It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.
I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.
I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.
I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.
I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.
Here's a little bi about my zodiac.
GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.
Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.
Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.
This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.
The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.
Find me at:
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Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.
I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" check out the "Gemini Rising..."
|Well, I missed you for a couple of days. Not like I've been up to much. It's been really HOT here in So Cal. Friday was the worst. The temps got up to 118 degrees. Saturday was 115 degrees. The heat here is mostly a dry heat, very little to no humidity. I suppose if it's going to be HOT then it's best to have a dry heat. LA DWP blew up and over 38,000 ppl lost power. That had to suck for them. I'm very grateful that my AC did not go out.
So on Friday, to beat the heat the family and I went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp. Great movie! Perfect blend of characterization and plot. The comedy was really good. I would go see it again. The previews were interesting. Most were "rentals." After that, we went to Buca diBepo for dinner. I tried a chicken dishes and enjoyed the calamari.
Saturday to beat the heat I went to San Pedro, CA to check out Old Ft. MacArthur Days. The old Fort opens its doors and museum with historical displays and docents. There's a Roman camp, a Viking camp, Civil War camps, World War displays and Lincoln, Roosevelt, Chamberlin, and Stalin docents. You can visit the museum, and see reenactments. It's a cool way to learn about history without reading a book. They had a lot of equipment there to include WWII jeeps and a Sherman tank along with Civil War cannons.
The temps at San Pedro were in the 90's but it was closer to the ocean and so the humidity was up. When there's humidity, there's sweat. Yuck. I had to drink a lot of water and rest in the shade a bit more than I would like, but it kept me running.
The Fort was named after Douglas MacArthur's father, Arthur MacArthur, who was a Civil War soldier (and a Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee) and he had been assigned in the Philippines as the Military Governor-General. In 1910's the government decided to "build up" the LA port for trade and determined it needed to be protected so they built a fort. BIG ASS artillery guns were constructed from 1915-1923. (They had a range that could reach Catalina Island.) It was a major fort during WWII. In the Cold War, it housed Nike missiles. The fort was decommissioned in the 1970's.
Today, I worked on my Romance/Love NL. I try to find different topics that interest me, so I have two very different topics that interested me that I discussed. Summer romance settings and themes in writing romance series. Next month, I think I'll focus on writing young adult romance.
I reached out to Prairie Rose Press for one of my sweet romance novellas. I'll let you all know when I hear something back.
Tomorrow, I'm off to Camp Josepho. It's a Boy Scout camp that offers the moviemaking, theatre, and communications merit badges that my younger son was interested in doing. Should be fun.
See you guys in a week!
|PISMO BEACH ADVENTURE
So we left for Pismo Beach around 12 noonish. We stopped in Santa Barbara at El Pollo for lunch. I got the double chicken tostada salad. I'm really trying to make better choices with a focus on the DASH diet and increasing protein. We arrived at Grover Beach at 3 pm for check in to our Holiday Inn Express. (Very hilly!) The room was nice enough and smelled fine, but the hall smelled of marijuana. Yuck. I'm not into that. We settled down, organized our stuff watched a tad bit of TV and then we were off. We got to Pismo about 430ish but there was nowhere to park. We had to park about 1.5 miles away and walk in. It took us about 30 minutes. I brought a lawn chair just in case.
Joey wanted FroYo so we stopped into the local place. It was very similar to menchies but they had cinnamon crumbles. I'd never seen them before but they were FAB! After a refreshing treat we walked around a bit and got out wristbands because we paid for the VIP seating on the pier. Of course there was no beer so we found a Mexican restaurant that sold beer. We went in order beer and chips and nursed it until about 630 pm when we got in line for the pier.
I just want to say the beach was packed. There were a ton of EZ ups and people grilling on the beach. Kids were playing, there were kites, surfers and you could see for miles up and down the coast in each direction. The temperature was mild, I'd say about in the 70's. I never felt uncomfortable and when it got cooler, I put on my sweat jacket.
When we got onto the Pier, (they opened it up at 7) we picked up out dinner order which was a beef brisket or pork sandwich, Cole slaw, and beans from a local restaurant, McClintock's. Very yummy. They also had coffee and chips, sodas, and cheese. The time went by fast. Before you knew it was 830. The showed started at 9. Venus and Jupiter were out and bright, but that was it. About 845 "Homemade" fireworks started going off up and down the coast.
