Saturday, March 30, 2013

#Romance #SampleSaturday ~ LET'S PRETEND #Excerpt

Thought I'd give you a little break from the diet stuff and post a sample of one of my rom-coms this week instead. Let's Pretend is a reunion/second chance romance I think you would enjoy. I certainly enjoyed writing it! 


He stopped in front of her, his green-gold gaze running over her upturned face with reservation. “Hello, Belle, you look w—”
Luc!” She threw herself into his arms, plastering her mouth to his in an enthusiastic kiss that shocked her as much as it did Luc. No way could she allow his formal greeting. It would draw questions she didn’t want to answer. Not now, when she suspected her gran was about to announce a terminal illness. The last thing Gran needed was the horrible news that her granddaughter and her favourite grandson-in-law had filed for divorce. 

(C) Monique DeVere 2010, 2013
All Rights Reserved


If you would like to read this story, you can purchase a copy from the Amazon links below.

Don’t have a Kindle? Not to worry, Amazon has FREE Kindle reading Apps which you can easily download and install on your laptop, PC or iPod. You can then download and read Kindle books on your device. Here’s a link to Amazon’s app download site where you can download FREE reading apps for your chosen device. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 2 On The 5:2 Diet ~ 3% fat loss & Another Inch off #5:2Diet #Weightloss #Diet #EatNutritious #GetHealthy

As promised, this is my week 2 Friday check in. Technically, my diet week doesn't end until Sunday, but I'm happy with Friday check ins. 

By the end of my first week on the 5:2 plan I lost 9 lbs! With only one 30 min session on my exercise bike while watching TV.

This week went well. My Monday fast was a breeze and Thursday was easy, too. It seems to be getting easier and when I come off the fast I'm finding that I'm not as crazy hungry as I thought I'd be.

In fact, controlling what I eat is so much easier now after my fast days. I can only think that the break from eating allows my blood sugar to settle, which eliminates the constant sugar cravings. I can't tell you how free from sugar addictions this make me feel.

Before starting the 5:2, I had dreadful sugar cravings which my body never coped with and I'd end up so tired I could hardly function. I haven't had, nor craved, on piece of chocolate, cake or stodgy pudding in two weeks.

Now I'm not saying I'll never eat another chocolate or slice of cake again, I'm just confident that if someone placed a delicious slice of cake in front of me, I'll have enough self-control not to dive on it before the bottom of the saucer even meets the tabletop.

I like this feeling of freedom.

Not once in two weeks have I emotional eaten. I allow myself to eat what I want as long as I'm hungry, but to tell you the truth, I haven't thought of food once unless I was hungry.

This is unheard of for me, let me tell you. 

After Monday's fast, I weighed (just so I could report back to you guys) and lost...nothing! BUT my fat count went down by 2% and I lost an inch from my hips! I did start exercise again this week so perhaps the lactic acid build-up in my muscles translated to the scales as no weight change. I'll report next Friday on this week's weight loss. But so far I've lost 3% body fat this week and another inch off!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Pull Up A Chair With Mon. Let's Talk About: Deep POV #writetips #writers #amwriting

Let’s Go Deep... POV, that is!

This is a post I wrote for a guest blog visit last year. I think it might be helpful to me readers, so I'm re-posting it here this month. Hope you find it helpful.

I remember many years ago—when I was a novice writer—a CP from my first online crit group suggested I go Deep Point Of View (POV).


I had no idea what she could possibly have meant and, since she didn’t offer any suggestions, I was at a total lost. It took a while for me to figure out what deep point of view was, but once I discovered this deeper way of writing, I haven’t looked back.

So, what exactly is Deep POV?

It’s a technique authors use to get into their characters minds so that the invisible narrator completely disappears. Your stories become more like watching movies than reading novels. The reader forgets she’s reading a book! Without deep pov the reader always has a vague awareness of the narrator, even if the author tries hard to make her/himself invisible. The only way to eliminate this unseen narrator is to go deep pov.

How do you get into Deep pov?

You need to burrow your way into the depths of your character’s mind, and live through them. You need to hear their thoughts, feel their emotions, experience their dreams, and then illustrate this to your reader. When you do that, your reader merges into your story and experiences your character’s life as if it’s hers, which increases her reading pleasure immensely.

