#AmWriting, #Cooking, and Escape Rooms

I’ve mentioned how I write out of sequence then put the chapters in order and fill in the holes. For the past month, I’ve been focused on getting the first several chapters to my beta reader. On Saturday, I looked at the other files I haven’t touched in months and did a double take. I’ve written a lot more than I thought! Considering I feel like I’ve been working on this sequel to Subject A36 since the dawn of time, I felt like doing a Snoopy dance. I don’t know how much I’ll keep or change until I dig into the files, but at least I’ve made more progress than I thought. Yay me!

Saturday night cooking continues. Hubby makes fantastic steak, whether on the grill or using a grill pan. I’m a chef’s worst nightmare – I prefer mine closer to the well side of medium well. After experimenting with different techniques, hubby perfected my steak a few years ago, and I honestly prefer his to most I’ve had in restaurants. Steak was the main course for Saturday’s dinner, and he wanted a mushroom sauce to go with his filet. I tried a new recipe with mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, and gorgonzola, but it wasn’t a flavorful as he’d hoped (I still can’t taste much of anything). Maybe we’ll try to tweak the recipe if we give it another chance.

I’m a fan of escape rooms and have done several with my family. They can either make you feel like your IQ is genius level or you’re the dumbest person alive. My oldest son and his girlfriend shift into beast mode before entering an escape room, and I haven’t seen anything stump them yet. With her in Canada and him in KY, they haven’t been able to see each other much over the past year (stupid pandemic!), but they found an escape room company online. I had no idea it was possible to do them virtually, but they gave it a try. If you’re into game nights with family or friends from a distance, maybe you’d want to give it a try HERE.

Stay safe and healthy and have a great week!

#Cooking, Snout Therapy, and an Interview

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend! Hubby and I stayed in and tried another new recipe – actually a couple of them. The main course was Boubon-Glazed Salmon – recipe HERE. I didn’t have fresh ginger (although it would have been better), so I used ground ginger instead, and we didn’t add onions. I don’t like onions of any kind, so I usually omit them in most recipes. Instead of tossing the marinade, we saved half of it to pour over thie salmon before serving. I still have no sense of taste (more on that below), but hubby gave this one a big thumbs up. It was an easy recipe to put together and had tons of flavor, but we used a grill pan instead of broiling the salmon and even though it was nonstick, cleanup took some scrubbing. For the side dish, we tried hasselback potatoes. It was a simple recipe of olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper brushed over the potatoes, but neither of us cared for it. No flavor at all for me, and hubby said it needed something, so I’m not even listing the link.

Last week, after a commenter mentioned articles about physical therapy for the nose for folks who still haven’t regained their sense of smell after COVID (thanks, Tessa!), I did some research and bought essential oils. A few articles suggested buying four different types and smelling them twice per day. A lot of people must be trying the same thing for their snouts because the two stores I went to had pretty slim pickings. I could only find peppermint, orange, and lavender, and so I added in a bottle of cinnamon spice for the fourth. While walking through the parking lot back to my car after leaving one of the stores I wrinkled my nose because someone was smoking – then realized I could actually smell the cigarette smoke. Not my first choice of aromas, but at least it’s progress.

A little bit of self promotion! Darlene Foster, author of the delightful children’s series, Amanda Travels, interviewed me on her blog Saturday. Click HERE to read. After visiting Canada last year, I read Amanda in Alberta and enjoyed learning more about some of the places we visited while there.

Have a safe and healthy week!

#AmWriting and Blog Visits

Finally got a couple of chapters to my beta reader last week and she promptly returned some feedback. I just glanced over it, but plan to dive into it today. Her suggestions and comments have always been helpful, and she’s one of the reasons a certain character will have a more prominent part in the Subject A36 sequel.

Last week, Marcia Meara graciously hosted me on her blog for Guest Day Tuesday. I interviewed myself using a few writing questions I asked of Bad Moon Rising authors. It was fun! Click HERE to go to Marcia’s blog. While you’re there, check out her books. If you haven’t met a certain boy named Rabbit in her Wake Robin Ridge series, you’re missing out on one of my favorite characters I’ve ever read. He’ll steal your heart.

The cover of Subject A36 also made an appearance at Teagan Riordain Geneviene’s blog on her Thursday Doors Within Doors post HERE. I adore how she “Teaganized” my cover along with Robbie Cheadle’s Through the Nevergate and Mark Bierman’s Vanished. The first novella of her new serial/series, Dead of Winter, released earlier this month. It’s in my TBR, and the reviews have been amazing!

Have a safe and healthy week!

#AmWriting, Celebrations, and #AmWatching

I got some work done on the sequel to Subject A36 last week. It’s really the first time I’ve sat down with it since before Christmas, and the characters were talking. I think they’ve been tired of waiting for me. I asked my beta if I could send her some chapters this week, and she’s excited to read them. I’ll be grateful for the feedback. Seems like I’ve been working on this sequel for so long, but still don’t have a complete first draft, although these first four or five chapters feel finished. Each of my books has been written with a different process, so why should this one be any different?

