Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday Reads and I’m Headed to Dragon Con!!!

By the time you read this (maybe), I should be on the road to Atlanta and Dragon Con! Hubby decided last year that he wanted to go back (he didn’t go last year and I guess he missed it), so we’ll be packed in pretty tight driving because there will be 4 of us with all our stuff (and food!). It’ll be interesting to see how packed the Xterra will get. First I put Hubby's and my stuff in, drive to pick up Daughter. Get her stuff added then we drive to pick up her friend. I have a feeling we’ll be doing a lot of rearranging before we’re ready to go.

But it looks to be a fun time like it does every year. I’m excited!

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #31

Dates read: August 21-23
Title: Black Diamond
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Susannah Sandlin
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Wilds of the Bayou, #2
# of Pages: 255
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisiana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it’s a place of refuge—one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her…or anyone else.
    The mysterious deaths aren’t her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena’s investigation leads her to Cole Ryan—a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history—who knows more than he’s willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other…before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.
My thoughts: Very good read. Lots of nice suspense (and a bit of gore thrown in). Romance was on the light-side and there’s very little sex, if that matters to you. You don’t have to have read the first one to read this one, but Jena was a secondary character in the first book, and, besides, the first book was really good, too! I’m enjoying this series very much and heard #3 will be out sometime later this year.  Look forward to reading it.

If I finish reading another book (what am I saying… I WILL finish at least one book on the drive down there), I will post a Wednesday Reads next Wednesday. Can’t guarantee I’ll post any other time. But then I haven’t been doing a lot of posting as it is, so what’s the difference? Haha!

So… What are your plans for this Labor Day weekend? Wish you were going to Dragon Con?

Happy Reading!


Monday, August 27, 2018

I Finally Did It

Big Red, my laptop, no longer has Microsoft Office 2003.

Because of a Windows 10 update, the Excel software wasn’t working all that well. If I tried to do more than just enter one cell at a time (meaning I forgot to save it after entering the first cell), it would crash. If I tried to do anything like insert a line or copy a formula, it would crash. Very frustrating! I downloaded Libre Office (because it was free and I wasn’t willing—at the time—to upgrade Excel if that meant upgrading Word, too) and found out I didn’t like their spreadsheet software all that much. In fact, it had been keeping me from doing a lot of my work! Hubby still had the CD for Office 2007 (which he shockingly found amidst the mess in the study), so I begrudgingly upgraded Office.

Hmmm… Think I used enough adverbs there? Haha!

I’m sure I’ll be a grumpy-bump until I get used to it, but already I like Excel 2007 better than Libre Office, so there’s that. And it’s not like I’ve never used Word 2007 (was forced to at my last job-job). I just don’t care for the huge tool bar on top that I can never find what I want!

See? Bigger is not always BETTER. I miss my drop down lists.

I know 2007 is ALSO retired (they keep telling me!), but hey, it’s working on Windows 10 and that’s all that matters to me. I do not care if I have the latest and greatest. Sometimes the older versions could do so much more, or at least were simple enough to understand. I miss being able to set up the software how I want it (and if there’s a way to do that in 2007, I haven’t discovered it yet), but it is what it is.

At least I don’t have to click a button to find my word count anymore. Word 2007 keeps track of that at the bottom of the screen. Of course, if I only want a portion of the document counted, I don’t know how to do that…

Nevermind, I figured it out. J

Yeah, learning curve. I really hate learning new software. See? Grumpy-bump.

So… What would you hate to re-learn? And would it turn you into a grumpy-bump, too?

Happy Monday!


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday Reads and a Writing Slump

What is it about summer? I always seem to get into a writing slump during summer. Is it the vacations? Because I certainly have enough of them and more upcoming. The hot weather? Because it’s been that and humid (ugh). Whatever it is, not only my WIP is suffering, so is my blog. Heck, if it weren’t for the books I’ve read, I wouldn’t even be posting on Wednesdays. Probably.

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #29

Dates read: August 12-16
Title: The MEG
Year of publication: 2018
Author: Steve Alten
Genre: Horror
Series: The MEG Series, Book 1
# of Pages: 279
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he's sure he saw but still can't prove exists--Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds.
    Written off as a crackpot suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Taylor refuses to forget the depths that nearly cost him his life. With a Ph.D. in paleontology under his belt, Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub.
    Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he's never imagined, and what he finds could turn the tides bloody red until the end of time.
My thoughts: Good thing I didn’t read this for a character story. Well, unless you consider the shark a character. But the characters were a bit on the flat side. The action made up for that, though. A quick and entertaining read, only because I threw my logical side out the window first. Not happy about the semi-cliff hanger at the end, but it is the first in a series. Will I read the rest of the books? Nope. Will I watch the movie? You betcha!

