Sunday, May 21, 2017

Old News & New News

Just a short update - really no new news. Sorry! Due to my impending eye surgery, I haven't been writing or editing.  Yes, I'm falling way behind but once July hits and both eyes are healed, I will be able to really tackle my backlog.

Here's my current WIP list, in order of projected completion and publication:

  • Paradise Dead, novella two in my Lei Crime Kindle World trilogy - writing first draft
  • 7 Days of Seven, compilation of middle grade fantasy stories - final edits
  • Almost a Touch, book three in my Klondike - starting edits

My goal is to have all the above live on Amazon by early fall. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Once these are done, I will be tackling the third Lei Crime Kindle World novella, Paradise Drift, which I hope to have out by early November.

At that point it will be holiday season as well as the time of year when we move our rolling home from our house in TN to our RV lot in Florida. At that point, I will be deciding if I will continue writing (other than my blogs) for publication. So I guess that's the new news, I may retire from writing after this year. Not definite, but under consideration.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

FREE BOOK: Just in time for Mother's Day

Home Again, FREE romance book
from 5/14/17-5/18/17

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I'm happy to announce my small town, clean & wholesome romance book, Home Again, will be free starting tomorrow, May 14th, and through May 18th. If you haven't read it, I hope you will grab a copy. Please be sure to share with all your friends, too!

Tomorrow, be sure to join in the fun at my new blog, Shopping, Just for Fun, and enter for chances to win one of three Amazon gift cards. Pass the link along to all your family and friends, as well.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Commenting Change Effective Immediately

Well, the vote is in and I think everyone who participated. I will be moving away from Disqus commenting and back to the standard Blogger commenting. What does this mean to you? Hopefully things have improved since I made the change in 2015 and you will be able to comment without issues. Also, hopefully you will start commenting again.

I had noticed in the last year that comments were rare. After participating in the A-Z challenge, I realized (based upon input I received) that Disqus might be the problem.

Sooooooo - effective today, I am making the change. The biggest downside is all the comments from the last 18 months or so will be lost. All my recent IWSG comments are the biggest loss, but there is no way I can change that. Blogger stopped synching to Disqus some time ago.

Thank you for understanding!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

#atozchallenge My Look Back

Well, the challenge is over and thanks to my writing and pre-scheduling, I survived. This is my third successful A to Z and probably my last, for several reasons. But first, here are some conclusions about the event from my perspective (your mileage may vary, if you participated).
  1. I'm still not a fan of the new 'leave a comment' method of linking. For one thing, it meant I had to post every day, part of what I was trying to avoid by pre-writing and scheduling (due to my heavy schedule).
  2. I found I spent less time finding new blogs from the comments (both in Facebook and on the A to Z Challenge blog. In the first few days, I browsed and clicked. About half of what I looked at was of interest, partly because there was no standard way people were categorizing their blogs.
  3. I did comment on 6-8 blogs every day, some regulars and some new. Many never visited back to comment.
  4. I had way fewer visitors and comments posted than in previous A to Z challenges. Most were from:
    • Facebook friends who were in a support group I created for the event
    • Blogs I visited and commented on
    • The least amount were from random visitors
  5. I had fun connecting back with friends from 2012-2013 A to Z challenges. We had lost touch since I rarely use Twitter other than sending out posts from my Facebook author page. Now we are friends on Facebook and I have their blog links again.
So, while it was fun and definitely worthwhile to find old friends, I doubt I will do it again. The payback for me isn't there, this was time I could have spent working on my current WIP.

A to Z - thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#IWSG for May 2017: Resilience

I almost missed the last two months posts for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Imagine my surprise when I dreamt about the one for May coming due soon!

It's been a crazy April. First we moved the RV from our lot in Florida to our new house in Tennessee. We shuffled things in and out and quickly got settled. Chores galore, but I was getting in some good writing time.

Then I got sick. Twice. The writing stopped. The stress started. I had a May first deadline to have my new novella, Paradise Dead, ready to publish for the Lei Crime Series. We had company coming. We had things, financial and legal, that had to be done. We had...well, you get the idea.

I finally realized the deadline was artificial. It was a personal goal, set for a reason, but still personal. What was the worst thing that could happen if I didn't meet the self-imposed dealine? Would I lose sales by not making the deadline? Yes. The push from the marketing promotion I planned to join would give the book a big boost. But I knew that wasn't the end of the world. There would be another promotion in the fall and I could use the push then.

So I sat back and relaxed. The book could and would wait. I took a huge jump and I landed okay. The stress is gone and I'm taking care of all the personal things I need to address right now. Getting ready to move the RV to Maryland for two months and dealing with cataract surgery on both eyes. I have no idea how much reading or writing will get done during that month.

So my word for the month's IWSG is RESILIENCE, because that's what I need to have right now.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Zippo & Zion National Park #atozchallenge

Zippo, in Bradford, PA, is very near and dear to my heart. Having lived just "up the hill" from Bradford for three years, this is where my Klondike Mystery books are set.

Zippo Lighters have been around for a long time and even though they aren't used much in the US anymore, they are overseas and they have a HUGE collector base. They are located in Bradford, PA and the tour is free. But even if there were a small charge, it would be worth it to see the collections and displays.

The first time I visited Zippo, my late husband and I were living just outside Bradford. In fact our first ever motorcycle poker run started out at Zippo. But back to the tour, this was around 2001 and the main display was WWII and Korea based as well as a movie section. Amazing display.

When Stu and I visited in 2008, the movie section had been expanded and the war display updated. It was still amazing and worth the time to visit. Oh, and did I mention that it's FREE?

