Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #8

It’s the end of July.  Normally around this time, I’d be panicked thinking about going back to work.  My living room would be filled with piles of composition books, spiral notebooks, folders, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, pencils, and all the other back-to-school paraphernalia.

This year is different.  Since school ended in June, I’ve been working seven days a week on my new full-time career.  And loving every minute of it.  I don’t mind hard work when I believe in what I do and have the freedom to do it in the way it should be done.  Teaching hasn’t been that way for a long time.

Last school year was spectacularly bad, and more than half the staff of my school has found other positions.  A few, like me, have found new careers.  Since that’s the case and we’ve all gone our separate ways, I’m making it my mission to see that we all stay in touch, and to that end, my bestie Mo and I started a group on Facebook.  We call it a ‘book club’, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the code word we used last year when we needed to share ‘ears only’ information (told you it was a bad year), and it’s by invitation only.  The main purpose is to have a communication platform–we’re planning to get together for lunch once a month to stay in contact, keep up with everyone, and encourage each other in our new endeavors.

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Yesterday was our second meeting, and we had a blast.  We’ve decided that ‘our place’ is an outdoor bar on the Jupiter Inlet called Square Grouper.  The vibe is island casual, with sand for the floor and palm fronds for the ceiling, with a view of the Jupiter lighthouse across the inlet.  Oh, and did I mention that I’ve made it a setting in my new book, due out in September?  It’s a place to go when you need to decompress.  There’s nothing like the lull of the water and the gentle ocean breeze that lets you sit back and relax.

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Which is exactly what we did.  Before we left yesterday, we made plans for our August meeting.  I offered to change up the venue, but everyone wanted to come back to this little slice of paradise where it’s always 5:00.

And that brings me to tonight’s serenade, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.  It’s a great summer song.  It also happened to be shot here, at Square Grouper.  The video is old–the place has put in a few upgrades, but they’ve maintained the tranquil, island-time essence that brings everyone back.

Tonight, I’m grateful for good friends, cold drinks, a gentle summer breeze, and life in general.  I hope you’re well and enjoying your summer.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

 

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Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #7

Summer road trip, anyone?  Mr. R and I headed over to Tampa last weekend for an Indie author book convention.  The event featured Indie authors from all over the world, and was held at a party space called Chic Venue.

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It was pretty inside (okay, Mr. R called it gaudy) and as soon as we arrived, we set about putting our half of the table in order.

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I shared the table with a lovely author named Harmony Stalter.  She was super nice, and displayed two books, one of which she called a ‘second-chance romance’, and the other a murder mystery.  Which probably explains the jar with the (fake) heart and the other one filled with eyeballs.

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She later apologized for the gruesome display, but I replied that her jars probably accounted for most of the people who stopped by our table.  The event ran from noon to 6:00, and traffic was slow.  Even so, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of great writers.  I’m even making plans to return next year.

As Mr. R and I headed home, we stopped in Ybor City, my favorite part of Tampa.  It’s the historic Cuban district, and probably where we should have had the author event.  I’ll push for that for next year.

Anyway, we found street parking and strolled toward the loud live music coming from down the street.  It emanated from Gaspar’s Grotto, a place we know well.  It’s where you go when you want the absolute best Cuban sandwich you’ll find anywhere.  So with cocktails on the table and  sandwiches ordered, we relaxed to live music and reflected on our day.

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It was our summer road trip.  Which brings me to tonight’s serenade, Love Shack, the ultimate road trip song.  And it makes me wonder…  We told you about our trip.  Where have you traveled this summer?  I’d love to hear all about it.

In the meantime, hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

 

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #6

Isn’t July sublime?  I haven’t always felt that way.  Before I walked away from education, around this time of year I’d be getting that little tummy thing, that deep-seated dread signalling that the end of summer was near.

But since early June, I’ve transitioned into writing full-time.  Mr. R is working on building his real estate business and he currently has his first listing under contract.  We’ve also had to do a lot of wrangling with the school district over my retirement payments.  No surprise there, really.  They can’t ever do anything the easy way.

This morning, we were thrilled to find that the payment for the 619 unused sick hours I’ve been hoarding for years was FINALLY deposited into our bank account.  It’s a huge relief, providing a bit of a cushion until real estate kicks into high gear.  And I start selling a buncha-lotta books.

After checking the bank account this morning, Mr. R turned to me.  “We need a vacation.  Let’s go on a (little) cruise.”  Which is why I’ve spent some time this morning checking into a short Bahamas cruise, hopefully in September.

That brings me to tonight’s serenade, Cruisin’.  I love Huey Lewis.  I believe that 1983’s album Sports was one of the greatest albums of all time.  Not such a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow–she’s annoying.  But I LOVE this song, and it’s been flitting through my head since I started thinking about a cruise.

I hope you’re having a fabulous summer evening.  Hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Meet Me in Tampa!

Looking for your next great read?  Love to have fun in the sun?  Join me this Sunday, July 16, in Tampa for the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention!

I understand that about 40 Indie authors will be there, chatting with readers and signing books.  I’ll have copies of RESISTING RISK, LUKE & BELLA, and LOST & BOUND.  I’ll also have some free swag.

Admission to the event is FREE, and you can buy tickets to the VIP after party where there will be food and an OPEN BAR.  Just imagine, sipping cocktails and chatting with your favorite Indie authors.  Sounds amazing, right?

Check out the official Facebook page of the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention.  And if you’re going to be anywhere close, please stop by and say hello!

4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #3: Good to Be Alive

It’s been a busy week, friends.  We waved goodbye to my folks, who were visiting from the wilds of Pennsylvania for a few days.  Mr. R got his first listing–a little townhouse in a great neighborhood.  Fingers crossed, it sells quickly.

My former employer, the school district, reminded me why I left them prematurely.  They made my last paycheck about a quarter of what I was expecting.  When I called to inquire as to WTF, I was told that I’d receive the rest of my deferred salary on June 30.  “But we have to eat NOW,” I replied.

But it’s all good.  It’s the end of June, y’all.  And hot!  And that’s okay.  I love the free spirit of summer, the exuberance of it all.  It’s good to be alive.

Tonight’s serenade is Andy Grammer’s Good to Be Alive.  Which just feels cheeky and summery to me.  I hope you’re enjoying your summer evening.  Next week, we’ll be talking about the 4th of July, can you believe it?

Hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #1

Isn’t June glorious?  Warm weather is back with a vengeance.  Our local drought is over, thanks to the nearly eight inches of rain we received in the past week.  Mr. R. and I spent an amazing Memorial Day at the beach a couple of weeks ago.  The water was cool, but calm.  We carried our noodles in and just floated.  I’m in the mood to hit our favorite outdoor hangouts like Square Grouper and Guanabanas, where I can sip something fruity/rummy/icy cold while gazing out over the water.

Tonight kicks off 13 weeks of some of my favorite summer songs.  Now through the end of August, I’ll be posting songs that feel like hot days and balmy nights, like lazy times spent doing what you like with those you like.  Recalling more innocent, optimistic times.

For me, The Go-Gos feel like summer.  I love this version, because it’s recent.  It’s encouraging to see the heroes of my youth still doing their thing.

I hope you enjoy this nostalgic summer romp.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!