Book #30

Dates read: August 17-19
Title: The Bear Who Loved Me
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Kathy Lyons
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Grizzlies Gone Wild, Book 1
# of Pages: 276
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Between singlehandedly running her bakery and raising her teenaged nephew, Becca Weitz thought she had a decent grip on “normal.” Then her nephew vanishes, and life as she’s known it changes forever. Local legends are true: bear shifters exist…and her nephew is part of their clan. As is Carl Carman, the sexy, larger-than-life man who has sworn to find her nephew—and the other young shifters who’ve gone missing.
    As the leader of his clan, Carl is surrounded by enemies. He’s learned the hard way that keeping a firm leash on his inner beast is key to survival, though his feelings for Becca test his legendary control. Then danger stalks too close, and Carl realizes he must unleash the raging, primal force within to protect everything he holds dear. But can Becca trust his grizzly side with her life—and her heart?
My thoughts: Well, apparently I don’t have any problem reading while traveling when I’ve got a good book to read. I sure zipped through this one. I bought this book at Rust City Book Con last year from the author because we were on a panel together and I wanted to try one of her books. Took me this long to finally open it up and read it. Now I want to read the rest of the series. Very enjoyable with lots of paranormal and romance goodness.

I am trying to kick myself into writing by reading my WIP from the beginning to get back into the story. Let’s just hope it works and I start writing when I get to where I stopped!

So… Does Summer do strange things to you, too? For some reason I just feel lazier in the summer. As if I weren’t lazy enough! Haha!

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wednesday Reads and Almost Normal

Life is almost back to normal. The old house is in the process of getting fixed up and the new house is almost done. Still have a few pictures left to hang and a garage to organize so we can get two cars in it. But we have done some work and are able to get one car in it, so…PROGRESS!

Monday our new couch will be delivered. Won’t get the two recliners removed until the following month, so it might be a little crowded in the great room until they’re gone. But hey, I don’t have to worry about any parties until then, so that’s a plus.

Even the yard doesn’t need to be watered every day. Let me tell you, that’s not such a fun thing to do. And the water bill…OUCH. But we must have done something right. It’s GREEN out there!

Now I just need to get back into a writing routine. Hopefully that won't take too long. Also hoping to get back into a walking routine, too. Saw the doctor about my foot and knee and neither one is anything serious that stretching (and probably exercise) won’t fix. I hope. We’ll see.

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #28

Dates read: August 5-11
Title: So I Married a Sorcerer
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Series: The Embraced, Book 2
# of Pages: 469
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Growing up on the Isle of Moon, Brigitta knew that she was born with the magical powers of the Embraced—even if she did not know how to wield them. But she has finally learned the truth: Brigitta is the lost princess of the kingdom of Tourin. She was sent into hiding as an infant to escape the wrath of her half-brother, the king. And now he knows just where to find her…
    Rupert is a notorious pirate and sorcerer who can harness the wind with his hands. He’s spent most of his life plotting revenge on the evil king—and Rupert believes that Brigitta could be the key to finally destroying his enemy. But what begins as a kidnapping of the innocent beauty escalates into something deeper, and more passionate, than either captor or captive could have imagined. Rupert soon vows to protect Brigitta against the king—but will they survive long enough to find their happily-ever-after…or does fate have something else in store?
My thoughts: What fun! I really enjoyed this book and made sure to purchase the next in the series. It had been awhile since I read the first book and was afraid I might have forgotten some of the world, but it all came rushing back as I started reading it. Fantasy is not one of my favorite genres, but this one is so easy to read as I picture the world from Medieval times. And the romance is just so yummy! This book also has its funny characters. Then again, I can’t imagine Ms. Sparks NOT writing something funny. Guess that’s why I enjoy her books so much.

So… Whatcha reading now? Anything interesting? “The Meg” came out last weekend in theatres and when I saw it was a book, I got me a copy and now I’m reading it. So far, it’s pretty interesting.

Happy Reading!


Monday, August 13, 2018

Vacation Pictures Part III

You saw the pictures from our trip to Seattle. You saw the pictures of our cruise to Alaska. Now here are the pictures from our trip home.

