Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Feature and Photos From Our Trip to Costa Rica

Hello everyone!  I have finally returned to the blogosphere.  To kick things off this week, I am celebrating four things: 

  1. C. Lee McKenzie's release of her new YA novel, Sudden Secrets.  I brought my Kindle with me to Costa Rica expecting to read Sudden Secrets but I have a confession to make... I had no extra time to read!!  But Sudden Secrets is at the top of my list.
  2. I polished off two of my children's book manuscripts last week.  I had them on the backburner for quite some time now but I would really like to see them published, asap.  Of course, there will be tons of edits for them to go through.  I am on my 4th picture book as we speak and this idea came to me during my vacation to Costa Rica.  I am still feeling the story out but this is what I love about writing children's books.  I love to see the story and images unfold together as I imagine them inside my meandering head.
  3. I had a school author visit on Thursday of last week.  I seriously can't thank the Universe and God enough for providing my soul with these incredible blessings.  I absolutely adore spending time with the children, especially when it comes to presenting and storytelling.  The kids had a blast and I will share a couple of photos below=)  I have another visit in a couple of weeks and I am also teaming up with United Way for the 2nd year in a row to read to low income schools.  I can't wait!
  4. I wanted to share some of my photos and adventures from Costa Rica with all of you.  Hopefully, they will inspire you to book your tickets for a future trip there.  If you haven't had a chance to visit, I highly recommend checking it out!

Monday Feature 

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie



 
 
 
BLURB
One Secret 
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks. 
One Mystery
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see.
Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her. 
Another Secret 
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry.
Then Cleo happens.
 
AMAZON BUY LINK: http://tinyurl.com/qbeh3fg
 

You can enter to win a copy of Sudden Secrets during C. Lee's 20 book giveaway!!  Just click here: 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/120893-sudden-secrets

 
 
 
 
 
 
School Author Visit
 

 
 


 

 

Costa Rica Photos



View from our suite

Sun setting over the mountains outside of our hotel



Me kayaking off the beach of the hotel



Monkeys were all over the resort


Our hotel, the RIU Guanacaste


Frogs were also all over the hotel grounds


My friend and I stumbled upon a sea turtle burying her eggs on the beach


The dear and me with another sea turtle


Pablo was such an awesome tour guide that he gave us a private tour of the Rincon Volcano where we zip-lined, bathed in volcanic mud, horseback rode to a gorgeous waterfall, toured hanging bridges in the jungle and swam in natural volcanic hot springs











Rincon Volcano







Hanging bridges... my face did not look like this at the end!!  I was so scared by the time we got to the 15th bridge!


Whitewater rafting with new friends from our hotel along the Tenorio River, class III/IV








We flipped over the first drop, sadly enough!  It was still such a rush!


12 foot drop





I'm cheering because we didn't flip!


We made some more friends at the hotel and hired our tour guide, Pablo, to take us to a surf town, Tamarindo.  We had such a blast!


Making friends with the locals who are some of the nicest people!


The Mariachi band stopped to sing and take a photo with us


Lazy day at the gorgeous pool.  It was so big that you never had a problem getting a chair or swimming with lots of room


Sunset on the very last day of our vacation.  We laid on the beach and I had tears in my eyes, lol


This photo is the inspiration for my 4th children's book which I am going to start writing this week.  I am very excited and will have this photo in the background while working=)



 
 
As sad as I was to leave Costa Rica, at least I had a school author visit to warm my heart back up and I look forward to reconnecting with all of your blogs.  How is your writing going?  Are there any vacations you plan on taking over the next year?  Will you be adding Sudden Secrets to your TBR list?  It's on mine! 









 

 

 

46 comments:

  1. You hardly did anything in Costa Rica. I can't imagine your not reading my book! :-)
    What a great trip, Gina. Loved seeing the adventures you had. It's a beautiful place.

    Thanks so much for featuring Sudden Secrets. I appreciate it. Hope the storm is gentle on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Lee! I'm happy to have you here=)
      The storm was nothing as expected... but anytime we are afforded a snow day, I'm more than content!

      Delete
  2. So much to celebrate! Congrats to C. Lee!

    I always love to look at the pictures from your school visits and vacations. I especially love the sequence of pictures showing your river rafting experience. But you held a frog? *cringes* Frogs and lizards give me the chills, because they like to torment me. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I totally held two frogs while I was down there=) Frogs and lizards don't bother me at all. Felix actually held a lizard too!
      Insects give me the chills. We had ants in our first room and I freaked out so we were upgraded to a suite!!

      Delete
  3. I'm reading Sudden Secrets right now.

    What beautiful vacation photos. And how wonderful about your visits and projects.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I plan to start Sudden Secrets this week. Looking forward to it!
      Thank you for your kind words, Medeia. I had a great time during both.

      Delete
  4. Wow, you know how to live, Gina! Looks like an amazing trip. Congrats on another school visit. I love those.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can tell you always have a good time during your school visits as well, Kelly!
      We try to visit places where adventure meets relaxation=)

      Delete
  5. Wow, what a spectacular trip! My kids went to Costa Rica with their dad in 2011. They loved it but burned pretty badly. The river rafting looks so wild. You're gorgeous, hot mamma in your bikini! Congrats on the book tours to the schools and the completed manuscripts. Nice update, Gina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks Lisa! "gorgeous, hot mamma" =)
      I knew there was a good chance we would burn so I went tanning for two weeks before. I NEVER go tanning but I knew it was going to be sunny and very hot everyday!

