Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I'm Almost Ready

Yesterday I had several appointments and still managed to get some Christmas shopping done, because I realized I needed to mail some presents BEFORE I left on the cruise. Like I needed to add MORE stuff to my list of things to do. But I managed to do it all. And I got the Christmas cards mailed. Now I just have to finish the laundry and pack. Piece of cake!

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #61

Dates read: May 26 – December 1
Title: “Write Naked”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Jennifer Probst
Genre: Non fiction – writing
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 225
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Regardless of the genre, every novelist faces a difficult task. Creating authentic characters and an engaging plot are challenging enough. But attempting to break into the hotter-than-ever romance genre, which is constantly flooded with new titles and fresh faces? It can feel impossible. To survive—and thrive—you need the help and wisdom of an expert.
   
New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Probst reveals her pathway to success, from struggling as a new writer to signing a seven-figure deal. Write Naked intermingles personal essays on craft with down-to-earth advice on writing romance in the digital age.
    Written in Probt’s unmistakable and honest voice,
Write Naked is filled with the lessons and craft advice every writer needs in order to carve out a rewarding career.
My thoughts: A writer friend boasted about this book, so I took a look at it and decided I needed it too. Sure, it’s taken me awhile to read it (between fiction books), but it is the SECOND craft book I’ve read from cover to cover (the first being On Writing by Stephen King). And I can see me reaching for this book again when I get stuck or need encouragement. Now, you don’t have to be writing romance to get some of what she talks about, and you don’t need to read this book in order (although I did). Each chapter talks about different parts of writing or being a writer and ends with an exercise. I haven’t done any of them yet, but I bet I do later on. Because I’m not shelving this book. Nope. It’s staying within sight.

Today’s weather turned nasty. Blowing wind. Cold temperatures. So glad we’re heading south in a couple of days. I shall bask in it all.

I am sad to see about the fires in Ventura County. That’s not too far from Santa Barbara (next county over), but far enough to not affect my mom (or other relatives I have in the area). Thank God!!

So… Do you have a favorite craft book? What is it? It doesn’t have to be about writing.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, December 4, 2017

One Busy Week

I think this will be the week from hell. Or pretty darn close. Because it’s no fun unless you wait until the last minute to do anything, ya know? And I’m the great procrastinator.

We leave Thursday night for our trip. I still have to pack. I still have to figure out WHAT to pack. And then there’s laundry to do…

Oh, and Tuesday is full of appointments: the car, me, and a dinner engagement. Okay, so that’s not being a procrastinator, that’s just being a poor planner. Or maybe a good one. I’m getting it all done in one day! Tuesday is also my friend’s birthday and I still haven’t gotten her anything, but then she didn’t give me any ideas, either. So yeah, I’ll blame her.

Maybe I’ll find something for her on the cruise. Yeah, that’s it.

Then there’s decorating for that big holiday that’ll be here in THREE WEEKS! I was going to put up the tree before we left, but I’m not really in the mood to clean and decorate. So I’m hoping that after being on a ship full of Christmas decorations and cheer, I’ll be in the mood when I get home and put up the tree then. If not, well, I guess we’ll just pile the presents where the tree would have gone. I’ve decided I’m not going to stress out about it. I got enough stressing to do, if you know what I mean.

Oh, and in case I forgot to say, I decided against having chemo. Which meant on Saturday I was able to get my hair colored (you didn’t think I’m a natural blonde, did you?). If I had chosen differently, I was going to get quite a bit of hair cut and no color (why bother?). So glad I don’t have to do that now. I kind of like my hair.

Anyway… I start radiation treatments on the 20th. I can’t imagine that’ll be any worse than chemo. But I’ve been known to be wrong. Just ask my husband. He can probably count them all on one hand!

So… Do you like busy weeks? There was a time when I would have said yes, because I liked being busy. It made the day go by faster. But now? Heck no! The week already goes by fast enough. I just hope it slows down a little during our vacation. I just want to relax and chill.

Happy Monday!

Stacy

 

Friday, December 1, 2017

38 Years Ago and Goodreads Gouging

Thirty-eight years ago today Hubby and I tied the knot. And it seems just like yesterday.

Okay, maybe not yesterday, but it is a day I remember vividly. More vividly than I remember yesterday. Haha!

We’re not doing anything special tonight. The upcoming cruise will be our special. And that’s how we came to taking cruises in December. They were anniversary presents to ourselves. Then we found out how much cheaper it is to cruise in early December vs. Christmas or summer. Almost half the price!

But unlike last year, Hubby hasn’t booked any cruises for next December. Probably because we have two already booked for 2018 and are still paying for them. Although… he is getting itchy fingers to search for a December cruise.

****
I should have known this day would come eventually, since Amazon bought Goodreads. I just didn’t think it would affect me so much. Starting in January, Goodreads will finally be able to let authors and publishers give away not only print books, but e-books as well. However, they will start charging for this feature. It’s not a cheap fee, either: $119 for “standard,” $599 for “premium.” And that’s PER giveaway! Talk about gouging an author.

I had planned on holding a giveaway for Ghostly Interlude once I got it all formatted for print. But seeing as I doubt that’ll happen before January 8th, I’ll have to scrap that plan. No way will I pay that much to give away a book. Goodreads isn’t that effective as a sales tool. I know. I’ve tried advertising there.

Not only is this disappointing as an author, it’s disappointing as a reader, too. Those e-book giveaways are for Kindle books only. I don’t own a Kindle. I own a Nook. So therefore, why bother entering the e-book giveaway? I wouldn’t be able to read it anyway.

I kind of wish I had told Goodreads about being disappointed as a reader when I took their survey, but I was too angry and disappointed as an author. I pretty much told them my money would be better spent on a Romantic Times review, and that ain’t cheap, either. But at least I know who my audience is there.

So… For you married folks, what kind of stuff do you do to celebrate your big day? Do you still give presents to each other? We never did that. We used to buy something for the house. Now it’s just the cruises. Which is fine. We don’t need anything else for the house!

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday Reads and a Rough Day

Monday was rough. I had a doctor appointment that only added stress to my somewhat stressful life and I attended a funeral for Hubby’s uncle, who had died five days after my father. I’ve known Uncle Kenny since 1982, but hadn’t seen him in 20 years. It was still very hard to hear of his passing, but it was nice to see the family again.

Sad thing is, we’d hope to visit him earlier, but with all this cancer stuff going on, it just kept being put on the back burner. Not an excuse, just what it was.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #60
Dates read: November 21-28
Title: “Lucky Strike”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Cate Beaumont
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Lucky, Kentucky #1
# of Pages: 194
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Kelsey Taggert is a modern woman blazing her way through single parenthood. While running her own business, she has no time for love since her cheating ex-husband left her for a stripper. A brush with death motivates her to step out of her comfort zone and get started on a Bucket List of new experiences. Number one on her list…a hot love affair.
    Workaholic Deke Connelly saves Kelsey’s life when she is struck by lightning, but she is not the only one electrified by the experience. He can’t stop thinking about the feisty brunette that dropped unexpectedly into his life. He believes she could be the one. Now how to convince her?
My thoughts: I read this because a friend wrote it. It’s a straight contemporary with some funny incidents. Was I hoping for more? Sure! I always am with contemporaries. But if that’s your thing, then you’ll enjoy this.

As for that doctor appointment that only frustrated me more: it’s basically MY decision to have chemo. It might help, but then the side effects might not be worth it. Might, might, might! Lovely, huh? I hate the vagueness of it all!!! So I’m leaning toward not having it. Thankfully, Hubby will support my decision.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Blogiversary to Me!


Eight years ago yesterday (not date, but holiday) I posted my first blog. If you’re curious to read it, click HERE.

Hard to believe how quickly those eight years went by. And how much has happened in my publishing endeavor during that time. I’d written my first novel in 2009. And now, eight years later, my sixth book is due to be released and I’m working on my eighth book.

What happened to book #7 (well… actually book #5)? That’s my alien story. I LOVE it, don’t get me wrong, but I’d feel better having written the next book in that series before releasing it (and no ideas are popping into my head!). Of course, I’d had hopes of getting an agent with that book, but now I’m not so sure I want to go that route. I think it would add too much pressure for me to write more often and frankly, I don’t need it! If I write slow, I write slow. It’s not like I’m doing this to make a LIVING. I just want to do it for supplemental retirement income (you know, when Hubby finally retires and we lose that big paycheck). And if my publishing career takes off, I wouldn’t mind owning a second home someplace warmer. But that’s all in dream land and I live in the real world.

For now.

Today is movie day for the family and we’re going to see “Murder on the Orient Express.” Actually getting the whole family together for this one. I’m hoping our granddaughter (who is 11) enjoys it. But we asked before picking the movie, so it’s not like a total surprise for her.

Then later I’m hoping Hubby, Daughter, and I will get out to see the Thor movie. With all the football going on this weekend, it’s the only time we can go and not pay premium prices.

I can’t believe matinees on the weekend end before 4pm. I refuse to pay $12.25 for a movie! I can buy the DVD for the price it would take both of us to go.

So… What are you up to this day? Did you get up early to shop? I do most of my bargain shopping on line, but I’m sure I’ll get out and do some regular, idea-churning, shopping later on. Or just wait until the cruise and hope inspiration strikes then.

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you for all the condolences. It was much appreciated. Someday I might be able to write more about my dad without getting teary-eyed. Or AS teary-eyed. Yeah, that’s probably more like it.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #59

Dates read: November 15-20
Title: “The Trouble with Twelfth Grave”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Darynda Jones
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Charley Davidson #12
# of Pages: 289
Paper or plastic: Hard back
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Ever since Reyes Farrow escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley Davidson accidentally trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle, but that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday job of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.
   Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor-sharp claws. Then again, her number-one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question is, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?
My thoughts: Darynda ended this book on a cliff hanger (grrr), but she’s done it enough times that I’m not all that surprised. Still irritated, but not surprised. Let’s just say, I’m invested in this series enough to forgive her. A little. I just hate that I have to wait so gosh darn long for the next book to come out. But I love this series, I really do. Charley is funny and Reyes is…Reyes, even when he’s not. It’ll be a sad day for me when the series really does end, which I recently learned is the next one (#13). Boo hoo!

For all of you who celebrate: Happy Thanksgiving. Got any plans for the big turkey day? We’ll be spending it with my friends in Columbus. I’ll be gobbling up her food for sure. Can’t wait!

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, November 20, 2017

RIP, Dad

Harold Gregory Thurber
February 16, 1925 - November 17, 2017

I'm so glad I got to see him during my trip to California, although I had no idea this would happen so soon. FYI - this picture was taken in July 2004, during a family reunion.




Stacy


 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Talking Characters

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #58
Dates read: November 6-14
Title: “Undiscovered”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Sara Humphreys
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Amoveo Rising #1
# of Pages: 353
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Free at RT17
Blurb from book: Centries ago, Zander Lorens was cursed to walk the earth stripped of his Dragon Clan powers. Every night, trapped in a recurring nightmare, Zander relives his darkest moment. He can hardly believe it when the dream changes and a beautiful young woman appears. Zander believes she’s the key to ending his torment. Finding her in the real world is one thing, but how will he convince her of who—and what—she really is?
    Rena McHale uses her unique sensitivity as a private investigator, touting herself as a “human divining rod” and finder of the lost. By day she struggles with sensory overload, and by night her sleep is haunted by a fiery dragon shifter. Nothing in her life makes sense, until the man from her dreams shows up at her door with a proposition…
My thoughts: Ahhh… Just the kind of book I’ve been craving, and to think it’s been sitting on my bookshelf. I got this book free at RT17. Sara conducted the exercise classes I attended each morning and gave away her books to anyone who wanted them. I’m glad I grabbed this one. I had so much fun reading it.

I finished this book late last night and almost forgot about my blog. Then again, if I hadn’t stayed up to finish it, I wouldn’t have had any books to report! Whew, dodged one there, huh?

I woke up the other morning with a character talking to me. This made me happy until I realized it was Sam, my vampire character, and not my ghost character. Good? Bad? I don’t know. So I’ve got a poll running on my Facebook page asking readers which book they would prefer I write: Bitten by Love #5 or Ghostly Encounters #3. If you have a preference, you can always go over there and vote. It’s pinned to the top of the page, so you’ll see it first. Or you can just say here in the comments. That would work, too.

So… Have you had snow yet? While it’s snowed here, I haven’t seen any yet (not looking forward to it, either). Forecasters are calling for a white Thanksgiving for a lot of the country. I don’t know if I like that so much. We’ll be driving to Columbus. Good thing we have AWD.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, November 13, 2017

We're Platinum, Baby!

Last night, Hubby and I completed the online check in for our December cruise. When we printed our boarding passes and stuff, there in big RED letters it said PRIORITY. And beside our names: Platinum.

Whoo hoo!!

That means we can avoid the long lines at embarkation and jump ahead of the crowd. That means we get free laundry during the cruise. That means we get invited to the free booze party on the ship!!!

We used to be invited to that party when we were Gold, but they changed that a couple of years ago and made it for Platinum and Diamond guests only.

For Carnival, it takes 75 cruising days to reach Platinum (which took us 12 cruises to do). 200 cruising days for Diamond. We may cruise more often now, but I won’t hold my breath for Diamond. Besides, Platinum gets us what we want: quick boarding on and off the ship and that booze party.

Now we’re all set for the next cruise. But I still have stuff to tell you about the last one. Specifically: tequila.

On our camel adventure in Cabo San Lucas, we were also treated to some tequila tasting. The tour guide didn’t explain how we should go about drinking the stuff, so I’m sure that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much. Especially mescal (that’s the stuff with the worm). It smelled like turpentine and burned going down. Ugh.

In Puerto Vallarta we toured two tequila “factories” and sampled lots more tequila there. They were very small and the tequila was only sold locally. If Hubby and I were regular drinkers (and wanted to mess with getting the booze back on the ship), we might have bought some, but instead we just enjoyed the samples.

It was in Puerto Vallarta where we learned HOW to drink tequila. You should inhale and exhale before chugging the shot, then inhale while you feel the burn going down. Goes a lot better this way than trying to sip the stuff, that’s for sure.

It takes seven years for the blue agave plant to reach the point where they can harvest it. They use the bulb (roots) to make tequila. They use the blue shoots (by making strips) for hats and belts. They said they don’t waste any of the plant.

Before distillation, the agave roots (called pineapples because that’s what they look like) need to be cooked. The first factory we visited cooked the agave in an oven. The second factory buried the agave in a pit and cooked it similar to how the Hawaiians cook pork for a luau. Once it’s cooked, then it’s mashed.

It takes about a week to make blanco (or silver) tequila from cooking to distillation (and it goes through distillation twice). This is the type without aging and the type I’m familiar with as it’s the one used most for mixed drinks (and it’s also the cheapest of the three).

Reposado is tequila that has aged in an oak barrel for about 3 months. It’s light brown in color and has a smoother flavor.

Anejo is tequila that has aged in the oak barrel for a year. It’s darker and similar to aged bourbon. This stuff burned going down.

Oh wait, they all burned. Well, all but the flavored ones.

The darker the tequila, the more expensive it is. That’s not because it takes longer to make, but because they lose product from it sitting in the barrel (through evaporation and absorption).

We tasted several flavored tequilas, too.

Peach was awesome. If we drank (or cooked) more often, we’d have bought some of this. Was told this was a good tequila to marinate pork in. I can believe it.

Café chocolate was very tasty (think Kahlua).

Almond was smooth and sweet, but not a flavor I was fond of.

Mandarin orange was very sweet.

Vanilla crème was good (although a bit on the thick side—it contains milk). Mix it with Café chocolate and it tasted like butterscotch. Add mandarin and you have a chocolate cherry cordial. Strange, but true!

You’d think with all that tasting we would have left the factories drunk. But I’d be surprised if what we consumed came to a total of two shots. Their cups were very tiny and they didn’t fill them half-way.

Overall, I was surprised at how many tequila types there are and how much I liked them. Hubby still prefers his Bacardi.

Our next cruise doesn’t have anything quite as interesting as tequila tasting or camel riding, but I’m sure we’ll have fun anyway.

So… Did I bore you with my tequila talk? Have you ever tried it? I’d never had it straight before, but I could see drinking a shot if I were looking for something to help me sleep (or get me warm). It is my preference in mixed drinks (I like tequila sunrises). And if I ever come across peach tequila in the store I might just buy some. You know, for cooking. Haha!

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pictures from My Trip

Would you believe I actually downloaded the pictures from my phone to my laptop? Amazing, huh? I have my cousin to thank for that, though. She’d been texting me for pictures of my family and I couldn’t ignore her. She can be very persistent!

Let me start out saying that I think that vacation was the most relaxing I’ve had in a long time. We didn’t schedule a lot of stuff to do, which really made a difference. We could just do whatever whenever. I loved it!

So...pictures. You wanted pictures, right? Well, here you go! Remember, you can click on the picture to make it larger. Oh, and be on the lookout for a video of our camel adventure!


This was taken at the aquarium in La Jolla, CA.

I took this while Hubby drove on the bridge to Coronado
Island. It's quite a long and sweeping bridge, as you can see it
ahead. The island is just off San Diego, located in the bay.

Here's a picture of the bridge from the island.

Loved this windmill (or wind art?). I missed getting
the girl's head, but you can see her "hair" trailing behind.
By the way, the tires spun in the wind.

A picture of San Diego, taken from Coronado Island.

I love the WTF Forecast app on my phone.
I believe it got hotter than 91 that day, though.

This is Goleta Beach. My parents' house is less than 5 miles from here. I was
kind of sad to see the condition. Those rocks didn't exist before. But I guess
a huge storm came through and tore up the beach. The rocks were used to
keep the deterioration down. Still, there's no way to get down to the beach
without crawling over the rocks (although you probably wouldn't want to
at high tide, like it was when I took this picture).

Beautiful day at Goleta Beach (which really isn't a beach anymore--boo hoo).

Palm Trees!

This is Long Beach harbor, taken from our ship. The Queen Mary is peeking
over there on the left side of the picture.

Cabo San Lucas. You can tell it's a port when you see Senor Frogs!
They're all over the Caribbean, too.

What a face, huh?

Hubby and me on our camel, Mayor. I couldn't remember our guide's
name (bad me). He led us around the beach. Mayor was a slow poke, though.
He never wanted to stay with the rest of the group!

Above is a short video (about 2 minutes) of our camel adventure taken by the tour via a drone. There isn't any sound, but the picture is pretty awesome. And that beach!! Yeah, I'm a sucker for a pretty beach. If you watch this, just know that Hubby and I are always way in the back away from the rest of the group.


FYI - a camel's lips are very soft.

Lots of cacti.

Gotta show a picture of Hubby and me.

On Halloween night, I was told I could get a scary cheesecake
for dessert. I thought it was more cute than scary. :)

Puerto Vallarta.

Chocolate DOES grow on trees!

The blue agave plant, which is used to make tequila.

Behind Hubby is a tequila factory. Honest. It's that small. Their tequila,
while very good, cannot be bought in the stores. Only locally. They just
don't have the capacity to distribute any further.

Another shot of Puerto Vallarta (taken from the ship).

Yes, even Walmart and Sam's have invaded Mexico!

Pretty sunset. Going down to Mexico, our room faced east. Going back home,
we got to enjoy the sunset from our room.

What cruise can be complete without a drink?
I ordered a Sex on the Beach. It was pretty tasty.

I woke up early on the day we were to leave the ship.
So glad I did. The moon was GORGEOUS!


I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Maybe on Monday I'll tell you more about the tequila we tasted.


Happy Friday!

Stacy


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Surgery Update

I had planned on posting this last Wednesday, but my access to the internet was brief and, plus, I forgot. Haha! Here’s what I read the past two weeks:

Book #55

Dates read: October 22-26
Title: “The Magic Root”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: T.S. Hottle
Genre: Sci-Fi Space Opera
Series: The Compact Universe #1
# of Pages: 65
Paper or plastic: Nook
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: Kai is the governor of Essenar, a prison planet that's also a rainy, acidic hell. Along comes an alien with a plant that could solve all his problems. He calls it a "potato." When the potato fails, the alien and a general Kai doesn't like offer a more drastic solution to his problems: But is this alien trying to start a war? And why?
My thoughts: I love sci-fi, but not necessarily in book form (I have a hard time picturing strange things, but love seeing them on the screen!). However, because I was curious what my friend wrote, and since this was a novella, I felt it would be okay to give sci-fi another try. Yeah, I think I just need to stay away from this genre (it got a little too confusing for me). But if you enjoy space opera sci-fi, give this one a try. You’ll probably get it more than I did (oh, and he has lots more books out there, too!).


Book #56

Dates read: October 26 – November 3
Title: “Mortal Sin”
Year of publication: 2014
Author: Allison Brennan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Seven Deadly Sins #3
# of Pages: 426
Paper or plastic: Nook
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: Four months ago, a black magic coven summoned the Seven Deadly Sins from hell then quickly lost control. Former witch Moira O’Donnell and her lover, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper, captured two of the demons, but the remaining five Sins disappeared. Now, whoever gets near the demons becomes infected with an insidious urge to act out on their deadliest sin—with horrific results.
    Moira will do anything to find and imprison the remaining demons. Unfortunately, there’s no rulebook to follow, only her gut instincts … and they’re telling her something is very wrong in Santa Louisa, the small California town where the demons were first released. Fights are breaking out day and night, friends are turning on friends, and the jails are full. She wants to stay and help Sheriff Skye McPherson find the cause of the violence, but when a demon hunter goes missing while pursuing one of the Seven, Moira’s the only one who can find him.
    While Moira is tracking one demon in Canada, Rafe and Skye battle another in Santa Louisa. With every victory comes many more defeats, and Moira quickly realizes that someone—or something—doesn’t want her to return to Santa Louisa. The body count rises, demonic hot spots pop up throughout the world, and the people closest to Moira are in the most danger. When one of their own succumbs to one of the Sins, Moira fears they’re too late … and the end of the world is already here.
My thoughts: I was happy to see another book in this series, because I wasn’t sure Allison would finish it (her publisher wasn’t interested, so she had to self-pub this one). I got confused a little (probably because it had been too long since I read the last one--so yeah, you'd want to read these books in order), but I still enjoyed the story because I really liked all the characters. It did end on a small cliff-hanger (grrr), which kind of surprised me because I didn’t think there’d be any more books in this series. So maybe there will! I do enjoy the series.


Book #57

Dates read: November 4
Title: “Love Voodoo”
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Alyssa Breck
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 52
Paper or plastic: Nook
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: After a chance tarot card reading in a New Orleans voodoo shop, vampire Luca is intrigued by Collette, an alluring woman with an uncanny intuition. Getting intimately involved with a human is the last thing Luca has in mind, but Collette wins his trust and their friendship grows into something deeper. When Luca’s clan learns that he has asked Collette to perform a spell to bind his psychotic sire, a deadly chain of events unravels that will change their lives.
My thoughts: I was looking for a paranormal romance and the blurb drew me in. It was just what I wanted. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it was a novella when I bought it (B&N really should show “pages” for their Nook books), so when I started reading it, figured it probably wasn’t what I was in the mood for. It’s a very well written book, so that made me happy. Still…it just felt rushed, probably because I was looking for something deeper. It’s a very sexy book, though, and I did like the characters. If you’re looking for a new paranormal author, this is a good book to try out.

Surgery went much better on Monday than the first one did (lighter anesthesia), but started way later than I expected. Got there at 11:30, but didn’t get wheeled into surgery until after 5. I was released by 8:30, though, and very hungry (since my last meal was 24 hours earlier). I’m sore today, but not as bad as last time (only one cut vs. the two I had last time). I don’t see my oncologist until the 27th, so I won’t have any more news to share until after then. Thanks for all your well-wishes. It’s much appreciated.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, November 6, 2017

From Fun to Ouch

Had a wonderful time on our vacation. Still trying to get all organized and I have yet to download the pictures from my phone because I’m lazy like that (or maybe just have too much to do and keep forgetting?). And today I go back to surgery to have the rest of the whatever-it-is removed from my breast. That happens this afternoon.

Hopefully, it’ll be quick and I’ll recover just as fast. And hopefully I won’t hurt as much as last time.

I’m hoping a lot.

I originally planned to tell you what I learned about tequila during our tour in Puerto Vallarta, but I still need to go over what I wrote so maybe I’ll post it on Friday. And maybe I’ll have pictures to go with it.

Maybe.

I’m so decisive today…not!

So… do you find that your mind is still on vacation when you return from one? And it’s not like I actually work, you know? Ugh.

Have a great Monday!


Stacy

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Man, It’s HOT!

Made it to Santa Barbara yesterday. Normal temps this time of year is in the mid 70s. It was 98. Supposed to reach 90 today. Normally, the temps don’t bother me so much, but my parents’ house doesn’t have A/C.

I’m melting…

I know. It could be worse. It could be humid, too. Luckily, it is not.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #54

Dates read: October 15-21
Title: “Immortally Yours”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Lynsay Sands
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Argeneau Vampire Series #26
# of Pages: 367
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: One hundred and twenty-five years is a long time to nurse a crush. That’s how long it’s been since Beth Argenis first met Cullen “Scotty” MacDonald and he instantly became the star of her most X-rated dreams. Back then, he was rescuing her from a rogue immortal. Now Beth’s a Rogue Hunter—and a damn good one. She doesn’t need saving anymore, despite what Scotty thinks. What she does need is the fierce, wild desire that finally erupts between them.
    Scotty has hesitated to claim Beth as his own. But one explosive kiss confirms what he’s long suspected: She’s his life mate. But Beth is tough, fearless, beautiful…and in immortal danger. Unless he wants to lose her forever, he’ll have to rethink everything he once believed about love and destiny as well as confront an enemy who’s terrifyingly close.
My thoughts: I still enjoy this world so much. A Lynsay Sands book is always an entertaining one for me (which is a good thing, because these books are an auto-buy). They’re sexy AND funny (but not in a crazy-funny way).

There’s a huge giveaway of paranormal romance & urban fantasy books going on HERE (to help generate Amazon followers). Each author is sponsoring a book. Check it out and click on any of those you’d like to win (you’ll see who’s sponsoring it, too). And if you click on Lynsay Sands’ book, you might recognize who’s sponsoring that giveaway. Hint: it’s ME! J

So… How about those Dodgers? Whoo hoo!

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pictures Taken Over the Weekend

I found a city I could easily live in: Carlsbad, California. Of course, I'd probably have to win the lottery to afford it. I can only GUESS how much it costs to live here.

Daughter's footy games didn't go so well. They lost all four. She still had a good time and the weather was OUTSTANDING! I mean, you couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Well, except for a win. She would have liked one of those.

Today we visit an aquarium before taking Daughter to the airport. Then maybe Hubby and I will go over to the USS Midway Museum. Maybe. We haven't made up our minds yet. Anyway, here are some pictures I took over the weekend:

I'm thinking you can only find this in California.
We discovered this at our hotel.

This is where the USAFL Nationals was played at:
Surf Cup Sports Park in Del Mar, CA.
I can only imagine how much those homes must cost.

My daughter in the pink, #66.
I'll let you guess WHY she has 66.
Or you can ask in the comments and I'll tell you. :)

Beach in Carlsbad, CA

The other view of the beach in Carlsbad. We walked to the
end in this direction.

Some of the homes/apartments/vacation suites
overlooking the beach. I wouldn't mind staying at
one of them, but I'm sure I couldn't afford it.

Reached the end of the beach and took this picture.
As I was uploading it to Instagram, I stupidly turned my
back to the ocean. Yep, a wave got me. Ooops.

Sunset in California!


That's all for today. Tomorrow I head up to my parent's house. I'm not sure if they have wifi or not, so next post might be difficult. We'll see.

Happy Monday!


Stacy

Friday, October 20, 2017

Vacation, Cancer Update, and Horror Flash Fiction

My vacation starts today! Yay, yay, yay!

I can’t guarantee I’ll continue to blog during the next couple of weeks, but I will if I remember and I have something to say/share—like a good picture. I mean, I’ll be in Southern California. I’m sure I’ll have lots of good pictures!

Now here’s hoping the flight doesn’t mess with my hearing. I really hate flying because of that (it HURTS when the plane descends), but it’s just too far to drive this time around.

So… Yesterday I saw my surgeon. Yes, I need more surgery. But… it doesn’t have anything to do with the cancer. He got all of that and the margins were great (yay!). The area that is giving me problems is an area that could develop into cancer. Apparently, “the book” requires a larger margin for that than the cancer and it’s not known if radiation will get/kill it all. Since the surgery isn’t as long (about a 15-minute procedure) and I won’t need to be completely out (like I was before), it made the decision to go with another surgery a lot easier to make.

Besides, Hubby pretty much said I need to do whatever it takes for me to still be around when he turns 80. J

That means I’ll have surgery after I get back from my trip (Nov 6), and radiation will be pushed into mid December provided I don’t need chemo. Now, my lymph nodes all came back clear (yay!!), but there’s another test that’s being run to determine if I have some gene that indicates I have a higher chance of reoccurrence. I find out that answer on Nov 27th. Hopefully the answer comes back NO. I really do not want chemo (but I’ll do it for Hubby if needed).

Okay, enough of that depressing stuff. Here’s something fun. I got a question from Goodreads (in the Ask an Author section), to write a two-sentence horror story. After thinking for a bit, this is what I wrote:

She walked into the garage and the spider taunted her as it sat blocking her way to the car. But after smushing the nasty arachnid, like she had done to all the others, millions more rained down upon her head in retaliation.

Was that horror enough for you? It certainly was for me! I hate spiders!!!

So… Are you having a second summer this week? I was all set for moderate temps back home only to find it’ll be close to 100! Yikes!! That is definitely NOT fall weather for Southern California.

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I’m a Little Mad

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #53

Dates read: October 5-14
Title: “Dark Legacy”
Year of publication: 2009
Author: Anna DeStefano
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Legacy #1
# of Pages: 307
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Free from a convention
Blurb from book: “Die!” scream her nightmares. The voice is her sister’s, the compulsion stronger than any ordinary dream.
    Maddie Temple can’t go through this again. Her twin has been in a coma for the last ten years. Their psychic link was severed. At least, that’s what she thought.
    But there’s a lot Maddie doesn’t know—about the 200-year-old curse on her family, about the shadowy group that wants to exploit the Temple twins’ powers for themselves, about the sexy psychiatrist offering to help her. The only way to find the answers and avoid being pulled into the abyss of madness is to trust her heart and confront her dark legacy.
My thoughts: This is one of those books that I nearly threw across the room when I reached the end. Why? Because the ending was not satisfying. Wait, it would have had to have an ending for that to happen. This story isn’t over. Not by a long-shot (I still don’t know what the 200-year-old curse is!). It’s a tactic some authors use to get you to buy the next book, but this book would have had to be great to rope me in, and it wasn’t. I saw the low rating (and bad reviews) on Goodreads, but gave it a try anyway because it’s a romance. Except it really wasn’t (not in the way I like them). Yay me for sticking with it. Not so yay for the author, because I really have no desire to continue reading this series. Not when I don’t trust the author.

Can I be a little mad? And no, this has nothing to do with the book. I arrived to what I thought was an appointment with my radiation oncologist on Monday in preparation for radiation treatments (which are to start in Nov). But… he said the appointment was for the following Monday. Not so, I said. I won’t be in town (so I know I wouldn’t have agreed to that date!). He wants to wait until after I see my surgeon, which I see tomorrow. Luckily, he can see me that day, after that appointment. The not so lucky part was that he hinted that the margins might not have come back good enough and I might need more surgery.

More surgery? I specifically told my surgeon to take MORE than was needed. That I wasn’t worried about disfigurement or anything like that. So yeah, I’m kind of pissed. I sure hope the radiation oncologist was wrong because I really don’t want to have to go through another surgery. And really, why should I? Won’t the radiation kill whatever cancer cells I might have remaining? I’ll let you know Friday what I find out.

So… Have you read any books this year that you wanted to toss after reaching the end? What did you do with it? Like all of my free reads this year, I’m giving mine away (via my newsletter), but I feel so bad about the ending, I’m also giving away a bonus book. Gotta keep my subscribers HAPPY!

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, October 16, 2017

Publishing Update and Have Lunch With Some Authors

I finally got the print format for Ghostly Liaison and My Sunny Vampire uploaded to Createspace, so now the waiting game begins. I’ll still get a proof copy first (because you never know…), but I sure hope I’m done with these two.

Bite Me, I’m Yours is with Hubby (via Enterprise Book Services) to format the e-book and paperback. He said I should get the e-book version by today to upload. It’ll probably be a few days later for the print format. I just hope it’s all done before I leave on my vacation (which starts Friday—yay!).

By the way, here’s the new cover to Bite Me, I’m Yours. Isn’t it great? I think Maria Zannini (www.bookcoverdiva.blogspot.com) has done a wonderful job in creating my covers. And she puts up a lot from me, too (because I can be so indecisive at times).

So, to sum it up, here are the statuses of the following books I’m working on:

  • My Sunny Vampire: e-books available for sale; print book in process
  • Bite Me, I’m Yours: e-books and print book in process
  • Ghostly Liaison: e-books available for sale; print book in process
  • Ghostly Interlude: with copy editor.

I can’t believe how time consuming it’s been to get these books out. I DESERVE that vacation now! And I’m really hoping I get some writing done because yes, that does sound like a fun thing to do on vacation. It’s been way too long since I wrote anything NEW.

If you’re in the Cincinnati area (or even if you’re not—haha!) and you’d like to have lunch with a bunch of us authors (because hey, that’s fun!), here’s a great opportunity and it’s for a good cause, too. The Book Chicks of Cincinnati is holding a Christmas luncheon/book signing with proceeds going to the Toys for Tots. I had a blast last year (as did everyone), but if we don’t get more tickets sold, it could very well be cancelled this year. L You can find all the details HERE, but before you go registering, email me first (stacy @ stacymckitrick . com—without the spaces). I’ll send you a code to get $5 off.

SPORTS! Wayne HS won on Friday, with 14 seconds left in the game!!! I even found a video of it HERE (it's not long, less than a minute). Aaack. Too exciting! Saturday was a nice sports day. OSU won. USC won. Penguins won. Dodgers won. And WVU won (yes, I like them, too). And Sunday the Steelers squeaked by KC in a nerve-wracking win, the Rams beat the Jags, and the Dodgers won it in the 9th inning with a walk off home run!! They’re up 2-0 in the NLCS. I could use more fun sports weekends like that.

So… Which sports are you enjoying/focusing on now? You can see what interest me (and did you notice I don’t mention the NBA? Yeah, I don’t like them). This certainly is the busy season, isn’t it?

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I’m Getting There

After Monday’s fiasco, I still managed to get My Sunny Vampire back into the stores (Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords for now). That’s two down and one to go (as long as you don’t count the print books—still need to work on those). Well… actually, two to go. I still have Ghostly Interlude to publish, but it’ll be after Oct 23 (because that’s when my copy editor can get to it). But I’m getting there. And hopefully they’ll all sell like popular books. Hopefully.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #52

Dates read: September 27-October 4
Title: “I Know a Secret”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Genre: Suspense
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #12
# of Pages: 314
Paper or plastic: Hardback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Two separate homicides, at different locations, with unrelated victims, have more in common than just being investigated by Boston PD detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. In both cases, the bodies bear startling wounds—yet the actual cause of death is unknown. It’s a doubly challenging case for the cop and the coroner to be taking on, at a fraught time for both of them. As Jane struggles to save her mother from the crumbling marriage that threatens to bury her, Maura grapples with the imminent death of her own mother—infamous serial killer Amalthea Lank.
    While Jane tends to her mother, there’s nothing Maura can do for Amalthea, except endure one final battle of wills with the woman whose shadow has haunted her all her life. Though succumbing to cancer, Amalthea hasn’t lost her taste for manipulating her estranged daughter—this time by dangling a cryptic clue about the two bizarre murders Maura and Jane are desperately trying to solve.
    But whatever the dying convict knows is only a piece of the puzzle. Soon the investigation leads to a secretive young woman who survived a shocking abuse scandal, an independent horror film that may be rooted in reality, and a slew of martyred saints who died cruel and unusual deaths. And just when Rizzoli and Isles think they’ve cornered a devilish predator, the long-buried past rears its head—and threatens to engulf more innocent lives, including their own.
My thoughts: I think this series will always entertain me. I like seeing where Jane and Maura’s lives are going as well as solving the crime. And this one has some strange twists to it; fooled me at the end.

Would you believe that I actually sold TWO copies of My Sunny Vampire on Amazon between the time the book finally finished processing and I was able to unpublish it? Why can’t I sell them like that ALL THE TIME? Because yeah, it’s out there and…**chirp chirp** Still, I feel bad those two copies went out there without the italics. I hope the reader doesn’t become too confused. Or maybe I got lucky and Amazon automatically sends the most current version? Well, I can hope!

So… What are you reading now? I’m reading a book I got from a convention that is turning out better than the reviews led me to believe. Which just goes to show, you can’t always go by the reviews.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, October 9, 2017

When You Can’t Sleep…

Got so busy last night uploading My Sunny Vampire to KDP, Nook, and Smashwords, that I never got around to writing up a post for this morning. Then I woke up at 3am.

No, the blog wasn’t calling me. My book was. Hubby had mentioned on Friday (yes, Friday!) that the italics hadn’t come across when he was formatting it for print. I never bothered to check the e-book.

Until 3am this morning.

Yep, no italics anywhere. Ugh!

Smashwords thankfully had already denied the book (the epub failed something), and it appears I might have been able to stop publishing it on Nook, but I can’t pull the book from KDB until it finishes processing.

What a mess. I just want to cry.

Wait, I might have done a little of that already. *sniff, sniff*

Now that I know what kept me up and I’ve done all I can do at this time, I still can’t sleep. So why not write?

I have to say, it doesn’t hurt to sleep. I’m so bound up by this bra the hospital gave me that I can sleep on my side without any pain. And I’m not taking any pain medication, either (and I hope I won’t have to—hate taking that stuff). Of course, it’s not helping that the area is starting to itch.

I know that’s a good sign that it’s healing, but man, it’s driving me nuts!

Football yesterday was pretty nasty. Don’t know what team showed up against the Jaguars, but it sure wasn’t the Steelers I know. And I had hoped the Rams could have pulled out a win against the Seahawks, but it wasn’t meant to be, I guess. L

Looking forward to being able to actually WATCH my first hockey game this season. I think the Pens are on NBC Sports on Wednesday. I might even check out the Vegas Golden Knights this week (they’re on late one day). I’ve become a fan of that team because of Fleury (I love that goalie!).

So… When you can’t sleep, what do you do? Toss and turn? Or go to another room and read or something? I might try the reading part next. I refuse to toss and turn.

Happy Monday!

Stacy