Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Reads and a Short Story Idea

When I registered for Rust City Book Con (to be held in Troy, MI, August 4-6), I was asked if I wanted to participate in a short story event the Literary Escapism blog plans to put on just before the con. The theme is Hidden Treasures. I just have to feature characters from one of my books discovering a new bit of treasure. I thought it would be fun, so I said I’d do it.

Of course this was before we learned Hubby’s cancer had returned. Writing fiction since his surgery has been pretty much non-existent, and I had forgotten about this assignment. Until yesterday, when I came across my reminder note.

Seeing that note jolted something inside me. Maybe it’s my muse, who knows. But suddenly writing a short story seemed…doable. So I thought about which characters I wanted to use. Then it hit me (I love it when ideas do that!). I have this block of time between Ghostly Liaison and Ghostly Interlude (which isn’t published yet). I have Rob, who hasn’t been able to go through his parents’ stuff since they died, and Bridget, just moving into his house and wondering what’s in the basement. Voila! Hidden Treasures.

I’m getting excited about writing now. Yay!

Here’s what I read the past week:

Dates read: March 12-19
Title: “No One Left To Tell”
Year of publication: 2012
Author: Karen Rose
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Romantic Suspense #13, Baltimore #2
# of Pages: 518
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: A minivan crashes in front of rookie PI Paige Holden’s home. And suddenly she finds one of her pro bono clients dying in her arms—from a gunshot wound. With her last breath, the woman whispers cryptic words into Paige’s ear and hands her a blood-smeared flash drive.
   Five years earlier, State’s Attorney Grayson Smith put a murderer behind bars. But when Paige shares the flash drive with him, its contents cast doubts on the conviction—and lead Paige and him into a world of blackmail, dark secrets, and a decades-long string of murders. An investigation they’ll survive only by trusting each other—and the truth.
My thoughts: Lots of twists and turns. Lots of characters. And a story taking place within a span of 5 days! You’d think it’d drive me nuts, but it didn’t. I started reading this series with book #12 (then skipped to #16 because that’s what I had at the time) and while you don’t HAVE to read these in order, I’m finding I want to now. Because Paige was introduced in another book (Minneapolis #2), so I’m guessing other characters might be moving around, too. I won’t know that unless I read all the books. Which I’m sure I will. Someday. Which means…time to go stick them in my wish list!
   See… All this from reading a freebie first (I got it at a convention). It’s a trap, I tell you. A trap. Authors can be just as bad as drug dealers. I know, I just lumped myself into that statement! At least what we sell isn’t illegal, or life-threatening. J

One week down, five to go. Hubby is already struggling with the chemo and radiation, but promises me he’ll continue to force himself to eat. Most food tastes awful to him and he’s afraid to eat his favorites (for fear of ruining them). It’s been trial and error (mostly error), but he’s found a few things that don’t “gross him out.” He also thinks he sleeps too much (although it was kind of expected), but I told him not to worry about that. I can’t imagine sleep being bad for him.

So… Has anything piqued your interest lately? Maybe writing short stories is exactly the kind of thing I need to do right now. Not a lot of time and dedication is needed for those, and I can write while Hubby naps! J 

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Dark Tower? No, Thank You

Over on Facebook I saw the poster for the upcoming movie, The Dark Tower. The poster was cool, and I loved (loved, LOVED) the books, but I don’t think I can watch the movie. Why? Here are some reasons:

  • Most King movie adaptations suck. Heck, I can say that about most movie adaptations.
  • I have nothing against the actor, but he’s not Roland. I find it strange (well, maybe not, he was probably paid well) that King didn’t think Roland was any race. So why did he write him white? I mean, there’s a big conflict between Roland and Susannah because he’s white and she’s black. Don’t see how that can happen if Roland is also black.
  • Matthew McWhatchamacallit. Need I say more? Ugh.
  • This movie is some sort of sequel, and not really about the books. So why call it The Dark Tower? Talk about confusing.
Heck, it’s not like I get to the theatre all that often anyway. But I’d much rather see The Dark Tower turn into a television series (but not like Under the Dome—TV ruined that book, too!).

