Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lena's Offline

I'll stop in briefly to say hello, then it's back to my masculine distractions. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I sure did.

I go into surgery this Friday, and I'm now into Hell Week where the diet is very, very restricted and as the week increases the medical profession adds more and more discomforts to my torture. (Sorry Teeka and others. I know it's necessary, I just don't have to like it.) Needless to say, I'm a grumpy old battleaxe right now with the temper of a rabid wolverine with a raging case of hemorrhoids. Anyone who ever says in my hearing that bariatric surgery is "taking the easy way out" may end up decapitated.

You'll be able to reach me by private email on a sporadic basis. Response time can be as long as 48 hours, but I'll get to you eventually. A good way to ensure my spotting your email is to use all caps and yell, "LENA!"

This message will be repeated on my blog, and possibly my website. If you want more info on my surgery, please go to: http://fatfrogdiary.blogspot.com/

Lena the Grumpy Duchess

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Review for Santa Paws from Romance Junkies

Woohoo! Thank you RJ and Chrissy Dionne!

http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/paranormal/Gingersnaps_Santa_Paws.shtml

4.5 Ribbons! I'm so thrilled! Here's a snippet.

"Lena Austin delights the imagination with her enchanting short story SANTA PAWS. Infused throughout the story are appropriate snippets from the well known poem THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and I admit I got a chuckle at how naughty some of them sound when used in just the right context. JR’s attempt at redeeming himself are very sweet and you can sense his discomfort at the possibility of being caught delivering gifts wearing a Santa suit. Phaedra’s rage at him is heartfelt and easily understandable. They don’t seem to be a very likely couple but they have an undeniable chemistry that is very exciting – especially since JR keeps having trouble maintain his full human form while with Phaedra. "

Happy Dancing!
Lena

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Light Show Awards from Lena

Last night, we continued our annual holiday tradition of driving around our neighborhood and looking at the lawn decorations and lighting. Every year, we "award" a few accolades.

This year, there were several contenders for the "Okay, I put up the damn lights. Stop bitching at me!" Awards. We had the choice of between four small lit candy canes haphazardly stuck in the ground along the sidewalk and a collection of eight broken and shabby snowmen shoved in the ground so they looked drunk. We decided the broken snowmen were even more pitiful than the candy canes.

Then there's our infamous "Bad Taste" award, usually given to the persons with the largest electric bill due next month. We had a very clear winner in this category. Even the huge tricked out stump jumper truck was covered in lights to show it off. There were so many inflatable ornaments on the lawn, you *know* what little grass there is was smothering, and I'm sure the neighbors were using blackout shades on their windows to get some sleep. Then, to make the final icing on the cake, they had an outdoor speaker playing Christmas tunes.

Finally, we have a special category called, "Religious Bad Taste." While we have no objections to religious displays, there are some folks in this world who feel the need to "shout on the street corner." This year, we decided the five-foot tall Precious Moments painted wood cutouts of the nativity scene, complete with animals, shepherds, and wise men went too far over the line into tasteless.

Well, that concludes this year's awards. Wish I could take pictures, but my camera's light sensor is on the fritz.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate. I'll be offline until after January 3, so please bear with me.

Lena

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reprise: Not all Pirates are on the High Seas

Please read this article written by Charlotte B. Compo about e-piracy. Many e-authors just lost thousands thanks to one e-pirate. It's only thanks to the dedication of Charlotte, EPIC, and others that keep me at my desk writing despite the lack of luxuries.

http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=3151

You see, I happen to agree with Charlotte. I'm one of those who gave up a good job to write. I don't make a lot of money. In fact, almost everything I make goes right back out to pay the IRS to cover back taxes caused by that horror of the poor and struggling-- bankruptcy and foreclosure. When they foreclosed on my home in 2004 (the same year I had my first published book, you'll note), I didn't know the mortgage company "forgave" the debt, causing me to owe the IRS and the state of Colorado almost $20,000. I won't finish paying off that debt until 2012, unless I win the lottery.

I don't write books for the money. If I were truly mercenary, I'd go back to being a Mistress for $3000 a week. I'm too old to want to spend time in jail on a vice charge, thanks. Besides, it might embarrass the grandchildren. I write books because I love telling stories while safely wrapped in soft, bright-colored clothes instead of driving to hotels wearing leather so I can beat on businessmen. Sure, Domination is a great aerobic workout but it's damn stressful. You try being discreet while hefting a duffle bag bigger and heavier than a set of golf clubs into a posh hotel elevator.

