Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Vacation Spot Blog Hop: Welcome to Your Worst Nightmare

For the Summer Vacation Spot Blog Hop I'm participating in (sponsored by Summer Reads That Thrill & Chill), everyone's supposed to write about their favorite vacation getaway. And we're giving away six awesome thrillers, perfect for beach reading! To enter, visit the sponsors, enter the Rafflecopter, comment, toss up your own vacation tale if you have a blog and link back. Simple, yes?

So hit up the other authors at: Lexa Cain, Melanie Karsak, T.F. Walsh, Vanessa Morgan, Jolie Du Pre, and myself (but, um, you knew that 'cause you're already here). Okay, enough nitty gritty. Let's have some fun! If you can call it that. Because in the name of fair play, I'm detailing my worst vacation spot nightmares.

Like all "snow birds," my mother migrates during winters to her small, one room condo in Daytona Beach, Florida. And my daughter and I used to make yearly sojourns (during her school spring break) to visit.

On one of our last trips, my wife joined us. Breaking with tradition, we booked into a hotel on the main drag. (Fitting five of us into the one room condo just wouldn't fly; talk about too much family togetherness). Problem was our trip coincided with college's spring break as well. Our hotel was overrun with drunken spring breakers, racing up and down the stairs, screaming through the thin walls. Sleep was not an option.

The first night, someone pounded on our door. 

A girl, swirling a margarita glass, stood in our doorway, and asked, "Hey, is Kyle here?"

"Nope, you got the wrong room."

She leaned back, looked at the door's number, and said, "No, really, I know he's here."

Now obviously I didn't look like a frat boy. I patted my head to emphasize the lack of hair. Didn't seem to faze her. She just stared, waiting for me to make dreamy Kyle magically materialize, all glitter and sparkle and Captain Awesomeness.

"Look," I said, "you've got the wrong room. I'm here with my wife and daughter."

She grinned smugly, stood her ground, refusing to be punked. "Come on..."

No, I wanted to say, you're right. I'm just a thirty year college student who can't seem to graduate. But I didn't. Out of desperation, I called for my daughter. I presented her as my final piece of evidence. "See? This is my daughter! There is no Kyle here!"

Dejected, her smile faded. After taking a long swig of her margarita, she left, mumbling some not very kind words about Kyle.
The next day the five of us visited some "Sea World" knock-off. My daughter got to pet a dolphin. But the day ended in tragedy. Walking back toward the car, my mom fell, screamed. Couldn't move her leg. Claimed she was okay, yet was unable to walk. Didn't want to go to the ER. But we insisted.

It took nearly two hours to get down the main drag to the hospital. Not only had Spring Breakers overtaken the town, they were competing with the annual Daytona Beach Motorcycle Week rebels. Traffic was backed up for miles. Girls popped their heads out sunroofs, threatening to disrobe. Guys jostled in gangs, cat-calling everyone, indiscriminate in their testosterone-fueled idiocy. Bikers tore by us, taking to the sidewalks, engines amped up to about a million and a half decibels. Fights broke out, total chaos, the downfall of humanity. A war-zone. While my mom groaned in the back seat.

As my dad was in a wheelchair, it took heaps of strategy. Mom wouldn't be able to take care of him, not with her brand-new broken leg. (I had to push Dad who pushed Mom, quite the parade). My wife and daughter flew Mom home while I drove Dad back to Kansas City, a hair-raising 48 hour journey where he recycled old stories again and again and...

You'd think that'd be enough to keep me out of Florida. Think again. The next year, my daughter and I took off, my wife wisely opting out. Once we landed, my elbow had decided to grow as big as a grapefruit and burned hotter than the sun. Several days were spent at Daytona Beach doctor's offices. The incredible case of the mutant elbow stumped most of the doctors. Finally, my third visit produced results, my dinosaur egg vanishing with strong antibiotics.

By then I was determined to have fun, dammit! While my mom took her car into the shop, we hung out at the pool. Hours later, Mom showed up, went up to her room. My daughter followed. But shortly came back down. Looking horrified.

"Um, Dad?"


"I think you better come upstairs."

Gah! Mom had left the kitchenette sink running. Three inches of water stood on the floor. The rest of my "vacation" was spent sweating, toiling, mopping, soaking, wringing, cursing, and tearing up carpet.


I'm going to get with the Daytona Beach tourist association, coin a new catch-phrase. I'm thinking, "Daytona Beach: a Little Taste of Hell."

And speaking of hellish places to visit, you might want to stay away from Hayden, Kansas right now. I understand it's overtaken by the living dead. Not your usual living dead either.

Life is good for Hunter Wright. He's just about to graduate from high school and he's found true love.  Just in time to lose her.  Because the Rapture's begun and those in his path, living and dead, stand in his way of finding her. And it's not the Rapture the faithful have been expecting either. Someone failed to tell the dead they’re not in Heaven. 

Horror. Suspense. Dark humor. And, of course, love in the year of the zombie. Zombie Rapture. (Just one of the books we're giving away!)



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  1. Ouch! Gotta love family (out of Florida) :)

  2. Truth is so often stranger than fiction. I don't suppose you'll be going back any time soon? Or are you a glutton for punishment? :)

  3. One thing's for sure. You take vacations to remember. I hope everyone is well now.

  4. Yep. Florida tends to bring out the "best" in people. Seriously? Glad you all survived.

  5. Wow. That's certainly a vacation you'll never forget!

  6. No wonder you write horror. That's the worst summer vacation I've ever heard of. :-) I wonder if she ever found Kyle. For his sake, I hope not.

  7. That's truly horrid! I accidentally hit a beachside hotel just off a military base during some kind of break. I thought they might take down the walls...a lot of amorous feelings in the air, lol!

  8. Daytona does sound hellish. We used to go to Palm Beach but the hubby sold his parents' house and we haven't been back since.

  9. Now I can't wait to go there, haha :-)

  10. How awful, but best vacation post EVER! I'll never forget these stories! From the smug-Kyle-loving coed to the mutant elbow to the underwater apartment, you tell the best stories! :)

  11. Sounds absolutely awful. Definitely go back again. :)

  12. Wow, it sounds the like the plot for a movie, either a drama, or a comedy depending on how you play it. I have never been a fan of Florida either.

  13. How awful, and yet so amusing for todays vacation share. Love it! We experienced something similar in Ocean City, Maryland the first time we went, so after that not so relaxing weekend we decided a beach stay is only relaxing when done in September, after the season closes. Ahhh!

  14. You'll never forget that holiday. Thanks for cheering us all up!!

  15. Agh! What a nightmare. But that's family for you, right?

  16. Oh my goodness this brings back bad memories of Daytona Beach over spring break for me, too. Fortunately we only spent one day there, and the rest of our Florida trip was lovely. But yeah, that place is just hellish!

  17. Yeah, traveling to Daytona Beach during Spring Break is a huge no no. I clearly remember how rowdy my friends and I were when we went to Daytona Beach for Spring Break way back in the day. LOL! I'm sure it's much worse now even though it was pretty bad then. LOL!

    Precious Monsters

    Paranormal Romance Blog Hop

  18. I live in Florida, which is quite lovely! Just go somewhere other than Daytona or Panama City Beach.

  19. Ouch... I think I have one of these crazy holiday stories too:) thanks for joining in the fun of the blog hop.

  20. This was another good post. You've got talent in story telling.