Friday, November 29, 2013

Pictures From my Cruise!

Still stuffed from Thanksgiving (or maybe the leftovers)? Tired of shopping? Well, sit back and relax. I've got pictures from my cruise! Remember, if you click on the picture, it should enlarge.

Nassau. This is the Atlantis, well, part of it.

Nassau. On the water taxi over to Atlantis, we supposedly
passed the home owned (and now for sale) by Nicolas Cage.

Nassau. This is Atlantis outside the casino. We wanted to
walk the grounds, but you have to buy a day pass to do that.

Nassau. Our ship (The Pride) is the second from the left (or
the smallest of these four). The Splendor is to our left (and
we met them at all our stops - they came from New York,
whereas we left out of Baltimore).

Freeport. Found this little lighthouse.

Freeport. This was a beach - if you can believe it. Kind of
tiny, if you ask me. But then, we were warned that the
beach in Port Lucaya wasn't very good. They were right!

Freeport. There's the Splendor (again). If you didn't want to
take a 20 minute taxi to town, you could do some shopping
right on the port. Or drinking. There's a Senior Frogs located
in that red building.

Last night at dinner. Polaidin (from Indonesia),
Catalin (from Romania), My Hubby, Me, and
Pauline & Chris (our dinner companions from Virginia)
One thing I love about cruising is the dinners. Some people don't attend because they think you have to dress up (and you don't really have to). Those people are missing out. Our head waiter, Catalin, made our meal so much fun. When he first introduced himself to us, he said to call him Bobby. Maybe you can see why. He looks just like Robert DeNiro! And he made sure to act like him, too! They really made an effort to make sure we all had a good time. They even hugged us goodbye after our last dinner.

The next bunch of pictures are the towel creatures our cleaning staff left us each night (when they came in to turn down the bed). I always hated moving them off the bed, afraid I would ruin their work, so I made sure to take the picture BEFORE I moved any!

A cute seal.

A sexy bunny?

Not quite sure WHAT this is!

I think this is a bear. Could be wrong.

I'm guessing monkey.

The next night, the monkey decided to
hang around!

Looking straight on, I couldn't tell what this was.
Then I looked on top. I'm thinking it's a Frog.
Yesterday I had a treat besides a wonderful dinner made by our friend, Mary. She bought my book and asked for my autograph! So...I got to hold a copy of my book for the first time. And autograph it! What a rush! I'll get my own copy eventually (next time we order something from Amazon).

So...did you brave the crowd today and go shopping? Not me. It's our annual family movie day and we're going to see Thor and Chasing Fire. We've been doing this as a family since...1989 (I think). Haven't missed a Black Friday yet! Certainly better than shopping.

Have a good one!!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Reads -- Two Weeks' Worth

Just as I had hoped, I got caught up in my reading goal during my vacation. Yes, I got some writing done, too, but it WAS my vacation, so at least I didn’t feel guilty reading more than I wrote. Here’s what I read during the last two weeks (and it’s lengthy--5 books worth):

Nov 15: “Doon” by CareyCorp & Lorie Langdon. This is a YA romantic fantasy (for want of a better description). Blurb on book: Veronica doesn’t think she’s going crazy. But why can’t anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna’s great aunt--and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica’s daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they’ve longed for…or they could end up breaking an enchantment and fid themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare. This story is told in first person, but with two POVs (Veronica’s and Mackenna’s). I might not have had problems with that, except the two voices were almost identical. It took me a bit to get into the story, too (but I think that’s because of me and not the story). By half-way, I was deep into wanting to know what was going to happen next. There is a sequel in the works (from what I’ve learned from the authors - who I do know, by the way) and I’ll most likely read that, too. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Nov 18: “Time to Control” by Marie Pinkerton. This is labeled as erotica. I’d put it more into paranormal (time travel) romance. Blurb from Goodreads is too long to list here, but this is how it starts: "I was married five hundred years ago to the man I met on Thursday. It has made for an interesting start to a relationship." I was expecting erotica, and worried a bit when it was in first person (definitely not my favorite in this genre), but didn’t get anything close to that (which was somewhat of a relief, but only somewhat). For a paranormal romance, it was okay. I liked the time travel portion of the story, just wish there was more of it. And if you think Kerrelyn Sparks, Linsay Sands, Laurell K. Hamilton, or JR Ward write too sexy, you’ll have no problem with this book. I, however, wanted more and thus the 3 stars on Goodreads.

Nov 21: “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. This is a horror (duh!). Blurb from B&N: Acting on behalf of his firm of solicitors, Jonathan Harker travels to the Carpathian Mountains to finalize the sale of England's Carfax Abbey to Transylvanian noble Count Dracula. Little does he realize that, in doing so, he endangers all that he loves. For Dracula is one of the Un-Dead--a centuries-old vampire who sleeps by day and stalks by night, feasting on the blood of his helpless victims. Once on English soil, the count sets his sights on Jonathan's circle of associates, among them his beloved wife Mina. To thwart Dracula's evil designs, Jonathan and his friends will have to accept as truth the most preposterous superstitions concerning vampires, and in the company of legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, embark on an unholy adventure for which even their worst nightmares have not prepared them. Why have I NEVER read this book before? Granted, when I got it for free when I bought my Nook, I took a look at it and thought I might not like the way it was written (the story is told through journals and letters), but man, was I wrong! I really don’t understand me at all. This was a great book and I’m sorry it has taken me this long to finally read it. I understand so much more now. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.

Nov 22: “Cooking up Love” by Gemma Brocato. This is a contemporary romance. Blurb from Goodreads: Mix a chef and her contractor, stir in a mystery, and cook up a romance. Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television's latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the cafe and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt's legacy. Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town's delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself. Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the cafe could be sold. He doesn't need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro's beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he's all in. He wouldn't mind being savory to Jem's sweet. Jack's brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem's claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil-a recipe for romance. This was a light and breezy book and thoroughly entertaining. I’m not always fond of contemporaries, but I’m trying to read books by my Lyrical sisters. I really liked this one and I’ll read more by Ms. Brocato. I liked the couple very much right from the start. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. 

Nov 24: “First Frost” an Anthology by Lyrical Press Authors. Contemporary, paranormal, and erotica romances make up these nine short stories, and they’re all centered around the beginning of winter (cold weather). Like all anthologies I’ve read, I liked some stories better than others. The two paranormal ones were probably my favorite (gee, I wonder why??) and the erotica ones were quite steamy. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

So, are you hosting or visiting this Thanksgiving? We’re visiting. I only have to provide the pies, which I’m attempting to bake today. Hopefully I won’t have to shop at Kroger tonight! Haha!

Happy reading & Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Back from my Cruise

I’d never been to Baltimore before. I don’t think I’ve even driven through the city, either. Without a map, I was completely lost as to what was in what direction, though (and I kind of hate that - I like to know what my bearings are for some strange reason). After a long drive, we didn’t feel like doing much, and besides, we weren’t there to sight-see! I did, however, find a Hard Rock (no Bubba Gump - darn!). Got my magnet!

Finding the restaurant wasn’t too hard. Finding a place to pull over or park (for free) was. But I got lucky. In my effort to turn around, I found a circular drive that my hubby could wait with the car (and drive in the circle if he had to) while I walked over to the store. Hubby said he wouldn’t mind spending a weekend in Baltimore and visit. We’ll see. Certainly NOT on a weekend the Ravens play. I can only imagine what the traffic would be like then. We were lucky to be there on a Sunday (coming and going), and even then the traffic was bad.

First two days of cruise was spent on the sea and it wasn’t warm yet. In fact, it was windy for most of the trip and made for a wild ride at times. Thankfully, I only got queasy the first night and a nap seemed to cure me. I got a lot of reading and writing done. All was good.

Our first stop was at Port Canaveral. I always wondered what was there, now I know: Nothing. If we wanted to spend $$, we could have gone to Orlando (Disney, Universal, or Sea World) or Cocoa Beach. But I assume Cocoa Beach isn’t all that different from Panama City Beach--shopping-wise anyway--and we've been to the parks. So we just walked around the port. At least it was warm (temps in the 80s), although it did rain (we had made it back to the ship before that happened).

Our second stop was Nassau. It was our third trip to this island, but first time we ventured over to Atlantis. We spent the money to take a water taxi over. They sure love to cram as many people on that boat as they can. I thought I was going to hug the captain of the ship! Instead, I got to sit on the step. Lost money at the casino and walked around. But it was sure nice and warm!

Our final stop was Freeport. It was our second trip to this island. This time we spent the money for a taxi into town. Their idea of a 15-minute ride is actually closer to 30, and once there, we realized we wouldn’t be back. I got “suckered” into spending all my money (which wasn’t THAT much, thank goodness) to the first woman who nabbed me (pulled me by my hand--I can’t say no!). Granted, I was looking for a present for my sister. Sure hope she likes it! J

The leisurely trip from Baltimore wasn’t so leisurely back up. And then we all got shocked with cold temps when we left the ship (30 degree weather, really??). We saw a bit of snow on the drive home, too. Not exactly the way I wanted to remember my WARM trip. Heavy sigh!

No pictures today. Maybe Friday--provided I download my camera by then.
Hey, did any of you notice the Steelers AND Rams won their games yesterday? You know why, too, don't you? Yep, wore my LUCKY shirt. It ain't lost its mojo yet!!
I have yet to go through my mail (snail and e). I think I hate that the worst of returning home. What do you hate the most when you return home from vacation?



Friday, November 15, 2013

My Book is in Print!

What a nice surprise to discover that “My Sunny Vampire” is available at Amazon as a paperback. The digital version isn’t due to be released until Jan 6, but if you can’t wait… Haha!

I knew it was going to be offered in print. I just assumed it would be for sale in January.

Now, if I was the type to brag (and I probably should be if I want to sell any books, huh?), I can proudly tell anyone on my upcoming cruise that it’s now available to purchase.

I can’t wait to get my own copy!

This will be my last post until I return from my trip, and then it will only be a few days before Thanksgiving! Gee whiz, when did THAT sneak up? Too quickly, that’s for sure. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get all my Christmas shopping done in the Bahamas. People like T-shirts, right? J

Now it’s off to pack. Oh…after I finish the laundry. Yep, save everything to the last minute. Are you that way, or are you one of those early packers?

Happy Friday!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Tuesday morning I woke up to some snow on the yard. It was so cold out, it didn’t even all melt during the day. The maple tree in my yard still has green leaves on it (apparently, it doesn’t realize its leaves should have turned color or dropped off by now). I'm not ready for winter!!

All this cold weather is really making me appreciate the hubby’s and my upcoming cruise. Warm weather, here I come! And I’ve gotten my Nook stocked with books to read. That thing better not fail me, or it will be the last time I count on it.

Next week there will be no reading list (as well as no blogging, period, since I’ll be without internet) and this week’s is light. Here’s what I read during the last week:

Nov 7: “Double Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay. This is the sixth book of the Dexter Series, a horror. Blurb on book: A witness. Such a simple concept--and yet for Dexter Morgan, the perfectly well-disguised monster, the possibility of a witness is unthinkable. But when Dexter is on a very private, very satisfying excursion one evening with a wretchedly deserving playmate, the unthinkable happens: someone sees him. Dexter is not at all pleased. As an upstanding blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, he has always managed to keep the darker side of his life out of the spotlight…the fun part, where he finds truly bad people--murderers who have escaped the reach of the justice system--and quietly gives them his very special attentions. But now that he’s been seen and identified by his witness, Dexter must launch himself into a different kind of hunt. Making matters worse, a brutal cop killer is targeting Miami’s police detectives, leaving behind bodies that are battered beyond recognition…and completely bloodless. As the department grows more fearful of the psychotic killer in their midst, Dexter must handle his own crisis and come to terms with the fact that his witness is not only circling him but determined to expose him. Dexter is being followed, manipulated, and mimicked…leading him to realize that no one likes to have a double, especially when his double’s goal is to kill him. In this book, Dexter is a little dense. He’s a smart guy (he has to be to get away with murder, right?); he should have come to some conclusions a lot earlier than he did. But it was still an entertaining read and had me guessing how it would all end. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads and will finish up the series AFTER my cruise.

In other news: I finally figured out how to “fix” BITE ME so I could get rid of a character my editor thought was “too much.” I spent the last week revising the story and now it’s with my daughter to read. She’ll let me know if my solution works. The surprising part is, I kind of like the new version better (and I was so sure I NEEDED that character). Who knew? Anyway, I’m crossing my fingers all goes well and I can get the ms to my editor before I leave on our cruise. Then I won’t be ABLE to check my e-mail every ten minutes, since I won’t have internet.

Are you crossing your fingers for anything? Like, maybe, winning NaNo? Do tell!

Happy reading!



Monday, November 11, 2013

Me, Superstitious? You Betcha!

Have any of you seen those commercials (probably for beer, not really sure - that’s kind of sad, isn’t it?), shown during football games featuring fans of said games (in all their superstitious paranoia) and ends with this saying: “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.”?

Well, I now believe that statement.

While driving to Branson last month, we stopped in St. Louis and I bought a couple of Rams t-shirts. The next day I wore one and that was the Sunday the Rams not only won, but the Steelers won their first game! I called it my lucky shirt. I should have believed my own words, because, stupid me, I never wore that particular shirt on another Sunday.

Well, until yesterday.

Yesterday my husband and I had to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to see the Steelers game. The Rams game was on at the same time. So…I wore that t-shirt UNDER my Steelers jersey, because I wanted both teams to win. Yep, they both won. I attribute it to the shirt. I will never forget to wear that shirt on game day again!!

Who knew I could be so superstitious?

How about you - are you superstitious? If so, what “works” for you?


Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Drive By

I've got nothing today, but this romance writer REALLY loves this song, so I'm making it a music day. Enjoy!

Happy Friday!



