Happy Thanksgiving & Catching Up a Wee Bit

Just touching base with you guys to let you know I’m still alive and kicking down here. My health issues are easing as my stress levels have been dropping, so I think the blog break has been good for me. Still not quite ready to jump back in until I see my doctor Tuesday and get a bit more info on what’s ahead. Hopefully, though, the news will be good and I won’t be MIA much longer. 

I did get some bad news this week. Some of you know my daughter and her family moved to Denver a year and a half or so ago, and they were planning a ten-day visit over Thanksgiving, which we were very much looking forward to. Erin, being a pretty smart gal, had isolated them for the whole week before departure date (and they’ve been extremely cautious, anyway) and then they went for testing on Monday, hoping they’d get the results back before they left. They did. Erin and my grandson were negative. Myres, sadly, was positive for COVID. So the trip had to be cancelled and the four of them are in total isolation at home, with Myres staying in the guest room for the ten day period. So far, he has what he describes as mild cold symptoms going on, so we are hopeful he doesn’t get any worse. And I’m praying my daughter and the kids (7 and 2) do not get sick. If they are still doing well by Thanksgiving Day, that’s what I will be most grateful for in the whole, wide world.

So, Mark decided to go ahead and take off all week as he’d planned to do , and he and I will have a very quiet Thanksgiving. We are hoping that if all is well by Christmas, they might come for a shorter visit the day after Santa’s arrival. 🙂 Then we can have a slightly belated Christmas with them when they get here. But everything hinges on how well they do. 

On a more positive front, I’ve made some decisions on my current Riverbend WIP, and am now planning a series of Riverbend novellas because they are much faster and easier to write than a full-length novel, and right now, fast and easy works better for me. My energy levels aren’t where I’d like them to be, so instead of one long book, I’m going to tackle each subplot as an individual novella that I can later combine into a print book. 

And while I’m on that subject of tackling, I haven’t yet combined the Emissary novellas, but I think I’m about ready to put those together, too. (Note to self: Discuss cover for print book with my wonderful designer and friend, Nicki.) 

And that’s about where things stand right now. I’m looking forward to getting back to “normal” around here and resuming my favorite features once again. I’ll probably start with a #WildlifeWednesday, since I had one almost ready to go before deciding I needed to take a break, so stay tuned. And as always, I will reblog the Story Empire posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, plus a few others as I can, here and there. 

My best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it, and a wonderful Christmas season ahead for everyone! Thank you so much for your patience! I’ll be back just as soon as possible! 

In the meantime, here are a few autumn images from the mountains that always lift my spirits! Enjoy! 🙂 ❤

Touching Base and #Update

Some of you already know this from various posts around social media, but I am officially under “house arrest” for the next few weeks. Because I’m in a high risk group for Covid-19, due to my age, and have three additional strikes against me due to some health issues, I have been advised to stay at home. Period. I’m taking the advice very seriously. I have grandkids I’d like to see grow up, books to write, and friends to enjoy, so I’ve cancelled my local presentations until further notice, and am NOT leaving the house or yard any time soon.

Now, I’ve become more and more of a hermit over the years, even though I’m not particularly introverted. (Some would say not at all introverted.) I stay at home for days and days at a time, never going past the mailbox, and am fine with it, but it’s my own choice. Knowing I have to stay here is a whole ‘nuther kettle o’ fish. However, I’ve made up my mind that this can have benefits in addition to decreasing my risk of getting sick. If you checked out Don Massenzio’s post I shared earlier, you’ll understand what I mean.

I’m actually looking forward to some uninterrupted writing and blogging time again, as soon as I shake this cold I’ve been fighting. (I’m getting better every day, honest.) I also want to catch up with a whole bunch of things around the house and yard that have fallen by the wayside in recent months. So, I’m going to focus on my at home time as a chance to do all of the above. Naturally, I would have preferred to find a way to make that chance come about without the current wretched crisis we are all trying to cope with, but that’s out of our hands, and we just have to make the best of it.

I’m going to miss getting out to talk about Florida wildlife with audiences that have become friends to me, but many of these wonderful folks are seniors, too, and do not need to be attending events where there are mixed audiences around them. No one wants to expose another person to illness, nor be exposed themselves, so cancelling these events is the right thing to do. If you were planning to attend any of the next few, just know that we will be reassessing in a few weeks, and as soon as it’s safe, we will resume our usual schedule. 

I will also be resuming my regular blog features here in another week or so, as soon as my energy level picks up a bit more.

