Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Hotstepping out the Door on this Thursdays with Taryn #amediting

This year has gotten off to a fast start and stayed that way. I'm currently working on edits and revisions for Love By Design, as most of you know. I'm hoping to spread it around again and get a few more beta reads for it once I'm done running through this (*insert random double or triple digit number here) edit. I'm not going to set a concrete date but I'm hoping this baby will be ready to self-pub in the next 2-3 months.

Editing line by line and deciding what should go, what should stay, what should alter is time-intensive work. Some authors enjoy it, others dread it. I fall over in the category with those who'd rather pull their fingernails out with tweezers than edit- at least, that is, when it comes to my own work. This has kept me busy.

That's why I haven't been posting many new blogs lately because everyday I've been trying to keep up with myself.

This year ushered in a new phase for me. I know I tend to be a creature of habit- some good, some bad. One of those bad habits, overeating, not exercising & not having good portion control at my age, which can be a lethal combination, is a habit I can no longer allow myself the luxury of indulgence. So, as this year began, I started working out to my husband's Everybody Dance video game. It has an exercise program that you can set up a profile on and it keeps record or your approximate calorie burn each day that you do the dances.

Unfortunately for me, my sedentary lifestyle has pushed me to the most I've ever weighed in my entire life and that's putting undue stress on my knees when I do the dance exercise. I've tried and failed numerous attempts to lose weight before, but this year, I've got to do something and I was really enjoying the dance. I'm not coordinated by any means, but its fun and it doesn't feel like exercise though I end up sweating bullets by the time I'm done with a few rounds of low and intermediate dance combinations.

My weight is wreaking havoc on my knees though, so doing too much dance is a journey into immobility, while I let my ligaments or joints have time to recuperate, which takes a while. After a week of dancing daily, I couldn't squat down to get a pan from under the cabinet in the kitchen because my knees and muscles all locked up. So.....after 2 weeks of dancing and not being able to move, walk, bend, squat like a normal person, I'm changing it up.

I'm now doing yoga in the mornings to hopefully balance and relax my core, my joints and muscles and bring my body into alignment with what it should be. It's not easy but it's getting better and I'm still breaking a sweat. Maybe not as much of one, but I do feel that I'm gaining flexibility and that will help a lot when I finally feel I can get back to my dancing as well.

Add to this, I'm also doing that 2 week meal plan with Special K cereal (started it this week) and so far, the past few days I've cut back my calorie and fat intake by a LOT. How do I know if I normally don't count anything I'm eating? My stomach tells me, because I still find myself wanting to snack, a LOT, but I fight it and am finding the willpower to overcome the bad habit of shoveling it in without thinking about what it's doing to me. I've also been doing my best to discover alternate snacking choices that won't be as detrimental to my success. Air popped popcorn is only about 30 calories a cup and I can still use Kernel Seasonings on it, at 2 calories a teaspoon, so it's not too bad. I'm also eating more yogurt, apples, vegetables and the Chocolaty Special K Pastry Crisps are a great 100 calorie snack.

I hate counting calories and fat, but in order to make the changes, I need to see what I'm doing to myself. The biggest thing for me is that my 4 year anniversary of quitting smoking is also coming up in March and I keep reminding myself, that if I could quit smoking, I can move more and eat less. It's not impossible to achieve this and I want to be there for my kids a long time and I want to write more of the stories in my head and spend time with my husband, my family, my friends. That might not happen unless I take control of this now.

In other news, we're contemplating dropping our satellite company and going with Netflix and Hulu + because it would save us a ton of money and I recently turned down an 8-book publishing contract, for both my Love By & Pryce of Love series. Though I was flattered by the offer, I still find myself feeling that the journey to self-publication is the right choice for me and so I'm keeping my feet on this path. The weather's been crazy here in southern Kentucky and one day you could be out in the yard wearing shorts, the next bundled up in coats and scarfs. I have to wonder if the rest of this year will be as interesting.

So, that's just a little report on the things in Taryn's World and this is only January! The last day of January at that! It's heading on like a Hotstepper- and yes, I went there....

Have a wonderful "Little" Friday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Something in the Air- Taryn's Tiny Tales

Something in the air this morning caught my attention as we stood on the porch, waiting for the bus to pick up my kids for school. It's a blustery day out there, gloomy and gray and though it was around 50º at the time, the wind was slap-happy and really smacking us around so it felt cooler.

And there it was, this odor that hit my sense of smell and hurled me back in time. It actually caused me to tear up a little. The sudden ache of missing my grandpa, struck my center and hurt more than it has in quite some time. I was transported back to running around the junkyard and scavenging through old car bodies for trinkets- be it a cute key-chain or bauble, climbing to the top of the wood pile or the coal pile and tromping through thick muck in the mule lot.

