Monday, December 31, 2012

E-book freebies and prizes

Here's a chance to read and review free books and win prizes - explicit language, very steamy love scenes…and lots of emotion!

The Prizes:
* iPad Mini
* Kindle Fire
* Nook Color
* Kobo eReader
* $100 Amazon gift cards (7 prizes)
* $50 Amazon gift cards (2 prizes)
* $25 Amazon gift cards (8 prizes)
* $20 iTunes gift cards (10 prizes)

* Custom prize baskets for EACH of the 7 books–including items such as wine gift set, silver bracelets, romantic photo books and photo frames, eReader and smart phone skins, and MUCH, MUCH more!

…and we’ve got special prizes just for participating bloggers

Go on - you know you want to click on the link and find out more

Why not share this opportunity with your book loving friends?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Home sweet home...

I think I say this every time I come home from being away. I love going away, I love seeing my family - but boy-o-boy do I love coming home. My bed always holds a special appeal on that first night back in it.

Five adults, three teenagers and three children aged 4, 18 months and 5 months all in one house for 4 days is just unconstrained chaos.

It's fun and hectic all at the same time. It's also a lot different from when I go to Renmark on my own and have pure uninterrupted peace and quiet.

My nephew is a hundred miles an hour of action and talking, he's exhausting to be around.  I love him dearly, but with the boys and I all lobbing in the house at once he doesn't know which way to turn.

My niece is just the most gorgeous baby in the world and smiles and laughs constantly. She whinges to go to bed and that's so minor it's barely worth mentioning. She sleeps till 9 -10 am and then just lies in bed smiling and making sounds rather than crying until you go and get her - where do you get babies like this?

My grandson has several new words, 'wow' I heard at least a hundred times over the four days, I'm certain this was probably said to him a lot on Christmas day. I told him to sit at one stage because he gets all klutzy when he's tired and then he spent the next hour telling everyone in sight to 'sit',only sometimes it doesn't quite sound like 'sit' either.

He's not a baby any more
My sister in law is always prepared for kids
Dad and his boy in the river

This holidaying stuff is tiring work

A day on the river - family, dogs, kids, friends
Four generations
He had an absolute ball with his uncles, he ran around non-stop and his energy levels are amazing. He played with my nephew and was in awe of my niece (what does that make them, I'm not sure - it all gets too confusing) It was just a great four days of kids and action.

Now I need some rest...

Tomorrow night, for New Years, hubby and I are going to a show with friends - it's an illusionists show, 7 of the best apparently, a cocktail party with the stars after the show and then we have a hotel room booked in the city. This is our treat, my quiet time away from the chaos of children. You forget once your kids are teenagers how exhausting little ones can be.

So what's everyone doing for New Years, grand plans, a night with friends or a quiet one at home? This is the first time ever that we've had big plans for New Years, normally we're with friends and swimming on New Years Eve when it's hot. Looking forward to a night out actually.

Then I have the rest of the week to get my head down, bum up and get some writing done and also get some plans in place to ensure 2013 is sensational.

Hope your New Years Eve is all you want it to be, with a marvelous 2013 ahead for all of us.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Things to be grateful for...

I've scheduled this to post because all being well, as you read this I should be sunning myself on the river in Renmark. I found this information a while ago and it seemed quite fitting at this time of the year to remember how much we have to be grateful for.
  1. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep… you are richer than 75% of the world’s population.
  2. If you have a little money in the bank or spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top of 8% of the world’s wealthy.
  3. If you can drink from your kitchen faucet whenever you want… you are more fortunate by far than 1.5 billion people who have no access to clean water at all. 
  4. If you can attend a church or a political rally without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death… you have the kind of freedom denied to more than three billion people in the world. 
  5. If you can read this message, you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all. 
  6. If your everyday problems are weighing you down, there are millions of people on Earth who would gladly trade places with you right now - problems and all - and feel they have been royally blessed. 
I have my family, my health, food in my cupboards, a means to pay for the necessities in life and a roof over my head - that means I am truly grateful that I have the things that matter most.

How 'bout you? Do you have plenty to be grateful for?

Have a good week everyone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Visualise - my word for 2013

Hope you all had a sensational Christmas, mine was peaceful and enjoyable. One thing I discovered though was that Christmas lunch at a restaurant / hotel is not all it's cracked up to be. Why is it the more money you pay for a meal, the smaller the serving size is?

