On My Wish List

The stars of HGTV’s Selling New York let fans step inside the high-profile world of Manhattan real estate in a wild and one-of-a-kind novel of stormy egos, sumptuous homes, and staggering fame and fortune: Hot Property. Michele Kleier and her daughters Sabrina and Samantha are no strangers to the high-stakes Manhattan market, with clients that have included Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Katie Couric, Barbra Streisand, Diane Keaton, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino. Now, in Hot Property—perfect for fans of The Devil Wears Prada, One Fifth Avenue, and The Nanny Diaries—the irrepressible first ladies of New York City real estate give readers a glimpse of what it’s like to be at the top of the game in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world.

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, steampunk meets romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

Melissa begins her freshman year with one goal in mind, getting Brian Jackson to be her boyfriend. She will soon learn that things don't necessarily turn out the way you plan them, the value of true friendship, and the importance of family.

What's on your wishlist?

Going back to school

Yes, that is right. I am going back to school for degree #2.

The first one I received because my dad asked, "When are you graduating?" My reply was probably a shrug and a yawn. At the time, I loved school. I was pretty happy attending a bunch of classes and learning all sorts of things. When he came back with, "No, I mean you need to find out when you are graduating. Like now." So I went to my adviser and they said I could graduate in one semester with a degree in Spanish and a minor in business and portuguese. That is how I attained my first degree.

Now that I am fairly certain (read: 110%) that I know which direction I want my professional life to go, I decided to go back to school to get the degree for me. I am going for a Communications degree with focus on technology. Which basically means it will focus on writing, publishing, editing, online media and web design. All of which I would love to work on. I don't have a definite job that I am waiting for because I can go in any which way with my current company, but my boss did mention that we have a department specifically for reading and writing blogs - WHAT?!?!?! - and he is looking in to it for me - (he must look faster). I am pretty excited about that, but still really want to know more about these other subjects, hence school. It will be the fast degree where I go back for two years instead of four. Two years. I can do that. . . . . right? And it's all online, so I don't have to wear anything nice or go anywhere special.

It's funny to think about the whole school thing because when I was in school that was my life. My whole world centered around school. It wasn't weird that I spent 40+ hours studying and learning with in between times of a job and swimming. Now, my life is spent making sure I pay bills, stay in shape (kindof) and live my life. Knowing what I know now, life is so much larger than that campus. I work to live. So to know I am sacrificing some of my free time to go back to school is a tough cookie to swallow. The only thing that spurs me on is I would hate to be 20 years down the road and be stuck in my job because I don't have the qualifications to go farther. If I struggle to go back now, I can't image my feelings 20 years from now.

I am nervous and yet oh, so excited to finally - FINALLY - know what I want out of life. For me.

I want to be a writer. A published writer. I want to learn about editing and publishing. I want to know more about websites, online EOS and so much more. I want to do something more creative than management, though I have to say, in the past couple of years I have really come to love the management job watching my people grow into something they didn't think possible and helping a store become what it could be.

Owning our stationery store ages ago, we created so many wonderful things for people and I miss that incredibly. I find myself making signs, creating events, doing employee appreciating activities just to pull in the creativity I am needing. I love it when someone says, "Get with Heidi and have her make you a sign or form." Ha! Yes, that is me.

So here goes nothing. I'll see you on other other side.

No, I am not leaving blogging. I love this, but my reading and reviews may slow down a tiny bit. Not much though. I am slightly obsessed.

Review, Interview & Giveaway - The Insider by Reece Hirsch

Title: The Insider
Author: Reece Hirsch
Publish Date:
Paperback, 330 pages

Barnes and Noble

Like a good thriller? Like a book that keeps you guessing and supplies the reader with twists and turns??? This is definitely the book for you.

