I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about my struggles with Diet Coke here on this blog. I know I have on my Facebook page. I’ve tried to quit so many times, but for one reason or another I never quite made the commitment. Well, I’m happy to report that I have not had a diet soda of any variety since September 2nd. In fact I haven’t had any artificial sweeteners since then.
While I’m very happy and proud of my accomplishment with this, something about it all has really surprised the hell out of me. I knew I had physical addictions to the chemicals in diet coke. Day 3 of my detox (as I fondly call it) I felt so badly I thought I might be physically sick. It was awful, I shook, I was all jittery and cranky. But I had expected it. Things got better after that. Eventually the shakes went away and my headaches disappeared (well the soda-related headaches). But I never realized how emotionally addicted I was to those little cans of bubbly delight.
Most days I do okay, but some days I want one so badly I literally could rip them out of some poor unsuspecting soul’s hand. I’ve even cried – that’s embarrassing to admit, I realize it’s just a beverage. But I miss them. For so long, my diet sodas were my constant companion. I mean I was drinking a lot of them, like upwards of 50-80 ounces a day. Yes, you read that right. But I’ve seriously mourned the demise of diet coke and diet big red and any other variety I would have.
It still seems weird to me to acknowledge this. It’s crazy to think that something so trivial could be so emotionally important to me, but there you have it.
So how about you? Have you ever had something like this that completely took you by surprise? Ever given up something that was really difficult to let go of?
This time of year always feels like a mad rush, doesn’t it? So with the holidays almost upon us, the Jaunty Quills want to play Santa and give our readers a little incentive to take a break—with books, of course! Each day from December 15th until Christmas Eve we’ll be posting one particular kind of holiday cookie on our facebook page, a favorite of one of the Jaunty Quills. Just match the Quill to the cookie and post her name in the comment thread for a chance to win one of that author’s books (don’t worry—we’ll be giving you hints).
In addition to the daily wins, we’ll be awarding a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card on December 25th! All you have to do to win books is visit our facebook page and answer the daily question. The grand prize will be drawn from the entrants on the daily posts.
We’ll also be posting some of our favorite cookie recipes for the holidays, and we encourage you to share your favorites on our facebook page, too.
But hold those cookie recipes for the contest! For now, just tell us what you’re most looking forward to this holiday season.
Today we have a super special guest blogger. She’s a debut author and her first book just came out last month. But the coolest part is that she’s my mom! Being a writer and having a mom who is also a writer is pretty stinking cool. It’s an excellent thing to have in common with my mom and also she’s just a pretty cool gal. So without further ado, I give you Hattie Mae.
Thank you for having me. When Robyn asked if I would blog with you, I wondered what would I talk about. What’s has been on my mind is about my first book that came out in July, Under The Sassafras. I have been so excited and, I must say, proud of myself. Yet at the same time, it’s left me wondering, how? How could I put myself out there at my age? Thus my blog.
I would like to ask you what woman or women influenced you through life? Now I’m not trying to leave out the men. I myself have had strong men in my life who have helped make me who I am. My husband of 52 years for one, he’s currently sitting and reading my second book. But my mind kept going back to three women in my past that I really credit to who all played significant roles in the Hattie Mae who is here today.
My Mom would have to be the first. She married young and had me in her teens. You can say we grew up together. We were best friends that laughed, and cried together. She was a tiny woman full of sass and vinegar. She had dancing feet, a sharp tongue and laughter came easy to her. I think of her and miss her daily.
Lesson: She taught me that something worth doing is worth doing right. So I wrote a book. And then I wrote three more.
The next would be, her mother, my grandmother. She broke her wrist at the age of 70. She was riding a horse and bent over to pick up her beloved pipe that she’d dropped.
Lesson: She taught me that you are never too old to do what you love. So at the age of 70 my first book was published.
My other grandmother, she was a little Cajun woman who could hardly speak English–Cajun French was her first language. She knew her numbers but could not read or write. But she had tenacity. She made her own phone book with pictures she drew that represented the person with their phone number on the same line. She traveled across country by bus—changing in cities she didn’t know, to be at her ailing son’s bedside. When asked how she knew which bus to change to get where she was going, she simple replied—“I followed my suitcase.”
Lesson: She taught me that there is no job so hard that you can’t find a way to complete that task. So I simply follow my suitcase and write another book.
I know that I am who I am is not merely the influence of just these three remarkable women, but numerous others. My husband, my daughters, my son, and all six of my grandchildren, real friends, and even strangers I meet along the way.
What about you? Anyone come to mind?
Award-winning author, Hattie Mae was born and bred southern, cutting her teeth on cornbread and greens and running barefoot through the canals of her small Louisiana town. So when it came to writing, there was no question as to where to set her books. She’s now writing her fourth book set in Bon Amie, a busy little town nestled in the heart of Cajun country. She’s also published a short story in The Cup Of Comfort For Teachers. The love of books and writing runs in her family, Hattie’s daughter is award-winning historical romance author, Robyn DeHart.
When not writing you can usually find her playing with her grandchildren or cooking up some healthy versions of tasty southern fare. She lives in central Texas with her husband and one crazy cat. You can find out more about her and her small town romances on her website.
Nestled between the Atchafalaya Basin and Sugar Island lies Bon Amie, a friendly, quiet town, where nothing exciting ever happens. Until Joelette Benoit’s two sons find a man washed up in the murky water at the edge of the swamp.
Joelette Benoit, a widowed single mother, has sworn to never believe the promises of another sweet talking man. Fiercely independent and determined, she’s hidden away her heart, while struggling to provide for her two sons and lively mother-in-law. She swears the stranger will stay one night, and one night only, until she discovers he has no memory. Now duty-bound to aid him, Joelette decides to offer him a place to heal in exchange for his labor.
