For the love of Chardonnay.

Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.”
~ John Milton (1608-74)

Another fantastic weekend is on our doorstep. And if you are anything like me, it’s a great time to relax and unwind while enjoying a glass or two of your favorite wine.
Carla, our LOVE IN THE VINES Leading Lady likes nothing better than to drink a cool glass of Chardonnay.

Here’s an excerpt from Love in the Vines, Chapter 10, Chardonnay and Oysters where we discover Carla’s Chardonnay crush.

…..Studying the wine list, Matt was earnestly deliberately over the choices. I overhead you talking with the girls at work about your love affair with Chardonnay. They’ve got a number of great one’s listed here. How about we start with my Chardonnay?’ Chuckling he added, ‘even if it means that I’ll have to buy one of my own wines at restaurant prices! Then, for comparison we can move on to a French Chardonnay. I see they have a couple of beautiful delicate Pouilly-Fuissé (Pu-Yee Fwee-Say) wines here from Southern Burgundy. These are made entirely from Chardonnay fruit and they will be amazing to drink.’

Never one to miss an opportunity to drink a Chardonnay, I told Matt how my relationship with this wine dated back a few years. ‘For every great one I’ve had the pleasure to drink, I’ve also suffered through my fair share of this wine masquerading as a paint stripper.

End.

So, paint-strippers aside, here’s a few reasons why Carla loves nothing more than chilling on a Saturday afternoon with a cool, crisp glass of Chardonnay.

  • Zing! Aroma’s of pink grapefruit, citrus blossom, and nectarine complement the sharp contrast of spicy lemon and green apple.
  • The surprise of a lingering hint of hazelnut.
  • While some Chardonnays pack a big, bold and buttery punch. Carla prefers her’s understated; rich and buttery with a hint of oak.
  • The exotic French Connection. The birthplace of Chardonnay is Burgundy in France.
  • Back in 2008 when Chardonnay sales slumped in Britain, blame the Bridget Jones Effect
  • Or, as this blogger laments: Did Kath and Kim kill Chardonnay?
  • Either way, Carla defied trends, a bottle or two of “Chardie” always was top of her weekly shopping list.

Love in the Vines is a contemporary romance e-book set in the intoxicating world of wine and food. Out Now $2.99 on Amazon Kindle.
Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines.
Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.

Surviving. E-Book File Conversion.

This is not a how-to-covert-your-E-Book files. I’m blogging about that later….

I’m now cross-eyed from editing my new contemporary romance e-book, Love in the Vines. After three, no, make that four edits, my Mom and sister begged me to stop and let my words go and move on…..
Having followed the Amazon Kindle formatting guide to the letter, I fooled myself into believing I had side-stepped the much written about code nasties and, that the file conversion from a word.docx document to html and e-pub would be a cinch.
Determined to go it alone so I could understand the “process,” my goal, was to do and master every single step myself.
So now, not only am I cross-eyed, my forehead is a little dented from hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall. And, I’m minus a few hairs from suffering through frustrating bouts of tearing my hair out moments.
Through error and trial, yes that is intentional, I learned about margin size, justifying paragraphs, indenting, page breaks, creating a table of contents; heading and chapters, bookmarking and creating hyperlinks for every chapter.
The usual soothing sound of my much loved clock began to grate as each minute ticked then tocked into another.
One pesky chapter wouldn’t behave. The hyperlink wouldn’t work.
I’d already taken out the fancy squiggles, as any graphic has to be devoid of surrounding text, but still no luck.
Finally after staring at the screen for a moment too long. I had my ah-ha moment. Calling Chapter 8 Chilled Rosé was the problem.
See that final e? The accented one? As the é is an inserted symbol, I figured Kindle must read it as a graphic code. Knowing graphics and text don’t sing in Kindle Harmony I changed the chapter to Dusk.
My hyperlink problem was solved.
Thank goodness for Google as I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t download Mobi-pocket (file conversion software). Not too worry, said Google, Mobi-Pocket doesn’t work on a Mac. Download Calibre, watch the tutorial and hey-presto before you know it, you’ll have your e-pub file. Just how Kindle likes it.
That is the short version.
Needless to say, I have achieved my goal. I now understand the “process.” Well, at least I think I do.
I’m now seriously considering writing a step by step, how-to-do-it, e-book. Nothing fancy, nothing technical, no devious code to decipher just a “I’m not a tech-head, please break this e-book conversion and marketing stuff into yummy bite size pieces for me.”
A few hours ago I would have paid top dollar for a copy!
As the adage goes, ‘we live and we learn.’ All I can say is, yes we do.
Love in the Vines is now in the safe virtual hands of Amazon Kindle. After my successful upload, a nice note told me to sit back, relax and wait 12 to 48 hours before Love in the Vines will be available for sale in the Kindle Store.
Then, it’s time for me to turn the page and begin the next chapter. Marketing.
Would I have it any other way. Heck no.

Release date for Love in the Vines week commencing October 1, 2012.