Will is a lawyer at a really nice firm on his way to becoming partner, when a fellow associate is tossed from his office window with Will's key card implicating him in his death. He is then introduced to some Russian Mafya contacts who are looking to extort some valuable insider trading information from him. The good thing is they must keep him alive to keep attaining information, the bad is they can hurt him repeatedly. I liked Will. He is smart, but not too smart. He shows his vulnerabilities well, which always makes the character more likable and easier to root for. He had a soft spot for women, Kafta, a Russian who finds him attractive and Claire, a paralegal in his office. I hate to admit it, but one of the Russian Mafya contacts was one of my favorite characters. I don't usually go for the bad guys, but Yuri was funny, stupid and so incredibly fun to read. Some of the most laugh out loud parts though simply involved Will's inner dialog. I had it all wrong too. I kept changing my guess of who was behind it all and then it wasn't until it was almost announced in the book that I caught on. Then again, I really enjoyed just sitting back and reading this book. It wouldn't be fair to say this is a summer read because that would make it seem like it was light and fluffy when in fact, this novel is full of action, lies and intellectual. Just when I thought things were winding down, something else popped up, but it was done in a way that really pulled the book together instead of making it jumbled. I really liked that it spoke up to the reader. For a first novel, I was very impressed. Can't wait to read what Reece Hirsch will write next.

About Reece Hirsch -
Reece Hirsch

Reece Hirsch is a partner in the San Francisco office or Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP specializing in privacy, security and healthcare law. He is a nationally recognized privacy and security law expert and has been listed in Chambers USA: America's Best Lawyers for Business from 2005-2010. Reece was also selected as an "Outstanding Healthcare Information Technology Attorney" by Nightingale's for 2009. Reece is a member of the Board of Directors of 826 National and The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation.

Reece earned his law degree from the University of Southern California and a B.S. degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Prior to law school, Reece worked as a journalist in Atlanta for several years, including a stint as an assistant editor of a business magazine. For three years, he edited and published an arts and entertainment magazine in Atlanta.

Reece lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Kathy and their dog Simon. Reece's ramblings can be found every other Saturday at the 7 Criminal Minds blog.

Reece is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern California chapter of MWA. He is also a member of the International Association of Thriller Writers.

Interview -
First of all, I REALLY, REALLY want to thank you for allowing me to interview you on my blog and offer up a FREE COPY to giveaway to one lucky reader!! Also, some of the questions I wanted to ask Reece are already answered on his blog, so just in case there is a question you are dying to know the answer to, go visit there!

What would you like people to know about you?
I'd like people to know that I'm involved with a wonderful organization called 826 National, which conducts writing programs for young people in underserved communities. The organization started in San Francisco, but now has chapters in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Boston. They're always looking for volunteers for tutoring and other services, so if you live in one of those communities (or even if you don't), check them out at www.826national.org.

Do you have a favorite character in The Insider?
I'm closest to the character Will because I know people like that very well from practicing law for over 20 years. However, my favorite character would have to be Yuri, the would-be Russian gangster. He takes so much pleasure in wreaking havoc that I always enjoyed writing the chapters that he appears in. Yuri mirrors Will in some ways because they're both young men trying to get ahead in the world -- one in the legal world and one in the not-so-legal world.

What is your process for writing?
I think my writing process has become more streamlined over time. Because THE INSIDER was my first book, I made a lot of beginner's mistakes. I revised and revised THE INSIDER over a period of six years. I did more than one page-one rewrite of the manuscript. With the second book that I'm writing, I think that I'm able to get things right the first time in a way that I wasn't able to before.

What advice to you have for those of us (ahem) who would like to write and be published one day?
The best advice I can give is to keep writing and don't underestimate how polished your book needs to land an agent and then a publisher. When I sent my manuscript out to agents the first time, everyone passed on it and I had to recognize that it just wasn't ready yet. The writers who get published are the ones who don't get discouraged and keep working to write the best book that they can.

What is the best part of what you do? The toughest part?
The best part is hearing from a reader who's spent a few hours caught up in my book. The toughest part is slogging through revisions on a day when you're not feeling particularly inspired.


Summary -
First corporate attorney Will Connelly's colleague hurtles to his death outside his office window. Within days, Will is a prime suspect in a murder, the target of an S.E.C. insider trading investigation, and a pawn in a complex criminal scheme involving the Russian mafia and a ruthless terrorist plot. Now, to top things off, he must ensure a deadly enemy doesn't gain access to the nation's most sensitive and confidential information-that has the power to do incalculable, irrevocable harm.

