Gabriella Hewitt's Blog
July 25, 2012
Recovering from the death of her husband, Devalera Dunne is making a new home for herself in Naples, Florida. With a background in interior design, she’s been keeping busy with small design projects involving her neighbors and the property owner. So, when a new neighbor asks Deva to do the interior design for her entire condo, after a slight hesitation, Deva agrees. A former exotic dancer Treasure is a far cry from Deva’s former Boston blue-blood clientele, but there’s something refreshing about the beautiful, leggy blonde–that is until Deva finds her dead. Unable to let the mystery go, Deva digs into Treasure’s background and develops a pile of suspects. It’s hard to know who to trust, not the distinguished upstairs neighbor nor even the hardnosed, good-looking detective. As secrets unfold and lies are revealed, Deva has her hands full. She better find the murderer fast because it’s becoming clear that the next victim on the list is her!
I love to curl up with a good cozy mystery. Designed for Death offers all a cozy mystery fan could wish for: an engaging heroine, a solid mystery, and a healthy dose of suspense mixed with a dash of humor. I enjoyed this so much I picked up the second book in the series which just came out: The Monet Murders. I look forward to reading more of this series and hope Ms. Harrington continues to deliver.
July 23, 2012
I interrupt this Man Candy Monday…
We have news! Like all things that progress, though, change is often a part of that progression. But change can be a good thing!
Like a new haircut, finding that perfect dress that you would have never dared to wear when you were younger, or deciding that you need to leave one career in hopes of starting another…it can all be scary and somewhat disconcerting. Still, you feel better about yourself once you’ve accomplished a new goal. It is a good thing!
Patrizia and Sasha knew when they chose to start writing, that it was a good thing. So we’re going to say with absolute certainty that what we plan is a good thing.
Patrizia and Sasha have gone through a lot of changes these past few years and all them have been awakening, awe-inspiring and at times hard and difficult, but we survived every blow that has been dealt. Most recently, we have had some major changes happen in the past few months alone that shook our world. We have had editor changes, agent changes and various home related incidents that made us wonder if we had angered the gods. But in the end, we have come out stronger, better, faster, and definitely wiser.
This past year we have put out two new books in our wonderful, Shadow Warrior series. We have enjoyed the response from reviewers and readers sharing their thoughts and comments. What originally started out as a novella series has now morphed into full novels, which we hope to sell and continue to give readers a heartstopping experience. We do hope that you keep an eye out for our upcoming releases.
As of August 1st, we will no longer be blogging. It was a hard decision to make but we feel it is in our best interest. We want to concentrate on writing and giving our readers a great experience. The website will still be up and running, occassionally we will put up some exciting news but overall, we will be hip deep in manuscripts.
Sasha will also stop posting to her Facebook account. We will still be available on twitter. Check out the website welcome page for announcements about book tours and new releases.
We appreciate all the years we have had with out readers, friends, and co-authors who have stopped by and given their time to chat with us. We hope to archive all of March Madness interviews and guest posts. We will also be offering Charmed Ever After as a free read come the end of 2012. We hope you do stop by and download the updated version and read the stunning conclusion.
Kisses and hugs to everyone. Best wishes to all!
Sasha and Patrizia
aka Gabriella Hewitt
July 20, 2012
The Olympics will be starting soon and I am getting excited. The men and women at the games have worked so hard to get to this top sporting event. It’s sports at the absolute best and I love it.
The talent, the muscles, the perseverance are something to watch. Let’s face it, even with thousands of miles and a TV screen between us, we feel the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It’s why we tune in.
I’ve spotlighted the Men’s Swimming team and the Men’s Boxing team in my Man Candy Monday. If you haven’t checked out those posts, get digging. You’re missing out. These guys are darn sexy and let’s hope they bring home the gold.
I will try to watch as much as I can, but I’m really looking forward to the swimming and gymnastic events. With swimming it’s the combination of speed and power that gets me, as they move through the water. In gymnastics the strength and agility are just amazing.
