Monthly Archives December 2011

Comfort Zones

(Excerpted from The Path, by Michelle Devon, Copyright 2006)

A comfort zone is that place you find yourself when you know what to expect, and you are comfortable there, even if you are not in a good place.

Looking back over my life, I have never felt more alive than when I force myself to step outside of my comfort zones. It can be exhilarating, exciting, and sometimes even life altering to step outside of that which is comfortable and explore the realm of possibilities.

I realize in the past that one of the reasons I’ve stayed firmly inside my comfort zones, even and especially the ones that were not healthy for me emotionally and physically, is because of two little words: trust and faith.

In order to step outside of your comfort zones, you have to have trust—trust in yourself, trust in ...

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Babbling

Well, it’s been about a month since I got out of the hospital this last time. The first time I was in the hospital, they probably let me go home too soon, and the second time, I felt they I needed out of there faster than they let me go. I had a minor surgery the second time, I was overall feeling much better and was more than ready to leave. I still have shadows of bruises from the first hospital stay and still have very purple dark bruises from the most recent one on my arm.

The other day, Lynn was pulled over for speeding. The cop asked if there were any reasons why we were going so fast, in such a hurry. Said, “Nope, just running late for a doctor’s appointment.” Made some comment about the bruises and how I was just waiting for them to poke me. Then there was a joke about Lynn beating me up and leaving bruises on me. The cop laughed out loud and said, “You know,” pointing to the mic on his shoulder strap, “that was all just recorded and the folks downtown can hear it…”

His eyes were sparkling and he was joking with us. You know, cops don’t always LIKE to give tickets. Not his fault Lynn was speeding, right? He was super nice though. I said very loudly, “No, she really didn’t beat me. Promise. I… I… uhm, ran into a wall, yeah, that’s it!”

He laughed again, and I figure someone downtown was laughing at some point if they listened to ...

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Broken & Beautiful

I heard a wise man say once that we should only keep those things in our life that are either useful or beautiful. Everything that is not useful or beautiful, we should toss out and not carry it with us.

Once I held something beautiful in my hands. I could turn it around, look at it, and from every angle, I saw the beauty. It was obvious beauty, something anyone could see at a glance.

One day, something happened and this beautiful item broke.

I was sad when it broke—hurt and angry that it broke, and I cried when I looked upon the damage that had been done to what was once so beautiful. While I could still see the glimmers of the beauty that was once there, it was no longer whole, and therefore, no longer the thing of beauty it was once.

Yet, I could not bring myself to throw it out, because I could recall, remember with startling clarity, the beauty that was once there.

So I keep it, though broken as it is, knowing it is no longer beautiful or useful to me, and I use it to remind myself of the beauty that was once. Some days the reminder makes me smile at the memory, and other days, the reminder makes me sad all over again for the knowing that it is no longer beautiful.

In keeping this broken memory, I find that this once-beautiful thing now sits on a shelf beside other things that are not broken, things that are still beautiful, still whole.

When people visit me, they do not see the beautiful things.

No, in fact, they always ask me, “What is this one doing here? It’s broken.”

Eventually, they ...

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Author Interview with Rhetta Akamatsu