Since we did most of our sight-seeing of Seattle before the cruise, we didn't need to stick around so much after. Which meant we arrived in our first spot earlier than anticipated. But Spokane seemed to have something to offer: the Spokane Falls.

It was a hot day (in the 90s), but the mist from those falls felt oh-so-good.

There's even a statue at the bottom of a Native American honoring the salmon. But the salmon no longer climb this river. There's folklore of how that came about, but I didn't take a picture of that story and can't remember it. Bad me!

After Spokane, we drove to Gillette, WY. Saw nothing of importance in that trip, but it made it easier to plan out the next day. Of which I realized we were really close to Devil's Tower. It wasn't on our original itinerary, but I convinced Hubby we should go. I'm glad we did. That thing is AWESOME!

Gotta show proof I was there! I started out wearing the sweater (it had been raining just before we arrived and was a bit chilly), but it got warm rather quickly. Not too warm, but too warm to wear a sweater. I wished I had left it in the car.

Hubby and I walked the 1.3 mile path around the tower (and if I had known about this path beforehand, I definitely would have left the sweater behind). I took this picture thinking it might make a nice wallpaper on my computer. What do you think?

Overall, I'm glad we were able to stop and see it. And yes, there were several people asking where Richard Dreyfuss was. Haha!

After Devil's Tower, we stopped in at Deadwood. Had lunch at Mustang Sally's. I don't really get why a town can be popular because of the murder of Wild Bill Hickock, but then Tombstone, AZ is popular for a shootout at the OK Corral. Guess it's a western thing, huh? I didn't get any other pictures of Deadwood because it just didn't occur to me to take any.

After Deadwood, we put the top down on our fun car for the drive over to Mt. Rushmore, even though it was a bit on the chilly side (68-72). I was kind of glad when it started raining and we had to put the top up! But the rain stopped while we were at the monument. Had the requisite picture taken and man, what's with my hair?? I'll blame the fun car for that, I guess. Haha!

Rain came and went several times. I managed to capture a rainbow during one of the brief downpours.

After Mt. Rushmore, we drove over to the Crazy Horse monument. It's still in the process of being created, though. You can see the side view of his face and apparently they have his arm and finger finished (you can't see it at this angle, though). And if you look close enough, you can see a chalk outline of where the horse's head will be (far right).

This is what the mountain should look like when they finally finish it. Hubby doesn't think it'll happen in his lifetime, though. They've been working on this for decades!

The next day we took the road through the Badlands. I remember seeing this when I was 13. It hasn't changed much. We lucked out in the weather, though. Reached mid 70s. It was supposed to be back in the 90s in the next few days.

Kind of reminds me of the Grand Canyon in a way. Scientists say this was all under water at one time.

Panoramic shot.

I thought the colors were pretty.

Came across some bighorn sheep, sunning on the rocks.

There are parts where people can actually climb. I remember doing that when I was 13. I wasn't about to try and relive that, though.

Some of these rock formations are so cool. I don't think I have all that many pictures from my first trip out there (which would have been in 1970), so I'm glad I took lots of pictures this time around!

Driving through South Dakota, I wanted to see the Dignity Statue. That thing is huge (as you can tell from the person standing at the bottom of the picture). It's located in a rest area along I-90, near the Missouri River.

The next day I visited my 50th state: North Dakota. Hubby and I had breakfast in Hankinson at a place called Hotcakes Café. Apparently a lot of people stop there just to say they've been in North Dakota. The food was great, too! But I didn't get any pictures. Bad me.

I wanted to make sure to visit the Mall of America during this trip and that's where we ended up on our last night. Well... not AT the mall, but near it. Yes, the Mall of America is just a mall. But a 4-story mall. And it has this amusement park inside. I couldn't leave without riding the roller coaster (which ran on that orange track in the picture).

I also couldn't leave without getting my magnets from Hard Rock and Bubba Gump. I knew Hard Rock was there, but shocked to find Bubba Gump! If I had known, I would have begged to have dinner there, but I had already promised Hubby we would eat elsewhere. As it was, Bubba Gump had ran out of their magnets (boo hoo), but they had some pins. I bought one, cut off the pin, and stuck on a magnet. Not my first Bubba Gump without a magnet. Probably won't be my last either.

There's also this huge Lego store in the mall. Those Lego men are like people-sized. I can't imagine the work involved in putting those together, because yes, they are made out of Legos.

That's all the pictures from our vacation. I had such a great time and whenever I need to unwind, I think back on all the fun stuff we did.

So... What's the longest vacation you've ever taken? Hopefully you did some fun stuff!

