An Update

OCTOBER IS WINDING DOWN to its last week, with Halloween and All Saints Day literally on the heels of each other and Thanksgiving Day not all that far away. The year is winding down—sometimes I feel it happens way too fast. There’s no time to enjoy all the special things that happen just before winter sets in.

We don’t have much “colour-changing” going on here, with all the oak trees, manzanita and pines. My “old-growth” manzanita, with its gnarly, flaky red trunks usually stand out more during this time of the year, but most of them have died in this drought-ravaged area. Now they stand bent and grey; leafless skeletons. I’m not sure if it’s age or disease that’s taken them, but I’m sad to see so many dead. I do have many young manzanita scattered around the yard, but they don’t have the character the older ones possessed. There are a few California laurel that give an occasional spray of red berries … but

Persimmonsit’s my persimmon tree and its fruit that is my one true indicator of the changing season. And this year, the fruit is ripening–plentiful and early. I will be fighting with the squirrels and birds to harvest some for my traditional persimmon puddings, but it will be worth the battle (I may go out today and pull some beforePersimmons-2013 they are fully ripe to ensure at least one or two batches).

I’ve been able to enjoy myself these last few weeks, doing personal, fun things. I’ve been to an outdoor theatre to watch a Shakespeare play (teehe–in the rain), have had several lovely dinners with friends and family … and simply Pumpkin Patchrelaxed at home, puttering around—and spent the time at a few pumpkin patches. I’ve even been free of medical appointments! It’s been lovely.  Our church puts on a trunk or treat event for the kids in the neighbourhood and I’m hopin’ to go. Hope it doesn’t rain. I’ve even planned on attending a Halloween party at a friend’s house this weekend. Haven’t had time to do one of those in years.

But this idyllic time is about to come to an end. November brings National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a time for “writers’ abandon” … though I’m not source about that—I’m thinking more like “writers’ frenzy” since trying to juggle serious writing with book

National Novel Writing Month

Pencils sharpened, computer charged…ready to go, with only eleven days to go!

signings is going to be interesting … to say the least! Yup. November also brings all of the craft fairs out of the woodworks. Joyce and I signed up for quite a few … we’ve added a few new venues, in hopes of spreading the word about our books.

My friends … it may not look like much, but these four events are going to keep Joyce and I very busy this month. If you’ve got time, please stop by and take a gander at plethora of goodies for sale. There is greater detail of each event on my business Facebook page, so feel free to check that out.

Thursday-Friday, Nov 10-11
Holiday Craft Faire
10am-6pm at Watsonville Hospital
75 Neilson Street, Watsonville CA
Friday-Sunday, Nov 11-13
Holiday Crafts

9am-5pm at Watsonville Elks Lodge
121 Martinelli St, Watsonville, CA
Saturday-Sunday, Nov 19-20
Aromas Hills Artisans’ Holiday Faire

10am-5pm at the Aromas Grange
400 Rose Ave, Aromas, CA

Friday-Sunday, Nov 25-27
Gilroy Elks Holiday Craft Faire
9am-5pm at the Gilroy Elks Lodge
2765 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA

So … there’s the craziness for the month of November—with me trying to find time to work on my NaNoWriMo project in between all of these events.

Have a fun and safe Halloween celebration. And a blessed Thanksgiving, hopefully a joyful time with family and/or friends. I will try my best to get blogs out on time each Friday over the next four weeks.


Traveling Light-Part Three

TURBULENCE. YUP. IT HAPPENS. Traveling definitely has its challenges. Turbulence can simply be inconvenient, or it can be quite disastrous. It didn’t used to bother me, but since my hair-raising accident (weather was not the problem, by the way), I get a wee bit nervous (mmm, maybe a wee bit more than normal) when there’s turbulence … or when the electronics go wacko. Even all these years later …

Our first part of the flight was rather shaky, leaving me with the jitters. My solution, when flying, is popcorn prayer. A quick little prayer, reminding Him I’ve put my safety in His hands and asking for peace of mind—like He needs a reminder … um, yeah. It’s more like I need the reminder! That won’t work for everyone, but it certainly does for me. And I thank God for it—often!

Sigh … oh, yeah. Kinda backtracking, but after going through airport security, make sure you keep track of all your possessions. I ended up leaving my Fitbit behind (pout)—that’s a fancy electronic step counter that you wear. Fortunately, they do put things left behind into Lost and Found. There is a little “paperwork” one must endure, but not too bad—just be prepared … you may not get your lost item back for thirty days. So much for keeping track of my steps … and the poor thing needed to be recharged that night. Oh, well. Lesson learned. (And, yes, I did retrieve it from Lost and Found at the San Jose Airport.)

