Why Writing Romantic Fiction with Mature Characters

Ever since I’ve been through all the Pippi Longstockings, the Karl May books (a German-style Western for youngsters), and matured through the rest of our tiny island’s library, I’ve been reading romance novels. I devoured them all my life.

Until a few years ago. I got bored with the flawless, beautiful, size ten, gorgeous, fashionable and funkily dressed young heroine. Yes, I remember those times… not very well anymore, but yes, I’ve been there, done that, and got the stretch marks to prove it. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t relate to these young girls anymore. And I would like to identify with the heroines I’m reading about and get lost in their worlds before I contemplate what to cook for dinner tonight. Continue reading “Why Writing Romantic Fiction with Mature Characters”

Beat the Sugar Craving: #2 of 69 Challenges

 It’s that time of the year again ~ exciting End-Of-Year-Do’s and heartwarming get-together with neighbors, friends, and family. For me, it involved in the past weeks of baking (yes I made that gingerbread house myself a few years ago), and consuming tons of sweets and chocolate.

No surprise then that I am battling the bulge for as long as I can think back. I have lots of convenient excuses, from growing up with buttered sandwiches with sugar to my pet-excuse: Hubby is buying all this stuff. Yes, he is one of the unnatural people who can have a bar of chocolate and eat only one piece and then not touch it for another week.

I went sugar-free once for about seven months – during my last pregnancy. On doctors orders, who threatened I would give birth to a twenty-pound baby. That was all the incentive I needed back then. So I know I can do it. Although at the age of 68  the chances of another pregnancy are about zero.

Thus for my 69 Challenges leading up to my 69th birthday, going sugar-free is #2 and probably one of the highest hurdles to take. Starting before the full-on-Christmas-indulging-sweet-stuff seems a wise idea. I’m sure–no, I hope rather than being sure–my body will thank me for it because next May I’m going to walk part of the Camino in Spain, and the less weight I’m lugging around, the easier the walk will be.

The good news is, there is enough research showing that we can learn how to resist the lure of chocolates and icing coated cakes. Like any other addiction, it takes some preparation and research. I can work. Thousands of people have proven it. It’s not rocket science. I am particularly encouraged by a research that stipulated that intense cravings stop after two to three days for half of the participants and 87% reported no withdrawal symptoms after six days.

So here is what I came up with while looking for ways, crutches, and strategies to beating the sugar craving. I’m not a nutritionist, so do your own research. This is what I found as I looked for things that could help me!

  1. Clean out your pantry >> If it’s not in the house, it’s more unlikely to end up on your hips. A very sensible suggestion. Get rid of all the temptations makes abstaining so much easier. You might still sneak out at 10 PM and sneak over to the petrol station for a candy bar or an ice cream, but I put my money on my laziness.
  2. Cut out artificial sweeteners >> They say artificial sweeteners change your palate. the effect of cutting out sugar and sweeteners seems to be that your ‘normal’ food actually tastes sweeter.
  3. Eat food high in minerals >> A big part of sugar cravings could be related to a lack of certain minerals in your nutrition. Making sure you take in enough
    1. magnesium (leafy greens, raw cacao, nuts and seeds, brown rice, avocados),
    2. chromium (broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, whole grains, free-range eggs)
    3. zinc (whole grain, seeds, nuts, free-range eggs, oysters)
  4. Consume healthy fats >> (coconut oil, avocados, nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, free-range eggs, salmon) Try putting coconut oil in your salads, smoothies, soups, or stir-fries.
  5. Go easy on coffee/tea and alcohol >> caffeine and alcohol are said to cause dehydration of our bodies and therefore prone to cause mineral deficiencies. So it’s back to water and herbal teas. I like both, and in summer I always have a pitcher of water ready with some cut lemon pieces and fresh mint leaves from my garden.
  6. Upgrade your lifestyle >> say goodbye to long nights in front of the computer or TV. Instead, make sure you get adequate sleep, put some regular exercise into your daily schedule, and manage your stress levels.

Looking at the six points – it’s all do-able. So today is my first day.

Do you have any further suggestions how to beat the sugar cravings? My goal is to be sugar-free in 2018. What about you? Please, use the comments for your suggestions. I’ll give one of my e-books free to a commenter each week.