No matter, it tasted okay and we had a good time.

Now for words - I love the idea of choosing a word to define what you want to achieve for the coming year, I found that I like it better than making New Years resolutions. In 2012, the word I chose was 'belief' and I finally found the belief in myself to publish my first book that had been sitting idle on my computer hard drive for over a year.

For 2013, I want to choose a word that sits with creating the life that I want to live, not necessarily just the life that I have. There's so many more things that I want to do, see and achieve.

So after much dithering and considering I've chosen the word 'visualise'. My idea is that I need to visualise the life that I want, take the steps necessary to achieve it, and also trust that it will happen. 
Believe it or not, but what you think – and picture – can have a big effect on the way you live your life. This is known as visualisation and it’s a power we all have inside us. In other words, what your subconscious mind believes may help you get what you want. ~ Better Homes & Gardens.
So do you set resolutions, have a special word, or do you do something else entirely?

I also think I'm going to do some re-vamping of my blog over the break and not just cosmetic like I've done today. I plan on using this as my 'visualise' platform, I'm just not too sure how I want to do it yet. Any ideas will be willingly accepted.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the day before Christmas...

The remaining presents are all wrapped and under the tree, the house is all clean and the world didn't end on the 21st like they said it would. Life is pretty good.

We did our family Christmas last night with all of our boys because Christmas Day sees us all in different places.

Youngest son will be with me, Middle son will be staying at his girlfriends tonight and waking up Christmas morning with her family, Oldest will be with his dad's family for Christmas lunch, Stepson is moving to Victoria today and hubby will be working.

Yesterday we laughed, we ate and my grandson kept us all amused with his babbling and laughing. That's Christmas - family and laughter.

Thursday morning I will load up the car and the boys and I will make the four hour trek to Renmark to see my family for Christmas, I can't wait. This is truly my favourite time of the year and will be even more special because my grandson is coming with us too. I love that his mum is letting us take him with us.

All of my boys, my niece, nephew and my grandson - now that's Christmas. Relaxing days on the river with sunshine and swimming. What's not to love?

Funny though (and not the ha-ha funny either), today I listened to a friend of my husband describe their early Christmas gathering yesterday and the stress and arguments they endured and I can't begin to imagine Christmas being like that. It's sad that some people's Christmas aren't what they should be.

I also personally know of three families who will be spending this Christmas without a loved one and I am truly saddened. Hugs to all of you, my love and thoughts are with you.

My posts may be few and far between over the next week or so, but I'm sure you all have much more exciting things to do anyway. I plan on enjoying the sunshine and the great outdoors. Already I'm seeing it's a little quiet in the blogosphere at the moment - as it should be.

Here's wishing you and your families all an absolutely sensational Christmas filled with love, laughter and good times.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You have to take the good with the bad

The bad in this case was a kick in the guts. Today I read my first bad review of my book. This is perhaps the hardest part of writing - the potential for rejection and / or the criticism.

But I take the comments on board with a big frown on my face and manfully (womanfully?) move forward, but only after I've whinged a little bit first.

So in two and a half months I've had 5677 downloads of my book and 9 copies returned. Does that make it bad? Only 7 of those people have left a review on Amazon and 1 of those 7 was a bad review based on my punctuation. Are the rest not reviewing because it is bad, or they simply haven't finished reading it?

I have to plead the fifth here because I've downloaded at least 70 books since I got my Kindle in May and I've only left one review. Bad me, doing one thing and expecting something different from others.

Mind you, the bad ones I've never returned - .99 cents does not break the bank after all. Frankly I'm more fanatical about poor grammar or spelling. We each have our crosses to bare, but unless the storyline is totally and utterly shite I will continue reading.

Egads - should I even care? Of course this is me dissecting everything and trying to understand the why. As you can guess I'm not very good with criticism - not many people are I guess.

How do others deal with criticism?

Okay, I'm done whinging now. Only one and a half more days till Christmas break - not that I'm counting. Don't you hate how weeks go forever when you're counting down the days till something?

A large portion of my Christmas shopping is now done, curse the commercialism of Christmas. Give me good food, fun and laughter with friends and family and that's my kind of Christmas (and no restaurants for that good food either). I'm still adjusting to the idea of Christmas lunch at a restaurant this year.

