Holiday Happenings

I’m giving away five copies of my first mystery “Blue Lake Christmas Mystery” during December 2022. On December 23 I will choose five random names from the comments section, contact you for your address, let you know you’ve won and mail a book to you anywhere in USA. I can send Kindle copies to UK, where I know so many of you from blogging, reviewing and Twitter. I have not had time to tweet, but I love and miss my blog and chatting with other bloggers. How did I let this happen? Here’s the story, short version.

Al and I moved to Florida, where we had a little condo for winter getaways. Soon we were looking for a bigger place and moved again. Al realized his lifelong dream of becoming a landlord. Yes, we kept the condo too with the understanding that I would not be involved except when shopping or decorating. Florida, we love it here. Except less than a year after we moved, a CAT 4 hurricane blasted us. We are still recovering. Most of our damage was to the outside: no more garden, no more screens on lanai, toppled trees. We’ll be needing a new roof but we have a temporary one our insurance guy says will “last a year.” He said this cheerfully, which is not a good sign.

The condo in St. Pete sustained no damage from the hurricane although we are doing a refresh for new snowbirds. I chose the carpet and furniture and Al deep cleaned everything. He’ll also wait for the various deliveries and installations. Likewise he is dealing with renters and contracts, past and present.

Speaking of contracts, I just sent in my contract for the second in my JANE IN ST PETE series, so there will be a new book in 2023. Happy Holidays!

Kindle Exclusive

Finally after two years of Covid, another year of moving three times, and a hurricane, I have started to plan and attend book events. First a great weekend at Cedar Key. No hurricane debris! Working WiFi! New writer friends! Sold many books 🙂

I’ve got two more one day events coming up in November and January at local libraries. I want to make a Kindle Exclusive thing to show off my e-only books. Tried on Canva all morning. About to cut and paste something by hand. Maybe with help from an office supply store.

Unless anyone has a better idea…

The Hines Shakes

Photo by Sunsetoned on

It has been a while. Only a few months until my 20th website anniversary, which is when I’m leaving the weekly blogging commitment…so I’m tapering. The earliest iteration of this website was mostly just a blog. I wrote every day for many years and yes you can read it all here. I’m not disappearing…but I didn’t have any books out yet in 2002. Blogging was my bliss. Now I’m a multi-published novelist with e-publisher The Wild Rose Press. I’ve just turned in the second book in my second series for them. I’ve written a few stand-alones too. I even have a couple of free books and stories here on the website. My earliest novels were Kindle novels and I think they’re all 99 cents.

It’s difficult to dedicate yourself to too many things, and so not a lot of blog posts while I moved from Michigan to Florida and finished my 12th book. I’m about 75 pages into the third book in Jane in St Pete series–and wondering if it will be a trilogy. It feels like something new is hovering. Hoping to get Jane 3 out closer to Jane 2–Covid kind of upended life for me (and the rest of the world).

The most difficult thing moving has been finding new doctors and explaining things to them like the Hines Shakes. I was born Cynthia (Cindy) Hines. Sorry, the Hines Shakes are not milkshakes, but a condition medically referred to as “essential tremors.” It can interfere with writing. In our family some folk can’t write their name without meds.

I use medication, but I don’t want to become a prescription medication addict, so I check in with the doctors. I think I have finally got a plan with a good doctor and a therapist as well as a neurologist and other specialists for other conditions besides these shakes. One priority besides being able to type my novels is having the energy to run a household again. We have been in condos for almost a decade. Now we have a big yard, several garden areas, a lanai (that’s what they call a screened in porch in Michigan) with a built-in hot tub. The house is our largest, too. Not by much, but at 67, it’s a bold move. My husband has more energy than me. As our financial manager, he’s been riding this crazy stock market wave with a cool head and well as fixing up this place, which was a bit more of a mess than we thought.

He does all the difficult jobs like landscaping and keeping the hot tub spotless, plus he’s been working on the master bath walk in shower. He had to pull up tiles, clean up rot and re-whatever it is you do to make them new. We have chosen a painter, who starts on the inside end of June. After rainy/hurricane season he’ll do the outside. The hurricane shutter guy is coming in a few days. We do have hurricane shutters but after having to buy a water system, replace a dishwasher plus those floor tiles and more, we don’t quite trust them.

