#AmWatching and Sci-Fi Writers’ Week

Looking for something to add to your watchlist? Hubby and I just finished the first season of an amazing series – The Old Man (thanks, Sue!). It originally aired on FX earlier this year, but we watched it on Hulu. Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow are perfect in their roles, and the story line incredibly intense. Here’s a description: Dan Chase absconded from the CIA and lives off the grid. When an assassin arrives and tries to take Chase out, the old operative learns that to ensure his future he now must reconcile his past. The FBI’s Harold Harper is called on to hunt him down because of his complicated past with the rogue fugitive. When Chase proves to be more difficult to apprehend than the authorities expected, a highly trained special ops contractor is sent to pursue him as well. 

Any Anne Rice fans out there? I’m a fan of both the book and the movie Interview With the Vampire and was momentarily delirious with excitement when I heard it would be a series on AMC this fall. It debuts October 2nd, and the trailer was recently released. Take a look.

If you’re a sci-fi writer, mark this on your calendar. Science Fiction Writers’ Week starts August 29th at ProWritingAid. The schedule is full of guest speakers and classes and includes replays. For more information click HERE.

It’s going to be a busy week around here – hope yours is a good one!

A Long Weekend and the Titanic

Hubby and I took an extended long weekend and visited family in NC and SC over the last several days (which is why I haven’t visited many of your blogs). We were able to go out on the pontoon boat (we still own a boat slip on a lake) a couple days and also reconnect with some friends. We had plans to visit other friends we haven’t seen in twenty-six years and were just getting in the car to leave for their house when I received a text saying one of them had just tested positive for Covid. Plans to meet another friend for lunch the next day were canceled after her husband tested positive. And you may remember Son #2 had Covid a few weeks ago. Seems like it’s a mild, but highly contagious strain this time around. Be careful out there!

I’ve always been fascinated with the Titanic and have watched numerous documentaries and read plenty about it. I was so excited to learn that our local library is hosting Robert Ballard, American oceanographer and marine geologist, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. Do I have my tickets? That would be an ecstatic YES! When I asked Hubby if he wanted to go, he gave a most definitive no. When I went to book club the next night, many of them were talking about it and making plans to attend. It’s good to be surrounded by my people. It’s not until September, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

I have a lot of catching up to do, but hope you all have a great week!

Coffee With Larry and An Unexpected Treasure

It’s a dark, dreary Monday here, so I’m hoping we get some desperately needed rain out of it. I normally write this post on Sunday, but we spent the day at a friend’s pool, and after we got home and showered it was time for Animal Kingdom. I’m writing it this morning, so it may feel a little rushed.

Last week I mentioned I was meeting up with my indie author friend Larry whose new release debuted at number fifteen on the Barnes & Noble bestseller chart. He promised to reveal his secrets for the price of a cup of coffee – which turned out to be hot chocolate since neither of us drink coffee. Larry was unaware his book made the list until a friend texted him that morning congratulating him. What makes this feat even more miraculous is that Larry isn’t on social media. At. All. But he did have a marketing plan that seems to have worked in this case. It started with sending out an email blast to everyone on his list alerting them about the new book release date. Being a Christian romance, he contacted a several bloggers who review that genre and sent them free copies. All of his family and friends knew about the release. It wasn’t available for preorder, so the best he can figure is that all the purchases happened within a short window of time. He is, however, having trouble with Amazon carrying the paperback version. He and his publisher have no idea what the problem is, and so far Amazon hasn’t offered any answers. If you’d like to check out the ebook, click HERE.

While cleaning out some things last week, I came across an unexpected treasure. An old camcorder still had a tape in it. I’d already had several converted years ago, but knew one was still missing. I have no idea how it got past me. I played back part of it and it’s of Son #2 playing soccer, him dressed as a zebra in a school performance, and a Christmas from over ten years ago. There’s more, so I’ll be anxious to see everything that’s on it once it’s converted to DVD. So glad I didn’t get rid of that camcorder before checking it!

