Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway: Julie Hyzy

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Julie Hyzy to Pudgy Penguin Perusals. Julie writes the Executive Chef mystery series set in the White House. If you would like to see my review of the first in the series, State of the Onion, see here.

Julie can be found every Tuesday at Mystery Lover's Kitchen, a fantastic blog written by culinary mystery writers who also post some fabulous recipes. It gets no better than that! I asked Julie if she would share a humorous slice of her life with us. Here's what she had to say.

Mary Poppins was Right! by Julie Hyzy

Remember when Mary Poppins conned little Jane and Michael into believing that cleaning up the nursery could be a game? She promised an “element of fun” in every task. I loved that scene loved the music, and I confess, I believed her, too.

As a kid I often stood in the middle of my messy bedroom and snapped my fingers, hoping that magic would spare me an afternoon of cleaning up. Never worked for me as a kid, but as an adult… I’ve discovered that Mary Poppins was right. Don’t misunderstand: My rooms are still a mess. That’s not going to change anytime soon. But why squander magic on housework when there’s a much better way to go?

I hate exercise. I mean I *hate* it. I avoid it as much as possible. I own a treadmill that I use when excessive eating guilts me into motion. But even as I trudge down to the basement and step onto the belt, I’m asking myself “How long until I’m done?.” I try to walk briskly for five minutes. Yep, that’s it. Five lousy minutes and then I’m bored out of my mind. I’d rather be writing, revising, promoting. Can’t my keyboarding fingers,or overtaxed brain burn off a few thousand calories? That’s exercise too,isn’t it?

No matter how I tried, I could never find the will to exercise. But it is clearly time for me to shape up (in more ways than one). My ever-expanding warns me that I needed to find the fun in exercise, or risk having redo my entire wardrobe. Ugh.

Right about when I rediscovered our Wii game, I also remembered Mary Poppins’ insistence that tasks could be fun. We won a Wii (say that three times fast) in a raffle over a year ago, but kept it upstairs in the extra bedroom where my youngest daughter used it whenever the mood struck..

A couple of weeks ago, this same daughter hosted a video game party at our house. The family room is much more spacious than the spare bedroom so we relocated the game to the main level—just outside my door here. Now every time I walk out of my office, the Wii balance board smiles up at me, coaxing, “Come play!”

And I do. Not every day, but pretty close. The best part is that Wii Fit isn’t exercise, it is, truly play. I finally found that magical “element of fun.” Wii technology astounds me—whether I’m hula hoping, boxing, racing down a ski jump, or walking a tightrope—it’s beyond belief. I enjoy the variety, the challenge, and the way my play (er, exercise) time adds up. Before I know it, I’ve completed 20 minutes and I haven’t gotten bored. What surprises me is when the game tells me I’ve done enough for one day “Maybe you should take a break,” it suggests.

At the end of training, the game asks me if I want to participate in a body test. Let me tell you, that’s where it can get scary—BMI and weight readings are plastered across the screen. Because I prefer to maintain an aura of secrecy (I’m a mystery writer, after all), I’m careful to run these “body tests” when no one else is around ;-)

After these measurements comes a final round of tests—ones that the happy little Wii proclaims were chosen “just for me.” Once the results of these tests are complete, the game presents my Wii Fit Age. The first time I did this, I came up at age 80 (UGH!). But after working out a while, improving my posture, practicing more, and yes—playing more—I’ve whittled that age down quite a bit. My best Wii Fit Age yet has been 22. Not bad for a :::mumble:::-something.

I’m having fun, getting into better shape every day, and even feeling more energetic these days. Mary Poppins was right—when you find your fun—jobs do become a game…

Heh heh… Now I bet you’ll have that song stuck in your head for the whole day!

Thank you Julie for that fun post! Now for the giveaway: Julie has generously agreed to give away an autographed paperback copy of her book, Hail to the Chef, a culinary thriller. Details are as follows:

Drawing open to residents of USA who are verifiable followers of P.P.P. PO boxes are okay. Just leave me a comment you would like to win and be sure to leave an e mail address.

Deadline to enter is February 28th at 5 P.M. EST Good luck!


  1. Welcome to Julie Hyzy. I love, love cozies. I have read a few of Elliott Roosevelt's mysteries with his mother, Eleanor Roosevelt, in the series. I don't think those are really cozies. Are they?

    Welcome, welcome Julie Hyzy. I love the title of your cozy about the White House, "Hail to The Chef." I laugh when I look at the title. I would love to win this book and read it.

  2. LOVED this post! I too hate exercise and while we own a Wii and I think it would be more play than work -- I still haven't learned how to plug it in properly to our television/ cable/ surround sound/ dvd player set up (I swear you need an engineering degree just to watch a movie at our house).

