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S.G. Cardin
Monday, 16 February 2009
THought of the day - Life & Ebooks
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Sirius XM Sat. Radio
Topic: Writing

I know it's been a while as usual, but last week was crazy.  I didn't have Monday off as I usually do, so that threw me off. Then I had to stay up on Tuesday while we paid a visit to the taxman.  I wasn't too happy with our tax returns but a little something is better than nothing.  We're supposed to get 400 back from California. {e:laugh} Cold Day in Hell, I suppose. The state is tetering on bankrupcy. Well, let it go. Every poltician in this state is corupt - but that's a post for another time.

I couldn't even find time to make my gym appointments for my trainer last week. I did make it to Weight Watchers were I droped 1.2 pounds.  This week has been a challenge for me.  We visited our favorite French restaurant on Friday in early celebration of Valentine's Day. I had my usual, the filet mignon which was delicious as usual. (Actually, it was a little red in the middle. I asked for medium and well, it was rare,) but I ate anyway. It was a nice dinner, but I'm still recovering from that.  If I lose .2 this week I'll be thrilled.

The weekend wasn't too busy, but it rained and it's torture for two boys under 6 to be in the house due to the rain. Joe's doing good w/his therapies. His child development therapist has evalutated him at 23 months which is fantastic from his first eval.  (He's now at 30 months) There's still work to be done, but thrilled at the progress.

That said, I thought I'd share the thought of the day with you: EBOOKS.

So, how many have ebooks?  How many ebooks do you have? How do your read them? On your computer or on a Kindle or a similiar ebook reader?  Why do you like ebooks. What's the appeal to you?

I ask because I don't have an ebook. Well, I have two ebook short stories, but that's about it. They're on my computer. Personally, ebooks don't appeal to me (right now) because I love getting my hands on a paper book, but that's not to say I'm not totally turned off by ebooks.

So what's happening with ebooks? Amazon is releasing Kindle 2 on 24 and it's going to have a new "controversal" feature - text to speech. What's text to speech? It's where the Kindle will read the text of the book outloud in a computerized voice.

The Author's Guild calls this a violation of copyright law since only an audio book has rights to read a book out loud.  BUT DO THEY? That's what they claim. Amazon says this is different. This is a computer reading the book, not actors giving voice to a story. Amazon and a lot of the experts in the field think they have the law on their side, but if they go ahead with Kindle 2 then their might be a lawsuit from the Author's Guild.

So why buck the trend? Is ebooks the next BEST Thing?

Well, heck, there was unhappiness with CDs and and the Internet when they first started out, too.  A lot of the Author's Guild complaints stem from the fact that they don't want to open the gates to an area they can't control. Even the publishing houses are afraid of change.

Think of it this way - if you self publish and offer a book through your website - you take 100% (or most of) the profit without having to go through the publishing gatekeepers.

Is that cool? Well - self publishing doesn't have a good rep. Sadly, most of what is self published is not up to par, suffering from editiorial and proofreading mistakes. Self published books like "The Shack" are few and far between. Until self publishing gets a better rep, ebooks (at least the self published ones) won't take off.  The crux: Most ebooks are self-published.  Traditional publishers are afraid to go there - yet.  That said, if they could jump on the techno bandwagon, they might see their profits increase at a time when the traditional market is suffering right now.  Heck, Harper and Collins just recently laid of 25% of it's workforce.  Not Cool.

If the publishing industry wants to be innovative in this publishing downturn my advice would be to explore ebooks. But that's just me.  Anyone else have any thoughts on ebooks?

Smiles,
Steph


Posted by sgcardin at 5:40 PM
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Friday, 6 February 2009
Catching up, life, reading & writing
Topic: Life

Just thought I'd log in and catch up with you all. 
 
Well, I've been on Weight Watchers for a month now and I've lost 3 pounds.  It hasn't been easy, but it is a life style change and I have to remember that. I also  have to remember my 40 year old body just don't have the same pep as it used to.

I don't mind being on AM watch at work. (10 pm to 6 am) My hardest struggle is to stay awake a 3 am.  The work load is easy though.  I have a trainee at work, so I'm not getting much writing done. Hope to work on stuff tomorrow while my rug rats run wild around the house! haha.

Writing:  I'm working on a short genre story for the 77th Annual WD Contest.  I've got two projects pretty much done, a script/play called "War and Wine" which takes place in France in WWII and a horror one called "The Cat."  As far as my WIP, "The Hungarian," I've got some more work to do, but I've pretty much got the plot shored up and I just have to find the time to write.