So speaking of the Olympics, what Olympic sport are you? Take this short quiz and find out.
You Are Swimming
You are an interesting set of contradictions.
You are peaceful yet competitive. Graceful yet strong.
You exist in your own private universe.
What Olympic Sport Are You?
Blogthings: Waste Time at Work!
I have to say that last line is spot on. I totally exist in my own universe, which is why my kids get frustrated when I don’t remember what they asked. My husband, too, when he’s told me something and five minutes later I have to ask again. But, when you’re a writer, living in your own universe is a good thing.
So how about you? What Olympic sport do you look forward to watching and what sport are you? Let me know in the comments.
July 17, 2012
Just read a brilliant article that made me think about how I write and what I write about and how is the best approach to deliver that message.
In the article Why Storytelling is the Utlimate Weapon by Jonathan Gottschall,
he concludes that “A story is a trick for sneaking a message into the fortified citadel of the human mind.”
Everyone loves a good story but it is the story filled with emotion and a premise that sucks people in, this is the story that will stick the best.
This article matches how good storytelling and good marketing go hand in hand. Tell a good story and you can bet that people will buy the product and keep coming back for more if it is a good story they want to be told time and time again.
The article is featured on website called Co. Create. The fundamental reason for this website is simple. According to the Editor of Co. Create, “Our central premise is that creativity is key, at all levels of business. While business in the past was driven by efficiency, it’s creativity and innovation that will advance companies, and society in general, now.”
Absolutely brilliant! Finally a website that offers marketing advice with business advice with a creative bent focused at engaging creative minds. I loved it. I spent over an hour surfing this site and reading various articles. I walked away feeling refreshed, and happy, and actually smarter!
But the best part of this exciting adventure was that I found articles that helped me feel good about my creative process and validated me. I can’t remember the last time I felt this alive from reading a webiste. Finally, after reading articles on writing by people with what seems like a second grade education on Yahoo or MSN, I find amazing articles on Co Exist that empowered me and made me feel like I wasn’t crazy or boring. I wanted to sit all day and just absorb the wisdom.
Here is a great snippet from 4 Lessons in Creativity From John Cleese (marvelous comedian and writer) as he recounts the key, practical traits of truly creative people he read about in an article by a professor: “The first thing he discovered is that the creative architects knew how to play. They could get immersed in a problem. It was almost childlike, like when a child gets utterly absorbed in a problem. The second thing was that they deferred making decisions as long as they could. This is surprising.”
“If you have a decision to make, what is the single most important question to ask yourself? I believe it’s ‘when does this decision have to be made’? When most of us have a problem that’s a little bit unresolved, we’re a little bit uncomfortable. We want to resolve it. The creative architects had this tolerance for this discomfort we all feel when we leave things unresolved.”
“Why would those two things be importance? The playfulness is because in that moment of childlike play, you’re much more in touch with your unconscious. The second is that when you defer decisions as long as possible, it’s giving your unconscious the maximum amount of time to come up with something.”
Yes!!!! This feels like truth to me.
I love to play loud music and dance around while I write. I get hyped up. Then I love to talk with my characters before I write anything down on paper. Then I spend an hour or more in a good chat session via instant messenger with Patrizia and we hash stuff out forever, bouncing ideas back and forth. It is like ladies night out with too much wine and cheese. Then before we commit to it and begin to write it down (which can be a month) we finally seal off on a decision and then run with the actual writing of the manuscript.
It allows us time to really understand the inner and outer conflict of our hero and heroine, and makes the story that much stronger.
There are so many articles that I would love to go on and on about, but I doubt I have the room. So I invite everyone to head on over to Co. Create and get a cup of coffee, some donuts or bagels, preference is yours, and just sit back at 6:30 am when the house is quiet and read article after article. They have a new one everyday. The website even offers Master Classes with some very talented authors, writers, artists, etc. All there to give you a boost and fill your head with good wholesome information sure to raise your IQ and creativity level. http://www.fastcocreate.com/
July 16, 2012
Okay, I have my favorites. Two are from NY, my old stomping grounds, so I am leaning towards them but overall I am totally hyped up for this slew of rugged and disciplined Man Candy. This looks like a solid and wonderful crew of hopefuls for the Men’s 2012 USA Olympic Boxing Team.