    I would love to be entered into your giveaway :)

    Mstermind1 at gmail dot com

  3. I enjoy my Wii too, I just have trouble remembering to use it. I should move it into the living room - maybe that would help. Thanks for giving me a little push.

    I'd love to win "Hail to the Chef". It's on my wishlist - just hasn't made it to the house yet.


  4. Throw my name into the giveaway please.

    I pretty much feel the same way about exercise. Lately, though, I've been craving fresh air and sun (I live in the frigid north) so I bundle up and grab a 30 minute walk on days I see the sun. Wish I could read and walk at the same time. I have those no-line bifocals and they give me motion sickness if I try to read and walk. Audiobooks? I'm too easily distracted. I listen for a minute and then see something and start thinking about it and forget I'm listening. Think I was a dog in a former life???

    meah56 AT gmail DOT com
    I'm a follower : )

  5. Great post! I love cozies. Please include me in your draw.

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  6. Hi Tea, Molly, and Riva!
    Thanks for all your kind words about my books and titles. I do have a lot of fun with this series and I wish I could send copies to everybody!

    The Wii has been such a huge help, although I confess it's gotten so busy here that I haven't been on for the past couple of days. Time for me to get back in that hula-hoop mood! ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. Mary - you made me laugh. "A dog in a former life" reminds me of the movie UP - when the dogs kept getting distracted by squirrels. I feel just like that sometimes ;-)

    Hi Darcy - thanks for stopping by!

  8. Oh please add my name to the contest. I do like a good cozy mystery. I happen to like exercise, or am used to it since my stroke I have to. I do not own a Wii and do not plan to ever.
    knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  9. Love it! Hula-Hoop mood is very descriptive.

  10. Sounds good, I'd like to be included!

  11. Please count me in. I would love to win. I received Wii Fit for Christmas and have yet to open it. You are inspiring me to go do that right now.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  12. Sounds like a fun mystery. Count me in.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  13. Morning, just popping in to say I have this posted at Win a Book for you :)

  14. I love mysteries and to have one set in the world of politics is a must have for me. I would love to read and win this book. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

  15. Hi, Julie. I'm not fond of exercise either. I have dvds but I've stopped using them because they've gotten boring. It's bad when you realize that you've got the chatter all memorized. :( I've often thought of getting a Wii cause that actually looks like fun.

    The book sounds like fun, too. I'd love to win it. Please enter me in the drawing.

    forwhlz at gmail dot com

  16. Welcome Julie! I enjoyed checking out the Mystery Lover's Kitchen site--will have to go back to some of those temptations! I do love a good cozy and would love to be included in the giveaway! Thanks.

  17. Please enter me!


  18. I'm glad you found a fun way to exercise. We don't have a Wii, so exercise is still a chore for me. I'd love to be entered for the contest. milou2ster(at)

  19. The Wii has definitely made exercising more fun. I'm amazed at all of the fitness programs available.

    Great post, Julie!

  20. This book is on my list of ones to read!! We just got a Wii for Christmas but we need the board!!!!

  21. I'd love to be entered - thanks for the chance!

  22. Oh, another new to me author!!! I love finding them. Your books look fabulous. I sure hope I get lucky and win!!

    I am a follower

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  23. i don't like to exercise either but this year started a yoga class to help deflate my middle portion. I think you can do yoga on wii fit also. I would love to win this mystery.
    mcmholt [at] gmail [dot] com

  24. this looks great thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

  25. I would enjoy reading the book. Our Wii has been collecting dust for about 6 months now. My teenagers used it when they first got it for tennis and with the Wii fit, but the newness wore off.

  26. I love a good cozy mystery! Especially in the weather we've been having.


  27. I detest the treadmill-I am not sure if I have even been on it to detest it-I think I have at PT-when you live in CA why not just go outside.


    chocolate and croissants at yahoo dot com

  28. I love cozy mysteries so I would really love to read this book.

    I'd love to win "Hail to the Chief" Please enter me in the giveaway.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

  29. I'd love to win the book! Thanks for the chance!

    (email is in my profile)

  30. I loved State of the Onion (which I found here at PPP), so I would love to read this one!

  31. I love a good mystery. These sound great.
    I hate to exercise also but I do fit walking into my daily plan.


    Great post! I'd love to win this book.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

  33. I love thrillers and can't wait to read this. Thanks for the chance!

  34. I would love to win! Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway!

  35. What a great sounding book!! Thanks for the chance


  36. Oh, this sounds really good! I would love to win a copy! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  37. I'm a certifiable follower of PPP so please enter me. I really really want to read this one.

    tbranco (at)hughes (d0t)net

  38. Sounds like a good read—please enter me to win!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  39. Lovely post - would like to be included in this giveaway.

  40. I'm ready for a good mystery!


  41. I follow in GFC & would love to win this book - please count me in!

    Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com


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