Have a great week!

#AmWatching and Coffee

Last Monday I mentioned hubby would be out of town all week, and I had a list of shows I wanted to watch while he was gone. Some I checked off the list, others I didn’t. The newest version of Father of the Bride with Andy Garcia missed the mark for me. I’m always a Garcia fan, but I still prefer the Steve Martin version. This new one just wasn’t as light-hearted as I’d hoped. The Bad Guys, an animated movie on Peacock, had some amusing moments and a pretty good heist story. I’d probably go three stars on it. I still have a couple episodes left with Castlevania, so that’s on the list for this week. I didn’t get to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but I have a good reason.

Just to remind you, Son #2 moved back from TX and is staying with us until his lease starts in August. Monday night he tested positive for Covid. His symptoms were pretty minor – low grade temp, headache, low energy – so he was stuck in the house all week. I’d planned to watch Doctor Strange on Wednesday night, but he was in the mood for a horror movie (I totally raised him right), and while discussing our options I discovered he’d never seen The Haunting of Hill House series on Netflix. A travesty and one that needed to be immediately corrected! He was instantly hooked, and I watched it with him (my third time, but I still noticed things I’d missed before). Now he wants to continue with The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass, so you know I’ll be viewing those again.

Son #2 is a foodie and discovered a gem of a show on Hulu – The Bear. It features Jeremy Allen White, who Shameless fans know as Lip Gallagher. If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant business or you’re just a fan of this actor, I promise you’ll enjoy it. It’s already been renewed for a second season, and Hubby and I watched all eight episodes over two evenings. Here’s a description: A young chef from the fine dining world comes home to Chicago to run his family sandwich shop after a heartbreaking death in his family. A world away from what he’s used to, Carmy must balance the soul-crushing realities of small business ownership, his strong-willed and recalcitrant kitchen staff and his strained familial relationships, all while grappling with the impact of his brother’s suicide. As Carmy fights to transform both the shop and himself, he works alongside a rough-around-the-edges kitchen crew that ultimately reveals itself as his chosen family.

This week I’m meeting with a local author friend for coffee (Diet Coke for me, not a coffee fan). His book debuted at #15 (I might have the number wrong, but it was in the teens) on Barnes and Noble best seller list a few weeks ago. Way to go, Larry! He promised to share his strategy for the price of a cup of coffee – a pretty good bargain if you ask me. I’ll update you next week.

Weekend in Chicago!

The reason I’m behind on visiting everyone’s blogs is because Hubby and I traveled to Chicago on Thursday and returned yesterday. It was my first time there, but he’d been once before on business. With beautiful weather, we crammed in a lot over a few days with a food tour, an architecture boat tour on the river, Navy Pier, Chicago Gangsters and Ghost Tour, Willis Tower, Millenium Park, and several good restaurants. According to Hubby’s FitBit, we walked a little over thirty miles. Once I heard that, it lessened the guilt I felt over that huge scoop of peanut butter chocolate ice cream at Kilwins.

The first picture is the ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Plenty to do there with restaurants, rides, and shopping, with lots of lunch, dinner, and tour cruises leaving from the docks. The River Walk there is full of people biking, walking, or just enjoying the views. We stayed at The Palmer House, originally built in 1871, burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire two weeks after opening, then rebuilt from 1923-1925. It’s a beautiful hotel – the middle picture is the lobby, and that’s hubby with his back turned – and ideally located. We were only a block from Millenium Park, home of The Bean (also known as Cloud Gate). It was full of energy with kids running through fountains and live concerts.

The first picture in the bottom row was taken right before our food tour. Interesting fact – the tour guide dated a guy in college with Hubby’s same name, and she wondered if it would be him when we showed up. Weird.