I personally hate walking on floors where many, many pairs of bare feet have tread … so, my sandals work beautifully with a pair of socks—easy off and on. The socks—and a light weight jacket or windbreaker—come in handy once on the plane, too. Not only good to keep you warm, but if you don’t need it for warmth, you can always use it as a pillow (well, the jacket, that is … to replace the pillow I forgot—except, I wore a sleeveless shirt and need it for warmth. Such a dilemma. Thankfully, the headrest was pretty comfortable and it was not that long a flight). If the flight is too warm, shed the socks and put into a ziplock bag and stash in your belongings. I knew once I got to Tennessee, I’d want to shed them anyway—too warm for this body. The forecast was for high eighties to mid-nineties whilst I was there. I hoped I packed well … not (pout). And, as usual, the forecasters lied … the day of the event (held outside under a tent, by the way), the temps skyrocketed to just over 100°F and the humidity was … ugh. Thank God for a pretty stiff breeze that came through late in the day, giving us cooler temps and lower humidity for the rest of the day (but tossed our books, bookmarks and flyers around—I did not complain … I needed that breeze …).

Oops. There I go off on tangents again (sniggle) … And, then there are unforeseen delays. I’m glad this happened on my last flight for the day and I didn’t have any place to be once I got to Memphis. I always put longer than usual layover times between flights and plan arriving well before any activity to insure I’m never late for that very important date (or event). Aaah, delays. Yup … we had ’em. Part of the delays was caused by mechanical problems with the connecting plane. They had to switch planes, which made them late into Dallas. And then, there was a passenger that wouldn’t put his large carry-on overhead. After several chats with attendants, the pilot came back into the cabin to have a heart-to-heart (the passenger had to be told the options three times—his choice was do as they asked or get off … said very politely), finally … he did as told. I think people were getting a bit nervous because of his hesitancy to comply—I sure know I was …

When I arrived in Memphis, I realised that for all my packing wisdom, I’d not packed appropriate to the weather. I’d grossly underestimated the heat/humidity and all the clothes I’d chosen for the events (a meet and greet on Friday night and the actual book festival on Saturday) and for church on Sunday were going to be too warm (for me—probably fine for others … but I can be a little on the warm side—always!). Sigh.

At least I was able to manage pulling together several reasonable outfits. Next time—and, yes … there will be a next time—I’ll know to pack right, but light for these Midwest summers.

Next week I’ll get to the meat of the blog … the festival. The fun. The wonderful people. Until then, have a blessed Friday-weekend … and week.


Shifting Gears …

AAAAH! IT IS NICE WHEN THINGS finally start happening they way you’d hoped. A little break in my chatter about my last trip—sorta connected, but not. I’ve been sweating bullets over the bit I started to write whilst traveling. I couldn’t see it fitting in between the beginning and end. No way it was going to bridge the two. Not at all … and I had trepidation about what I was writing anyway (I’ll get into that another day …).

On Wednesday, I sat down to look at what I’d written … and what I needed to do to make that bridge between the front and back work. After re-reading the first part, written so long ago … (still like it—insert huge grin … teehee) and the beginning of the second “half” I was positive it would not work. But that didn’t mean throwing it away … ooooh, no. It’s an awesome beginning to a very intense experience they will have—somewhere down the line. Maybe book five or six. Time will tell—and so will the characters.

So, instead of fretting, I simply re-read the last bit prior to the gaping crevasse and set to writing. Ideas began to dance in my mind—begging to flow into the story line. It was as if I’d only just put the manuscript down the day before—the words flowed beautifully, and before I knew it, I had bridged the gap. I did a little dance and a mental celebration. It felt so good to be writing with a clear head … and with purpose once again. My characters are happy … and so am I.

Now, all I need to do (excuse me whilst I laugh—it’s truly a monumental task) is start at the beginning and do a serious edit. I say “monumental” since my characters are ready for me to keep writing … not editing. Oye-vey! I may try to satisfy them by shifting back and forth between editing and writing. Hope my poor brain is up to that.

Oh! And before I forget, I must tell you … it has begun. It’s official. I’ve made a request to withdraw my work from my previous publisher … though they are dancing around the request, trying to say I can publish with two companies without withdrawing. What should take very little time is taking an extraordinarily long time. Hopefully they return my phone calls … soon.