The muffled sound of an old radio with a wire clothes hanger of an antenna played in the background, country music twanging out the sad notes of George Jones and Johnny Cash, Barbara Mandrell and Crystal Gail. It was the 80s and I was a kid.

The smell of old rancid motor oil and gasoline, automotive lubricants and cleaners enveloped me in a warm embrace as memories of huddling near the stove in the back of that old cold garage on blistery winter days bound vividly to the forefront of my mind. I'd shiver near the stove, gloved hands hovering as close as possible to it without burning myself. I'd be nearly frozen while bundled up, in sweaters and jeans and thick socks, piling on scarves and sock caps and burrowing deep into my mom's old green Army jacket she got from some surplus store. All the while, my grandpa and uncle would work on a car, their breath appearing in front of them like the cigarette smoke that usually encircled their heads.

The crisp aroma of burnt wood and tobacco, lighter fluid and the stinging odor of coal, was enough to make your eyes water while the heat from the stove felt as though it were drying out ever pore in your body. It felt so good though I couldn't help myself. Rotating like the Earth on its axis, I would pivot in a slow circle, the stove my Sun, warming the hills and valleys of my tiny world. I didn't care how cold it was, I only wanted to spend time with my grandpa and my uncle, listening to them talk shop and sitting on a stack of old rubber tires or scooting around on my uncle's creeper, wishing it was a skateboard.

Ah...but the memories fade back and I'm here in the present again and remember that our neighbor has a huge garage across the road, one in which he sometimes works on cars himself and sometimes, on really crisp mornings, the odors are carried on the wind, whisking me back to my childhood, back to my hometown and making me as homesick as ever.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Last Six Sentence Sunday- She's sweet... #sixsunday

This is last Six Sentence Sunday, folks.

Click the image above to go check out the authors and follow their blogs- you never know what you might be missing out on.

As for me and mine, we're here all the time and Derrek, Jasmine & I will be here next weekend, hopefully giving you a little something to to wet your appetite as I start my new Snippet Sundays. I hope you'll be here to join me.

Here's a little commentary about Jasmine's elderly neighbor, Essie from Love By Design.
“Essie caught you before you could get up the stairs, didn’t she?”
Derrek nodded. “She’s sweet.”
“That, she is.” Jasmine agreed. “Careful around her, she’ll make you diabetic.”

If you missed previous Six Sunday posts from Love by Design and would like to check them out, look at the top of the page in my pink tabs for SSS Posts where you can easily find links to each previous post. I will probably still continue to compile the links to my other snippits there was well, so there is easy access if you'd like to peruse them. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart- Philly Cheese Steak Subs for Super Bowl

This is a favorite snagged from my Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks Slow Cooker Recipes and a lot of times it’s the thing we have on Super Bowl Sunday, whether hubbies team is playing or not.

1 tablespoon margarine or butter, melted
2 medium onions, sliced (I do them in rings)
1 lb boneless round steak (1 inch thick), cut into 1 x ¼ inch strips
2 teaspoons garlic-pepper blend seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 large green pepper, cut into rings
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon beef bouillon powder or granules
4 hoagie buns, split
Provolone cheese slices

1. Combine butter & onion rings in a bowl to coat them

2. Sprinkle steak strips with garlic-pepper seasoning and salt

3. In 3 to 4 quart slow cooker, layer half of the onions, all the steak strips and the bell pepper. Top with remaining half of onions

4. In measuring cup, combine water and bouillon, stirring until dissolved

5. Pour over mixture in slow cooker

6. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours

7. Approximately 10 minutes before serving, place bun halves, open faced on ungreased cookie sheet

8. Turn on the oven broiler

9. Scoop beef mixture with a slotted spoon onto the bottom halves of the buns

10. Top with provolone slices and broil a few inches from the heat until cheese is melted and top buns are toasted

11. Remove and place top bun over cheese

You can also save back the juices and use them for au jus to dip your sandwich in.
Great served with spicy or seasoned potato wedges.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesdays with Taryn- A Second Visit with Larry Kollar @FARfetched58 #newreleases

Tuesdays with Taryn
A 2nd Visit with Larry Kollar

Since this is Larry's 2nd visit to Tuesdays with Taryn, I'm going to hand the reins over and let him fill you in on what's he's been up to and what's ahead for him this year. Have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the covers of these books and I'm totally intrigued and am going to have to check these out!

 Hi Taryn and readers, thanks for having me back!

For me, 2012 was a momentous year for writing. I finished two novels, two novellas, and started several more stories. One of the novels, White Pickups, went live in August. Its sequel, Pickups and Pestilence, is in beta now and is scheduled for spring release.

