THE SYSTEM DIET – OR, When Cheese Is a Powder in a Cellophane Packet

Life as an author is not always what it’s cracked up to be. Nowadays, we’re told sitting for any length of time is as bad as a pack a day, our eyes need to refocus on something in the distance every twenty minutes, and carpal tunnel syndrome will be ours from moving that mouse around. To add insult to injury, many of us, myself included, get a spreading derriere and pack on the pounds from that lack of exercise. Since we are now bombarded about system diets on television and newspapers, with pop-ups popping at us all over the place, I decided to be a guinea pig rather than just a fat pig and try one. Oh, okay, so a looming bathing suit vacation had a little to do with it . . . .

The idea that meals were pre-made and would involve no cooking was one draw. I do love to cook, but I figured the time saved might be welcome for a couple of months and also offer choices I don’t normally eat. The plan of the diet is that you eat approximately every three hours starting within an hour of waking, and that you combine what they call power foods with non-starchy vegetables (as much as you want) and, on occasion, ‘super carbs’ such as fruit. You get a little booklet that keeps you reminded of what you can eat and when—breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner and yet another snack. Note I make no mention of alcohol! And that, for me, was pretty difficult, since I do enjoy sitting down with a glass (or two) of wine in the evening.

The ads for this system promise you, you can eat chocolate, pizza, ice cream and all those good things you probably think you have to miss on a diet. And you can! In portions of a size made for a doll’s tea party. Pancakes? Waffles? Yup. The allowed tablespoon of maple syrup drowns these portions. Virtually everything—except the nut bars, of which there are many– gets microwaved to heat up, thereby rendering the pastry of a pizza into cardboard. Dried soups or rice dishes need added water, a blitz, a stir, and voila—you have glue! Uh, I mean dinner. And yes, cheese for the macaroni cheese dinner was a powder from a packet to be added to the water and zapped. My microwave is getting such a work-out, it should be the one losing weight. Before this, the only time I ever used it was to make oatmeal or reheat something gone cold. One thing I will say is that their ice cream is absolutely delicious. No joke—divine chocolate brownie sundae and super delicious orange cream pop. The power-shakes aren’t bad either.

So what’s the bottom line? Have I lost weight? In the first two weeks I had lost five pounds—which is exactly what I had lost the last time I gave up wine for two weeks. I’m hoping things will improve, or at least continue, so that by the time I get into my bathing suit and other tropical wear it all fits.

Last week I was away overnight. I packed up meals and snacks in plastic lunch bags with the exception of dinner, which I was having out. I was good to the diet on the jitney, denying the snacks that were passed around and sticking to my hard-boiled egg. I had lunch on arrival—a nut bar and carrots—and wasn’t hungry the whole day. And then evening came along and friends. I had three glasses of wine and veal limone with broccoli and roast potatoes.

Nothing ever tasted so good.

 

 

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NOW AVAILABLE ON AUDIBLE!

My western historical novella, Lawless Love, is now available on Audible, at all places Audible is sold.  Listen to the not-so-dulcet tones of Jeffrey Fallin as he reads, over at  https://www.amazon.com/Lawless-Love-Lawmen-and-Outlaws/dp/B078KH5WPS/

Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong. He’s never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he’s followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers…but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?

We’re Playing Santa!

As I write this, there’s less than a month to go to Christmas and, for me, even less than that ‘til I may move house. I’m just waiting for a few things to fall into place—here in NYC, if you live in a Co-op, which I do, you need Board approval of your sale after contracts have been signed, and I’m still waiting to hear about that. So I have no real idea where I’ll be for Christmas, but wherever I lay my head, I do know I’ll have the comfort of my family and will be looking forward to a merry time. Continue reading

A Targeted Journey by Carmen Peone

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome back Carmen Peone.  Carmen is not only a fellow member of Women Writing the West, but is currently President Elect.  She lives on the Colville Confederated Reservation with husband, Joe. Carmen had worked with elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural Continue reading

For Your Halloween Enjoyment

I never thought I’d write a so-called ‘paranormal’ western, but last year I did.  It appeared in the anthology The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly and is titled Long a Ghost, and Far Away.  Also in that anthology was Patti Sherry-Crews’ The Ghost and the Bridegroom.  Since the anthology only made a brief appearance but garnered a raft of good reviews, Patti and I decided to revive our stories in a duet now on sale at all good eBook-sellers.

The Wild West gets even wilder when Nat Tremayne sends out his agents from Psychic Specters Investigations offices in St. Louis and Denver. Across country and across time, these agents will stop at nothing to unravel the mysteries that beset poor unsuspecting ranchers and cowboys who have no idea what they’re seeing . . .or not, as the case may be.
In Patti’s The Ghost and The Bridegroom, P.S.I. Agent Healy Harrison is sent to Tucson to rid a rancher of the ghost in the bedroom interfering in his marriage to a mail-order bride. Healy doesn’t think she’s destined for romance–until she meets Pinkerton detective Aaron Turrell. But when their two cases dovetail, will their newfound love survive the ultimate showdown  between mortal and immortal.

