Friday, December 30, 2016

I Reached My Goal!

That’s right! I posted 13 times each month, mostly Mon-Wed-Fri. I say mostly because I believe there was one month where I had to skip a day to keep it to 13, but otherwise, the rest were spot on. Yay! So nice to have reached a goal. And no, I don’t intend to continue. Turned out to be more stress than I needed.

I mean, I’m still blogging Mon-Wed-Fri, but if I miss a day, no biggie. And trust me, when I’m at a convention or on vacation, I’ll be missing some days.

Reaching goals does feel good, though. I’m glad I finished the revisions (pre-editor) to Ghostly Interlude in 2016. Of course, I had planned on finishing it back in March. Oops. So I’m a little late. I made it in 2016, though. No way was I stretching that into another year. No. Way.

As for 2017, I have no idea what kind of goals to set. I’ll have to think about it for a bit. No need to rush, right? Although, I do plan on starting Book #8 in 2017, but I still have to figure out a decent storyline (and a title). I need a brainstorming session with someone. I know just the person, but she’s always so busy and it’s been difficult getting together. I will see her at a chapter reunion in January, so maybe I’ll get lucky. **fingers crossed**

I finally managed to watch “Star Trek: Beyond.” Good movie. Hopefully I’ll remember that one. We re-watched the one before and even though I know I saw it in the theatre, I barely remembered any of it. It was like I watched it for the first time. Sometimes I really wonder about my brain.

On Monday we went and saw “Passengers.” It’s not getting very good reviews and I don’t know why. I really enjoyed the movie, but then I’m a sucker for romance. Yep, you can call this one a sci-fi romance. I don’t think I’ll have any problem remembering that one. I want to see it again!

So… Have you set any goals for 2017 yet? Are you celebrating the New Year with friends or family? We’ll be going to Columbus to celebrate with our friends. Dinner before the OSU game. Dessert during half-time. And hopefully celebrating two-fold as the clock strikes midnight! Go Bucks!!

Have a Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Favorite Reads of 2016

No Wednesday Reads to report this week. And I’m not so sure I’ll finish another book this year, so I thought I would list my favorites of 2016 (and if by some chance I do finish my current read before the 31st, I’ll update this list, because it’ll be on it!).

As it stands now, I accomplished reading 71 books this year. No where near the 90 I set my goal for at the beginning, but more than the 65 I had adjusted to back in September (or was that October).

Here are my favorite (5-star) books of 2016 (in the order I read them):

  1. "Fatal Secrets" by Allison Brennan (finished 1/5/16). 428 pages.
  2. "Cutting Edge" by Allison Brennan (finished 1/10/16). 405 pages.
  3. "Reflected in You" by Sylvia Day (finished 1/13/16). 338 pages.
  4. "Maximum Exposure" by Allison Brennan (finished 1/16/16). 83 pages.
  5. "The Dirt on Ninth Grave" by Darynda Jones (finished 1/19/16). 326 pages.
  6. "Hard to Let Go" by Laura Kaye (finished 2/3/16). 363 pages.
  7. "Sweet Revenge" by Rebecca Zanetti (finished 2/24/16). 341 pages.
  8. "Blind Faith" by Rebecca Zanetti (finished 2/27/16). 368 pages.
  9. "Finding Their Balance" by M.Q. Barber (finished 3/7/16). 322 pages.
  10. "Runaway Vampire" by Lynsay Sands (finished 3/13/16). 349 pages.
  11. "Entwined with You" by Sylvia Day (finished 3/19/16). 356 pages.
  12. "Captivated by You" by Sylvia Day (finished 3/20/16). 356 pages.
  13. "Time's Best Friend" by Jennette Marie Powell (finished 3/29/16). 343 pages.
  14. "The Unleashed" by Brett Battles (finished 4/1/16). 289 pages.
  15. "Wallbanger" by Alice Clayton (finished 4/5/16). 365 pages.
  16. "One With You" by Sylvia Day (finished 4/14/16). 462 pages.
  17. "Midnight Rising" by Lara Adrian (finished 4/19/16). 356 pages.
  18. "The Beast" by J.R. Ward (finished 4/24/16). 508 pages.
  19. "Veil of Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 4/28/16). 355 pages.
  20. "The Saints of the Lost and Found" by T.M. Causey (finished 5/3/16). 297 pages.
  21. "Ashes of Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 5/9/16). 353 pages.
  22. "Dead Ice" by Laurell K. Hamilton (finished 5/23/16). 560 pages.
  23. "Shades of Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 5/31/16). 383 pages.
  24. "Taken By Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 6/16/16). 370 pages.
  25. "Deeper Than Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 7/3/16). 387 pages.
  26. "The Curse of Tenth Grave" by Darynda Jones (finished 7/9/16). 342 pages.
  27. "Darker After Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 7/19/16). 360 pages.
  28. "A Taste of Midnight" by Lara Adrian (finished 7/20/16). 80 pages.
  29. "Don't Tempt Me" by Lori Foster (finished 7/25/16). 330 pages.
  30. "Edge of Dawn" by Lara Adrian (finished 7/30/16). 368 pages.
  31. "End of Watch" by Stephen King (finished 8/14/16). 429 pages.
  32. "Crave the Night" by Lara Adrian (finished 8/27/16). 354 pages.
  33. "Charming the Professor" by Donna MacMeans (finished 8/31/16). 196 pages.
  34. "An Accidental Gentleman" by M.Q. Barber (finished 9/3/16). 166 pages.
  35. "The Siren's Dance" by Amber Belldene (finished 9/8/16). 208 pages.
  36. "Bound to Darkness" by Lara Adrian (finished 9/15/16). 298 pages.
  37. "Hard Ever After" by Laura Kaye (finished 9/25/16). 126 pages.
  38. "Immortal Nights" by Lynsay Sands (finished 9/29/16). 346 pages.
  39. "The Vampire's Mail Order Bride" by Kristen Painter (finished 10/3/16). 212 pages.
  40. "Relax, I'm a Ninja" by Natalie Whipple (finished 10/6/16). 338 pages.
  41. "Trust Me, I'm a Ninja" by Natalie Whipple (finished 10/13/16). 351 pages.
  42. "Back Off, I'm a Ninja" by Natalie Whipple (finished 10/14/16). 321 pages.
  43. "Race the Darkness" by Abbie Roads (finished 10/22/16). 332 pages.
  44. "Defy the Darkness" by Lara Adrian (finished 10/25/16). 286 pages.
  45. "You Belong to Me" by Karen Rose (finished 11/2/16). 494 pages.
  46. "Pairing Off" by Elizabeth Harmon (finished 11/7/16). 380 pages.
  47. "Closer Than You Think" by Karen Rose (finished 11/10/16). 678 pages.
  48. "The Lost Girls" by Allison Brennan (finished 11/21/16). 439 pages.
  49. "The Chemist" by Stephenie Meyer (finished 11/25/16). 518 pages.
  50. "Blood Vow" by J.R. Ward (finished 12/31/16). 459 pages.
If you want to see ALL the books I read, you can find them listed on the tab that says "What I've Read in 2016."

(12/31/16 NOTE: I did finish the book by the 31st and added it to the bottom, making it a total of 72 books read.)

I’ll set my goal the same (65) for next year. Don’t need to cause me any unnecessary stress. But I will change my reading up a bit. I have all these books upstairs that I received free from conventions. Books I thought sounded interesting and didn’t want to give away just yet. Thing is, they’re out of sight, so I never got around to reading them. Well, I’m going to remedy that. I’ll pick one of those books to read each month. If the first chapter doesn’t grab me, though… GOODBYE. No use wasting my time on duds, you know?

So… Do you feel good about your reading stats this year? Or do you not even bother tracking them? The accountant in me loves to track stuff, so it’s not a chore. I tend to only do stuff I enjoy nowadays. Which is probably why my house is a mess. Oh well… J

Happy Reading!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Pictures from Ohio Lantern Festival and I’m FINISHED!!!

I really didn’t think this day would ever come. I finally finished the revisions to Ghostly Interlude. What a relief. One more read through and then I give the story to my daughter to make sure I didn’t write crap.

Because sometimes I wonder…

And then after she gives me the go ahead, I will send it to my editor and cross my fingers Kensington wants the book (because I really don’t want to self-publish the book if I don’t have to—I like my editor!).

And to show you how much meat I added to the book, the first draft came in at 79,763 words and now it’s at 109,601. Yep. Added LOTS of meat.

On Friday the family (and friends) went to the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival in Columbus, Ohio. It was cold. It even rained a bit, but overall… it was AWESOME! I took so many pictures, but even they don’t really capture how wonderful it was. This was the first year for the festival. If they do it next year, we’ll be sure to return. Maybe on a night when it’s NOT raining.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took.


Here's a close up shot of the dragon. The little bottles are filled with colored liquid!

I took some pictures of the whole thing, but the white light kind of washed out the detail.


So… How was your Christmas? Get lots of presents? I loved spending it with my family and then watching the Steelers squeak by the Ravens. Man, was that game stressful or what? Well… I guess it was only stressful if you’re a fan of either team; otherwise you wouldn’t care. Right?

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Pictures of My Cruise

As promised, I'm posting some pictures I took on the cruise. Hubby has lots more, but I didn't get copies of those (like the ones of him with the capuchin monkeys or the one of us with the parrots). Man, it's hard enough to remember to download my own cameras, you expect me to remind him to do the same? Hahahahaha!

But before I get to the pictures, I just want to tell you all-----I caught the mouse! Yeah, I probably have more than the one, so the traps are still out (just in case). But I'd like to think it was just one lost, bold mouse that managed to get inside our house.

Now, without further news...PICTURES! Remember, you can enlarge the photo if you click on it.

We set sail from New Orleans and this is a shot of the French Quarter. Ever been? We weren't able to sight-see this time around, but we've been to the city a few times. Would have loved to have gotten a beignet (those things are soooo good) or visited Mother's (they have some really yummy food there). Maybe next time!

The Gumbalimba Park in Roatan had a bug exhibit (part of our tour). I couldn't resist taking this picture (you  know, since I write about vampires and all!).

Here are some of the parrots (yes, they are free to fly around--don't know what the cages are for) at the Gumbalimba Park in Roatan.

Here's a closer view of one of the Scarlet parrots. A similar one was perched on my arm for a photo op, but that picture is on my husband's iPhone. Honest!

Believe it or not, these are Honduras bunnies. They look more like rodents to me. The capuchin monkeys were also at this park, but those pictures are on Hubby's iPhone. They're free to roam wherever they want, but the food keeps them in the park.

A shot of Tabyana Beach in Roatan just before the sky opened up and dropped a bunch of liquid sunshine on our heads.

Another shot of the beach. It was a pretty dreary day, but hey, a LOT warmer than it was at home, so I wasn't complaining ALL that much!

Back at Mahogany Bay (Roatan). Our ship (Dream) is on the right. Would you believe we've been on that other ship (Splendor)? We took it on a cruise to New England/Canada last year out of NYC.

Here's a nice wide shot of Mahogany Beach in Roatan. As you can tell, I took it at the end of the pier. This was a nice little beach. A lot better than Tabyana. At least I thought so.

While walking back to the ship, we spotted this little guy (a crab in case you can't tell). Wildlife is everywhere!

This is Hubby and me in Belize at the Xunantunich ruins.

Ground level of one of the plazas.

This is the Castillo. Our goal? Climbing to the top.

This is taken from the top of the first set of stairs. Little did I know that that would have been the EASY part! 

A little bit higher. Going up steps without a handrail was quite an adventure. I had more adventures in store for me, too.

Getting higher, but still, only about half-way up.

Walking around to the side gave us a surprise.

It's all in Mayan writing (something about the village, I think) and it's not the original (I would have been super-impressed if it had been). The original is protected behind the restoration. Oh, and see those steps on the right. Yep, we're going up there, too! Okay, I might have crawled up them.

Ahhh.... Reached the top (I really had to catch my breath--partly because of my heart, I'm sure). This is the view from the back side of the Castillo. Guatemala is located over to the right, about a mile away.

And here's a picture from the front. That plaza below is where we started.

I had no problem looking down. Hubby on the other hand... Yeah, his fear of heights kind of kicked in a little. But he climbed up there with me.

Selfie with Hubby. This is us dressed for the buggy ride in Cozumel.

This is us in the buggy. Neat little ride! Unfortunately I didn't get any shots of us in the speed boats. I didn't want to get my camera or phone wet, you know? And we were too cheap to pay the $50 for the shot they took of us ($50? Really? Yes, really. Talk about gouging!).

On our sea day back to New Orleans, you can see I was actually working on my revisions. Had a nice spot all picked out, and the servers kept refilling my coffee cup. It was great!

The next set of pictures are more seasonal in nature. Every time I saw a Christmas tree, I took a picture.

This tree was in Roatan.

This tree was on our ship.

This tree was in Cozumel (I couldn't stand back far enough to get the whole thing!)

Some of the crew on the Dream had fun making a gingerbread village, even though none of the buildings are made of gingerbread (more like cardboard). The frosting probably wasn't edible, either. Still, I thought they did a pretty impressive job.

That's it for the pictures. Hope you enjoyed them.

As I'm writing this post, it's still Thursday morning. Wanted to make sure this post got scheduled because Hubby, Daughter, and I are going (went) to see the Penguins play the Blue Jackets in Columbus at 7pm (meaning I'd get home late). I'll let you know in the comments how that went. Hopefully GOOD!!

Tonight the family will be going to Columbus (again) to see the Ohio Lantern Festival. If I get any pictures, I'll be sure to share those. It looks to be an impressive event. I just hope I don't freeze my tookus! Although, it's supposed to be a little bit warmer, if you call 30s warm.

So... Are you staying home or visiting family/friends this weekend? We open presents at home with the kids Christmas morning, then we'll all drive to Columbus (yet again) to our friend's house for dinner (and Steelers game). You'd think with all the trips we make to Columbus we ought to live there. Maybe someday we will. It's certainly possible.

Merry Christmas!