Busy & Busier

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life has been a whirlwind lately!

Stu has been extra busy with doing maintenance and our various vehicles (oil changes on Freddie the Freightliner, Scooby the pickup as well as our propane generator). He had to replace the gray and black water valves to stop some leaks and change out the mechanism inside our toilet (it had stopped holding water). He still has several things to get done between now and July 10th. Final fix on our trailer brakes and finding out why our inverter isn't working are at the top of the list.

We've squeezed in a couple of doctor and dental appointments. His cracked tooth is now repaired and I'm on some new meds for blood pressure and dizziness (still have to get some more bloodwork done). We did get in a movie between appointments and saw the new Dory movie. We loved it! As we left, the sky let loose. The front of the theater was flooding, as you can see in this photo.

We suspect that is also when THIS was done. Grrrrr.....no note, nothing. As high as the damage is, we suspect it was someone with something in their truck bed.

On a lighter note, we also upgraded our almost six year old HP InkJet multi-function printer for a newer HP LaserJet color multi-function printer from Amazon. We paid $75 for the old printer, it doesn't owe us a thing! Needless to say, the new printer cost more but it solves several issues. The wireless function on the old printer had gone wonky with our MacBooks and we had to keep moving the USB cable from laptop to laptop to print or scan.

HP LaserJet Pro M277dw Wireless All-in-One Color Printer
The new printer not only does USB and wireless, but with AirPrint we can print directly from our iPads and iPhones. Oh yeah, and IT WORKS! It also does automatic duplex printing and since most of our printing is from my books, that helps save paper. Plus toner doesn't dry out or gum up like the inkjet cartridges. So we're hoping this will last a long time.

It does weigh more at around 35# but it was the smallest, most compact and lightest printer with good reviews that we could find. We've used it several days now and both like it a lot.

Last Saturday we attended a double birthday party for our son-in-laws (Bernie Edwards & Andy Freeman). A good time was had by all...here are a few photos to prove it. Oh yeah, there were crabs. LOTS of crabs!

[see all our photos]
In the midst of all this, there was a HUGE promo for all the Lei Crime Mystery books. Held online, what should have been a simple event turned into a bit of a snafu. Facebook made some changes and the event had to be moved to another link - at the last minute. There are differences between an event page and a business page (don't ask what, just know there are...LOL). We had to hold the event on a business page and it made it somewhat cumbersome. A lot of folks missed the event completely but those that managed to attend had a blast.

The prize winners have been announced, but that isn't the end of it. Oh no! Five more days to enter for the grand prize. I hope you will give it a whirl! Wondering what the prizes are?
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But that's not all...nope! Starting TOMORROW, Toby Neal will be hosting author interviews on her blog. Many of them are also offering prizes! I will be posting the schedule on my Author Blog. Check it out!

Final note...we are moving from one daughter's yard in Maryland to another's in Delaware.  No idea how our WiFi hotspot or phone hotspot will work, so if you don't hear from us for a bit, that's why. Then on July 10th we head north - Pennsylvania bound to see friends, then a little New York family time before spending five days up by the northern Adirondacks before moving on to the Escapade on July 23rd in Vermont. We will post as we can but please don't be afraid to send me a Facebook friend request. I often post more there while traveling since it's easier to access than writing a blog.

Ciao for now!

Life is grand!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Besides medical appointments (still on-going), we have squeezed out a little family time with grandkids. Here are some photos to prove it!

The Twinkies - Celebrating their 22nd birthday
Our youngest grandbaby, just turned 2. Enjoying her time at Cracker Barrel. 
Who doesn't love ice cream?
Ages 10 & almost 8.
Not all our grandkids are in Maryland area - here are 3 of mine, enjoying their vacation in Lake Tahoe.
Ages 10, almost 14 & almost 15. We don't get to see them often enough, hope to this year.
My grandson Ryan with his girlfriend, Nicole. He is still recovering from his accident but doing well.
Another passel of grandkids, these are in NY state.
We hope to see at least some of them this summer. Been way too long!
Of course, believe it or not, these aren't ALL our grandkids - we just don't have good new photos of the rest. LOL! If they don't get posted on Facebook....you know how that goes.

