Life · Writing & Publishing

Celebrating with Edgar Allan Poe

Today we celebrated!

Yesterday, after hours pounding away at my keyboard, I finished….

I finished my novel.

I landed at 84,344 words. I was thinking it would be closer to 90k, but the story has been told and now we start editing. I have to go through it once, then send it to my mother. I know there are a few places I need to add some things, so I think this is close to the final number of words, which is ideal for a first novel.

After a quick trip this morning to the birth center to check on Liam (all is well!), Bill, Talia, and I headed out to Sullivan’s Island to have lunch. The famed Poe’s Tavern serves up the most AMAZING burgers, and given the theme of the tavern, it seemed an appropriate place to celebrate!

Bill insisted on riding his motorcycle out to lunch, with Talia and I following behind in my truck. When we arrived, we had a short wait for a table (the place is always packed!). We were seated and then approached by the manager (of course my first thought was “crap, what did I say???”). A patron, and Army Veteran must have seen the patches on Bill’s riding vest. He has one for his purple heart, another one for his time in Afghanistan, and one for his three tours in Iraq. The man had given the manager a $50.00 bill to pay for our lunch!!! I seriously almost started crying. It was an amazingly sweet gesture and Bill and I will be sure to pay it forward!!

If you’re ever in Charleston, SC, you need to visit this place. They recently opened two more locations, but we are excited to have ours be the original. Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie, which is on Sullivan’s Island. It’s been long debated, but I really think when Poe refers to “The Kingdom By The Sea,” he is referring to Charleston!


The picture is crooked because the sun was in my eyes! I had to take it blindly! Notice the Raven in the logo?

These two always love a trip to Poe’s!


The Goldbug! (Goldbug Island is right up the road!)



My handsome husband posing with Poe.


The menu. Sorry the picture isn’t great. It’s a tavern, so the lighting isn’t the best. If you can read it, you can see all the burgers are named after his poems. I had the Hop Frog burger while Bill had the Amontillado. I gave him cr@p in front of the server (Jordan, who was awesome) about the way he pronounced it. Turns out he said it right, I said it wrong, and apparently a “Redneck can read” as he proudly announced to everyone in our section! Love him!

Talia loves dipping. She JUST eats the fries. She might eat a burger, but we didn’t bother offering her any…they are so good! This is my Hop Frog burger!


Bills burger.

Talia checking out the art on the wall (all Poe themed.) The second picture is Talia looking like Ms. Hollywood…apparently I caught Bill off guard.

We had a great time celebrating, are really appreciative of the great meal and the vet who paid for it, and now it’s time to start editing!

Military Spouse Life

Time Off

Sometimes you just need time off. While I realize I was away from blogging for a long time (a year!) I just needed some down time the last few weeks. Hopefully no one missed me.

So here is what went on…..

My grandfather passed away on the 14th. It was sad, but at the same time, I have to remember the following:

  • He was given 6 months to live when he got back from the Korean War (over 50 years ago)
  • He got to watch both his daughters grow up
  • He survived a heart attack 17 years ago which killed the entire back wall of his heart…
  • He survived 4 out of 5 son-in-laws (my sweet step-dad should be proud. My aunt needs to stop dating all-together).
  • He watched his 8 living grandchildren grow up
  • He saw most of us get married
  • He met all of our children (8 great grandchildren and 1 step great grandchild)
  • He successfully scared each of his children and all 8 grandchildren into being exceptional drivers. None of us have ever caused a serious accident!
  • He proudly served his country in the US Army and completed his assignment
  • He only broke one bone at my (DRY) wedding when he got drunk and fell in the parking lot.

Over all, we were REALLY lucky to have had him at all!

Beyond the obvious sadness associated with a death in the family, I just needed some time to relax. Depression is a funny thing. Having a death in the family can trigger deeper depressive emotions. Thankfully, I didn’t “spiral” and get even more depressed.

While closing my bakery was also a potential cause to really make my depression worse, I actually have been working at another business which is somewhat related to baking. I get to use a lot of the equipment I already have, and I can do it right out of my kitchen. Bill is helping to get the new setup installed, and hopefully I will be able to make the big reveal to you later this week!!! I’m really excited for this one.

I’m also plugging along working on “Literary Crazy” and interviewed this week for a staff writer job with a company responsible for veterinary websites! Cross fingers!

Military Spouse Life

Traditionally Nontraditional

Bill and I have spent the last two years beating to our own tune….er…you know what I mean. We don’t do things because we are “supposed” to do them. We do them because we want to and it works for us.

Our wedding is turning into a classic Bill and Tina moment….or week.

Please let me explain…

The Stingrays decided we couldn’t get married on the ice, so we then thought we would get married at the gazebo downtown where we had our first date….but that got complicated. We want to save money and have it for the baby, not spend it on getting married. We will do the whole big wedding thing when Talia is old enough to participate…so we are doing this the easiest way possible.

We went yesterday and applied for the license (which is $70 freaking bucks in South Carolina!!!) which we picked up today. Then Bill ran the paperwork up to his buddy Josh who is actually a tattoo artist, but is also a wedding officiant. Josh signed the paperwork, which is post-dated for Sunday, because that date is important to us (it is the two year anniversary of meeting). When Bill gets home, we will both sign it (I’ve been busy baking), and then Sunday when we wake up, we are married! I’m willing to bet there are less than a few people who have done it this way, if anyone. It’s probably not even allowed by the probate court, but I’m sure you won’t tell!

We have some people coming with us to Sunday’s Stingrays game, and then it’s out for Italian food. Super easy, super simple, super Tina & Bill style.

Now onto my Panettone dilemma.

Italians have a special Christmas cake (more like a fruit bread than a cake) called Panettone. It’s really old world style and traditional. My mother would always get it for my great-grandfather for Christmas because he LOVED it.

Every year since he’s been gone (10 years) I’ve gone out and bought the bread. I don’t eat it. I don’t even like it.

Last year was the first Christmas Bill and I were together. I bought a coffee flavored version of it with chocolate chips, hoping it would be better. It was eehhh. Bill claimed to like it, but most of it sat on top of the refrigerator, probably until February.

I could try making it myself (I AM a baker) but you need so many special items, it could get costly, and I’m busy baking things I know I like…but making it myself, I might be able to “fix” it.

It also wouldn’t be the same as buying it in that neat shaped box.

So what do I do? It’s a tradition for Italians, but so are many other things I make. It’s more about my great-grandfather than anything. I’m really having trouble letting go. I still wear his dog tag around my neck, next to Bill’s. I won’t even take it off on my wedding day 😉

His flag from his funeral (United States Army) sits on my dresser, along with a picture of him and my great-grandmother. It’s been hard. I still get depressed on his birthday and the day he passed away on. I’m talking uncontrollable depression. I usually take the day off from work, because working turns into crying.

I just know it’s a waste of food to buy the bread, and it’s me not letting go and moving on. I also know Talia will one day ask me why we have this tradition of buying the bread on the refrigerator every year and not eating it.

It would be sad not to buy the bread. Maybe Talia will be more like my great-grandfather and LOVE the bread. I guess I just answered my own question, and I better keep stashing it on top of the fridge with just one slice missing from Bill eating some. Maybe Talia will like the tradition…..