Thursday, September 22, 2011

Number 20

Just returned from cruise # 20. Had a great time and have lots of piccies to share.

This cruise departed from New Orleans, so here is Aunty ready to sail away down the mighty Mississippi. No, we did not go under that bridge. The ship was too tall, plus that was UP river. The captain had to turn the ship around when we were ready to leave.

First stop: Belize! Okay, I know I'm hopelessly dating myself, but back when I studied geography, it was called British Honduras. They were preparing to celebrate their 30th anniversary of independence on Sept. 21st.

We took a shore excursion to some FABULOUS Mayan ruins called Atun Ha. They are still excavating and restoring the pyramids at this site, which they've dated back to 250 B.C. YAY! Something older than Aunty!

Here I am standing in front of the largest of the partially restored pyramids. This one is dedicated to the Mayan sun god.

The DH climbed to the top of the pyramid (even though we were advised not to because it was threatening to rain) and took this great piccie of the view of one of the smaller pyramids.

Yes, those tiny little figures are people. It was a loong way up! An estimated 10,000 people lived in this area back in the day.

Next stop: the island of Roatan, which belongs to Honduras.

Here's the DH standing in front of the map at the Visitors' Information Center. As you can see, Roatan is a long, narrow barrier island. In other words, built a lot like my DH!

We docked at Mahogany Bay and took a taxi ride into the nearby town of Coxon Bay. On the way in to town, we saw groups of school children practicing their marching. Our taxi driver told us there was a big parade planned on Sept. 15th for Honduran independence day.

Meanwhile, back at Mahogany Bay, Aunty put on her Bandita bucket boots and took a pot shot at this scurvy knave, who claimed to be related to the Lair's Golden Rooster!

Last Stop: Cozumel, which is also an island just off the Yucatan and belongs to Mexico.

The waters off Cozumel are the clearest and prettiest I've ever seen! You can get a bit of an idea from this piccie, but trust me, it is much more gorgeous in person!

Here's a picture of one of the downtown plazas with a HUGE Mexican flag. There were tons of flags flying everywhere and a carnival in one of the main plazas because (wait for it)... They were celebrating Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 16th!

What IS IT with Central American countries declaring independence in September? Aunty can only conclude that there was something "revolting" about September back in the 1800s (and right up to the 1980s in the case of Belize)!

Finally, back 'home' in New Orleans, the DH and I took a walk through the Vieux Carre or French Quarter as we tourists call it.

Here's a shot of the DH on Royal Street with one of the beautiful wrought-iron balconies for which the city is famous. New Orleans is probably the most European-feeling city in the US and I ADORE visiting there. And of course, I brought back a strand of Mardi Gras beads!

So there, in a quick encapsulation is Aunty's Cruise #20!

Have you ever visited New Orleans? What about the Caribbean? Which place have you been to that has the prettiest, bluest water?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sailing and Celebrating

SHHHH! I'm not really here.

By the time this post comes up on the blog, I'll be sailing the high seas on cruise #20.

This time, the DH and I are doing something different. We are sailing out of New Orleans a short way down the Mississippi River and into the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. I hope our timing is right and we manage to miss the latest tropical storm (not yet designated a hurricane) spinning out in the Gulf. In addition to seeing Cozumel, Mexico, we will be visiting Roatan, Honduras and Belize City, Belize. I'm excited to add two more countries to my growing list! Plus I've already booked us an excursion to a Mayan pyramid, which I'm really looking forward to seeing.

So much for the sailing portion of this post. As for the celebrating... I'm setting this to post on Sept. 14th in honor of the fourth anniversary of the day I received "The Call." On Sept. 14, 2007 at 8:30 in the morning, an editor called with an offer to publish my book that eventually became The Wild Sight. Of course I said yes!

That call changed my life. In one sudden swoop, I went from unpublished and aspiring writer to the lofty ranks of about-to-be published author. I knew my writing was at a professional level, but it was another thing altogether to have someone in the publishing business validate that belief. Basically, I was still the same person with the same capabilities, but that phone call changed everything!

At the 2006 RWA National Conference, Christina Dodd gave a wonderful speech in which she described all writers as moving along the same sidewalk. The sidewalk represented our writing journey and it was different for each person, but in some ways it was the same too. We all move along at a different rate, but we have similar milestones and cross-roads. Sometimes a writer trips, or falls off the curb, but most get back on the sidewalk and keep moving.

After publishing three books in three years, I reached a cross-roads of sorts. Or maybe it was more of a stumbling block. But I've been trying to crawl back up on the sidewalk. This month, I will finally make it, I think, when I release my novelette, The Sidhe Princess.

This is a part of the writing journey that none of us really anticipated back in 2007, but I'm excited to forge ahead on this next phase of my own journey and bring my stories directly to my readers in electronic format. I hope you will join me on this new venture. I plan to have The Sidhe Princess available before the end of the month.

But first I have a pyramid to see... and a boatload of wonderful food and entertainment to enjoy!

Do you have any travel plans in the weeks ahead? If you could cruise anywhere, where would you go?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lucky September

I can't believe another month has gone. Summer is almost gone. Heck, the YEAR is almost gone! I'm barely used to writing 2011 when I date things, and now it is September already. Actually I'm glad because September has always been a lucky month for me.
  • My paternal grandmother was born in September.
  • I quit my Dreaded Day Job in September, 2003 to pursue my dreams of travel and writing.
  • On September 14, 2007 I received "The Call" every writer dreams about, an editor called and offered to publish my novel, The Wild Sight.
  • In September, 2009 the book of my heart, The Treasures of Venice was released.

You can see why I feel like September is my lucky month! And I hope September, 2011 will continue that streak of good fortune. I plan to release my novelette, The Sidhe Princess later this month. It will be available electronically on SmashWords and Amazon Kindle.

I'm still undecided on whether I will have a print version because it is very short and would probably be a very slim volume. I will share the Amazon link here as soon as it is available.

Do you have a favorite month? What makes it your favorite? And do you have any plans for September?