Post rain walk

Water droplets on flowers…SONY DSC

This is one of those times I’m glad I take RAW format as well as jpg. Usually I like the camera’s jpg version just fine, but this time the RAW one was much better. Then it was a matter of figuring out how to get those little gleaming drops of water to survive output. They kept disappearing. The droplets were mostly what I preferred about the RAW image, that and the balance of light. I finally figured out to output it without compression, and there they are, the little droplets.

Happy hump day! And for those of you in  Australia, you are over the hump and well on your way to the weekend.

If you don’t have a day job, do you still differentiate weekends? I have learned to do so, keeping the same rhythm as the working world. I still work on weekends, but I always did that. I just don’t work that much, and I do most of my socializing on weekends. I try to keep my week days as working days. But I do have to get up from my desk and move, thanks to my transformation from Move a Little, Lose a Lot. I’m going to go do one of my walks right now.

Have a great day, and don’t forget to get up from your desk and walk around. It really does make a difference.

#Giveaway Monday and book review

Yesterday I made this:

Here’s my photo…the one on the recipe is prettier since I didn’t think to take a picture before we ate most of it, but in case you don’t want to hop over there to look, here it is:


The recipe did require that I go to the store and buy most of the ingredients, but that’s okay, because that was my NEAT activity for the day. What is a NEAT activity? Funny you should ask, since that, along with the link to this recipe, is the giveaway for today.

NEAT is Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, a term used in the book Move a Little, Lose a Lot.

It was raining yesterday, so going shopping was a great thing to do to make sure I accomplished my daily two and a quarter hours of moving around.

It took about an hour to make this, maybe 45 minutes, not sure, but it was worth it. It’s incredibly delicious. We had it as a side with a vegetarian tamale from Costco.

Move a Little, Lose a Lot is the most fun I’ve ever had with a weight management program. I love the rewards feature. At the start of the book, you choose 4 rewards of increasing value. That really motivated me, so now I also know that planning out rewards really works for me. But the best thing about the book is that I quit the gym! Well, that’s not quite true. I did quit the gym, which is great, and saves $88 a month, but the best thing is that I now know that cleaning the house, yard work, washing the car, walking to the store, de-cluttering the house (an overarching goal for the year) and going for a walk all count toward my movement goals for the day, which must add up to two and a quarter hours (by the end of the book). It’s liberating, and I lost a little weight and a lot of stress because now I’m not stressing about the fact that I’m not going to the gym, or going to the gym and hating the time it took from my life. I’m also not stressing about all the chores hanging over my head that I never get to. Now, I rely on those chores and de-cluttering goals to get my NEAT activity. By following everything (almost) that the author said to do, I have really changed my whole set of behaviors and mindset around activity and work. The author (a Mayo Clinic researcher and doctor) knows what he’s doing regarding changing human behavior and overcoming the traps of our modern society. I’m in the final two weeks, which are about your community. This is where he starts to talk about how having a NEAT lifestyle is good for the planet and the community.

As for the weight loss, I don’t have a lot to do, and I already ate pretty well (except for over the holidays), so it’s just a bit slow. But I’m not gaining any more, and I know I will gradually reverse the last couple years of weight gain caused by too much work and stress-related eating. (I can hear you: “You’re a writer, how can that be stressful? You should see my job.” Yes, I had one of those jobs too, so I do sympathize, but writing has it’s own stress, trust me. And if you are a writer, you know of what I speak.)

So, here is the giveaway. If you feel comfortable giving me your mailing address, leave a comment and I’ll enter your name in a randomizer. Once I’m done with the book in 2 weeks, if you live in the USA, I will email you, get your address, and mail you the book. If you live really far away, and you win, I’ll give you a digital copy of my book, or one of John Holland’s books that I edited, your choice. If you live in the US and really want one of my or John’s books instead of Move a Little, Lose a Lot, that can be negotiated! Okay, I’m making this up here, obviously! But I’m trying to keep the cost below $5. Final caveat, if you subscribe to my blog but can’t leave a comment, you can contact me by filling in the form on my Contact Me page on my website. (While you are there, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter, which has an original recipe along with news and writing tips.)

Here’s another giveaway that floated across my virtual desk this week. The author is selling all her books for $.99 and running a contest for $120 gift certificate.

I think you need a pretty picture today, too.


A rain washed walk

As I have been tweeting because it’s so exciting, Northern California is getting much-needed rain. I can see the trees drinking up the rain as fast as it comes, and the storm is even behaving itself by pausing from time-to-time, allowing the ground to absorb the water. Late yesterday afternoon, we took advantage of one such break and went for a walk.

Not only was the sky beautiful, the air was redolent with the fragrances of flowers both seen and unseen. A neighbor’s rose garden was the first news of this phenomenon. As we rounded one of the last turns in our three-mile walk, the air we were breathing changed from fresh to rose-scented, filling three deep breaths before fading in our wake. Imagine a rose perfume and then remove all unpleasant aspects of perfume, the over-saturation of the scent, the other weird under-notes of the other things the fragrance is mixed with like alcohol, and so on.

