Monday, October 01, 2018

Calendars



So, I'm about to open up my 2019 calendar for signings and appearances. Being one of those who likes a paper copy on my fridge, I ran out to the store to get one. While browsing, it occurred to me that what I was buying was not just a little stack of stapled paper, but a representation of hope. Hope for a whole new year to shape and share with others. Hope that we can fill those days with good memories. That's a pretty powerful thing, knowing those unmarked pages can be anything you want them to be. So when you're shopping for your new calendar (or opening up that squeaky clean calendar app on your device), stop and take a minute to think about your hopes for the next year. Mark a little time for your favorite things and people. That may just look like an app or a stack of paper, but it stands for so much more.

Happy October!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Have You Heard? Nicki Greenwood in Audio



It's already been an exciting autumn. Two of my books have been optioned for audio (FIRE and FLASHPOINT). Here's a look at both:



About FIRE

Is love worth the risk of getting burned?


Ethan Sutter is good at running, but he can't outrun himself. Rootless and reckless, he prowls the country, able to abandon everything except his hated Fire Elemental power. Then he lands in Pickering, Vermont, out of gas and out of options, and meets New Age curio shop owner Gypsy Ronan, an even bigger misfit than he is.

Gypsy knows Ethan is trouble. However, none of her tarot cards or tea leaves could have prepared her for their undoubtedly dangerous mutual attraction. More shocking still is the discovery that he possesses an incredible power, and he wants her help getting rid of it.

Ethan needs a normal life. He's sure a woman like Gypsy couldn't be part of it, but she sets his blood smoldering. Gypsy knows there's more to Ethan than he admits, even as she fears for her heart.

Learn More Here



About FLASHPOINT

 

Fated to find him. Destined to defend her.

Faith Markham knows her place in life—paranormal expert and world-traveling archaeologist. She also knows she'll never fall in love again. How can she, when the only man she's ever wanted is a long-dead Viking warrior? She has resigned herself to loneliness, but fate has other ideas.

Hakon Ivarsson has had enough of women. His ex-wife left his life in ruins, and only Australia's Blue Mountains can soothe his empty soul. When Faith shows up needing a trail guide, he regards her with instant suspicion. This enigmatic beauty pulls at him in ways he can't explain. Trusting her is out of the question, but protecting her is absolute.

When they stumble on an artifact-smuggling ring, led by a man poised to bend the world's paranormal power to his own terrible purposes, they must join forces. Will it tear them apart, or has fate finally delivered a second chance?

Learn More Here

The Benefits of Audio

Audiobooks are terrific for long drives or work around the house, making the tasks seem that much shorter because they're entertaining. My family listens to them a lot when taking trips. A good narrator lends a richer atmosphere to the story ... not to mention how fun it is hearing your favorite characters come to life!

I hope you'll be as excited as I am to hear these audiobooks. I'll post more as details come in. Happy reading (and listening)!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Fall Blessings

I am a very happy woman. Today not only marks the first day of fall, but the achievement of my more than three-month mission toward getting healthy. I finally reached my fitness goal today, losing over 27 pounds and two pant sizes since June 11th when I began tracking what I eat through My Fitness Pal.

Originally, when my doctor asked me to lower my cholesterol, I was a bit skeptical. I told her I don't want to go on medication for it, and she agreed. Five or so pounds ought to do it, she told me. I thought, "Five pounds? That's easy. That's water weight." I paid a little attention to getting more fiber into my diet, and less fast food. When I went back for my next cholesterol check, however, it was higher. Clearly, what I was doing wasn't working.

What Now?

I then decided that something had to change. Either I was going to have to adjust what I put into my body, or go on medication. Fortunately, my doctor was willing to let me try again to lower that cholesterol, medication-free. She suggested the My Fitness Pal app, which tracks nutrition and calories for you either by entering what you eat and the exercise you do for the day, or by scanning the bar codes on your food. All I had to do was plug in my current weight, then set a goal weight (which I estimated based on several online calculators for my age, weight, and body type). After that, I made sure to scan or enter what I ate each day, add the exercises and their duration, and log how much water I drank. How much easier can it get? This is nutrition management for the lazy!

Well, it worked. Here I am, on September 22nd, three months and eleven days into this lifestyle change, and I feel amazing. My knees and hips don't hurt, and I can keep up with my busy family more. It's also been a lot of fun to get new clothes at the Salvation Army, which I totally recommend for anyone in the throes of weight loss. I am the world's laziest dieter. I haven't even done much more exercise than usual. Walk the dog here and there. Swim at the beach. Nothing strenuous or arduous.

Glorious Food

I am a much more active participant in my food than I was. I can still eat the occasional fast food meal if I'm judicious about it. A cheeseburger with no bun or condiments. Salad, not fries, with no dressing or a homemade vinaigrette. Water, water, and more water. An egg white sandwich for breakfast instead of one made with a whole egg. Most fast food restaurants are totally willing to accommodate such requests. And I even managed to go out to dinner at the Olive Garden for my wedding anniversary.

But my favorite thing is to find new and delicious foods to eat. I found I love zucchini noodles better than store-bought pastas. Sheet pan chicken breasts and vegetables are so fast and easy to make. I actually enjoy cooking (Mom, don't keel over). I like figuring out healthier options, and my body has been responding to the improved nutrition.

Side Benefit: A Healthier Planet?