I’m doing my same old cooking and cleaning and laundry and shopping. Al finally got a grill so I try to have him cook dinner on that a few times a week. I still make the salad. And I’m writing!! Just not blogging so much.

Summer School

Look what popped up as we got our gardens ready to grow! We had no idea what most of the gardens would look like aside from the palms. Ed, who takes care of our lawn, also trims the palms. We have seven of them. They’re beautiful. It’s starting to rain a bit here in SWF (Southwest Florida) and rainy season soon will be about an hour shower or storm daily. That’s beautiful too. With wind, the palms stream water through the rain. So otherworldly. Well, if your world for 66 years was Michigan.

A snag occurred in Jane Book 3 last week when our calendar overflowed with invitations from friends. The Michigan people are going home, so we had get togethers to say a final goodbye (until next year) and the new neighbors are inviting us for get to know you cocktails. Someone had a party every day last week. At first I thought, oh that’s fine, I’m done writing by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Well, ha, writers need to be in shape to write. Maybe just older writers? Party drinks and fancy snacks will sneak up on you. Over the week, instead of writing, I filling the gas tank with naps and reading to get myself ready to be social. The just-started story was reduced to scribbled plot notes.

Today I was determined to get back to work but it took me an hour just to turn on my new computer and find the Word program. I tried to do a blog post first but Windows didn’t recognize my Word Press sign in. So here I am on the Mac. But I have to stay with the story on Office/Word. I HAVE TO. I would like to maybe take an online class. Or two. had some good info. I’d like a personal class like I got with my genius at the Apple Store. Not sure Miscrosoft has that. In an ideal world I’d like one tutorial for switching from MAC to WINDOWS when blogging and one for writing novels. Also email would be good too. Had no luck finding my email on Windows.

A thing about getting older is learning new stuff takes longer. Also Al is only willing to help me with this up to a point. He got my garden growing, moved furniture, painted living room, keeps the spa ready, and so much else. Even some golf. 🙂 My plan for now is to just use Word and get on with my story. And blog on the Mac. For now. Until school starts.

Senior (Re) Learning

Photo by Ruca Souza on

My editor will get feedback on my manuscript to me July 1. I have started book three and I need the time because Al bought me a new computer and I can hardly type my name on it. July won’t be our last work together on Body on the Bayou either. Usually we have three rounds of edits, each looks at different things. Each round takes a month or two. And then there’s the marketing and admin stuff. But I am happy to have this block of time to relearn Windows. I bought a manual that’s coming today something like Windows for Seniors. 🙂 My parents are in their 80s and have refused to learn how to use a computer or a smart phone. I suppose that makes me the senior.

There are good and bad to Mac and Windows. In a way, I wish I would have stayed with Mac because I’d know it and not have to learn new stuff. But learning is good for seniors; we need to keep our brains sharp. Also I am hoping I won’t have to deal with the photo thing (converting to JPEG). My other issue with the Mac is the keyboard was shot and I had a keyboard on top of a keyboard. I had to finish my book in good time so that’s why it’s now. Start a new book on a new computer. Especially if you’re going from Mac to PC.

I originally got the Mac because my website was being hacked. I heard Macs do not get hacked. That is the ONLY reason I bought a Mac. But I liked the lessons, too. My work was right across the street from the Apple Store and I utilized those lessons. Now I live 30 minutes from an Apple store, which is fine, but Word for Mac is just not as good as Word on Windows. I use the computer mainly for word processing. My website, my books. So it makes sense to go back to Windows. Easier said than done.

One thing I wish I could change is the mega monster keyboard. I have always had a “normal” keyboard but the new one has a whole other side with an adding machine and etc. I am a good typist. (Was once a secretary.) I type fast, almost as fast as the scenes come to my mind. This is a nice talent to have if you are not rich and do not have a typist. I am not typing fast on the new machine. I am getting better, it’s just something that will take practice.

I tried to post the blog today on the new machine but it doesn’t like my log in. Also I talked to my website admin and she says she knows basically nothing about Windows; she is a Mac lady all the way. There’s so much more to learn besides email which is the one thing I have mastered. I’m going to hop on Word and get Book 3 going. I hope that’s as easy as email. And maybe look around the internet for a trainer. All advice happily accepted. Except “you shudda stayed with Mac, stupid.”