Friday, June 23, 2017

Pictures from Albany Trip!!

Wow! I did it. I actually downloaded my pictures in a timely manner. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

Our first day in Albany was actually spent in Bennington, VT. We were told there was a great place to eat (there was) and while there we did a little site-seeing.

One thing that was basically hard to miss, was the Bennington Battle Monument. We got there too late to climb to the top, but it sure is impressive on the outside. If we had known they closed at 5, we probably would have eaten after seeing it (instead of before).

Bennington is home to three covered bridges. They basically all look the same, though. But they're labeled, so you can see there are three of them.



As I said Wednesday, it rained on Monday, so we didn't do much (but go out to eat). Tuesday Hubby got finished early, so we drove up the interstate to Cohoes to check out the falls. You'd think the park would be impressive with this sign. You'd think wrong. Haha!

This is the view from the Overland Park. Of course, I zoomed in a bit because I didn't know there was another (better) park.

This is the Overland Park. Yeah, not much there.

We then went to the Falls View Park. A much better park (although I failed to take pictures of that park--dumb me!

We were able to walk down closer to river level, so the view of the falls was much improved. The walkways were pretty nice, too.



Of course, once we walked down, we had to walk back up! Hubby counted 85 steps. Ah, we walked up more steps at Mammoth Caves. Still was a trek for me, though. **puff puff**

Couldn't resist taking a picture of the wild daisies (at least they looked liked daisies).

Anyway, that concludes my pictures. Hope you enjoyed them.

On Wednesday, I posted the link to a short story I started on the Alpha Heroes blog. If you missed that, you can find it HERE. The second installment has also been posted. If you're interested in how another author continued it, you can read it HERE. Took me by surprise, that's for sure.

I'm on my way to Raleigh, NC today. Daughter will play Footy on Saturday. Not exactly sure what teams are showing up. Guess I'll find out when we get there. Oh, and we decided to just take my car on this trip. Hubby wants to wait until he's put a few local miles on the RAV4 until we take it on a longer trip. We'll definitely be taking the RAV4 to Ft. Lauderdale when we drive down for our cruise, though. That's several months away.

So... Do you like babying new cars or is that just my husband? I think nowadays cars don't need babying, but hey, what do I know? Nothing when it comes to cars, apparently.

Happy Friday!

Stacy





Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I’m Headed Home

I didn’t get my three things done while in Albany, NY, but I did finish one: judging! The short story is further along and I figured out how to finish it, so there’s that. And I also walked on the treadmill for an hour each on Monday and Tuesday (while reading!), so I wasn’t a total slacker. It was nice to get my steps in.

We’re headed home today. Then we get a day at home (laundry!) before we leave for North Carolina on Friday (daughter is playing Footy in Raleigh on Saturday). And we’re taking the new car!! Gee… think we drive enough places? Good thing we don’t mind. Of course, if we did, we wouldn’t do it.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #39

Dates read: June 11-19
Title: “Hot Head”
Year of publication: 2011
Author: Damon Suede
Genre: Erotic romance (M/M)
Series: Heat #1
# of Pages: 310
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Borrowed from daughter
Blurb from Book: Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feeling for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.
    Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do...until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?
My thoughts: I’ve seen Damon Suede at a couple of RTs and the guy is a hoot. When I found out my daughter owns many of his books, well, I just had to read one. While this wasn’t a comedy, it sure was hot. And good. It’s told only from Griff’s point of view (although in third person—yay!), and in a way it kind of had to be. It’s not a typical romance, but it can’t be, either. If you like M/M romance, then check this one out. You won’t be disappointed. But don’t go looking for the next book in the series. After 6 years, there still isn’t one.

If you're interested, my start of a short story is now posted on Alpha Heroes blog http://www.alphaheroes.net/2017/06/rustcity-17-flash-fiction-stacy.html. Other authors are supposed to add to the tale, but I got lucky and got to start it. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

On Monday, it rained and rained and rained, so we didn’t get to go out and do too much. Yesterday was much nicer and we drove up to see the Cohoes Falls. According to their sign, they’re second in size to Niagara (east of the Rockies, which probably isn’t saying much). I took some pictures, so I may get them posted for Friday. Of course, you know how I am when it comes to downloading pictures. **ahem ahem** J

So… How’s your week going so far? Reading anything interesting?

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, June 19, 2017

I’ve Got 3 Things To Do...

Hubby is on a business trip in Albany and I tagged along for the ride. Figured I might actually get some WORK done for a change.

Therefore, I have three things I would like to get done. Okay, two things. I’m hoping to get started on the third thing. What are those things, you ask?

#1 – Finish my short story. I started it awhile ago for a blog. I gotta finish that sucker and now looks like a good time to do it.

#2 – Finish judging a contest entry (for my local chapter). I’ve only got one left (of the three I was sent). I just want that done with. And no, this isn’t something that is done quickly. Not only do I give it a score, but I’m critiquing the work, too. For me, that takes time. Thank goodness the submissions are only about 10-15 pages long!

#3 – Get back to editing Ghostly Interlude. I was doing some pre-edit check work and realized that wasn’t working (because if it was, I’d have been done by now!). I’ve got some other plans in mind, and I have Lori Foster to thank for that. She spoke at my chapter’s meeting Saturday and something she said kind of clicked. So, we’ll see how I do (or if I even get to work on it—#1 might take up all my time!!).