The last two pics are from the top of Willis Tower. I’m a huge fan of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, so I loved seeing that sign and standing where Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane did during the movie. So here’s my tragic story. Hubby and I waited in line to stand in the clear observation boxes at the top of the building – like a window all the way around and beneath your feet where you can see from the 108th floor down to the ground. He later admitted he’d worried the night before about whether he’d be able to do it, and his legs trembled in the elevator to the top at the thought of stepping inside the box. Me? My claustrophobic self was worried about being packed in an elevator with so many people. While standing in line, we were entertained by other visitors posing in the four boxes and a few who wouldn’t get inside. Kids were jumping around without a second thought. Our turn came and we walked to our assigned box and watched the family ahead of us finishing up their pictures (the time limit was a minute). They left, Hubby stepped in with little hesitation – and to my horror, I couldn’t.

Failing to step into that observation box never occurred to me. I stood inside the window panes in the other sections on that floor overlooking the city with no problem at all. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, bungee jumped, and I ride roller coasters. Heights have never really been an issue for me. During our minute time limit, I tried several times to make myself step in and couldn’t. And I was so disappointed. Part of my personal philosophy is to always have a backup plan, and if I’d had any indication I’d needed one, I would have just closed my eyes and stepped inside. Needless to say, part of my soul is crushed. We plan to visit Chicago again, and I will get in that observation window for the whole time limit one way or another!

To all my American friends, Happy Fourth of July!

Mole Hunter and #AmWatching

For the past couple summers, moles have overtaken our yard. Hubby has tried a few things, but we can hear them mocking his feeble attempts. Those critters have made tunnels and holes everywhere. We figure it’s a matter of time before the whole yard collapses. Meet our intrepid hunter, Bond. He’s an indoor cat, but when we sit on the patio we leash him so he can hang outdoors with us. Due to his valiant efforts and incessant stalking of this tree when outside, he’s caught four moles so far this summer. We ballpark there’s somewhere around eighty-two more to go. When he caught one last week, hubby was outside grilling and came in to tell me about it. Said Bond had requested that a good china plate be sent out. He may be an overly spoiled cat indoors, but he’s still a killer at heart outdoors, I guess. I’m just glad he doesn’t eat them or try to bring his victims inside. The second pic is a hard-working killer resting after checking another one off the list.

I had every intention of starting the new season of The Boys last week, but discovered a new season of The Umbrella Academy had dropped (woohoo!), so plans changed. This season has some interesting developments with the timeline shift, and I’m especially loving Klaus (totally my favorite) learning more about his powers. I think I’ve got one episode left, then I swear I’m starting The Boys. I’m excited to see what Jensen Ackles adds to the show.

Have a great week!

Appreciation and #AmWatching (lots of things)

Thanks to Shannon at R&R Book Tours and all the hosts for a wonderful blog tour last week! I’m still doing happy dances over the positive reviews The Insurgent received. After struggling with this book, it’s such a relief to know that readers are happy with the conclusion of Asher’s story.

Let’s talk about the new season of Stranger Things. So. Good. I started it Friday night, and even though the episodes are over an hour, by Saturday night I only had one left, and I’m hoping to watch it tonight. This might be my favorite season after the first one. I have the original song Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush (along with two covers of the same song) and, with this series being set in the 80s, was so excited to hear it used in several episodes. It was especially perfect for one seriously tense scene (I’m pretty sure I wasn’t breathing) that I won’t mention here. If you haven’t watched it yet, a binge session awaits you.

The first episode of season three of For All Mankind dropped Friday, and that one was also all kinds of nerve-wracking. Now I have to wait until next Friday for a new episode (wish they dropped the whole season like Netflix).

As a Star Wars fan, I was so excited for Obi-Wan Kenobi, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Ben was always a favorite character, and Ewan McGregor is perfect in the role. The young actress who plays ten-year-old Pricess Leia is a pure delight. She’s feisty, wise beyond her years, and totally able to hold her own in scenes with Ewan. This won’t be the last we see of her.

