Recovering from all the fun

So how do I do that exactly? 

All it needs are some whales

My back is killing me. The last three nights I’ve slept until noon, I have no energy, and all I wanna do is rewatch every ep of Elementary on hulu. While the hulu thing is kinda typical for me, the rest isn’t.

I’m suffering from too much vacation.

Last week was the annual take mom someplace fun for her birthday tripNow the woman isn’t this wild go getter. She’s 87. She strolls on casual mode. She likes naps in the afternoon. She goes to bed at a reasonable 9 o’clock. Why the heck am I so exhausted?

It wasn’t like we hit a city with lots of hills to climb. (San Francisco is next year) We were in sleepy little Monterey. Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, the little strip of shops and restaurants outside our hotel. We probably strolled less than two miles the whole trip. Maybe it was all the ocean-infused air. Or the food. There was lots of clam chowder. That’s tiring to eat, right?

Clams baby

 

Butterfly prawns on a bed of styrofoam

And prawns. Almost a reasonable price if you order off appetizer menus. The shot above was a dinner splurge at Chart House. And my first experience with rice noodle. They were fun to play with but tasteless. The rice on the side though had some delicious mango spicy pepper thing going on but the serving was way too small.

Crap, this place looks pricey

Nice place. Gorgeous architecture, fabulous food, pleasant wait staff, okay-ish prices after all. Slow as hell service. Maybe they want a relaxed vibe but when you have to ask for your wine 3 times, and you get your food first, something’s wrong.

As great as Monterey was, getting there was a pain. For the last three years, we’ve been living in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin and it’s typical to drive for an hour and have the road practically to myself. California traffic was crazy. It didn’t matter what time of day it was. Everyone who lived in Sacramento was going somewhere all the freakin’ time. Does no one work in that state? It’s a painful reminder of what we’ll have in store when we migrate back to Florida next month.

Boats, boats, boats

 

Of course, it will all be worth it to be by the ocean again. I’d even put up with a 900 sq foot apartment to be back on the beach.

And that’s my recovery plan. Hitting zillow to jump start my software and get my body moving again. Though some yoga and a trip or two to the gym would go a long ways too.

What do you do to recover from too much fun? Send me suggestions and Write On,

Melissa

 

How to Sex Your Snake Book Cover Reveal

Plugging along

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Oddest looking dogs ever. Wait. Those are baby cows.

It’s been just shy of two months since James died. I was scrolling Facebook a couple of weeks ago and stumbled upon an unattributed quote that sums up my sadness.

     “I believe the hardest part of healing after you’ve lost someone you love is to recover the “you” that went away with them”

There’s still that daily need to text him about things. He would have loved the pickup full of cows. I suppose in time the hollowness will fill back in. In the meantime, all I can do is get up off the couch and get on with it.

And on that note, the new book cover book…

e-book cover
My soon to be released book

In less than 48 hours, June’s life will go from low-key to ludicrous thanks to a pool of blood, a missing body, slithering creepy crawlies and the imminent incarceration of her famous twin-brother.

Read the 1st chapter now and get 2 and 3 when you join the book release mailing list.

So is it done? 

No. But I’m finally back to my 40 hour work.  A late summer release is still looking good.

If you feel so inclined, check out the first chapters, sign up for the book announcement list and then drop down to the comments and let me know your thoughts on the cover.

Be safe and happy and Write on,

Melissa

 

 

 

Key West State of Mind

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It’s raining. It’s 39 degrees. And I’d be miserable but I just got the first 19 chs of How to Sex Your Snake back from my editor. A quick look through tells me that I don’t have much to fix and I see lots of checkmarks. (for stuff she loves) Now I just need to get those last 3 chs perfected and forwarded. Fingers crossed that I will be able to send the complete manuscript off to my format and error checkers first week of May and that the book goes live sometime before June 1.

I’m still waiting on the cover from the artist but I’m told that I’m next in the queue.

135 days till my plane lands in Key West. It’ll just be for four nights but I plan on making the most of it and not sleeping till I’m off the island. The beach, Duval Street, the chickens, the little Jazz Room, and 7am happy hour at Schooner Wharf.  That’s my idea of perfection. What’s yours? Where do you head when you need a vacation?

Stay dry and Write On,

Melissa

p.s. I had a blog when I lived in Key West. It’s called, Twist of Key Lime. I think pretty much everything I wrote about is still there. I plan on adding as much to it as I can while I’m on the island.

p.p.s. cynthia kester – could you please drop me on a note at my work email – melissabanczak@gmail.com

Fury Road

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A war boy or two and no one will try and pass me

Offspring #2 and I are headed out tomorrow on a cross-country trek. The not so distant future includes, paint fumes, pruning shears and jazz. By April 10th our house in Arizona will be ready for the retail market and I will have finally caught a friend’s jazz group in person. (he was just invited on a European tour so he must be good)

While we’re roughing it in an empty house, I plan on finishing the outline for book two in the June Nash Series.

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A lost pup we reunited with her family. 1/2 timber wolf, 1/2 husky. 100 love muffin.

You might remember our little contest from 2 weeks ago, that we extend one more week – Would I finish writing my book before Offspring #2 finished studying to take some certification test that has something to do with computers. By the end of the night last Friday, The Offspring and I weren’t sure who was winning. (I’d been a bit sidelined by a minor bug) So, while I hadn’t finish my book by deadline, it appeared that I was further along than The Offspring. I declared myself the winner and did the dance of victory complete with the song of joy until the dog ran and hid in the master bathroom shower.

