Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lithium Breathing: The Balancing Breath

This is the second of three blog posts that detail practices mentioned in A Killer Retreat.   This lovely breath practice helps balance energy.  Perfect for the holiday season.  Only three weeks until the official publication date!  Enjoy!

lithium breathing

This simple breath practice is great any time you need to balance your thoughts, energy, or emotions. Kate, the yoga teacher/sleuth in A Killer Retreat calls this practice Lithium Breathing, because like the medication for bipolar disorder, it balances energy whether it is manic or depressed.

This practice is perfect for any time of day, and the beauty about breath work is that you can do it anywhere—at home, on the bus, even in the middle of a meeting at work—and no one will think you've gone crazy.  ;-)

Lithium Breathing
  1. Come to a comfortable sitting or lying position.
  2. Notice how you feel before beginning to practice.  Don’t worry if you don’t feel as you think you “should.” Just notice whatever comes to mind and be grateful for the awareness.
  3. Gradually, over 6 breaths, lengthen both your inhale and exhale, noticing the natural pause at the end of each.
  4. Maintain the breath in step 3 for at least 6 breath cycles.  Then, break the inhale portion of your breath into two equal parts, with a natural pause both between parts and at the end of the inhale.
  5. Maintain the breath in step 4 for at least 6 breath cycles.  Then, break both the inhale and exhale portions of your breath into two equal parts, with the same natural pauses in the middle and at the end.
  6. Maintain the breath in step 5  for at least 12 breath cycles.  Do not strain the breath.  If you start to feel strain, decrease the lengths of the breath segments, and then continue with that new length for the rest of the practice.
  7. Once you finish 12 or more complete breaths at step 6,  release the pauses completely and breathe for several breaths.  Then gradually allow the breath to come back to a normal rhythm.
  8. Notice any changes you feel after this practice, without trying to judge them as “good” or bad.
Give it a try and let me know how it works.


Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT is available for preorder now. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at book sellers everywhere

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Orders and Deliveries and Online Enjoyment

Packages!  Over the past week or so we've had things delivered, including several major items needed for the comfort of some of our family members who will be visiting over the holidays.  Most of the stuff was ordered online both by us and by other family members. 

We've also had some car issues and received a few ordered items that my handy husband and younger son are using to fix those issues.

Those items were pretty much all ordered online.  Yes, we keep getting snail mail gift catalogs and I thumb through them in case there's something I hadn't heard of or looked up online that I can't live without, or I can't live without ordering for someone else.   

We do, in fact, have something I want to order for our dogs that happened to appear in a snail mail catalog.  Once upon a time, I'd have mailed the order form in with a check and waited for the things to get here.  Now?  My first thought is I'd better make sure they have a website so I can order the same things online.  It's faster and easier. 

I admit to having shopped locally and physically wrapped and taken the packages to my local post office this year for snail mailing as well as in prior years.  But I do less of that now. 

I'm quite a non-techie person, but when I learn something and it becomes ingrained in my mind, that's what I always turn to.  I've written on a computer for most of my life, fortunately, but I also know the program I use isn't the most current.  At least I can still use it for now.  I additionally rely on the Internet for things I know it can do for me, like provide writing research information and social media contacts and--yes--blogging!  And ordering things, if I need to, and signing up for writing organizations and conferences, and more. 

I've become even more aware of this lately as I've been helping a good friend who's even less Internet and computer savvy than I am.  I print out forms for her since she doesn't sign up for things online, and I think about when stuff I did relied a lot more on snail mail. 

So what if I'm far from being the computer savviest person there is?  At least I know what I do and learn more as I need to.   

And, yes, I'll look forward to my next deliveries of stuff I've ordered online. 

By the way, I received input about how the editorial process will go for my first Barkery and Biscuits Mystery BITE THE BISCUIT, which will be a May 2015 release.  I'm currently writing my next Harlequin Nocturne about my covert military unit of shapeshifters, called CANADIAN WOLF.  But I'll look forward to working on BITE THE BISCUIT, too.  I received a printed galley of it at Bouchercon, and it does need some editing.  Yes, even a grammar and proofreading nut like me can make mistakes!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Those Cough Drop Brothers

Although we’ve sold
Six million others
We still can’t sell
Those cough drop brothers
Burma Shave

Have you seen the Smith Brothers cough drop commercial?  A descendent of one of the originals appears – and he’s wearing a big, thick beard very much in the style of his famous ancestor!  I guess beards are really back.

I liked their licorice cough drops so much when I was a kid, I almost looked forward to getting a cold.

I have almost nothing to report this week.  I have a vague idea how I’m going to start Ebenezer’s Christmas Yarn, but that’s all.  The author of the screenplay of Murder At the War, aka Knight Fall, is coming by on Thursday and we’re going over it together.  I’ve already written some notes on it – he’s got a deft touch with the story, and I have very few suggestions for changes.

The weather yesterday was weird.  We broke a high temperature at four in the morning for the date – fifty-two degrees – but by nightfall the wind was howling and the light rain was turning to sleet.  This morning there’s some snow on the ground and it’s barely twenty degrees.  Roller coaster weather!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Note: Joanna Campbell Slan is one of the founding members of the Killer Hobbies Blog. We welcome her back today to tell us about her new book, which is being released today.


A Special Gift for my Crafty Friends
By Joanna Campbell Slan

Years ago when Deb Baker and I cooked up the idea for this blog, we were both newbie authors who’d recently penned crafty mysteries. I had no idea that Kiki Lowenstein, my mythical heroine, would become my alter ego, but she has. Nor did I dream that Kiki would spawn a sidekick, Cara Mia Delgatto, who stars in her own cozy crafting series set in Florida. There are two books in that series—Tear Down and Die, and Kicked to the Curb. Cara runs a “trash to treasure” shop on the Treasure Coast.

Both Kiki and Cara are always trying their hands at new handmade articles. So it seemed like a natural departure for me to create a Special FREE Gift to celebrate the release of—Handmade, Holiday, Homicide (Book #10 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series). The Special Free Gift is available to anyone who pre-orders a copy today, December 15, 2014. Here’s how it works: Inside your copy of Handmade, Holiday, Homicide, there’s an email address that will automatically send you a FREE Bonus.
Included are the instructions and patterns for thirteen nifty, thrift craft projects! Also, I’ve thrown in six fabulous recipes! And, I’m also sharing the first chapter of Shotgun, Wedding, Bells, which will be the eleventh book in the Kiki Lowenstein Series.

The bonus gift includes color photos, patterns, and images.

I had so much fun making these crafts—and I think you will, too. You’ll learn how to make a trio of Christmas Carol Singers, an Icosahedron Ornament, a Crocheted Necklace, a Snowman that lights up, a Spa Basket with Bath Salts, Fantasy Jars for holding trinkets, a Turtle that opens to reveal a compartment, adorable Gingerbread Men out of clay or foam trays, a Quilted Glasses Case, a simple and inexpensive Scrapbook Album in a Folder, a Dollhouse in a 3-Ring Binder (plus furnishings for a bedroom), Mini Book Earrings, and a Book Garden. For the most part, all these gifts can be made with items that would usually wind up in your recycling bin. The Special Bonus Gift is worth $12.99, but the cost of Handmade, Holiday, Homicide is only $5.99. At that price, you can order a copy for a friend (and save the LONG lines at the post office.)

Here’s a sneak peak at some of these crafts—

See? There’s something for everyone. Why not pre-order your copy of Handmade, Holiday, Homicide right now?

Much love to all my crafty friends from your pal,