My Public Display of Dieting – Week 19

RESULTS: Lost 1 pound for a total loss of 19 pounds!

YESI’m running out of smiley faces to use for these blog posts! I’m so freaking excited that nearly every week, I’m making a little bit of progress. When I was in business school, they introduced us to a Japanese term, kaizen – the art of continuous improvement. As soon as they explained the concept – improve one tiny thing after another, incrementally, across all levels of the organization – I totally got it, and totally loved it!

I’m seeing that the same concept is working in my current physical transformation. Not only am I averaging one pound of weight loss every week, but everything is very slowly tightening and strengthening. Those little 3-pound hand weights that my friend gave me for Christmas are making a difference when used several times a week for three months.

I imagine what I’ll look like at the end of this 50-week challenge and I actually believe it’s going to be great!

When was the last time I felt that confident?

I’m trying to get up the courage to post another picture of myself next week at the 20-week, 20-pound mark. Do a side-by-side comparison. It’ll be really embarrassing since I’ll still be 30 pounds overweight. But…maybe it will encourage both of us to keep going, keep working it, one tiny improvement at a time. 🙂

What do you think?

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books – A Live Show

Do you like listening to podcasts or watching video interviews? Are you a fan of shows like Inside the Actors Studio? Do you love to read and talk about books?

You just might love our new show, Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books!

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books

YA author Elena Dillon and I started this new live author interview show on the Blab platform in February 2016 to see if it was something we enjoyed. We’ve interviewed half a dozen authors so far and we’re having a great time! Audience members say they’re having fun, too!

The Blab platform is a new-ish website that allows people all over the world to video chat with up to three other people live while anyone from anywhere can watch and participate in the chat box. The video chats can also be recorded and watched again later.

On Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books, Elena and I interview authors in a manner similar to that of Inside the Actors Studio. Some of the questions are silly fun, and some are about the author’s process or new books coming out, and the watching audience asks questions as well.

Last week, we tried another format – Elena and I chatted about our favorite sci-fi and fantasy stories while our audience interacted with us in the chat. We discussed The Martian by Andy Weir, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkein, and many more. We’re going to do the same kind of show tonight, talking about favorite time travel stories. There are so many – A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Remembrance by Jude Deveraux, and many more – that we had to dedicate a separate show to time travel, outside the sci-fi/fantasy show!

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books is live from 7pm to 8pm Pacific time (almost) every Wednesday. The link here is for the time travel show tonight. But you can click the link anytime after the show is over to see the replay. You can also follow Elena and me on the Blab platform (it’s connected to Twitter) and get a message when a new show is about to go live. Searching Blab will find our past episodes, but I’ll also start a new page here soon and add all the shows we’ve done. 😀

We won’t have a show next week, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, because I’ll be out of town. But we’ll be back on May 25. I hope you join us tonight and/or on future episodes as we blab about books!

Book Marks: The Hearts We Mend – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

The Hearts We Mend book coverThe Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

Goodreads Summary

Planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life.  But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.

Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone.  Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart.  But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life about to make.

Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls.  Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment by moment.  But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.

Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something.  Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever.  Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he might be everything she needs.

My Thoughts

This book is just lovely!  Wonderful amounts of sweetness, drama, funny little parts, faith, and love!  Just simply lovely!  I am ready to read more books by Kathryn Springer right now!

I wanted to get to the end so bad, and yet I didn’t want it to end!  I caught myself trying to skim ahead on the page so that I could see what was going to happen several times (mostly nearing the end of the book) and had to stop myself and go back to where I was supposed to be reading.  There were times that I got so frustrated at Jack, just wanting to smack some sense into him, and then I would feel the same way about Evie!

Faith was a big part of The Hearts We Mend but it wasn’t the kind of book that shoves it in your face. If you enjoy reading faith-based books, you will like this one.  But, even if you don’t typically enjoy faith-based books, you’ll most likely still enjoy this book.  It was just really well written.  I highly recommend reading The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer!

*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 18

RESULTS: Lost 0 pounds for a total loss of 18 pounds!

Kitty and John on the ferry to Manly

On the ferry to Manly in Sydney, Australia, April 2011

Since my 26th wedding anniversary was Thursday (yay!), it’s no surprise that I wasn’t able to lose any weight this week. John and I went to lunch at Rubio’s on Thursday and split a burrito, so that wasn’t too bad. But I made brownies and we ate pizza and fried chicken on Friday.

Then on Saturday we went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch – and half of my lunch was 1813 calories! More than I’m allowed all day! We went to stand in line to see Captain America: Civil War (awesome!!), and I had some low-calorie but delicious sherbert while we waited. Then we had a high-calorie but delicious margarita when we got home. Saturday was definitely the day that put me behind my goal.

Sunday, I ate half of the half a lunch I had leftover, as well as half a dozen peanut butter cookies fresh from the oven, and a protein shake for dinner. At least my weekend ended a little better, calorie-wise. Now to get back on the wagon again and stop celebrating things for a while. 😀

One trick that I learned a couple weeks ago from my friend Kathleen is to enter the food you know you’re going to eat in the My Fitness Pal app at the beginning of the day, or as soon as you know what you’re going to eat. That way, you can pace yourself, make sure you have enough calories for each meal or snack, or make changes before you go over. Once I started doing that, I went over much less – except on those celebratory days.

The main thing I’m finding on this journey is that a one-pound-a-week goal is reasonable enough that I can still have celebrations and still occasionally make mistakes and yet stay on target. I hope you find that encouraging for yourself. 🙂

I had a great time celebrating our anniversary. Now I’m ready to get back to work on this exercise and weight loss journey!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 17

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds for a total loss of 18 pounds!

Emoticon with big toothy smile

Emoticon with big toothy smile

Woohooo!! Making progress again! Not a lot to say about all the great things I did – because I didn’t do a bunch of great things. I tried to do a bunch of tiny things that would all help me lose a tiny bit.

I exercised four days, which was good but not great. And I did a liquid fast one day, which was surprisingly easier than I expected. Otherwise, I was pretty busy sitting at my desk. (Not good, of course.)

I already know I have to try harder this week. I definitely need to exercise more (!) and I need to stop eating the chocolate covered almonds I bought. 🙂

I hope your week is going well! Keep working it, one tiny step at a time!

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!