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Happy Valentine’s Day, Readers 

The Kindle versions of my romance novel, TROUBLE IN PARADISE, is FREE today on Amazon.com.  If you already have plans for Valentine’s Day, ENJOY.  If you don’t, why not curl up with a romantic comedy today?  Happy reading :)

Chocolate and a good book.  What a perfect way to spend Valentine's Day.

Chocolate and a good book. What a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.

It’s hard to believe another year is ending.  There have been highs and lows, of course, but all in all I’m trying to stay positive and be grateful for what I have.  It’s time to look ahead to 2013.  What are your dreams?  Do you have any special plans  for the year?  What’s on your wish list of things to do?

I’m hoping for enough work to help pay our bills :)

I’m dreaming of all the wonderful books I want to read in 2013.

I’d like to cruise more :)

I’m planning to cook more good food at home and eat out less.

And I’m dreaming about the next book I want to write (and planning to do it!)

Most of all, I pray for good health for my family and friends!!! 

So….Goodbye 2012 (with all your ups and downs in my life)…and Hello 2013.

With Love to All,

Lynn

My Passion for Food

Yes, I love food (too much sometimes), but my latest obsession isn’t even related to COOKING, per se.  I’m just addicted to cooking shows.  I can’t stop watching them.  It’s not like I sit around eating bonbons and watching the shows, but I have the TV on when I’m cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and other mundane chores, etc.  My DVR is busy all the time capturing what might become my favorite episode.  Well, you get the picture.  I love, love, love the following:

The Next Food Network Star

Cupcake Wars

Chopped

Georgetown Cupcakes

Sigh!  I need to find a “help” group for this :)

How about you?  Do you watch cooking shows?  I’m almost afraid to ask for fear of discovering ANOTHER show, but WHICH ones do you like the best?

CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY?

Christmas in July?  Yes!  I just published CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE, which is a 22,000-word Novella combining three of my greatest passions…Christmas, Cruising…and Romance, of course. 

Several readers of my first cruise romance, TROUBLE IN PARADISE, have written to ask what happened to Alicia and Kenneth after the book ended.  So, CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE started out as their story…until Alicia talked her friends Beth and Jonathan into cruising with them.  After all, it was Christmas!

Set sail on a holiday adventure where two couples search for holiday magic on the high seas.  Bon Voyage and Merry Christmas…in July.

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One of my perhaps quirks, which I prefer to think of as an endearing character trait ;) is I do a lot of reflection every year end. Oh, sure, I think about New Year’s Resolutions and ways to grow mentally as a woman, but I know my limitations. I always try to bite off more than I can chew, so I try not to be too hard on myself. I know I’ll stumble and not achieve all my goals and dreams, but I do try to look back and learn a lesson or two along the path of life. Then it’s not for naught, right? Hmmm.

Anyway, I digress. Here we are in the waning days of 2011. I can’t help but look inward. Have I really changed so much from years gone by, or as the song goes, Am I the Same Girl? The more I “analyze” myself, the more surprised I am to realize I truly am the same girl in so many ways. I’ve been told I’m a “complicated” woman. Well, duh! I would hope by the time I’ve reached this age (herein referred to as “this age”) I would have added some layers to my whole being.

Food wise, I may add to or subtract some flavors from my palate of foods, but basically what I used to love to eat is even more appealing to me these days. I’m as passionate about chocolate as ever, but now Nutella has earned a place in my pantry, too. Whereas I used to love plain oatmeal for breakfast, I’ve now developed a craving for creamy Muesli loaded with cinnamon and juicy berries. See. Layers can be a good thing. And there is still nothing that would entice me to try escargots or liver. A snail is a snail is a snail, in my opinion. And liver? Seriously? Not in MY mouth.

I’m still the “little girl” that gazes at the lights on the Christmas tree and feels the magic. A small gift can send me straight to the moon as much as a large gift if it has meaning and is given from the heart. Yes, I’m still the “same girl.”