That was the coolest thing thing to see - multiple fireworks going off up and down the coast. Our show started at 9 - right on time. The music was contemporary American and the fireworks were so close it was amazing. The show ended at 925, and we got back at 1000 pm and went right to bed we were soo pooped.
They had a Keurg coffee thingie in the room so I had that when I woke up. The hotel had a breakfast but it kinda sucked. Sometimes it's just better to go to Dennys. After Dennys we came back to Castaic. Hubby is past out.
Temps here are 100 degrees. It's hot. I don't feel much like doing anything. Might make pasta for dinner or I might try to convince the Hubby to go out to eat. We'll see.
Tomorrow I have a haircut. Temps are supposed to be 100 again so I if I want to get some exercise in nature in, I'll need to get out about 7 am. Debating. lol!! Choices for tomorrow include water day at Hurricane Harbor or go see a movie. I also need to start packing for Joey's trip to Camp Josepho for his moviemaking badge.
Hope you all had a great 4th and enjoyed your time with family and friends.
Question for you: What was the last movie you saw?
|Well, it's the 4th. Boys are still sleeping. Hubby wanted to leave for Pismo at 9 am. He's still sleeping. Mapquest puts the journey at 2 hours and 45 mins. I'm in no rush. I'll probably get him up after I'm done with my blog entry.
I just rewatched Harry Potter 4-7 movies. Why? Well, I'm on vacay and I'm relaxing. lol. The stuff with Snape's tear and the pensive in Part 2 breaks my heart. I still tear up. The book is more poignant. Snape is such a fascinating character, but his true nature doesn't really come out until Harry looks in the pensive. It's heartbreaking.
Another heartbreaking movie moment is in the HUNGER GAMES (movie #1) where Rue and Katniss are planning against the other tributes and one "baddie" throws a spear at them. Katniss whips out an arrow, but it's too late and Rue is killed. Heartbreaking. I keep tearing up on that moment, too. Rue is such a sweet soul to be put in such a horrid game and Katniss's humanity and sorrow reveal just how passionately she "feels."
MUSINGS ON THE 4TH
One of my all time favorite things to do was go to Catalina Island (Avalon) for the 4th. I loved hearing the USC marching band open up the holiday themed golf car parade. I enjoyed watching the parade. Grilling for dinner and watching fireworks on the beach. It's a long story but we haven't done that since 2012. Last year was patricianly vile as sent DH to the in laws with my 10 yr old for food and fireworks. I elected to stay home with the dog who had such a hard time with fireworks. I fed her a tranquilizer, ordered Dominos and watched Storage Wars the entire time. I *think* the 4th should be a family/friend orientated holiday, and I'll leave it at that.
Having served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the 4th is a patriotic and fun holiday. I remember in 1991, a lot of units were coming back from Gulf War 1. I was in Germany at the time, had the day off, and went to visit friends in Berlin. My friend's unit was having a picnic/BBQ at a local park and invited us. It was a ton of fun. Friendship and Fellowship is what it's all about. I think it's really easy to lose sight of that.
Question for you: What's your favorite thing to do/or eat on the 4th.
PS -- Thinking of that I know it's time for the Nathan's hot dog eating contest. Can anyone beat Joey Chestnut's 72 hot dog record??
|Heck, I missed a day. What a bummer.
Yesterday the family packed up and went to the Camarillo Outlets in Camarillo. I think I might have been over 10 years ago and I heard they had a Kate Spade outlet and I wanted a new purse for my birthday.
I'm not a purse person, so the first time I heard about Kate Spade was her recent death. She was in her 50's, I believe, and I had just turned 50. I googled her and got Wikipedia. "I wanted a functional bag that had some style," She said when she started her business in 1993. Eventually, Kate sold her shares in her start up after making it very successful. Still, I think the Nieman Marcus people kept the brand close to her intentions. I looked at some of the purses and I loved the look. They were smart, quirky, and fun. That's me in a nutshell. I knew I had to have a Kate Spade purse for my 50th birthday. I wanted to honor her talent. Such creativity. She was a true entrepreneur. And she hung herself. As I understand it she suffered from depression and anxiety. It broke my heart to hear someone with such vision was depressed to the point they committed suicide. I would like to urge anyone who is overwhelmed by depression or anxiety to seek professional help.
Kate, thank you for your designs, your inspiration, passion, and your creativity. I'm proud to have a Kate Spade purse.
EMAIL HELL IS GETTING BETTER/PUBLISHING UPDATE (KINDA)
Well, I've made a big dent in my 3300 plus emails - now I'm down to 1,000. I was able to find my RoR for my 99 cents stories with Victory Tale Press and I hope to submit soon to another publisher. There's still more to do so wish me luck.