One very lucky winner will receive
a paperback copy of
THE INSIDER by Reece Hirsch
(can we get a round of applause
for an awesomely, kind author??)

You do not have to be a follower of mine
but you may do so if you like my blog
or please feel free to follow me on
(see links to right of blog post)
One entry per person.
Winner will be contacted by email.
Winner will have 3 days to contact me
with address for sending out copy of book.
US addresses only (sorry)
Contest ends on . . . . Aug 11, 2011!!!

How to enter:
Leave a comment on this post with
1. WHY you want to read this book
OR WHAT about this post interests you
2. Name as you would like to be announced
3. Your email address
***Those who do not do this will be disqualified***

Wordless Wednesday - tip jar

At my local coffee stop -


Tuesday - Tune In & Teaser

Hosted by GReads

Caught this on my Ipod and forgot how much I love this song. It completely speaks to the teenage girl who believes in love at first sight and that anything can work if love is involved.

Lisa Loeb - Stay

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I briefly considered attempting a spell, but figured with my luck, I'd end up turning myself into a chicken burrito. Besides, my last - and only - spell was probably only a success because Angelique, a more experienced witch, was with me.

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Mocha at home anytime I want!!

My parent's gifted me with their older model coffee maker years ago, swearing me to keep it always. I love it for so many sentimental reasons because I remember my parent's using it while I was growing up. I know, it's a coffee machine, but to me, it has memories. It died this past week and I horror the thought of getting a replacement. I figured I would just get a basic coffee machine. I mean that is all I do, is make regular coffee. Course, it has to have a timer button to preset my coffee for the morning and it has to have an automatic on/off switch because I am hella-forgetful. I did some consumer report research online and found the one I think I wanted, plus I was gifted with BedBathandBeyond gift card for xmas.

Here is what Consumer Reports rated as the best least expensive coffee machine on the market. Now when I consider price, I factor in that I will use this everyday for years.

So even though this is $80. If I use it everyday for one year, it really cost me 22 cents a day or $1.52 a week. Pretty good deal. Otherwise I can spend $20 and only get a few months out of it.

But I never even made it down the aisle to see the machine I picked out. I got stopped by the espresso makers at the front of the aisle.

I make coffee at work when giving breaks in the cafe, so now I know how to make real Starbucks type coffee. I love that stuff and if I could make it with my own decaf coffee that would be perfect. Because I am sorry, but attention coffee makers, please make more flavors of decaf coffee because that on the market sucks!!

Just think: A HOMEMADE mocha!! Anytime I wanted!!

So here is Saint halfway down the aisle picking out the machine I found online and telling me to get it, meanwhile I am still in the beginning of the aisle dreaming up mochas. I wasn't sure which one to buy as I didn't research the different brands of espresso machines, but when I played with the one I thought I wanted, it felt cheap, so I decided to get the least expensive one and try it out. That way if I didn't like it or it died, I wouldn't feel too bad about spending the money.

Here is what I ended up buying instead -

We were halfway home when I realized I didn't have any kind of chocolate, so we swung by the store and picked up Nutella and Nestle Chocolate Sauce (because I wasn't sure which one). I also had to invest in a small silver milk steamer cup - and I say had- but I just wanted it all to match and be pretty.

When I got home, I immediately started unpacking the machine SO EXCITED!! But then I got cold feet and scared myself into not making it. I cleaned instead. Later, Saint came in to ask about my coffee and I realized I had to at least attempt to make it.

Here's what I do -
Make espresso following the directions in the instructions. Add a scoop of chocolate sauce (or really whatever flavor you want) Steam the milk, the pour together stirring in til the chocolate is mixed and melted. DONE!

It turned out great!! Other than not steaming the milk enough to heat it up completely. I now know that I can put the steamer cup underneath the steamer and not worry about the tip of the steamer touching the bottom of the steamer cup. Not sure why this is a caution on the instructions, but I want to follow it.

The really great thing is, I rarely make coffee for company so making a big pot of coffee isn't something I am worried about and if I want a basic cup of coffee I can make an Americano, which is an espresso with water. How cool is it that I can make a $4 mocha at home???

Now all I am missing is WHIP CREAM to pour on top of my mocha!!

What about you? Do you make coffee at home?