Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's official: muffin top is a word, whether you or like it or not

Muffin tops rank right up there with cellulite as a battleground on women's bodies.

Now it's also an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary. Defined thus, as "a protuberance of flesh above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers."


Which reminds me, I need to go work out.


Monday, March 28, 2011

The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello

Buy it here.

Sibella Giorello has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I picked up the previous book in the series, The Clouds Roll Away, on a whim. I loved the cover and the back cover copy looked intriguing.

I was hooked on the first page. Her writing is my favorite mix of suspense and literary, heart touching and soul moving. Her ability to create descriptions that put you there without slowing down the story is unique and creates a wonderful sense of place in each of her books.

The Mountains Bow Down doesn't disappoint. It contains all of the elements I loved in The Clouds Roll Away, plus since it's set on an Alaskan cruise you get to feel like you are there as well.

You can get the first book in the series, The Stones Roll Away, as an e-book for only $2.99! The Stones Roll Away is the critically acclaimed award winner that kicked off the Raleigh Harmon series.

And even better, you can have the chance to win cool prizes.

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Mountains Bow Down with a blog tour, a Cruise prize pack worth over $500 and a Facebook Party! Don't miss a minute of the fun.

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate toward the cruise of their choice from Vacations To Go.
  • The entire set of the Raleigh Harmon series.
To enter click one of the icons below. Then tell your friends. And enter soon - the giveaway ends on 4/1! The winner will be announced at Sibella’s Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on FB April 5th, 2011! Don’t miss the fun – prizes, books and gab!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

About the Facebook Party: Join Sibella and fans of the Raleigh Harmon series on April 5th at 5:00 pm PST (6 MST, 7 CST & 8 EST) for a Facebook Book Club Party. Sibella will be giving away some fun prizes, testing your trivia skills and hosting a book chat about the Raleigh Harmon books. Have questions you'd like to chat about - leave them on the Event page.

Other stops on this blog tour.


You can't spell and neither can your smartphone

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the autocorrect feature on your phone? Ever hit "send" and then notice that it changed one of the words you typed to something else? Something stupid, There's a website for that (big surprise).

This article by NPR highlights some of the more interesting autocorrected texts posted on the site called

Good for a few laughs. And a reminder to double check your texts before sending.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh, hero, where art thou? Or what not to put in your online dating profile.

When people find out I'm a writer they often ask where I get my ideas. I have no shortage of ideas. Life has enough craziness in it to supply me with endless plots.

But I also need people to populate my books. This used to be a struggle for me, but then, like with my plots, I started looking around me. Grab a quirk from this person, a character trait from that one and before you know it, I have a living, breathing character.

But as a woman, guys are still a challenge. As many books as I've read about how men think, I still don't get it. But another writer friend and I put our heads together and looked over the shoulder of someone's online dating profile. There are thousands of guys right there just ready to populate somebody's book, um, life.

So we got a few ideas for some characters for future books. And couldn't help but come up with a top ten list of things guys shouldn't put on the their dating profiles. Consider it some insight into the minds of women.

Top Ten Dating Profile Mistakes Men Make

1. Taking your photo in the bathroom mirror. Or worse, the mirror of a public bathroom. The urinal is a dead giveaway.

2. Having ex-girlfriend/wife's arm around you in photo (she's cropped out but she's left a mark on you).*

3. Not wearing a shirt! You may think it's sexy. It's not.

4. Numerous photos of your car. We don't care about your car, we don't want to date it.

5. Showing your trophy kill--dead fish, turkeys, and deer are not relationship makers. Ick.

6. Not using your own words in the profile. "Walking on the beach in the rain" is not original after the fiftieth time I've seen it.

7. Using profile names like DONTBESCARED --that scares me.

8. Not using more than five words about yourself. Really? That's all there is to you?

9. Ranting about your political/religious beliefs is a reason to block you.

10. Not using a current photo. Cut your hair and try not to look like you just came out of cave. Also don't say you're 42 when your photo says you're nowhere near that age.

*2 Please don't put your (or anyone else's) kids' pictures online--makes us concerned about their safety and what kind of dad you would be.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Got three minutes?

If you're a fan of short fiction, check out the entries in NPR's Three-Minute Fiction Contest. These are stories that can be read in three minutes or less. I've been impressed with what I've read so far. It's a nice way to spend a few spare minutes.