4TH OF JULY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
And I'd like to wish you all a happy 4th. Last year, I was still the Cubmaster of Pack 40 and the Pack "marched" in the local parade. Actually, scouts had to ride bikes or ride in the trailer. Adults walked. My Assistant and I held the banner. It was kinda hot by the time we started which was around 10ish. The sun and the heat made for a draining event. Logistically, it's a lot to put together. This year, the family and I are heading to Pismo Beach. It's something different for us.
Here's some fun facts:
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, 2 of our founding fathers, died on the same day - 4th July 1826. 50 years after the Declaration of Independence.
200 copies of the Declaration of Independence were drafted, but only 27 are accounted for.
Congress declared the 4th of July an official holiday - in 1870!
President Calvin Coolidge was born on the 4th of July - in 1872!
Benjamin Franklin was 70 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence.
Really?? 87% of American flags are made in China.
The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
It's all about the Fireworks! The 4th wouldn't be the 4th without fireworks. 97% of fireworks in the USA come from China. MORE
Being a veteran, I'm proud to celebrate the 4th. I always buy Old Navy flag shirts for the holiday but they get cheaper and cheaper every year. Bless them. Anyone know if they're made in China? Sigh...
Happy 4th all!
17-23 June my husband and I went to Boy Scout Camp with our youngest. He has ADHD so it's our rule that one of us will go with him on a trip to help him manage and give him his meds. Our oldest, got hired as a Camp Counselor. He's working in Handicraft. I'm very proud of him and he totally enjoys the experience. My youngest earned the following Merit Badges: Art, Orienteering, Pioneering, and Camping. I earned my Assistant Scoutmaster. Most everyone was well behaved and a lot of fun was had!
Because I was so busy scouting in my life the past 2 years, my emails got really backed. One account had over 3300 emails. I've managed to get it down to 2000 emails right now. I'm still pruning. I need to keep pruning. Once my emails are in order, than I can work on looking for a new publisher for my writing. My goals:
#1 New Publisher
#2 Catch up on my Reading
#3 Catch up on my writing
Currently I'm reading Stephanie Plum: "Top Secret 21." I've always enjoyed the Stephanie Plum series, but some of the novels are better than others. This is the first one where I see a lot of current pop culture references.
Just finished reviewing all the Blog Entries for the Bard's Hall Blogging Contest and sent my choices to Webwitch. Hope to have them out soon. Tomorrow I'll start to work on my next Romance/Love NL as I think I'll be at another Boy Scout camp when it's due.
I'm not a big soccer fan, but I like to follow FIFA. I suppose it's the BIG game. When it first started I asked the boys in my religious ed class who are you rooting for? Most said Mexico (This is SoCal after all) I might have had one Argentina. When the kids asked me who was I rooting for I said: "France." Why not? I grew up in the 2nd largest French speaking city in the USA. I'm 1/3 French Canadian and my Auntie told me once the family came from France back in the day (1600/1700's) Just about everyone in SoCal has Mexican or Central American roots and that's fine. That works for them. I have French roots and I'm not ashamed to root for France despite my very minority status. Very proud of my team moving on out of Round 16 and into the quarter finals. (Sorry Argentina and Messi) Can I name any French players? MBape? Not sure of the spelling. Do I need to know? Let me enjoy being a fan without all the added pressure.
Enjoy this book trailer for one of my "unpublished" books:
Sports; Basketball/Baseball/Football/USC Trojans
Coffee - Why not?
4th of July Stuff
|I turned 50 this month. The magic day was the 6th of June. I've had a couple of grays in the hair, but none recently, so that's good. It's still outrageously curly and when I show pics of myself to coworkers when I was younger I get "You look the same."
Well, tack on 30 pounds. Not good. Last year was just incredibly demanding on me. Getting my kids to bowling, gymnastics, scouting took a lot of coordination. I was also the Cubmaster of Pack 40 and that job is very demanding. I'll try to give you story in a nutshell: The Cubmaster before me had little to no organizational skills and was "winging" it. The Pack was slowly going downhill, but due to neglect was picking up steam. So after a lot of thought, I said I'd take over from him. My son only had 6 months left in the pack.