The movie I hope to see next is Beauty and the Beast. Tuesday is bargain day at the theatre. I’ll have to see if Hubby is up to going.

So… Are you a fan of movie adaptations? Which King film is your favorite?

Happy Monday!
 
Stacy

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d go with a GREEN theme! That way you can’t pinch my blog. Hahahahaha!

My last name is Irish (now), but would you believe I’m more Irish than my husband? My paternal grandmother was born there as was my maternal great-grandfather. Hubby’s Irish ancestors came over way back in the early 1800s! But my maiden name (Thurber) didn’t reflect my Irish roots.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I AM related to James Thurber. We share a distant relative (I just don’t remember which one).

I like the fact my last name is Irish now (and has been for 37 years). Now I just have to remember to wear something green today (because that’s the only Irish thing I do). I tend to forget that stuff when the Penguins are playing—I just grab a Penguins t-shirt.

Yesterday I finally got time to complete my city income tax. I really hate their site. The instructions are in docx files (I can’t open those and don’t necessarily want to download another program on my laptop so I can). Why would they do that? What’s wrong with PDFs? Ugh.

Then their fill-in form doesn’t even calculate correctly. After printing it, I crossed off the wrong number and filled in the correct one. I plan on taking the form to the office and will pay in person (yeah, we owe a little bit), just in case they have issues with my return.

I liked it so much better when they used to mail me the forms. I get nothing from them now. Not even a reminder.

After a pretty busy week, it would be nice to have a quiet weekend, but that won’t be the case. My RWA chapter is having a mini event (two speakers) which will last all day (8:30-5:30 + 2 hrs of total driving). I may be lucky to get out of bed on Sunday.

So… Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Drink green beer? Eat corned beef and cabbage? Go to Chicago to see the river turn green? Or are you like me: stay at home, eat normal food, and watch TV?

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Reads and Lack of Writing

Here’s what I read the past week:

Dates read: March 2 - 9
Title: “Bite Me”
Year of publication: 2014
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: The Pride Series #9
# of Pages: 375
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Free
Blurb from Book: Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.
   That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge…
My thoughts: I got this book quite by accident. I had ordered copies of my book, Bite Me, I’m Yours, through Kensington. When the package arrived, I anxiously opened the box to discover copies of this book instead. Kensington fixed the mistake and told me I could just dispose of the wrong ones. Well… I couldn’t just throw them out, so I gave some away, but kept one to read. Eventually. Well, eventually finally came.
   This is the 9th book in the series. I hadn’t read the first 8, but didn’t let that stop me. I was slightly confused with the plethora of characters (plethora – I’ll blame Stephan Pastis for that word http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2017/03/09 ), which I’m sure wouldn’t have been a problem if I had started reading the series at book #1, so if you’re confused with numerous characters and this book interests you, you might want to start with book #1.
   This was a crazy-funny story (didn’t realize this when I started reading, not that I minded). The romance was just a tiny bit on the thin side, and I actually wondered what the book was ABOUT until I got about half-way through, but it didn’t stop me from turning the pages.

Two books this week. Whoo hoo!

Dates read: March 10-12
Title: “Hunt the Dawn”
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Abbie Roads
Genre: Romantic suspense (with some paranormal woo-woo)
Series: Fatal Dreams #2
# of Pages: 329
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: You can’t hide your secrets from Lathan Montgomery—he can read your darkest memories. And while his special abilities are invaluable in the FBI’s hunt for a serial killer, he has no way to avoid the pain they bring him. Until he is drawn to courageous, down-on-her-luck Evanee Brown and finds himself able to offer her something he’s never offered another human being: himself.
   Nightmares are nothing new to Evanee Brown. But once she meets Lathan, they plummet into the realm of the macabre. Murder victims are reaching from beyond the grave to give Evanee evidence that could help Lathan bring a terrifying killer to justice. Together, they could forge an indomitable partnership to thwart violence, abuse, and death—if they survive the forces that seek to tear them apart.
My thoughts: You know you’re reading a good book when you read it fast. The book is labeled romantic suspense, but it could easily be called romantic horror. Lots of dark and spooky stuff happens (and I LOVE spooky stuff) with two people you just want to be together. You don’t have to have read the first book to understand this one. Some characters overlap, but not in a way that will confuse anyone.

As you can tell from all my reading, I’m not writing as much. I do hope that changes soon, but right now I just can’t seem to deal with my writing with all the other crap that’s going on. You’d think I could use it as a distraction, and I could, but in a way I don’t want to be distracted. I want to be available for my husband. And if that means putting writing on the back burner for several weeks, then so be it.

So… Anyone playing in the March Madness Brackets? I’ve got three going (Buffalo Wild Wings, CBS Sports, and Nathan Bransford's), same bracket, though. Kind of makes it more fun to watch. At least for me. Oh, and don't you LOVE where I found the word plethora? Amazing what you can learn from comics, huh? Haha!

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Nice Surprise

I spent a portion of my time Sunday cleaning out my e-mail box. I was trying to find an e-mail I opened and before I could save it, the computer crashed (because of course it did). I tend to keep older e-mails NEW until I no longer need the information from them, and I usually (USUALLY) save them in another folder, for just this case.

Did I do it for this one? Of course I didn’t!

Problem is, AOL (at least my software) is acting wonky. All e-mail software acts wonky in one form or another. I really hate them all, but I hate AOL the least, so that’s why I stick with it. Anyway, I clicked on Incoming/Saved e-mail and was told it had over 90,000 e-mails and would take a while to sort.

Apparently it only wants to sort 50% of the e-mails. What’s up with that?

See—wonky!

So I set out to delete e-mails I don’t need, hoping to finally get to 2017 and find the e-mail I DO need. But then I got distracted.

Don’t we all?

I found a set of e-mails from 2010 from an e-mail address that looked vaguely familiar, and it had to do with critiquing her work. I opened one, but it didn’t display her name. But a character’s name (Isleen) jumped at me. Hmmm… I recently read a book with that character name. Coincidence? I wasn’t sure. So I kept clicking on the e-mails and then I found her name: Abbie.

No, it couldn’t be. But then I saw another character’s name (Xander). They were both from that book. And now her e-mail address looked MORE familiar, so I went to my COFW membership roster (because I’m the treasurer and keep track of that sort of thing) and found the name I know her by now and there, listed beside it, was her other name. Her real name. The name on the e-mail address.

And the funny thing is, I was reading her second book.

I had actually critiqued Abbie Roads’ first book. Well, at least 10 pages of it.

Gosh, I hope I said good things!

Oh, and I still haven’t found that e-mail I wanted. After all that, I wanted to finish reading her book. And I did!

Hubby is getting his port inserted (installed?) today. Don’t know when I’ll get back to my computer. I’ll most likely have to drive him to class tonight (not sure I want him to drive after having anesthesia). Fun, fun, fun!

So… Do you save your e-mails? How far back do yours go? Am I stupid to keep mine? I know a lot of people delete e-mails after reading them. Mine automatically get saved to that Incoming/Saved folder anyway and I just can’t seem to get myself to hit delete on all of it.

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Change in Plans and Forever Thirty-two

Well… Hubby was supposed to start chemo and radiation on Wednesday. However, when the nurse tried to put in the IV, she met with some resistance. And Hubby met with some pain. Not good. Therefore, Hubby needs a port inserted to make life easier for the nurses and him. That’ll occur on Monday (minor surgery) so chemo and radiation have been moved to next Wednesday.

It’s frustrating, because we just want to get this started and over with as soon as possible. Didn’t exactly want to wait another week, but it is what it is.

We did get to see what the place is like, though. A lot of people get crammed into this small room. I had hoped to bring my laptop and work, but with the tiny chair I’m given, I’m thinking I won’t be able to do that. Not comfortably, anyway.

Would you believe Hubby said I didn’t have to go with him? Like anything would keep me from going.

The guy is nuts, I tell you. NUTS!