If you think of writing in first person, you’ll instantly write differently because you’ll narrow your focus to a single, specific point. What I mean is, once we think in first person we automatically become the character. When we think in the third person, we retell someone else’s tale. I’m not suggesting you write in first person in order to achieve deep pov, I’m simply encouraging you to think that way because it makes a difference to the way you write. 

Why bother?

I’ll tell you why! When you make the effort to write in deep POV, you tighten your story and draw the reader right into the book. You make her live your story. You will also rid yourself of the “show, don’t tell” problem many writers encounter. You know the sort of things I’m referring to—he/she saw, felt, heard, smelled, thought, decided...and the list goes on.

Stick to deep, active POV, and your character will never say things like, she heard the door slam—but rather, somewhere upstairs in the dark, musty house, a door slammed shut.

Here are some quick rules to ensure you are writing in Deep POV.

Your character can’t know anything s/he doesn’t feel, touch, experience, see, taste, smell, hear, sense, and think. She can’t know that her eyes sparked with temper. She can, however, know that the hero makes her want to throw something at him. She can even grab the cool, glass vase from the table next to her and debate whether she could live without the solid family heirloom.

Another example is something like: Jessica fumbled with her keys; she thought she heard footsteps behind her. The keys fell from her nervous fingers. She bent to pick them up, and someone grabbed her from behind.

How about we go deep with something like: Jessica wrapped her coat tighter around her as she strode across the almost deserted car park at the back of her office building. Cold fog had drifted in late afternoon, dragging down the already dank weather and giving the car park an eerie atmosphere that brought out all sorts of creepy sounds and shadows. A sense of unease crept over her, encouraging Jess to up her pace. Each breath she exhaled frosted in front of her as she dug her hands in her jacket pocket and drew out her car keys.

Why hadn’t she parked closer?

Tomorrow, sound diet advice or not, she was parking right next to the building’s front entrance. So what if she didn’t add those extra steps the diet mag promised would help her to shift the five pounds she put on over Christmas? She’d rather be safe that trek across this car park in the dark again.  

An empty bottle clattered on the asphalt somewhere to her left, snapping her out of her thoughts and she glanced toward the sound.


 Not that she could see beyond the sparse circles of dim light floating down from the few lamp poles in the car park. When did it get so dark? Jess glanced around again. A few cars remained in the lot, scattered here and there, but hers was right at the very end where she’d parked in her effort to give herself the greatest calorie-burning walking distance.

Damn, she hated how easily she spooked. Quickening her steps, she huddled further inside her coat. Great, she’d managed to scare herself. She wanted to run, but forced her feet to keep an even pace. Then an empty can bounced on the ground behind her as if someone had kicked it. Her heart leaped and, without a backward glance, she took off. Jess was not a brave woman, and she saw no reason to change that character trait this instant, because there was no way in hell she imagined someone kicking that can!

Her car seemed twice as far as it had been only seconds ago.

Heavy footfalls hammered behind her and she didn’t dare look back.

Heart pounding so hard she could barely breathe, she fumbled with her keys, trying to find the fob. It had a personal alarm button that would set off her car alarm if she could only find it. In her frantic key search and mad dash to the safety of her car, her bag slipped off her shoulder, almost tripping her. She paused, reached for it, wasting crucial seconds, but she needed it. The thing was heavy enough to cause some damage if she used it as a weapon. The footfall closed in and, in a split-second decision, she left the bag and tore across the car park toward her car.

The person behind her must have picked up speed because a large man-shaped shadow overtook her, someone else’s breath besides hers frosted the air, and a blast of stale sweat stench shot up her frozen nostrils. Lungs screaming for mercy, Jess pumped her arms faster. Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do if you wanted to run faster? Or was that pump your legs quicker?  Lord, help me and I promise—

A big leather-gloved hand clamped over her mouth, her keys flew out of her hand, and an enormous arm snaked around her ribcage, crushing the breath out of her as her attacker swung her off her feet.

He clutched her hard against his huge body. “Did you think you would outrun me?” His harsh laugh drilled into her eardrum. 

Do you see the difference? First of all you add a lot more words when you go Deep POV. If you compare these two examples, I hope you’ll notice how much more involved you are in the story. That’s because you now know what is going on in Jess’s head. Moreover, you should get a sense of the type of person she is. That’s characterization, something that doesn’t happen when you write using shallow POV.