I get the reasons why, but the cost and the formality of it all - not so much. I think one year real soon I might boycott Christmas and head off overseas.

There comes a time when you know enough is enough and that the only one who can make changes is yourself. Courage is another thing entirely. But it's coming, my break free moment can't be far away.

I'm off now to write some more poorly punctuated sentences - I'm laughing, really I am.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Today my heart aches...

Yesterday I moaned about my bah humbug moments because I would not be spending Christmas Day with all of my family. Today I read of the shootings in America with tears rolling down my face and I realise how petty and selfish my words may seem.

The families, friends and community of 28 loved individuals will not have the option of spending the day with their loved ones either and not because they live too far away, but because they have been taken from them in tragic circumstances.

I realise how much I truly have to be thankful for.

Every day I am also thankful for John Howard's strong stance on anti gun laws in Australia and that my children are fortunate enough to live in a country where such unthinkable acts are so much less likely.

Hold your loved ones close today and be thankful xxx

Saturday, December 15, 2012

6WS - Fanfare, because I finally got started...

... on my Christmas preparation that is. I've had a little bit of the bah humbug the last few weeks. Possibly could have had something to do with with feeling like a truck had driven over my face and obliterated my nose as well.

I finally went back to work on Thursday, it was the longest day of my life - well one of them anyway. Friday was better as I got back into the swing of getting up and going to work again. Fourteen days away from work and I probably slept most of them.

Pause here for a long moment of envy for those who don't have to go to a daily job (by choice that is)

Back to the original subject and the fact that finally it's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas. I put up the Christmas tree last weekend, I actually wasn't going to bother this year. I told you I had the bah humbugs didn't I?

I have teenage boys and young male adults to buy for, do you feel sorry for me yet? Males 15, 17, 21 and 24, plus hubby. Christmas shopping is impossible for any of them. I did buy a present for the son's girlfriend and my niece, plus several for my grandson. Easy shopping these ones. But big boy presents - egads, damn near impossible to buy for them.

I've been feeling a little bit sombre about Christmas day because hubby is working and all my extended side of the family is four hours away. I'd originally decided not to go to Renmark these holidays and then this morning made the decision that I would go up for a few days between Christmas and New Year. It's a girls prerogative to change her mind after all.

An hour long conversation with my sister-in-law tonight and now I'm looking forward to my 'late' Christmas, plus I have my fingers crossed that I can take my son and grandson up with me as well. Just have to talk the younger two boys into coming too and perhaps the son's girlfriend if she's not working. Hubby has to stay home and work unfortunately.

It's hard when your kids get older and you don't have that excitement and lead up to Christmas with school Christmas activities and advent calendars and wrapping all their presents and them not caring what they get.

Anyway, how's Christmas starting to look in your part of the world? Do you look forward to it or do you wish you could hide away from it all?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Green magic juice

I've started following several healthy living blogs recently who all regularly mention 'green smoothies' as being an amazing super food which keeps the body healthy. I also bought a blender several months ago when I first gave up sugar, with the aim of making healthy smoothies.

To date I've made very few smoothies - despite the best of intentions though. Who am I kidding, I've just been lazy?

Anyway following my surgery and the bucket loads of antibiotics which they pumped into my system, it seemed it was time to assist my rather mixed up insides with a dose of green magic in a glass.

I would have taken a photo of what I made today but it doesn't look too appealing in a glass. Somewhere I also read that if it looks icky coloured (in other words regurgitated grass colour) then put it in a coloured glass and if it's a pretty green colour then put it in a clear glass.

The mind is a powerful thing and the colour is rather off putting. The mix I blended made two glasses, I'm on the second glass and it's not unpleasant just different. It's growing on me in fact.

My green thumb hubby (as opposed to my brown thumbs) has a multitude of green vegies in the garden which I could choose from so I added the following to my glass of magic juice.

Our vegie gardens in the front yard
1 whole ripe mango
1/2 banana
4 large romaine (cos) lettuce leaves
Ice cubes
Icy cold water to blend to desired thickness

Yummo, most of what I've read recommends to start with milder forms of green leafy vegies like baby spinach, romaine lettuce, bok choy etc and then work your way up to the stronger tasting green vegies like kale, chard, celery etc.

They also recommend an 80% vegie, 20% fruit combo. The thing is, if I'm going to make them and I'm going to enjoy them, then fruit will probably outweigh the greens for now. I figure any mix is better than nothing.
Vegies in the back garden

So the reported benefits of drinking green magic in a glass.

1. Energy gain
2. Proper digestion
3. Minimal cravings
4. Weight loss
5. Radiant skin
6. Cancer fighting  
7. High in Antioxidants

Here's a few pages to check out for some yummy smoothie recipes (green and otherwise).
Of course for those of you who are one step ahead of me and already drinking these then please share some inspiration in the comments of what you put in your own magic juice.

It's all towards a healthier, happier me. I figure it can't hurt my stuffed up head either.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Concentration of a flea...

I have the attention span of a flea at the moment, it's more than a little annoying for someone who likes to be on the go and creating most of the time. My stuffed up head isn't helping the concentration levels much either.

But if that's the most painful or annoying thing in my life at the moment then I'm doing all right. Some have it so much harder.

Today is my 18th wedding anniversary, my mother had to remind me by sending me an e-card and talking to me on the phone. I'm a bad wife for not remembering, my hubby is just as bad - he'd forgotten also.

Some people make a grand thing out of their anniversaries, and that's okay too - but I guess we never have. We appreciate each other, and his care of me, our boys and our home this week following my surgery are all the gifts I need.

I finally put up the Christmas tree today, I think I've had my ostrich pants on the last few weeks - you know the 'if I bury my head in the sand then Christmas will wait for me to be ready' sort of feeling. I'm still not ready, but it's hard to avoid.

Tonight the news is again focused on the prank call to the hospital where Kate Middleton was staying and the resulting tragic suicide death of a British nurse. I understand the worldwide outrage - it was a dumb prank which backfired with tragic circumstances, but I'm also dismayed at the bullying and harassment of the two presenters at the centre of this.

Dumb prank - yes, thoughtless - definitely, but malicious and intended to cause harm - I doubt it.

Aren't we seriously running the risk of this event being even more devastating by allowing the ongoing harassment and abuse of this pair? They've been suspended from their jobs, they're being hounded and abused from every corner of the world.

Ease up people - everyone makes mistakes and no-one ever sets out to cause another person's death either directly or indirectly.

My thoughts are both with the family who have lost a loved one and also with the devastated presenters who are now in hiding for their own protection. Social media truly makes it's damaging presence known with occurrences like this. Everyone suddenly becomes a perfect human being and quickly turn their vitriol on the accused.

How quickly they forget that we are all human, we all mess up - when they can focus on the wrongdoing of another.

Hope your week is a good one, and tell a loved one that you love them just because you can.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Simple things which make the difference

Ask any female what will help make her feel better and I'm sure she'll mention a haircut somewhere on her list, probably after she mentions some time to herself and some pampering.

So, with that in mind I went and had my hair cut and blonde streaks put through it today and I feel a million bucks. Well maybe a little less than that, but it did perk me up and make me feel better after a week of lying around and feeling not my best. 

I covered up all of those delightful little grey streaks which are reproducing at a rapid rate. My tactful hairdresser commented on how lucky I am that because my hair is light coloured the grey isn't as obvious.

Really - to me it seems like a flashing neon light. I'm 41, what's with grey hair for goodness sakes?

I did all the survey and requirements to become a tour host for Novel Publicity and my first book arrived in my inbox today which is a little bit exciting. What an awesome way to get free books and help out fellow writers.

I know there's possibly lots of these kind of things in the blogosphere - yet sometimes I feel like such a beginner as I discover these new things - despite my two years of blogging experience. The badge is now in my sidebar if you want to check them out.

I've also just started reading a novel called Assumption of Right which is written by Devon Ellington who is one of the first writing blogs I started reading all that time ago when I first landed in the blogosphere. I'm loving this book so far.

I'm endeavouring to read the books of those writers whose blogs that I follow - it seems that if I like their words in blog form then there's a fairly good chance I'll like their books. To me this makes sense and hopefully as things work, what goes around will come back to me at some stage when my readers want to read my book (s). Plural because soon it will be.