We celebrated hubby’s birthday Friday and our anniversary Saturday with close friends. Our youngest son came over and cooked (barely) a tuna appetizer for him (both of them are foodies) on Friday, but no way will you get me to eat medium rare tuna. Not happening. Instead of a birthday cake, I went to a local bakery and got an assortment of cupcakes and cookies, then took the leftovers to my son and his roommates yesterday. Needed to get those sweets out of the house!

After a friend recommended it several times, I started watching Hannibal on Netflix last week. It’s fascinating. I assumed it was about him being hunted and tracked down, but that’s not the premise. This series is set when Lecter is still practicing medicine and works with FBI profiler/instructor Will Graham. The scenes with the two of them are absolutely riveting. I’d read a quote somewhere that the series was visually stunning, and it truly is. Plus, the food Hannibal prepares for his unsuspecting guests is totally Instagrammable – you just have to overlook what the “meat” actually is, lol.

Have a great week!

#Grogu, Best Indie Book, and #AmWatching

Happy New Year! I think most of us were happy to kick 2020 out the door – I know I was. We spent NYE with family and a few friends and once again were lucky to have both sons here. My oldest son and his girlfriend surprised me with a late Christmas gift. I had no idea Build-A-Bear had Grogu aka Baby Yoda and The Child until I saw it on a friend’s blog (thanks, Tessa!). I might have dropped a few hints (or maybe made a sign and paraded it around the house) that I wanted one of my own. They even bought him a Gryffindor scarf. Isn’t he adorable?

About a month ago, I mentioned Subject A36 had been nominated for one of the Best Indie Books in the science fiction category on ReadFree.ly. I’m excited to say it was named one of The 50 Best Indie Books of 2020! Thanks to all of you who took the time to vote – I deeply appreciate it.

Have any of you watched The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix? Several friends recommended it, and I finally got to it last week and finished it over the weekend. I’m not a chess player, but this storyline was so compelling it was difficult not to binge the entire series in one day (I watched three episodes on New Year’s morning). Beth becomes a chess prodigy at the age of nine, but struggles with addiction and other obstacles as she grows older. She’s a flawed MC who isn’t easy to like at times, but you can’t help but cheer her on.

Have a great week in this brand new year!

Christmas and Goodreads Challenge

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Hubby tested negative for COVID-19, so that was like a bonus Christmas gift for us. We were able to spend a socially distanced/partially outdoors Christmas Eve with friends who are more like family and had both boys here, so ours was perfect. Being an hour north of Nashville and having AT&T as our cell phone provider, our phones were out for a few days, but we were still able to email family and friends.

Santa left Bond, our furry cat friend, new balls with bells inside (his favorite) and catnip mice in his Christmas stocking. The picture shows his favorite thing – wrapping paper. It was hours before we were able to get it away from him and put it in the trash. Just like kids getting new toys and preferring to play with the boxes they came in.

I also added some new items to my nerd cabinet. My book club Secret Santa gave me a couple Star Wars action figures – Han and Chewbacca. The youngest son added Ronin to my Funko Pop collection, and I finally put together the Star Wars Legos hubby gave me last year – almost 500 pieces. All of this joins my Harry Potter Legos (featured here last spring), Marvel golf balls, and Funko Pops Hawkeye, Westley (The Princess Bride), and Ted (the Geek from Sixteen Candles).

I got my Year in Books email from Goodreads, and I exceeded my reading goal by 18 books – soon to be 19. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but since the writing has been so slow this year, it’s easy to see what I was doing instead of adding words to the WIP.

We’re almost finished with this crappy year so hang in there a few more days!

Cats and Vacation

With Thanksgiving travel schedules and lack of anyone close to take care of her, we’ve had my son’s cat, Sora, with us for the past couple weeks, along with Bond, our own cat. They are not friends. At best, they tolerate each other. With Bond’s “This is MY house” attitude and Sora’s “I’m the Queen of Everyone’s Universe” notion, worlds collide. Over the span of two weeks I’ve found tufts of cat fur here and there and witnessed endless chases from one end of the house to another, but they’re both still alive, and I consider that an accomplishment. They take each other’s toys and favorite napping spots and hiss and yowl over nothing – it’s like having toddlers in the house. In the picture, Sora is at the top of the stairs daring Bond to come any closer. As I write this post, my son just took Sora home about an hour ago, and Bond is passed out cold on the back of the couch. It’s hard work being constantly vigilant.

Hubby and I took a long weekend and went to the beach (which is why I’m so behind on emails and visiting blogs – I’ll get there!). Maybe traveling isn’t the best thing to be doing right now, but we needed some time away and had a fantastic mini-vacay. Honestly, I could count on one hand the number of folks I saw unmasked in the airport and resort where we stayed. I see far more on my weekly grocery trip. Lots of social distancing, hand sanitizer stations, and masked employees and guests at the resort and airports that weren’t crowded. I had a few glorious days in my happy place – on the beach under an umbrella, book in hand.

Have a wonderful, safe and healthy week!