A quick update:

How to Sex Your Snake – chs 1-20 are done. All that’s left is a wrap up and set up to book two. I ending up cutting two chs in front of the current ch 20. Too dull. The book should now come in at 23 chs. No idea on page count yet. I’ll update that once the editor has had her fun and the formatting is done.

I was hoping I could leave the computer at home this trip, but looks like I’ll have to drag it along. I’ll be finishing the ending on the road.

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Ohana. We shall be together again soon.

We still haven’t decided what to wear for the Star Wars Dark half Marathon mid April. I might wear my boring running skirt. I do plan on packing an extra phone battery in my running pouch. I have a feeling there will be great picture opportunities in the crowd.

Got to go buy snacks. I’ll post more from the road. Write On,

Melissa

p.s. while we were sick-ish couch potatoes, I hit Netflix hard. I’m done with all the good episodes of Fraser, burned through the new season of House of Cards the first week it was out, and started DareDevil. I realized that when I’m done with that one, I’ll be fresh out of stuff to watch. Any suggestions?

Dreaming of Key West

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During one of the Fantasy Fest parades in Key West, 2012. I’m laughing at something epic the pink haired girl just said. Or maybe just checking out their body paint. Wish like hell I could remember which it was.

Yesterday, yet another of my facebook friends posted that they were vacationing in Key West. For jealousy inducing proof, they included a beach themed photo with their announcement. That’s my 3rd friend to visit the keys since early December. As winter has moved into Northern Wisconsin, I’ve been treated, via my Facebook newsfeed, to tanned bodies lazin’ on the beach, romantic boat rides at sunset, and happy people getting their drink on.

And it’s killing me. Seriously.

You see, from 2012-2014 Key West was my stomping grounds. Thanks to my husband’s job, we were renting a little house on Raccoon Key (aka Key Haven) just a mile and a half from Duval Street and living life completely in the moment. At least, when he was in town. Though the perks of his job were great, he was out of the country more than he was in. Six weeks gone, 4 weeks home, lather, rinse, repeat. When he wasn’t around, all the lazy bike rides, magical sunsets and getting my drink on didn’t make up for…wait, where was I going with this? Just kidding. Being alone all the time gets old really fast. After two years, we’d had enough. He retired and we headed to Northern Wisconsin to spend some time near family. Yeah, I got a lot of ribbing from folks reminding me that we were heading in the wrong direction.

But despite all the sour grapes I’ve been drinking watching happy friends in my former playground, it’s been nice reconnecting with my not so distant past. If you’re headed that way and looking for things to do, spend a little time on the blog that Mark and I wrote while we lived there, A Twist of Key Lime. (It was easier to blog than to have to repeat the same stories over and over and over and…) The last entry posted in July of 2014, but according to friends still there, not much has changed. If you’re stuck at home or bored at work, check out some of the island’s more eccentric offerings.

NSFW  Fantasy Fest is a week long party where everybody lets down their hair. And most of their clothes. There’s so much nudity, that after a few hours, you don’t even realize you’re surrounded by naked people. In part that’s because everybody is covered in elaborate body paint. The photo at the top of this post is from one of the parades in 2012. I forget what the theme was that year but most people did their own thing. Don’t worry about painting yourself or your best friend. You’ll find stalls up and down Duval Street with artists charging a variety of prices. Check out several for the best deal. For 2016, the week long party is set for Oct 21-30th. And the theme is one I will be sorry to miss: Political Voodoo and Ballot Box Barbarians. With a national election so close to Fantasy Fest, it’s the logical choice. If you plan on going, remember – leave the kids at home. The place gets pretty raunchy as parties let out and the streets fill up with revelers. Though, we’ve seen nakedidity as early as 8 am. And remember, if you take your unclothed self outside of the nudity zone, you will end up in jail.

SFW – If you need to get your drink on, here’s a list of 18 of our favorite bars. Check out the one on the World’s Smallest Bar. We had a friend come all the way down to the keys just so she could have a drink there! (I think they were closed that day. Pretty sad, right? But don’t worry, as I remember, we found some pretty good alternatives)

SFW – Critters. There’s lots to choose from. Feral cats, Iguanas, sea life, chickens. Oh those chickens. Back in the old days, cock fighting was a thing. The story goes that after it was outlawed, everybody just set their birds free. Nowadays, you’ll find the feral fowl strutting their stuff all over the island. Restaurants, (I’ve seen them wandering around inside), outdoor patios (where they rule) and even at the beach. The locals hate them. The goofy things never seem to shut up. Even after they fly up into the trees at night. We’ve been downtown at 3 am and heard roosters still crowing madly away. Oh and for your own safety, don’t pick them up. They have spurs on their legs and they will hurt you. Nothing makes the locals snicker louder than the look of terror on the face of that silly tourist who’s holding a wiggling chicken and wondering, okay, now what do I do?

SFW – Ah, sunsets. They happen almost every night. Thanks to Key West’s tiny size, you can catch one from pretty much anywhere on the island. For craziness, head to Mallory Square. For a zen like experience, you need to be on the pier at Southernmost Beach Cafe.

There’s lots more but I’ll leave the rest of the discoveries up to you.

While Key West is my idea of paradise, I have a friend who thinks that the promised land is frosted with snow. Bless her heart. 

What makes your paradise work for you? Leave a comment and Write On,

Melissa

ps

the girls in the photo at the top were sporting full frontal body paint. You’ll find their photo on the Fantasy Fest page listed above.

pps

No. I didn’t partake in the body painting. It was much more fun wandering with my camera and recording the madness.