Monday, September 30, 2013

Run Forrest, Run!

My son is a freshman in high school.  It is a public school in our area but all in all, it offers a good education.  This is the first year, that I know of, that kids in our school district are required to do community service in order to graduate.  They must have a minimum of 20 hours by their senior year or they can't walk the stage.  Of course since my son has to have a minimum of 20 hours to graduate, that means mommy must also have a minimum of 20 hours for him to graduate. 

This past weekend was the first of our volunteer efforts together.  We volunteered to work at the Akron Marathon at a fluid station passing out water and power aid to the runners.  We were positioned at the 25 mile marker and the race is 26.2 miles so by the time they got to us, they were tired, hurting, sweaty, sore, delirous and thirsty. 

But I must say, when the first two gentlemen came past us, I got goose bumps.  They ran 26.2 miles in just over two hours.  I can't even begin to imagine.  And they didn't stop for water, they just kept running, not tired in the very least, like it was just another day at the office.  Not an ounce of fat on these guys.  They were truly inspiring.

We were told 115,000 people were running the race.  The youngest were two 10-year-olds and the oldest was 89.  I didn't see the 10-year-olds come by for water but I did see the older gentleman.  Here is a picture of our water station after we had set up waiting for the runners to come by.  At one point, before they closed the road, a semi whizzed by and several of our cups blew into the street. 

It is a great feeling when a runner grabs that cup of water from your hand.  Some drink it.  Some splash it on their face.  Some dump it on their front or on their back.  Whatever they need it for is fine with me, but it's still a wonderful feeling. 

I can't wait for next year!

Have a great Monday!

R. K. Avery

Friday, September 27, 2013

Money Woes

I know I've posted before about my dogs but they are such a huge part of my life, I'd like to post again.

Two weeks ago I took our oldest dog, Boo, to the vet for her annual visit.  Boo is 10 years old.  The vet, whom I adore, did not like the way her eyes looked.  She has had eye trouble for quite sometime.  Dry eyes.  One of them rarely blinks.  Lots of crusty residue around her eyes.  Add to it that she is in the beginning stages of cataracts and also has vertigo so when she has a flare up (which hasn't happened for two years - thank the good Lord), her eyes can't focus and they constantly shake.  But the vet thought there might be another issue further back behind her eyes so he wanted us to take her to a specialist.  The minute I hear the word "specialist" all I see is $$$$$$$.

Last night I took our youngest dog, Mali, for her annual visit.  Mali is 8 years old and has been limping now for about a month.  We kept thinking she pulled a muscle and just needed to rest it and she would start using it again.  When it didn't seem like this was the case, it was time to take her in.  Turns out she has a torn ACL.  It is on her back leg.  Again, he recommended we take her to a specialist ($$$$$$$$) and the only thing that will correct it is surgery.  The vet also said dogs can live a perfectly normal life with only three legs.  His only concern is she is a tad bit overweight and if something were to happen to her other back leg, two legged dogs don't fare so well. 

I only have one dog left, our middle man, Sully.  Sully is 9 years old.  He needs to go for his annual visit but it terrifies me.  I wonder what is wrong with him and what type of specialist will he need? 

I love these dogs like they are my children.  But the question is, when do you say enough is enough and you shouldn't just keep putting money into an older dog?  The annual visit alone is over $120.  We have three dogs so that's over $350 a year IF nothing is wrong.   I'm not trying to lessen their importance by putting a dollar sign on their health and their life but I'm torn as to what we should do. 

Woof!  Woof!  (That's dog talk for buy my mommy's books so she can afford the surgery to fix me : ) )

Much love,
R. K. Avery

Thursday, September 26, 2013

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Ahhhh twitter.  I am on a quest to increase my twitter followers.  I started out the beginning of August at 9 followers.  Pathetic I know.  But because of the big book blast that happened in August, I ended the month at 102.  Not knowing much about twitter, I guess when someone follows you, you are supposed to follow them back.  Since I didn't do this, a couple dropped off and I was down to the double digits once again.