Happy Monday!


Friday, August 10, 2018

Vacation Pictures Part II

Oh gosh! I almost forgot to post these.
Be prepared. There are a lot of pictures here.

I celebrated my birthday on the first full day of the cruise. The steward (stwd, not stud), Basco, left this note on our mirror. In fact, it remained during the whole cruise!!

Hubby even surprised me at dinner and had bought a cake to be brought out for dessert (it was really yummy, too!). They all sang Happy Birthday to me. It was sooooo awesome!

At first we thought the weather to Tracy Arm Fjord was going to be yucky. I mean, look at the clouds. It wasn't all that warm, either. But hey, look at that. MOUNTAINS!

I discovered a strange phenomenon and couldn't believe my camera captured it. The sun was behind me. Fog in front of me. A little rainbow appeared. That dark shape in the middle? My head! Hubby stood beside me. He couldn't see my shadow and I couldn't see his. But we both saw our own. Isn't that the weirdest thing? I thought it was pretty cool.
Traveling in the Tracy Arm Fjord, we came across lots of ice chunks floating by. I mean, I should have realized WHERE they came from. It just didn't hit me until later. Yeah, I'm dumb.

It turned out to be such a pretty day. Fog all burned away!

More ice chunks. Loved the colors!

Surprise! A glacier. This is what was at the end of the Tracy Arm Fjord. When we came around the corner and I saw that, I gasped. So pretty!

In Skagway (the next day), Hubby and I had breakfast in a bordello. Oooh, I know. Scandalous! This one is called the Red Onion Saloon and the women working there are sooooo funny.

This is Madam Sara Goodlay (get it? get it?) telling us about the brothel. She was a hoot. If you ever go to Skagway, I suggest you check this place out. Very fun and interesting.

We also took a tour of Skagway later on in the day.

Of course we had to visit the cemetery. Hubby was in heaven, I think (he has this thing for cemeteries, back from when he was into genealogy).

When you walk through the cemetery, you come upon Reid's Falls. It was so pretty!!

We made it up through the summit and into Canada. But took this picture as we left Alaska. Driver made a joke about our beautiful sign and how Canada probably paid ten bucks for theirs. Just a plain green and white sign, no bigger than a street sign, that said "Welcome to Canada." We all had a good laugh.

 On top of the summit, on the Canadian side, this is the back side of the Mendenhall Glacier (which is in Juneau). They've been trying to get a road into Juneau for sometime now, but they'd have 70 spots with avalanche threats and realized it just wasn't worth it. road to Juneau. However, there is a road in and out of Skagway (which we were on), so you could drive there if you want.

Juneau, Alaska (on the dock, anyway).

An eagle on the street light. They're all over Juneau (then again, salmon was in season). Driver said the eagles were their pigeons. I just find that hard to believe.

This is the Mendenhall Glacier. It's receding about 40' a year, I believe.

A piece of rock the glacier carved. You can see the lines from the ice.

I believe there is a glacier in this picture (although I didn't know it when I took it). I was trying to capture the whale that was surfacing. Then I got smart and filmed the sucker. If you would like to see a video (about 2 minutes) of a humpback whale (ending with the big tail splash), you can watch it on Facebook here: For some reason, I couldn't get Blogger to post the video.

During our whale-watching tour, we came across some sunning sea lions. They were a noisy bunch, too. I also have a video of these over on Facebook, too (shorter than the whales). Here's the link:

We didn't go on any excursions in Ketchikan, but I did do some shopping!

No roads go in and out of Ketchikan, either, since it's on an island (which I didn't know). I'm always surprised how these small Alaskan towns manage to stay alive.

I finally won my first ship on a stick during this cruise! All I had to do was guess the amount of candy in the bag. Well, I was going to end with 18 and figured there was more than 118 in the bag, so I wrote 218. There was 216 pieces in that bag. I couldn't believe it! I didn't eat all the candy (it got ruined on the trip home), but I have my ship and plaque on display!!

Our last stop on the cruise was in Victoria, BC. We visited the Butchard Gardens. The sun was setting fast, but we managed to see most of the gardens before it got too dark. It's just so beautiful.

Some totem poles at the gardens.

The plaque below tells you about the tree above. That tree is two years younger than my mom!

So, that's all the pictures I have for today. I took so many on the trip, it was hard to pick which ones to share. Hope you enjoyed them. On Monday I hope to remember to post the pictures of our drive home. I say hope to remember, because I almost forgot to post these!!

Happy Friday!