Against the colorful backdrop of life on the bayou, she watches as he immerses himself not only in her family but also in her town. She can do little to prevent her sons from bonding with the only man they’ve come to trust since the death of their father. Though she, too, is drawn to his kindness and vulnerability, she will not risk the heart of her family because without a past, this man cannot promise a future. But when his memory returns and he realizes he has blood on his hands, he knows he has unfinished business to attend to before he can claim the family he has grown to love.
Contrary to scurrilous rumors circulating around the internet (I’m looking at you, Jaunty), I can assure you that the JQs in attendance at the Romance Writers of America conference are hard at work. With workshops and meetings to attend, not to mention the very serious business of networking–okay, some of that does take place in the bar–it’ll be a miracle if we’re not all worn to the bone by the end of the conference.
So in order to keep ourselves in top trim, the JQs decided to start the day off right with a healthy breakfast.
Here are Jesse and Mia before their first cup of coffee.
Yeah, things were looking a little grim for a moment there. But then Mia’s sausages arrived.
Unfortunately, on the other side of the table, the caffeine had not yet kicked in for Kristan and Shana.
If the photo looks a little murky, it’s because I was so shocked by what I was seeing that I almost dropped my phone. Fortunately, Robyn calmly took charge and got everyone sorted out.
In fact, after several cups of coffee and lots of protein, we were able to get ourselves organized for this:
Well, you know what they say–breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for hungry Quills!
How do you start your day? Do you drag yourself out of bed, growling at the world until you get that first cup of coffee? Or do you leap up, ready and raring to go?
My guest today is author Jennifer Bernard, who writes for Avon and Avon Impulse, and she’s got a sizzling Fireman series going on these days. Here’s the blurb to her latest book…
But GREAT news for firefighter Sabina Jones…maybe.
The toughest captain on the East Coast, single father Rick Roman has come thousands of miles to San Gabriel to put an end to the “Bachelor Firemen” media hype. But when a stunning woman he nearly hooked up with in Reno turns out to be a firefighter from his new station, Roman realizes it’s going to be tough keeping the tabloids at bay.
But there’s even more Sabina isn’t telling him. Before dedicating her life to battling blazes, Sabina led a very different life, one that made her famous. The last thing she wants is to have her secret exposed. The papers, bloggers, and TV gossips will have a field day with that—especially when they sense the obvious sexual heat between Sabina and Chief Roman, who’s torn between firing her…and falling in love with her!
Thanks so much to the Jaunties for inviting me to Bring a Friend Friday! My topic today is very close to my heart: Men Who Cook. On our first date, my future-husband cooked for me. He brought over a salmon he had caught that very day and cleaned it in the backyard. Then he covered the filets with a crust of pine nuts, salt and oregano and fried them in olive oil.
Is it any surprise I was a goner?
But if I thought I was in for a lovely life of delicious meals cooked nightly for me by my wonderful new husband, I was a little off. I do most of the
cooking, though he still handles the salmon. I’m not complaining, just explaining why the hero of my latest book, SEX AND THE SINGLE FIREMAN, loves to cook. If I can’t live it, I’ll write about it! Rick Roman is a big, tall, strong, powerful, commanding alpha-type Battalion Chief from Brooklyn, New York, and he knows his way around a veal piccatta. Is it a stretch to think he knows his way around other activities pleasing to the senses? Absolutely not.
Is it a stretch that a fire chief would be an expert cook? Definitely not! Firefighters rotate cooking duties at the firehouse. The meals I’ve eaten at firehouses aren’t always high-end gourmet, but they’re tasty and filling and usually cooked from scratch. When researching this book, I hunted around online and found some fantastic firehouse cookbooks. These guys really know what they’re talking about! They’re used to cooking for big groups and satisfying the appetites of active men and women. And when the cookbook cover looks like this, how can you complain?
Scanning the various cookbooks, firefighters like meat, they like things spicy, they like primal pleasures like Buffalo wings and pecan pie. But that’s not always the case. A firefighter in Austin, Texas put his entire firehouse on a vegan weight-loss, health-improvement plan and wrote a book about it. The Engine 2 diet would please the most demanding health nut.
But my hero, Chief Roman, is no health nut. He’s more of a sensualist — a lover of Greek olives, a seeker of fresh-baked baguettes, a passionate advocate of the arrabbiata sauce. A single father, he does all the cooking for his thirteen-year old son. He eventually wins the heart of Sabina Jones with, among other things, mushrooms sautéed in butter, folded into a perfect omelet, accompanied by Italian roast coffee and actual cream.
In fact – and I just realized this – in each of the books in the Bachelor Fireman of San Gabriel series so far, the hero at some point cooks a meal for
the heroine. So is there a little wish fulfillment going on here? Do I miss the magic of that first date with my husband? Okay, maybe a little, but the truth is, there’s nothing sexier to me than a guy who knows his way around a kitchen. A big, strong guy bending over a sauté pan on a hot stove? A hunky man presenting you with a delicious dish he concocted just for you?
Now that’s hot.
So… does your significant other like to cook? What’s his specialty? Leave me a comment and I’ll enter you to win a copy of HOT FOR FIREMAN (book 2), in which Ryan Blake cooks his special Thai Chicken Curry dish!
And if that’s not enough… How would you like a fireman from your hometown to appear in the next fireman book, HOW TO TAME A WILD FIREMAN? All you have to do is like my Facebook page or sign up for my newsletter to enter.