I’m sure I’ll also get some reading done while I’m here. J

So… What’s the fastest you ever sold a car? I think we broke our record. We put the Ranger up on Craig’s List on Wednesday and by Friday it was sold. At our ASKING price (which was above blue book)! Getting the car detailed really helped (it did look pretty sharp!).

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pictures From My Mammoth Cave Trip!!!

Would you believe it? I finally downloaded my pictures. It's a miracle! Now hopefully you won't be too disappointed when you see how few I took. Hahahaha!


This is one of the openings to the cave. It's probably the one used the most, too. Lots of steps to get down there.


The light was so poor, my camera couldn't do the cave justice. I was able to take pictures of the graffiti, though. These names were written with the smoke from the light sticks (torches?) the tour guides carried way back in the 1830s.




 This is more graffiti on the cave ceiling.


 The guides suspect that some of the names were written in mirror image because they were looking down to copy the names.


 See? Here's an actual date! 1837. Unreal, huh?


 This is one of the stalactites we came across. Not too many in this part of the cave, though.





Here's one of Hubby and me outside in the park.

We walked down to the river (which was quite a trek).

Of course, we then had to climb back up. At least the trail wasn't TOO steep. It just took awhile!


After visiting the park, we took a trip to the Corvette Museum. While the cars were interesting to look at, what I really wanted to see was the sink hole. Well, guess they filled it in. But the 7 cars that fell in (which was all caught on camera--pretty awesome to watch), are still on display. Only two were able to be restored.


They marked the floor where the sinkhole was located.


The 1993 model was pretty beat up, but not as bad as some others.


Can you even tell this was a car?


 I don't even know what year the next few were.




This was the 1.5 millionth Corvette made. It was unrepairable.


However, the 1 millionth car was salvageable. It was hanging by a tire and they were able to save it before it crashed into the hole.


So, those are some of the pictures I took. Are you impressed that I finally downloaded them?


Happy Friday and have a great weekend!


Stacy

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Getting Better…I Hope

When all you do is sleep, there isn’t much new to talk about. I did manage to finish a book before the cold (or whatever) hit me. Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #38

Dates read: May 31-June 11
Title: “Dragonborn”
Year of publication: 2008
Author: Jade Lee
Genre: Fantasy romance
Series: The Jade Lee Romantic Fantasies #1
# of Pages: 354
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Free at a convention
Blurb from Book: When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon thoughts burn in your mind, you can accomplish anything. Natiya knows, for she carries one of the last eggs in the land disguised as a jewel in her navel. Day by day the Unhatched grows, and when at last it births they will be joined in a sacred and eternal bond. Gone will be the barmaid forced to dance for pennies, born will be Dag Natiya, revered Queen. Take her body or her soul, nothing will stop them.
   When dragon power flows through your veins when dragon emotions trample your soul, you become a monster. So knows Kiril, for one destroyed his cousin. No matter how kind or joyful, all beings must succumb to the power of the wyrm. That is why Kiril vowed to destroy dragonkind—and he has almost succeeded. Only one egg remains. But there is an obstacle he did not foresee: love.
My thoughts: Fantasy. It’s not a genre I’m fond of, yet I decided to give it a try (free books can do that for you). This one read like a historical romance, sort of. It’s in a world without technology. You have an Emperor over the land. It just has dragons in it (like Merlin, I guess). The book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t my thing (mainly because Kiril and Natiya were apart for much of the book), which is probably why it took me so long to read it: I could easily put it down.

I think all that sleeping I did Monday helped. I felt a whole bunch better yesterday. Even my voice sounds a little better. Now if I can only stay on the “get-well” path. **fingers crossed**

So… I can’t seem to get the house cooler than 75 degrees (and the thermostat is set to lower than that). Think I should call the A/C repairman? I’m thinking I should. Bugger!

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, June 12, 2017

THEY DID IT!!!

Happy, happy, joy, joy! The Penguins repeated! They won the Stanley Cup two years in a row! I’m sooooo happy!

I’m also sick. Figures, huh? My voice is about gone (made it really hard to cheer them on).

Surprisingly, I was pretty calm through most of Game 6. After Game 5, I felt more confident that the Pens were going to do it. And they did!!!!!!

In other news… We bought a car. Went with the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Got a GREAT price on it, too (this, from Consumer Reports). Just couldn’t pass that 0% financing for 60 months.

Here’s a picture. Yep, another grey car. Oh well… doesn’t really matter. Hubby preferred that color anyway, and it is his car.

Today I take the Ranger in to get it detailed. Once it’s all cleaned up, we’re pretty sure we can get high Blue Book on it ($4700). That would be awesome.

Even though I’m ecstatic, I’m so glad hockey is over for now. I need a break. And now it seems like I need to just get better. Ugh. I hate getting sick.

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

No Wednesday Reads But I Saw Wonder Woman

Gosh, with the way I’ve been reading lately, I didn’t think this day would happen. But it has. I haven’t finished a book in the past week. I am reading one, but I just haven’t had the time. Too much other crap is going on and, sadly, it’s not writing. Oh well…

I did get to the theatre yesterday (Tuesday Discount Day) and saw “Wonder Woman.” I liked that movie a lot. Lots of kick-ass women. Some humor. Lots of action. Very entertaining. Can’t ask for more than that, really. I was disappointed that there wasn’t any kind of little ending after the credits. Hasn’t DC learned ANYTHING from Marvel? Haha!

