. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. The cooking time depends on the type of bean, but start checking after 45 minutes. Add more water if the beans become uncovered. Other tips:
  • Add salt or acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, tomatoes or juice, near the end of the cooking time, when the beans are just tender. If these ingredients are added too early, they can make the beans tough and slow the cooking process.
  • Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.
  • To freeze cooked beans for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain well and freeze.
  • One pound of dried beans yields about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans. A 15-ounce can of beans equals about 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, drained.

Vegetables:  While there is not a large list of vegetables that are high in soluble fiber, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and carrots make the list of veggies that are good for your heart and your digestive system.


  1. Lentils
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Organic Milk
  4. Beans (Legumes)
  5. Organic tofu
  6. Broccoli
  7. Organic and low fat yogurt
  8. Nuts
  9. Natural peanut butter
  10. Brown or black rice, quinoa or millet
  11. Organic potatoes
  12. Organic or pasture raised eggs
  13. Light tuna
  14. Organic, pasture-raised or antibiotic free chicken (skinless)
  15. Organic or antibiotic-free turkey
  16. Wild salmon
  17. Pasture-raised, certified humane pork