Continue reading “Beat the Sugar Craving: #2 of 69 Challenges”

69 Challenges until November 2018 – win a free book

It will be my 69th birthday next year. Although I’m happy with my age (I mean it) the NUMBER is a little bit shocking. Some of it is of course just in my head, but some is real. Like not knowing where I put the car keys, being blind without my glasses, falling asleep in front of the TV… things like that.

I decided to make a big dash before I’m hitting the Seventies. Hence the 69 challenges. So challenge # 1 was to walk the Wellington Skyline. My Fitbit watch said I did 19 kilometres, but that sounds a bit steep giving it’s officially only twelve. Continue reading “69 Challenges until November 2018 – win a free book”

4 Weeks to Christmas

Zimtsterne ~ Cinnamon Cookies

Homemade cookies are a very traditional part of German Christmas. We start baking them just before the 1. Advent Sunday (4 Sundays before Christmas)

“Zimtsterne” cookies are one of my favourites. They are delicious and—glutenfree.

We have them for Sunday’s afternoon tea or bring them as gifts when we visit friends.

Try them out  ~ They are very easy to make! Happy baking… and let me know how you liked them.  Continue reading “4 Weeks to Christmas”

Books Can Change Lives

It took me years to find the books that changed my life in ways, nothing else has. I was a young mother with a 3 months old baby (said baby is today 44 years old) and had to seek refuge from a howling snowstorm with an older friend of the family. I still remember the scarcely furnished guest room. Over the bed, a little bookshelf was the only adornment in the room. I grabbed a book and read Breakfast at Six by Mary Scott. In German mind you, Mary Scott was famous in Germany! Go figure.

Our friend had a few more of her books and was friendly enough to let me borrow them. I loved the humorous stories of the life on a farm in the New Zealand backwaters. And forgot about it.  Continue reading “Books Can Change Lives”

Whispers Of Love: Baby Boomers Don’t Give Up

So, the third book in my Golden Series is now available on pre-order. If you want to know how Claudia is getting on with a ten-year-old orphan she’s taken under her wings, make sure you get a copy of WHISPERS OF LOVE. After the 20th of November, the price will return back to ‘normal’.

Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…

Connor Anderson leads a charmed life and knows exactly where he’s going. Men want to be him, women want to be with him, and Hollywood simply wants him. When he crashes his car in the backwaters of New Zealand on his way to the location of his newest film, it’s just an inconvenience. Right? Continue reading “Whispers Of Love: Baby Boomers Don’t Give Up”

The Romance Revolution

An article in the NYT caught my interest the other day. No, to be honest, it irked me like hell. As so often in the world of critics—hence not very original—the author Robert Gottlieb, had nothing better to do than comment in over 3000 words on the naivety or dare I say stupidity of romance readers (RR) and writers (RW) alike, even though we might be “squirming with desire”. Continue reading “The Romance Revolution”

How to Avoid the Week From Hell

I suppose everyone has a bad week now and then. And I don’t mind having a ‘bad’ week if that means, it rains all week or the Avocados are suddenly $6 a piece. For others that could be a disaster, for me, it’s not. Here is my suggestion for a reasonable decent week.

Never trust a new hairdresser(ess) with colouring your hair.

Continue reading “How to Avoid the Week From Hell”

Movie Monday: Letters To Juliet

It’s cold and rainy and windy in Wellington. The temperature inches barely into the two digits. So it makes perfect sense–to me–to watch a movie set in one of my favourite regions: Tuscany/Italy. Seeing the red Fiat with Claire, Sophie, and Charley drive along country roads studded with slender cypress trees… ahh. Is there anything more beautiful?

Maybe the scene almost at the end, when the whole family sits around a large rustique dining table in the lush Tuscan garden beats the car scene. It’s hard to pick because the views of Tuscany, Siena, and Verona are simply stunning. Trust me on this: the movie is worth seeing for the scenery alone. Continue reading “Movie Monday: Letters To Juliet”

5 Ways to Spend a Winter’s Day

Winter is coming to an end, but the weather forecasters already promised a cold, wet weekend ahead. Is there anything more relaxing than sitting with your favourite buddy close to the fireplace and enjoy whatever you are doing with a cup of hot chocolate? (Steffie and Sorcha asked “Is there anything else?). Yes, we should listen more often to our pets! Continue reading “5 Ways to Spend a Winter’s Day”