My Public Display of Dieting – Week 16

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds for a total loss of 16 pounds

Smiley face with thumb upWhew!!

I wasn’t sure I could catch up with how badly I’ve been eating the last couple weeks, but I started eating a little healthier, and a little healthier, and…I lost the weight! I am on target again to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.

A big thank you and kudos to my friend Kathleen who encouraged me to toss some of my “travel” food in the trash. I bought one of those little $1 canisters of Nutter Butter cookie bites, for instance, and I was complaining that they don’t taste at all like real Nutter Butter cookies, or anything like peanut butter. I’d eaten some of it on the plane, but it didn’t taste right. So she said – toss it! And I did!

Of course it makes sense to throw out food you don’t like, but…overeaters aren’t used to throwing “perfectly good” food in the trash. I even threw away a handful of Reese’s Pieces! It just tasted sugary and not peanut butter-y and was making me feel sick from the sugar.

So, again…d’uh! I threw out the last of them. (We took pictures and cheered!)

And last night, John and I finally opened the Reese’s peanut butter flavored Oreos we’d bought before Easter. I’d been really looking forward to them but…it just tasted like sugar, not peanut butter, so I’m going to tell John to take them to his game and share with his friends.

John and I are both kind of sick of high-sugar foods now after going without for the six weeks of Lent. It’s GREAT. Though I think it’s been a surprise to both of us because we’ve given up sugar and sweets before, but we’ve always been back into eating it a lot by now.

But this time – thank God – every time we eat something sugary, we get sick. Weird thing to say, but – YAY!

Book Marks: By the Hands of Men – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

By the Hands of MenBy the Hands of Men Book One: The Old World by Roy M. Griffis
By the Hands of Men Book Two: Into the Flames by Roy M. Griffis

Goodreads Summary

By the Hands of Men Book One: The Old World

“With elements reminiscent of Hemmingway’s A Farewell to Arms, in the midst of World War I, a relationship develops between an English lieutenant and a young Russian nurse – a surprising tenderness against the backdrop of war…with likeable characters, spending more time in the “Old War” is an appealing prospect.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A truly remarkable historical novel – so finely rendered in period detail – that the reader becomes one with the plot and characters. Mr. Griffis has a superb talent for capturing the small details that make up the whole – from the horrors of war to the very intricate procedures involved with early 20th Century Wartime medicine. Charlotte Braninov is a very complex character, one who is beautifully drawn by the pen of Mr. Griffis. Her conflicting feelings on war and her intense emotions sparked by her time treating Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald left me breathless – they were so emotionally powerful. This is a novel that will not only entertain and inform, but pull at your emotions as well – a truly beautiful novel set during a horrific time in history.”
AN OFFICIAL JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB MUST READ
RICK FRIEDMAN, FOUNDER, THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB

With the Great War raging around them, wounded Lt. Robert Fitzgerald falls in love with Russian nurse Charlotte Braninov. Torn apart by illness and betrayal, they pursue separate quests that take them across a world on the verge of change. From Shanghai to revolutionary Russia, they learn that hands of men can create a hell on earth – or, through the redemptive power of love, a heaven in which to truly live.

By the Hands of Men Book Two: Into the Flames

Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family. Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another. Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus. In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai. Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

My Thoughts

Wow…

That is the best word I can find to describe these books. Wow! So Good!

Roy Griffis contacted me and asked if I would like to read and review the first two books in his By the Hands of Men series and, of course, I said yes. I was honored and, to be completely honest, a little nervous. I haven’t read many historical novels and I have never read any about war. I wasn’t sure if I would like them and I really, really hate writing negative reviews! Mr. Griffis sent me the novels and I was so excited when I checked the mail and they were there! I love getting new books and was thrilled to see that he signed them for me too! I was ready to dive in! I was already in the middle of another book so I made sure I set enough time in my day to get through it so I could jump into my new, beautiful books.

I’m not sure why, but I felt intimidated when I first started reading book one, The Old World. War…it made me nervous. Please like it, please like it! Well, as I read I quickly realized that I was nervous for no reason at all! It was so good! I couldn’t put it down! Before I knew it, I looked at the clock and it was after 1 o’clock in the morning! I had to make myself put it down so that I wouldn’t be a zombie at work the next morning. As soon as I got home from work I picked it back up and devoured the rest of the book.

Right after I finished the first book, I picked up book two, Into the Flames. Once again, I was sucked right back into this beautifully written novel. Oh my word! It was possibly even better than the first book! I didn’t want it to end! So Good!

I highly recommend reading both of these wonderfully written books and I can’t wait to read the third as soon as it becomes available! Thank you so much, Roy Griffis, for sending these beautiful books to me! These are definitely books that I will read over and over!

Carrie KurtzCarrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

Romance and Superheroes – Free or 99c Today

I’m doing a big promotion for all of my books right now. You may have seen my blog post a couple days ago where I mentioned it. I just wanted to remind you because Tuesday is the last day for one of the books. Here’s the breakdown.

Little Miss Lovesick by Kitty BucholtzLittle Miss Lovesick – FREE on Amazon Kindle April 18-19, 2016
Sydney Riley hears voices in her head…

Voices that keep her sane and voices that drive her crazy. The one thing they all agree on – forget Dirk the Jerk and move on.

So Sydney lets her friends drag her into the wilds of Northern Michigan where Little Miss Lovesick, the loudest voice in Sydney’s head, runs into – literally – the perfect man. Is hot fishing guide Matt Engel the man to vanquish heartbreak?

With the vacation flirtation behind her, Sydney is ready to start again. Soon after, however, a difficult – and must keep – client demands Sydney work with his new contractor. Yes, one and the same Matt Engel, hotter than ever and right here in town.

But when Matt’s past comes between them, Sydney wonders how to prevent another broken heart. As the rest of her life spirals out of control, she learns that sometimes a plan isn’t enough without friends to share the load.

Maybe together they can even help Little Miss Lovesick find what she’s been fishing for.

Adventures of Lewis and Clarke superhero urban fantasy series (in order)

Superhero in Disguise by Kitty Bucholtz, in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series“Superhero in Disguise” – FREE short story on Amazon and all other outlets permanently
The romantic prologue to A Very Merry Superhero Wedding and Unexpected Superhero in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series.

Something was not quite right about Tori Lewis. She knew it, and did her best to hide quietly, not letting anyone too close. But she was getting tired of hiding. That’s what Operation Freedom was all about — discovering her true self. Tonight, Halloween night, she could pretend to be anyone she wanted.

Joe Clarke descended from a long line of superheroes. He knew exactly who he was and what part he played in the world — defending the citizens of Double Bay, Michigan. He loved his job, especially when he found himself rescuing damsels in distress.

But on Halloween, no one is who they seem. Quiet girls can pretend to be bold, confident, adventurous. And even a superhero can pretend to be just a man.

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding book cover by Kitty BucholtzA Very Merry Superhero Wedding – 99c on Amazon Kindle April 18-20, 2016
A novella in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke superhero series

WEDDING DREAMS…

Tori Lewis can hardly wait for her Christmas Eve wedding to handsome Joe Clarke. But her friends and family don’t think it’s prudent to marry someone you just met. There’s something about him, though. She’s never felt safer in her life. The only question is — does she have to tell him all her secrets before the wedding?

Joe Clarke expected to be a happy superhero bachelor for years to come. But after meeting Tori Lewis on Halloween, he can’t get her out of his head. Marrying a woman he barely knows is hands-down the craziest thing he’s ever done. So how does he explain himself to a woman who doesn’t believe in superheroes?

…AND CHRISTMAS FIENDS

Meanwhile, the city is going through a Christmastime crime spree. In addition to the usual madness and thievery, a gang of robbers is targeting mall shoppers. Joe must juggle his wedding duties with his alter ego Superhero X’s commitment to protect the citizens of Double Bay.

Will it all come together without ruining the perfect Christmas wedding?

Unexpected Superhero cover by Kitty BucholtzUnexpected Superhero – 99c on Amazon Kindle April 18-19; $1.99 April 20-21; $2.99 April 22-24
From Wallflower…

Newlywed Tori Lewis wants nothing more than a quiet life with her hunky new husband. She doesn’t expect to walk into a robbery right after her honeymoon. But even more shocking is her discovery that she stopped the gunman with a super power! How did that happen?

Undercover superhero Joe Clarke and his team are investigating a string of missing children. When the father of a lost boy turns up dead, the team must decide if the death is related to the disappearances – or to the super villain group, The Nine.

…To Super Power!

Meanwhile, Tori decides to try out this superhero thing. She needs a mentor, so she asks Superhero X to help, the only superhero she’s ever met – and the only one she’s ever kissed. As they work together, Tori worries that the superhero is getting too familiar. How can she be attracted to one man when she’s wildly in love with another?

Will she have to choose between her husband and her destiny? No one warned her that love would be so complicated!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 15

I’m out of town right now, so I can’t weigh myself and give you the count. That being said…

j0178844I sucked big time this week. 🙁

I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I ate 2000-2500 calories almost every day instead of 1600-1700 a day. I ate tons of chips. I ate tons of food with sugar in it. The more sugar I ingested, the more I ate. 🙁

And because I’ve been at a writing retreat all week, I haven’t exercised more than every other day. At most. Basically, I suck.

The good news is – tomorrow is another day! Hurray!! I’m going to try again – try to exercise more, try to eat better, and try to finish my book this week! I’ll be able to weigh myself next week and tell you how it went. I sure could use any encouragement you can throw my way! 🙂

Get 72 Free Books Today!

Firsts Free for All promo

This is an exciting promotion and I get to be a part of it! There are 72 (!) book series in this list, and the first book in every series is FREE this weekend! When you sign up, you see all 72 free books and you can download them directly from Amazon.com. (They may or may not be available on Amazon’s sites in other countries.)

Then on Monday, you’ll get an email telling you about the other books in each series. Many of those will also be on sale Monday. Yay!

For instance, in my superhero urban fantasy series, Adventures of Lewis and Clarke, the first story in the chronology is the short story where they meet, “Superhero in Disguise.” It’s permanently free everywhere. The second book is the story of how they got married, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding. It’s normally $2.99, but Monday through Wednesday it will be just 99c.

Then Unexpected Superhero, the official book one in the series (I wrote the two prequels because readers asked for them 🙂 ), which is normally $3.99, will be on a Kindle Countdown Deal for a week. That means that Monday and Tuesday, it will be 99c, then it will be $1.99 for two days, then $2.99 through the following Monday, April 25, 2016.

So if you picked up all three books in the series on Monday or Tuesday, it would only cost you $1.98. Sweet deal, eh? 😀

And mine is just one of the 72 series where you’ll find great deals! I hope you find heaps of wonderful books to read. Remember, some of these books will only be free through Sunday so act now!

Oh! I nearly forgot to tell you – since the superhero series is on sale, I decided to put my romantic comedy, Little Miss Lovesick, on special, too. It’s FREE Monday and Tuesday, April 18 and 19, 2016. I hope you check it out!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 14

RESULTS: Gained 1 pound for a total loss of 14 pounds

OuchSigh. Okay, I’ve hit one of those places where I’m semi-consciously thinking, This is going great so I’ll just do what I want and it will still be great!

Uh…no.

Weekends are always hardest. It’s when John and I have more time to cook, when we are more likely to want a margarita, when we’re more likely to sleep in instead of exercising or be off too early in the day to exercise first.

I overate by 400 calories both Friday and Saturday nights, and was “just a little” over on most of the other days this week. Sigh. I was going to go really low calorie today and wait to weigh myself again tomorrow so I could maybe say I was at the same weight. But then I thought, heck, losing weight is hard for most people, not just me, so be honest.

Honestly, I haven’t been trying as hard the last couple weeks as I did at the beginning of the year. I was ahead of my 50-pounds-in-50-weeks schedule for quite a bit of the last few months, and I think it made me complacent. But now I’ve used up my advantage. It’s time to really work hard again.

So, yes, I’m cutting back on calories a lot today, eating healthy (protein shakes, half of a chicken and veggie sandwich), but drinking a lot more water. And tomorrow I’m going to exercise again, no matter how busy I am.

But the biggest thing I’m changing as of today is this “coasting” attitude I’ve developed as the first fifteen pounds have come off.

I’m super excited to fly up to Salt Lake City Thursday and go on a 7-day writing retreat in Park City, Utah, with my friend Kathleen. When she’s at a writer’s retreat, she’s really focused on writing (and I’d like to finish my current book up there!), and she’s gotten pretty health-conscious so we’ll be eating a lot of veggies and protein shakes. I’m going to go for a walk every day (I’ll be in the mountains and it might SNOW so it’ll be impossible for me not to want to go outside every day!) and I’m going to come back lighter than when I left. 😉

You guys are my accountability partners. That’s why I’m posting this blog every week. So feel free to hold me accountable. Be kind, but hold my feet to the fire. 🙂

Together, we can be healthier by the end of this year! Woohoo!!!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 13

RESULTS: Lost 1 pound for a total loss of 15 pounds!

j0227558I’m so amazed! I’m 30% of the way to my goal two weeks ahead of schedule! Woohoo!!!

Part of what has me amazed is that I’m losing weight even now that I’ve reintroduced sugar back into my diet. (We gave up sweets for Lent.) I’ve had Easter egg colored peanut butter M&M’S, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, dark chocolate almond bark, and more. Of course, what that means is that I haven’t been eating as healthy since all that candy takes up a good chunk of my daily calories.

The good news is that my stomach is protesting bringing the sugar back. So starting today, I’m going to try to figure out how to only have some once or twice a week instead of every day. Plus, I bought some more salad and veggies this weekend and that has tasted remarkably delicious. 🙂

My friend Kathleen reminded me this weekend that bicycling can burn up almost twice the amount of calories as walking or jogging, so John and I went for a bike ride at dawn yesterday. It was super nice but I was surprised at how tired I was most of the rest of the day. That’s not good for my productivity, so I’ll have to figure out how to balance the exercise and my work.

Meanwhile, I’m super excited!! I’m doing it! I’m actually achieving my goal of losing 50 pounds in 50 weeks! I have only gained weight the last few years, so it’s shocking to find myself with the willpower to make this happen. The weight I’m at today used to be my record high weight for ten or so years. (The last really successful weight loss I achieved was 18 pounds in 11 weeks, and I kept that weight off for 8-10 years.) So it’s weird to have gained and now finally lost fifteen pounds to be back to that former “highest weight” and be happy. But that’s how I feel – happy to watch this number go by on my way down.  🙂

Book Marks: Keeper of the Stars – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Keeper of the StarsKeeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher

Goodreads Summary

She blames him for her brother’s death.  Can she let go of resentment and open her heart to love?

Penny Cartwright found it difficult to understand why her younger brother would choose to join a country singer’s band rather than return to Kings Meadow after college…and the separation strained their relationship.  Then a car accident made certain her brother could never return.

Trevor Reynolds has chased stardom in Nashville for more than a dozen years, but it remains out of his reach.  After an accident kills his young drummer, Trevor goes to Kings Meadow to keep a promise – and perhaps to discover what truly matters in this life.

Thrown together by circumstances, Penny and Trevor must learn to give and receive forgiveness.  And if they do, perhaps something beautiful can rise from the ashes of heartbreak.

My Thoughts

I wasn’t opposed to reading this book but I honestly wasn’t really excited to read it either.  I have been in the mood to read exciting, suspenseful books and this clearly wasn’t going to be that kind of book.  I was actually kind of dreading it a little bit.

However…

I really enjoyed it!  Keeper of the Stars has just the right amount of enjoyability, heart, love, faith, and a touch of sadness (not too much) to make it a really good and cozy read.  I give it two thumbs up!  I started it yesterday, late afternoon, and had to make myself put it down so that I could go to bed since I had to work this morning.  I finished it an hour or so after I got home from work.

I am happy to say that I have found a new author that I will be on the lookout for. Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher was well written and enjoyable.  Definitely one I will recommend to fellow readers.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie KurtzCarrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 12

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds for a total loss of 14 pounds

Bathroom scaleIt’s been a crazy busy week! Sorry I haven’t posted till now. So the amazing news is that even with my birthday and Easter, by the time I weighed myself on Tuesday of this week, I’d lost last week’s pound that I’d gained and lost one more pound. Whew! Haha!

I think the most helpful thing I’ve done this past week is I’ve accidentally had my big meal in the middle of the day – like Easter brunch – and then had only a protein shake for dinner. The last few days I’ve been eating that way, too – a big lunch (mostly because I was hungry from having so little the night before, I think), and then very little for dinner, partially because I had very few calories left!  🙂

I haven’t exercised as much because I’ve been out a lot. But I’m getting back into that again, too. If I lose one more pound next week, I’ll have lost the fifteen pounds I gained over the last two years and be back at what was my previous high weight from 1998 or so. I can’t think about having to lose weight to get back to my old high weight as negative – it’s done and I can’t change it. So I’m looking at it as a positive – yes, I gained a lot of weight, but I’ve lost it in just three months! Yay!

I’m looking forward to the next three months! 🙂

P.S. Aussie friends – 2.2 pounds = 1 kilo. So you can round it off to cutting my numbers in half if you want to know how many kg it is. I’ve lost about two stone.  😉