Reading: Immediately: The Other Boleyn Girl. Next up: New Moon.

Music: I'm hooked on Coldplay. I hope they do well at the Grammys. I recently got Sirius Sat. Radio and I love it. I love the selections. I'm hooked on the "1st Wave" channel which focuses on the 1st Wave of alternative music.  Anyone remember Echo & The Bunnymen, OMD and Souxie Soux and the Banshees? Consider me a fan.

Movies: I haven't seen any recently. I re-watched Underworld 2 the other night. I found "Tristian and Isodole" and I'll watch that one next. Hehe. I love James Franco.

Here's my book review on "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer. Thanks for hanging out with me.
*****
 

Book Review for “Twilight”.

Written by: Stephenie Meyer

Hachette Book Group.

ISBN: 0-316-03838-5.

498 pages.

$10.99

4 Stars.


 

At “Twilight” those paranormal forces beyond our control come out, and Isabella Swan (Bella) must suspend all reasonable belief to accept those forces exist – and to fall in love. Meyer’s writing is brisk, easy to read, and readers will discover they’ve turned over more pages then they’ve realized..

.. ..

The story actually starts a bit slowly as seventeen-year-old Bella moves to Forks, Washington, to live with her father. As she establishes her routines, she notices a strange family of teenagers, the Cullens. They are all beautiful with pale skin and chameleon-like eyes. They also tend to stick to themselves. Bella is surprised by Edward’s initial cold treatment of her. She doesn’t know what to make of it – or him. It’s only when he saves her life with his lightening quick reflexes and unexpected strength does she begin to think there might be something unusual with him. When her Indian friend, Jacob, tells her about the “cold ones,” his story inspires her to do some research. With all the evidence in front of her, Bella concludes Edward is a vampire.

.. ..

When Bella confronts him, he admits it. He’s fallen in love with her and tried to push her away, but he can’t fight the attraction anymore. Edward gives into his love for her and Bella gives into her love for him as well. There’s no physical consummation of their love, it’s a love cultivated through feelings and emotions which provides an intense high for both.

.. ..

Edward discusses some myths and truths about the vampire world with Bella. He tells her how Carlisle created him during the Flu outbreak in 1917. Carlisle, Edward, and the vampires who live with them have learned to curb their blood lust for human blood, but some vampire covens and families haven’t. To that end, Edward’s family meets three vampire strangers while playing a game of baseball and one, James, decides to track Bella. Edward and his family try their best to protect her, but James tracks Bella to Phoenix, Arizona. James does bite Bella, but Edward draws the venom out of her. The book ends with Edward taking Bella to the prom. Bella asks for the bite of immortality from Edward who refuses to give it.


 

The book is written in the first person from Bella’s perspective. Meyer does a great job staying in perspective, but there are times when Bella’s determination crosses the line to irritating whininess, and it’s hard to understand how Edward finds this trait of hers attractive.

Edward is “tempted” over and over again to taste Bella’s blood and he does an admirable job holding his temptation in check. In that regard, that aspect of his character wrestling with temptation seemed a non-issue since temptation really wasn’t an issue.


 

The book is geared for a young adult audience. The plot comes together well. It’s easy to read and a page-turner. While there are some suspenseful elements, especially with James on the hunt for Bella, toward the end they are overshadowed by the melodrama teen angst that emotes throughout. Meyer does create an original world and gives her vampires twists and nuances of their own. “Twilight” is an interesting read just to devour Meyer’s creative spin on the vampire world. 


Posted by sgcardin at 7:27 PM
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Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Book Review for Dreams From My Father
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: XM Sirius Sat. Radio
Topic: Book Reviews

Book Review for “Dreams From My Father”

Written by: Barack Obama

3 Rivers Press

ISBN: 978-1-4000-8277-3442

pages$14.95

4.5 Stars 

“Dreams From My Father,” is a moving story about President Obama’s early years. It focuses on race and its inheritance. It’s the journey of a young man searching to discover himself in his roots. Along the way there are friends and challenges to stimulate him. “Dreams From My Father” is an elegant and compelling read.