So in NOV 2016, I became the Cubmaster. Truly, it was like having a 2nd job. And it's a volunteer spot without pay. There was a lot to do: Overhaul fundraising, get "Activities" stable, work on Pack Communications, still post agendas on pack meetings. Organize the Pack Camp outs, grow the committee, recruit den leaders, submit awards. All these issues were neglected. I recruited a "can do" assistant cub master to help me, with him knowing he'd take over. Still, I neglected my health between my day job that paid the bills, my kids, and my volunteer 2nd job. I tacked on 30 pounds and developed high blood pressure.
On 1 JUN 2018, I turned over the Cubmaster position to my well trained assistant. I'll still do some stuff with the pack, the headaches and time required to give the position the attention it needed is gone. I'm hoping to lose weight and address my health issues. Vacacy is a great place to start.
Any way --- 50 was low key for me. I figured my husband would do near to nothing to organizing the event and I was right. My friend from work, Lori, picked up the slack. She got the balloons. I had to reserve the restaurant and buy my own cake. At least my husband showed up. Still waiting for a gift from him. Might be a while. I don't think it's a priority. My co-workers were the best. When they found out I had to buy my own cake, they got me a Stone Cold ice cream cake. I swear I almost cried. Not that I wanted a big hoopla. I managed to avoid celebrating with the in-laws which was important to me, and I had good friends at the restaurant. We had appetizers and beers and honestly, that's what I was shooting for.
So happy birthday to me. 50 is the new 35. lol!
|I can't believe it's been 11 months since I last shared a book review with you. Let's just say it's been the busiest 11 months of my life. So what inspired me to hang out?
It's Vacay (I'm on vacay until 15 JUL) and I'm catching up with my life. I need a vacay to do that!
I'm doing something I really enjoy. I'm checking out the entries for the
So many things to catch you all up on. I'll try to take it day by day.
My 99 cent novel publisher, Victory Tales Press, closed up shop. I really LOVED Victory Tales Press. Becca and Laura were fantastic. Karen Michelle Knutt came on board and was a pleasure to work for. My story, "Journey of the Heart" was my biggest seller. It was a vintage romance, set after World War II. It was a "sweet" romance. In a nutshell: Could James help Rachel save her winery? In it's amazon heyday it was selling between 11-15 copies a day, but then Amazon changed it's "formula" and it went way down... As I understood it, Becca had health problems and needed to focus on that. VTP closed up and my 99 cent novels (10-15K words) were gone. I wish Becca all the best, but I totally understood. I'm hoping to find a new home for 99 cent novels soon.
Then, this last week, Desert Breeze Publishing, my romance novel publisher closed up shop. All books will be off the shelves come 30 JUN. I've been with DBP for 8 years now and honestly, it's heart breaking. I've got three series with them. My most "successful" series was the Windsor Diaries, and my most well received was "Moldavian Moon." Again, I need to find new homes for them. Time will tell. Not quite sure why DBP is closing, and I'm not going to speculate.
So right now, I just have my children's titles up with 4RV Publishing. I'm very proud of my children's stories. It will take time to find new homes for my novels and I'll keep you up to date. For now, enjoy one of my book trailers...
|Book Review for: When You Give a Duke a Diamond
Written by: Shana Galen
Amazon ASIN: B008BWAD6U
Published by: Sourcebooks
I read: the ebook
Dazzling with Diamonds, Full of Heart
Galen crafts a romance filled with suspense, danger, and heart with “When You Give a Duke a Diamond.” Juliette, aka the “Duchess of Dalliance,” is a courtesan during the heyday of the ton. Christened the “Duchess of Dalliance” by Prinny himself, the gossip around the ton is that she’s having an affair with the Duke of Pelham, a man who is always on time and stanchly set in his ways. He’d never go to bed with a courtesan.
Pelham, aka “Will” and Juliette are thrown into each other’s path when Lucifer shoots at Juliette. Lucifer believes Juliette has his stolen diamonds. Pelham is forced to keep Juliette safe, and in doing so, discovers he wants to find out the mystery behind the missing jewels and why Lucifer would go after Juliette.
They escape to York to avoid danger and Juliette manages to bring out Will’s softer side. As the Duke begins to fall in love, will legitimate danger, or those pesky conventional norms of the ton keep him from publically admitting his love for Juliette?
Shana Galen is one of my favorite romance authors. Her writing style is enjoyable. Her characters are sharp, witty, and infused with heart. Pelham is rough around the edges and it’s endearing to watch Juliette soften him. The danger and suspense never let up, and I hated it when I had to put the story down. Juliette is a capable heroine, not afraid to confront conflict. She’s appeals to modern norms while retaining regency charm. The love scenes are mainstream and tasteful.
Overall, “When You Give a Duke a Diamond,” is a delicious escape to another time and place, full of nail-biting suspense and heartwarming moments. It’s a romance that will touch your heart and leave wanting to read the next book in the series.
Question for you: What was the last book you read?
|During my vaction in June, the family went to Lake Tahoe. We'd never been and I was very excited. We camped at DL Bliss State Park. This park is on the CA side. There are several camp sites on the CA side. There's another State Park, "Emerald Bay" and several US Forest Service parks. DL Bliss was closer to the southern side of the lake.
It took us a good 8 hours to get there from Jedidiah Smith State Park which was on the other side of CA near Crescent City and the Oregon border. If anything, I think we could have shorten the trip. We followed google map gps, but we could have taken freeways once we got to the I5.
Our campsite was compact and if anything, I felt a bit crowded, whereas in Jedidah Smith, I felt like we had a private spot. There were no Redwoods here, but the lake water was so blue it was stunning. We put up our tent and pitched our cots. There were plenty of trees so we didn't need an EZ up. We had a camp stove made of rocks. We used it once but it didn't get hot enough.
I was really impressed with just how blue Lake Tahoe is. The color was striking. Our area was woody and green and smelled wonderful. I was so impressed with the scenery I went ahead and ordered a CA Tahoe state license plate.
We were at elevation, between 6500 - 7000 feet. Several of the surrounding mountains still had snow on them and it was still melting.
We visited the Vikingsholm State Park. It's a steep mile decent to the Vikingshom estate. It was commissioned in 1928 and built in 1929 by Mrs. Josephine Knight. She and her husband came from Chicago.
Mrs. Knight's architect traveled to Scandinavia and studied how buildings were made. His travels inspired the "vikings" house that was built. Mrs. Knight and her husband were known as major backers for Charles Linbergh's solo flight in 1927. Mrs. Knight used Vikingsholm as a summer home.
My son, collected water from Lake Tahoe as a souvenior. This is on the CA side. Sadly, we never got a chance to visit the NV side for him to get his NV souvenior.
If you'd like to see pictures of my Lake Tahoe Camping adventures, please visit my blog, Romance Under the Moonlight at: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
Enjoy this gratitious plug for my 99 cent summer romance: "Journey of the Heart."
Blurb: Set in Sonoma, CA in 1946, can James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?
12, 5 Star Reviews on Amazon
The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author. - Angel E
"Your case threatened to run away, so I bribed it." Her sweet expression was an arrow through his heart.
"Really? What did you bribe it with?" He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, caused from a combination of the summer heat and lifting the heavy cases.
He hooked his thumb toward his chest. "Are you offering me a job, Miss Santori?"
BUY LINK: http://amzn.com/B008G1JI6C
|Grab this 99 cent Christmas romance before the end of July and indulge in Christmas a little early.
Drake de Brettville is going to take the biggest risk of his life – because of a bottle of wine. When Drake's brother returns to their home in Denmark with a bottle of wine from the Marquand Winery, Drake finds himself compelled to discover who the wine maker is. Intrigued to learn that the owner is a young woman named Lily Marquand, Drake travels to Napa Valley, California, to meet her.
When Drake finds Lily, the sparks fly. Lily is that rare woman who stimulates him like no other, but to win her love, Drake has to shatter the battlements that guard her heart and prove to her Christmas wishes do come true.
ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:
Collecting her purse, she walked into the lobby as Drake descended the stairs. He presented her with a manila envelope.
"I'll look it over and give it to my lawyers to examine."
"When might you make a decision?"
"Give me a week."
He escorted her to her car and paused near the door. Lily unlocked it with her remote and leaned over, placing her purse along with the folder in the passenger seat. When she stood back up, Drake was directly in front of her. He cupped her cheek, his hand warm and encouraging. "When can I see you again?"
Her abdomen ached for more as waves of desire washed over her. Lily craved closer contact, but she tried to think rationally. "I'm, ah, not sure of my schedule."
"Yes – tomorrow. Come to the winery after it closes."
His lips brushed against hers, then gently covered her mouth. Lily welcomed him, his spicy scent sending her senses reeling. She placed her hands on his chest and moaned when his lips left hers, blazing kisses over her jaw, and searing a path of pleasure over her neck.
AMAZON BUY LINK: KINDLE:
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feast-of-candles-stephanie-burkhart/1119887243?...