Traveling Light-Part One

THE INFO IN THIS PARTICULAR series of blogs is probably more for the “infrequent flyer”, rather than for those that fly regularly. But there are some fun tongue-in-cheek comments and stories peppered throughout, so give it a read, no matter what your flying status/prowess may be.

It’s been so long (well over a year for this traveler) since I’ve flown. It’s not my favourite way to travel—give me a car … or a chance to ride a train and I’ll jump at the opportunity every single time. But when time and/or funds necessitate flying, it’s a good thing the flying-option is available. Personally, I hate all the queues (standing still is hard on me). And the impatient waiting and grumpiness (not me … I just chill and smile—sniggle … I’m probably one of the reasons people grumble—too much cheeriness). One can get so much further in life by smiling and complimenting—puts people you’re dealing with more at ease and for some reason, they are more helpful—go figure.

Flying comes with certain rules. For me, it’s trying to remember all the rules and etiquette … it’s so much fun with my lousy memory. And of course, there are changes happening all the time due to changing safety issues and such … and, each airline has their own set of rules that may be different from other airlines. That’s where checking into the airline website has its payoffs. Knowing the different

On Your Mark

Traveling light—not this time …

things like allowable bag size for carry-ons (it’s changed—or will be changing soon) or how many bags are allowed and what you can and cannot have in your carry-on are important. Some rules are TSA motivated, others are specific to the airline. Make sure to know the facts. I sniggled at the announcement made whilst waiting for one leg of my flight—”your Samsung 7 must remain in the off position while in-flight due to newly discovered hazards” (exploding cellphone batteries are not such a good thing) … you just never know what their new rules will be. Glad my cell phone is an older model iPhone …

The kiosks at individual airlines for pre-registeration are still something that confound me—at least for a wee bit, every single time. I always get there early so I’m not rushed through the process—or worried about making it through the queue in time. One must use them before turning in luggage—yes, there’s queues for everything. One to do the ticket, one to weigh and turn your luggage in … then you wander off to your gate—wherever that might be. Still haven’t figured out what the “main” counter is actually for these days … it’s manned, and there are people up there—what they are doing, I’m not sure.

I usually fly United (at least for my last couple of trips). This time around, I’m on American Airlines. I booked it through AAA because I didn’t want to take the time to figure out all the options by myself. This was the best rate with reasonable layover times. American has different rules … and they charge for each bag you check. I usually travel very light and would simply carry on my bag, so that would have been free—and means I don’t have to wait for my luggage at the other end (if it shows up—more on that later). In the past, United didn’t charge for their first bag—haven’t checked their rules, since I’m flying AA this time. But, this

Some layovers are great—look! Outlets at each seat!

Some layovers are great! Look! Outlets at each seat!

time around, I’m not so lightly packed. Purse, one carry-on (backpack with computer, camera and electronic charging paraphernalia) plus two checked bags … oooh, it adds up, but it’s still cheaper for me to check my rolly with sixty books and other promotional material than to ship them to the destination. Plus a bag for all my personal stuff. Worth it. Yup. And by doing two bags, I kept each well under the fifty pound limit, allowing for purchases in and around Memphis. I will be buying books—that is a given … after all, I’m going to be at a book festival all day … right?

Next week I’ll delve more into travel—we’ll get to the actual reason for my travel in the third installment … I hope (sniggle). For now … I’ll be spending the rest of this week and all of next week getting ready for the Harvest Jubilee, with my art and books on sale at the Main Street campus of Compass Church. Maybe I’ll see you there! Have a blessed Friday and weekend.

Authors’ Book Signing and Art
Compass Church’s Harvest Jubilee
Saturday October 8 • 9am-3pm
1044 S. Main St Salinas CA 93901

 

 

Whimsical Art Exhibition

WRITING A WEEKLY BLOG CAN BE INTIMIDATING at times, especially when technology is against you. I was at least three hundred words into my blog for today and attempted to save it in the “quick draft” section—after I copied it completely (to be safe, right?)—and then … it decided not to save. No worries. I went into normal “new draft” section and pasted it in. Only three lines of the three hundred-plus words popped up on the screen. To say I was filled with dismay is a gross understatement.

When that sort of thing happens, it makes me wonder if maybe … just maybe, I’m not supposed to be writing about that topic right now. Sigh.

So … here I am, at the proverbial eleventh hour and I’m kinda at a loss as to what to write about (insert huge pout). The obviously easy way out is to slip in some photos—I have been taking lots of them lately. Nope. Or write a blurb about my upcoming release (which may be delayed either till next month or even later) … hmm. Or talk about an amazing young artist that is new to the area and to Open Ground Studios.