 

 Composed in 1996, Barak Obama reveals his roots, their discoveries, and the impressions left on him. The book starts with Obama as a young boy living in Hawaii with his mother and her parents. He has no memories of his father, only stories that his mother and grandparents tell. Obama comes from a mixed heritage – a white mother and a black father who lives in Kenya. His mother is open minded, idealistic, naïve in one sense, world-wise another. His grandparents love him unconditionally. As a young boy, his mother marries a man from Indonesia and they go to live there. Obama speaks fondly of his step-father, and learns several life lessons from him, but unfortunately his mother’s relationship with his step-father doesn’t last. His mother send s him back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents so he can attend a prestigious Hawaiian school. Soon, his mother and sister go back to Hawaii, but he stays with his grandparents which give him a sense of consistency. He learns his grandfather’s strengths and weaknesses, but never really comes to see him as the father figure he’s seeking. Obama has one encounter with his father when he’s ten in Hawaii. Obama is a little in awe, a little overwhelmed. His father’s visit isn’t long and leaves Obama with more questions than answers. 

The book then moves on to cover Obama’s life in Chicago as a community organizer. It’s challenging work that is rarely rewarding, but Obama gives it his all. Then a relative from Kenya calls to tell him his father has died, but Obama’s not quite sure how to feel about that or how to react. Several weeks later, his Kenyan half-sister, Auma, makes contact with him. Auma gives him a peek into his father’s life in Kenya. Obama is intrigued by the life Auma leads and wants to learn more about their father. Before he leaves community organizing to go to Harvard Law School, he makes arrangements to visit Auma in Kenya.<p> In Kenya, Obama discovers a family he didn’t even know. His father had at least four wives, and Obama has a slew of brothers and sisters who are living in their father’s shadow. Obama and Auma visit with one their grandfather’s wives, “Granny.” She tells Obama’s father and grandfather stories to him. It’s a riveting tale of two people and it helps to define those aspect of Obama’s self and his heritage he was seeking. “Dreams From My Father,” is an engrossing read. Verbose at times, Obama’s personal stories are heartwarming and easily connect with readers. The book defines the “mettle” behind a man – and a president.  


Posted by sgcardin at 4:17 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 27 January 2009 4:22 PM
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Monday, 26 January 2009
Thoughts on Amazon's Kindle
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing

Here's something that I thought was Cool - I was at work the other day and one of my co-workers had a Kindle by Amazon.  A Kindle is basically an electronic book reader. It always one to read e-books and e-stories. He was gracious enough to say he paid about $300 for it.  I was very impressed with it but I almost gagged on the price. He also said Amazon was backed up on orders until March and the backup was getting longer.  I got the impression that the Kindle was in high demand.

On my Writing Workshop group, I learned that there are other ebook readers that range from between $230-300.  Ereaders therefore, aren't cheep, but at my work, I can see why my co-worker liked it. I have a feeling ebook readers are going to get more popular.  Many on my writing group felt the price would come down as well.  Let's face it, I liked the Kindle but I couldn't afford it. Still - I liked the concept of reading ebooks like that.

