Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lesson I learned from wearing an activity monitor

Garmin vivofit, Garmin app
Yeah, it is a picture of the Garmin Vivofit, my husband gave me for our anniversary earlier this year. Nope, I was not upset (well, I was but that was because I couldn't get the damn thing to talk to my iPad, but that is a long story) as I had been using a similar app on my mobile phone since I got my Samsung S5.
Problem with the phone app
The trouble with the mobile phone app was that it only recorded information while I was carrying it around with me. Being of the female persuasion, I do wear a skirt or a dress upon occasion, and then my phone might be laying on my desk while I walked around at work. Sure, when I wear jeans, it fits nicely in my pocket and away it went recording its little butt of. I like the bigger phone, but there is no way I am going to wear it around my neck. So pocket, or hand it had to be.
But with this band, I could now carry the monitor all the time and literally everywhere, even to bed. And that is where I got the most valuable information, my sleeping patterns.
That thing about sleeping
While the Garmin app allows you to program your sleeping times, it also detects it automatically from you activity levels. If I decide to take a nap in the middle of the day, I just push the button to tell it that I am sleeping, then it records it as such.
Now to the iPad. The app synchronises the monitor with a profile you create with your personal details such as sleep time, and your goal for the number of steps everyday. Thank goodness for the iPad's pin code thing, because I am not particularly in favour of someone finding out how much I weigh. Yep, state secret that thing!
As I mentioned my sleeping patterns provided a lot of insight.
With a blood sugar issue, I have been known to visit the bathroom at least twice every night, unless I drink a lot of coffee before bedtime, then that number could be higher.
Since I would be relatively awake for that activity, I can see that on the records from the monitor. So lots of coffee = bathroom visits at night = medium level of activity.
If I get to bed at my normal time, don't drink litres of coffee, and wasn't doing jumping Jacks before I got into bed, my sleeping pattern would be much the same. No activity interspersed with low level activity which I have to assume was when I was dreaming, or my husband turned over and the mattress moved a little.
What I did notice was that on good days, I would sleep exactly 5 hours and 45 minutes. Okay, it might vary with a minute or two, but that was it.
I learned something about me!
This past weekend, I slept in, and what a damn mistake that turned out to be. I am not a morning person, but I had realised a few years ago that if I sleep beyond a certain time, I would be in really bad mood for hours after waking up. It later dawned on me that it was not the time of waking up that was the problem, but the number of hours I slept.
This past Saturday, I put in 7 hours and 35 minutes. What a mistake not to set that alarm clock! I felt miserable, and I am sure my husband was glad that he had other obligations that kept him from home until lunch time. I turned back from witch to wife after lunch. Trust me, it wasn't the food, since a good breakfast had made no difference to my nasty disposition.

So I learned that not only was my writing time an important part of my schedule everyday, keeping to my sleeping routine turned out to be the best thing I could possibly do for myself.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Book feature: The Guitar Girl by Aniesha Brahma

About the Book:

Sixteen year old Rhea Shah never thought that she would find herself falling for her brother’s best friend, Joy Fernandez, when they come home from college. Because she never thought that the dork who used to go to school with them would suddenly reinvent himself in college.
The only people she’s able to talk to about her absurd crush, are her best friends, Sophie and Arjav. Both of whom at first encourage, and then almost blackmail, Rhea to confess her feelings, which leaves the poor girl more muddled than ever!
Plagued with upcoming Board Examinations along with her friends’ suggestions, Rhea finds it difficult to concentrate, because she’s fallen for Joy, hook, line and sinker. In an attempt to vent to her feelings, she begins a blog, where she publishes all her songs and poems, dedicated to Joy, keeping her identity a secret.
But things do not go quite how she planned when a certain blogger named J. Fern begins to read her blog, and wishes to work with her…
Will Rhea ever confess her feelings to Joy? And will Joy find out the real identity of The Guitar Girl?

Book Links:

Meet the Characters of The Guitar Girl

Rhea Shah: 16-year-old Rhea Shah develops a crush on her brother, Robbie's, best friend, Joy Fernandez. She adopts the alias The Guitar Girl in a misguided way to keep a hold on her feelings. Rhea cares about her two best friends, Sophie and Arjav, although the latter knows how to push her buttons. She is pretty awful at hiding her feelings.

Joy Fernandez: 18-year-old Joy is Rhea's brother's best friend, as well as Arjav's cousin. He takes on Rhea as his student, teaching her how to play the guitar, unaware that she harbours feelings for him. He can be pretty dense at times - refusing to see what is really happening right in front of his eyes. He dates a rather crazy girl in college, Rosetta, who later becomes Robbie's girlfriend.

Sophie Ghosh: Rhea's best friend in school, who discovers her secret at the beginning of the novel and keeps encouraging her to confess to Joy about it. Initially united with Rhea on the front by finding Arjav, she begins liking him more than a friend. Both she and Arjav believe in meddling with 'destiny'. 

Robbie Shah: Rhea's older brother who has no idea has his sister has fallen for his best friend. He is too preoccupied with his band and his girlfriend, Rosetta, who Joy had dated before him. 

Arjav: Rhea's oldest friend, who knows her secret and wants her to tell Joy as well. He and Sophie like each other and likes to meddle with 'Fate'. 

About the Author:
Aniesha Brahma has loved writing since the age of six. She was schooled in Dolna Day School, and then pursued BA honors in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, where she went on to complete her MA in the same. Currently, she’s pursuing MPhil in Comparative Literature from the same place. Her hobbies include reading, writing, playing with her favorite pet, Pippo the cat, (and other kittens too), traveling and blogging.She has written innumerable short stories and poems, most of which can be found on her blog and in various magazines and newsletters. Her debut novel was, The Secret Proposal, published by General Press in September 2012. She won the Editor’s Pick for Romance genre in the IndiReads Second Short Story Competition, and her story The Difference, was subsequently published in the anthology, Voices, Old & New. She has interned with www.womanistan.com and www.zapondo.com, as their content writer. She has volunteered at Hope Foundation, Kolkata, teaching the children who attend the Chetla Lock Gate Coaching Center. Aniesha also had a brief stint as a writer for the Kolkata-based travel magazine, Touriosity.

Contact the Author:





Saturday, 11 April 2015

Lesson Learned - from The Bride, Prejudice and the Red October

Why list this post as writing advice? Because I learned a valuable lesson this past Easter weekend. The lesson was an important one, but it took me two days of procrastination and time wasting to realise what an idiot I had been.

The backstory :) 
I was home alone. My husband, Francois, was away on a photographic excursion with some friends, and I thought here was my chance to write the 15 000 words I needed to get ahead in Camp NaNoWriMo for the week ahead. I do some freelance work and since they are deadline driven, I thought two birds with one stone! I get ahead while I have no other person's needs to worry about, and then I could focus on the freelance work and get those articles done on time. Yeah, right. My good intentions didn't go as planned.
I have my own office at home, and use an old computer (and I mean, really old) to play DVDs while I am writing. They are pure background noise, since I know the stories backwards! This computer is on a desk to my right, so I can only hear the soundtrack. If I want to watch, I have to move my chair 90 degrees, and then I cannot write.

The lesson :(
This past weekend, being alone and all, I relocated my writing laptop, my DVDs with my writing notes and pen, and coffee mug to the living room. I put on a DVD, the sound of the television is so much better than a computer after all, and settled in to write.
And then I didn't. I might write about a hundred words, but then I had to get up and walk around or make a cup of coffee or play with one of the dogs. I never seemed to be able to get going. It was a little better at night, but not much. For some silly reason I did this exact same thing for two days.
Then it hit me like fist to the forehead - I might have watched these movies to the point that I could actually recite the dialogue, of each character, and in order - it was the visuals that kept distracting me. What an idiot!
I relocated to my office, put the DVD in the drive of my old computer, let it play and wrote about 8000 words in one day.
I didn't make my 15 000 word count target for the weekend, but I learned a valuable lesson: I can tune out music and dialogue from the soundtracks to write, but I cannot tune out the visuals of these stories.
I am still ahead of my word count target, and have started working on the freelance articles, but now I have to juggle my available time with better planning and management.

Just goes to show you - even an old dog like me, can learn a new trick!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Book Feature & Giveaway: The Callaway Series by Barbara Frothy

About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This!
Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.

SCROLL to the bottom of this post to enter the $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Excerpt: On a Night Like This
Her father stared back at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. "Why are you here, Sara?"
"I wanted to be here for your birthday. It's been a long time since we've shared more than an email. We should talk, catch up with each other." 
"Why on earth would you want to talk to me?"
The confusion in his eyes made her realize just how far apart they'd drifted. "Because you're my father. You're my family. We're the only ones left." 
"Do you need money?"
"This isn't about money. Mom would not have wanted us to end up like strangers. We need to improve our relationship."
He stared back at her for a long moment, then said, "There's nothing left for you here, Sara. I wish you well, but we both need to move on. If you stay, it won't go well. We'll only disappoint each other."
Her chest tightened, the finality of his words bringing pain as well as anger. Her father was like a brick wall. She kept throwing herself at him, trying to break through his resistance, but all she ever achieved was a new batch of emotional bruises. 
"You're a grown woman now," he added. "You don't need a father."
"Not that I ever really had one," she countered, surprising herself a little with the words. She was used to holding her tongue when it came to her dad, because talking usually made things worse.
"I did my best."
"Did you?" 
A tickle caught at her throat and her eyes blurred with unwanted tears. She had not come here to cry. She sniffed, wondering why the air felt so thick. It took a minute to register that it was not her emotions that were making her eyes water, but smoke. 
The same awareness flashed in her father's eyes. "Damn," he swore. "The kitchen—I was cooking—"
He ran out of the room, and she followed him down the stairs, shocked by how thick the smoke was in the entry. 
She was on her dad's heels when he entered the kitchen. The scene was unbelievable. Flames shot two feet in the air off a sizzling pot on the stove. The fire had found more fuel in a stack of newspapers on the counter that had been left too close to the burner, those sparks leaping to the nearby curtains.
Her father grabbed a towel and tried to beat out some of the flames, but his efforts only seemed to make things worse. Embers flew everywhere, finding new places to burn, the heat growing more and more intense. Moving to the sink, she turned on the faucet and filled up a pitcher, but it was taking too long to get enough water. She threw some of it at the fire, but it made no difference.
"Move aside," her dad shouted, grabbing two hot pads.
"What are you doing?" she asked in confusion.
He tried to grab the pot and move it to the sink, but she was in the way, and he stumbled, dropping the pot in the garbage. She jumped back from an explosion of new fire. 
"We have to call 911," she said frantically. But there was no phone in the kitchen, and her cell phone was in her bag by the entry. "Let's get out of here." 
Her father was still trying to put out the fire, but he was getting nowhere. 
"Dad, please."
"Get out, Sara," he said forcefully, then ran into the adjacent laundry room. 
"Wait! Where are you going?" 
"I have to get something important," he yelled back at her. 
"Dad. We need to get out of the house." She coughed out the words, but she might as well have remained silent because her dad had vanished through the laundry room and down the back stairs to the basement. She couldn't imagine what he had to get. There was nothing but gardening tools and cleaning supplies down there. 
She started to follow him, then jumped back as the fire caught the wallpaper next to her head, sizzling and leaping towards her clothing. 
"Dad," she screamed. "We need to get out of the house."

About the Author
Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction.
Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.

Note from Linzé:  Keep an eye for my reviews on the series!

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Book Feature & Giveaway: The Accidental Wife by Simi K. Rao


About the Book:

From the author of Inconvenient Relations Simi K Rao!
If you enjoyed Inconvenient Relations, you'll love The Accidental Wife, a new contemporary romance from Simi K. Rao.
Some accidents are meant to happen…
Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his 'requirements'. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?

Book Links:

Goodreads I Amazon.in I Amazon.com



The Accidental Wife is now available on kindle for 99 cents Only! Go get it now as the offer is for a short period only !!

Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

“Another beer to calm the nerves?” A distant cousin who Rihaan had never the pleasure of meeting before, suggested with a knowing smirk.
This was followed by a loud burst of laughter. It was close to midnight, but the party had just begun at the usually serene Mehta abode in South Delhi. “Rihaan doesn’t need anything to cool him down. He’s going to be a full-on man tonight! Can’t afford to disappoint bhabhi, right?” This was promptly followed by another outburst of mirth.
Rihaan submitted to several friendly thumps on his back, returning them with the obligatory wry smile that could be interpreted any which way they desired. He didn’t care about their opinions.
It was true, he hadn’t let a single drop of alcohol pass through his lips. Not because he was anxious to perform well on his wedding night and impress his new wife. On the contrary, he wanted to keep all his faculties intact so he could confirm the suspicion that had been gnawing at his brain ever since the wedding ceremony. And with each moment that passed, his unease had grown steadily.
Unable to bide his time any longer, he stood up and went toward his room paying no heed to the numerous whistles and catcalls that followed in his wake.
Thrusting the door wide open he strode toward the marital bed. It was bare except for his bride’s wedding finery that lay in a neat pile in one corner. His heart now thudding at a frantic pace inside his chest, he scanned the vicinity, fervently hoping his concerns were for nothing.
He approached the wide open balcony door, and his pulse slowed down slightly. Perhaps he’d just been imagining it all?
A girl stood there leaning against the railing, her face upturned toward the full moon. On hearing him approach, she turned around. “Finally! I’ve been waiting like forever!”
He frowned, straining to decipher her features obscured by deep shadow. “Deepika?”
“Naa…, not Deepika.” She stepped forward into the light, a bright smile illuminating her strikingly graceful features.
His heart sank. Not Deepika.
“I am Naina—the girl you married. Goodbye, Rihaan.”

About the Author:

Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in both northern and southern India before relocating to the U.S., where she has lived for several years. She is the author of multicultural contemporary romantic fiction.
The inspiration for her books and other creative projects comes from her own experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles and familial relationships, as well as stories and anecdotes collected from friends, family and acquaintances.
Rao enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian-American women face in real life.
Much of Rao's down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction, poetry and photography. She is an avid traveler and has visited many locations around the world.
A practicing physician, Rao lives in Denver with her family. Her published works include Inconvenient Relations and The Accidental Wife. She is currently at work on her next release.

Contact the Author:

Website I Blog I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads

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