Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for...WALK IT OUT

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Growing up, I hated any form of exercise, even leisurely walking, unless that leisurely walk took me to the ice cream store or bookstore. Or both.

I started walking when my kids were small because if I put them in the stroller and gave them a lollipop (I know—bad, bad mommy), they wouldn’t scream or otherwise make my
nerves go taught as a violin string for at least 20 minutes. I knew for at least 20 minutes every morning I would have peace and quiet, time to gather my frazzled thoughts. Soon, those walks became addictive. Sometimes, I went for two walks a day. Sometimes even three, depending on whether or not the Alien Toddlers felt like napping.

I soon learned another benefit of daily walking. It was a great way to work out the kinks in my WIP. Almost like magic, for the scene I was having so much trouble with, the one that had me staring at the blinking cursor until I could see it in my sleep, the solution would pop into my head. Oftentimes, my mind would be overflowing with so many great ideas, I’d extend the walk (with more lollipops) until I couldn’t wait to get home and onto the computer (after Alien Toddlers were napping, of course).

Creativity guru Julia Cameron urges all of us artsy fartsy types to take daily walks to restore our spirit and nourish our creativity. In her book, Walking in this World, she says, “The truth is that walking holds our solutions.” Before the walk, we’re stuck. After the walk, we’re miraculously unstuck.

Walking clears your head and focuses your thinking, it pulls your awareness away from relentless mind chatter to the gentle rhythm of the walk. The repetitiveness of each step after step gradually brings you into an almost meditative, deeper state. And this deeper state is where your creative mind is free to let go, to explore the possibilities and all the “what if’s.” This is when the magic happens.

It’s no secret that exercise and creativity go hand in hand. Stephen King is known to be an avid walker (unfortunately, he didn’t have eyes in the back of his head when he was hit by that car…). Henry David Thoreau wrote a book about it. And St. Augustine said, Solvitur ambulando—“it is solved by walking.” The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

Great minds, great walkers.

I’m not telling you to go out there and walk as fast as you can until you’re all hot and sweaty and cursing my name. I’m talking slow and leisurely, people. Easy does it. Nourish that inner muse, don’t give it a heart attack.

Next time you’re stuck with your writing, instead of beating the tar out of your computer, calling your muse foul names, or scarfing a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, trying going for a walk instead. Your muse—not to mention your waistline—will thank you.

Rebecca J. Clark walks almost daily but swears her internal critic is following her. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

V is for VIDEO

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Today, V stands for Video. Because I couldn't think of anything to post on V-day other than Vacuum (boring!) I thought I'd post a funny video. This is some 80s style aerobics with Taylor Swift's recent release, Shake It Off dubbed over it. Good stuff. But OMG, did we really think those hair styles and outfits looked cool????

U is for... UP

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Today, U stands for UP, as in Legs Up the Wall Pose. It's a restorative yoga pose that feels SO good. It's great for your back. It's great for achy legs and feet. Great if you suffer from
varicose veins. It's super simple, too. Anyone can do it. 

Find a bare wall. Lie on the floor with your hips scooted right up to the place where the floor meets the wall. Your legs rest on the wall in front of you. Now, if your hamstrings are really tight, you might need to scoot your hips back away from the wall a bit to be more comfortable.

Once you're in position, just relax, breathe and enjoy! Spend at least five minutes a day in Legs Up the Wall Pose. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


A to Z Blogging Challenge


I'm so excited to be a part of this new boxed set with these amazing authors. Several of the books (including mine) are
brand new, never released. 

The book I'm including is LEAD-OFF BRIDE, book 1 of my new Take Me Out to the Wedding series, about weddings and baseball. Of course.

Summer on Main Street is available now for pre-orders and releases June 23.

Available now to pre-order
Just 99 cents!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for... RUNNING

A to Z Blogging Challenge

7-Week Beginning Runner Program
(Personal trainer since 2003, NSCA & ISSA certified)

Thinking of starting a running program? Here's an easy one to try. Yes, I said "easy." There are a lot of great beginning running programs out there, but most of them are still too advanced for a lot of people.

