Moving, Bats, and Gratitude

Last week we were in Austin, TX for several days helping the youngest son relocate to his new city and apartment. Austin is a hip, artsy place that has a lot to offer. But I didn’t stop sweating from the time we landed until the time we left – I’m a super warm-blooded person. I was looking forward to cooler temps in KY, but it was 96 degrees here. Anyhoo, our son and his two roommates have a wonderful apartment – loads of storage and space – and it’s in a great location. He starts a new job today so I’m anxious to hear how his first day goes.

One thing I wanted to do while we were in Austin was watch the bats emerge from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge and fly over Lady Bird Lake. Loads of people gather nightly, and our hotel was only a block away. We were among the crowd who lined the bridge waiting for them on a beautiful Friday evening anticipating a glorious show from these winged mammals. And they stood us up. Not one bat showed. The crowd began to disperse, so we walked back to the hotel feeling totally rejected I’ll be visiting Austin again, and I’m expecting an exquisite display from them to make up for it. If you’re interested in learning more about them click HERE.

While I was in Austin, I published a post from the WP app not once, but twice, and I still think something’s wonky with it judging by the number of views and comments. I reviewed Buried by Sue Rovens who I met through Bad Moon Rising. I think she’s participated nearly every year. If you get a chance click HERE to read the review. I’m sure Sue would appreciate some shares!

Speaking of sharing, thanks to all of you who helped spread the work about my Bookbub promotion last Monday! I reached #2 and #3 in my categories, and I consider it a good day when my book is ahead of The Hunger Games series in rankings – definitely a dream come true no matter how fleeting the moment. After all the moving hubbub, I’ve got tons to get caught up on. Here’s to a productive week!

Bourbon and Horses

Hubby and I went to Louisville, KY with friends over the weekend and watched horse races at Churchill Downs. And no, I didn’t wear any big hats. It was a cloudy day with temps in the low fifties (just a few days from June – never would have predicted that!), but we had a fantastic time. As my friend said, the weather was cold, but the bourbon was warm. Below are a few pics taken over the weekend.

On Friday night, hubby and I had dinner out then stopped at The Brown Hotel for a night cap. It’s a gorgeous place inside – the architecture is stunning. With things opening up in KY, lots of folks were out and spirits were high. The other photo is of a statue sitting on the bar of another establishment. I just thought he looked kind of cool sitting there. I tried to lighten the picture, but it’s still pretty dark.

Saturday afternoon was spent at the races where plenty of bets were placed, but let’s just say no one is retiring anytime soon. One of hubby’s horses crossed the finish line so far behind the others he swears it must have stopped off for a smoke break.

Happy Memorial Day – have a great week!

Moving and #AmWatching

The youngest son’s moving plans are coming together. He’s making the 13-14 hour drive to Austin, TX by himself over two days, and hubby and I are flying down. Hubby offered to drive with him, but our son declined. Honestly, putting the two of them in the car together for that amount of time could only lead to disaster – one of them might not make it there. Our son has always criticized his dad’s driving skills, and hubby isn’t a fan of our son’s music. Being a musician, he has several instruments he’s putting in his car instead of the moving van. Three guitars, a keyboard, drums – you get the picture. With so much equipment, his roommates generously offered him the largest bedroom with an adjoining bath. He’s not an idiot – he took it.

I’ve mentioned before that I seem to be a curse to TV shows. I get interested in something, that puts a target on it, then the show gets cancelled (I’m still bitter about The Passage). Prodigal Son on Fox is the latest victim of the curse. The premise is about a gifted criminal psychologist who’s the son of serial killer. I’ve always been a fan of Michael Sheen (the father and serial killer), and Tom Payne (son and psychologist) is an alum of The Walking Dead. The show came to an abrupt end last week, but I read they’re shopping it around, so I’m hoping someone picks it up.

I’ve got a lot on my plate this week – here’s hoping for a productive week for everyone!

