Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just Write

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

My link: To save everyone from having to jump around to different parts I'm going to post my story with the previous work on it included, so click here for the updated In the Leaves novella (for those of you who have been following it, the story picks up with new additions beginning at today's date mark on page 10)

For more details on Just Write Thursdays, click here to go to the original post.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writer on the Road

Being a writer on an extended road trip means bringing along things to make you forget that you're leaving behind your writing space, your WIPs, etc. Most of the time this is a good thing (we all need a break from our writer junk) and it's all waiting there when we get back.

For this trip I decided it was high time I got warm and fuzzy with my e-reader, so I left all my physical books at home. I planned to download and read whatever I liked on the road. Actually I was a bit nervous not taking any books, because what if something happened to the e-reader? I'd be stuck watching television every night on the road, which for me actually qualifies as torture. So technology had better save me, yes?

Nope. I jinxed myself. On the first night of the trip my e-reader locked up and wouldn't download anything; I couldn't even open the books I already had stored on the damn thing. Fortunately there was a BAM nearby the hotel, so off I went to shop. I was never able to get the e-reader working, either, so I picked up more books whenever I spotted an interesting indie bookstore, and ended up with this haul in total:

I generally don't buy this many hardcovers, but wherever we stopped I tried to pick up at least one book from the staff-recommended shelves. Booksellers along my route really like expensive literary and crime dramas, it seems. I decided to give Lee Child and Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling wearing her mystery dude suit) another try. I also bought some paperbacks by my writer pals just in case all the newbies-to-me sucked. I finally get why everyone loves Lee Child, and while his Jack Reacher reads like a Tom Cruise on steroids -- maybe that's why he got the role in the movie version -- the outlandish story lines are entertaining. I do think his editor should take a weedword-whacker to all the shrugs and nods used as macho dialogue replacements in his stories, as they get tiresome pretty fast.

I made mostly good choices, too, I think. As I reported from the road Delicious! was pretty awesome, and I'd say the worst read was the Mystery Duded Rowling novel, through which I mostly winced. My take away from that one was, if you want to settle some scores with the literati, best do it in a dignified Salon article rebuttal -- not your fiction.

I also picked up some local and regional news/mag publications whenever I could find them:

The USA Today came from the hotel, and I bought the magazine, but the others were freebies. These can be fun to read when you're traveling, and often quite helpful, too. We found one of the nicest B&B's we stayed at on the trip via the magazine.

Aside from the malfunctioning e-reader, this is all the writer & art junk I brought with me:

My packing rule was, if it doesn't fit in the cigar box, it stays home -- and that really works to keep things to a minium. I did write in my travel journal almost every day of the trip, and painted or sketched every day in my watercolor journal, so they were good choices.

What do you writers out there take with you when you travel? Let us know in comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I'm back home from my summer road trip. We drove from one end of the coast to the other, or a bit over four thousand miles in ten days, so it was fairly epic. I personally climbed on top of mountains, went caving inside them and otherwise pretended I was thirty years younger than I am. I did okay, too.

Because I can't let you escape without showing you some pictures, here's a slideshow of some of the delightful things we encountered along the way:

Some observations from the road:

1. All the hoopla about people from Maine being standoffish and crabby? It's nonsense. They were the warmest, friendliest folks we met on the road.

2. When your innkeeper recommends a local place to dine, listen to him.

3. Every tourist-magnet town in America seems plagued by three things: not enough parking, public restrooms or places to sit for five minutes so you can change camera batteries.

4. Bed & Breakfast inns -- even the ones you read about in those glossy travel magazines -- often offer rates as cheap or cheaper than chain hotels. Call them and check.

5. Also, in Maine? Wonderful glorious little indie bookstores everywhere, often two or three in the same town. All the ones I visited had at least a half dozen people browsing through their shelves, too.

Now I'm off to unpack and figure out where I put the laptop power cable so I wouldn't forget it, which of course I've forgotten . . .

Monday, July 21, 2014

Accidental Ten

Ten Things I've Seen on the Road This Week
(the unplanned, entirely accidental edition)

I went to see one waterfall and found this one as a nice bonus nearby (okay, sort of on top of the first one.)

Limelight hydrangeas; gorgeously blooming.

I get the hitching post, but smack dab in the middle of a city?

From the front seat of my car. It was being towed. Yeah, it took us half a minute to stop freaking out long enough to figure that out, too.

Such a great grin.

Behind a restaurant. We decided not to investigate (or stop there for lunch.)

This is what you see when you pull off the side of the road in Maine.

Locks of love on a harbor fence. Or, France has nothing on Portland.

A friend I made while painting en plein air on a sun porch in Pennsylvania. A little shy at first, until he realized I love felines and have great fingernails. Then he decided I could be his slave for the morning.

And finally, proof that when you intend to paint some trees and a neat fence, you never know what will show up on the other side of them.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Three Things

I'm still off exploring various mountains and the hair-pin twisty roads around them (and I've discovered that driving on them surrounded by semis in the rain while passing signs that read Runaway Truck Ramp* is a thrill/chill not even Disney could top), but here are three other places you might want to visit while I'm away:

The Presurfer -- Gerard is one of my favorite bloggers; he always finds something interesting to post every day.

Food52's recipes page -- one of my recent discoveries; lots of interesting dishes to inspire your next meal.

Daily Writing Tips -- a fun daily depository of words, grammar and other stuff that fascinates/obsesses/bedevils writers.

*I have to use this in a story. Seriously.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Road Trip Pic

Stopping in to say hi, and show you all something I saw yesterday while hiking a mile inside a mountain:

Epic place. Will show you more once I get home. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Writer Zen

"The quieter you become, the more you can hear."
--Yasutani Roshi