Escape to the Country

Escape to the Country? Yes, that's what Darling Hubby and I did last night. We're finishing up the landscaping at our house in the country and praying we don't play unwilling host to another armadillo--ever!

Escape to the Country is also what I got sucked into this morning. The news was too depressing as I had my morning coffee. I turned that off and cruised Netflix for an interesting documentary.

I found Escape to the Country, a BBC series, that proved to be far too addictive. You can also see episodes on YouTube.

Instead of writing all day, as was my plan, I binge watched this series where real estate agents show country properties to English city dwellers wanting to escape the urban environment.

In watching, I visited Wales, Dorset, Leistershire, Devon, Shropshire, the Midlands, the Scottish Highlands, and so many other locales. It was like a scenic tour of England's countryside.

For a writer, this would be an amazing series for research and local flavor. For this writer, it game me lots of ideas.

If I ever win the lotto (yeah, I know I have to actually buy a ticket instead of just thinking about it), I plan to buy a thatched cottage in Dorset. (My husband's family is from Robert Ryves of Dorset. We even have the documentation to prove it.)

We'll be the weird Americans from Texas that everyone will gossip about. (I think I better buy a new western hat and some boots to fulfill the image.)

Takeaway Truth

I pried myself away from the television. Now I write.

Take 5 With Darcy Flynn

Good morning, Readers! Got your cup of coffee or tea or whatever your favorite morning beverage is?

Please welcome author Darcy Flynn who is joining us for some Book Chat. Her featured book today is Eagle Eye, and it has really great cover art.

Darcy will also be answering some fun questions about herself and her writing.

About Darcy Flynn

Darcy Flynn is known for her heartwarming, sweet contemporary romances. Her refreshing story lines, irritatingly handsome heroes, and feisty heroines will delight and entertain you from the first page to the last.

Miss Flynn’s heroes and heroines have a tangible chemistry that is entertaining, humorous and competitive.

Darcy lives with her husband and a menagerie of other living creatures on her horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. She raises rare breed chickens, stargazes on warm summer nights, and indulges daily in afternoon tea.

Although published in the Christian non-fiction market under her real name, Joy Griffin Dent, it was the empty nest that turned her to writing romantic fiction. Proving that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Find Darcy Online

Website/Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Amazon Author Page * Goodreads * Pinterest * Google+ * Sign up for Darcy's Newsletter.

And now, let's get to know Darcy and have some fun!

Take 5 With Darcy Flynn

Q: What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to food and drink?

Darcy: Lemon squares! Admit it, you thought I was going to say chocolate, didn’t you. And yes, I do love chocolate, but lemon squares, with a hot cup of Starbucks Café Verona is my fave!

Q: What's the worst review you ever received?

Darcy: You had to bring that up! *LOL*

Q: What did you do, if anything, after reading that review?

Darcy: Like most authors, I bitched, moaned, screamed and cried…a lot, and ate... lots and lots of lemon squares!

Q: What's the best review you ever received and what did you do, if anything, after reading that review?

Darcy: I’d have to say it’s one I received for my first book, Keeper of My Heart! This reader/blogger loved it so much she included photos and music throughout the review! Then, I sent it with a note to my husband and said, “See. This is not a hobby!”

Q: If Eagle Eye were made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters and why?

Darcy: I would cast Tom Mison as the hero. With his long hair and short beard as Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow, he’s perfect as the disheveled homeless man my heroine meets on the street corner. Later, as the clean-shaven, short haired, New York City journalist, one would have a hard time recognizing him as the same person.

I’d cast Emma Watson as my leading lady because like my heroine, she’s a petite brunette and has a wholesome, trusting appearance. Something about her makes me believe she could convince a homeless man to come inside a fine hotel for an hour of warmth and a hot meal.

About Eagle Eye by Darcy Flynn

Could one little mistake derail everything she’s worked for?

Undercover journalist, Cameron Phillips, is known for his forthright exposé articles uncovering scandals of New York City’s rich and famous. Using the pseudonym Eagle Eye to hide his identity, he is free to wield his finger pointing, no-holds-barred articles at leisure.

Jillian Jeffrey, teen fashion industry’s latest darling, has a heart for the less fortunate. Her goal is to raise enough money for fashion icon Anna Delany’s, Like No Other charity foundation. The donation will not only keep the charity afloat, but will place Jill in the running for a coveted position on LNO’s board of directors.

In a moment of weakness, at the charity gala, Jill reluctantly accepts a bet from her ex-boyfriend and uses a homeless man to raise twenty thousand dollars. Unknown to Jill, the homeless guy is the cynical, undercover journalist, and Jill has just become his latest exposé target.

In a twist of fate, Cameron is soon hired to shadow Jill as she volunteers with the charity. Shorthaired and clean-shaven, he looks nothing like the bearded, disheveled man Jill had encountered the night of the gala.

During their time together, he not only discovers the noble reason behind the bet, but witnesses first hand his article’s negative impact on her business. Faced with the prospect of losing her, will Cameron come up with an antidote for Eagle Eye’s toxic exposé before Jill loses everything she’s worked for?

Add Eagle Eye by Darcy Flynn to Your Library

You'll find this captivating romance at: Amazon * B&N * iBooks.

Takeaway Truth

Readers, this sounds like a fun romance. Why not get a copy today?