Masks, Beta Readers, and #AmWatching

It’s a dreary Monday here, but things are happening in my area. Our governor announced KY will follow the new CDC guidelines saying those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask in most public places. We went to a restaurant with friends Saturday evening to celebrate a couple of birthdays and although the tables were still spaced, servers and most customers weren’t wearing masks. I’ve had Covid and have been fully vaccinated, and it felt almost like walking around naked without my mask! Guess this means sales for lipstick/lipgloss will go up now. Hubby and I still wore masks at the grocery store yesterday, as did most other patrons, but it sure is nice to see some restrictions easing up and things getting back to normal.

I have a new beta reader! My previous one is in the process of relocating several states away and starting a new job (all with a little one at home), and the last thing she needed was added pressure. She was with me through two books and was reponsible for one of my characters having a larger role than planned in Subject A36. I hate to see her go, but I’m so excited for this new chapter in her life. I have no doubt my new beta reader will make significant contributions toward the sequel and keep me in line when it comes to my more than occasional lack of description and hiccups that come with my habit of writing out of sequence.

After seeing a rec for Big Shot on a friend’s blog (thanks, Tessa!), hubby and I tried it. I’ve mentioned before how hard it is to please him when it comes to TV shows and movies, so I’m always looking for something to try. The premise is about a temperamental college basketball coach who gets fired from his job and must take a teaching and coaching job at an elite all-girls private high school. We were afraid it might be kind of dorky, and at times it is, but we’re both enjoying it. John Stamos does a great job at portraying a single dad out of his depth with a teen daughter. If you’re looking for something light, sometimes awkward, and a little humorous, give it a try.

Have a great week!

Mother’s Day and #AmWatching

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! I spent my day unpacking (hubby and I visited his parents for only the second time in over a year due to Covid), then the youngest son came over. He asked if we could help with a DIY project, and I said sure. I had no idea what it was until he got here, but we spent a couple hours repurposing vinyl records. He’d found some YouTube videos, so with some old albums he’d collected, we reshaped them into bowls, shelves, and bookends. He plans to use them in his new apartment.

Which brings me to new life news. He and two other friends are moving to Austin, TX in early June. It’s something they’ve talked about for several months, and he plans to take a year off before starting grad school. We’re sad to see him go, but excited for this new chapter in his life. Plus, we’ve never been to Austin and plan to stay a few extra days and check out the city after helping him move.

Speaking of repurposing old vinyl, here are some pictures of what my sons got me for Mother’s Day. Aren’t they awesome? The artwork is painted on KISS Alive II records. I’ve been a KISS fan for years (and what a coincidence I just mentioned them in my Monday post a couple weeks ago) and plan to have these framed. Aren’t they awesome? Youngest son ran across them at an art festival. I know it may not be the typical Mother’s Day present, but my sons know me pretty well.

Hubby and I finished this short, four episode series of Secrets of the Whales last week. The show explores the cultures of orcas, belugas, narwhals, sperm whales, and humpback whales. What amazing, beautiful footage! We enjoyed every minute of this incredible series and learned a great deal about the whales, their communication skills, and social structures. If you have access to Disney+, I highly recommend watching it.

Derby and Graduation

What a fun, eventful weekend we had! It was Derby weekend here in KY, and after several years of mostly rainy weather, the sun shone down Friday and Saturday, and the temps were in the mid 70s. We went to parties hosted by friends for the Oaks on Friday and Derby on Saturday where we always have far too much food and eat way more than we should. My oldest son even won some money on a horse this year – around $425 maybe? He always seems to win something, but this was the highest amount to date.

This was also college graduation for our youngest son. Because of Covid, the ceremony was held in the football stadium and each student was only allotted four tickets. The weather cooperated (a good thing since there was no backup plan in case of rain), and the students. their families, and friends seemed thrilled to have their graduation in person. Students who graduated in spring of 2020 will have their ceremony next weekend. You may remember our son was fortunate to be able to study abroad both summers before Covid hit. This picture is of the stole he wore during the ceremony showing the flags of the countries he visited. I’m hoping he’ll eventually have it framed for a keepsake.

I’m still in catchup mode but hoping to get around to blogs this week. Hubby and I are going out of town this weekend. He’ll be able to finally visit his parents after only seeing them once in over a year – again, due to Covid.

Have a great week!

Another Concert and #AmWatching

You might remember several weeks ago I mentioned our youngest son had his final college concert. Well, there was another one this past Friday – but it was really his final concert. I told hubby it was like the KISS Seriously-This-Is-The-Last-Time-We’re-Not-Kidding-No-Clowning-You’ll-Never-See-Us-On-A-Stage-Again Farewell Tour. We were just thrilled we had one more chance to see him play. And I’d also still see KISS again if they were in my neck of the woods.

If you’re a fan of author Leigh Bardugo, you know that Shadow and Bone dropped on Netflix Friday. The show blends two of her book series into one story. I haven’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but the Six of Crows duology (soon to be trilogy) remains one of my favorite fantasy series. When reading, most readers form an image in their minds of what the characters look like – I certainly do. Six of Crows features one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across – Kaz Brekker. When I saw pictures of the actor cast in his role, he looked nothing like what I expected, but I decided I’d wait to pass judgement until I’d watched a few episodes. I’ve seen two, and he hasn’t won me over yet. I feel like they nailed Jesper’s and Inej’s characters, so maybe that will make up for it.

We’ve got the youngest son’s graduation coming up this weekend and family arriving mid week, so I may be scarce around the blogosphere this week. The graduation is being held outside at the football stadium, and there’s no backup plan in case of rain, so I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather. It’s looking good so fa – keep your fingers crossed. Have a great week!

Social Media, Vaccinations, and #AmWatching

I’ve tried to post something on Instagram three to four times per week for the last several months, but last week was an epic fail. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to post, I just never got around to it. I’ve been trying to build up my followers, so I’m pretty sure this isn’t contributing to that goal. This week I’m trying something new. I created four posts on Canva, so all I need to do is download them – maybe that will push me to keep a more regular schedule. I learned in a social media workshop that commenting on a few posts both before and after publishing your own will make it visible to more folks. No matter what, those algorithms will always remain a mystery to me.

I forgot to mention last week that hubby and I and both sons are now fully vaccinated – yay! It’s funny that our sons qualified for receiving their doses before we did. The oldest is a geologist working in hydrology (don’t ask me how that qualifies, but it did) and the other is working part time in the food service industry while still in college. My in-laws assisted living facility just opened up to visitors, so hubby and I will be flying to see them for only the second time in over a year. Being fully vaccinated sure makes me feel better about getting on a plane.

A new series dropped on Amazon Prime recently that I’m excited to watch. Here’s the description: A black family moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighbourhood in 1953, where their idyllic home becomes ground zero for malevolent forces. Mention malevolent forces in a home and it’s automatically on my list. I’m trying to finish some other series (For All Mankind and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier) before starting it.

Have a great week!

Easter, #AmWriting, and #AmWatching

It occurred to me yesterday evening that I hadn’t prepared my Monday post – so this will be a brief one.

What a gorgeous Easter weekend! The weather was warm, sunny, and perfect, and I took the opportunity to clean up the patio area and add some new outdoor rugs. Yesterday we hosted friends, our youngest son, and a niece who recently moved an hour away for Easter dinner, and we had a wonderful time. Hubby makes a mean fried turkey. If you’ve never tried it fried, I doubt you’d ever go back to the traditional roasted turkey again if sampled it. We were hooked after the first taste many years ago.

My publisher renewed the contracts on my books through 2023 – so that’s good news! Still adding words to the sequel to Subject A36 and plan to write a couple of important chapters this week. One in particular contains some pivotal moments, and I’ve let the characters know they need to be prepared for this. Of course, they may steer it in an entirely different direction. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I recorded the first episode of a new series (it originally aired a year ago in the UK) last night on AMC (after the season finale of The Walking Dead!). Gangs of London looks intriguing, and Rotten Tomatoes rated it 90%. Here’s a brief description: Gangs of London is a British action–crime drama television series produced by Pulse Films & Sister, following struggles between rival gangs and other criminal organisations in present-day London. The first series aired in the UK on 23 April 2020 on Sky Atlantic.

Have a safe and healthy week – get those vaccinations!