But before I go off reading, I'm off to put some of my own words on paper first, have to make that plural a reality after all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My day of firsts...

Today was my first day back in my car and driving since last Wednesday. Also was my first day wearing my contact lenses in over a week - it's been my longest time in glasses since I was 13. My first day of venturing into the outside world with no makeup, no hair styling and not being concerned.

I think I must have grown up this week, or finally realised that it's only me that cares about dumb things like that.

I also had no additional sleep today and left the house twice, I finally feel like I'm on the road to recovery. Now all I need to do is rebuild my energy levels because they are still pretty non-existent.

That leaves me with three days of writing time before I return to work. One thing that my resting time has given me is a chance to just chill and think over the ideas I have for my next writing projects - two of them actually, another novel and an idea for a non fiction book. All of it is gelling nicely and finally making sense, where before it was just a mess of ideas and thoughts.

Maybe that's what we all need sometimes, just to switch off from everything and let our minds and bodies recuperate. I know it's not entirely possible, we all have lives, responsibilities, stresses. None of that stops just because our body and / or mind needs a break.

Nor are many of us sometimes lucky enough to have family who can take on everything while we rest. My hubby and boys have been gold this week. They've kept the house clean, food on the table and removed every ounce of my stress. I have simply slept, rested and recuperated.

If it wasn't for the hideous pain and discomfort, I think a person could be tempted to schedule non-priority surgery regularly just for the additional benefits that come from it. No, what I really need to figure out is how to duplicate the well being and 'me' time without the pain or inconvenience of this week.

I signed up for this publicity book tour as well - hey if they want to give me a free e-book and ask me to review it on my blog - why the heck not? I'm all for assisting other writers, besides it's not something that I'm super savvy with yet - this book promotion stuff,  so I figure this is a good learning process for me as well.

I also found this awesome little snippet in my email in-box this week 30 Good Karma Things To Do With Small Gaps Of Time. I plan on doing a few more of these things much more regularly.

Hope you're having a good week, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The best laid plans...

Wheeew! it didn't just hurt a little, it hurt a lot. Today is my first day of being capable of sitting in front of my computer since last Thursday morning when they wheeled me into surgery. Since then I've slept 90% of the time, the other 10% of the time I was kind of in a daze of pain.

Felt awesome on Thursday afternoon when I got back in my hospital bed (well as awesome as you can when someone has re-arranged the insides of your nose, and knocked you out medically first - to do so)

Went home Friday morning, slept a lot for the next 36 hours and then was back in the emergency department on Saturday night looking like someone who could give Rudolph a run for his money with a bright red nose. Boy was I an unwell little chappie.

So two more days in hospital and three different kinds of IV antibiotics and today I feel almost human again. I came home last night and had a decent sleep and today have only had a 2 hour nap. When you're that unwell there's a certain little moment in time when you wonder whether you are ever going to feel normal again.

I was fairly miserable on Sunday night missing my family, sometimes you just need your mum (no matter how old you are) and mine was 4 hours away. My sister-in-law, sensing my distress, packed up her toddler and baby and hitched a ride with her parents who were already coming to Adelaide, just so she could check in on me.

A 14 hour day, almost 4 hours of travel each way, just so she could surprise me and give me a hug, is she gold or what? Go on that brings a tear to your eye doesn't it?

So my plans this week for reading, writing and relaxing - yeah you know that saying about the best laid plans. As someone who normally isn't sick and doesn't suffer from pain, I was unprepared for how completely unable you are to concentrate or focus when you're in pain or not well.

One thing I did discover though is that hospitals and emergency rooms are absolutely goldmines for coming across all kinds of characters from all different walks of life. The writer in me had to burst out somewhere didn't it, because I wasn't writing, I wasn't even reading.

Hospitals seem to strip away people's exteriors and lets you see the real person underneath. The whiners, the not so honest, the genuinely nice and decent and all of their loved ones as well, some of whom leave a lot to be desired also.

I obviously did a lot of observing and a lot of contemplating this week.

Also, with absolutely zip effort from me on the promoting front for my book - I still had 2747 additional downloads of my book - spectacular, so thank you if you contributed to this successful number.

So I'm hoping it's all downhill from here and I can at least have a few useful days of reading and writing before I go back to work next week - and a few more recuperative nanna naps of course.

Hope you all have a great week