Category Archives: Out & About

Florida & Hurricane Eta

It’s a tough year, the Coronavirus not withstanding, when hurricane season works through the A-Z alphabet and begins with the Greek alphabet. I got confused when we went from Tropical Storm Zeta to Hurricane Eta. So I’ve included the Greek alphabet (for those of you who weren’t in a sorority or fraternity, like me), a radar photo of Eta and Florida, and finally a photo of the enclosed lanai with the hurricane shutters down.

The Greek Alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omikron, Pi, Rho, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi, Psi, and Omega.

I guess it’s true, you learn something every day!

The cats and I hung out on the lanai while I wrote the content of this newsletter and the maids cleaned the house. Yes, I’m the Queen of Clutter!!!

Literary Love Savannah (LLS): SUMMERWEEN 2021

Can’t get enough Halloween? Join us in for Halloween in August 2021 and celebrate BOOKS at Literary Love Savannah (LLS): SUMMERWEEN 2021!

Join all the fabulous witches mingling with authors and readers alike.

This is always a fun packed conference in beautiful Savannah, Georgia. I will be part of an anthology available exclusively in paperback at the conference.

Don’t miss the fun!

Tickets can be purchased here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/literary-love-savannah-2021-summerween-tickets-118157342793

Life During a Pandemic

Life during the pandemic has been mostly a solitary event. Thank goodness for my cats! I am fortunate and get out every day to play tennis with the same ladies. We practice social distancing while on the court. Once a week we enjoy lunch outside. The photo is dark since we are under a canopy. We are celebrating our Monday/Thursday tennis coordinator… a thank you for the work she does every week to get us on the courts.

Our fall tennis leagues have been cancelled due to the pandemic. We live in a bubble and don’t want outside people to burst the bubble. Snowbirds will start returning next month and our little tennis group will grow, but we’ll still be careful related to the virus. Most of the people I play tennis with are the target population, so we stopped huddling together during crossovers, shaking each other’s hands, and try to maintain a 6-foot clearance from each other.

Can you believe the woman in the front is 78-years-old? And she plays like a teenager!!!

Atlantic Coast Getaway

Before the virus hit, I tried to get away quarterly to write. In early September, I was lucky to get an Atlantic Coast condo along the Florida Atlantic Coast for a week. Like my earlier trip to Hilton Head, the resort required everyone wear masks and practice social distancing.

This photo was shot from my 6th floor balcony. There were days I didn’t go down to the beach, but wrote outside. With only one small elevator (allowing for only one customer at a time), some days it was easier just to hang out in my room and enjoy the ocean breeze from the balcony while I wrote.

For whatever reason, the Atlantic was Caribbean blue. The water was gorgeous!

I was amazed by the photo my iPhone took of the Atlantic at night. The ocean was relatively calm, with waves only breaking along the shore. I loved to sit on the balcony at night and stare at the wonder before me and be lulled to sleep by the waves.

My rental was only 45 minutes from S.E. Smith’s. On the way home, I had lunch with Susan and her husband. When we weren’t eating, we practiced social distancing…although the three of us ate outside at a table for 6.

Before we headed out for lunch, I spent quality time with Susan’s cat PIA.

Literary Love Savannah

A small group of authors and readers got together in Savannah for the Literary Love conference. Everyone was required to wear masks, the number of people in any given room was controlled, temperatures were taken, use of hand sanitizers caused our hands to chap they were used so much, and we observed social distancing as much as we could. 

Since we were responsible, no one got sick. It’s possible to have a great time and still keep each other safe. WEAR YOUR MASKS! I spent the conference taking pictures of masks people wore. Here are my favorite.

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Masks can support charities. This one raised money for Muscular Sclerosis. I immediately recognized Michelle behind the mask.

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You’ve got to respect people who are handy with a needle and thread. Here we have a mask with a matching headband. Not only that, she was able to maintain her 1950s hairstyle. The author writes Dieselpunk and was able to maintain her brand, even during a pandemic.

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Some masks were just fun! This one had a bunch of sayings on it. I particularly liked, ‘maybe swearing will help.’ You’ve also got to love the rainbow glasses she wore.

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This mask was stunning. The reader grew up in Hawaii and brought back the islands with her. The variety and creativity of masks was incredible.

Wear a mask that reflects your personality. Do it to save a life, maybe someone you love. The spread of Covid19 has decreased where mask wearing has been mandated. i find wearing a mask is second nature.

Communing with My Muse

I’m spending 5 days in Hilton Head sequestered in an ocean front room to write (a new series) and continue to prepare for the Worlds Apart Box Set. Since they were the first novels I wrote, I’m cleaning them up a bit (commas and a number of other rookie mistakes). It’s been incredible revisiting these books. Those girls hold a special place in my heart. August 2020 marks the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘The Chameleon Soul Mate’. It’s still my plan to publish the box set on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited next month. Check out my August newsletter for links.

The Westin is on a private beach and has multiple pools, but I wasn’t comfortable with the social distancing. Most of the work I will be doing will be done from my balcony. I’ve got 2 12-packs of Diet Pepsi, protein drinks, peanut butter, and Wheat Thins and am ready to Rock ’n Roll.

To the north of the hotel are multi-million dollar homes with no beach access. A perfect place to take a long beach walk to stimulate my muse.