In the meantime, please folks–take this threat seriously and do everything you can to stay safe yourself and to avoid exposing others to this dangerous illness. When we’ve reached the other side of all this, I don’t want to discover there are any faces missing from my my circle of online friends or the audience at my next event!! (Not even MINE!! 😉 )

Stay safe, stay informed, stay WELL! And I promise to try my best to do the same. 

#Update – Hangin’ in There but Movin’ Slow

Thanks so much to everyone who has sent me wishes for a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, while I’m not seriously ill, this cold is taking its own sweet time about moving on. 

Because I’m in a double-high risk group for you-know-what, I’m paying very close attention to the things I need to watch out for. I do not have a single one of the more worrisome symptoms, and I’m 99% sure I caught this bug from Mark. The good news is, he has pretty much completely recovered. The bad news is, it took about 9 days for him to feel he was totally back to normal. I seem to be following the same pattern, only about 3 days after him, which makes sense, given that he caught it first and gave it to me. (He’s so thoughtful that way. 😀 ) 

I have a regular appointment coming up soon with my family physician, but I will call to talk to her sooner if there is any worsening of my condition. So far, I’ve only seen improvement, slow though it might be. For instance, the low-grade, off and on fever seems to be gone now, knock wood, and I have had no chest congestion at all. Mine has all been sinus related, which probably indicates that my allergies kicked in, right alongside this cold. 

 

I am self-quarantined for now, because a) nobody wants to catch a cold or mild flu from me, either, and b) my resistance is likely low, and I do not want to expose myself to any other problems. Again, there’s no indication that I have anything more serious than a common cold/allergy combo, but I am moving at a snail’s pace, for sure.

Please take care of yourselves! Stay informed on what you need to do to remain well, but don’t give into the mass hysteria. This, too, shall pass! In the meantime, I’m going to remain on R&R a bit longer, until my energy level picks up again, but I will continue to update you every couple of days until I’m back.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program!

 

 

 

Temporary Change In Posting Schedule

Just a quick heads up so you won’t wonder where I’ve disappeared to. Mark and I have both been under the weather with a bit of a cold (nothing serious, I promise!) and though he is much improved, I’m still dragging.  I’ve fallen even farther behind with things  that aren’t optional, so I’ve decided to give myself a bit of a break for a week or so with the things that are.  My regularly (mostly 🙂 ) #ShareAReviewDay, #ThorsDaySmiles, and #FirstLineFriday posts are on hold as of now and through all of next week. I do have a guest poster next week, but it’s already been scheduled, as have my upcoming posts on Story Empire, so those will run as planned. Hope you’ll tune in for each.

I’ll try to resume my normal schedule here on TWS  during the week of March 23, assuming I’m feeling much better. Will give you a heads up when it’s time to submit any reviews you’d like to share after that date. 

I may pop in with a short post here or there during this interim, if I feel well (and energetic) enough for it. And if you need to contact me, please feel free to do so. I’ll still be sitting here at my desk most of the time, trying to attend to some of the things that have fallen through the cracks as I’ve been plodding my way through this “bug.” Progress is slow and often interrupted by naps, but I’ll be able to respond either here or via email. I just don’t feel quite up to assembling any larger posts yet. Thanks so much for understanding.  

Here’s to your health! (And mine!)

Nothing like a cup of “Earl Grey, hot” to soothe what ails ye. 🙂

 

#SpringtimeTea #DeBaryHall – Reminder

Just a quick reminder for those of you the central Florida area. If you are planning to attend the springtime tea at DeBary Hall (11:00am, Saturday Feb 22), you need to contact the hall right away to make reservations. They have to know how many lunches to order from the caterers. 

Hope to see you there for a yummy lunch, custom teas, a reading & Q&A session with me, and a signed book of your choice, all included in the $25 cost. But don’t wait. The formal parlor area only seats about 20 folks, so don’t miss out.

Call 386-668-3840 and reserve your spot today!

Hope to see you there!

#Updates #BuildingALocalReadership #ScheduleChange

Just a quick post to let those in this area know that I’ve made some changes in my presentation topics. The dates are still the same, but I split one of my programs into Part 1 and Part 2, and that necessitated moving a few things around. Here is the info on the next two events I’ll be doing, followed by an updated schedule through October. 

Remember if any of you are planning to come to the springtime tea at DeBary Hall, you need to call and make reservations. The little parlor area in the mansion will only seat about 20 folks, so don’t wait too late! 🙂 I know most of you aren’t in central Florida, but for those who are, hope to see you at some of these. Thanks!