Boxing, UFC and WWE Wrestling is my guitly pleasure. I love watching men beat the hell out of each other, half naked, sweating and bloody. Yes, I know. There is seriously something wrong with me. C’mon, admit it! Women do find it sexy on some lower base prehistoric level. I have no idea what it is about men fighting that is glorious or sexy, all I know is I get really hot and bothered watching the action. For some strange reason, the winner always looks ten times hotter afterwards even though he has a busted lip and crooked nose. I call it Gladiator Syndrome. (Not a real medical condition but I’m coinign that phrase) Still I know I am not alone. Here is an article from the London Telegraph that explains the psychology behind women fawning over boxers and this ancient blood sport.
Well, enough of me and my strange fetishes. Here are the 2012 Men’s Boxing Olympians that will be representing USA in the London 2012 Olympics:
Want to learn more about these men, then check out the Boxing 2012 USA Olympic Team.
Even more awesome is the women that will be fighting this year. Go ladies!!! Whoo Hoo!!! We’ve always known women can throw a good right hook. Now the world will know it too!
What do you think about boxing? Are you turned on or turned off?
July 12, 2012
Rolling Stone Magazine has a feature on the Top Ten Opening Acts as polled by readers. Now I don’t pay attention to a lot of what happens on the music scene, but yeah, me! I knew everybody on the list. How could you not with names like Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, Prince, and Red Hot Chili Peppers?
Opening acts are those guys that get on stage before the main liner. You know, the ones you might listen to or turn to your friends and ask “Who are these guys?”, while you count down the minutes until the main act. Go through this list and have a blast from the past. Honesty, it’s hard to believe some of these folks were simply opening acts given the status they hold today.
In 1972 Steve Wonder opened for the Rolling Stones. According to the Rolling Stone article, the Stones were at their peak while Wonder was still somewhat unknown. Apparently this tour changed that and if you click on the link to the article it’ll lead you to an amazing medley of “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
I’m not going to tell you who was number 1. Suffice it to say I was really surprised. At the same time, I wasn’t surprised by why this opening act didn’t do well with this particular group. Go take a look and see. Tell me if you were surprised.
The whole article is an amazing list of Who’s Who and links to some awesome songs. It’s a walk down memory lane for some and an introduction to some of rock history’s greats for others.
Now number two on the list has been pounding in my head all day. In 1982 The Who went on a tour billed as their last farewell. They’ve had more concerts since, but hey, at the time they thought this was it, we’re packing it in. Opening for them was The Clash. Feel like dancing? How about a little Rock the Casbah!
By the way, read what Robert Plant has to say about Led Zeppelin’s first gig in the US. It made me laugh and think to myself, “Me, too.” (In my dreams, okay?)
July 11, 2012
Simon Says by Lena Diaz
Simon Says Die follows up on Lena Diaz’s He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not (see my post two weeks ago), in which Madison McKinley and Special Agent Pierce Buchanan made an appearance. Simon is a serial killer plying his trade on the streets of Savannah. The police have their hands full with their task force and are less than enthusiastic about a woman who calls them about a stalker only she has seen. So, when the man comes back, Madison takes matters into her own hands. Pierce doesn’t want to have to face the woman who broke his heart but he promised her brother, his best friend, to check on Madison. As with anything that has to do with Madison, he gets way more than he bargained for.
This story meshes mystery with suspense. Think Gaslight with all kinds of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Each bit of the puzzle is more intriguing than the last. Madison is spunky and feisty and keeps Pierce tied up in knots. Her gun fetish had me laughing out loud. She’s a woman of action, who doesn’t do orders well. Pierce is thrown off balance from the start. He wants to protect Madison, but even he isn’t sure what to believe. But, as the noose around Madison’t neck gets tighter, he can’t afford to have doubts. Someone is playing a deep game. Pierce may not know the rules, but he has every intention of winning. He isn’t about to lose Madison to a madman.
This is another winner from Diaz. Readers of romantic suspense will be delighted with this entry and clamoring for more.
July 9, 2012
Zac Efron skateboarding on the boardwalk.
Marcin Jagoda @ Hermosa Beach Open 2011
Want more beach ready bodies?
Check out his video
July 6, 2012
I’ve got to say I’ve probably tried just about every exercise program out there. Jane Fonda aerobics? You betcha. I’ve got a dusty video around somewhere still. Richard Simmons? Oh yeah. Shake it, ladies. Pilates, anyone? Yup, tried that, too, and have the stretch band or whatever it’s called to prove it. And everyone’s favorite, Billy’s Bootcamp! I think every housewife in the neighborhood had that one because all the kids at the elementary school knew the moves. Pretty hilarious I have to say. Then there’s Zumba. No DVD, but I did attend a class…once. Lots of fun and proved I had no rhythm.
Call me the Queen of Exercise Not!
I’m always game for the next program or exercise fad. I try it but can never make it stick. I go through it every year, because just as fall rolls into winter and winter rolls into spring, spring rolls into someone. And let’s face it, girls, we all know what summer means–trying to fit into shorts, swimsuits and tank tops without scaring away the rest of the population.
Now I’m being flip about this, but let’s be honest. I try all these programs because I constantly hope that this one will be THE ONE! The one that I can do more than three times. The one that will help me tighten those abs and thighs and make me feel like I’m in the best possible shape I can be.
A friend of mine pointed me towards BODYROCK.tv. It’s on the Internet and it’s free. A workout video is put up each day. The workouts are 12 minutes each. Twelve minutes! Sounds totally feasible, doesn’t it? Well, I took a look at one of the workouts and it’s tough. Put it this way, when a guy with six pack abs is sucking in air by the end you know it’s not a cruise. But, you are told from the start to do what you can. That I can do.
I poked around the website and found a beginner section. I’ve placed a YouTube clip below that you can see. This is totally doable and you do feel it. I don’t have a sandbag as she uses in this clip. I just substituted with whatever was in hand in the house that had a little weight to it. Be creative. I have to admit, I’ve only done a whopping two days, but you never know.
Head on over to BODYROCK.tv and check it out. It doesn’t cost you anything and there’s a different routine everyday. You will find previous routines up there, so if you want to focus on a particular body area you can choose those 12 minute exercise programs. There’s also a Facebook page and ways to comment and encourage one another if you want that kind of support. Go ahead and take a look.
If you’re like me, maybe this is THE ONE that will turn you from Queen of Exercise Not to Queen of Sveltness! A girl can dream, can’t she???!!!
July 4, 2012
Happy Independence Day, America!
It’s BBQs and parties up and down the block. What are your plans for this awesome holiday? I’m already salivating for the steaks that are coming off the grill. My kids can have the hamburgers and hotdogs. Really, the best part of this holiday is hanging out with family and friends, and of course, all the yummy food.
If you’re still struggling to come up with a recipe to bring for whatever picnic or potluck you need to attend, why not check out my recipe books? You’ll find an Aztec Salad that is simple to make (see below), or recipes for guacamole that will go perfectly with some tortilla chips.
AZTEC CORN SALAD from HappyHerbivore.com
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked
3 tsp lime juice
Combine all ingredients except lime juice and chill. Add lime juice before serving.
If you’d like to see it done watch me do it in this YouTube video.
Or click on this link: http://youtu.be/SDd5hMCqZsY
If you haven’t downloaded my recipe books, now’s a good chance. You can find Hot in the Kitchen and Puerto Rican Recipes on my Free Reads page or click here.
Finally, this day isn’t complete without listening to at least one rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Here is Marvin Gaye with an amazing performance. Do you have any favorite performances of the National Anthem? Let me know.