My daughter decided to get involved and we even worked out a verbal contract where she has the potential to make money when my followers get to a certain point.  The more followers I get, the more she can earn because the amount per follower goes up at certain levels.  So now her and I are both working diligently trying to get R. K. Avery more followers.  As of the writing of this post, I am up to 265 followers which is phenomenal.

I have also been following people on my own; fellow authors, publishers, publicists, and others that are in my field, or close to my field.  I figure it certainly can't hurt anything.

It's funny about twitter.  When you think of all these people you don't even know following you, it's a bit creepy.  Who came up with the word follow?  And how often do you post on twitter?  I follow some people who seem to post every few minutes:  On my way to the bathroom -- Now watching TV -- Making lunch --  Lunch was good -- What should I make for dinner? -- Can you eat chicken that expired yesterday?  I am not like that and never will be.

If you are not following me, please do, and I promise to follow you back.  @RKAvery1

Now what is instagram?

R. K. Avery

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oxymorons Rock!

I forgot to post a diet update yesterday.  I was so excited about the turkey chili, it just slipped my mind :)  Anyway, I was down another 2 pounds for a total of 8.5 pounds.  Woot woot!

As a writer, I am always thinking about words.  Words that are different that mean the same thing.  Words that you can use to make yourself sound educated and sophisticated.  Then I started thinking about oxymorons.  Words that are shoved together, and are perfectly acceptable, yet they have completely opposite meanings. 

Here is one in a sentence:  It left a pretty ugly scar across his neck.  Is the scar pretty or is it ugly?  It can't be both yet when you read the sentence, it makes perfect sense. 

Here's another one:  Last night we went out to eat and I ordered the jumbo shrimp. Really?  Were they jumbo or were they shrimp?  Last time I checked, shrimp was another word for tiny.

How about this:  Just act naturally.  If you are acting naturally, you aren't acting and if you are acting, you aren't natural. 

The English language just blows my mind.  It's no wonder people have such a hard time with it. 

Here's a list of several more.  You can make your own sentences :)

open secret
found missing
deafening silence
minor crisis
exact estimate
seriously funny
tragic comedy
same difference
only choice
clearly confused
freezer burn
rolling stop

May you have a wonderful day and I hope it's almost exactly what you wish for.

R. K. Avery

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Turkey Chili With A Tang

Autumn is a wonderful time to cook, bake, stew, anything that makes your house smell wonderful.  Throw some ingredients into a pot and make some homemade soup.  So good for you and knowing soup is simmering on the stove gives you something to look forward to.

This past weekend my husband made a batch of his famous Turkey Chili With A Tang.  I am not a red meat eater so anytime you can replace an ingredient with turkey or chicken, I am all for it.  The house smelled fabulous and he made enough that I can have it for lunch several times this week.  One thing I like about his chili is it is not really chunky.  I like my chili like soup, some chunks but also some of that chili flavored broth so the crackers have something to soak up.  Yum, yum!

But it is hot!  Oh my goodness my nose was running while I tried to eat it.  To cut down on the hotness, you can put some grated mozzarella cheese in or a spoon full of sour cream.  Of course since I am dieting, I did neither but I did eat 17 pint sized crackers (yes I counted them - 17 is one serving).  I also ate mine with a dash of yellow mustard from the bottle (the same kind you put on hot dogs) and some raw onion on the side.  The raw onion was from our garden so it was hot as well.  I just like mine hot and spicy. 

Anyway, for those of you who like to cook, here is the recipe.  I know it looks like a lot of ingredients but it makes so much so it's well worth it.   Make sure you use a big pot!