Friday, March 18, 2011

The Spy Who Loved Me

If you like your thrillers or suspense with a dash a romance like I do, you might have wondered on occasion how that would work out in real life. How can you be a spy and still have any kind of normal relationship?

Former CIA agents Robert and Dayna Baer met on the job and fell in love. Then they wrote a book. You can read their story here.

And if you're curious enough, you can get their book here:


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Tube in B Flat

Ever tried to play more than one You Tube video at a time? Me neither. But in the quirky way art works, Darren Solomon tried it and it spawned his experiment into intentionally creating music videos that could be layered and actually sound good. Read the story here. Check out his project, In B Flat, here, and see what kind of music you can make with You Tube.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Caroll

Robin has done it again with a masterful suspense that pulls you in and doesn't let you go. I stayed up too late two nights in a row. There's a scene near the end of the book (I won't give it away here) but wow, I felt like I was there. Scroll down to read the first chapter and if you like suspense with a dash of romance, add this book to your To Be Read pile.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***


Robin Caroll is a leading Christian suspense novelist. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Arkansas.

Visit the author's website.


Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy and devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil tells a modern day story involving the exposure of a building rebound scam. Amidst the layers of unethical practices, supply shortages, and excess murders, a top Louisiana homicide detective loses his heart to a charitable contractor while uncovering a secret about his tragic past.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.98
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805449795
ISBN-13: 978-0805449792



Eighteen Years Earlier

What a night!

Maddox turned his car into the residential area and glanced at the digital display on the dash—12:28. Great, late for curfew. He smiled. Being late was worth it when he’d had a hot date with Julie Cordon. Man, the girl was something else. Beautiful, sexy, and funny. Just being with her made him feel special. Made him forget lots of things, including time.

Besides, he was seventeen. Curfews were for kids! A senior in high school, and he had to be home by midnight? All his Pop’s doing.

Tyson Bishop…Mr. Air Force man, determined to force the entire family to live by rules and regulations.

But his dad was over foreign soil right now, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. Mom understood better, wasn’t quite the stickler about curfews like his dad. Good thing, too. Maddox was almost thirty minutes late tonight. Pop would blow his top and ground him for at least a month. Probably take away his car. But not Mom. She’d just caution him to pay closer attention to the time. Launch into the whole spiel about responsibility and accountability. He could recite it from memory.

Maddox whipped into the driveway and pressed the garage door opener. The light from the kitchen door spilled into the garage. Mom would be up…waiting. He should’ve called.

But being around Julie was like being caught in a time warp. Even the car’s interior held her smell. Light, flowery…teasing and tempting.

He killed the engine and jogged up the steps, slipping his charming smile into place. His mom had never been able to stay mad or disappointed when he flashed his dimples at her. He’d promise to mow the grass tomorrow before Pop got home, and she’d forget all about his tardiness.

He shut the garage door behind him and entered the kitchen. “Mom? I’m home.” The hint of roast lingered in the air.

The house was as silent as a tomb.

Odd. She would normally be on her feet to meet him.

He passed the kitchen’s butcher-block island and continued into the living room. A soft light filled the space beside her reading chair, but no sign of her.


Maddox backtracked to the kitchen. Maybe she was in the downstairs bathroom.

“Hello?” His voice rose an octave as his pulse hammered. The bathroom door was wide open, the room dark.

Where was she?

His steps faltered as he pressed into the kitchen again. The backdoor stood open, the glass pane closest to the knob—shattered. His heart jumped into his throat.


Using the agility that had garnered him the wide receiver place on the varsity football team, Maddox flew down the hall toward his parents’ bedroom. He pushed open the door with shaking hands.

His mother lay sprawled on the floor, a pool of blood staining the carpet around her. Her face pale against the dark red spilling from her chest. A metallic odor permeated the room.

What? He blinked repeatedly, his mind not processing what his eyes saw. Then…he did. And nearly vomited.

He raced to her side, lifting her head into his lap. “Mom.” Tears backed up in his eyes as he smoothed her hair.

“Mad-dy,” she croaked.

He grabbed the phone from the nightstand, the base landing on the floor with a resounding thud. He grabbed the receiver and punched in 9-1-1.

“Hang on, Mom. I’m calling for help.” Every nerve in his body stood at high alert.

“Too. Late.” She grimaced. A gurgling seeped from between her lips. Her body went slack in his arms.

“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”

He closed his eyes. Fought back scalding tears. “My mother. She’s been murdered.”