Does anyone else have a Kindle?  Thoughts on it?
Smile
Steph


Posted by sgcardin at 6:56 AM
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Saturday, 24 January 2009
Thoughts on the Underworld Movie Series
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Underworld 3
Topic: Movies
I love the Underworld series. Sadly, I didn’t discover the series until UW2: Evolution. (Thank God for DVDs!) I didn’t realize UW3 was coming out though until I saw the billboard ads driving into work a week ago and I was excited. That said, I thought I’d share a couple of thoughts about the series and the new movie. Back in 2005/2006, I was working on my own werewolf series, (The Sigmaringen Saga) when a good friend of mine, Starr, started gushing about UW2. She said Kate Beckinsale kicked ass (as usual) and there was a really hot love scene with Beckinsale and Speedman’s characters. She also suggested I watch for research purposes since she knew I was writing a werewolf novel. I’m game to any and all of Starr’s suggestions because I know her writing instincts are great, so I became open to seeing the movie. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see it in the theatres because it’s hell trying to find a babysitter. I had to wait until DVD.  In hindsight, I wish I’d found that babysitter. I really should have gone to see UW2 in the theatre – just for the awesome action/fight scenes. Seeing those scenes in a theater is infinitely more desirable then watching them on a DVD. The DVD looses a bit of the fight/action powerful “punches.”             When I finally saw the movie on DVD, I loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Beckinsale rocked as the confident, yet slightly vulnerable “Selene,” and “Marcus” made an excellent vampire elder. There was just the right balance of action and story. The love scene between “Selene” and “Michael” was one of the hottest I’ve seen in a movie and totally convincing. What I liked about UW2: Beckinsale. She owned the part. She gave depth and dimension to “Selene.” The casting! I loved how the director paid attention to the casting. Every actor made their role feel authentic and believable. Notable casting: “Marcus,” “Tannus,” and “Alexander.” For me, the end didn’t leave much room for a sequel, so I was surprised to see the billboards for UW3. Anyway, after watching UW2, I watched UW1 with Starr. Watching #1 was just as exciting as watching #2. Again, Beckinsale was fantastic as “Selene.” Bill Nighy rocked as “Viktor.” In fact, his “Viktor,” inspired my own character “Viktor Bacau,” in the Sigmaringen series. “Lucien” was an excellent Lycan and his story generated sympathy with me. I liked how the movie ended with blood dripping down into Marcus’s tomb. I loved how the Lycans were looking into science and genetics and not mysticism to explain their condition. What bothered me about the movie? “Kraven.” This character was pivotal to the story, but this was probably the one casting choice in the series I didn’t agree with. “Kraven” didn’t have the edge I thought he should have, and that’s given that he was supposed to be “soft,” to an extent. UW1 actually hints at the back story which is told in UW3. Knowing that UW3 was coming out, I asked my husband to watch the kids so I could go see it in the theatre. He agreed. At first, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I saw “Selene,” and “Viktor” on the billboards and I knew “Viktor” had died in the first one. Was this about how “Viktor” made “Selene?” I was curious. After looking up movie times online, I did a little research on the movie. It was about “Viktor” and “Sonia’s” relationship (his daughter) and the start of the Lycan/Death Dealer war. Kate Beckinsale wasn’t going to be in this installment. Immediately, I was a little disappointed. After all, what was “Underworld” without “Selene?” Then I thought about it – the series itself is more than just Beckinsale’s “Selene.” There was a whole history about the elders (Viktor/Amelia/Marcus) and the back story was just as compelling as “Selene.” With most of my favorite actors back, I went to see UW3. I was delighted to see UW3 in the theatre – just for the action/fight scenes alone. They were totally mesmerizing. “Viktor” is ruling with “Marcus” and “Amelia” in hibernation. His daughter, “Sonia,” is an ass-kicking death dealer on the council and well respected. The setting is many centuries ago in medieval Europe. In flashbacks, I saw “Lucien” as a baby and “Sonia” as a little girl and I couldn’t help but wonder – how did these characters age into their mid-twenties and then stop? That was never explained to me. “Lucien,” the first of the Lycans to control their transformation is spared by “Viktor.” The movie starts with “Lucien” and “Sonia” carrying on a secret, yet pulse-pounding hot affair. The actress playing “Sonia” invokes Beckinsale’s “Selene,” and in that regard, the producers got the story plot effect they wanted since its “Viktor’s” killing of his daughter which influences his decision to turn “Selene.” Also, while the actress doesn’t annoy me as much as the “Kraven” casting, she did have trouble showing that vulnerability needed to convince me that her character was totally in love with “Lucien.” I was convinced of “Lucien’s” love for her. The actor playing him was very convincing.  As “Sonia” faces the sunlight, her penalty death for loving “Lucien,” “Lucien’s” newfound hate spurns forward a war that lasts for centuries between Lycans and Death Dealers. In all, it’s a rich prequel, however it did leave me with a second question. In UW2, “Lucien’s” necklace is revealed to be one half of the key to “William’s” (the first werewolf) eternal imprisonment. “Selene,” in flashbacks, held the key as a little girl, yet here in this movie, it is a gift “Viktor” has given to “Sonia.” When she dies, “Lucien,” claims it for his own, a keepsake of his love for “Sonia.” If this necklace is truly the key to “William’s” coffin, then “Viktor” must have already made “Selene,” and yet that isn’t possible because “Sonia” has to die first. I really wish this would have been explained better in the movie. This nagging plot point is a glaring inconsistency in a movie whose consistency I admired.  The movie ends with a voice over by “Kraven” taunting “Selene” as she prepares to jump off a modern day building – UW1’s opening shot. It brings the series full circle and it left me feeling good just seeing Beckinsale as “Selene” again. Did I enjoy the series? You bet! It challenged me as a viewer to think about what was going to happen next.  For me, it’s a series I’ll enjoy for a long time to come. I’d love to see an UW4 – but only if it “fits” and is not done in a gratuitous sequel fashion.