Turkey Chili with a Tang

4 tablespoons canola oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 jalapeno peppers, minced (remove the seeds for less heat)
9 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small red onions, diced
3 pounds of coarsely ground turkey
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 29 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 16 oz cans pinto beans with liquid
2 30 oz cans kidney beans with liquid
2 16 oz cans black beans with liquid

Warm the oil in a large pot over high heat.  Add the bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic and onions.  Cook until caramelized, about 8 minutes.  Add the turkey and gently stir, trying not to break up the meat too much.  Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and sauce.  Stir for 4 minutes then add the chicken broth.  Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper.  Stir in the beans and their liquid, lower the heat and cook, uncovered, for at least 1 hour. 

Prep time – 30 minutes
Cook time – 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 10 – 15 people

If you make it, drop me a note and let me know how you liked it.

Bon appetit!

R. K. Avery

Monday, September 23, 2013

Art in the Village Show

It was time for the annual Art in the Village show at Legacy Village over the weekend and my daughter talked me into going.  We went for the first time about 6 years ago and had a blast.  On that day I remember it being so hot outside, I thought we all suffered from heatstroke.  This year, it was a bit on the chilly side, temps in the 60's, which was more manageable and even allowed for a pit stop at Starbucks to get a hot beverage. 

More than 150 artists come in from all over the country to display their paintings, jewelry, sculptures, ceramics and much more.  There were even a couple of food vendors this year, all of the restaurants represented are located at Legacy Village in case you wanted to pay them a visit after you finished perusing the beautiful art.  There was even a stand selling homemade Kettle Corn and boy did it smell wonderful as it popped. 

Some of the items are a bit pricey, as you can imagine, but also imagine the amount of time it takes to create a one of a kind sculpture or to paint a breathtaking picture.  My favorite is always the wall art, made out of metal or some other industrial fabric woven and shaped into something beautiful.  I went with the intention of "looking" but having started a collection of hand painted wine glasses several years back, I couldn't resist the booth with glasses painted so perfect, I had to take one home with me.

The location for this first class art affair is perfect with all the upscale stores and beautiful streets and decorations.  There was also a live band playing and they were really good.  It was great to spend the day perusing beautiful artwork, taking in the sights and smells and enjoying the day with my daughter and her fiance. 

Mark your calendar and plan to visit next year.

R. K. Avery

Friday, September 20, 2013

Low Calorie Food Doesn't Have to be Bland

I have not done this before so please bear with me as I tread unknown waters but I would like to devote today's post to a product review.

If you have been following my posts, you know I am on a diet.  When I diet I usually eat some type of Lean Cuisine meal for lunch.  I have tried several and to me, the red sauces were missing an important ingredient (like taste for instance) and the ones that had some type of meat, the meat looked like a mystery meat and more often than not made me gag.  So, after I wrote off almost all of them my favorite turned out to be macaroni and cheese.  I like to put it in the microwave for just a little longer than I should so the edges are burnt and crispy.  But now, I have a new favorite, or should I say favorites!

I have not been contacted by Stouffer's to eat or comment on their food so this is completely my doing and an honest unbiased opinion.  That being said, I love their new line of spring rolls.  I have tried three of the four; fajita style chicken spring rolls, thai-style chicken spring rolls and the one pictured above, garlic chicken spring rolls.  The only one I haven't tried is the sesame ginger chicken spring rolls and that's only because my husband didn't buy them when he went grocery shopping.

This are absolutely, hands down, the best I have had from Lean Cuisine.  I actually dip mine in a little chipotle salad dressing and I feel like I'm splurging and eating something fattening.  The ingredients are wholesome and good for you, the chicken tastes like chicken and they only have 200 calories for three even though the package comes with six in it.  So if you eat the whole thing, it's only 400 delicious calories!  Even my fifteen year old son loves them.

So, if you are looking for something that will awaken your taste buds without putting extra inches on your waistline, check these out.  You will be glad you did!

Here's to healthy eating.

R. K. Avery

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Crazy Like a Full Moon Fox

When I was driving into work, I noticed a beautiful full moon up in the sky.  It looked so large, I felt like I could reach up and touch it. 