Short Author Bio for Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an online journalist and author with a wide range of interests. My books cover the paranormal, a lesser-known part of Irish history, and blues music, and I also have smaller books about children’s crafts and Christmas traditions! Online I write about Atlanta blues music, Atlanta steampunk, and Atlanta Historic Places and I write about business and technology news for Gather.com. I live in Metro Atlanta in Marietta, GA, the subject of my book, Haunted Marietta, with my husband and my cat, near my grown children and 4, soon to be five, grandchildren.

~~~Author Interview with Rhetta Akamatsu~~~

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living...
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Author Interview with Donald Jacques

Donald Jacques was born in 1957, as an air force brat. He has lived in ten states over the years enjoying 8 kids, 6 grand kids. Don spent fifteen years as a computer programmer, worked as a teacher, a pro dance instructor, security guard, and commercial handyman. The HandyMan is his third book.

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Donald Jacques: I currently work as a commercial handyman. I repair, or perform preventive maintenance on plumbing fixtures, lighting, and wall repairs. In the past, I spent 15 years as a computer programmer, 10 years instruction in classrooms and corporate training, even did a few years as a ballroom dance instructor.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Donald Jacques: I was ...

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Book Review: NO STORY TO TELL, by KJ Steele

The first chapter of this book starts out strong, pulling me in to a story that this woman, Victoria, has to tell, her story. A story of a child born prematurely and not expected to live, who then defied all odds and survived, only to grow up and lead a disappointing life, devoid of any accomplishments, dreams, or anything that sets her apart from anyone else in small-town America. She married out of perceived necessity a man she didn’t truly love and who obviously doesn’t truly love her. Their relationship is comfortable in a sense, if not strained.

Then one day, she meets a man, an artist, who leads a very different existence than most of the folks she’s known her whole life. Victoria finds herself not only drawn to this man in a strange sort of way, but she also finds herself questioning her own life, her choices and her existence. He awakens old dreams in her of dancing and owning her own dance studio, things she gave up along the way to become a dutiful wife, and she never thought she’d entertain those ideas again.

As their relationship p...

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Book Review: ANYTHING, by Michael Baron

I read Baron’s first book, WHEN YOU WENT AWAY, and I was blown away by the story. Here was a great tale, with a male protagonist, told in first person, two rare things. It wasn’t a romance novel, but had romance in it. It wasn’t a chick-lit novel, but it had a lightness and humor to it. It wasn’t women’s fiction, but it had some depth and powerful moments. I was pleased to find a new author I hoped to follow. Then I read CROSSING THE BRIDGE, also by Baron, and I wondered if this author had used up all his best writing skill in his first novel. This story, while it showed some spark of potential, wound on way too long, detailing too much mundane detail in the daily life of the protagonist, and the romance aspect of this story was weak.

But boy did Baron redeem himself with SPINNING. I absolutely loved SPINNING and consider it one of the best books I’ve read recently. So when I picked up ANYTHING, by Michael Baron, I was hoping for another story that was at least as good as WHEN YOU WENT AWAY and hopefully as good as SPINNING. What I got was something somewhere in between the two: a good, solid story that was fun to read and compelling, but not as deep or rich as either of the other books.

ANYTHING, by Michael Baron – Plot Summary

ANYTHING starts with the protagonist coup...

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Michy’s Hot White Chocolate Recipe – Yummy!

If you’ve never used a double boiler, it’s really easy to do, but it’s not necessary for this recipe. I just like to use the double boiler because the chocolate melts so much easier that way and you don’t have to worry as much about it burning on the bottom of the pan. A makeshift double boiler is simply taking one pan and filling it with water, putting it on the stove, and then placing another pan–the one you want to put the chocolate in–inside the water of the first pan. The water steams and gets hot and keeps the temperature consistent. We have a glass Pyrex double boiler set that I use for this, and it works beautifully.

So tonight, I taught the kids to make hot white chocolate cocoa from scratch, and I’m going to share my recipe with you! If you’ve ever had a vanilla bean steamer from Starbucks, this is similar in flavor, but with white chocolate added to it. It’s very yummy!

Michy’s Hot White Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cu...
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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

When I was a child, we were always allowed to open one present on Christmas eve. We weren’t allowed to choose which one–no, no–that was for our parents to choose. My sister and I both knew they wouldn’t give us the best gifts early, but we would wait, every year, with eager anticipation, hoping to get a nice gift, a fun gift, a useful gift… on Christmas eve.

Almost every year (with the exception of one, which I’ll talk about later), we got underwear on Christmas eve.

Yes, little girl panties.

one year, I got underwear with the days of the week on them. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There were no Sunday undies. Just six pairs of girly panties with the days of the week on them...

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Donna Anastasi Guest Blog: Are Gerbils Lucky?

Michy’s Book Reviews is pleased to invite Donna Anastasi, author of SPIN THE PLATE, to offer a guest blog post on our site. Welcome, Donna, and thank you for your post! Enjoy! Be sure to leave Donna Anastasi a comment!

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There are a couple of phrases that give me a back of the neck prickle and skin crawling annoyance: “play hard” and “serious hobby”. Don’t get me wrong. This country and the people in it would be much better off if adults took the time to play. But once it becomes “hard” or “serious,” you might as well head back into the cubical and get paid for it. I have an obscure hobby that started this time of year 12 years ago...

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