BONUS: Zion National Park

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Yucatan & Yellowstone #atozchallenge

Yucatan, Mexico is a peninsula , in southeastern Mexico, that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. It is famous for the Chichén Itzá ruins as well as the tourist destination of Cancun.

Shortly after Stu and I got together, we flew to Cancun for a week in our timeshare. I had only been to the border town of Los Algodones and wasn't sure what to expect in Cancun.

Royal Solaris was a great resort with no need to leave for anything unless you wanted to. We did a couple of excursions. One to Señor Frogs and one to Isla Mujeres. We had a great time although I admit we were fairly isolated due to staying at the resort. Oh, we did take a bus to Walmart. LOL!

BONUS: Yellowstone (I really wanted to be able to put Yosemite here, but our attempt to visit after our Rt 66 ride was thwarted by the government shut-down. Sigh...

Friday, April 28, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Xtraordinary, Xtreme, Xciting, Xhausting #atozchallenge

X is the toughest letter, so I'm cheating a bit. I'm going to write about an event we participated in back in August 2011.

We participated in the America's 911 10th Anniversary Ride to Remember. This ride was to commemorate the 2996 lives lost on that fateful day. We rode in special honor of those First Responders who gave their lives without a second thought... fire, police and EMS personnel.

The ride started in Shanksville, PA then progressed to The Pentagon and finally to the World Trade Center in NY. It was a completely police escorted ride with a maximum of 2996 riders.

It was Xtraordinary, Xtreme, Xciting, and Xhausting and will never be equaled. You can read our entire account and see our photo albums HERE.

BONUS: Xhilarating! I can't top the above!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Wyoming & Washington #atozchallenge

Wyoming, where the W stands for wind. It's also a very special place to us since it's where we met - at an RV rally in Gillette, WY.

It's home to our favorite national park - Yellowstone. Together, we've been through it several times and I've been through it several more. It's also home to the Grand Tetons. We had one particularly notable visit to Wyoming. We boondocked not too far out of Jackson Hole in Moran, WY. Talk about a view! The Tetons greeted us on one side and down the hill on the other we watched the elk come to the river for water.

For motorcyclists, Beartooth and Chief Joseph highways are the way to approach Yellowstone from the northeast side.

Here are some of our Wyoming photo albums.
BONUS: Washington - Mt. Rainier & Mt. St. Helens

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Virginia & Valley of the Fire SP #atozchallenge

Virginia is for lovers. Must be true, it's where we got married. But other than than, the most time we have spent is traveling through on our annual trip between the north and the south east coast.

One of our favorite stops is the Lee-Hi Truck Stop, just off I-81 on US 11. They have a campground but with our solar, we use the HUGE parking lot for the night. But we always take time to have dinner in Berky's Restaurant aka peddle car heaven!

BONUS: Valley of the Fire State Park (NV)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Utah & Universal Studios #atozchallenge

Utah is AMAZING! I don't know if this is right but I swear Utah has the greatest number of amazing National Parks in the US.

I've been to three of them: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches. When Stu and I only had time for one, and planned to do it on the motorcycle, I told him Zion had to be it. Amazing scenery, especially on a bike!

Oh, I also highly recommend US 89 for a wonderful, scenic ride.

BONUS: Universal Studios 

Monday, April 24, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Tennessee & Texas #atozchallenge

Tennessee is our new home state, the place where we will eventually hang up our RV keys. A moderate climate, a good cost of living, an abundance of natural wonders, and friendly people. What more do you need for retirement.

Two months before he passed, my late husband and I moved from Florida to Tennessee, believing that is where I would stay. That was 2004. In 2007, I sold the house and everything in it and bought a used Class C motorhome. I hit the road as a full-timer in October of that year, now believing I wouldn't return as a resident.

Fast forward to 2009, a remarriage and in October of that year, we bought 5 acres of land about an hour from my previous home. We spent several seasons parked on the property after getting it prepped with utilities. Fast forward again, and in January of 2017 we closed on a house and 2.5 acres for our final home. (Know anyone looking for a nice piece of land in TN, all set up for an RV as well as room to build a house? Contact us)

We've gone on many motorcycle rides, visited Dollywood, rode the Smokies (and the Tail of the Dragon), gone to the CMA Music Fest twice and have barely touched the surface of things to do in the eastern half of the state.

BONUS: Texas - Paris, Frontiers of Flight and Audie Murphy Museum

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Saint Islands & Sturgis, SD #atozchallenge

Saint islands - St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. Beautiful Caribbean islands that we've been privileged to visit.

I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves.

High up in the rainforest of St. Lucia

St. Thomas port view

Port shopping at the terminal in St. Maarten

St. Kitts greets us with a little rain

Our full photo albums:
BONUS: Sturgis Bike Week

Friday, April 21, 2017

"Oh, the places we will go" - Route 66 & Roatan #atozchallenge

Route 66 is the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, and was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. Stu's family took a vacation along Rt 66 and it had long been a dream of his to travel it.

Loving the western half of the US, I was more than game. It took us over three years to actually ride it thanks to delays for family and medical reasons. In Sept-Oct of 2013, we left from our property in north central TN and headed to Chicago. When we had ridden as much of the road as we could find, we turned around. Due to the cold, we took a southern route back home, arriving seven weeks after we left. Stifling head, frigid cold, vehicle tipping winds and an injury to me - but we made it; TN to IL to CA and back. By motorcycle...what an adventure!

BONUS: Roatan, Honduras