In case you didn't know, the moon is the closest heavenly body to earth but the full moon that came this past year on June 23, 2013 was termed the SuperMoon.  The name SuperMoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and is defined as:
...a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth.
This led me to wonder why the world, in general, seems a little bit crazier during the time of a full moon.  Studies have been done and there is no concrete correlation between the full moon and the way people, and animals, act but sometimes, the evidence speaks for itself.  After all, the word lunatic is derived from luna which is the Latin name for the word moon.   During my research, I came across a few things that are worth noting:
  • Emergency room visits and traffic accidents are increased during a full moon.
  • More crimes are committed during a full moon.
  • People are more active during a full moon.  The reasoning here is that the moon, which affects the ocean's tides, may have the same effect on humans as our bodies are made mostly of water.
  • A Florida expert on animal behavior reported hamsters ran on their wheel far more aggressively during a full moon.
  • Charles Hyde, a London man, went on a rampage and committed crimes at the time of a full moon.  He was the inspiration to Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.
Regardless if it's fact or fiction, people do seem to act a little crazier during a full moon.  Or maybe they are crazy all the time and we just blame it on the moon.

Have a crazy day!

R. K. Avery

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

This one is for my daughter.  When I wrote a month or so ago that I was going to post about old sayings and where they came from, my daughter made a request.  She wanted me to find out where the saying "liar, liar, pants on fire" originated.
As is the case with most of these sayings, the background and how it started is obscure but the consensus on the Internet seems to all come back to a poem allegedly written by English writer William Blake.  I use the word allegedly because the jury is still out on that one. 

The Liar

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Shall they dangle in the night?

When I asked of your career
Why did you have to kick my rear
With that stinking lie of thine
Proclaiming that you owned a mine?

When you asked to borrow my stallion
To visit a nearby-moored galleon
How could I ever know that you
Intended only to turn him into glue?

What red devil of mendacity
Grips your soul with such tenacity?
Will one you cruelly shower with lies
Put a pistol ball between your eyes?

What infernal serpent
Has lent you his forked tongue?
From what pit of foul deceit
Are all these whoppers sprung?

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Do they dangle in the night?

The next part of the saying that we don't commonly use or hear is "Liar, liar, pants on fire, hang them up on a telephone wire."  During my research I also found this, "Liar, liar, pants on fire, nose as long as a telephone wire."  I would imagine that references Pinocchio.

Today it is just a saying kids scream at each other on the playground when they think someone is being less than honest.  I must admit, I still say it from time to time to my own kids.  It's one of those rhymes that stands the test of time and still gets your point across.

I found this on another site:  "I don't care, I don't care, I can buy another pair!"

Who knew?

R. K. Avery

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weekend Update

I was under the weather yesterday and didn't get a chance to post to my blog but I'm back today.

First, the diet update.  I lost another 1.5 pounds so I am down a total of 6.5 now since starting on September 3rd.  It's funny how excited I am to weigh in when I know I've been good. 

Now, an update on the Celebration of the Arts, Weekend of the Pooka.  It was awesome!  I just love this event.  Saturday was a little chilly but we did okay.  When first got there we had the sun to our backs so that helped.  Thanks to my daughter, her fiance and their friends for coming out to support me.  My friend Barb and her husband Rich stopped by and we went to dinner afterwards.  So many people stopped by to meet me and grab a bookmark.  These events are priceless on the amount of contacts you make.  Here is a picture of us (excuse the finger) with Cleveland weatherman, Dick Goddard.  He is quite a character.

Sunday the weather was better but sadly the crowd was not.  But we still had fun.  Dan Coughlin, Cleveland sports anchor, was there.  He is very funny.  Here's a picture of Dan and I.  He was really excited to meet me.  Can you tell?

Special thanks to my husband who is my "roadie".  He carries all my stuff and makes sure I have a comfy chair to sit in.  He runs and gets me beverages and fills in for me when I need to use the restroom.  He's also my banker and handles all the money transactions.  Don't know what I would do without him.