But this month, it's two fantasy novellas: One World, Two Ages. The main characters in The Crossover are historical figures in Accidental Sorcerers, and that's one thing that made writing these two stories fun.

Moving on through the rest of the year, there's plenty of writing to keep me occupied. I've already finished drafting Water and Chaos, the second of what I hope are many stories in the Accidental Sorcerers saga. I've started a story that revisits the world of the Truckalypse (White Pickups and Pickups and Pestilence) ten years later. There's a sequel to The Crossover that wants to be written, and I'm about halfway done with a "pre-zombie" story called UW-401.

But the Next Big Project is a YA, contemporary fantasy. I have the first book, tentatively titled Wings: Unfurled, largely plotted. That book will keep me busy through the year, unless I find a way to write faster. (Then there's the other two to follow.)
So I have plenty of stories to keep me busy through 2013. I just hope I have the stamina to pull it off!
Accidental Sorcerers (fantasy, YA, novella, release Jan. 15)
Invaders just across the river. A powerful spell hidden in a child’s rhyme. When an untrained boy awakens an ice dragon to protect his village, and lives to tell the tale, not even the Conclave of Sorcerers can predict what happens next.

Accidental Sorcerers brings to life an unforgettable tale of love and loyalty in the world of Termag. Feel the magic!

The Crossover (fantasy, novella, release Jan. 29)
The warrior-mage Chelinn and his friend Lodrán have visited many strange places. But when a curse goes awry, sending them to a world where mundane devices have supplanted magic, nothing is familiar at first. Then, after rescuing a merchant, they find themselves embroiled in a far more dangerous situation.

As hundreds of lives hang in the balance, two heroes and their new friends must use all their talents to foil an evil plot—and survive until they can catch a rainbow and return home.

The Crossover transports classic fantasy characters into a modern-day setting. Neither Earth nor Termag will ever be the same!

Larry also has a raffle going on-

You can learn more about Larry and his work at his blog-
Tales from FAR Manor

Monday, January 21, 2013

Natalie-Nicole Bates SEE ME #excerpt #book #tour

Blurb: Carly Anders is hearing voices in her head. Another one of her kind is trying to contact her. She knows of the malevolent freaks—others who are eternal like her and seek out the weak to inflict pain upon. For years, Carly has held up huge protective walls to keep herself and her secrets safe.

Now, physically and mentally exhausted, Carly needs protection and rest. She accepts the invitation to visit an Internet friend who needs help appraising a collection of antique photographs. The situation is not ideal, but Carly hopes a male presence in her life will deter the determined suitor who haunts her thoughts and dreams.

Daniel Tremont is not what Carly is expecting. The former funeral director has a secret of his own. Not only is he eternal like Carly, he is her creation from all those years before—her abomination she thought she killed.

Daniel has been searching for Carly for years. He knows she is the piece of his life that he has been missing for so long. Now that he has found her, he has no intentions of letting her go.

“The quintessential paranormal romance”
5 Stars~Night Owl Reviews
Leap of Faith Publishing

Excerpt #2

     Even though they lived over one thousand miles apart, he could sense she needed to escape from something…or someone. He didn’t care what drove her towards him, just as long as she would come…and stay. And if he was wrong, and she wasn’t his Carly, it would be pleasant enough to spend time with a woman.
     It was well past ten when the doorbell sounded. Daniel rushed down the stairs from the upstairs flat, and into the hallway of the empty funeral home below. He opened the heavy wooden door that separated the funeral home from the street.
     Lit only from the streetlights behind her, he could see how beautiful she was, but when she stepped into the lighted foyer, her beauty surpassed his imagination. For a start, she didn’t look a day past twenty.
     Her long, straight mane of hair was the color of fallen oak leaves and dusted with gold. Her eyes were a deep espresso brown. An amber briolette hung at her throat. She wore a form fitting purple sweater that hugged her ample curves, and a matching skirt that fell a few inches above her knees. A pair of heels completed the outfit. Her suitcase and handbag sat at her feet.
Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.
Visit Natalie online
 Natalie-Nicole Bates Website

Social media links for Natalie-Nicole Bates

Prize Info:

Natalie is offering a total of 5 ebook copies to random commenters throughout the tour. She is also offering a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter. All winners will be picked using the rafflecopter below. Readers may enter to win both the ebook and the grand prize each day for additional chances to win. Please only one entry per day.

Here's the rest of the schedule-

Excerpt Tour Schedule

Jan 20 - Harlie's Books
Jan 22 - Salacious Reads
Jan 24 - Guilty Pleasures