Bon Appétit and a Book: Mexican Tea Cake Cookies while you read PROTECTION DETAIL By Shirlee McCoy

For something different, I asked author Shirlee McCoy what she would want to eat while reading her latest inspirational fiction book, Protection Detail (Capitol K-9 Unit) and she suggested that it was best read with something yummy and sweet!

"There's something warm and homey about a couple of yummy cookies and a cup of hot tea. Add a good book, and it's the perfect way to spend a dreary afternoon or a cold night. My all-time favorite cookie is as easy to make as it is delicious. Even better, it's a six ingredient cookie! Quick, simple and delicious!"

Mexican Tea Cake Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp . vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups finely chopped pecans
extra powdered sugar

Mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Stir in pecans.
Chill dough for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll dough into one inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. While cookies are still warm, roll them in the extra powdered sugar.

If you can, let them cool before eating.

If you can't, grab your book, your tea or coffee, find a comfy chair and enjoy!

More about Protection Detail (Capitol K-9 Unit)


After a prominent senator’s son is murdered, Captain Gavin McCord of the Capitol K-9 Unit
wants answers. The senator was a mentor to Gavin, and Gavin will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice in Protection Detail.
With his team of elite K-9 cops and his loyal dog, Glory, at his side, Gavin discovers that a child at Cassie Danvers’ nearby foster home may have witnessed the murder.
He’s drawn to the determined and beautiful woman, but she doesn’t want him interviewing her traumatized charges. Yet trusting Gavin is the only way to stay one step ahead of the deadly gunman when Cassie becomes a target.
Protection Detail is available in paperback and e-book.

SHIRLEE MCCOY knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn't until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book.

Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.

Sundays in my City: C of C Basketball

Last night, Wayne and I had a date night at the C of C Cougars last basketball game of the season.  It was a thrilling game, which unfortunately we lost... but I got a night out without kids so any outcome was a win for me.




Hooking up for the first time in a long time with Unknown Mami's Sundays In My City
Unknown Mami

Love Lessons Learned with Andrea Laurence, author of THIRTY DAYS TO WIN HIS WIFE

I am pleased to invite Andrea Laurence to share a little bit of Love Wisdom today, as part of her virtual book tour for THIRTY DAYS TO WIN HIS WIFE

Tyler and Amelia’s story is a twist on the classic friends to lovers story because they put the cart before the horse, marrying and starting a family before they’ve really even begun a relationship. It took these extenuating circumstances for them to make that leap past friendship into lovers. Part of the reason for this is that Amelia is looking for a perfect marriage—the White Buffalo. She’s idealized her grandparents’ relationship and won’t accept anything less for herself. In doing that, she’s discarded a pile of potential suitors that didn’t check all the boxes, and never even gave Tyler a second thought in the relationship department. Tyler isn’t perfect. Not even close. But he’s persistent and won’t let her use her list of requirements to drive a wedge between them. It’s in realizing that no person and no marriage is perfect—including her grandparents’ marriage—that Amelia can finally open herself up to see the beauty of what’s in front of her. As they say, it’s not about finding the perfect person, it’s about loving someone enough to see an imperfect person, perfectly. That’s the love lesson of the book.

—Andrea


More about THIRTY DAYS TO WIN HIS WIFE


Even with a baby on the way, Amelia's holding out for the perfect husband. Tyler has 30 days to prove he's the one. Best friends Tyler Dixon and Amelia Kennedy eloped to Vegas on a whim. But before they can deal with their quickie divorce, she confesses: she's pregnant. Now there's no way Tyler will agree to go their separate ways. He wants them to stay married, raise their child together, share a house—and a bed.

Yet Amelia has always dreamed of a perfect marriage and she doesn't think this self-made millionaire is lifetime material despite their friendship. She's given him just one month to prove her wrong.


ANDREA LAURENCE has been devouring books since she learned to read at the age of 3. An old portable typewriter got her started writing in her room at 8 and she's been writing ever since. Her practical nature led her to pursue a master's degree and a career that would pay the bills, but the writing bug continued to bite. She started working ferociously in her spare time to become a published author and has become an active member of her local RWA chapter, Heart of Dixie. After eight years and 11 completed manuscripts, she finally made the leap and got "the call" from Harlequin Desire on May 31, 2011.

A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, Andrea is working on her real-life "happily ever after" with her boyfriend of 10 years and their collection of animals including two cats, two mutts and a Siberian husky that sheds like nobody's business.

You can also check out the first book in the Andrea's series Brides and Belles, Snowed In with Her Ex!

3 Great "Me Time" Books from Harequin Romance this Month & If Never Trust a Cowboy Was Made Into a Movie

When I read a good book, I often fantasize about who would star in the book if it were ever made into a movie... and I thought it would be fun to ask author, Kathleen Eagle about her most recent romance, Never Trust a Cowboy:
If I were casting Never Trust a Cowboy, Del Fox would be played by Scott Eastwood, who looks great on a horse and has his father Clint’s chiseled face. I figure he’s born to play a cowboy.

Scarlett Johansson would play Lila Flynn. Scarlett started her career in a movie about a girl who loved horses, and she plays strong, sassy, vulnerable characters beautifully.
Having read the book, I can totally see those actors taking on this movie role... here's a little more about the book itself:


The last thing harried Lila Flynn needed was another cowboy to deal with, but new hire Del Fox was different than most sweet-talking wranglers. The hard worker had a gentle touch and eyes that spoke of a past he didn't share. Lila soon found her hardened heart softening, frightening her more than any other hurdles she was facing.Del's assignment in Short Straw, South Dakota, was meant to be fast and simple. Falling for Lila Flynn, however, had complicated everything. If he did his job right it would mean destroying everything Lila had worked for. He'd given her every reason never to trust him with her heart, but when all was said and done, would she trust their love enough to give them a second chance?
And about the author:
KATHLEEN EAGLE published her first book, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award winner, with Silhouette Books in 1984. Since then she has published more than 40 books, including historical and contemporary, series and single title, earning her nearly every award in the industry.  Her books have consistently appeared on regional and national bestseller lists, including the USA Today list and the New York Times extended bestseller list.

Born in Virginia and raised "on the road" as an Air Force brat, Eagle earned degrees from Mount Holyoke College and Northern State University.  She taught at Standing Rock High School in North Dakota for 17 years.  She continues to teach writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.


Two other great reads, available in print and e-book from Harlequin, that you might want to add to your "Me Time" List are: 

FONSECA’S FURY By Abby Green, Harlequin Presents; January 15, 2015, $4.99; 192 pages, ISBN-13: 9780373133079

The last time Luca Fonseca saw Serena DePiero, he ended up in a jail cell. The Brazilian billionaire has since clawed back his reputation, but he's never forgotten her. So when Luca discovers Serena's working for his charity, his anger reignites.
Serena has changed. Finally in control of her life, she refuses to let Luca intimidate her. She'll deal with whatever her new boss throws at her—from a rain-forest trek to the social jungle of Rio. But she can't handle the passion that flares hotter than Luca's fury—especially when it threatens to consume them both.

ABBY GREEN spent her teens reading Mills & Boon romances. She then spent many years working in the film and TV industry as an assistant director. One day while standing outside an actor's trailer in the rain, she thought: there has to be more than this. So she sent off a partial to Harlequin Mills & Boon. After many rewrites, they accepted her first book and an author was born. She lives in Dublin, Ireland and you can find out more here: www.abby-green.com


SNOWED IN WITH HER EX By Andrea Laurence, Harlequin Desire; January 15, 2015, $5.25 US; 192 pages,  ISBN-13: 9780373733620


Wedding photographer Briana Harper never expected to run into her ex at an engagement shoot and when a blizzard strands them alone in a remote mountain cabin, she knows she's in trouble. She's never forgotten Ian Lawson, but none of the reasons they broke up have changed. He's still a workaholic—and now he's an engaged workaholic.  But Ian is also still a man who knows what he wants and what he wants is Briana. Untangling the lies of his current engagement leaves him free to indulge, but proving he's changed may be this music mogul's toughest negotiation yet.
  
ANDREA LAURENCE has been devouring books since she learned to read at the age of 3. An old portable typewriter got her started writing in her room at 8 and she's been writing ever since. Her practical nature led her to pursue a master's degree and a career that would pay the bills, but the writing bug continued to bite. She started working ferociously in her spare time to become a published author and has become an active member of her local RWA chapter, Heart of Dixie. After eight years and 11 completed manuscripts, she finally made the leap and got "the call" from Harlequin Desire on May 31, 2011.
A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, Andrea is working on her real-life "happily ever after" with her boyfriend of 10 years and their collection of animals including two cats, two mutts and a Siberian husky that sheds like nobody's business. 

Tracking Destination Image Across Trip Experience with Smartphone Technology.


ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to examine changes to tourists’ image of a destination throughout a trip experience.  Using Blackberry technology, a group of Canadian student travelers to Peru were asked to record images and experience about their trip during several key moments (pre-trip, upon arrival, half-way, departure, and post-trip).  The results of this mixed methods study indicate that tourists’ destination image is dynamic and continuously evolving throughout their trip, and various incidents during the trip could impact it. Of particular importance are the impressions made upon arrival and departure, as they are powerful determinants of post-trip images.  Affective image appear to be rather haphazard during the trip whereas most respondents’ cognitive image follows a specific pattern where the subjects go through an adjustment period at the beginning of the trip (resulting in lowered scores) but then rebound in a positive direction from that point.  Further, post-trip cognitive scores tend to continue to rise significantly while affective scores tend to return to pre-trip levels.

For those that want to cite this...