Movies I Wish Were Better

The remake of The Saint, starring Adam Rayner and Eliza Dushko who is so thin she looks like a cancer patient.

Roger Moore and Ian Ogilvie, both of whom also played The Saint, appear in cameo roles. I couldn't get past the first half of them movie.

Sadly, this remake misses. What should be lighthearted and witty is a paint-by-numbers cliché. What a shame to waste such talented actors.
Van Helsing borrows from popular vampire and zombie movies and TV shows. "Waking from a coma, Vanessa finds soldier Axel protecting her during a vampire apocalypse known as The Awakening." Yep, The Awakening was the first season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The twist? Vanessa now has supernatural powers.

I made it to the middle just to see if something compelling happened, but my time was not rewarded.

A Kind of Murder, a retro thriller, also suffered from poor pacing. Obsessed with an unsolved murder case, a crime novelist fantasizes about murdering his wife. Then she turns up dead.

Starring Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel. This was billed as a sixties film, but the vibe is more like mid-fifties.

Handsome, a Netflix Original, was a disappointment. I really wanted to like this take on the detective genre, but what should have been funny and/or quirky seemed forced and artificial rather than organic. Maybe they just tried too hard.

Takeaway Truth

Movies, like books, can sometimes fail despite a great cast, an interesting story, and good directing.

Sometimes all the elements just never come together in a compelling story.

Just Monday Musing

A friend sent me a funny email with graphic images that look like those motivational posters you see everywhere.

Some of them were funny enough to give me a chuckle so I thought I'd share a few with you.

1. Camping: where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person. (Too true. Have you seen the price of tents?!)

2. People my age are so much older than me. (I say this all the time!)

3. I want to grow my own food, but I can't find bacon seeds. (I dedicate this one to my Darling Husband.)

4. I have so many problems that if a new one comes along today, it will be at least two weeks before I can worry about it. (Ugh. Too true it seems.)

5. "I'm working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time. If I can just die after lunch Tuesday, everything will be perfect." ~ Doug Sanders, Pro Golfer

Takeaway Truth

Laugh ten times every day, and you'll have a much better attitude about Life.

No Confidence? Then Grow It

Did you know you can actually grow your confidence? It's true. It's one of the those things that's simple but not easy.

3 Steps To Growing Confidence

1. It takes effort to do something when you don't think you can do it. So if you don't have confidence now, then fake it. Yes, that's right. Fake it till you make it.

Act as if you have all the confidence in the world. You'll do things and surprise yourself. Just doing it brings you to the second step.

2. Experience. The more you fake it till you make it; the more you will experience the upside of just doing it.

Experience it a few times, and you'll automatically look back and say, "I did this before, and it turned out okay. I can do it again." Just doing it gives you the third step.

3. Sense of Accomplishment. Oh, yeah, baby! There's nothing like the satisfaction of having done something you didn't think you could.

Wallow in that sense of accomplishment. Trot out the memory every time you're faced with something you must do that you don't think you can.

Takeaway Truth

Try this 3 step process the next time you find yourself thinking, "Oh, I can't do that!"

You'll surprise yourself.

You'll take on more tasks, try new things, and put forth the effort to learn something you thought was beyond your understanding.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 P. S. Want a free ebook? Just click here!

Latest on Diet Soda

Health Caution: Diet Soda
Did you see the latest news about Diet Soda? I caught it last week on one of the morning shows.

By now, I guess everyone knows that Diet Soda can actually cause you to gain weight, not lose it.

The bigger news is, according to the TV report, that drinking just 1 diet soda per day increases your risk of stroke and dementia.

Don't take my word for it. Here's an article about the findings from the New York Times.

Ironically, my dad had both heart disease and suffered a severe stroke. He also had Alzheimer's.

He drank nothing but diet sodas, and tea and coffee sweetened artificially for the last 10-15 years of his life because he was diabetic.

Takeaway Truth

Always keep abreast of the latest scientific research regarding health and nutrition. Alter your diet accordingly.

Codes and Ciphers

Oh, my, the things you learn when you write a book.

In Dead Heat, Book 2 of Outlaw Ridge, Texas, which I'm working on now, I knew I wanted to have Sabrina Snow, the heroine of the book, leave a coded message for John Galloway.

The message is to be something he'll understand by knowledge of their relationship, but also it's to have information encoded that a casual reader would not think twice about, but which John will realize is a code.

So I wrote the secret letter then went about encoding it.

To that end,  I watched Codebreakers: Science of Secrecy, a fascinating documentary series on Amazon Prime that's based on The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh.

 I'll confess. I was so taken with the documentary series that I bought Mr. Singh's book too.

I ended up using a combination of code and ciphers--there is a difference between the two. I used a simple Kama-sutra cipher and referenced it in the letter so John would know there was more to the letter than the words on the paper.

I did this by including the number 45 in the letter. In the context of the sentence that contains 45, John will know that the sentence is meaningless.

He'll also know that Number 45 is the Art of Secret Writing which the Kama-sutra recommends women should learn. (And you just thought the Kama-sutra was about sex positions!)

Why will John know this? Because he and Sabrina are spies!

Oh, writing this book is so much fun!

Takeaway Truth

Being a writer is a never-ending education--if you're lucky.