Posted by sgcardin at 2:17 PM
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Friday, 23 January 2009
Writing thoughts on PLOT
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Underworld 3 - Rise of the Lycans
Topic: Writing

Hi all. I found an interesting article about PLOT the other day which got me to thinking about my own story plots and what works and what doesn't work.  That said, I thought I'd share some words about PLOT and PLOTTING and how important it is to a story and how it's effected my own storywriting.  I hope you find some useful info to take away with you.
 
For me, plot is a sequence of events that carries a story from beginning to end. It involves the evolution of the main character and tells a compelling story. Plot must compel the reader to turn the page - the character is that element which keeps the reader there.

So what's the plot? Introduce a sympathetic character who tackles a difficult problem and overcomes it by the end of the story.  As the character goes on this journey, he or she must change (or not).

So how do you start a story? One thing I've learned is to start in the middle of an action sequence and show the reader how the main character gets out of it. This beginning involves the reader.  At a MIN - put the main character in motion - have him moving - walking or running, but have them in motion.  That also engages the reader.

While introductory background information is generally discouraged - if employed carefully, it can work well. In my novel, "The Wolf's Torment," 10 year old Mihai (my main character in this novel) and his mother are being chased by an evil witch. THe action of the chase is met to draw in the reader giving the reader a little background information on Mihai and his mother which is important because Mihai always considers what she would do when he encounters major life decisions.

In my forthcoming novel, 'Twilight Over Moldavia," it starts in the moment. (No prologue) Michael and Stefan are in the heat of a horse race.

As you start keep this mind - do you start with action? Or do you start with a telling scene full of background info that doesn't engage the reader?  That's a very important PLOT element you have to consider when working on your story.

Another thing that works for me - make a ROUGH outline of the story - and I do mean rough. Start with your action orientated event then introduce a series of challenges for your main character to overcome and then by the end of the story show how the character has grown or hasn't. I mean rough because sometimes your character may dictate a different series of events you didn't originally plot. THAT'S OKAY. Go with it. At the end of the story the character should get to where you intended them to go.

By doing prelimilary work on my story including Drafting a Plot, it will show in a quality story that is engaging, compelling, and a page turner.

THOUGHTS On Meyer's TWILIGHT
I'm still reading this book but I'll be honest - I didn't find the opening sequence too enaging. Bella switching schools just felt like a routine sequence to me. I will say the character's voice was good - it had to minus the lack of an engaging opening, but if I didn't know Bella was going to met a vampire, Edward, that she falls in love with, I might not have stayed with the opening as long as I did.  I think a better place for Meyer to have started is where Bella, as a new student walks into her biology class and notices Edward's reaction to her. For me, that was the first engaging scene of the novel?

Thoughts?
Smiles,
Steph

Just a quickie note on some life stuff:  good news I'm down a pound at Weight Watchers this week so I feel like I'm off to a good start.  Two pounds total in two weeks and a total 16 pound weight loss in my journey - which by the way started in Jan 2007!! I'm also going to see UNDERWORLD 3 today and I'm very excited about that. I haven't seen a movie in a movie theatre in like 8 months.

Smiles to all
Steph


Posted by sgcardin at 12:35 PM
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Sunday, 18 January 2009
Life and thoughts on the publishing world
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Sirius Sat. Radio - 1st Wave
Topic: Writing

Just thought I'd pop in and say "Hi." It's been a busy week.  I work at night from 10 pm to 6 am and it's been a challenging week.  Some of my challenges?

Sleeping.  I'm only averaging 5 hours at home after working all night. I have to work in more sleep, but my body is waking up.  I suppose it's still adjusting to the new schedule.

Weight Watchers.  I lost .8 pounds this past week.  Can't complain but I thought it would be more. I'm sticking it to it though. My husband lost 5 pounds. The bum.  But I do realize boys/girls lose weight differently and my weight loss isn't going to be as easy as his.  It's encouraging. 

Writing
I found one day to write one chapter of my paranormal romance. Now the challenge is to find time to post it here on WDC for feedback.

Now I was crusing my writing group and I found this recent tidbit from "Shelf Awareness:"

"Shelf Awareness" has recently reported that Barnes & Noble is downsizing for the FIRST time in the company's history. THey eliminated nearly 100 positions in their corporate headquarters. B&N have approx. 40,000 employees and 800 stores overall.