I still haven’t downloaded the pictures I took at Mammoth Cave & the Corvette Museum from my phone and camera yet. Maybe by Friday? Oh wait. Game 5 is Thursday night. Maybe not. I’ll be lucky if I even remember to post something. This Stanley Cup Final is getting me awfully nervous.

The Penguins just haven’t been playing that good and it’s sooooo frustrating to watch! And why Sullivan didn’t take Murray out and put Fleury in for the 3rd period in that last game is unbelievable. He wouldn’t have hesitated (wait, he didn’t hesitate) to pull Fleury. I just don’t get it!

I’m almost afraid to watch the game on Thursday.

I said almost.

So… Have you seen or plan to see “Wonder Woman”? I’m thinking I need to watch “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” now. That’s right. I haven’t seen that movie yet. Got the DVD added to my wish list, though.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, June 5, 2017

Car Shopping

Spent Saturday test driving cars. It’s been almost seven years since our last car purchase (my 2010 Nissan Xterra), and the car we’re replacing was bought 12 years ago, used (2003 Ford Ranger). Hubby loves his convertible (2008 Toyota Solara), but considers it our “fun” car. He wants it to last so he tries to only drive it during nice weather (like when he can put the top down). The Ranger is horrible in the snow, though, which forces Hubby to drive the Solara when he doesn’t want to (since it has front-wheel drive). Plus, Hubby hates (HATES) my Xterra on long trips (you know, when we drive to ports for our cruises and such, which is usually during the winter, so—possible 4WD), because you can feel every bump in the road (plus he hates the seats). Which means he wants a car that can drive in the snow, gets good mileage, holds our luggage, AND is comfortable.

Prior to our test drives, we narrowed it down to three: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forrester. All in AWD. According to Consumer Reports, these were the best small SUVs and they got the best gas mileage.

After our test drives, we narrowed it down to two: Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Honda CR-V. The Forrester just didn’t meet our comfort needs. Those seats were kind of hard! We were comfortable in both the RAV4 and CR-V. Even in the back seat.

Now, the plan was to figure out what we want and buy next year. But now I’m not so sure I want to wait that long. We’re driving to Florida in December for a cruise and I wouldn’t mind having that new car. I told Hubby it was his decision, though (since this will basically be his car) and that I didn’t want to hear him complain if we have to drive the Xterra to Florida. For 18 hours. Only getting 18mpg (The RAV4 Hybrid and CR-V both get about 30mpg on the highway).

Right now (in June) Toyota is offering 0% financing for 60 months on the RAV4. Will they offer that again next year? Who knows? Honda isn’t offering any such deal (and probably never will), but the CR-V is about $5,000 less than the RAV4. Finance charges would have to be over 5% (which I don’t believe they are) to make the RAV4 a better deal.

Still, I’m leaning toward the RAV4 Hybrid. Man, that car was QUIET! Even while running. The CR-V has a totally digital dash, which I’m not fond of (I like my speedometer to have a needle, since I’m visual that way). I could get used to it, though, if Hubby decides he wants to go cheaper.

As for the Ranger… our mechanic at Goodyear doesn’t think we’ll have any problems selling it (even though it’s manual everything (stick shift, windows, door locks), it’s got low mileage (80,000) and we’ve kept it in good shape). I wouldn’t mind getting rid of it now (I hate driving that thing). Of course, when we do get the new car, my Xterra has to give up the garage spot (we don’t want to park the convertible outside and the new car gets dibs). I could live with that, though.

Tonight is Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Penguins and the Predators. I don’t know if you watched Saturday’s ugly game, but man, are the Predators fans rude or what? I just don’t ever remember hearing that kind of crap from other teams’ fans. Not even from Columbus, and they’re pretty bad. I certainly hope our fans don’t stoop to that level when the game goes back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 (and hopefully a final winner, since we’re up 2-1 now). Let’s go Pens!!

So… Do you like car shopping? Hubby hates it. I like test driving cars, but don’t necessarily like negotiating the price at the end (which you have to do or else you’re paying too much, right?). Do you think there will ever come a day when the price on the car is non-negotiable? I mean, you don’t negotiate the price on your groceries. If you find it cheaper elsewhere, you just go elsewhere. Right?

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, June 2, 2017

Procrastinating at its Finest

I was going to download the few pictures I have on my iPhone and camera so I could post them here. I might have done just that on Thursday if I hadn’t gotten busy doing chapter work. I’ll be glad when I’m no longer treasurer, just saying…

See? Procrastinating at its finest. If I hadn’t procrastinated all week, I might just have those photos to share today. And something to blog about.

I really need to work on being less of a procrastinator. How do you do that, though?

I do have a bit of news to share. I met M Jane Colette at RT (during the Charlaine Harris/Karin Slaughter panel), and she actually mentioned me in her blog. I find it pretty spectacular that she even remembered me. It’s not like I was talkative, because I wasn’t. Anyway, if you’d like to see a bit of what RT is all about, she’s got quite a bit of information and pictures. Tons of pictures (even one with ME in it!). You can find it all here: https://mjanecolette.com/2017/05/27/diary-of-an-rt-virgin-day-4-fan-girl-gone-mad/

If I didn’t think it was so much work, I’d like to be like her. Bet she doesn’t procrastinate.

I was able to watch the last two minutes of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. I had gotten score updates while I was at the Dragons game, which had, unfortunately, started an hour late. Seems someone opened the breaker to the field and they didn’t have any power. If the game had started on time, I would have stayed for the whole thing, but by 10:30, they were only in the 7th inning and I didn’t want to stay any longer. They did win, though, 9-8, so there’s that.

But the Penguins win gave me much more joy. I look forward to another win on Saturday, but know it will be a hard-fought battle to do so. There’s a reason these two teams are in the finals, right? Still wouldn’t mind a sweep, but know it’s pretty impossible. Oh well…

So… What is it you do that you wish you didn’t, but know you will never change? Procrastination is it for me. I really don’t think there’s any hope for me. And I guess in the scheme of things, it could be worse. Right?

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Game 2

Tonight is Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. I don’t know what the heck the Penguins did on Monday, but I sure hope they don’t do it again. Only 12 shots on goal for the whole game (and none during the second period)? Sure, 5 went in and they won 5-3, but still… Too frustrating for this viewer. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, at this point I don’t know), I won’t be able to watch the game tonight. I’ve got a Dragons game to go to. Doesn’t mean I won’t be keeping track of the hockey score. Let’s go Pens!!

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #37

Dates read: May 24-26
Title: “Wild Man’s Curse”
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Susannah Sandlin
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Wilds of the Bayou #1
# of Pages: 276
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: While on an early-morning patrol in the swamps of Whisky Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and make a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered.
   With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate? Or will an old family curse finally have its way?
My thoughts: I’ve read her vampire series and enjoyed them very much, so when I saw she wrote a romantic suspense, I had to give it a try. Good read. Kept me riveted during a time I really needed it, too. No paranormal stuff in this book, if that matters to you.

Didn’t read as much this past week. Started a few books that were on my Nook, but they didn’t interest me at all. I hate when that happens.

So… Do long weekends mess with your internal schedule? I just don’t want to do anything! Which is bad, because I have stuff to do. Like post this on time, which I didn't. Ugh.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Weekend at Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park is awesome!

Note to self: Do not scheduled two cave tours on the same day again.

Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s not because it’s a lot of walking, even though it can be for some people (not me, particularly). It’s mainly because of all the climbing. On Saturday my Fitbit recorded that I climbed the equivalent of 36 flights of stairs. I also walked over 19,000 steps (over 9 miles).

But let me tell you, those two cave tours were pretty awesome.

We took the early 8:00am Gothic Avenue tour. I highly recommend the early tour. It was nice and quiet. And small. Maybe 40 of us. And we were the only tour going on at the time. When we were departing, we ran into all the people coming into the cave. Noisy! Crowded! Ugh.

Our second tour that day was the Starlight Tour (another small tour), which started at 6:15. We walked through the same cave (again, nice and quiet as we were the only tour going on), but with lanterns (not the electric lights we got in the morning). Pretty cool. It would have been cooler if it wasn’t raining cats and dogs. Got a little soaked hiking to the cave opening (not to mention running from the car to the meeting point). After two hours in the cave, I was getting dry again, only to discover upon the end of the tour that it hadn’t stopped storming.

A hike back to the starting point (uphill!) and I was wet, hot, sticky, and my feet hurt. I was ready for a shower. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. The storm knocked out the power. Talk about dark! And hot (no air conditioning). Power wasn’t restored until late Sunday (at least we got a room discount for Saturday night).

Sunday wasn’t quite as strenuous. According to my Fitbit, I walked only (only!!) a little over 13,000 steps (over 6 miles), but still managed 33 flights of stairs. Walking down to the river and back helped some with the stairs (it was quite a hike back). And the cave tour we did included something like 280 stairs (don’t know the equivalent there).

Oh, and that cave tour? Awesome again (although with a larger group—something like 114 people). The Domes & Dripstones tour required us walking down those 280 steps through some twisty-turny openings (Would you believe a contractor charged them $3000 per step? Worth every penny if you ask me). We walked through another large cavern and then ended at the Frozen Niagara—huge stalactites and stalagmites. I really wish I could show some pictures, but you’re not allowed to use flash and the light level is too low for my camera(s) to really capture the wonder of it all.

But there’s a reason it’s called the Mammoth Cave. It’s over 490 miles long (the longest in the world) and they have yet to find the end. They really have no idea how long the cave actually is. And it’s not a bunch of small caves connected through tiny passageways (like some caves are). Imagine walking into a domed arena. Yeah, portions of it are that big. Maybe bigger. Yep, mammoth!

On Sunday evening, with the power now back on (and the air conditioning—yay!), the frogs got a little friendly. At least one was on our door making all sorts of noise (wanting in, maybe?). I’m thinking maybe I’m not all that cut out for staying in a National Park, even though it was certainly convenient.

But as we tend to say whenever we go on an outing: always an adventure! And it was certainly that.

Today we’re headed down to the Corvette Museum before driving back home. And I did take some pictures, I just haven’t downloaded my camera(s) yet. It’s been a great holiday weekend and I’m really glad we came.

So… Have you ever been to Mammoth Cave? If not, think you might want to go now?

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, May 26, 2017

Favorite Movies of Each Sport and We’re in the Finals Again!!!

Oh. My. God. Double Overtime (and it’s a good thing I wrote most of this post earlier)! I think my heart gave out. But the Penguins did it. They’re going to the finals two years in a row. I’m so HAPPY!!!

I saw this request go around on Facebook and thought it would make a nice blog post, especially since I’m so gung ho on hockey right now. What am I saying… I love sports (well, most sports), so of course I would love movies featuring a sport.