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday Reads

Sizzle and Sass is keeping me busy this week. My writing is suffering a bit from it, too. Well, maybe I should say my project is suffering. I am writing on the page, what with the interactive story and all. It’s certainly making me think quickly (not a trait I thought I owned). And if you’re curious about the story, you can always come over and check it out! If you have a Facebook account, that is.

Anyway, here’s what I read during the last week:

Oct 30: “Possession” by J.R. Ward. This is the fifth book of the Fallen Angel Series, a paranormal romance. Blurb on book: When Cait Douglass resolves to get over her broken heart, throw off her inhibitions, and start really living, she’s unprepared for the two sensual men who cross her path. Torn between them, she doesn’t know which to choose--or what kind of dire consequences could follow. Jim Heron, fallen angel and reluctant savior, is ahead in the war, but he puts everything at risk when he seeks to make a deal with the devil--literally. As yet another soul is unwittingly caught in the battle between him and the demon Devina, his fixation on an innocent trapped in Hell threatens to sidetrack him from his sacred duty… Can good still prevail if true love makes a savior weak? And will a woman’s future be the key, or the curse, for all of humanity? Only time, and hearts, will tell. When this series started, it wasn’t near as good as the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, but then those are kind of hard to top. With this fifth installment, I think it’s getting really close. I would have read it faster if I didn’t have any writing (or other obligations) to do, that’s how much I liked it. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Have you adjusted to the time change? I don’t think I have. I almost went to bed at nine the other night, which is unusual for me. I refuse to blame it on getting older, that’s for sure. I say, do away with DST! What do you say?

Happy reading!


Monday, November 4, 2013

My Facebook Page Debut

I’m performing hosting duties at Sizzle and Sass, the Facebook page I share with some Lyrical Press sisters. If you haven’t liked the page before and WANT to, or you’ve already liked the page, come on over and say hi.

One of the events that started on the page last week was build-a-story. Amy Burgess started it on Halloween, thinking it would only last a night, and then it took off and she didn’t finish it (more like didn’t want to finish it) on her last day, so now it looks like I’ll be continuing with the story, not that I mind (I need all the ammo I can gather).

What are we doing? The hostess writes a scene and then gives three possible outcomes in which the readers vote. Amy was doing multiple scenes a day. I may stick with one scene a day and see how it goes. Although, it is kind of fun, so who knows…

Do you like this kind of interaction on a Facebook page? Do you think it’s helpful getting noticed? I can only hope it helps me capture the attention of some future readers!



Friday, November 1, 2013

My First Review!!! Oh, and Pictures of Graceland

Whoo! What a week. I can't believe I actually blogged every day. I guess it's easy when you have lots of stuff to share.
I got a nice surprise the other day. I was on Goodreads, noticed two more people added my book (I love it when the number goes UP), went to check out who (yep, I can do that!) and discovered my very first review! Whoo hoo! She gave me 4 stars, too. Wow! I don’t even KNOW this person. I guess I really AM published now. Feels kind of good. J

I realized as I was downloading the pictures from my camera that I hadn’t shared my experience at Graceland. Well, here are some pictures from that impromptu trip.

Because this is what Graceland is all about, right?

Proof I was there!

Graceland, which wasn't named by Elvis, but by the previous
owners after their Aunt Grace! He liked the name so much
he kept it.

Living room - love that stained glass!

We weren't allowed upstairs, out of respect for the family.

Dining room - duh!

The kitchen looks so normal, doesn't it? At least, normal
to the 1970s.

Room in the basement. The colors kind of jarred me!

Another room in the basement. I thought it was really
cool how all the walls & ceiling are covered in fabric.

Here's a picture of me taking a picture! Oh, and
also of the room leading to the racquetball court.

This USED to be the racquetball court.

They still have horses on the estate.
We are now on board the Lisa Marie.

Yes, Elvis slept here!

Final resting place of Elvis, his parents, and grandmother.

It was an interesting tour, not really worth the $37 (nor the $10 to park!). I guess if you're a real fan, you don't mind the costs so much. Still, there was one part where they were showing clips of his films, making me itching to watch one now (not that I've ever watched one from beginning to end before).

Wrapping up Lyrical Press’s Celebrate Paranormal Month, here are the final links:

Oct 31:
Oct 31:

Last night I was supposed to go to the HS football game, but the severe weather (rain, wind) pushed that game (which was supposed to be telecast by Fox Sports Ohio) to tonight. Should be a pleasant evening for football. If Wayne wins, they’re the division champs. Either way, they’re headed for the playoffs. Certainly not the way we envisioned the season. We thought we’d be lucky to win ONE game! Instead, we’re 8-1 going into the final game. It’s been an adventurous season. I hope we survive the playoffs!

So, have you ever watched an Elvis film? Think you'll ever go to Graceland?