Out & About with Tennis and Orchids

Although the stay at home order was lifted on May 1st, my routine hasn’t changed that much with the exception of playing tennis 6-days a week. I play with the same group of ladies and when the club’s restaurant reopened on May 5th, we enjoy lunches twice a week. We try to keep six feet apart on the tennis court, but can sit at a table for 4 (and now 6). Since we don’t leave the community, we feel very safe lunching together. This picture was taken at one of our friend’s 78th birthday celebration. She may be 78, but she moves like a teenager on the tennis court. Yes, I’m off to the side… The birthday girl is the 2nd from the left.

Fortunately, my community has only had 2 cases of the CoronaVirus since testing began. There has been a lot of news about Florida in the news recently, but we are doing well in Bonita Springs. We haven’t been hitting the bars being careless or not social distancing at the beaches. When I do my weekly grocery shopping I wear a mask. I’ve collected a whole assortment of masks by now…many having been given to me as gifts.

Since I’m playing tennis, I’m not taking the afternoon walks that became part of my routine. Most people took their walks in the morning, but I waited for the paths to thin out. I’d taken walks in the community before, but never had noticed all the beautiful orchids that people placed in boxes or hung on trees. I thought I’d share them one more time since they are so beautiful. I have a black thumb, but I do appreciate the results of people who possess green thumbs.

I’m Back on the Courts!

As many of you know, I’m an avid tennis player. I’ve always loved sports, just was never very good at them. Then I discovered tennis! Although I have very little upper body muscle mass, I can pound on a tennis ball… particularly my cross court forehand. Weekly tennis lessons and lots of practice have made me a tennis maven.

On April 1st, our community club ceased all racquet sports, as Florida shutdown. For 30 days, I got my exercise taking walks and exploring different parts of my community. I didn’t know there was a bird estuary behind the sub-division a ten minute walk from me. During the 30-days, Facebook friends were treated to my bird videos and pictures of the incredible flowers in Bonita Bay.

Life began again on May 1st when racquet sports could again be played. However, we only play on every other court, allowing the shelters to only hold 4 players at a time, spread out. We kept our 6 feet distance…whether getting water, during our crossovers, or washing our shoes after playing.

We were so happy to see each other again. Here I am with Patty, keeping our 6 feet separation and not touching.

I hope you are all well as we crawl our way to a new normal.

OUT & ABOUT and the COVID-19 Virus

When I worked for Farmers Insurance, I put together corporate Year 2000 business continuity plans, as well as strategies to deal with a world-wide pandemic when Bird Flu was in the news.

Never in a million years did I think the corporation I retired from after 33 years of service would have to enact the plan. As news trickled out of China about a new corona virus, it became clear we didn’t only have a world economy, but exposure to a virus that could become a pandemic. Throughout history, such pandemics occurred and ended. We will get through this one, like all the others. But be smart. Please follow the guidelines provided by the CDC related to social distancing, washing your hands regularly, etc.

Because of the COVID-19 Virus, The Weekend with the Authors originally scheduled for April 16th through 19th has been cancelled. Sandy Sullivan is working on plans for a conference in 2021 in Nashville again.

Space Coast Book Lovers scheduled for June 25th through June 27th is still going through activities planning for the event. They’ve communicated the 2021 dates so people can reserve those dates in case we are still under social distancing protocols. Again, we hope the world is back to normal by the end of June. Space Coast Book Lovers 2021 will be June 24th through 27th, 2021.

As with Space Coast Book Lovers, plans continue to be developed for Literary Love, Savannah: Thursday July 30th through Sunday August 2nd. This year will be my last appearance at that particular conference since I’m cutting down conference attendance in 2021.

COASTAL MAGIC 2020

I attended Coastal Magic 2020 because two of my favorite authors were featured: Shannon K. Butcher and Jeaniene Frost.

Here I am messing around with Shannon Butcher. I met Shannon at my first romance novel convention, Romcon2010. When I won a door prize, I chose the prize with the first book in her Sentinel War series ‘Burning Alive’. I’ve been a MEGA FAN ever since. Shannon is now writing under the name Anna Argent. If you love Paranormal Romance, you have to check out the Sentinel War series under the name Shannon Butcher and The Lost Shards series under the name Anna Argent. Yes, it’s a terrible picture of me, but the other photos were terrible where Shannon was concerned.

At Romcon2010, I also met Maggie Mae Gallagher. I signed up to have lunch at her table and it felt great catching up with each other. The last time I saw Maggie Mae was at the Barbara Vey event in April of last year. 

Last, but not least, I was able to catch up with my good friend S.E. Smith who also attended the conference. We were able to catch lunch together with 2 other authors. Susan is sitting beside me. If all goes well, we’ll be hanging out at this year’s Space Coast Book Lover’s Convention.

Out & About – Southwest Florida Romance Writers

My local RWA Chapter, Southwest Florida Romance Writers (SWFRW), recently had our every-other-year conference.

As in the past, I was in charge of the raffle. Our authors put together amazing baskets we raffle off and 50% of the proceeds go to our local libraries or literacy programs.

We also announced the winners of our High 5 Contest. We had one of our finalists attend the conference and she was thrilled to hear she won her category. Authors from around the country came to attend our little conference. I coordinated the Paranormal-Fantasy-Scifi category. My finalists didn’t attend since they hailed from New Zealand.

Here, I was helping to put together the goodie bags with the rest of the conference committee. I had a match after our get together, so I wore my tennis outfit. Isn’t it cute? We feasted on donut holes and sipped hot tea while we worked.