Indecision … (seem to be good at that this week) the pressure is on. Okay. Decision is finally made (actually, a no-brainer—sniggle):

In a little less than three weeks, Katie Crawford of Katie Crawford Art will have her first showing since she moved to the west coast. It will be on Friday and Saturday, July 10-11, 2015 at Open Ground Studios, 1230 Fremont Boulevard in Seaside, California. She is working feverishly to get everything ready for the show. Things are looking absolutely beautiful. I am excited for her!

This creative young lady has a whimsical side to her and her art shows it. She lets

Katie Crawford at OGS

At Open Ground Studios, Katie and other artists are able to spread out and create in an inviting atmosphere.

her characters express her fun, frustrations and other adventures she has had since she and her husband moved out here. She writes a blog also, including these delightful drawings to tell of her real-life adventures. They are definitely fun to read. She is a sweet, thoughtful individual that has this amazing artistic side that I am quite envious of. If only I had a drop of her creativity (the ugly green envy monster is rising) …

We were so lucky to have her join our ranks at Open Ground Studios. She is a delightful addition and instills a wonderful work ethic—showing up nearly every weekday to work on one facet or another … from pencil sketches to preparing her “foundation” of old letters that she found at estate sales, adding the sketches, to water colouring the sketches … she is filled with ideas. The newest idea is to create a passport for each of her tiny critters that take flight on leaves, dandelion fluff—ants, crickets, worms (yes, worms) and others. It’s one of those “you just gotta see ‘em to appreciate ‘em” things. I adore her work!

And you can do that at her website: www.katiecrawfordart.com or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/katiecrawfordart. At her website and Facebook page, you can peruse all of her art (please remember, it is her work—no copying without her express permission) and I believe she has a link to her store to make any purchases if you are unable to make it to the opening on the 10th or 11th of July.

I hope you can make it—mark your calendar so you won’t forget. It should be a fun event! She will be delighted to meet you—and do let her know where you heard about it. Maybe I’ll see you there, too!

Until next week, may you be filled with blessings to make it a joyful week.

 

 

 

 

Mucking About

“MUCKING ABOUT: BEHAVING IN A silly or aimless way, esp. by wasting time when serious activity is expected…”

That’s what the dictionary has to say about it. I’ve just started (and not completed) four blog posts. I’d say I’m definitely mucking about, especially since it’s now Friday and I’m supposed to have something for you. Now. Yet, I keep “mucking about”, not finishing anything. My thoughts do seem aimless — well, aimless where writing is concerned. My mind is definitely elsewhere. I have ongoing, ever-evolving lists rolling around in my mind right now and I cannot concentrate on writing a decent blog.

You see, tomorrow — that’s Saturday, 23 August, I have my very first book signing at a real book store. (wheeee!) I’ve never been so nervous. I’ll be up in Gilroy at the Barnes and Nobles’ “brick and mortar” store — the closest big-box book store since all the stores in Salinas and on the Monterey Peninsula closed down (very sad, indeed). All that is left are a few little boutique book shops, some with new, or new and used or some with only used books. So, from 2-4pm on Saturday, I’ll be signing books, chatting with BN customers and passing out book marks. (There’s a little treat for anyone that buys either or both books.)

Then, the busyness continues (even more so) on 24 August, Sunday, as I spend an entire day (9-4) in Aromas (I’ll be there at 7am setting up) at their annual Aromas Days, doing more of the same — book signing and chatting, answering any questions about my books. But this time, I’ll have a bit of my art work to show off (for sale) as well, so hopefully all of that will keep me busy…but not overly busy.

There is one more event, but not until 27 August at 11am, at the San Juan Bautista Library, rubbing elbows with patrons and the SJB Library Axillary members. Depending on the time, I’m hoping to have time to do a reading from one or both of my two books that are now available, but at the very least, there will be time to answer any questions about the books.

If you live in the area, please come by either of the events this weekend, or the one on Wednesday at San Juan Bautista’s Library. I’d love to take some time to chat with you. Honest!

Blogging for today is pretty much consisting of an infomercial. My apologies. To make up for the blatant plugs, here’s an excerpt (it has not seen the red pen of a final edit yet) from the latest Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (book three), The Scymarian:

… he was ready to attack them if necessary.  But they advanced no further.  Weapon at the ready, he slowly moved forward, his mind racing with questions and strategies.  The music that surrounded him put him at ease once again, but his defensive stance remained.  He stared curiously at the three women and one boy standing before him.  The smaller woman, a girl not much younger than he, stood behind the other three, protected.  Very slowly, she raised an open hand, perhaps to show she had no weapon.  She raised her other hand in the same fashion.  He could see nothing concealed. Scanning the hands of the others, he saw they had no weapons. He had an advantage over them, perhaps.
He brought his stick to his side, again using it more to lean on than as a protective weapon. The pain at time was searing, but he tried to ignore it.

As Amy stepped forward, in line with the others, she could see he stiffened slightly.  She paused, not wanting to frighten him.  He relaxed to the music again.  Slowly, she stepped in front of the rest, bringing her outstretched and weaponless hands to her sides as she came forward.  She was now outside of Rocky’s protective cave, face to face with her would-be assailant.  The others remained just behind her, shielded.
She spoke softly, with an even tone, “I’m not going to hurt you.  I am unarmed.”  She paused to see his reaction. He cocked his head to one side for a moment, not taking his eye off of her.  Trying desperately not to reveal the fear welling up inside, Amy drew in a deep breath, expelling it slowly and steeled herself, to console this would-be friend, “I –I want to help you.  Do you understand me?”
She waited for an answer, or some other clue that he understood her.  When there was no response, she continued, “My name is Amy.  I don’t come from this world.  I am from–” she paused again.  She really didn’t know how specific she should be, since his people had been trapped for so long and probably had no recollection of where they originated.  Quickly, she made the decision to be very general.  “Um, I am from Earth.  Do you understand that?  Not from here.  From the other side.”
She saw a flash of recognition in his eyes when she mentioned the other side.
While she spoke, she kept an eye on him.  She had observed his frailness from the safety of Rocky’s interior, but now, as she stood before him, she could see he truly was nothing more than skin and bones with only the faintest outline of thin muscle barely holding him together…..

So, I hope that appeases you for another week. The story is still evolving, and once it passes over the red pen of my editor, I’m sure there will be further changes. Please feel free to pass this on to friends, either via Facebook, or as a link in an email.

Until next week, may your days find purpose, filled with unexpected blessing and joy.

 

 

Just Thought I’d let you know…

WELL, I’VE BEEN BUSY this week. Editing, “housekeeping” for the business, taking care of critter needs (those pesky toenails just keep growing back), avoiding editing, errands, household chores…and more editing. Then there are the night meetings and classes have also kept me occupied–I’ve managed to work in a few a week–oh! And lovely, wanna-pull-off-the-road-and-just-watch-the-whole-thing sunsets…so beautiful! The weather has been ripe for beautiful sunsets and (though I’ve managed to sleep through them) sunrises. Makes me want to chuck all my chores and go traipse around taking pictures! But, that pesky edit keeps tapping me on the shoulder…

Central Coastal California Sunset

Central Coastal California Sunset, just started. Taken on the fly…

And my head has been spinning all week.

At center stage, I am stalled in the editing department.

I’m battling with myself about character point of view. Convention says, stay in one head per chapter…this is so hard as the action is so fast paced and I bounce back and forth between character’s thoughts–all the time…  Apparently, occasional obvious switches are okay…but I have too many. “No, no. Way too many…,” says my editor. For those of you that have read “Secrets Beyond Scymaria”, what do you think?

Sigh.

So, here I am…doing re-writes, which takes time. No mistakes like last time (well, at least not the same ones). I am not going to rush things this time. I’m going to do it right–but at this rate, I may not make my “Spring Release” date.  My already-paid-for trip to Wales means, perhaps a “Early Summer Release” instead. I’d much rather get a quality product out to my readers than rush (like I did with my first book) just so I can meet a self-imposed deadline.

Well, I will just have to see how it goes. I’ll keep you updated, I promise.

At stage left, in the wings, I have an upcoming book signing–on Saturday, March 29th, a simple affair at Crossroads Christian Church (1035 Rogge Road, Salinas CA) from 11am-4pm. If I can get things together fast enough, I will have some of my artwork (and perhaps photography) for sale…and maybe even do a storytelling for the kids. As it gets closer, I’ll keep you updated. Two months seems so far away–yet, not!

I need to roll up my sleeves and get out there, pounding the cement to get a few more book signing and book reading dates lined up…in between my editing (insert eye-roll).  I’ve ordered more books and need to pull together my “Secrets Beyond Scymaria” swag–bracelets, bookmarks, book plates (and I’m looking for some new stuff to add, too–wheeee!).

Never a dull moment, that’s for sure.

In any case, I promise to keep you apprised of all that is happening. If you’re a Facebook fan, you can also see updates at my business Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Creationsbydjamesonsmith–if you “Like” the page, then you will get automatic notifications.

Until next week, have a blessed time exploring what’s right in front of your nose.