Twilight had fallen, and something about the hour and the rain-washed air conspired to create a solution capable of transporting the fragrance much further than the scent would normally travel.

A block later we came upon another fragrance, fresh and green, floral but not sweet. We looked around for the source, but there was only one thing nearby that it could possibly be. My husband said, “Do daffodils have a fragrance?”


Yes, it turns out, they do. I’m here to tell you that you need to buy daffodils when they come into your area and put a bouquet on your desk.

In fact, in the United States, there’s a great fundraising event every spring called Daffodil Days sponsored by the American Cancer Society. While you can’t order daffodils through them individually (they only do large orders for organizations to reduce costs and generate revenue for the fundraising), you can make a donation for this wonderful cause. When I had a day job, the department secretary made it happen every year, which I really appreciated. I liked to get one bouquet for myself and give one to a patient. (The American Cancer Society would deliver one on your behalf to a cancer patient in the hospital.) When my daffodils arrived I was always amazed by how much they lifted my spirits, filling me with optimism and joy at the arrival of spring.

I knew the moment we stepped outside yesterday, that I needed my camera.


You have seen these palms before, but I was being nervy by taking another shot. I felt the sky was different. I hope you agree these were worthy of replay.


Ditto with these bird-of-paradise flowers. They looked magnificent freshly washed. I wish I could have taken a macro, but it would have required trespassing.


I take what I can get with the long reach of my lens.

Happy Sunday, and, for Californians, happy rainy day.


Orange and yellow

I’m off to do some fun stuff this morning, and I’m proud of myself for already getting a walk in today. I took a couple more photos of winter trees but haven’t processed them yet. I took these shots over the last week. We get a lot of yellow and orange in the winter because it’s citrus season, the birds of paradise seem to bloom, and the euryops bloom in the winter. I love yellow and orange, especially set against deep green.


Have a great Saturday!


#Giveaway Monday

Happy Giveaway Monday! To soften the blow of having to start a new week,  I am giving away a high resolution picture from the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam and telling you about a great free book.

I use this picture as  background on my phone. It looks really good as wallpaper.


Next up: This very popular book is free for a short time! I grabbed a copy for myself. It’s a romantic comedy, my favorite!


She’s Gotta Be Mine
Cottonmouth Book 1
Copyright 2011 Jennifer Skully

For the first time in e-book!

If you missed it previously, KOD Daphne Award winner “Sex and the Serial Killer” is back with a new title, “She’s Gotta Be Mine”, and a slight text revamp.  It’s still laugh-out-loud funny, peopled with hilarious characters in the small town of Cottonmouth, California.  Not to mention an alleged serial killer who’s too devilishly handsome to ignore.

4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick! “Skully’s novel is a triumph. It’s fabulously funny, with top-notch dialogue, terrific pacing and witty compelling characters.”
Romantic Times

“A witty novel that will keep you engrossed until the very end!”
Huntress Reviews

“An absolute delight.”
Road to Romance Reviews

Dumped? For her husband’s high school sweetheart he hasn’t seen in twenty years? Roberta Jones Spivey isn’t going to lay down for that, no way. Instead, she decides to reinvent herself. The new Bobbie Jones—new haircut, new name, new attitude—will follow her soon-to-be ex to the small Northern California town of Cottonmouth. And there she’ll show him—and his sweetheart—what a big mistake he made.

What better way to show him what he’s missing in the brand new Bobbie Jones than taking up with the town’s local bad boy—who’s also reputed to be a serial killer. Nick Angel is devilishly handsome and sexy as all get-out. In a word, perfect.

It’s all going exactly according to plan…until a real murder rocks the little town of Cottonmouth. Of course, Nick didn’t do it…did he?

~Previously published in 2005 as Sex and the Serial Killer~

Don’t miss the sequel, Fool’s Gold!


Kindle UK 
Kindle CA
iBooks AU
iBooks UK 
All Romance 
Coffee Time Romance

Here are three free recipes for cookies, some that are even healthful for breakfast!

The roses are back!

Another year has passed, and the roses are starting to come back. I took most of my macros last year during the spring, April, I think. Laurie Smith helped me learn a lot about photography last year, and my husband showed me how to use the camera a bit more. I’m glad to be back to using my DSLR and trying all these things. The Panasonic point and shoot is awesome but was stifling my love of photography for some reason. Now I often pack both cameras with me. I have a sense of which camera is better for which situation.


The main thing I’m always trying to do is blur the background because I think that looks really nice. I took several shots and the above one is my favorite.

Sunshine on flowers and palm trees

It’s a little cloudy today!! Wass’up? Fortunately, I took some pictures 2 days ago. We were walking to a neighbor’s house when I saw the sun shining on these bougainvillea and ran back to the house for la camera.


The palms looked so nice too. Had to get a shot.