One of my favorite past times that I’ve enjoyed through the years is reading books. It’s fun getting caught up in a great book. Especially when the author puts you right there amongst all the action. With May being “Get Caught Reading a Book Month,” I thought I would briefly mention how neat it was to be featured in a mystery novel by Joyce Godwin Grubb titled, “Mysteries of the Dogwood Diaries.”
From the Author
The Mysteries of the Dogwood Diaries is a favorite, and the most current book I’ve written. I love it because the characters are so intense and, fluid as they move the plot at record speed. I was able to embed five mysteries to be solved within the novel, and the unique main plot and its way of trapping everyone in the web of conspiracy are done with humor and unexpected revelations.
The fact that the story takes place in some of my favorite locations; Nashville, New York, and the wonderful fictional town of Secret Springs, Arkansas makes my author’s pen skip a beat. I love the town and its mysteries and people. I enjoy that it reflects the true Arkansas nature of its people in that while they are hospitable, they do not embrace strangers into their inner circle easily. “What happens there, is buried there, and sometimes prematurely.”
The Matriarch, Marguerite McKenna is the epitome of what we all perceive to be the “in control and perfectly revered and renowned town monarch” by virtue of her wealth and power. Feared, resented and yet respected, she has ruled from her on high home for her entire adult life. When she summons Blaine Stryker, equally renowned in her own world as a Pulitzer Prize nominee, it is with trepidation that she is forced by the Matriarch to respond. The reader can smell the “blood and fear” as the words lead the scent of the hunt.
It is perhaps the men in the storyline who intrigue the reader as much as the heroine. Each has a role in her life that creates conflict and doubt between the men. There is no doubt that Walker Rhoades is a man’s man and sees the world as a federal agent; cut and dried, black and white. He views women, especially professional and independent women as burdens, threats and untrustworthy. Enter Blaine Styker. With her, all his negatives and doubts are magnified when he looks past the immediate problem of physical attraction to her, and see’s her ever-present and vigilant mystery man and companion, Cory Stryker.
The mysteries keep the reader moving at such a fast pace, that it is hard to catch your breath when you see the flames of attraction being fanned and you know the emotions are simmering. One doesn’t know if they want to turn the page and solve the mystery, or turn the page and experience the passion.
The humor, love, compassion, and spirit of the mysteries will forever brand in your hear they gut-wrenching experiences which drive these characters, and the immense sacrifice and unconditional love of Cory Stryker and all it means to be a “real man.
On Saturday the 9th, it was time to board the MSC Seaside, pictured here above. And this was a massive ship with over 1,300 working on it and with 2,067 cabins for their passengers. The ship is based out of Italy with its home port being in Miami. It offers year round cruises to the Caribbean.
From Saturday evening until early Tuesday morning was spent cruising. It was nice waking up early in the mornings and to be sitting out on my balcony reading a book and or just relaxing to some soft music. Sunday, Monday, and Thursday afternoons we had performances. Joseph performed by himself on both Sunday and Thursday for a couple of hours.
On Monday afternoon, however, myself, Gina Lenee’, Michele McLaughlin, and Joseph pictured here below all performed. It was a lot of fun! I think what made it unique was having four different pianists with four different styles and experiences to bring to the stage. This was the first time that Audiosyncracy had 4 solo pianists at once on one of their cruises and the first time having four performers to perform at one show.
Jamey Osbourne, who is the founder of Audiosyncracy couldn’t have been happier. He was excited and just loved how everything turned out! We first landed at St. Maarten’s on Tuesday. This was a beautiful island. However, there’s still a lot of destruction left over by Hurricane Irma from last fall. In touring the island, there were boats washed up on the shore and repairs being made to both homes and businesses. One of the highlights on the island was checking out Maho Beach. This is where you have 747’s flying in over the beach and landing right there at the airport. You can see how close they fly in with the picture that I took here below.
Wednesday, we docked at Puerto Rico. This reminded me a lot of the French Quarter there in New Orleans. The cobble stone streets, shops, etc. For an excursion, I did check out Castillo San Cristobal, which is a famous fort there in the heart of downtown. For lunch, many of us went to restaurant Barrachina. This is where the very first Pina Colada was made! Both the burger and the drink were delicious!
Thursday was spent traveling to the Bahamas. At lunch time, a number of us went to the Teppanyaki restaurant on the ship. This was an Asian cuisine. It was awesome! Friday was spent on shore there in the Bahamas. About 1:30 p.m. or so is when we started to get some showers. These lasted for about 30 minutes. Other than that, it was beautiful. I checked out a distillery that makes rum and also went to the Queen’s Staircase, which is pictured here below The staircase is located in Fort Fincastle there in Nassau.
The 66 steps of this staircase was hewn out of solid limestone by slaves between 1793 and 1794. Later the steps were named in honor of Queen Victoria. The talk for the cruise next year is that it might be Cuba with a couple of days spent there in Havana. I would love to do another cruise! How about you? For more pictures, do check out the Audiosyncracy at Sea Fan Page on Facebook and pictures on my Instagram account. You’ll see a picture of a sunrise taken from my personal balcony, along with a picture of me and Jack Daniels!
My cruise with Audiosyncracy and pianist Joseph Akins was a BIG success! This was the first time for me to be in the Caribbean. It was awesome! Prior to the cruise, I did spend a couple days at a friends condo there on Miami Beach. Even though I had spent time in my earlier years performing in Florida, it was my first time in Miami. I really enjoyed my morning walks up and down the board walk. It was a great way to relax and unwind before I started my day.