So… Here are my favorite movies of each sport:

  • FOOTBALL: Necessary Roughness; The Blind Side; The Replacements; Remember the Titans; Jerry Maguire; The Longest Yard (w/Burt Reynolds)
  • BASEBALL: Bull Durham; A League of Their Own; Major League (I & II); Field of Dreams; The Natural; The Rookie
  • HOCKEY: Mystery, Alaska; Slap Shot
  • BASKETBALL: Finding Forrester
  • BOXING: Rocky
  • GOLF: Caddyshack; Tin Cup
  • SOCCER: Bend it Like Beckham
  • SURFING: Soul Surfer
  • OLYMPICS: Cool Runnings; Chariots of Fire

As you can tell, I love football and baseball movies. Basketball? Not so much, but then I’m not a fan of that sport (except during March Madness). I tried to find a tennis movie, but there wasn’t one I watched.

Out of all those sports, though, want to know which ones I played in? Baseball (softball, actually) and golf. I think if my high school had a softball or golf team for girls, I would have been on them. But they didn’t exist way back in the dark ages. J

Wednesday night we were hit with some major storms. Actually, our phones went off with a tornado warning. Never got that before. Quickly turned on the TV just as their live feed showed a tornado touching down…in my daughter’s town! Which is next door to our town. We’re all fine; her work place suffered minor damage, though (2 blocks away from her apartment!). But dang… That was just too close.

So… Doing anything fun this weekend? I’m gonna go see some caves. Hope to take some pictures and share. And it’ll be a fun weekend, too. Because the PENS WON!!! Yay!

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Another Game Seven???

I hate game 7s. HATE. THEM. It shouldn’t have gone this far. Penguins should have won it by now. But no. They didn’t. And now I have to go through the torture of game 7. Ugh.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #34

Dates read: May 12-18
Title: “The Chosen
Year of publication: 2017
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15
# of Pages: 521
Paper or plastic: Hard back
How obtained: Borrowed from daughter
Blurb from Book: Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his solder’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the hosen Layla.
   Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young.. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.
   As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love…or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.
My thoughts: Fifteen books in this series and still so much story left to tell. Yep, lots of open ends to tidy up for future books. But the main story here was wrapped up just fine. Lots-of-happy-tears fine.  

Book #35

Dates read: May 19-22
Title: “Wicked Burn”
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: The Realm Enforcers #3
# of Pages: 266
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: Simone Brightston knows she can beat the rap her enemies are pinning on her. An Irish witch is nobody’s fool, and she didn’t get to her position on the high council without serious power. But her cousins want her to hide out—and they somehow convinced her arch nemesis to play getaway driver.
   Of all the men she’s known, Nikolaj Veis is the hardest to intimidate. With his demon-dark eyes and his inscrutable beauty, he’s as desirable as he is dangerous. And he knows better than to underestimate Simone. So when he pulls up on a roaring bike and tells her to climb on or fight it out, she grabs a handful of jacket and holds on tight. Running from the law may not be the smartest plan. But when it comes to Nick, hot pursuit and a blazing fast ride are exactly with Simone’s looking for…
My thoughts: The covers on this series make them look like MC books (which is why it took me so long to read these), but they aren’t MC books. They’re about the witches looking to rid the making (and distribution) of a deadly drug. Probably why the publisher has since changed all the covers. Good move. I’m really enjoying this series and happy to see Simone finally got her own book (she’s been in other books from this series and from The Dark Protectors series). Lots of action. Lots of romance. I eat this stuff up.

Book #36

Dates read: May 22-23
Title: “Talen”
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Dark Protectors (tie-in to the Realm Enforcers series)
# of Pages: 77
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback (at end of Wicked Burn)
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: She’ll love him forever . . . but he can’t make her obey . . .
   The war is over. Danger has passed. Cara Kayrs is healed after decades of illness and ready for a break.
   Too bad her brooding, alpha vampire husband can’t seem to change gears. In their twenty-five years together Talen Kayrs has learned to sense every shiver of her body, to ignite her desire with a word or a look. She would think he could learn she’s not some fragile damsel in distress.
   But Talen is on edge, watching their backs, treating her like she’s made of glass. Like there’s something following them, a deadly threat that somehow none of their intelligence has uncovered. It’s enough to drive a woman crazy, and Talen has plenty of those tendencies already.
   But what’s even more maddening is that he seems to be right . . .
My thoughts: Talan and Cara started the whole Dark Protector series in Fated and I find it funny that it was my least favorite of the series. This one is no different. I just don’t like Talen. Good thing he didn’t stop me from reading the rest of the series or I would have missed some good reading. Still, Talen is just TOO alpha for this reader. If you’re into that kind of character, you’ll enjoy every bit of him, but to read this book you should read the rest of the series first.

So… What sport drives you nuts?

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, May 22, 2017

So Close, So Close, So Close…

One more win and the Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Finals!!! For the second year in a row. This season is nerve-wracking, what can I say.

But oh, yesterday’s game was so much fun to watch. No stress whatsoever. Whoo hoo! They should be playing that way ALL THE TIME!

I have nothing else to say today. Except… Let’s Go Pens!!

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, May 19, 2017

I’ve Been Reading So Much…

I’ve been reading so much, by night I see distance better through the middle lens of my trifocals. Yeah, that kind of freaked me out, too.

I’ve been reading so much, I’m, like, 10 books ahead of my reading goal. Whoo hoo!