MY THOUGHTS
Even B&N is not immune to today's tough economic times, however this looks like a restrucing move to me. I think think restructing is important and it's probably what has to happen to avoid a bankruptcy. I think there's A LOT of overhead in today's business and I think a vast majority of business can go for some streamling and restructuing.  I'll be monitoring B&N along with Borders to see how today's economy continues to effect them - and us.

Books on the reading list:

The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erikson
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Armed & Dangerous by William Queen.

Anyone else want to share their reading list?

Currently reading: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


Posted by sgcardin at 6:06 AM
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Saturday, 10 January 2009
Thoughts on Borders and a book review
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: The Bangles, Different Light
Topic: Writing
THE WRITING WORLD

I hear that Border is having troubles. They didn't "Internet" savvy until lately and it may be too late. While Amazon and Barnes & Nobles began an Internet campaign in the early 2000's, Borders didn't get really active with it until 2006. Borders also didn't offer a rewards/membership card like B&N until recently. To make it appealing, they offered it free, but still, it may be a little late. I heard they just fired their CEO, and that can't be good. Borders is also downsized their stock that they keep in stores - 85K which is hard to match B&N 140K - 150K stock. I would hate to see Borders go under but I think they need to come up with something that is unique and their own to stay afloat. I'll be monitoring Borders in the next couple of months and come back with a occassional updates.

I'll be tackling element of Romance Gothic in my next official newsletter and have the winners of my poetry contest announced. I hope to have the newsletter out next week so be on the lookout for it.

And now for a book review...

Book Review for: “Wanting Something More”
Written by: Kathy Love
340 pages
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-8217-7614-2
$5.99
4.5 Stars

Kathy Love tells the story of Marty Stepp, the supermodel sister in the “Stepp Sister” series. “Wanting Something More,” finds Marty visiting her sisters in Millbrook, Maine during the winter months only to meet up with Nathaniel Peck, a previous paramour that broke her heart. Love weaves a delightful contemporary romance that will leave the reader anxiously turning the page.

The story opens with Mary returning to Millbrook to get in touch with her roots. She has supermodel burnout and was just ditched by her boyfriend who turned out to be gay. Stuck in a blizzard, the town’s top cop, Nathaniel Peck, comes to her rescue. Marty’s immediately distrustful of him. He hurt her pride back in high school with a mean-spirited kiss. Nate appears to be a changed man. He takes being a cop seriously and he strives to be an honorable police officer. He’s remorseful for treating Marty so badly in high school, but Marty is a hard sell.

Nate finally gets Marty to go out for a cup of coffee. Marty slowly eases into a dating relationship with Nate. She’s still a little afraid that he might be tricking her. When she discovers from her sisters that he was attacked while sleeping and his knee was injured, Marty starts to soften toward him.

While out on a date with Nate, Jared Nye, another old classmate comes onto Marty with a forceful kiss. Nate breaks it up and takes Marty to his place. They make love, spending the next twenty-four hours trapped by a snowstorm, getting to know each other well.

Once they’re able to get out, an old school chum, Josie, who knows Jared and Nate, tells Marty that Nate is using her - again. Josie has been put up to this by Jared. Marty can’t bear the thought of Nate using her and leaves. Nate goes after Marty once he finds out the truth – that Josie and Jared set him up. Can he convince Marty that his love is real?

Love’s writing is sharp. Marty’s life as a supermodel, while glamorous, lacks substance. Her vulnerability will touch the heartstrings. Nate is a likable guy who has changed his ways and readers will find themselves rooting for Marty and Nate. The dialogue is crisp and spirited. The love scenes are visual and emotional. Love does write in a “Lonesome Dove” point of view which switches with no clear breaks or division. This might be disconcerting for some readers. The plot moves forward seamlessly. “Wanting Something More” is a delicious way to spend the weekend.

Posted by sgcardin at 11:39 AM
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Friday, 9 January 2009
Losing Weght is a life style change...
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Bangles, Different Light
Topic: Life
Well, the cards all fell into place with my schedule and child care so I was able to go back to Weight watchers this week. Mind you, I wasn't looking forward to it, but I knew it had to be done. I had gained 5 pounds over the holidays and it was time to reign in the intake.

As usual, the new year is a time to jumpstart something like this so I motivated myself to go. I need to go. While I've taken off 15 since Joe's birth, I've got another 25 to go and weight watchers works for me. Why? Because I've discovered for me, no pill can help.  A balanced lifestyle change when it comes to eating is the most effective way for me to lose weight.  The biggest thing weight loss requires though is patience and in today's "I want it now" world, patience is hard to come by - especially with weight loss.  However I have learned the value of patience has paid off with my writing so I must take that and apply it to my weight loss as well. It's not easy patient, let me tell you, but it is something I have to buckle down with and just do.

There have been a lot of factors in play this time around regarding my weight loss. The weight loss after Andrew was easy. I think my body's metabolism was different since I was younger (33) and I could find someone to watch Andrew - Brent - while I went.

This time around there are more demands on me. Work, writing, balancing two children, it hasn't been easy and my weight loss suffered for it. My metabolism is slower - I'm 40 now. Those are my obstacles.

Well, I can't do anything about my metabolism except eat right which is what I plan to do. Weight watchers has never been a diet to me, just a life style change.

Since I'm working 10 pm to 6 am now, I've got plenty of time during the day to make a meeting. Brent watched the boys when I went to a Weds. meeting at 6 pm.  I watched Joe after work this morning so he could go.  The new schedule, while inconvenient, is working.  I'm getting enough sleep through power naps and a long nap after work. During the day, Brent and I are home (on his days off) and we were able to knock out a lot of chores that needed to be done this week - like take down Christmas. With my new laptop, I'm able to do some more writing than I would normally without it, so that's nice too. I'm hoping to work on my official newsletter and post the winners of my poetry contest this upcoming week.

Anyway, back to weight watchers - I'm doing good on program so far. The proof will be in next week's pudding.  I'm sticking to water, which I don't mind, coffee to keep me going, and I'm trying to cook as much as I can. The 0 point veggie soup helps. I made a Tortellini salad out of their "best eats" cook book last week that was really tasty.  That's what surprises me - weight watcher's food isn't blah.  It's very tasty. You just have to find the TIME to cook it and time with me is always at a premium with my busy life.

Anyone else doing weight watchers?  Got any tips? Comments, Suggestions?  Share. hehe
Smiles,
Steph


Posted by sgcardin at 5:03 PM
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Thursday, 8 January 2009
Just dropping off a book review...
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Writing

Just thought I'd drop this off for you Harry Potter fans...

 

Book Review for: “The Tales of Beedle The Bard”

Written by: JK Rowling

Scholastic, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-545-12828-5

$12.99

5 Stars

 

Discover Harry Potter’s wizarding world’s unique fairytales in “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” Filled with wizarding fables that invoke “Grimm’s Fairytales,” these five short stories carry messages of hope, morality, and virtue. Rowling expands Harry Potter’s universe by sharing these magical fairytales in a writing style that’s easy to read and appeals not only to children, but adults as well.

 

The most compelling story is that of the three brothers. They encounter death as they cross a bridge. Death gives them each a gift – the elder wand, a stone that brings back the dead, and the cloak of invisibility. It is this story which is referenced in book seven of the Harry Potter series and it gives Voldemort’s driving desire to possess these objects perspective, as Voldemort was trying to find a way to cheat death.

 

The other stories are just as interesting. In “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” a self-serving wizard refuses to share the hopping pot with the townsfolk. His refusal to help others leads the hopping pot to drive him crazy until he does. In Dumbledore’s footnotes, Rowling cleverly ties in legends of our own history and talks about how the wizarding community and humans came to have separate societies.

 

“The Fountain of Fair Fortune” rebuilds trust between muggles and the magical. Three witches and a knight go on a quest and discover what they were looking for was more in their hearts than in their magic.

 

“The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” tells what happens when a magician gives up his humanity by removing his heart. Its probably the most gory of the fairytales – but its also one that captures the essence of the Grimm stories.

 

“Babbity Rabbitty and her Crackling Stump,” is one of the first stories in Harry Potter’s universe that deals with Animagi – those wizards and witches who can change into animals. In it, an arrogant king wants to be the only one who can do magic in the kingdom. A sly charlatan who can’t do magic, fools the king into becoming the Grand Sorcerer. When the king puts the charlatan on the spot, he turns to Babbitty, an old witch, to help him fool the king.

 

All the stories have folksy, fairytale appeal. They read like we would expect a fairytale to. The use of magic in the story makes little difference to the moral of the story being told.

 

The book complements Rowling’s Harry Potter series well. The writing is easy to understand. The stories are well paced. Rowling makes her characters appealing with little emotional touches reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. Overall, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” is a book all will enjoy.

 


Posted by sgcardin at 11:14 AM
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