2020 EVENT SCHEDULE

CONTACT INFO:
DEBARY HALL: 386-668-3840 – 1 Tea & 5 Nature Programs
ENTERPRISE MUSEUM: 386-259-5900 – 13 Nature Programs & 1 Tea

Note: Planned topics may change. If in doubt, call ahead for updates.

*********************************************************************************************

 JANUARY
     January 11 – EM – CFFW Alligators & Crocodiles
     January 25 – EM – Book Release Open House

FEBRUARY
     February 8 – EM Furry Critters #2, PART 1: Raccoons (New 2020)
     February 22 – DH – Springtime Tea

MARCH
     March 7 – EM – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     March 28 – EM – Florida’s Fantastic Owls 

APRIL
     April 11 – DH – For Goodness Snakes!
     April 18- EM – Vultures and Crested Caracaras (New 2020)

MAY
     May 9 – DH – Furry Critters #1 – Squirrels
     May 23 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Felines: Bobcats and Panthers (New 2020)

JUNE
     June 6 – EM – Lizards and Skinks (New 2020)
     June 13 – DH Furry Critters #2 – Raccoons (New 2020)
     June 27 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Woodpeckers (New 2020)

JULY
     July 11 – DH – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     July 25 – EM – Furry Critters #3:  Foxes and Coyotes (New 2020)

AUGUST
     August 8 – DH – Florida’s Fantastic Owls
     August 15 – EM – Turkey and Quails (New 2020)

SEPTEMBER
     September 12 – EM – Goin’ Batty (New 2020)
     September 26 – EM – Tea

OCTOBER
     October 10 – EM – Exotics Running Wild! (New 2020)

An Update on #ShareAReviewDay

I know I said I was going to be resuming #ShareAReviewDay starting tomorrow, 1/7, but I was a bit over-optimistic. I’m still trying to catch up with a ton of stuff, while trying to pace myself by not over-doing. And my local presentations are starting up again this coming Saturday, so I’m not totally organized yet.

Okay, who am I kidding? I’m never totally organized! But I’m usually closer to it than I am right now. With that thought in mind, I’m going to resume #ShareAReviewDay Tuesdays (one of my favorite regular features) on Tuesday, 1/21, and I’ve already got one review set up for that morning. I like to do two per Tuesday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and it’s always on a first-come, first served basis.

If one of your books has gotten a new review you’d like to share, or you have an older review you’d like to get in front of some new readers, please check the instructions in the header above under “General Blog Rules and Various Feature Instructions.” All you have to do is email me the things listed there, and I’ll set you up in the next available slot. (The first one to reach out to me gets the afternoon slot for 1/21!)

Be forewarned: When I don’t get enough reviews from you guys, I start sharing my own.  😀 

I hope to hear from a few of you in the next week or two, so I can start scheduling you. Let’s let everyone see what readers are saying about your books! 

Now, back to your previously scheduled programming.
😀

Home from Denver, and Up to My Usual Mischief Once More


Red Rocks Park and Natural Amphitheater

Brace yourselves, folks–she’s baa-aack! And bringing photos and news along with her! We had a lovely time in Arvada (just outside of Denver) and enjoyed the nippy (20 degrees or so) weather. Even got a bit of snow, but nothing like the 18″ that fell a couple of weeks before we went. 

We visited several outdoor areas and parks, including the one above, and took a long drive into the mountains. Sadly, our planned trip to Estes Park was cancelled due to heavy snow up that high the day we were planning to go, but we’ll see it in the spring, I’m sure.

We did visit Lair O’ the Bear park, but could only hike a small ways along the trail, as it was iced over and very slippery. Will visit that one again in the spring, too. Still, as you can see from the above photo, it was beautiful, and we had a great day.


Red Rocks Amphitheater from the Top


Some of the Fantastic Rock Formations at Red Rocks Park


More red rocks at Red Rocks

We had a fabulous time at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, where many, many concerts have been held. Mark got a nice shot of the amphitheater itself, but by the time I made it up there, I was too winded to think about pictures. But I DID make it, and it’s a pretty steep path. I am ecstatic to be able to say I sat on the stage where so many groups have performed! Yay, me, for persevering through all the huffing and puffing! I’d share the pics of Mark and I at the top, but they are somewhat less than flattering, so I’m sparing your sensibilities! 😀

John Denver “Spirit”

One of my favorite things about the park was this fantastic statue of John Denver, an icon of the area, for sure. (You can hardly keep yourself from singing “Rocky Mountain High” under your breath as you hike along!) We really enjoyed the day. I was also excited (birdwatcher that I am) to spot my first magpies on this trip. Got a great look at one at Red Rocks, as well as seeing a small herd of mule deer.