^^^^

Last year (or maybe the year before) I finally got around to putting my short story, Forever Thirty-two, up on Amazon and making it free. Recently I noticed it’d been for sale for 99 cents (which is the default). I gave Amazon a link to B&N to show it was free there, but that didn’t seem to help. Not wanting to go through another e-mail discussion where they tell me I’m breaking my terms of service, I decided to just take the short story down from Amazon. If anyone wants it, they can get it free on my website (and various other places).

I can see why Amazon wouldn’t want to sell anything for free. I mean, what’s in it for them, right? I guess if a lot of people had been downloading the short story on Amazon, it would have been a harder decision to remove it, but I give away more copies on Smashwords, iBooks, and Nook than I do on Amazon. Then again, it stays FREE on those sites.

^^^^

I finally, FINALLY, received the Schedule K-1 I’ve been waiting for and guess what? I don’t need to report anything. Figures. Guess that means I can finish my taxes now. Oh joy! I can’t complain too much, though. We are getting money back.

So… Doing anything fun this weekend? The weather is supposed to turn back to cold (grrr), but our friends are coming over from Columbus and will cook dinner. Yay! Which means… I’ve got to clean the house! Aaack!

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Reads

Here’s what I read the past week:

Dates read: February 21 – March 1
Title: “Huntress Moon”
Year of publication: 2012 (digital)/2014 (print)
Author: Alexandra Sokoloff
Genre: Thriller
Series: The Huntress/FBI Thrillers Book 1
# of Pages: 364
Paper or plastic: Paper
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Book: FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young  woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.
   Roarke’s hunt for her takes him across three states…while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.
  As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.
My thoughts: Interesting story. Only issues I had with it were the present tense whenever in the villain’s point of view (everyone else was in past tense) and the fact it didn’t really end. No cliffhanger (thank goodness), but lots of questions were left unanswered. There are four books (so far) in this series and I haven’t decided whether or not I want to read more. Not because the book wasn’t good, but only because I fear the others won’t really end, either. But if you’re looking for a thriller series, you might want to check this one out.

So… Of series that contains the same characters, does it bother you if the main issue is unresolved, like in The Fugitive (each book/episode with the same villain)? As I ask this question, I realize I read lots of paranormal romance series like that. Sort of. I guess it’s a fine line between what is acceptable to be unresolved and what is unacceptable. In romances, as long as the couple reaches their happy ever after or happy for now ending, the rest is okay. But for other genres… I’m just not as forgiving. Unless they’re one of my favorite authors. Then I can forgive almost anything. Almost. J

Appreciate any good thoughts you can send our way as Hubby starts his chemo & radiation therapy today.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, March 6, 2017

What a Weekend

I got so busy this weekend, I didn’t have time to write a blog post. But there’s no rule that says I have to post by 6am, is there? Nah! It’s my blog, I can post whenever. So I choose now to post.

I’d say I have pictures to share, but then I’d be lying. I took a couple of pictures, but they’re still on my phone and pretty lame, anyway. Nothing with ME in them. Sometimes I think I need an assistant just to take the pictures. Haha!

The Angels and Sirens book signing went better than I expected, but a lot different than I expected, too. Apparently I also had to pay extra for the dinner and mixer after (I thought it was part of the author price—it was not). Oh well, so I didn’t stay for those. But a lot of people did stop by my table during the signing (some even bought a book!). I had a giveaway basket I had hoped would generate more interest, but that didn’t work out like I thought. Live and learn. Live and learn.

My next reader convention is RT (Romantic Times Booklovers convention). That’s a massive event, but it’s fun, too. I’ll be part of Kensington’s party (they’re giving away copies of Ghostly Liaison for me to sign), which is a nice bonus for me. I’ll also be part of another party – Beach Blanket Bingo. I’ll be sharing my table with writer friend, TeriAnne Stanley. Should be lots of fun!

Anyway, back to my weekend.

I was so wiped out on Saturday (having gotten up at 4am and then driving 3 hours to Washington, PA), I was asleep by 9:30pm. Of course, I was the first to wake up in the morning! But we still took our time getting up and ready. Didn’t have to be in Pittsburgh until 3:45 (when the charity bag sale commenced—Daughter bought one), so we had lunch at a restaurant I had never been to before. A place that’s pretty famous in Pittsburgh: Primanti Brothers.

Now, I didn’t go and get the sandwich that has slaw and French fries in it (yep, IN it). I opted for the meatball sub. Man, was that sub AWESOME. So glad there’s a restaurant in Beavercreek (about 10 miles away from me). I don’t have to wait so long to return, because, yeah, I’ll go back for that sandwich!

After lunch, we drove into Pittsburgh and found a place to park. Unfortunately, we left the car in auxiliary mode for a bit until we were ready to leave for the stadium and drained my car battery (it is getting old—nearly 7 years). Ooops. We crossed our fingers that when we came back to the car after the game, that there would be enough juice to start up. There wasn’t.

Someone was still in the parking lot when we returned who had jumper cables and gave us a start. Man, were we lucky or what? Guess I’ll be buying a new battery this week. Probably today, if I ever get my butt out of the house!

The Penguins game was awesome, too! Of course, I wasn’t feeling so great after the first period, since we were losing 3-0. Coach actually replaced Murray (the starting goalie) with Fleury. Ah, the love for that man! We were all chanting Fleury’s name during the game, especially after the awesome saves he made. Buffalo never scored again and we ended up winning 4-3 (the last two goals coming within the last 3 minutes of the game!). So it was an exciting game and made the 3-1/2 hour drive home so much more pleasant!

Even though we had to eat in the car after—we were afraid to turn it off so soon after leaving!

It was a great weekend and one I won’t soon forget. Especially now that I know I need a new battery! Haha!

So… Think I was just lucky my 6-1/2 year-old battery started on a jump? This battery is the one that came with the car. I’ve always been impressed with Nissan batteries (my Altima battery lasted long, too). We’ll see if I get as much mileage with the replacement.

Happy Monday!

Stacy

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Book Signing Event and a Hockey Game

This weekend finds me in Pittsburgh once again.

On Saturday I have to get up well before the rooster crows and drive three hours to the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, PA. Need to get there between 8-9:00am for the Angels and Sirens Book Signing.

Oh, and if you’re thinking of attending, it costs $10 at the door just to get into the book signing, so this isn’t a freebie thing for readers.

I’m not exactly sure what to expect (or how many people are attending). Book sales/signing is from 11-4 (starts at 10 for early-bird attendees). Dinner (extra $) is at 5pm and a Mix & Mingle party (extra $) starts at 7pm.

I’m pretty sure my author fee includes all of that (but I can’t remember—aren’t I pathetic?). In any case, I’m prepared for a long day (doesn’t help that these events kind of drain me, too) and will do my best to go with the flow and have a good time.

It probably would have been smarter to leave tonight, but I’m cheap, what can I say?

Hubby and Daughter are accompanying me on this trip, but won’t be going to the event. They’ll be on their own Saturday, but Sunday is PENGUINS HOCKEY!

Yay! We’ll drive up to Pittsburgh (only about 30 minutes away) for a 5:00pm game against Buffalo. This game will be indoors, where it will be considerably warmer than last Saturday’s outdoor game. Then after the game we’ll drive home (hopefully as happy fans!).

So, that’s two weekends in a row in Pittsburgh. Two weekends of Penguins hockey. I’m ready.

So… Got any plans this weekend?

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

No Wednesday Reads, But a Happy Feeling

I didn’t finish reading any books this week. Maybe if I read more in the car while my daughter drove to Pittsburgh and back I’d have a book to report, but I didn’t feel like reading going there and had a headache coming back.

I hate headaches. This roller coaster weather isn’t helping any, either.

Today, though, I hope to get rid of a different kind of headache. It’s on my list of things to do, but I forgot Hubby has a couple of doctor appointments today, so now I’m thinking it might not happen until tomorrow. In any case, I will be writing our last mortgage check. The house will be ours, free and clear.

Twenty years. That’s how long we’ve lived here. We managed to cut ten years off the loan when we last financed the house, and when I make that last payment, we will be officially debt free. What a happy feeling.

And man, we could use a little happy right now.

So… Does paying off a huge loan give you a happy feeling, too? If not, what would?

Happy Reading!

Stacy