Have a great day and keep reading!

R. K. Avery

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's Autumn!

I knew it would come.  You wake up one morning and it's Memorial Day.  The promise of summer lays ahead.  Then ~blink~ and it's Labor Day, the great summer memories behind us.  Then a few days later the temperature drops and the air just feels fall.   

Autumn is upon us, when the leaves change to beautiful hues of gold, red and yellow.  When the last one drops from the trees, the snow comes to blanket everything in a layer of white. 

I have to admit, autumn and winter are my favorite seasons.  I love the colors of autumn.  I love going into stores and seeing the flower arrangements, gourds and Halloween decorations.  The scarecrows on sticks and the jack-o-lanterns; how can they not make you smile? 

Regardless of the season, I hope you are happy and doing what you love.  I know I am :)  (and for those of you who really know me, no I am not sleeping, lol)

R. K. Avery

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Meet & Greet, A Celebration of the Arts

This weekend is the annual Celebration of the Arts in beautiful Bedford, Ohio.  Several local authors will be there in addition to Dick Goddard, a staple of Cleveland weather for many years.

I was there last year for the first time and had the pleasure of sitting next to Michael Heaton, The Minister of Culture.  He is a great guy and will be there again this year.  To the other side of me was Les Roberts, who, I am proud to say is now a friend of mine.  He has written numerous mystery novels all with northeast Ohio as the backdrop. 

I remember visiting the Artists Tent and seeing a huge painting I loved and when I looked at the price, it said, "You can't afford it."  Made me laugh and it was probably true!

Here is a quick blurb from their website:  The celebration begins Friday with an evening of classical and contemporary music for strings.  The event continues Saturday and Sunday with free hands-on art experiences where children and adults can participate in painting, music exploration, creative writing, origami and many take home crafts.  Book lovers will have the opportunity to meet some of Ohio's most popular authors (check out the author page on their website.  I get top billing).  Fine artists will exhibit and have for sale original works of art.

Come on out, relax and munch on gourmet cuisine.  Hope to see you there!

R. K. Avery

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11/01 - Never Forget

A few years ago I was on a committee at work and as part of my duties on this committee, I was to post things on the company intranet site for the holidays and events that were happening.  Not just holidays like Easter and Christmas but the holidays we have all heard about but no one really knows where they came from and why we have them.  Holidays like April Fools Day for example.

Anyway, while I was on this committee, it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, that horrific day we will never forget.  I thought I would do something different and decided to ask the employees what they remember from that day.  Below is a response I received and it has stuck with me.  I hope you like it as much as I did.

As told to me by Erik Knoyer

My Story:  I was living in NYC at the time.  From my kitchen window you could clearly see the north tower of the WTC.  The building across the alley blocked my view of the other tower.  I didn’t notice anything strange that morning as I grabbed a coffee and headed to work, aside from two girls crying on the street.  When I got to work my boss was yelling that we were “under attack”.  He grabbed me by the collar and we walked up 3 stories to the roof of his building, where we had a direct view across the river.  Both towers had already been hit.  I ran down about 6 blocks to my apartment to wake my roommate and bring her back with me.  By the time we returned to the rooftop, the first tower had already fallen.  I was shocked.  “I was just here and there were two”, I remember thinking.  Jets and helicopters flew above as we took turns sharing the binoculars until we realized that we were seeing people jumping from the remaining tower.  We decided not to use them anymore after that.  It wasn’t much later when the second tower fell.  We spent the rest of the day sitting on the roof watching the wind shift the smoke from heading in our direction to more towards Southern Brooklyn.  There were about 6 of us on the roof getting sunburned and frantically trying to get a hold of anyone we knew that worked anywhere near the WTC or our family members to let them know we were okay on our cell phones.  It took a long time to get through to my mom.  She asked me to leave New York within just a few minutes of our conversation.  We eventually went inside and continued to watch coverage on the news.  All of my friends that worked in Manhattan had to walk home to Brooklyn via the bridges that night due to the subways being shut down.  That night my friends and I gathered to verify that we were okay, that no one was missing.  I was fortunate enough not to have lost someone close to me that day.  I left New York 7 years ago.  Part of me feels that I need to go back for the anniversary to visit the friends that I shared that terrible day with, largely because it pulled us closer together.  We were there that day.