Just remember, stick to only what your POV character can touch, taste, see, experience, smell, hear, feel, sense, or think. Remember also to depict each character only through another character’s pov, and use all of your human senses to create a reflection of real-life.

If you do this, you’ll significantly improve you writing skills.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Lost 6 lbs in 2 Days on The 5:2 Eating Plan! #Weightloss #Diet #5:2Diet #EatNutritious #GetHealthy

I remember a time when life was simple, weight wasn't an issue and UK size six was baggy on me. Those days are long gone! Two things happened--I can't even really blame my pregnancies because I lost all of my baby weight soon after each baby! First, I hit a patch of huge stress when our little girl was diagnosed with Leukaemia four years ago. Can you say emotional eating? Then I hit my 40s. Okay, so I'm not hugely overweight, but nothing in my wardrobe fits, and to a woman, that spells disaster.

Want to hear something funny? Recently my hubby, being the amazing, helpful man he is, offered to put away my clean laundry. Of course I protested since I hate feeling as though I'm always too busy to do the little things. He insisted, opened my wardrobe door, then slowly turned his head to pin me with his dismayed blue gaze.

"I can see why you didn't want me to hang up your washing." His hands disappeared into the wardrobe and returned with a few items of clothing. "These still have the labels on them," he said with his signature you-are-so-caught smile.

"I know," I replied, trying not to look guilty. "Those are my I-have-a-dream clothes."

Truth is I bought them when I was that size but never got around to wearing them. I do that sort of thing. Then the fat hit and I forgot I had them hanging in my wardrobe waiting for their turns to be worn.

So now I'm close to three stone over what I was when Meg got sick and every time I think I'm about to get a handle on this weight issue, something happens and the emotional eating episodes begin all over again. It doesn't help that I'm an author and sit on my butt for hours upon hours each day, only moving to grab a snack, tea or do the school run. 

Exercise and healthy eating seemed to be a thing of the past until I got serious and started seeking God on my issues. Okay I admit, I ran whinging to Him. It wasn't the first time, I can tell you. Once I heard Him clearly tell me to fast two days each week. I'm used to fasting but I've never managed it without the prompting of the Holy Spirit. My longest no food fast was twenty-one days and that was definitely not on my strength. I knew I'd never be able to fast on my own--I'd tried before and lasted a sum total of two hours. Once I even forgot I was fasting and ate breakfast...end of fast. So I dismissed the Lord's advice. I know not smart.

Anyway, He is good and quick to forgive. This time when I lamented to Him, He said the same thing. Fast two days of the week. I thought it over, wondering how I was going to commit to fasting two whole days every week without faltering. Then I stumbled upon the 5:2 eating plan. What does it call for? You got it, fasting for two days per week. There are many ways you can follow the plan but I feel comfortable with the 5:2--eat normally for five days and fast for two. Some people do a 4:3, 6:1 or alternate day fasting. It's all still intermittent fasting.

Right, totally juiced, I started my fast on Monday. Since the weekends are my regular see-food diet days (for those who don't know about the see-food diet...when you see food you eat it! LOL), I relaxed and, putting the science of metabolism to work for me, began my new eating plan with a cheat day on Sunday. I ate to my heart's content all day Sunday--except when I was at church, but even then I had a couple of sweets--without stuffing myself.

Apparently, eating liberally of whatever you fancy/crave will boost you body's leptin. Leptin is the body's fat burning hormone. To take advantage of the high levels of leptin, I made Monday my fasting day. Mondays work for me cos I always feel blah after my weekend over-indulgences and naturally eat less on Mondays anyway. Yesterday was my second fast day this week and it went great because I knew I could eat whatever I wanted today! Today I feel light and focused. I don't feel the need to eat unless I'm hungry. That was one of my problems, I tended to snack so often I never had chance to get hungry. This is why I never made Paul McKenna's plan work for me.

Here's an article from The Telegraph you might find interesting: The 5:2 diet: can it help you lose weight and live longer?

In the first two days of the eating plan I lost 6 lbs! I fully expected it to land back on my hips the moment I started to eat normally again but it didn't. I've never experience that before.

So far I've lost 7 lbs in 5 days (first week hasn't ended yet) and two inches from my hips without any real exercise. I did half an hour on my exercise bike on Tuesday night but haven't managed any more exercise since then. Prayerfully, I'll get it together and add a couple of exercise DVDs next week. Do pop back next Friday for an update. I'll try to share my journey here with you each Friday on what I will call 5:2 Friday.