I gave in and finally subscribed to Paramount Plus. I got caught up on season two of Evil (previously on CBS and then unfairly moved to Paramount) and watched the first episode of season three that dropped last night. Hubby and I started Mayor of Kingstown and 1883 – we’ll watch anything Yellowstone-related.

Even with all that, I still managed to get some reading done and have reviews to write. Have a great week!

Haunted Hotel and #BlogTour

Over Memorial Day weekend, hubby and I spent a few days at West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, IN (sports-obsessed Son #1 informed me this was the hometown of Larry Bird). It was originally built in 1855 to capitalize on the many mineral springs in the area, and there are several bath houses still standing on the property. As you can see from the pictures below, it’s a stunning hotel and has quite a history – fires, changes in ownership and purpose. You can read more about it HERE. It’s also the setting of the supernatural thriller novel So Cold the River by Michael Koryta, and the movie of the same name was filmed on site and can be rented on Amazon Prime or Apple TV. Hubby and I plan on watching it sometime this summer. With such a history, I was sure the hotel would be haunted, but it’s actually the other hotel on the property, French Lick Springs Hotel, that is rumored to be haunted by the original owner, Thomas Taggart. He frequently smoked a pipe, and guests and employees have reported the strong scent of pipe tobacco near the service elevator (it’s a non-smoking hotel) and have also encountered his ghost. Read more about that HERE.

One of the days there was spent by the pool – with a book, of course. I noticed a spider crawling across my bag lying on the table and flicked it off to the ground. I’m not afraid of them (but if it’s snakes, I’ll shove you in front of me as an offering and run in the other direction), and if I see them in the house, I’ll catch and release them outdoors. While reading I felt something on my neck and assumed it was a fly. Wrong – the spider bit me and was trying to build a web that connected me to a nearby railing. Some thanks I got for not killing him. I told hubby I was sure to wake up with super powers the next morning. Sadly, it didn’t happen, and I’ve been waiting for them to manifest for over a week.

The Insurgent (The Colony #2) is on tour this week! A big thanks to R&R Book Tours and all the hosts who signed up. Below is the tour schedule – hope to see you at some of the stops!

Book Tour Schedule

June 6th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

John H. Howell (Spotlight) https://johnwhowell.com

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@mels_booksandhooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

Shari Sakuri (Review) https://sharisakurai.com/

June 7th

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

Staci Troilo (Spotlight) https://stacitroilo.wordpress.com/

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

@bookscoffeehappiness –  https://www.instagram.com/bookscoffeehappiness/

June 8th

Lecari’s Live Journal (Review) http://www.lecari.co.uk

Not a Bunny Blog (Review) https://notanybunny.wordpress.com/blog

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

June 9th

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

 @takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

Robbie Cheadle (Review) https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/author/robertalouisecheadle/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

June 10th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

   @amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

Jonathan Pongratz (Review) https://jonathanpongratz.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Moving, #ReleaseDay, and Van Gogh

It’s book release week! The Insurgent (The Colony #2) will be released on Thursday, May 19th. And what will I be doing? Hubby and I are flying to Austin to move Son #2 back to KY. This was his self-proclaimed “gap year”, so he’s moving back to save money and start applying to grad schools. He’ll be living with us the first couple months (which will be totally weird again after not living at home for five years) until his new lease starts. The temp is predicted to be over 100 degrees in Austin the day we load the UHaul, so, you know, we’re super excited about that.

I posted another excerpt of The Insurgent on Friday HERE. If you can’t wait until Thursday to order your copy, preorder it HERE. If you haven’t read the first book, Subject A36, it will be on sale for $0.99 May 25th through May 27th!

Over the weekend I went with a couple friends to Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in Nashville. Several other friends across the country had gone to it, and I’d heard nothing but good things. It was truly dazzling. I possess adequate words to describe it, so the pics below will have to do. Enjoy and have a great week!