I’ve been reading so much, I’m actually getting through my TBR pile faster than I’m adding to it. Impressive, huh?

I’ve been reading so much, my writing has tanked. Then again, I think it would have tanked anyway. Life sometimes sucks.

But hey. I’m reading a lot. And that’s not so bad.

Now, if I can only get my husband to turn on the air conditioning. Anyone else feeling the heat?

Happy Friday! And let's go Pens!!

Stacy

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I Went to the Movies

Finally got around to seeing “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.” I enjoyed it (although it wasn’t as good as the first one), but Hubby thought it was boring. That kind of surprised me. Yeah, it had some slow parts, but I wouldn’t have called it boring. Just goes to show you everyone sees things differently, huh?

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #33

Dates read: May 8-11
Title: “Beautiful Bastard”
Year of publication: 2013
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Erotic romance
Series: Beautiful Bastard #1
# of Pages: 305
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Free (possibly from RT in Dallas)
Blurb from Book: Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.
   Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.
   As their appetites for each other increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win.
My thoughts: Book is in first person and at first I groaned. But the book is popular and I wanted to know what the fuss was about, so I kept reading. Then the next chapter was in Bennett’s POV, also first person. Cool. Thing is, where I once thought this was neat, now…not so much. At least for this book. Bennett is a douche! It was very hard for me to continue reading because he really was a bastard (stuff he did could be considered sexual harassment). I guess I just don’t understand how two people who clearly HATE each other can’t keep their hands OFF each other. But by the end of the book, I was having difficulty putting it down (had to know how it was going to end). Dang authors (yes, two of them make up Christina Lauren) had me rooting for this couple.

Saw my cardiologist on Monday. Good for another six months (when I get to go through another stress test—ugh). But hey, the longer I can put off surgery, the better!

Also, Hubby is on the mend. He’s eating more foods now—three meals a day, even. Still needs to gain some weight, but I think he’s stopped losing it, so I’ll take that as a positive.

Game 3 between the Penguins and Senators is in Ottawa tonight. So glad the Penguins played well on Monday and got that win. Now they need to win the rest! Yeah, I'm greedy that way.

So… What’s on your reading radar for the summer? Goodreads has asked me that question and I’m not sure how to answer it. Besides wanting to read Unsub by Meg Gardiner (due out in June or July), I don’t really have a summer list. I pretty much look at the stacks I have around the house and then just pick a book to read! I also got some more freebies from RT—some of which I actually want to read. J

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, May 15, 2017

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

I’ve mentioned before how the bumble bees—which aren’t really bumble bees, I know, but are actually carpenter bees, they just look like bumble bees—love our mailbox post. Used to be one or two would hover around the box. This year it’s gone up to at least 5. It’s so bad, I won’t get the mail until the sun sets and I try to get the paper before the sun rises. Otherwise, Hubby gets them for me.

Well, Hubby loves me sooooo much (or maybe he’s tired of me sending him out there), he went out and bought a carpenter bee catcher. He and Son attached it to the mailbox post. Know what? It works!

Unfortunately, other bees are taking their place guarding the mailbox post. **heavy sigh**

Eventually we’ll catch all the ones that are living in that post. At least, I hope so.

I’m tired of those things.

Penguins lost their first game on Saturday. I’m not thrilled (of course), but have to remember they did the same thing last year. Hopefully they figure out what they need to do to beat the Senators. Game 2 is tonight!

So… are there any bugs/animals/creatures that can keep you from an area at your house? Something like…your house is haunted and you refuse to go into the basement? My grandmother’s house was haunted. I didn’t care for sleepovers there so much.

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Little Bit of Fun

Life is full of ups and downs, isn’t it? I’ve got a lot of crap going on right now, but guess what?

THE PENGUINS WON! Which means, they’re halfway to winning the cup again!!

(If I had a GIF of a happy dance, I’d put it here.)

Sure, I still have to deal with the crap, but at least I can do it while rooting for my favorite team. I’ve gotta take the good however I can. We all should, right?

And yeah, out of all the sports teams I watch, the Penguins are my favorite.

So… which team is your overall favorite?

Happy Friday & Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

Stacy

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday Reads and a Nail-Biting Night Ahead

I might get the house to myself for a few hours this afternoon. Hubby said he wanted to pop into work, especially since he doesn’t have any appointments today. Maybe I can get that short story finished. Hmmm… Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #32

Dates read: May 4-7
Title: “Saving Mercy”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Abbie Roads
Genre: Romantic suspense with paranormal elements
Series: Fatal Truth Series #1
# of Pages: 302
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Free at RT Booklovers Convention
Blurb from Book: Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man. His only redeeming quality? The extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch killers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his horrific past—and the one woman who might understand what it means.
   Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful—and in terrible danger. The moment Cain find her, the line between good and evil blurs and the only thing clear to them is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood—but is their bond strong enough to overcome the madness that stalks them?
My thoughts: Yes, I got this book free, but I WAS going to buy it (it was on my wishlist at B&N). I can’t help it if it was in the goody room at RT and I’m not stupid to pass it up! J This was a good story (as well as dark and gory), but I can’t help but feel that maybe parts of it were kind of rushed. Even so, it won’t stop me from picking up the next in the series…whether I buy it or get it free!

Hubby is now officially back to getting his medical treatments on base, which is fine since he’s in follow-up mode (and he’s getting hydrated every other day instead of every day). Seems we have a bit of a snafu on the insurance we hope will get straightened. Otherwise, we’re looking at a bill we didn’t expect to pay. So far it looks like good news, but we won’t know for sure until we start getting revised bills.

Insurance—never a dull moment. Am I right or am I right?

So… Game 7 is tonight. I’ll be lucky if I survive the night. Or at least my fingernails. Maybe I should wear gloves. What makes you chew your nails?

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, May 8, 2017

So Glad to be Home

So… RT happened. Still big. Still draining (at least to me). And still no pictures (I know, you’re not surprised). Whether or not RT did me any good sales-wise will take time to decide. It’s not like I could sell any of my books there. Some interested readers stopped by my table for some postcards and I got a few more newsletter signups, so that’s good. But I didn’t go to this convention expecting anything huge.

I did, however, expect a better turnout for one of the events I was involved with. Don’t know what caused a low turnout, especially since other parties of the same nature got a full house. Guess we’ll never know.

Will I go to another RT? Well, I won’t go next year. It’s in Reno (too far for me). If it’s closer in 2019 AND I have a new book out, I may go again. I do get to meet up with a lot of author friends, so there’s that.

When I think back on the events/panels I attended at previous RTs, I didn’t go to many reader events (only those parties at night, and mainly because they involved a meal). But I decided to try Cinema Craptastique in Dallas (2015). Man, that was so much fun, I had to go again this year.

I can hear Jeff asking all the way out here, “What is Cinema Craptastique?” Well, you see, Damon Suede (erotica author) takes this really bad movie and just picks it apart, while everyone in the room (and all around wherever, who are watching the flick at the same time as those of us at the con) are tweeting about how bad this movie is. That’s right. Tweeting. I don’t do the tweeting part, but I do enjoy making fun of bad movies. In 2015 he picked “Hercules” (starring Kellen Lutz). This year he picked a real bomb: “Glitter.”

I had never heard of this movie and there was a good reason for that. #1, it debuted on 9/11/2001 (I kid you not!), and #2, it starred Mariah Carrey (that girl can NOT act). Of course, it didn’t help that whoever wrote the screenplay, couldn’t write, either. It was just bad, bad, BAD!

Tonight is game 6 of round 2 between the Penguins and Capitals. This better be the last game of round 2 between these two. I do NOT want a game 7. Let’s go Pens!!

So… What’s going on in your world? Anything interesting?

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I'm at RT!

First full day of RT (Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Atlanta), but had fun at Cinema Craptastique last night and completely I forgot to post this. Figures! Must be a sign that I’m gonna have fun, right? If I’m good (but we all know I’m not, not really), I’ll have pictures to share with you on Monday.

I’ve decided to list the Book # read of the year (instead of #1, #2, etc of the week). That way you can see how many I’ve read so far. Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #30

Dates read: April 25-27
Title: “The Black Lily”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Juliette Cross
Genre: Paranormal/fantasy romance
Series: Tales of the Black Lily #1
# of Pages: 237
Paper or plastic: E-book
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…
   With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.
   Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this. At first it did seem like a spin on Cinderella, but went far beyond that fairy tale. There are some gruesome scenes, but they’re vampires, so it was kind of expected. The romance was quite conflicted, which kept me turning the pages. Or, actually, got me pushing the button to advance to the next screen.   

Book #31

Dates read: April 28-30
Title: “My Cousin Rachel”
Year of publication: 1951
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Hmmm… Gothic mystery?
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 387
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Library
Blurb from Book: One of the world’s great storytellers, Daphne du Maurier spins a dark gothic tale of passion and unswerving love that turns to suspicion and fear. Rachel, a woman of exquisite beauty, descends on the great Cornwall estate of Philip Ashley. Despite his aroused suspicions, she soon enchants him. In this tale of good and evil, Philip must decide whether the glorious Rachel, the recent mysterious widow of his beloved cousin, is out to destroy him or is the innocent victim of devious men and a tremendous longing to be loved. His fate and his future lie in the answer to this deadly question.
My thoughts: Well, not exactly what I expected, although I’m not sure what it was I did expect. Intriguing story, though. I had to re-read the last few pages just to make sure I didn’t miss something. I didn’t. I’m more compelled to see the movie, now, that’s for sure.

So… anything you think I should do while I’m at the convention? Besides have fun, of course.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, May 1, 2017

It’s Finally May? Thank Goodness!

Happy May Day. No offense to my daughter, because her birthday is in that month, but I really didn’t think April was ever going to end. She has been getting some bad luck with her last two birthdays, though (Hubby was recovering from surgery last year). Hopefully next year everyone will be WELL and she can enjoy her birthday more.

I’m hoping we’ll be able to get to our first Dragons game of the season this month (we had tickets for Sunday, but ended up selling them. Hubby just didn’t think he could handle being outside and I kind of agreed with him). Got to watch the game on TV, though and saw the Dragons WIN! In fact, I believe they’re in first place in their division. Yay!

RT (Romantic Times Booklovers Convention) is coming this month and I leave for Atlanta tomorrow, for a week full of some crazy-fun. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find some new readers. I’m not selling any books there, but I am in a couple of the reader events and will have postcards with links to buy the e-books. Besides, attendees will be so loaded up with paper books, they’d probably prefer digital. That’s my hope, anyway.

We have a long weekend trip to the Mammouth Caves (in Kentucky) planned for the end of this month. I really do hope Hubby’s recovered enough by then (I’ve already booked tours). Of course, I’ll probably be the slowpoke on those tours. I may be able to walk 4 miles a day, but climbing is a different issue. My heart will definitely get a workout.