We also have a small passel of great-grandkids, most of whom we haven't met. That's for another day.

Ciao for now!

Moved and Settled!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Yes, I've been a bit lax in posting. But I have excuses...LOTS of excuses! Honest!! No, really. I do! But...but...but... Okay, I get it. You don't care. You just want to know where we are and what we are doing. Fine! Whatever....LOL!

Can you tell I'm struggling with what to write? While we've been quite busy, nothing has been particularly interesting. We came back from our cruise and finished getting ready for our drive north. Before we left, we had stored all our outdoor gear in our cargo trailer and put the trike in the garage. That left a few outside things and the inside work to be done. Looking at the weather forecast, we jumped to it and got the outside things taken care of (other than the necessities like utilities and Directv) before several days of bad weather moved in courtesy of Tropical Storm Colin.

I don't think I've ever taken pictures of our rig inside once everything is stored and the slides are in...it's, um, interesting. LOL!

We finally left on Thursday morning and discovered we weren't used driving, we hadn't done any long trips in quite a while. We were both wiped out when we finally stopped for the night in Woodbine, GA. Because of the intense heat, we knew we weren't going to asphalt park (truck stops, Walmart, etc). So we stayed at a cute, secluded campground just off I-95. Formerly King George RV Resort, it was bought and renamed Walkabout Camp & RV Park. The staff was quite helpful, even though we arrived well after office hours. The rate was under $19 for 50 amp thanks to our Passport America 50% discount.

[click any photo for a larger view]

We got a kick out of the resident chickens, too. We ate out, opting for Denny's for dinner and Cracker Barrel for breakfast, both a couple miles down I-95. Coming out of Cracker Barrel, we spotted this cool truck. I had to take some pics as well as one of the local color.

We had planned on staying one day but as often happens, life intervenes. One, I was completely wiped out and two, we had lost our trailer brakes. Stu knew what to do to fix the problem, he just needed a few parts and a little time. We opted to stay a second night and slept in the next morning, enjoying our breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

Of course that wasn't everything we discovered that first day - we also found out that our inverter wasn't working. Normally that wouldn't be an issue but now that we have a residential refrigerator, with temps in the mid-upper 90's, it was important to keep the fridge running.

Back on the road on Saturday, hoping for cooler temps and not finding them. We ran the generator for several hours to keep the refrigerator working with the added bonus of running the A/C and cooling the inside a bit.

Between Woodbine GA and Brunswick GA, we had two sport bikers tear past us in the far left lane. Not something we would normally pay attention to but the first one had to have been doing between 90-100 and the second one, a minute or two behind, must have been doing between 80-90.

We got to see a state trooper pull the second one over and hoped another was targeting the first, faster bike. A couple miles up the road, there was some road construction at an exit ramp. There was a motorcycle that had gone off the ramp and was laying in the grass. A few people had stopped, one man was picking up debris as he walked towards the bike. We will never know for sure, but we suspect it was the first bike, either missing the exit or cutting in front of someone and getting hit. Sad...

Night three found us in a campground on the SC/NC border - literally. We stayed at South of the Border back in 2009. It was fairly sad, needing a lot of refurbishing. Well, it looks like they have done quite a bit. The campground had plenty of room and we paid under $35 with our Good Sam discount (10%) for a 50amp site.

We headed out early, knowing we weren't going to arrive until Monday (still in plenty of time for our first medical appointments) and knowing we wanted to drive no more than 300 miles. The drive was uneventful, but we did enjoy seeing a smaller motorcycle pass us with the rider wearing a Captain America backpack. Oh, and his helmet was decorated like a duck from the rear view, a duck with a mohawk. LOL! Wish I could have snapped a picture but he was gone too quickly.

On our way south last October, we found a nice little campground, Carolina Crossroads, in Roanoke Rapids, NC. $30 was the overnight rate for a nice pull-through. The owners are great folks and that was our destination. I did forget to take photos so I had to borrow these.

Our last morning, Monday, was a nice drive, for the most part. We finally got off I-95 and took US 301 the rest of the way. The Virginia part was a two-lane divided highway, cooler, refreshing, quieter, had less traffic and more green. Sweet! Well, except for one idiot who was entering from a side road.