One mistake many beginning runners make is starting off too fast, too long, too soon. It's going to take a while for your bones and joints to get used to the work, so take your time. Personally, I need to start out really slow & easy because I have foot and back issues to work around. If I do too much, too fast, I hurt. Bad.

So, I thought I'd share with you the program I created for myself. It works for me. Maybe it'll work for you, too.

You're going to work in five minute bundles. You'll do 4 bundles in a workout, plus warm up and cool down.  After the warm up, you'll run for the allotted time, then walk for the remainder of your 5-minute bundle. You'll repeat that combination until your workout is done. Then you'll walk for five minutes at the end to cool down. 

The running/jogging times are a suggestion. Don't do more than I suggested, but you can certainly do less and increase at a pace that's better for you.

You'll want to do this workout three times a week. No more than that. On off days, cross train by lifting weights, taking a class, etc.

Don't forget: 5 minute warm up walk to begin, and a 5 minute cool down walk to finish. Not optional. :)

Week 1
30 seconds--run/jog
4.5 minutes--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x
*If 30 seconds is too long, start with 15 seconds. Or 10 seconds. Then walk the remainder of the five-minute bundle.

Week 2
45 seconds--run/jog
4.25 minutes--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x

Week 3
1 minute--run/jog
4 minutes--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x

Week 4
1.5 minutes--run/jog
3.5 minutes--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x

Week 5
2 minutes--run/jog
3 minutes--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x

Week 6
3 minutes--run/jog
2 minutes--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x

Week 7
4 minutes--run/jog
1 minute--walk
Repeat this bundle 4x

This level is where I stay. Running/jogging continuously hurts my feet and back, but if I walk for 4 minutes and run for 1 minute over and over, that works for me. But if you get to this point and want to run for longer times, keep adding 1 minute to your running times each week, until you're at the level you want to be at. Perhaps your goal is to run 20 minutes straight. Or 30 minutes straight. Or to run 2 miles without stopping. 

You can do it. Try this program and let me know what you think. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for... POSTURE

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Today we’re talking about posture. All of us know what good posture is—we can probably still hear our moms and grandmas and teachers telling us to “Stand up straight!” or “Sit up straight,” or “Don’t slouch!”
But now that we’re adults and don’t have our moms, grandmas and teachers around constantly to tell us what to do, we may have developed some bad postural habits.
Good posture is important for everyone, because it makes you look better (ie: taller and leaner), and it’s good for your health. Poor posture puts excessive stress and wear on certain joints and muscles. It looks bad and it causes pain. How many times have you spent a lot of time at the computer or behind the wheel only to have horrible back pain as you finally stood up? Better posture could help eliminate that pain.
This is of particular importance to writers because poor posture can hurt our creativity. I’ll explain.
Let’s try something. Stop what you’re doing and give me your worst posture, all slumped over and slouched. Staying in that position, take a deep breath and let it out. Now straighten up, shoulders back, chest out and take another deep breath. Notice the difference? Your breathing was much easier when you were sitting up straight, wasn’t it?
Slumping requires more muscle activity so it uses up more of our precious energy. Poor posture inhibits circulation, which means your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs to function at its best. And if you remember from my last blog about exercise and creativity, your muse doesn’t do well without plenty of oxygen.
So, what is good posture?
When you’re seated, whether at the computer or behind the wheel, it’s sitting up straight, belly gently in, shoulders back and down, chin tucked slightly. When you’re standing, it’s balancing your weight evenly between both of your feet, pelvis just slightly tucked, belly in, shoulders relaxed and not hunched by your ears, chin not jutting forward.
You might find that holding good posture is not comfortable, maybe even it hurts a bit. This is probably because your chest muscles are so tight from hunching forward.
Here are some good chest openers:
Stand or sit with your back tall and straight. Clasp your hands behind your back, straighten your arms and raise your hands. Hold for 20-30 seconds while taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Stand in a doorway and lift your arms out to the side, your forearms resting on the frame. Lean forward into your arms, feeling the stretch through your chest. Hold for 20-30 seconds while breathing deeply.
If you have one of those big exercise balls, sit on one and walk your feet forward until you’re lying backward over the ball. Stretch your arms overhead or out to the side. Hold for as long as you want, at least 30 seconds.
Roll up a beach towel, yoga mat or exercise mat. Lie back on it, the roll centered along your spine, length-wise. Let your arms fall open to the sides. Straighten or bend your legs, whatever is most comfortable. Hold this position, breathing deeply for 3-5 minutes. It feels fabulous—you’ll love it.
Have I convinced you yet to work on your posture? No? How ‘bout this? Good posture will make you look 10 pounds lighter.
Now, stand up straight! Don’t slouch!

Friday, April 17, 2015


A to Z Blogging Challenge

Olympia Beer? If you're younger than I am, you probably don't remember it. (You're not

missing much.)

I grew up in Olympia, home of the Olympia Brewery from 1896 to 1983 (then it became Pabst until the brewery closed in 2003). We used ride our bikes there and suffer through boring tours (we were kids) just to visit the tasting room at the end of the tour. No, they didn't serve kids beer. But we did get free pop, which was a treat back then. 

Eventually, we figured out how to sneak in at the end of the tour, so we could get free pop without having to endure yet another hideously boring tour. 

When I was in college, I found out my younger brother and his friends would sometimes sneak into the brewery...not for
the pop, but into the vat rooms for beer. I mentioned this to a couple of my guy friends at school and they insisted on coming home with me one weekend, and made my little brother take us with him.

So one night, we waited until it was late (after midnight). We pulled my car up next to one of the buildings under a fire escape. We stood on top of my car, reached up for the ladder, pulled ourselves up to it, then climbed up to the second or third floor (can't remember which one). That door was never locked for some reason. How my brother and his friends figured this out, I have no idea.

Anyway, inside was the vat room (don't know what it was actually called, but that's what we called it). Each of the many vats was full of beer. We had our thermoses and containers with us. We opened the vats, leaned way inside, and filled all the containers. Then we climbed back down the fire escape, back into my car, and drove away.

Yikes. Looking back, we could've gotten into SO much trouble. I was a good kid. I didn't break rules. I got good grades. I barely even drank. AND I hated beer. Luckily, the statute of limitations has long since come and gone. I feel safe sharing my story. LOL.

That's the only time I broke into the brewery (or anywhere for that matter), but I'm pretty sure my brother and his friends were regular visitors there in their dead of night vat dipping escapades.

P.S. I still hate beer.

"OlympiaBrewery1989" by Minnaert - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. "Olympia Beer label 1914" by Olympia Brewing Company - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for... NEWS!

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Since N is for NEWS I thought I'd share my most recent news.

I'm wrapping up revisions for my summer release, Lead-Off Bride. It's Book 1 of my brand-new series, Take Me Out to the Wedding. I'm SO excited to share this baseball and weddings story with everyone.

Lead-Off Bride will release first as part of a boxed set with five other authors in Summer on Main Street, releasing June 23 and available for pre-order now.

Then it'll release on its own as an ebook in July, and a print book in August or September.

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

To get a first peek at the cover and to learn exact release dates (as soon as I know them), plus a lot of other cool stuff (like health & fitness tips, and healthy recipes, and read the next excerpt of my campy soap opera serial Troubles of Tomorrow), please sign up for my newsletter.

In other news, Borrowed Stilettos (Book 1 of the Red Stilettos series) will be out in print any day now. Just waiting for it to show up on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for... MOUSE!

A to Z Blogging Challenge

This is an excerpt from my sweet romantic comedy, Her One-Night Prince. And yes, it involves a mouse.

Lydia found the mouse almost immediately, and they spent the next half hour trying to trap it. Lydia would direct it with the broom, and Mitch would upend the bucket on top of it. At least that was the plan. They were fast, but the mouse was faster.

“What the hell kind of rodent is that, turbo mouse?” Mitch asked, wiping his wrist across his brow, sweaty from chasing a stupid mouse. He needed to get back to the gym.

Robert sat, stony-faced, in his wheelchair as he watched their antics, but Mitch detected a slight grin on the old man’s face.

Lydia squatted beside the kitchen door, looking more than a little frustrated. The mouse darted out in front of her, running across her shoe. Lydia squealed and leaped into Mitch’s arms.

“I thought you said you weren’t afraid of mice?” he accused with a laugh, disappointed when she pulled out of his arms.

“I’m afraid of anything that runs across my foot like that.”

It was time to liven things up. Mitch stalked across the room in exaggerated tiptoe. “Crikey, mate,” he drawled in an overstated Aussie whisper. “I am the infamous mouse hunta, tracking a very dangerous species of rodent called”—he dropped his voice even further—“the kitchen mouse.”

Lydia giggled as she followed him with the broom.

“We must be very, very cayaful. Oh!” He spotted the mouse behind the wastepaper basket under the desk. “There’s the little rascal right thaya.” With his free hand, he motioned for Lydia to step in front of him. “We must proceed with extreme caution, or else our little mousie will get away.”

Lydia poked him in the shoulder with the broom handle as she neared their target. “Poor Steve Irwin would turn over in his grave if he heard that lame imitation of him,” she whispered. Carefully, she pushed the broom across the floor toward the cowering mouse.

Mitch approached from the other side with the bucket.

“Careful. Don’t let it get away,” she whispered, “mate.”

“I’m just the trapper, sweetheart,” he said in his normal voice. “It’s your job to make sure it doesn’t get away.”

“Oh, the poor thing is petrified. It’s okay,” she cooed at the furry little beast. “Isn’t he cute?”

“It’s a mouse, Lydia.”

“That’s such a man comment.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“It wasn’t meant as one.” She pushed with the broom. “Now! Get it!”

He slammed the overturned bucket to the floor and held it there. He looked at Lydia. She looked at him. They burst out laughing. They slid to the floor, backs against the cabinets.

When he’d caught his breath, he asked, “Did we really just spend the last”—he glanced at his watch—“forty-two minutes chasing a mouse?”

* * * * *
Available in ebook and print. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for... LIST MAKING

A to Z Blogging Challenge

I love making lists. I love checking off items on my to do lists.
I'll even add an item after I've already done it just so I can check it off. LOL. Yes, I'm weird that way.

Because I love lists so much, I just had to write a diet book that used a checklist as its base. And hey, let's call it The Checklist Diet. I've been a personal fitness trainer for more than 13 years, and this diet is based on the very simple steps I give my clients. 

It's 10 simple steps to do every day. Your goal is to check off at least 8 of the 10 each day. Easy peasy.

This book is available as an ebook or as a paperback (which includes a food journal).

Kindle | Nook | Kobo

Amazon | Createspace

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for... KEYHOLE

A to Z Blogging Challenge

K is for KEYHOLE

When my daughter was little, she loved to play with my keychain.

She ran around the house, sticking the keys into anything that looked remotely like a keyhole.

Meet Rocky, the white boxer we had when the kids were little. (Yes, he's wearing a sweater in the photo--daughter loved to dress him up and play with him). He had a little stubby tail that stuck up above his behind. You can probably guess where my daughter once tried to stick that key. I suppose it DOES look a bit like a keyhole back there...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for... JEWELRY

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Today, J is for JEWELRY

As a personal trainer who works at a gym six days a week and wears workout clothes as my work attire, I'm really not into jewelry other than my wedding ring. However, last football season, I wore
Game Day Ready...
my Seahawks earrings EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. from the day after our last loss to Kansas City in Week 11 until our final heart-breaking loss to New England in the Super Bowl. 

They were my good-luck earrings. I was afraid not to wear them because I didn't want to jinx my beloved Hawks. You might say they didn't work because Seattle lost the Superbowl. Well, I think they worked because Seattle WENT to the Superbowl.

I still wear my earrings almost every day. Just getting ready for football season... Is is Fall yet????

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for...IDIOTS

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Today, I is for Idiot... as in people doing idiotic things in the news recently.

Idiots #1: Criminals who accidentally butt-dialed 911 while committing a crime. 

Idiot #2: Robber who dropped his wallet while stealing money from a 60-year-old woman. My favorite part of this story? The cops tweeted this: "Mr. Fred Jones, good news. We found your wallet. Bad news. You dropped it at robbery scene. Please turn yourself in." LOL

Idiot #3: Rolling Stone Magazine for doing such a piss-poor job on their story about rape on a college campus. And no one is losing their job over this? 

Idiots #4: Some players from Kentucky who walked off court without shaking hands with the winning team during Saturday's Final Four game. Can you say "poor sports"?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for... HIKING

A to Z Blogging Challenge

H is for... HIKING!

I am a personal trainer in my day job and we just finished up
a seven-week Biggest Loser-type challenge at my gym. To celebrate the end of the challenge, my team and I climbed Wallace Falls in Washington state. Everyone who wanted to reach the top did (a couple of them turned back mid-way for physical reasons), so I was proud of all of them for stepping out of their comfort zone and tackling this challenge.

One of my team members expected not to be able to finish. She kept saying she was going to turn around, but she didn't. Finally, on the home stretch, she'd had enough. She told us to go on ahead and she'd wait for us to come back down. So we did, but I quickly hurried back to her. "If you can just climb this last set of steps, then you'll be able to see

 the top. You can't quit now. You're literally steps away from the end." So she took a deep breath, had a long drink of water, and she pounded the rest of the hike out. You should've seen the look on her face at the top. I was/am so proud of her! 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right?

At Lake Serene last summer with hubby. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for... GOAL SETTING

A to Z Blog Challenge

G is for GOALS

I’m re-reading a great book right now. It’s PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body and the Life
You Deserve, by Chalene Johnson. If you’ve ever seen the infomercials for Chalene Xtreme or Turbokick, then you know who I’m talking about. If you’re not familiar with her, let me just tell you she’s a petite, blonde, loud, fit version of
Anthony Robbins.

Even though Chalene is best known for her fitness DVDs, her book PUSH is less about fitness and more about setting—and achieving—goals. I re-read this book every few months or so to give myself that proverbial kick in the ass.

From Amazon: PUSH gives readers “...the life-changing tools they need to change their habits with 30 days of practical steps that include pinpointing goals, reverse engineering a course of action to achieve them, and kicking the clutter—whether that means junk food, draining exercise regimens, or toxic relationships. In one month, readers will learn how to create layers of accountability and support so that success is their only option.”

Chalene talks a lot about “eating that frog.” If you’ve ever read a Brian Tracy book, you know what I’m referring to. If not, here’s the skinny: I think it was Mark Twain who said once if you start your day by eating a live frog, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

I believe that.

So, Brian Tracy coined the term, Eat That Frog—pick the item on your To Do list that you’re most likely to put off doing, then do it first. Lots of organizational and motivational experts suggest completing a few little, easy things on your To Do list first, so it’ll motivate and inspire you and make you feel good. But Brian Tracy and Chalene Johnson believe just the opposite. They believe if you focus every day on the biggest, most important thing, and doing that thing first, you’ll be far more productive.

Chalene is a huge proponents of To Do lists, and believes that doing this right will change your life. She takes you step by step, day by day, through goal-setting. First, you right down 10 things you want to accomplish this year, 10 things, if you achieve them, will make you so happy and proud of yourself. At least one of these will be a health goal. Then you determine which one of those 10 goals is your PUSH goal. Your push goal is the one that will help you achieve all the others.

She likens your PUSH goal to a line of dominoes. When you gently PUSH the first one, all the others behind it will fall one by one.

She also strongly believes you should keep your To Do list on your smart phone, because it’s with you all the time. I’m resisting this (mainly because I don’t have a smart phone), but we’ll see if I change my mind as I make my way through the program.

If you don’t want to buy the book, but want to try the program for free, check out her 30-Day Challenge.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for...Fitness

A to Z Blog Challenge

F is for... Fitness and a Full-body workout

I'm a personal trainer in my *other* job, so F just had to be for fitness. :)

I'm going to share with you a super simple, super fast (well, about 25 minutes or less) full-body workout that you can do at home or the gym with just a set of dumbbells and a bench or chair.  

Building muscle is the best way to take weight off and/or keep your weight in check. You've probably heard the saying, "Muscle weighs more than fat." Well, a pound is a pound is a pound. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat which weighs the same as a pound of feathers. LOL. However...a pound of fat takes up WAY less space on your body than a pound of fat. A pound of feathers would just make a very big mess.

The more muscles you have, the more calories your body will burn during the day doing absolutely nothing (which is nice for your couch potato days). 

Do this workout 2-3 days each week, making sure to leave at least one day of rest in between workouts (your rest days and when you sleep at night are when your muscles rebuild, grow and get stronger). 

Do these exercises as a circuit (that means one after the other) without stopping. Rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat the circuit. Beginners, start with one circuit. Intermediates, start with 2-3 circuits. Advanced, aim for five circuits. 

Choose one set of dumbbells to use for all exercises. My suggestions:

Beginners: 3-5 lb set
Intermediates: 8-10 lb set
Advanced: 12+lb set

**You want those last 2-3 reps to be pretty darn hard. If they're not, your weights are too light.

10 reps of each exercise (except for the plank)

1. Sit and stand from bench or chair
2. Pushups
3. Seated rows
4. Stationary lunges
5. Elbow planks--hold as long as you can up to a minute

Sit and stand
Stand in front of a bench or chair. You can put your hands on your hips, or hold weights at your sides to make it harder. Sit all the way down. Stand all the way up. (works your lower body from the belly to the feet)

Easiest version is against the wall. A little bit harder is against a table or counter. A little bit harder is on the floor on your knees. Most challenging is a regular, military-style pushup. Keep your gaze out in front of your hands, your belly pulled in, and your shoulders pulled down away from the ears. (works chest, shoulders, triceps)

Seated rows
Sit on the edge of the chair/bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge forward from the hips with a flat back. Hold that position, then pull the elbow toward the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blades as you go. Release back to straight arms. (works your back and biceps)

Stationary lunges
Stand next to the chair or a wall (for balance if necessary). One leg in front of the other 2-3 feet (depending how long your legs are LOL). Bend both legs so that the back knee hovers just above the floor and both legs make about a 90 degree angle. Be sure that your front knee isn't jutting in front of your toes. The back knee should be directly under the hip. If this is too hard, don't go so deep. (works all major lower body muscles)

Elbow planks
Lie on your belly on the floor. Come up onto your elbows, so that your elbows are right beneath your shoulders, and your forearms are parallel to each other. Lift your body off the floor so you're balancing on your elbows and toes. If that's too hard, drop to your knees. Keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears, and your belly pulled toward your spine. Look slightly forward of your hands. Keep your body in a straight line (ie: don't let your hips lift into an inverted V). (works your core)

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for... EATING CLEAN

A to Z Blogging Challenge

E is for Eating clean. And today I’ll share one of my favorite healthy recipes:

Moroccan Chicken & Lentils
Adapted from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

8 c water
1 tsp salt
1 lb dried lentils (rinsed, drained and picked through)

1 c plus 2 tbsp olive oil
½ c red wine vinegar
3 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp + 2 tsp chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt

1 large onion peeled and chopped
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 c fresh parsley or cilantro

1. Combine water, salt & lentils. Bring to boil then cover and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in large bowl and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of olive oil, vinegar, 2 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, garlic and sea salt. Set aside ¼ cup dressing. Pour the rest of the dressing over the lentils, stir and let cool.

3. In large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add onions and saute about 5 minutes. Add chicken and saute 2-3 minutes more. Add 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, and cinnamon. Saute until chicken is cooked.

4. Arrange the lentils on a serving platter. Placed sliced, cook chicken on top.  Pour remaining  dressing over the chicken. Sprinkle chopped parsley or cilantro over the top. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


A to Z Blogging Challenge

Welcome to D-Day--day four of this month long blogging challenge. So far so good, right? 

D is for DANCING in STILETTOS, Book 3 of my Red Stilettos series. This novella coming out later this month, if the writing gods permit.

You met Darlene in Running in Stilettos (Book 2)--you suspected her husband might be having an affair, which really ticked you off at Colton. But you can find out alongside Darlene what's really going on in Dancing in Stilettos

Sometimes all it takes to save a marriage is a great pair of shoes.

Plain-Jane Darlene is a stay-at-home mom who fears her husband is no longer attracted to her. When he comes home late smelling of perfume, she is certain he’s having an affair. Determined to win him back, she asks a friend to make her over and teach her how to get her sexy back. 

As she's learning how to walk and dance in 4-inch stilettos, and practicing how to get her sexy on, it becomes more and more clear that her husband is hiding something from her...but maybe it's not what she thinks.

This is a stand-alone novella--it doesn't have to be read after Books 1 & 2...but it would probably be more fun if you did.

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for....Cats, cats and more cats

A to Z Blogging Challenge

We are NOT getting a cat...

Since they were old enough to talk, my kids were asking to have a cat. "But we already have a dog," I'd tell them. "We want a cat," they'd respond. So I told them, "If a stray cat adopts us some day, we'll keep it."

Well, you probably know where this story is going, don't you?

As much as I love them, we didn't plan on having cats because much of my family (including me) is allergic. But one cold night in October 2005, my husband was shutting up the house for the night, including the garage, and he yelled, "Becky, come out here! I think I just saw a huge rat run under the car."

Since I'm not afraid of rodents and my husband would rather walk on cut glass than deal with tiny animals with long tails, I headed to the garage just in time to see something dart behind one of the cars.

Then we heard it: a soft, pathetic-sounding meow. And we spotted a tiny, fluffy gray kitten sitting on our old toy box against the far wall. The poor thing couldn’t have been much more than a few weeks old. As we picked it up, another tiny head popped out behind the box. That one was too skittish to catch.

It was late. Our kids were already asleep and the next day was a school day so we didn’t want to wake them. We put the gray
V2 and Claire
kitten into our big dog crate with water and a blanket—we’d figure out what to do in the morning.

The next morning—which happened to be our son’s 10th b-day—we woke the kids and told them, “Come to the garage and see what Dad caught last night.” Our son, being a typical boy, hurried downstairs to see. Our daughter held back. “It’s a giant spider, isn’t it?” she asked, and wouldn’t go to the garage until she heard her brother calling for her.

They were delighted to see the kitten, and my daughter was able to coax the other one out of hiding. The kids wanted to stay home from school that day—“Mom, we just found two kittens AND it’s my birthday!” our son said. Nice try.

Turns out, someone had dumped an entire litter of kittens (five of them) in our neighborhood. Four of them found homes (two with us, obviously) and the fifth cat we could never catch.

That was almost 10 years ago. We still have Claire. Bam (the fluffy gray one), unfortunately, died a few years ago. But last winter, another young cat showed up on our porch. Literally. It sat in front of our door, meowing loudly for days until we finally took it to our vet to have it checked for a microchip. It had one, but the owners on file denied ever having the cat (WTF???). We suspect they just locked it out of their house one day, and it found its way to our neighborhood. We decided to keep her and named her V2 (for  Version 2, because she looks just like our other cat, Claire).

I don’t expect we’ll get another cat anytime soon. Two is plenty. But if one just happens to show up on our front porch…

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for...Baby Elephant

Blogging A to Z Challenge

B is for Baby Elephant

My former boss came in to work one day, laughing. His young daughter--who was about 2 or 3 at the time--walked in on him in the bathroom and saw him naked. She stared at him in wonder and said, "Baby elephant!"

I still can't see a picture of a baby elephant without thinking of that story. LOL. Now you won't be able to either. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for... Audrey & Ava

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Audrey and Ava Thompson are the identical twins featured in my romantic comedies Borrowed Stilettos (Audrey's story) and Running in Stilettos (Ava's story). If you like fun, sexy, light-hearted romance, you'll enjoy these books. 

Plans go hilariously awry when mild-mannered Audrey Thompson dresses as Ava, her flamboyant but cowardly twin, in order to break up with Ava's fiancĂ©, Zach Banister. However, as Audrey pretends to be Ava—which means stuffing her bra and tottering around in borrowed stilettos—she can’t help falling for Zach herself. Little does she know he has his own agenda, one that involves a seduction she can’t refuse. 

Jet setter Ava Thompson is forced to spend the summer stuck in suburban hell to take care of her sister’s house and dog, but cooks up some fun seducing the sexy single dad next door, never expecting to discover a life she never knew she wanted and a love she never knew she needed…