God continue to bless the U.S.A.

R. K. Avery

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bottoms Up!

Diet update - Week 1 - I lost a total of 5 pounds.  Typically the first week is the best for losing weight as you give up just about everything that was making you gain.  Plus, when I diet, I drink a lot more water and that is so important.

I'm typically not a water drinker even though I know it is good for you.  Water has so many benefits.  I have listed just a few below that I got from the website:

1.  Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids.  Your body is composed of about 60% water which is used for so many things.  It helps with digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, and it also helps you maintain your body temperature. 

When you are low on fluids, the brain triggers the body's thirst mechanism and when this happens, listen to your body and get something to drink.  Anything will work, except alcohol.

2.  Water can help control calories.  I know this works for me.  When I diet, like I mentioned above, I tend to drink more water, replacing the other beverages I would normally drink, with a glass of ice cold water.  Not only that but it seems the more water you drink, the more water your body wants.  Another thing I've noticed, too, is it seems if I'm craving a snack or something, if I drink a glass of water, that seems to help curb my appetite.

3.  Water helps energize muscles.  Research says when muscle cells don't have adequate fluids, they don't work as well and may cause fatigue.  It also helps with your metabolism.   

4.  Water keeps your skin looking good.  Dehydration causes your skin to look more dry and wrinkled.  Drinking more water may help you look younger.  I'm all for that!

5.  Water helps your kidneys.  Your kidneys do an amazing job of filtering and ridding your body of excess toxins but they need plenty of fluids to help them do what they are supposed to do. 

So then the question that entered my mind was, can a person drink too much water?  Surprisingly the answer is yes.  I am not a medical professional but what I gathered from reading a few articles was if you drink too much water, it actually flushes your body of some of the things it needs, like sodium.  When sodium is depleted, it can rupture cells and things like headaches, vomiting, and disorientation may result.  That being said, it is pretty difficult to drink too much water.  However please keep in mind drinking too much water in rapid succession can prove to be fatal and should be avoided.   So if your buddy dares you to drink 2 gallons of water in 15 minutes, put the water down, step away from the table and no one gets hurt!

Who knew?  Our bodies are amazing aren't they?

Have a great day and drink up -- but not too much.

R. K. Avery

Monday, September 9, 2013

Columbus, OH - IO

Weekends are such a wonderful time to de-stress and rejuvenate for the busy week ahead.  This past weekend was fabulous.  My children (son, daughter, daughter's fiance) and I went to Columbus, Ohio to visit my cousin.  I don't like to post names on my blog to protect the privacy of those I talk about but let's just say one of the characters in my books is named after this cousin as I love her dearly.

For the techno generation that tagged along with my cousin and I (only the boys - my daughter is more like me) they were a bit bored as society has led them to believe their brain should be stimulated in high-definition at all times and it is our job to entertain them.  I do not fall into this theory.  To me, there is nothing more relaxing and beautiful than the world and the surroundings the good Lord has made for us.  Sitting in a park looking at a beautiful lake with a fountain beats the heck out of sitting in front of a computer playing combat games any day of the week.  But I digress.

While there, we visited the absolute coolest independent book store called The Book Loft.  It is located in the German Village.  Room after room, floor after floor of books, books and more books.  All the kids actually liked it.