He looked right at Stu, then pulled out IN FRONT OF HIM. Remember, this is a medium duty Freightliner pulling close to 20k pounds! Stu slams on the brakes, signals left AND THE IDIOT MOVES LEFT, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. Stu moves back to the right and lays on the air horn. Scared the crap out of the guy as he pulled over two lanes to the right (side of the road) - again, right in front of Stu. Sigh....

This route took us over the Potomac bridge, one I had never been on. I know my good friend Nick Russell wouldn't like it at all. I snapped a few pics with my phone, just to give you an idea.

Traffic wasn't too bad and we arrived at our final destination in Stevensville, MD around 2pm. Phew! We're the bums in the backyard for the next few weeks. Then it's on to Vermont and the Escapade!

Ciao for now!

Facebook Event: Party online to celebrate the Lei Crime Series

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday, June 27 at 6 PM - 8 PM

Join Toby Neal, author of the original Lei Crime Series, and more than a dozen Lei Crime Series Kindle Worlds authors (Yup, I'll be there!) for a fun gathering with tons of giveaways to celebrate the launch of a host of new Lei Crime novellas June 30!

Meet the new authors, participate in hilarity, snag some cool swag, and be entered for a multi-gift grand prize! Oh, and tell/invite all your friends.

Come join us, just click HERE. Oh, and if we aren't Facebook friends - feel free to send me a friend request, just let me know you are a FAN of my books.

Ciao for now!

A musical cruise makes for a magical cruise!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Unless you have never read our blog, you know we just spent 13 days cruising on the Carnival Conquest. It was our first time on that ship and our umpty-dump time in the ports. That meant scuba diving for Stu and writing for me.

The diving went well, but the writing? Not so much. Mostly due to two issues. First, I had made some domain changes to author website (A New Look) and had a couple of issues pop up - like no one could see my book page and no one could email me. Thank goodness for my laptop and Carnival's internet package. The other major issue was promoting and marketing the novella I had just released, Paradise Down. But the good news is I did fix a couple of plot holes in Almost a Touch that had been bothering me, so not all was lost.

The surprise on the cruise was the music. No, not just the music but the musicians. On our first night of the first cruise (we did 13 days, back to back), I was waiting for Stu to meet me for dinner and I was listening to the band in the lobby. They were doing a variety of tunes from 50's to more recent and doing a great job. After dinner we came back to listen to more.

They called for requests and I asked for both a drum and a sax solo. That was all it took. Over the next thirteen days we became good friends with this motley crew. Most were young enough to be our grandkids, or at least kids. But they were all talented, interesting and fun to be around. We tried to follow them as often as possible.

Here is the line-up for the main group, #sixappeal:
  • David - band leader, singer and guitarist
  • Jessica - singer
  • Federico - guitarist extraordinaire
  • Alberto - bass quitar
  • Jacob - keyboardist
  • Chaz - drums 

Carnival was also testing out a horn section, both on their own as well as doing sets with #sixappeal. They were nicknamed the Hornets.
  • Chris - trumpet
  • Gordon - trombone
  • Steven - saxophone and flute

Separate or together, they were great. You can hear a little in the clip below.

On week two, we also met Norm and Annette from Baltimore. Also a late in life marriage, these two lit up the dance floor. They out-danced us every night! We hope to meet up with them again when we are in Maryland. Wonderful folks. Here is a little sample.

Stu enjoyed his diving, as always, but a few things of note. In Roatan he dived with Chaz from the band and they had a blast. In Grand Cayman, he dived the wreck of the USS Kittiwake, something he would definitely do again. He also met a young couple from Deland, FL on the dives and we hope to connect with them next winter, maybe do some local dives with them. Oh, if anyone is interested in dive videos, contact Stu and he will send you some footage. ;)

One last bonus from the cruise(s) - I now have the plot and characters for the third novella in the Lei Crime Kindle World. Readers are loving Paradise Down, I already had the outline for Paradise Drift and now I have Paradise Dead set. I hope to have them by the end of the year. Oh, by the way, Paradise Down is NUMBER ONE on the Amazon Hot New Release list for Kindle World mysteries! If you haven't read it, maybe you should! ;)

As always, see all our photos in our SmugMug album.

Ciao for now!

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