Smith, W.W., Li, R., Pan, B., Witte, M., & Doherty, S.  (2014). Tracking Destination Image Across Trip Experience with Smartphone Technology.  Tourism Management.  

WestJet Making the Nice List...

I am not big on promoting commercial entities however, I must give kudos where they are indeed due.  Congratulations to West Jet on their annual Christmas miracle promotion.



They have been doing this for several years now and it has gotten even more fabulous with each and every iteration.  I love when my industry decides to truly give back. It is important for us to remember that when we bring our guests to communities that those places are not just commodities. We need to be doing more of this as an industry in order to really create true partnerships with communities.  Tourism can be a great thing when done correctly.   Congrats once again to WestJet for demonstrating leadership in this regards!




Six Word Saturday

Being thankful for - white blood cells??? 

With three kids in three different schools and me teaching at a university, viruses come around our house often and I am guessing most of family has built up a pretty good immunity.  This week however, that immunity didn't work out so well as a cold ripped through the household.  During this week of thankfulness, add white blood cells to the list. 

So hooray for the biological sciences...

How to Choose A Dissertation.Thesis Topic


I have gotten a series of requests lately for advice on choosing a dissertation topic. So while I am writing to specific people, I thought I would share these ideas broadly too.

4F Rules for Choosing a Dissertation/Thesis Topic

  1. Fun - You are going to spend a considerable amount of time doing this topic, you better at least be somewhat interested in it.  
  2. Fund-able - There are very few projects that can be done for free. Make sure you have the resources to be able to complete the project.  
  3. Feasible - The clock is ticking, make sure it is a project you get can done in the time available. 
  4. Future - Will completing this project help your job prospects after completing it? 
I have been approached to add more F's over the years (though for me all F's should be four letters). Two others which have been suggested are:
  • Foundation: Do I have the skills and abilities to get this done?   
  • Faction: Does my adviser have the skills and abilities help me through this? Can they help me put together the right committee to make this project all it should be?

The Future of Hospitality and Tourism?


The question I was posed by Leslie for the coffee chat was,

"How full is your cup?"

As usual I am going to answer such a question in my own unusual way.  

One of the great traditions of the program I work at is that we have a capstone class event at the end of term.  During this event, each professor stands up and gives the graduating class a piece of advice for the future.  While some of my colleagues share the same story year in and year out (and they are great pieces of advice); I like to tailor mine to the class.  Here is my talk that I am going to give later this after noon (and you decide if it is cup half full or not).

"There has been a question that has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks.  I thought of the question when preparing a talk for the global tourism class and I think it is valuable thought as you venture out into the workforce.  I want to pose a question to you all.  How much should we trade hospitality for the business?  The origins of the word hospitality comes from the Greek 'philoxenos' which means 'love of strangers.'   The root of 'travel' comes from the French, 'travailler' meaning 'to work.'  Combined the original intent of hospitality was to give comfort to guests because of the hardships it took to travel. Now, the question is, have we gotten away from that original intent?

Today, as you have sat in business school classes, we have taught you about profit margins, cost-benefit analysis and return on investment.  In such, we taught you as a good business school should.  In the current world you will be asked as managers to maximize revenue and minimize costs. Even in the hospitality world we are focused on revenue management and providing streamlined service.  In that vein, we now have businesses in our industry where one can rent a car, check into a hotel or order from a restaurant and not have to interact with a person.  Heck, one hotel has a program that if you do not want maid service, that you stick a sign on your door and that they will give you reward points in exchange.  So one could purchase their room online, check in with their phone and not have maid service meaning that they could stay in a hotel and not have to interact with a single staff person.  While this may be excellent business; is it hospitality?   That is your question for the future. How much humanity are we willing to give up in the face of business? 

On one side, we can argue that is the way of the world.  Heck, when was the last time you actually talked to a bank teller?  We have been automating every industry in America one way or another for decades.  What makes hospitality immune to this?  On the other side, isn't the core of hospitality to create a sense of 'love of strangers' and how do one do that through a smart device?   Over the next ten years, I sense we are going to see the next evolution of our industry.  How that evolution is shaped will be based on your decisions.     How much hospitality are we going to choose relative to the business?   The future of this industry is based upon your shoulders. My advice to you is this day; is to choose wisely."

Memory Monday- Mom

The theme this week is Mom.  

Retired Not Tired Memory MondayLike most people, I love my mom but how I do write about her without sounding cliche?  The fundamentals of my mom is that she is an intelligent, well spoken women.  If she was born 20-25 years later, she probably would have been a CEO.  She reads constantly.  She reads a variety and a plethora of literature.  She has carried a desire to learn and grow throughout her life.  She actually thinks about things and has informed opinions.  While she is introverted, she forces herself to become a customer service expert. She is willing to stretch herself as an individual.   She is a great example of how life long learning, growth and development leads to a happy life.