Book Marks: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Power of HabitMy friend Lauraine picked up The Power of Habit a couple weeks ago and liked it so much, she bought me and our friend Kathleen a copy before she’d even finished reading it. I started the prologue right away because I was curious – and procrastinating.

Before I got to the end of the prologue, I was hooked! This book is fascinating! By the time I was a third of the way through, I already understood both how habits worked and how to change them. Yay!

If you’re at all interested in habits, what happens in your head when you have a routine, and the neuroscience behind it all, you will love this book. And there is more information, including fun and easy to follow videos, on his web site.

At the very least, you’ll have a simple plan for adding or changing your habits. And changing for the better is worth it!

5 stars, Loved It

Getting Away

j0178677I’m excited to say I am not home this week. I’m not connected to the Internet. I can’t answer email unless I try to do it on my phone (too much trouble and hurts my thumbs). Why?

I’m taking a week away from home to work madly on my new book, Superhero in the Making. Yay! John gets to play Xbox as much as he wants, and I don’t have to stop to eat or pay bills or do laundry or anything. Yay!

So if you’ll excuse me, it’s back to writing with me. I’ll post a picture of the new book covers as soon as I can. I can’t wait to show you!

Happy week to you!  :-D

Netflix Picks: The Finder

FinderSometimes I like to have the TV on when I’m working around the house or doing number-crunching on the computer. I usually turn on Netflix and try to find something I’ve already seen or something that doesn’t grab my attention so that I stop focusing on what I’m doing.

And sometimes I have to stop using that show as my background noise because I start finding it too interesting. The Finder has been that kind of problem for me.  :)

The characters are all different and interesting and just a bit odd, but still nice. That’s my favorite combination of character traits! Sometimes I can get work done while the people onscreen help a client. But sometimes I’m so engrossed in the story, I just have to turn it off! LOL!

That happened to me while writing this post! Episode 6 came on – Little Green Men – and it started with the actor TJ Thyne playing Dr Jack Hodgins, a main character from the TV show Bones! It was this funny X-Files-like scene where Hodgins was trying to convince the main character that there are aliens and that he needs to find one. I had to stop it so I could focus here, so I don’t know what happened yet! LOL! But it was a very fun beginning!

If you like shows like Bones and Burn Notice and White Collar and Royal Pains, I think you’ll like this show.

4 stars, Really Liked It

Be a Character in My Superhero Book

Super_ip09_FINALI’ve got a special fun promotion for my newsletter subscribers this month! Sign up for my newsletter by 10pm PT this Saturday, February 8, and you’ll have an opportunity to be a character in my new novel, Superhero in the Making.

This month’s newsletter will go out on Sunday, and everyone who replies to the newsletter will be entered to win. Newsletter subscribers only, so click on the subscribe button to your right!

Good luck! :-D

Book Marks: To Ruin the Duke by Debra Mullins

ruinthedukeOne of my favorite subgenres of romance is Regency romance. It’s almost always funny in one way or another, and that’s probably one of the reasons I love it so much. I was reading my friend Deb’s blog this month – such a fun blog! – and won a book when my comment was randomly chosen one day.

To Ruin the Duke is a smart bit of fun reading. The heroine, Miranda, is loyal and determined and smart, which makes her eminently likable. The hero, the Duke, is a strong hero without being one of those guys who you’re pretty sure you wouldn’t like in the real world. (You know the type, order everyone around, assume they’re always right. I don’t like that type, and this Duke isn’t that type. Yay!)

There’s even a baby involved, which usually makes me yawn or gag, but the baby had just the right amount of scene time so that we didn’t have to swim through melodrama. :) The story was well-plotted, with characters doing unexpected things at just the right time. I have no idea if this is a series, but all the Duke’s friends are single, so it might be.

If you like Regency romances with sparkle and wit, you’ll like this book!

4 stars, Really Liked It

Spring Cleaning – Not Just in the Spring?

I’m teaching a time management class right now for writers. It’s lots of fun figuring out our goals for the year, calculating (read “guesstimating”) how much time it will take for each goal, and plotting it all out on an annual calendar. (If you’re interested in learning more, see my Classes page. I teach this every January.)

CleanOfficeOne of my goals for June is to clean and organize my office. I know I have files I don’t need anymore. And much as I’d like to read everything that comes my way, I have way too many magazines that I’m just never going to have time to read. When my office started reminding me of the teasers for shows on hoarders (I could barely get to my desk between piles of books and papers), I knew it was time to make a change.

Why June and not now? Or spring? I have a major goal that I am working on right now: to have my second superhero novel ready for WonderCon in April. I’ll have a table in the Small Press area to sell and autograph books and, since it’s a comic book convention, it would be great to have two superhero books there instead of one. Then I’ll be at another comic book convention in May in Michigan – Cherry Capitol Comic Con. So the earliest I can think about cleaning is June.

[Note: If you want to know more about when and where I'll be signing books, sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page. I'll add an Events page here as soon as I have time. :) ]

All that being said, John had to work on Saturday, and I woke up with a rare bug. The Cleaning Bug. I hardly ever get sick like this, so I thought the best thing to do was to let it take its course. And it’s a good thing I did! Not only did I dust and move some things around in the living room and bedroom, but I started going through a pile of papers on my office floor to put them away.

I was surprised by how much of it I threw away, due to the Cleaning Bug, so I went through another pile, and another. Then I tackled a box, and another box, and another box! If I’d known how different my office would look once the bug had run its course, I would’ve taken before and after pictures! (I’m not done going through boxes and tossing things, but there is already a huge difference.) I am sooo relaxed and happy to be sitting at my desk again! When I took out four boxes of papers to the recycling bin, I had to wait and throw one away after the garbage man comes because I’d filled up the bin!

It is GREAT to get sick like that sometimes! I kinda wish I caught that bug more often. Now hopefully in June, when my calendar says I’ll be cleaning my office, I’ll actually be organizing it better so that work goes even more smoothly. I almost can’t wait!

What about you? Do you get the Cleaning Bug very often? Is it usually in the spring, or does it hit unexpectedly?

Netflix Picks: 666 Park Avenue

666ParkAveI just started watching 666 Park Avenue last weekend. I was pleasantly surprised that I was a little creeped out right from the beginning. Yay! It actually reminded me a bit of a good scary movie – the right music, the right editing, the right cast. I was hooked.

By the end of the first night, I’d watched three episodes! You see just enough of what is going on to not be lost, but not enough to yawn and feel like you’ve figured it all out. Sure, you kind of know what to expect from this genre, but it’s interesting and engaging.

I noticed in the credits that it’s based off a book of the same title. The book doesn’t look creepy, just interesting, and it’s the first of a series. I downloaded a Kindle sample so I can see if I like it. In the description, the words “chick lit” are used, so I think I might like the book, too. But it’s probably more “fun” than scary, I’d guess.

If you like a little creepy and weird and selling-your-soul-to-the-devil type of stories, I think you’ll like this one. Like I said, I’m only part-way through the season, but I’m having a great time!

4 stars, Really Liked It

Book Marks: Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

51qGDqwiV6L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_My friend Cathy wrote this book, Welcome to Last Chance, and I was excited to be able to read it not long after it came out.

This book totally sucked me in at the beginning. It’s well-written and engaging, and I needed to know what happened next. Here’s the catch: I keep forgetting that I never really end up liking women’s fiction books. There is never enough action and adventure for me. Every time some little shadow is mentioned, I’m waiting eagerly for something awful to jump out of the shadow! LOL!

But this book is good. The characters are all interesting and believable and – even though it’s Christian fiction – they all have their little (or big) faults that make them feel like real people you know. And that is the strength of women’s fiction – to draw you into relationships with characters who are like people you know, and to make you care about what happens to them. This book does that very well! I really liked that part of it.

If I weren’t waiting for an explosion or a gun battle or some other ridiculous, wonderful piece of action/thriller type of thing to happen, I’d easily give this book 4 stars.  :) If you like women’s fiction already, I think you’ll really like this book. (I REALLY wanted to eat at the diner! All the food sounded so good! LOL!)

Don’t Get Comfortable in 2014

brandondontI’ve been listening to this Brandon Heath song rather a lot lately. It just keeps showing up on my playlists. I’m beginning to think it’s a sign! LOL! With or without the lyrics to this song, I think 2014 is going to be a great year. I think we’re going to need to be flexible and willing to make fast changes, but I think it’s going to be a great year! :-D

Anyway, enjoy the lyrics to the song. You can buy the whole thing on iTunes, or just listen to a minute of it. It’s a catchy tune!

“Don’t Get Comfortable”

Comfortable, don’t get comfortable.
I am gonna move this mountain
Then I’m gonna move you in.
Yesterday
This is not yesterday.
You were standing on my shoulder
Now you’re standing on the edge.
You’ve been looking for a sign all this time.
I am gonna show you what I mean
I am gonna love like you’ve never seen
You are gonna live like you used to dream
This is your new song
So afraid
But you don’t have to be afraid
Even if you make mistakes
You know that I’ll remain
You been looking for a sign all this time.
If you seek you’ll find me every time.
So I am gonna show you what I mean
I am gonna love like you’ve never seen
You are gonna live like you used to dream
This is your new song
NA na na na na na na na nanaaah
NA na na na na na na na nanaaah
Can you feel the call of love?
Is it moving you to be a child of God of love?
Is it reaching you?
It’s everywhere the call of love.
I just wanna to show you what I mean
I just wanna to love like you’ve never seen
Do you want to live like you used to dream?
Then I’ve got a song for you
Cuz I am gonna show you what I mean
I am gonna’ love like you’ve never seen
You are gonna live like you used to dream
This is your new song
NA na na na na na na na nanaaah
You’ve got a new song
NA na na na na na na na nanaaah

A Contest to be in My Next Book

Sign up for my newsletter to the right of this post!

Sign up for my newsletter to the right of this post!

With help from my friend, Lauralyn, I finally got the MailChimp newsletter figured out. Whew! First one that actually LOOKS like a newsletter goes out today. Yay!

Now that I can stay in touch with you more regularly (about once a month), I wanted to find fun things to do together. So how would you like to be one of the characters in my book? :)

If you sign up (or have already signed up) for my newsletter, I’ll have a contest in the next issue for one lucky winner to be randomly chosen to appear in Superhero in the Making, book 2 in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series. I’ll rename one of the secondary characters with your first name and put your full name in the acknowledgements. Cool!

Feel free to tell your friends, re-Tweet this post, or share my link to this post that is on my Facebook page! The more, the merrier!