When we went in, my cousin went over to the check out area and asked if they carried any books by R. K. Avery.  He quickly entered it in his computer and said they did not have any in stock but they could order them from Ingram if she wanted them.  Then my cousin said, "Would you like to meet R. K. Avery?" and she introduced me.  We shook hands and I gave him some of my information.  Hopefully they will get back in touch with me and I can go down and do a book signing.  That would be awesome!

We also stopped and enjoyed some ice cream (the kids) and frozen yogurt (me and my cousin) at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.  It really was splendid!

Columbus is only two and a half hours south of where I live (more like four hours when you take a certain someone who has to pee every fifteen minutes - lol).  Sometimes people forget all the wonderful things they can see and do a short distance from where they live.  Weekend trips are the best!

Enjoy your Monday.

R. K. Avery

Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Number Three! Yahoo!

I added a new widget to my blog.  You can now elect to subscribe to my blog and each time there is an update, you will be notified which is awesome if you like my content and my writing style.  I know I have a couple of friends who have to remember to go out and look at my blog, and some days I don't write a post, so this will be nice for them.  I tested it to make sure it works so you will see me, R. K. Avery, as a member of my own blog, which is funny to me.  Anyway, spread the word and see if we can build up a following :)

Last night I had the most wonderful phone call.  My publisher called to inform me she finished reading my third book, Reflection in the Mirror, and she is going to present it to acquisitions to offer me another contract, my third with Brighton Publishing.  I can't tell you how exciting this is.  She said, and I agree, she thinks the third book is my best work yet.  I have evolved as a writer and the content and story line is better written and more believable.  I thought the same thing but it's nice to hear kudos from a professional. 

Reflection in the Mirror is a story about a set of identical mirror twins, Marissa and Clarissa Wagner.  One of them mysteriously disappears on her way home from school and the other, who has been left behind, can sense and feel where she is and what she is going through.  It's not as easy as saying, "She's at 123 Main Street" but more like "she's somewhere cold and drafty and she's hungry".  That type of thing.  It's pretty incredible if I do have to toot my own horn.  I did much research for this book because I didn't know a whole lot about twins but they are amazing!  And a few of the characters from the first two books make an appearance and the twist that awaits will shock you!

Have a great weekend everyone.  Stay tuned...

R. K. Avery

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dog Sitting

Several years ago, as I've written before, we had two dogs, a Yorkie named Freddie and a Maltese named Lacey.  We loved those dogs and when they passed away, we felt like we had lost a child.  While we loved the dogs, we weren't so thrilled with the breed specific issues they seemed to have.  So we thought, for our next dog, we wanted to find a mix of the two and at the time, it was unheard of.  I contacted a breeder who bred both Yorkies and Malteses and asked if she ever bred them together.  You would have thought I asked her to help me rob a bank.  She was dumbfounded.  So I went in search of a breeder that didn't feel the same way she did.

Our first Morkie came from a breeder about 40 miles south of where we live.  She was and still is adorable.  Boo will always be my favorite (don't tell the others).  Since it was so hard for us to find a Morkie, we got the bright idea to find a male and mate them.  Of course we wanted one that was not related to our Boo and we finally found him, almost in the next state, about 4 hours south of where we live.  Sully and Boo hit it off and to this day, they are like 2 peas in a pod.  If one is missing, the other is heart sick until they return.  As luck would have it, Boo became pregnant on the first try.  When they say they are pregant for 9 weeks, they mean it, she delivered her puppies 9 weeks later to the day. 

It that litter she had two puppies and they were adorable.  Mojo and Layla.  When they left to their new adoptive families, I was heartbroken.  So what's the cure?  A new puppy of course.  We found our third Morkie, Mali (pronounced May-lee) from a breeder about 50 miles north of where we live.  So now we had 2 females and 1 male.  Needless to say, our male was a happy camper for the next couple of years.  Our girls, in total, had 15 puppies.  To each adopted family we offered a lifetime of free dog sitting services.  This was my way of seeing the puppies and making sure they were healthy and happy.  Not everyone has taken us up on it but several have. 