From the moment I rushed passed her on the stairs, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before we connected. This time though, the wedding ring was on the other hand. Not mine, but hers, and Carla was her name.
Taking the plunge from the glamorous world of advertising to the intoxicating world of wine, Matt’s dream of becoming a gifted winemaker had come true. Leaving behind the city lights, casual late night flings and, the shattered remains of his marriage all Matt yearned for was a peaceful life spent among the fruit laden vines and sipping his own award winning wines.
With the ink now dry on his divorce papers, the last thing Matt wanted was to fall in love again…
Reaching over to touch the grapes, Matt said with a shy yet knowing smile. ‘Sugar, sunlight, alchemy; I like to think of it as chemistry and magic conspiring together and, with a lot of love, nurturing and attention, it is all that these little ones need.
While hurriedly dressing I thought about that damn quote, “time stands still for no one.”  Well, it definitely did not stand still for me, a woman, having an affair. Time was against me as I raced back home. Checking for any messages before I left. I was dismayed to see a missed call and a text from my husband. He was letting me know his lunch was over and he’d be home within the hour.

 

 

Words. Words. More Words.


Sorry for my blogging absence.
I’ve been glued to my screen and chair while doing the final edit of my second e-book, Love in the Vines.
Now well and truly down the road of my 5th edit, I can happily say, it’s shaping up to be a great read.
As a reader I know how irritating editing gaffes can be, so I figure it pays to spend a lot of time poring over every word.
I’m on a tight, correct that, very tight budget. My mother and sister (the wonderful Coby) are proving to be worth their weight in editing gold. Their combined editing skills shine.
The other week I emailed the rough draft to a couple of friends to read. And, without giving them any leading questions or pointers, all my message said was – “If you have time, please read and let me know what you think. The kicker is, I’d love to have your feedback in three days time. So that leaves you the weekend, plus one day.”
Well to my surprise they read it and shared incredible feedback, sending me back to re-work, edit, and make the changes suggested.
Tomorrow is my final word for word read through…..hopefully by the weekend or early next week, Love in the Vines will be in the safe hands of Amazon Kindle.
That is, if I can master and survive the Kindle file conversion and upload.

PS. The cover design is still in progress. It looks like the words Food | Wine | Love | Betrayal outside of the heart won the most Facebook and Blog votes.

Clear clutter. Make space for you.

Hands up if you regularly hold a pesky conversation inside your head that starts with the well-worn phrase of “if only I had more time…… for me?”

I’m sure that if I could see through the virtual world and into your space many hands would be sheepishly raised. Mine included.

That is until it dawned on me that if I don’t make time for me, who will? If I’m not happy and healthy then how on earth am I going to get through my day? If I’m not feeling good I’m certainly not going to be the best person I can be.

Break the phrase “if only I had more time….for me” into three parts and you end up with three parts of nothing much.

  1. If only
  2. I had more time
  3. For me

With more expected of and from you, more demands on time and with something to do squeezing out almost every single minute of the day it’s a wonder we haven’t all been reduced to a bunch of walking talking jibbering zombies.

With schedules crammed to bursting point some days there’s hardly time to make a bathroom stop and sleep let alone make time for the most important person. You.

I can only speak for myself here, but if I don’t have “me time” my mood takes a quick elevator ride up to the levels of cranky and crankier. Without making time every single day to do something that is important to and, for me, I simply would have a meltdown of epic proportions.

I make it my priority to prioritize me. Make it your priority to prioritize you.

Think about it. If I’m not happy, healthy and generally feeling good about myself then all other aspects of my life will suffer. Neither egotistical or selfish, it makes sense. After all, it’s up to me to get through my day, make the most of my life, make others happy, be a good person, achieve my goals and objectives. The list goes on with the one common factor, it’s all up to me.

To do this and more I need to take care of me first and not make myself the last priority on my to-do-list. Take the time and space that is right for you. Schedule a realistic amount of time that works for you and fits in with the rest of your day.

Whether it’s making time to exercise, go to the gym, read, write, bake, cook, plan, build, create, mediate, do yoga, blob and watch telly or to simply sit in quiet – write it, type it, either way, put it in your schedule and show up like you would for any other appointment.

Not a natural morning person I get up with the birds. As tough as it is to leave the comfort of my beautiful warm bed, I religiously get up an hour earlier for exercise me time. While churning out the running miles or pedaling my way through an RPM Spin cycle class I use this time to think and solve any problems. Often bringing a fresh perspective, stressful situations are eased or sorted. I also plan what to write, market and do that day. Within an hour my mind is clear of clutter and space has been made for the stuff that matters.

Clear clutter. Make space for you.

Put yourself at the top of your list and schedule time for you to do the one thing that will make you feel:

  • you’ve had time for you
  • good about yourself
  • content and satisfied that you’ve had time to do what you enjoy
  • able to give more of you to your family, work and others
  • great about being busy for the remainder of the day
  • less grumpy, dissatisfied, resentful or any other energy zapping negative emotion
  • ready to conquer your day
  • healthy and happy
  • like you matter

Plan to make time for you.

My life my way takeaway for Clear Clutter. Make space for you“Schedule time for you and show up like you would any other appointment.”


Clear Clutter. Make space for you is the title of Chapter 2 of my e-book Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat.

Minnie Moo needed to clear his mind of negative clutter to overcome his fear of hawks and go on his adventure with Mr T.

It resonates with me too. If I don’t make space for me I’m not going to be the best person I can be.