Anyway, back to the pirating thing. This pirate with the initials AC had three (!!) separate websites where she uploaded ebooks from both the famous and the little guys like me and gave them away for free. Thousands of authors lost thousands each, thanks to this pirate. She apparently labored under the misconception that we were all as rich as Nora Roberts and Stephen King. Yeah, she pirated Nora too.

I can name at least three different authors who had to give up or severely curtail their writing careers because they couldn't afford to feed their kids without a "real" job. One is now working at a restaurant as a waitress because that's the only work she could find. Sadly, it doubled her income and keeps her kids fed.

Yeah, that's what piracy does. It stops authors from writing.

Lena

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coming Soon to Aspen Mountain Press: Yule Fire








Yule Fire


Author: Lena Austin


Contemporary Paranormal
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Publication Date: December 2008
Sexual Content: Erotic
Product Code: YULH16




Synopsis:
Belle is hiding her multi-millionaire preschooler from the press. Jacques is hiding his business dealings and playing the reluctant war hero Belle must host as a promo stunt for her magazine. All they both want is a quiet holiday season in each other’s arms, but not if Belle’s obnoxious boss has his way. What are a witch and a war hero to do but become co-conspirators, determined to have a little food and fun with no strings attached? But Someone else has plans for them both that go beyond the holiday season.




Excerpt:




She dreamed of floating on a cloud, blissfully uncaring about the hustle and bustle of street life below. The honks of traffic were a mere whisper of sound.
Warm and safe, she snuggled in Jacques' arms and muttered, “I love you. Please stay with me here forever.”
His rumbling chuckle vibrated the whole cloud. “I've only been waiting for you to ask.”
His kiss started out feather light, and deepened slowly. The whole cloud lit up with sunshine.
She purred and wrapped her arms around his naked body. Her hands stroked along the hard muscled back. His flesh was just like him, firm and resilient, but hiding the hardness beneath. She needed that strength more than ever. Her hands tightened, pulling him closer.
Another hardness pressed against her thigh. He released her lips and nibbled. “You should be too tired for this. It's been a busy day.”
Her thighs spread of their own accord. Every molecule of her body begged for a validation he'd stay. “I need you,” she breathed on a sigh, and opened her eyes.
Jacques really was above her, one arm holding him up while the other fought with the tangle of the tee shirt she'd replaced her blouse with after the cops claimed it.
Giggles threatened. “Guess I fell asleep in my clothes.”
Jacques grinned down at her in the semi-darkness. The main source of light was the blue reflection of the giant Qwest building that glowed over the entire downtown every night.
Belle wriggled a little. Poor Jacques with his bum leg was probably having a difficult time. “Let me get out of these things, since you're already naked.”
He rolled off obligingly and lay beside her. “Ah kin wait dat long, ah tink.”
She shivered with delight. His accent was back. She growled playfully and sat up to yank off her shirt. “You know what that accent does to me, don't you, evil man.” She fought with her damp panties.
Jacques reached over and tugged them down. They sailed across the room and landed somewhere in the darkness. “No. Why don' you show me, cher?”
Belle raised an eyebrow and shucked off her tee shirt. She wasn't that experienced at sexual equality, but she knew how to please. “I fully intend to.”
He grinned and reached for her, but she evaded his grasp.
Smiling wickedly, she crawled to the foot of the bed. “And now, me bucko, I'm going to imitate my mother's pirate ancestors and see if I can steal your treasure.”
He chuckled and raised his arms to rest his head on his hands. “Oh? This ought to be interesting. I am at your mercy, lady pirate.”
Not in the least put out, Belle swallowed a giggle. “Oh, he laughs. Let's see if you laugh in a minute.”

Holiday Jello Jigglers

Jello now offers the jiggler molds in some supermarkets with the purchase of the gelatin! Go grab yours. I did. This is even easier and cheaper on the diet than cookies. They sure do brighten up a holiday appetizer table.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What an A**hole! If you can afford an island...

Now, I understand that I don't know ALL the story, but it just seems to me that If you can buy a PRIVATE ISLAND...you can pay child support.....

http://sports.aol.com/mlb/story/_a/bbdp/neel-charged-in-child-support-case/276590

He helped make them, so he can help support them until they reach adulthood. That's my thought. I don't care who or what you are or what you think you are, responsibility for your actions must come first. You play, you pay.

Lena

Maraschino Pecan Bread


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Death of an Icon-- Bettie Page

For those who never knew her, here's her legacy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYgKceRlasQ&feature=related

Rest in Peace, Bettie. You earned it.

Lena

Sculpy Gift and Wine Tags



Aren't these great? Besides decorating a wine glass or package, think about the tag itself. It's permanent. It can become an earring, a dog tag, a pendant, or a key chain fob. It could even be re-used as a gift tag next year. How cool is that?
I recommend going into a craft store like JoAnn's or Michael's and checking in the jewelry making aisles. There you'll find the wine glass rings, earrings, D-rings, and split rings to make all these gifts in a flash.
Oh, and why limit yourself to these designs? Use miniature cookie cutters, or designs from any coloring book for more shapes and ideas. You could even take a full-size drawing of your favorite cookie cutter and reduce it using a copier to make lots of mini-designs to use forever.
Have fun! It's Playdough for grownups!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot Mulled Apple Cider from South Beach Diet

Everyone loves a warm cup of cider (known to many as wassail) during the holidays. This recipe gets a boost of flavor from oranges. Since the oranges are left whole and not eaten, this recipe is fine for every Phase of the South Beach Diet.

Hot Mulled Apple Cider (Wassail) (Phase 1)

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
Sugar-free apple cider drink mix
1 quart (4 cups) water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 oranges
2 teaspoons cloves, whole

Instructions

Following the directions on the package, combine the appropriate amount of sugar-free apple-cider drink mix with 4 cups of water in a large, heavy saucepan.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Keep the oranges whole and leave the peel on. Press 1 teaspoon of cloves into each orange and add them to the pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat; simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat; let steep 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift out oranges and discard.

Nutritional information

2 calories
0 g fat
0 mg cholesterol
0 g carbohydrate
0 g protein
0 g fiber
5 mg sodium

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turkey Baste Herb Blend




Yes, if you're a regular on all my blogs (http://fatfrogdiary.blogspot.com/, http://third-infinity.blogspot.com/ and here) you know how I raved about that lovely brined turkey. However, sometimes you have to go with something simpler. Hence, this herb blend to rub and baste your turkey . Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Lena

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cookies!!






Break out the cookie cutters and trays! Here come some of the best darn cookies ever. So simple, and yet so special.
Did you know I collect cookie cutters? Yep, I have the old tin ones from grandma's days, all the way up to the fancy ergonomic ones available for sale from Wilton.com. Thank all the gods for grandchildren, who will happily eat what I bake!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Raisin Breads



These yummy bread recipes are made for the bread machine. How easy can you get?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Proposition 8 --California and Florida

This has to be the best way I've ever seen to thumb a nose and point out the general wrongness of Proposition 8 and the related hate legislation in both California, Florida, and across this "nation of the free." (Yeah, right.)

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/c0cf508ff8/prop-8-the-musical-starring-jack-black-john-c-reilly-and-many-more-from-fod-team-jack-black-craig-robinson-john-c-reilly-and-rashida-jones

I do not consider President-elect Obama the Messiah, and I wish the poor man all the luck in the world. He inherited a sorry mess, and it doesn't matter who you blame.

Lena

How To Create an Elegant and Festive Table


Look at the elements of this table. One large red plate used as a charger, one smaller white plate for breads and/or salads, and one napkin tied with an inexpensive bow. See how layering your theme colors brings the whole thing together? Did you know you can do this with paper plates from any good party store? Unless you LIKE washing dishes?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Peppermint Cone Tree Craft


Don't freak out on me, but this stuff's back in fashion. Go a step beyond these and think of all the other candies and decorations you can use. I'm thinking Hershey's Kisses (silver) and blue miniature Christmas balls all over mine to match my blue, silver, and purple color scheme. Or maybe a bunch of those gold-wrapped chocolate coins? Oh, the possibilities!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coming Soon to Aspen Mountain Press: Yule Fire




Blurb:


Everyone's hiding something this holiday, and it's not presents. Belle is hiding her multi-millionaire preschooler from the press. Jacques is hiding his business dealings and playing the reluctant war hero Belle must host as a promo stunt for her magazine. All they both want is a quiet holiday season in each other's arms, but not if Belle's obnoxious boss has his way. What are a witch and a war hero to do but become co-conspirators, determined to have a little food and fun with no strings attached? But Someone else has plans for them both that go beyond the holiday season.



Excerpt:


She dreamed of floating on a cloud, blissfully uncaring about the hustle and bustle of street life below. The honks of traffic were a mere whisper of sound.
Warm and safe, she snuggled in Jacques' arms and muttered, “I love you. Please stay with me here forever.”
His rumbling chuckle vibrated the whole cloud. “I've only been waiting for you to ask.”
His kiss started out feather light, and deepened slowly. The whole cloud lit up with sunshine.
She purred and wrapped her arms around his naked body. Her hands stroked along the hard muscled back. His flesh was just like him, firm and resilient, but hiding the hardness beneath. She needed that strength more than ever. Her hands tightened, pulling him closer.
Another hardness pressed against her thigh. He released her lips and nibbled. “You should be too tired for this. It's been a busy day.”
Her thighs spread of their own accord. Every molecule of her body begged for a validation he'd stay. “I need you,” she breathed on a sigh, and opened her eyes.
Jacques really was above her, one arm holding him up while the other fought with the tangle of the tee shirt she'd replaced her blouse with after the cops claimed it.
Giggles threatened. “Guess I fell asleep in my clothes.”
Jacques grinned down at her in the semi-darkness. The main source of light was the blue reflection of the giant Qwest building that glowed over the entire downtown every night.
Belle wriggled a little. Poor Jacques with his bum leg was probably having a difficult time. “Let me get out of these things, since you're already naked.”
He rolled off obligingly and lay beside her. “Ah kin wait dat long, ah tink.”
She shivered with delight. His accent was back. She growled playfully and sat up to yank off her shirt. “You know what that accent does to me, don't you, evil man.” She fought with her damp panties.
Jacques reached over and tugged them down. They sailed across the room and landed somewhere in the darkness. “No. Why don' you show me, cher?”
Belle raised an eyebrow and shucked off her tee shirt. She wasn't that experienced at sexual equality, but she knew how to please. “I fully intend to.”
He grinned and reached for her, but she evaded his grasp.
Smiling wickedly, she crawled to the foot of the bed. “And now, me bucko, I'm going to imitate my mother's pirate ancestors and see if I can steal your treasure.”
He chuckled and raised his arms to rest his head on his hands. “Oh? This ought to be interesting. I am at your mercy, lady pirate.” Not in the least put out, Belle swallowed a giggle. “Oh, he laughs. Let's see if you laugh in a minute.”

Pear Bread Pudding


A hot, inexpensive dessert to serve without blowing the already tight budget is always welcome. Later this month, I'll post a simple bread pudding to serve on Christmas Eve with a lovely Whiskey Sauce. Simple and easy for when you're too tired to do more.

Lena

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thank A Soldier

Whether you agree with the war or not, most of us understand the soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors would much rather be home than there. This is one way of acknowledging their sacrifices.

Won't you join me in thanking them?

http://www.letssaythanks.com/Home1024.html

xerox will send a card to a soldier over seas. You don't get to pick who it goes to, but you will make somebody's day!

My thanks also to Michelle Hasker, who first posted this information
www.michellehasker.com
http://michellehasker.blogspot.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michellesedge/

Crock Pot Gingerbread


I don't have the carb count on this, but who can resist an easy way to make gingerbread in the crockpot? You know I'm trying this for my grandchildren. I won't kid myself and think if I use Cool Whip Free I'm "dieting" but maybe my grandson will let me have a little taste off his. LOL!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Confetti Dip on a Diet


This dip is not only diet, it's pretty! Serve with low carb crudites instead of chips, and you'll not blow it too badly this holiday season.

Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for popping by! Don't sit on the whipping horse unless you want to find out how it's used. I speak my mind and annoy many people, but all of it is meant in good spirit. Feel free to argue with me. I like it.

Best way to reach me is by email: voiceomt2002@yahoo.com

Lena