Eating better can also be healthier for the environment. I have a certain amount of calories allotted to me per day. I stick to the low end of what's allowed and try to fit in things that might be "missing" in my diet, such as more fiber or calcium. I am finding that the less "processed" a thing is, the better chance I have of getting more food containing fewer calories, with better nutrients. Lots of fresh vegetables, either purchased or out of the garden we put in this year. Lots of it is local if it doesn't come out of my own garden. As you know, if it's local, it's not only fresher but more environmentally friendly. It hasn't had to travel so far to get to you. And if it's less processed, it's cleaner food. I try to eliminate pesticides from most of the things I eat. Not only do I feel better, I am doing our planet a good turn, and that feels wonderful. It doesn't even have to be that expensive. Aldi is my go-to grocery store, with a growing range of organics at great prices.

Ready for the Challenge

The holiday season will arrive soon, with its slew of baked goods and rich foods, but I'm armed with three months of good data and prepared to take on this next hurdle. I can't wait to see what my next blood draw brings. My doctor is over the moon that her suggestion has worked like a charm for me. And if I can do this, and you've been wanting to, know that you definitely, definitely can. Be persistent, and take that jump with me. We've got this.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Back to School



Are you ready for the summer to be over? I am! It's been so hot in Upstate NY, we've been stuck indoors. It's hard to enjoy the fact that it's not snowing when you're not able to get outside anyway!

My son is now in sixth grade, and I'm not quite sure where the time has gone. I took a day off to myself today. It was a wonderful and much-needed moment of solitude. I spent half the day writing and learning how to better market my books, then grabbed myself an also much-needed haircut.

I am also gearing up for a very exciting book signing coming up October 20th in Baldwinsville, NY. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by, because there will be a dozen local authors in lots of different genres, and we're all looking forward to bringing you new stories and discussions (not to mention a few goodies)!


In the meantime, I'm ready for pumpkin season. Soon, the fall decorations will come out, and my favorite season will begin. Good food, friends and family, and a reminder to be grateful for the things that make life good. Happy September!

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Notes from the Garden

It's been a very hot, humid summer here in Upstate New York. We broke down and put air conditioners in the bedrooms so we could sleep comfortably at night. The garden, however, seems unbothered by the heat as long as I water daily. In the big pot on the corner of my deck, I planted some lavender, and was pleasantly surprised by the return of some perennials from the previous year, including alyssum and a carnation. It made a sweet little arrangement, and now that the spring carnations have faded, I have a bunch of sunny red and yellow gaillardia putting on a show.  (This photo is from spring, taken from an upper window, so it's a bit blurry. Below and to the right are a low planter filled with culinary and creeping thyme, and a slightly taller pot chock full of chives.)


With the passing of spring, I was disheartened to see that my beautiful Pulmonaria was killed off by the harsh winter, but my garden had another surprise for me: it survived! There are many little shoots which have grown up in the old spot, and what's more, my Purple Coneflower gave me a volunteer seedling in the empty spot right behind it! Mother Nature continues to surprise and delight me. The bees like it, too. After the Lamium has fed all the bumblebees, the Coneflower begins putting on a feast for the honeybees. I hope they have a big, active hive somewhere nearby. 😊


This summer, I must be doing something right in my vegetable garden, because my tomato plants are taller than me! I have Roma, Heirloom, Sweet 100 Cherry, and Beefsteak tomatoes, and they are beyond delicious. The peas didn't make it, but my bush green beans are providing us with a nice bumper crop. We've all the got Romaine lettuce we can eat, and even a little supply of carrots. Mind you, all this comes from a little 4' x 8' raised garden bed that I do not weed, apply with pesticides, or otherwise fuss with other than to water each morning for fifteen minutes when I know it won't rain. You CAN farm in a small space, and it's extremely satisfying to get good food right from your own backyard. That, and there's no better balm to the spirit than getting your hands in the dirt to provide for your family or grow something beautiful.



This morning, when I went out with my son to pick tomatoes for dinner, Mother Nature had yet another surprise for me: a Northern Leopard Frog! Frogs are endangered due to pesticide use, as they are sensitive to chemicals in their environment. Our mulched beds are packed full of crickets, and I wondered if I'd lure at least a toad into my yard. Imagine my surprise when I found this guy peeking up at me from beside my garden bed! So happy to see he felt our little corner of the world was a good visiting spot. I hope you're enjoying the rest of your summer, in spite of the heat. I know I am!


Monday, June 25, 2018

I'm Officially an Indie Author!



Well, I have taken that first nerve-wracking, breathless step and become an indie author with my first self-published work. The best news for you? It's FREE! You can now download FINDING HOME through Smashwords, and soon, other outlets. Keep checking back as I add them to the book's page.

FINDING HOME is the story of Cecilia Marsh, who has come home after many years to the little town of Langley Mills, Wisconsin. There, she discovers the town hasn't forgotten her ... and it turns out, she hasn't forgotten it, either.

This story is close to my heart, as it is one of the first works I ever submitted to a writing contest, and it went on to win the 2008 Rebecca Eddy Memorial Writing Contest. I was so proud and honored to win this award, which celebrates a young woman to whom the written word was very special. I hope she'd be pleased at how the story turned out. I know I am, and I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Click here to get FINDING HOME for free!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads, uncles, stepdads, and father figures! I hope you have a fun, peaceful day doing what you love with the people you love. We spent yesterday with some old friends pitching horseshoes, and today, a family friend has put together a bowling party for all the dads in our circle. This evening, it's dinner with my stepdad. It's going to be a fun afternoon! Enjoy!