As a matter of fact, right now we are dog sitting for two of the grandpuppies.  Yes, that's right, with my four we now have six dogs in our house.  Here is a pic of me trying to take a nap.

Did you count them?  Six dogs all sleeping with me trying to push me off the bed!  Awwww, at my house it's always a dogs life!

May you have a cold nose to greet you and show you unconditional love.

R. K. Avery

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Annual Diet is Here

Every year for as long as I can remember (going on 20+ years) I have put myself on an annual diet from Labor Day to Thanksgiving Day.  The first time I did it I actually went to a diet center.  I followed their plan for 8 weeks and was able to lose 30 pounds.  It wasn't the absolute best and the calorie count was extremely low, but it worked for me and I was able to keep it off for quite awhile.  I walked and walked and walked, ever conscious of each bite I took and how many calories I was consuming.  I'm not going to say I was perfect and I did splurge from time-to-time but I was pretty successful for a few years. 

Then I got lazy and the pounds started creeping back on.  I would vow when I gained five pounds I would diet to lose the five pounds and that worked for a couple months but I grew tired of the eating - not eating - eating - not eating.  I know it is supposed to be a lifestyle change, not just a diet, but I enjoy food too much. 

Then I decided I would diet all through the week and enjoy my weekends.  This didn't work at all.  Too many lunches out with co-workers.  So the weight slowly creeped back on which is when I decided to commit to an annual diet, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving Day.  My hope was to lose 25 to 30 pounds every year during this time which would allow me to enjoy myself the rest of the year.  Again, I know fluctuating your weight 25 to 30 pounds a year is not healthy but like I said, I enjoy eating too much to give everything up.  Eating in moderation never worked for me.

So, I begin again on my quest to find the mini-me that has been gobbled up by the bigger me.  I long to wear a smaller size, or even to wear the size I have in my closet in comfort.  I long to be able to climb a flight of stairs without feeling like I'm dying at the top.  I long to be able to eat a good meal, feel satisfied, but not sick. 

Hopefully I can keep you updated of my progress.  Hopefully my progress will be worth updating.  All I know is I weighed myself yesterday morning and I was heavier than I was 9 months pregnant - the day I delivered my daughter.  That, to me, is unacceptable.

I saw a saying once:  Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.  I know that to be true but why can't I convince my brain?

I can do this!

R. K. Avery

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

In America, we have so many holidays that have lost their meaning over the hundreds of years they have been around.  For instance, Labor Day.  What does it mean and why was it created?  I thought I would do a little research to find out the origin so I could share it with my readers, then we will all know.  So the next time you are at a cocktail party, you can awe everyone with your knowledge of what Labor Day really means.

The holiday was proposed and ratified six days after the Pullman Strike of 1894.  The Pullman Company was a company that manufactured train cars and had vast amounts of real estate.  Many of the workers worked at The Pullman Company and also lived in the housing developments owned by the same company.  The Pullman Strike originated in Chicago when the Pullman company cut wages of their workers but failed to decrease their rent amounts. 

The Pullman Strike shut down rail service across the country and finally President Grover Cleveland intervened.  He directed U. S. troops and federal marshals to get involved which resulted in the death of 30 strikers and wounded 57 others.  Property damage was estimated to exceed $80 million which, at the time, was a large sum of money.  Heck, it's a large sum of money today.

Because of The Pullman Strike, Congress proposed and ratified a holiday called Labor Day.  The holiday was created to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the American worker.  Most companies shut down on Labor Day and picnics and parades are abundant. 

Oh, and it's also the last day you are "supposed" to wear white without committing a fashion faux paux.  

And, for those of you who confuse Memorial Day and Labor Day, this is how I remember it.  Memorial Day happens in May.  Both Memorial and May start with an M.  Labor Day happens in the 9th month, just as labor happens in the ninth month when you are expecting a baby.  Your welcome :)

Happy Labor Day!  Do what you enjoy.

R. K. Avery