      Delete
  6. gorgeous photos!! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time! and those school visits sound so rewarding, I can't wait for those days!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beth! You will have so much fun during your school visits once they start=)

      Delete
  7. Such amazing photos! It looks like you had an absolutely amazing time! And I love that it inspired some wonderful books, too! :) (On a random side note, when I visited CR, I took about a billion pictures of the howler monkeys--I loved them! Even if their cries freaked me out the first night we were there, lol!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have a ton more photos of the howler monkeys but I didn't want to blow up my blog with so many pics, lol! I miss seeing them everyday and the thousands of birds and wildlife we were exposed to.
    Even though our blue jays and woodpeckers are lovely, it just isn't the same!

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  9. Gina, you wild woman! It looks like you had an absolute blast! Beautiful pics.

    Congrats on Sudden Secrets, Lee. What an awesome cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandra! It's the only way I know how to vacation it up=)

      Lee's cover is pretty awesome!! I'm sure Sudden Secrets will be intriguing and can't wait to dive into it.

      Delete
  10. Congrats on finishing your 2 PBs and doing a fun school visit. The vacation looks fabulous! I can't believe you're so active and adventurous. My idea of a vacation is lounging around and then eating and then lounging around some more! Haha! I'm surprised there were so many monkeys there. I loved the pics of the turtles - they're so BIG! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The turtles were BEAUTIFUL! We tried not to disturb them too much while they were burying their eggs. We were as quick as we could be when snapping those shots. There were a bunch of drunk idiots who followed us and kept bothering them. I yelled at them because the turtles were getting scared.
      We usually break up our vacations half being adventurous and the other half all about relaxation=) And the whole time, I am stuffing my face, lol!

      Delete
  11. Stopping by again to let you know I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, my sweet friend!! I will have to head over to your blog to check it out!!=)

      Delete
  12. Hey Gina, your list definitely cause for a celebration. Your photos are beautiful. It looks like you had an amazing time on your trip. I keep telling myself one day I will face my fear of being on a plane and travel to places like that lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you must Jccee!! Life is too short and I hope you get over your fear soon. The world is an incredibly beautiful and magical place. And make Costa Rica one of your destinations=)

      Delete
  13. Oh, I'm so glad you guys went to Costa Rica! We loved it there so much. It's such a beautiful and magical place - and your pictures look gorgeous!!

    The pics of your school visit look wonderful, too. I love that you do these -and how much you love them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you see that?? I literally wrote "beautiful and magical" to my response to Jccee above without even reading your comment yet! Ah, great minds think alike=)
      We are definitely planning to go back. Costa Rica is huge and from what I hear, there are an endless amount of things to do. We absolutely fell in love with everything about it.
      I really do love my school author visits. I think they are the best part about this journey. Seeing all of those smiles tickles my heart.

      Delete
  14. Happy Wed., Gina dear. I've got to remember to tell the hh what a good time you had in Costa Rica, since we talked about going awhile back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Wed and Thurs, sweet Sandra! Yes, you must convince him to take you to Costa Rica. And I can help you with any information and tips. You both will have the time of your life!

      Delete
  15. Welcome back! It looks like you had a great time in Costa Rica! I haven't been on a vacation (i.e. going somewhere instead of staying home) since 2007.

    Lee's new book looks good.

    Good luck with your picture books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cherie!

      You need to reward all of your hard work with a nice vacation!

      Delete
  16. I love seeing pictures of your school visits, but I especially love your Costa Rica pictures. That looks like the trip of a lifetime!

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    Replies
    1. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend you going, Stephanie! Costa Rica has even inspired some of my writing:)

      Delete
  17. I loved all your photos! So happy you had a great vacation. Welcome back ♥

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  18. Wow, looks like you had a fantastic time! I especially like the part about watching the sea turtle bury her eggs. And I like how engaged everyone was at your school visits, Gina. I wish we had more of these when I was a kid. So happy to know you're back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watching the sea turtles was a true gift. They only do this around the time we were there so we were very lucky to witness them:)

      Delete
  19. Happy Saturday, Gina. Are you ready to go back yet?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Work, no.. Costa Rica, yes!!!
    Happy Sunday, Sandra:) Xx

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  21. Me and my wife both are in our early twenties. We're thinking of going to costa rica for 10 days, but aren't sure if its the safest place. We are both experienced travelers inside the US, but inexperienced in the way of international travel. We want to rent a vehicle and explore ourselves.

    What do you guys think? I read an article ab 4 british people (2 individuals and a couple) that have all went missing on different occasions within the last 2 years in Costa Rica. Also, a boy from kansas that was there on a class trip snuck out of his hotel at 4 am and was shot to death (not sure why). Should this deter us from going?

    Other options for travel are- curaco, hawaii, st. lucia, puerto rico, or Costa Rica. Which do you think? We're looking for a place with exceptional beauty, nature/ wildlife, and culture.
    Thanks!
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