I still have the same interests that have woven their golden threads through my life – reading, writing, and cruising, to name a few. However, I was shocked the other day when I realized how my outlook on life has spilled over into what I like to read. When I was a starry-eyed teenager, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis A. Whitney were three of my favorite authors. I was happiest curled up with a Gothic novel “starring” a young heroine running straight into danger. I picked up a Mary Stewart book last week. Of course, the tight, compulsive writing was there. It had to be! The difference wasn’t the book itself; it was my perception of life since I have now reached “this age.” Instead of the young woman running towards a scary attic, basement, cave, cove, forest…whatever…I wanted her to run the other way, grab her cell phone, and dial 911.

This brings me to another reflection. We are all the sum total of our experiences. My many years as a court reporter have definitely colored my outlook on life. They absolutely had to. Thus, the dark layer of reality I’ve acquired. I’ve honed in on what’s important and what really matters and learned to let the rest go. I totally “get” the fact that life is short and fragile and the need to love those you hold near and dear every single day. With that thought in mind, my wish for my family and friends is a beautiful, shiny 2012…a blank canvas ready to be painted with splashes of whatever colors you want to use. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Do you have any resolutions? Do you reflect on the year ending and think about the new one beginning?

I’m overwhelmed. First, I feel guilty for not blogging enough . I will get better, hopefully. The problem is, as the title of this post states: There are not enough hours in the day. Actually, to be more accurate, I don’t have enough hours in MY days.

I have so many interests that I love to pursue…reading, writing, cooking, beading (which has totally been put on a back burner), blogging and keeping up with friends, meeting friends for lunch, dinner or just great conversation, surfing the web for fun and educational purposes, traveling…well, you get the point.

Then there’s life…or survival. Working at a demanding profession (court reporting) + less free time (much, much less) = some semblance of survival.

Get the picture?

I haven’t even accounted for time “devoted” to laundry and housekeeping.

I want some play time…without having to focus on m-o-n-e-y. I am not even sure that is in the cards for me. I need a crystal ball .

How do YOU do it all and juggle the balls being thrown at you???

According to Wiwipedia, “The word barista is of Italian origin, and in Italian, a barista is a male or female “bartender“, who typically works behind a counter, serving both hot drinks (such as espresso), and cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, not a coffee-maker specifically.”

Okay, so I’m not a BARISTA, but I do enjoy coffee…a lot. My typical way to start the day is with a general mild to moderate wake-up morning blend.

Once I’m alert and going about my day, I reach out for more exciting flavors to tickle my taste buds. I live in South Florida and thrive on Cuban coffees. My favorite when I want something sweet is Cafe Con Leche, which is a sweet Cuban espresso mixed with milk. When I’m in a strong but sweet mood, I order a cafecito or Cafe Cubano, which is espresso brewed with sugar to be very sweet. Yummmm.

Switch the scene to my kitchen. Last year I bought a Keurig Mini to make single serve cups of coffee (I’m the ONLY coffee drinker in my home). I love this brewer for basic brews and a few flavors, such as French Vanilla, Donut House, and Caribou. HOWEVER, I’ve been itching to expand my repertoire to cappuccinos (espresso, hot milk, and steamed foam froth), lattes (espresso with steamed milk), and macchiatos (espresso stained with a bit of milk foam). Hmmm. Gotta love some of those fancy layered drinks with espresso and hot foamy milk.

Sooooooo, yesterday I purchased a Bosch brewer that was on a major sale at BB&B (think 20% off, big rebate, and other credits I had). When all is said and done, my $169.99 brewer cost me only $65. Not bad for something that is sooooo much fun and satifying my craving of the moment.

I brewed my first cup a while ago…Skinny Cappuccino. My review is: I love, love, love my Bosch for specialty coffee…and My Keurig Mini for everyday, go-to-work beverages. The best of both worlds!

Cappuccino Anyone?

Peaceful Coexistence

More Than Enough Caffeine

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