Which, yes, I have been walking again. Have been pretty regular for the last two weeks (5X a week, around 4 miles a day, for about 1:15 a trek). This week will be a bust, sort of. I did sign up for a fitness class at RT for 3 of the days. I may not be able to DO the exercises, but I will go. I will, I tell you!

So yeah, May looks to be a whole lot more fun than April did (minus my two cardiology appointments, although if I get good news, then it won’t matter).

May also has more HOCKEY! At least for us fans who still have a team in the race. So far the Penguins have been playing pretty good in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Or should I say Marc-Andre Fleury has been playing EXCELLENT! Man, I love that guy. Game three against the Washington Capitals is tonight in Pittsburgh. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding a TV in Atlanta on Wednesday that has game 4. If I’m lucky, the hotel room’s TV has NBCSports. J

So… How does your May look? Are you busy this month, too? Hopefully it’s FUN busy!

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Let the Healing Begin

Hubby’s last radiation treatment was yesterday. Yay! Now he’s on the road to healing. I sure hope it’s a short trip. He needs some encouragement.

Hubby’s been getting hydrated every day now, so I’m getting more reading done. Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #1

Dates read: April 15-19
Title: “Wolf Tales 10”
Year of publication: 2010
Author: Kate Douglas
Genre: Erotic paranormal romance
Series: Wolf Tales #10
# of Pages: 277
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: The Chanku are gifted with more power—of mind, body, and soul—than the most superior of humans. Yet even these exceptional beings cannot change the laws of nature…or destiny. And when one loses his human life mate to a tragic accident, he is shattered by grief he never imagined possible…
   The only thing worse than losing his love is knowing that her death was caused by the incompetence of a goddess supposedly possessed of timeless wisdom. The justice dealt for the goddess’s horrible mistake is a demotion—from immortal to human—and the charge of filling the missing space in the Montana pack. But while some accept her quickly, not all are so willing…
   It is time for Anton, Stefan, and Adam to test the newcomer to see if she can withstand the heights of ecstasy these Chanku men will show her—and to discover whether, when faced with the ultimate sacrifice, she will make the right choice…
My thoughts: Not my favorite. Don’t know if it’s because it’s so late in the series, or because of the death of a major character, or if my head just isn’t in the right place. I do want to finish the series (there are 12 books and I own them), but I’m thinking maybe I want to wait until June to do that.

Book #2

Dates read: April 20-22
Title: “Compulsion”
Year of publication: 2015
Author: Allison Brennan
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Series: #2 in the Maxine Revere series
# of Pages: 446
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: Investigative reporter Maxine Revere has a theory: Maybe five New York City murders for which Adam Bachman is being tried are just one part of his master plan? In probing another case, involving a missing couple, Max uncovers striking similarities to Bachman’s MO. It seems likely that Bachman wasn’t working alone…but how can she prove it?
   Max wins a coveted pre-trial interview with Bachman, whose disarming composure is combined with uncomfortable knowledge of Max’s own past. She leaves the room convinced that Bachman is involved in her missing-persons case—but the D.A. refuses to hear it. With no physical evidence, Max must rely on her own wits and investigative prowess to dig deep into Bachman’s psyche and past. But as she gets closer to the truth, she doesn’t realize that she’s walking down a road that has been paved just for her. And at the end, the killer is waiting…
My thoughts: Well, the title was appropriate. Every time I put the book down, I was compelled to pick it back up!! J This is turning out to be a really great series.

Book #3

Dates read: April 23-24
Title: “Raging Heat”
Year of publication: 2014
Author: Richard Castle
Genre: Crime Drama/Mystery
Series: #6 in the Nikki Heat series
# of Pages: 290
Paper or plastic: Hardback
How obtained: Purchased (for my daughter)
Blurb from Goodreads: An illegal immigrant falls from the sky and NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat's investigation into his death quickly captures the imagination of her boyfriend, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jameson Rook. When he decides to work the case with Heat as his next big story, Nikki is at first happy to have him ride-along. Yes, she must endure Rook's usual wild conspiracy speculations and adolescent wisecracks, but after reuniting following his recent assignment abroad, she's glad for the entertainment, the chance to bounce ideas, and just to be close to him again and feel the old spark rekindle. But when Rook's inquiry concludes that Detective Heat has arrested the wrong man for the murder, everything changes.
   Balancing her high stakes job with a complicated romance has been a challenge ever since Nikki fell for the famous reporter. Now, her relationship lurches from mere complexity into sharp conflict over the most high-risk case of her career. Set against the raging force of Hurricane Sandy as it pounds New York, Heat battles an ambitious power broker, fights a platoon of urban mercenaries, and clashes with the man she loves. Detective Heat knows her job is to solve murders. She just worries that solving this one will be the death of her relationship.
My thoughts: This is still a fun series to read (or has turned back into a fun series—not sure I cared for the last one as much). Love the inside jokes and Rook has some really funny lines (but then, he usually does).

Tomorrow the Penguins start Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Capitals. I’ll be at RT (book convention) during two of the games in this round. And trust me, if I’m not doing anything, I’ll find someplace to watch the game. Which means… I better pack me some Penguins shirts!

So… How’s your reading coming along? Ahead, behind, or right on schedule? I’m ahead for once. Yay!

Happy Reading!

Stacy