Mule Deer (a first for us)

Gramps and Kaelen

Here’s another shot from one of our outings, though I’m not sure which one.  Gramps and Kaelen usually led the way on our adventures.


Picnic in the Snow, Anyone?
(We ate FAST, then went for our hike!) 😀


Back at the (WARM) House!


Erin, Me, and Reya 

And I think I’ll close this with a picture of three generations of happy ladies, windblown, red-cheeked, and having a great time.

Hope all of you have been enjoying the season, so far, and are ready to celebrate the holidays. Me? I haven’t bought a single Christmas gift, so I suspect I’m going to be very, very busy this week! 😀 But I’ll be ho-ho-hoing all the way! 

Merry Christmas!

 

Happy Day After! Shopping, Anyone?

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving or Thursday, whichever works for where you are. Anyone heading out to the stores on Black Friday? They’d have to be giving away boxes of actual cash before I’d go anywhere near a store today. Nope. Nothing would be worth wading through crowds like this day generates, as far as I’m concerned. However, it’s our tradition to put up the Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving, so Mark will be doing that shortly. 

Sad to say, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to handle our full Christmas House of A Thousand Decorations this year. The spirit is willing, but the flesh … well, you know what they say. Five Christmas trees (2 large, 3 small) and 300 Santas are more than I have the energy to deal with. We will definitely put up one of our big trees, and I’ll unpack enough Santas to fill the mantle. Probably. But I’m saving my energy for our upcoming trip to Denver, so I’ll really be able to enjoy our time with Erin & Crew.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to feel well enough to enjoy this?

By the time we return home, I plan to resume blogging, though I’ll start off slowly and work my way along. Blogging is one of the things that has enriched my life immensely, and I have hated being away so long! Lots to chat about, lots to share with you guys, and lots of blogging friends to visit, as well. *smiles at new blog header and whispers “Soon, my precious … sooooon.”*

In the meantime, hope you enjoy the start of the Christmas season, preferably someplace far from the madding crowd! 

#Update & #TakingABreak

I have to write this now, before I chicken out! Here’s the deal. My visit with my doctor yesterday brought home some things I wasn’t aware of and a few more I’d been trying to ignore. I definitely have some concussion issues (read, brain injury/damages) that have not healed. YET. While I’m drastically improved over the first 48 hours, when I couldn’t read, because the words didn’t make sense, I’m still struggling with some cognitive issues and balance problems. A few other things, too, but those are the biggest ones.

I’ve learned that even six weeks (which I’d been shocked to read on several medical sites) isn’t always enough time for a brain to heal from the kind of blow mine suffered when I fell. It could be months or longer before everything that’s still not working well heals–if it ever does. On the plus side, because I’ve made pretty good progress so far, my doctor is optimistic that my brain will come back “online” fully over time. On the negative side, I’m trying to do too many things at once, and hindering my own recovery. 😦 

Noise and light are big issues. (I’d already stopped wearing my hearing aids while home alone because noise was bothering me so much.) Anything that over-stimulates the brain is a bad idea. She would like me to limit my time on the computer considerably. Okay, she’d like me to STOP using the computer at all, but I don’t think that’s doable. So we’ve compromised, more or less. I’m going to limit myself to an hour a day. Since I’m finishing up WRR4 for publication, that needs to be where I focus that time, for now.

With that in mind, I’m going to take a break (my first in 15 years or so) from blogging. I truly hate to do this, and know how much I will miss all of you (and your non-failing support), but I think in order to give myself the best possible odds to heal properly, I have to do it. I also know that you guys will understand.

I DO plan to check in as often as possible to let you know I’m still alive and kicking. But I won’t be able to follow and comment on all your wonderful blogs for a bit. 

How long this will last depends on how well I’m doing. I could be back in a week or two, or it might be a month or two. But I’m going to do my best NOT to push myself, as I don’t want to be my own worst enemy during this process.  

I WILL be checking my email daily, and will respond (via dictation, which helps reduce the light stimulation). So if you have any questions or need to reach me, you can reach me at marciameara16@gmail.com 

I will NOT be unplugging anything! I’ll just be busy wrapping up my book, with plenty of breaks as needed so as not to tire myself. And as soon as I’m comfortable with how I’m doing, I’ll be right back here, up to my old tricks.

Thanks for understanding, and just know that your thoughts and prayers have sustained me throughout this mess (and many others). In the famous words of you-know-who: