Author Archives: Kitty

About Kitty

A Midwestern girl who keeps getting transplanted into bigger pots, I love to share what I'm learning on the journey. I may share bits of writing, information on a writing career, talk about what I'm reading, or try to explain how both running and chocolate have added happiness to my life. Welcome!

My Public Display of Dieting – February 2017

RESULTS: Lost 3 pounds for a total loss of 28 pounds

John and I at the Finish Line - Round the Bays races, Wellington, New Zealand, 19 February 2017

John and I at the Finish Line – Round the Bays races, Wellington, New Zealand, 19 February 2017

I can’t say I’ve accomplished much in the weight loss and greater-strength-and-health arena during the last two months. I’ve accomplished a lot of other things! Hahaha! But I’m still kind of hovering in the same area I’ve been in for a few months. But there are a few things coming up that I think will help.

  • I’ve got a little breathing room before my next deadline so I hope that I’ll stop skipping workouts
  • My body aches after that last race, so I hope I get serious about doing my yoga or pilates stretches a few days a week at home
  • John and I decided to give up sweets for Lent this year, so I’ll be ingesting very little sugar (mostly from fruit and juice) over the next 6 1/2 weeks
  • My friend Kathleen gifted me with a learn-to-cook-healthy course called Foodist
  • Only 12 1/2 months until I turn 50! That’s been my goal for a few years – to be my healthiest and fittest ever by the time I turn 50

I will say that the morning after I ran the Round the Bays 10K race, the scale showed me down to 166 – the least I’ve weighed in ten or eleven years! But then it popped back up to the 169-171 area where I’ve continued to hover. Still, it gives me hope that over the next four weeks (i.e., before my birthday), I can lose 4-5 pounds and keep them off and restart the downward journey to 148 pounds/67 kilograms. That was my goal in January 2016 – lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, going from 198 to 148. I’m still working toward it!

So how are your health goals coming along? Are you seeing patterns? Rather than focus on what’s happening today, check to see if over the last week or the last month you’re getting healthier or less healthy or staying steady. And remember – you and I can hit the Restart Button anytime!! Keep going!! 😀

Super Romance Book Sale Thru Feb 20

Valentine's Super Book Sale

Check out the Valentine’s Super Sale & Giveaway!

66 Romance Authors are offering 95 books…

Most of them are on sale for a limited time. It’s just our way of thanking our loyal readers.

Even better, we’ve pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.

Here’s the link to the Valentine’s Super Sale & Giveaway!

I hope you find lots of great books to read – and good luck in the giveaway! 🙂

NEW RELEASE: My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine

It’s finally out! Wooohoooo!!!!

My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine book cover

After two years and a lot of ups and downs, I finally finished and published my idea behind, “What would happen if Bull could ever get Hayley to go out on a real date with him?”

Yay! And now you have a couple weeks to enjoy this side story novella in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series for only 99c. On March 1, it will go back to the regular price of $2.99.

My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine is available at all major retailers including Amazon (all territories), iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Get yours today!

Book Marks: Chasing Symmetry – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Chasing Symmetry book coverChasing Symmetry by Tempeste Blake

Goodreads Summary

Someone had been trying for the perfect shade of red . . .
When art professor Bianca James tries to save a dying woman, the grudge-holding chief of police is all too quick to catapult her to the top of the suspect list. As if that isn’t enough, her ex-boyfriend’s younger brother, Finn Tierny, is assigned to the case, and she’s faced with a trilogy of dilemmas: go head to head with the chief, stop a cold-blooded killer on her own, or trust another Tierny.

Finn’s return to Riley’s Peak is bittersweet. He’s flooded with memories, both good and bad, as he battles doubts about being a cop, a cantankerous father, a jealous brother, and a drug dealer with a rap-sheet longer than the list of addicts he’s been supplying. 
Threats escalate, the suspect list grows, and it becomes clear—the murderer’s resolve to kill Bianca is almost as strong as Finn’s desire to keep her alive.

Almost.

My Thoughts

I love murder mysteries! When I was contacted about reading this book, I was beyond excited!  And then when I received it in the mail along with a note and special little “gift” from the author, I was ecstatic!  I wanted to dive right in…but, sadly, my TBR list was ridiculously long so I had to wait a while.

So, the time came that I could get into this book and I wasn’t disappointed!  I am usually pretty good at figuring out ‘who done it’ but not this time.  I was wrong!  Very wrong.  This book is full of surprises and keeps you guessing the whole time.

Now, I could have done without the ‘romance’ things in this book.  And, honestly, the choice words were a bit much for my liking.  Those were the only reasons that I chose to give Chasing Symmetry 4 stars instead of 5.

I will definitely be recommending this book to fellow mystery lovers!  Chasing Symmetry will be a book that I keep for my collection!

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

Carrie Kurtz

 

Carrie 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.

2017 Goals – Publish More Books, Start a Podcast

Figure with a check listBecause I knew that I hadn’t accomplished most of my 2016 goals, I made a point of writing down my Goals Master List for 2017 before the end of December. Then I went through it looking for the 7 to 10 major goals that I really wanted to accomplish in all the various areas of my life this year.

I thought perhaps it would inspire you to do the same if I shared with you my goals. Here they are:

  1. Publish the first three books in the Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series
  2. Publish “My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine” by February 14
  3. Outline Burden of Magic, the working title for the supernatural thriller that I’ve been working on and thinking about since grad school in 2011
  4. Create a business system for writing, marketing, finances, etc.
  5. Finish creating the video-based self-publishing class that I started, and update the time management class I teach
  6.  Begin my new podcast in late spring (I’m so excited about this!)
  7. Read one or more nonfiction books on business or writing, and one or more novels every month
  8. Lose 25 to 30 pounds to get to 145 by December 1
  9. Run one half marathon at my fastest time ever by December 31
  10. Create a habit of 60 minutes of Bible study and prayer daily, Monday through Friday

And then I have my extra goals, the ones I’ll do if I have time while making sure my primary goals get accomplished first. They include finishing every class and course I have ever signed up for! Haha! And to also finish writing and publish Rent-a-Wife, book 2 after Little Miss Lovesick in the Traverse City in Love series.

As you can see, some of these goals will have many smaller parts to them. And a few of these are smaller parts of bigger goals. For instance, for several years I have said that I want to be my fittest, strongest, fastest ever by the time I hit 50. I turn 49 in two months! So I only have 14 months to sign up for and run a half marathon, and make it my fastest one ever. And I’ll need to be my fittest ever in order to reach that goal, which includes losing those last 25 to 30 pounds.

This year, I tried to balance my work and personal goals so that I don’t ignore one part of my life in favor of another. There are a lot of factors that may change the likelihood of me accomplishing any or all of these goals, of course, just like for any of us. But I’m excited to have a list that looks challenging as well as doable.

Smiley face with thumb upWhat about you? Do you have 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 goals that you’d like to accomplish this year? Have you written them down yet? And have you written down the steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish those goals? I hope that by sharing my list I’m encouraging you to work on making this year your best year ever!

Good luck! I know you can do it!

Ending on a High Note is a Huge Blessing

Hand pushing the restart buttonI just finished typing up my 2016 End of Year Report for my writing life and my personal life. It was not surprising to me how many low points there were last year. But, as is often the case, writing down everything that happened reminded me that there were a lot more positives than I remembered.

Financially, mentally and emotionally, and in most aspects of my business life, 2016 was among the worst in years. I missed most of the goals I set for myself last year. But there were a lot of spiritual, relational, and physical highlights that bear repeating.

When I challenged myself to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, and write a weekly blog post detailing my journey, despite everything I was able to lose 25 pounds. In my experience, that is no small feat.

Me in a swimsuit Oct 6 – first time I’d gotten into this suit in four years!

I can’t say for sure what my spiritual life was really like, only God knows, but I strongly suspect that I was growing deeper roots through all the troubles and challenges of last year. I don’t know if there were very many blooms for others to see, I don’t remember seeing them in myself, but I do believe my relationship with God is stronger than ever. And that’s worth a lot!

Relationally, it was a good year. Despite rarely being able to see my friends in person, I was able to keep up some amazing relationships, both encouraging and being encouraged by some of the best people on this planet. Despite the fact that 2016 might have been the worst year in John’s and my life, he and I stayed tight, and continued to have an amazing relationship. This, too, I attribute entirely to God, without whom we never would’ve made it through last year.

The year ended with two huge blessings! The legal side of John’s motorcycle accident from 2014 was finally settled. What a huge weight off our shoulders! And then – drumroll, please – God blessed John with his dream job! He accepted a position at Weta Digital and we moved to Wellington, New Zealand in November!

Standing in front of our new home in Wellington

For me, the cherry on top was being able to rent a cute little beach house right on the water where I can look out the window every day while I’m writing and see the ocean and hear the waves. Especially after the last few years of hardships, this seems an amazing and entirely undeserved blessing that I feel the need to thank God for every single day!

Are you wondering yet why I shared my end of year report with you? It may seem a little too personal to some of you, or a little to dry to others. But last year was a really tough year for us, and I didn’t expect to find much good in it looking back. But look at the surprises I found! I hope you take this as encouragement to look back over your 2016 and see how many other blessings you forgot you had last year.

I hope it takes your breath away!

My Public Display of Dieting – 2017 edition!

STARTING WEIGHT: 173 LBS, 78.5 KG (gained 2 pounds/1 kilo over the holidays)

Christmas book treeHappy New Year!! I hope you had a great holiday! John and I sure did! John had a week off work so we went walking and exploring almost every day, rented movies from the library, watched Netflix, went to the beach (remember it’s summer here in New Zealand), and built our first book Christmas tree. So much fun!

My weight loss goal is to lose the other 25 pounds that I didn’t lose last year. (My 2016 goal was to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.) I’ll try for one pound a week again, but I’ll consider it a success to make my goal by the end of the year. 😀

I’m trying to reorganize my blogging and be more regular as well as more interesting, but also without taking too much time away from writing novels. So I’ll post my results once a month this year instead of once a week. I’m also going to try to post once a month about my running, and once a month about my writing, and anything else that comes up.

I hope you have great plans for the new year! Remember, if you write down what you hope to accomplish, there’s a higher percentage of likelihood that you’ll achieve it! I’ve written down my weight loss goal here. We’ll see how it goes! Have a great January! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Weeks 49-50

RESULTS: Total loss of 27 pounds!

John and Kitty in Wellington

John and me in our new house in Seatoun, Wellington, New Zealand

Well, folks, we’ve officially come to the end of my 50-week quest. Thanks for walking with me on my journey to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.

As you can see, I made it a little over halfway. With everything going on the last five months, I’m amazed and thrilled that I made it this far. 🙂 We’ve had a lot of big changes – big disappointments and ginormous celebrations – but I think the accountability of knowing I had to post my progress every week made all the difference.

I now weigh about 3 pounds more than what had been a long-time average (168 pounds, 76 kgs), but I still want to lose 23 more pounds. Then I’ll have met my 50-pound goal. Yay!

This is one part of my bigger goal that I’ve had for a couple years – to be my healthiest ever by the time I hit age 50. I also want to run my fastest half marathon by or before 50. 😀 I’ve got 15 months to go, and I know I can meet my goal if there aren’t too many more crazy disruptions in our lives. LOL!

I am currently at a place where I can focus on my fiction writing for a few months, so I won’t post about my continuing weight loss journey every week. I’ll just update you occasionally and encourage you in your health improvements. 🙂 I hope you keep going, never stop working on your health. I’ll be right there with you.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have a fabulously indulgent Christmas week! LOL! John and I want to try several restaurants in our new home town that we heard were good. It’s summer here in New Zealand, so of course we’ll have to have gelato a few times. And New Year’s Day we always spend all day in a movie marathon – that is often partially an eating marathon. LOL! I start baking today, so…I don’t know what I’ll weigh January 2, but I’ll hit the restart button again then. I hope you do, too!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! I hope 2017 is a peaceful and blessed year for both of us! 😀

Free Funny Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Books This Week

I’m excited to try something new this month. Have you heard of InstaFreebie? It’s a way authors can give away one of their books for a limited time, and readers can get an almost unlimited number of free books to read!

Free book promotion December 10-16, 2016

It’s quick, easy, and fun! I’ve gotten several free books myself this way, but this is the first time I’ve participated as an author. All you have to do is click this link or the picture above and you’ll go to a page with all the books. Click on any (or all!) of the books that look good to you, choose which file type you want, and enter your email. The books will be emailed to you a few minutes later.

Check out the books, download all you want, and share the link with your friends! (Click the share links on the left.)

And enjoy all the fun reading! 😀

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 48

RESULTS: Might’ve lost a couple pounds??

Our house and car in Wellington, New Zealand

This past week I’ve been packing up to leave the hotel, going to the Weta Christmas party, and unpacking into our new home. I’ve been running errands, but today was the first day in a week that I’ve been able to take time to run again. (I was tired, but it still felt good!)

The movers expect to deliver our belongings next week, so I’ll be able to start weighing myself again and see how I’m doing. Yesterday I was wearing a pair of pants that I couldn’t get on in January, but were almost embarrassingly loose yesterday. 🙂 That’s something!

Even without the scale, I feel like I’m making a little progress. Of course, part of it is because I need to thoroughly clean the kitchen, cupboards, dishes, etc. with hot water and bleach because this place has been empty a little while. (When I saw the mousetrap, I kinda freaked out, but I haven’t seen a mouse. Just a few small bugs that I don’t like but probably can’t keep out.)

Once I feel everything is clean enough, then I can start cooking a little and eat fewer sandwiches. It’s a summer house, so there isn’t much cupboard space, so I won’t be able to buy too much food at once, which is good. But my friend Elena (Southern California) is going to give me some cooking lessons via Skype – yay! And my friend Rachel (in Melbourne, Australia) wants to bake together via Skype – yay! We just have to make the times work since I’m in Wellington, New Zealand now. But I’m excited!

I’ll keep you updated for another week or two, then I’ll take a Christmas break and come back with a new goal in January! How are YOU doing with your health and fitness goals? Don’t give up! Take a break if you need to, but let’s not lose what momentum we’ve gained. We can do this! 😀