Meanwhile, if you've tried this eating plan or intend to, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear about your experience so far. This is my first week and it's a plan I feel I can easily live with. How do you find it for ease, convenience and freedom?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Interview With Author Monique DeVere = a #FREE Digital Autographed Copy of LET'S PRETEND

I am being interviewed by Stacy Verdick Case today!

I would love it if you'd drop by and leave a comment with your email addy for a chance to win one of two digital autographed copies of LET'S PRETEND ~ a  reunion/second chance romantic comedy. 

Looking forward to seeing you over at Stacy's Blog.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rowling’s Risky Business #BlogTaxi #Blogging

Today, my guest blogger is Stacy Verdick Case who is the author of the Catherine O’Brien mystery series. The second book in the series A Luring Murder was released in December.

Welcome, Stacy! So happy to have you here. The floor is all yours, take it away.

Thanks, Monique!

First a confession, I was never a Harry Potter fan. There I said it. On the other hand, I wasn’t one of the Harry Potter haters either. I’d read the first Harry Potter, gave it to my nephew, and never went back for more from Hogwarts, but I didn’t grumble about Rowling’s success. On the contrary, I celebrate any author’s success. To do otherwise would be bad karma.

When the Potter franchise ended, I think everyone had packed away JK Rowling along with their wizard’s wands. They assumed that she had done all the writing she would ever do.
Then word spread that Rowling was writing another book. A book that (gasp) had nothing to do with the world of Potter. Speculation swirled around how the book would be received. Would the adult Potter fans accept an adult book from Rowling?

On September 27, 2012, The Casual Vacancy was released, and I sat back to watch what would happen. Would Potter fans support Rowling in her grown-up pursuits? Would the critics pan or support the book? Could people get past the JK Rowling of kid book fame and read the new novel?

The Casual Vacancy shot to the top of USA Today’s bestseller list bumping Fifty Shades of Grey out of the number one spot after a twenty-one week domination. Clearly the Potter fans were ready to follow Rowling to the next level. However reviews of the book have been poor. Some fans who had grown up reading Potter claimed the book lacks the pacing and suspense of the books they loved as a child. Critics are saying it’s “not bad”, “funny”, “good but not great”.

Part of me wonders if Rowling is getting a fair shake. Every review seems to compare The Casual Vacancy heavily to Harry Potter. This wouldn’t have happened if she were a new author, which in my opinion she is. She had a great career writing fantasy for children, but as an adult author, writing about the real world she is a newbie. These genres are two different animals entirely.
There is creative freedom when writing fantasy. It had to have been difficult to bring her writing into the confinement of reality. There seems to be a lot of complaints that the beginning of The Casual Vacancy is slow. Isn’t this the editor falling down on the job? Shouldn’t Rowling’s editor have stepped in to hone the book to a finer edge? Every writer can find themselves struggling to find their legs in the beginning. Usually there’s a critique partner or an editor who suggests judicious cutting. I’ve long suspected that authors who reach a certain level of success stop getting the editorial honesty they need.

In the end, I don’t think Rowling could have ever received a fair shake. The only hope she would have had would have been quietly publishing under a pseudonym, but then the book wouldn’t have received the hype or the press that it’s received. It also most certainly would not have rocketed to the number one spot on USA Today in less than a week had the name on the cover been Jane Johnson.

I applaud Rowling for taking a risk. She had to have known the book could disillusion the Potter fans that she would be open for comparison, but she didn’t hide behind a pseudonym. My guess is Rowling’s writing will continue to evolve. Over time, she will find her chair at the grown-up’s table.

The irreverent detective is back, and this time she’s on vacation.

God help us all.

St. Paul, Minnesota Homicide Detective Catherine O’Brien and her loving husband Gavin are vacationing on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. When a local is murdered Catherine is tapped to help the small town Sheriff until the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrives to take over the investigation.

Catherine is surprised when her partner Louise and Diggs the forensic pathologist, whose crush on Louise is only dwarfed by his own genius, show up to assist instead of the BCA.

Before long Catherine and Louise discover this sleepy little town has a dark side hidden beneath its placid lake charms. Somewhere in the tangle of cheating and deception is a motive for murder. 

You can purchase A Luring Murder  from Amazon. See links below. Visit Stacy on the web at