As it turns out, it will be “up to a month” before they release everything, but Inknbeans Press will begin by simply releasing the eBook later this month. Once  it’s all released, they will get serious and publish the paperback of “Secrets Beyond Scymaria” (book one). Book two will follow in a month or so, making the series altogether, wholly “one” at Inknbeans Press, where it will live happily ever after. Shortly after that, I’m hoping to have the newest book in the series (“Mischiefmaker“) ready for publication!

So, there’s my news … now, next week we can get back to the regularly scheduled blog. Until then, please enjoy a beautiful Friday … and a delightful, blessed weekend!

Traveling Light-Part Two

TRAVELING CAN BE FUN … EVEN exciting. But, there are certain things that can freak me out.

American Airlines has been great so far. Courteous staff at every point. Once on the plane, technical difficulties with the safety video required a flight attendant to do a “manual” run through—done cheerfully, in a very animated fashion with occasional “I’m watching you” hand signals to someone behind me, which made me giggle—and then he asked if there were questions. Very upbeat … but the electrical issues were reminiscent of one flight I don’t really want to repeat, leaving me a wee bit on edge. One of these days, I’ll tell that story, but not now. Apparently only about four of the monitors worked in sync on my flight, with the whole right

Monitors on the Blink

Note the monitors … not in sync

bank freezing and the rest alternating between being blank or frozen. Glad it wasn’t an international flight … and I do pity those who are digital or entertainment dependent. Yes, I had my iPhone (I used it to work on my blog), but I also had an old-school notebook. I could just as easily use that (if needed). As it turned out … I did get hooked on a tv show special with four celebs (William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw—strange combo, eh?) and their “handler” as they toured a few Asian countries. It was actually rather hilarious. Once it was over I pulled off my headphones and turned to other things.

The upbeat and delightfully cheery attendants took my mind off that flight from long ago and I forgot all about my past experience. I was actually able to get some thoughts on paper (a quiet little yay-yay … hip-hip-hurray from this corner—turns out it was over 2300 words!). Between written

Dry with Snow Caps

Tiniest bit of snow on the otherwise brown mountain-scape

thoughts, I watched the change of scenery—it is amazing to see the drastic transformation of the

Dry, Dry ...

Dry & brown …

landscape as one crosses from the west coast to Tennessee (with a stop in Dallas/Ft. Worth). Dry and brown (mostly) into mountainous, to green valleys, with plenty of cloud formations … and the closer we approached my destination,

Green Patches

LOL … I see a Pacman amongst these circles …

water in the form of lakes, streams and ponds abound. Ooh, do I ever covet that water … California is so Beautiful Mountainsdry—tinder dry and there is so much of it that has burned … or is burning even as I write this. Still.  I pray for rain, every day. Weather fronts have taunted California Clouds ... image imagewith the possibilities, only to peter out to nothing …

But—oh, boy— I digress. Back to traveling.

Trying to remember all the necessities —and the few comforts—necessary to make the trip is important. Things (at least for me) like a cervical neck pillow are pretty handy, especially since this was my first long trip after my neck surgery—and I forgot mine (pout). A list is an excellent idea (especially for me … which I did not do—note to self: make a list … check it twice …), listing essentials like medications, a full list of the electronic devices AND their chargers you want to take, itineraries, airline approved snacks (sealed, prepackaged usually works) …

Everybody’s list will be different. For me, I need to remember my camera and computer … plus all the accessories that entails. It’s no fun getting to your destination and realising you’ve left an important item back home. Some items can, of course, be purchased at your destination … if you don’t mind wasting time making the purchase and the redundancies once you get back home—or the added cost. Others may be unobtainable (especially medications if you are flying out of state or out of country) unless you visit a doctor at your destination, or too expensive, so make that list … and check it twice—if you’re a list maker, that is. I certainly find it useful—when I remember to make one …

A great flight (actually both ways) and great flight attendants made this flying journey doable, even though there was turbulence and electronic glitches for them to solve and quite a few things I forgot. Next time, I’ll talk about my adventures in Tennessee. T’was a wonderful time.

Tomorrow I’ll be camped out at Compass Church in Salinas selling my books and art. Until next week, I wish blessings of the day—and week—on you. Have a serendipitous day and week.

8 October 2016 • 9 am – 4 pm
Harvest Jubilee at Compass Church
Books, Art, Crafts, Food and Fun
1044 S. Main St • Salinas CA