Welcome to Suzanne’s blog, Tuesday Café

Suzanne StenglAuthor Suzanne Stengl writes whimsical, heartwarming romance and cozy mysteries. When she needs a break from her keyboard, she swims lengths at the Y, skis at Sunshine Village and hikes in the Rockies. She’s also a pretty good line dancer . . . and a very poor euchre player.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

summer vacation

In the time I went to school, I don’t remember ever having a teacher use this writing prompt. That may have been because I grew up in an agricultural community in Southwestern Ontario.

Corn tassel

Corn tassel

Summers meant hoeing beans, picking cucumbers, picking tomatoes and/or detasseling corn.

It was hard work and no one wanted to relive the experience in a school essay. When you lived on a farm, you worked on a farm.

Sometimes there were swimming lessons at the little pool in town, but I usually only got there for the July lessons. By August, there was too much work to do. As a result, I never moved pass Advanced Beginner. Although, I did have a pretty good dog paddle.

When I was twenty-four, I signed up for swimming lessons at the local YMCA and finally passed my Advanced Beginner and now I love to swim.

This summer, I was in the little town of Deep River, Ontario. One of my best summer vacation memories is jumping off the boat into the warm deep water of the Ottawa River on a hot sunny day.

Oiseau Rock

That’s me on the far right, swimming with Makita, Liz and Ryan in the Ottawa River by Oiseau Rock.

Other than my trip to Ontario, I didn’t do a lot of summer vacation stuff because I was focused on the WIP. The Working Title is HIGHBURY and it’s almost finished. Almost. I am smoothing out the last two scenes and tying up loose threads. Along the way with this book, I discovered it was actually the Second book of a series. Once I am completely finished with it, I will begin the First book of the series. Nothing like starting in the middle.

Guardians of the GalaxyI missed most of the summer movie fare, but I did see Guardians of the Galaxy. If you like the Marvel movies (The Avengers, Ironman) you will probably enjoy this one. I did. As usual, Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance. What a guy.

We had one BBQ in the backyard this summer with a few friends sitting around the fire. I will make sure to have at least one more BBQ in the warm days of Indian Summer.

And I only went hiking once, to Johnston Canyon, so I must make time to do at least Larch Valley this fall.

2014-09-02-yoga-FreeDigitalPhotosdotnetThis summer, I signed up for an eleven week session of drop-in Yoga. The Summer Sizzler. Turns out I love Yoga and I managed to get to 28 classes. I’ll go back to swimming at the Y this fall, but I want to do more Yoga.

Did you swim in any rivers, lakes or oceans this summer? Did you see any blockbuster summer movies? Did you take up any new sports or activities? How did you spend your Summer Vacation?

beach chairs from Bigstockphoto.com #5904213
corn tassel from Wikipedia
Guardians of the Galaxy movie poster from Internet Movie Database imdb.com
yoga from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Jungle

The story of my 2007 Ecuador adventure continues. This is a letter I wrote home after our two weeks in the Galapagos and our one week in the jungle.

For the rest of the Ecuador story, go here.

Dear family and friends,

The Galapagos Islands are incredible. I knew they would be. I just didn’t know the heat would be so much. Getting back on the plane for Quito was wonderful.

The Napo River to the Jungle Lodge

The Napo River to the Jungle Lodge

We spent less than a day in Quito, and then flew to Coca, where we took a 45 minute boat ride down the Napo River to the Jungle Lodge. This was also hot, but only 29 degrees Celsius (in the shade) and there was major humidity. Very nice for your skin. I did a few jungle walks with the naturalist before I gave up.

Observation tower in the jungle

Observation tower in the jungle


View from the tower

View from the tower

I think my stomach reacted to the Malarone (for malaria) or maybe it was just the heat. I don’t do heat well. That was me, lying in bed at night, with my ankles sweating, while I listened to all the interesting jungle noises, the cicadas, the frogs. One frog sounded like a construction vehicle when it’s backing up.

Our cottage for sleeping

Our cottage for sleeping

We were at the Jungle Lodge for seven days, and for five of the days, we did Spanish lessons. And we slept a lot. The heat and humidity make you very sleepy.

Spanish lessons in the open air dining room

Spanish lessons in the open air dining room

One day we visited a Chechua home. More culture shock. I find I don’t do culture shock well. I have decided that there are two kinds of people in the world: travellers and non-travellers. I am a non-traveller. Though, I have to say you don’t often get to watch your Chechua guide reach into a swamp and pull out a crocodile. And damn, me without a camera. Esta es la vida.

jungle flora

jungle flora

We returned to Quito yesterday, and we leave again tomorrow. Somehow we keep bumping into people we have met before. It’s that kind of place.

We stayed at Loro Verde.

We stayed at Loro Verde.

In Quito, you can sleep. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in three weeks, with the temperature under 20 degrees Celsius. It was heaven. And my stomach is starting to feel semi-normal.
Today, we did errands. First we found a shoe repair, and got Rolf’s sandal fixed, and his back pack mended. While waiting, we talked to the guy who was polishing shoes. This started in Spanish. Then the guy started using English. Rolf spoke Spanish and Bradley spoke English. Bradley was born in Los Angeles, of American dad and Ecuadorian mom, but he likes living here. Part time he works in the shoe repair place, polishing, and part time he works as a guide at the Explorers. He asked us where we were from. Alberta, I said. He knew of the place because, he said, Alberta is where the Titanic sank. He told us he knows all this stuff because he reads Watch Tower magazine, and then he began telling us about the Jehovah Witness. Rolf didn’t mind because he was getting Spanish practice. The backpack and sandal were repaired quickly, and all for $2. Rolf tipped the guy a quarter, for being so rapido.
After that we headed for the school, La Lingua, to pick up our certificates for doing 100 hours of Spanish. We had lunch with the director and her husband, and that took about three hours. Time moves at a different pace here.
Now, we are at La Sala, using the computers. It’s about 6:30 and time to decide on a restaurant. I’ll find Rolf and see how he’s doing with his emails.
Tomorrow, it’s the bus to Cuenca, for eight hours. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but apparently there is this incredible scenery that needs to be seen. I have seen so much incredible scenery I just don’t know if I have room for more. Hopefully, the bus won’t fall off the cliff and I will be able to write more emails. This bus trip is, I think, the last major adventure component of the trip. We will take another shorter bus to Vilcabamba and then fly back to Quito.
Oh yes, now I remember. There is one more adventure after this. We will do our last week in Baños, where Tungurahua is smoking. The volcano has not blown up for about eight years, and if it does while we are there, hopefully the wind will be blowing the right way.

Singin’ in the Rain

2014-08-19 Singin' in the Rain Movie Poster courtesy MGMShowers and thunderstorms are predicted for today in Calgary. That means it’s a good day for writing. Some people like singin’ in the rain. I like writing in the rain.

Last week, GHOSTLY TREASURE was free on Kindle. It was fun watching the downloads all over the world. I even had downloads in Mexico, Brazil and Japan. Now I’m hoping for some more reviews on that book.

In the meantime, I am hard at work on my WIP (work in progress) – the one that has turned out to be the second in a series, with the first in the series still consisting of only a few scattered thoughts.

Book One and Book Two will each be complete stories, but since I’ve spent so much time creating the fictional town of Highbury, there needs to be more than one story set there.

I haven’t added a YouTube to my YouTube collection for a while so here’s one to get you in the mood for working on whatever you are working on today.

Do you like to listen to music while you work?  

Singin’ in the Rain movie poster – from 1952, MGM via imdb.com

Ghostly Treasure – Free until Friday

Ghostly Treasure

available on Amazon

My cozy mystery is free today through Friday.

“A ghost, a bucket list, challenges and hope. For those who like a bit of mystery, a touch of history and a light brush of romance.”
— Goodreads Reviewer

Her first adventure might be her last.

When Christie McFee reads about the gold hidden at the bottom of Lost Lake, she decides to put some adventure in her life by diving for treasure. But when she meets Gaven St. Michel, the Divemaster on La Bonne Aventure, she starts to think that treasure can be whatever you want it to be.

If only Christie could figure out how to deal with the two ghosts who are haunting her—one of them wants her help, and the other wants her dead.

A 34,000 word novella – Cozy Mystery, Light Paranormal

20 things to do instead of writing

should be writing . . .

  1. Read email
  2. Dust your keyboard
  3. Read that excellent book you downloaded last night
  4. Rearrange your bulletin board
  5. Count the number of pens in your pen holder
  6. Sort them by colour
  7. Play solitaire to realign your Right Brain
  8. Read the Chicago Manual of Style
  9. Cut out pictures for a collage
  10. Organize your bookshelf
  11. Count the number of “How To” books you have
  12. Arrange them by author
  13. Rearrange them by subject
  14. Research on YouTube
  15. Smell different hand lotions
  16. Play mood music
  17. Make tea
  18. Eat chocolate
  19. Eat cake
  20. Make a list of things to do instead of writing

photo from iStockphoto # 000009864226