In  my own Long A Ghost and Far Away, agent Dudley Worksop aims to unravel the mystery of Colby Gates’ dead wife. Lizzie not only seems to have reappeared as a ghost, but has time traveled from 2016 to the 1800s. Can revenge be had for her murder? And can the couple be reunited across country and across time?

Amazon Reviews from previous anthology edition:

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing – is my absolute favourite as I love time travel stories & who doesn’t love added a unique twist like ghost. This story is brilliant written and unique. The character’s are very well developed and great to read about this amazing journey.

The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews- This novella is very well written and it is very compelling & leaves you wanting more. The character’s are realistic with real emotions and flaws.
I highly recommend reading this . . . as you will not be disappointed. Just in time for Halloween go grab it now. . . .

–Sophie Koufes

My favorite was Long A Ghost and Far Away. I loved Lizzie and Colby’s story. I actually laughed out loud at Lizzie and when she went back, I cried but I loved the ending. Great story.

–Susan K. Davis

The Ghost and the Bride Groom – 5*

Wow! What an amazing book! I have never read any books by this author before reading this book and i am so glad that i came across Patti Sherry-Crows as her books are so alive and vibrant (i would imagine her other books are the same as this).
You feel every single thing that happens in this book, you feel the fear and pain along with the hope of what could come and the sympathy you feel for the characters.
The book was written in a way that feels so real to you while you are reading it. It is a highly addictive read, compelling you to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Healy is an amazing, inspiring character. I loved reading about how strong and independent she is, she relies on herself and is guarded but deep down she is so full of love that she believes she will never have.
I really enjoyed Aaron’s character. He has also got a strong and independent mindset making them the best match full of fire and passion. He comes across as a very charismatic and protective character.
I absolutely loved this book and i would recommend this book to everyone and anyone! A must read!

–Lyn McKenzie

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing
What a great story! It shows that love is truly timeless and sometimes you just know who your soulmate is, even after a short time. However, this wasn’t a neatly wrapped with a bow story. It had some twists that I didn’t see coming, but that made it all the more enjoyable.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron (Oh my!) had me laughing so much. Loved it!

–Dali

Long a Ghost and Far Away – Andrea Downing
I love the romance between Lizzie and Colby. That’s what one calls a love to test time! I liked how the author intertwined real life events into the story to make it seem more realistic too.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom – Patti Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron are rather comical together and also rather sweet. This was a really good tale. I liked the interaction with the elusive Nat Tremayne as well and what it hinted at. I also like the twist in the book.

–Jennydm

REVISITING THE SEVENTIES

I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the seventies and it has proven eye-opening in what research has uncovered,, and what it’s brought to mind. Although I am old enough to have lived through that era, I spent most of it in the U.K. , which had problems other than the ones so divisive to the United States.

Haight Ashbury, courtesy of Arjun Sarup via Wikimedia Commons

Viet Nam and Watergate marked the decade, the former possibly sowing the seed of today’s divisions in our country, the latter being compared at times to the present government. But I’m not here for political proselytizing; I did not give (thus far) politics anything more than a passing mention in my book. I’ve used the seventies as background, and in so doing, have discovered quite a few Continue reading

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY ROAD

It’s a tradition that August is a time for travel and when someone says ‘travel’ nowadays, I think ‘Road Trip.’ While I’ve recently lost my main travel partner, my daughter, to marriage, I can speculate that some time in the hopefully not too distant future, I might be relegated to a back seat, overseeing child or children, while husband and wife share driving to some enchanting site I’ve longed to see. Continue reading

Carra Copelin

Although with working on an anthology  you rarely get to meet the other authors in person, you still get a good idea of them through your correspondence.  That said, it’s been a pleasure working with Carra Copelin. Carra is an award winning and Amazon Best Selling Author Continue reading

Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Romance Novels for the Beach

The trickiest thing when it comes to summer romances? There’s always a time limit. Sooner or later, the summer must come to an end.

What’s it About? 

bad boy, big heart

When New Yorker K.C. Daniels heads to Wyoming for a summer job, she wants nothing more than to fit in with the staff of the Lazy S Ranch. Yearning to be independent of her mom and dad, and have a taste of the west before she starts her Master’s degree, getting involved with a cowboy is the last thing on her mind—especially when she’s greeted with warnings about ‘Bad Boy’ Chay Ridgway.

High school dropout Chay Ridgway sees summer as his time to be a rodeo star and win a girl in his life, while facing the responsibilities he has for his father. Although working to bring in cash to help his dad, he’s never had a problem finding a woman who’s happy…

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Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Source: Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing