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

 

 

Is It Too Soon?

HA! I AM DYING TO GET BACK TO “NORMAL”—whatever that is. I guess normal for me is being able to run as many errands as I need, mess around artistically, walk in the woods with my camera and work on my writerly endeavors anytime, for any length of time (forget about the housework … but I do love tinkering in the garden—sniggle)—without the encumbrances of all-consuming fatigue.

I don’t know if it’s too soon, but I am going to charge ahead—with a ten pound lifting restriction (grrr) in place—to do a book signing next Saturday. I’m excited to at least try to get back to normal. It will be a long five-hours of chatting and book signing (plus the long drive to and from Scotts Valley) if I’m not ready. I can always take breaks if it gets to be too much.

…and, hey! I can always recover the next day (wink, wink … fingers crossed).

So, if you’re in the neighborhood, this is the place to be. It’s also a good way to help out underprivileged kids that cannot afford to buy backpacks and supplies for school. The event is a fundraiser, sponsored by Lynda and Kidz—and with that purpose in mind, bring a gently used backpack if you can … or donate $25 towards a backpack. Enter the raffle. Money raised goes to purchasing backpacks and supplies for kids.

Not only is there an opportunity to help out kids in need, but you can rub shoulders with two great writers—Joyce Oroz (Josephine Stuart Mysteries) and I will be there. And there will be crafts of all sorts for sale … plus you’ll even get acoustical guitar entertainment! A win-win-win proposition, I’d say!

Hopefully we’ll see you there next week. Have a wonderful day and a blessed week!

Book Signing: Local Author

Saturday, June 18 at  Bruno’s BBQ Scotts Valley CA  11:30-4:30

Lynda's Kidz Backpack Project

Too Much To Do …

OOPSIE. THERE’S BUSY … THEN THERE’S WAY too busy. It looks like October is just one of those months … filled with a mix of business and pleasure, leaving very little room for quiet time. I’ve been so darn busy trying to get ready for the release of my third book in the series, the book signing next week and the upcoming Steampunk convention—and failing miserably to get my costume the way I envisioned it (insert huge pout), that I have put aside my blog responsibility to the very last second. Literally. Yikes.

Also, in trying to make sure all my ducks were in a row, I completely forgot about book marks for my new book (groan … head/desk!). So … if I’ve time, that’s on my agenda today so I’ll have something for the weekend. Otherwise, it’s on my to-do list for Monday (for next week’s event).  Now I’m wondering what else I’ve forgotten. What was initially planned as  a low key event where I would meander through the vendor tables, etc. to distribute business cards, con ribbons and chat up attendees has become … um, well, almost a circus—with me running in circles, trying to get things to work out correctly. I keep misplacing things, only to find and misplace yet again (and, in most cases, find them again). Some things remain MIA, sadly … so I’m not able to do a few things I’d planned. But, I should be ready. A “scaled-back” ready.

At least, I hope I’m ready.

… And, I now have an added responsibility of trying to recruit interested Steampunk artists to teach at Open Ground Studios. I don’t mind—it’s kind of an honor, really … but I don’t want it to take away from any other aspect: having fun, passing out my con ribbons and chatting with attendees about Dr. Who, steampunk and my ever-growing series. I’ll figure it out.

So, as short as this blog is, I’m sure next week’s will be just the opposite … and should be filled with photos from the conference. Until then, I’m off to have some fun, so have a blessed weekend and week to come.

 

Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (books 1-3) available now at my SquareMarket (signed copies)
Inknbeans Press (book 3 only … at some time in the future, they will have all of the books in the series)
Amazon (book three)  (book 1-2) … having issues getting Amazon to recognize all are by same author.

 

Drawing A Blank…

WELL, THIS IS UNUSUAL. MY BRAIN SEEMS to be blank—at least where my blog is concerned. Well, I do have fleeting ideas, but none manage to take root. Often, when I’m driving around town, an idea comes to me and churns ’round in my mind till it forms into a line of thought. But this week, nothing. Nada.

This is when I consider going through my photos to come up with a pictoral blog. Usually, about half way through rooting around all the pictures, I come up with a nice blog—one of prose. It’s only Tuesday. We’ll see what happens…

And now…it’s Thursday and I’m still drawing a blank. My edit has my mind fully engaged in the story. Working on making it better—with the help of my awesome editor, David Antrobus—with each pass. Surprisingly, I’m having fun going through the edit and re-reading what I’ve written (this does not mean it’s not hard to make the changes needed—unfortunately, it seems that will always be a challenge). I will never get tired of this story I’ve created and the characters (especially the two protagonists) that have evolved. They each have such a distinct persona. I love it. I find myself giggling and/or shaking my head at their antics, actions and thoughts. And, thankfully, they are still developing. Growing. My children (insert huge grin here).

I’ve read somewhere that the characters in a writer’s story are usually bits of that writer’s own persona. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I have drawn characteristics from people around me—and, yes…I guess some from me, too—to make them real, to give them depth. I certainly hope I have succeeded.

Working concurrently on both book three’s edit and the creation of book four has helped keep the continuity of their character…but at the same time it has slowed my progress on each one—trememdously. In addition, writing/editing has made it difficult to concentrate and create this weekly blog. I certainly don’t want to discontinue the blog…but it may get a bit spotty now and then as I struggle to juggle so many different things. For this, I am apologizing in advance. Though I hate to just fill the space with “fluff”—I’ll endeavor to avoid this—at the very least, I’ll try to post a few photos of what life has thrown my way during the week. You may (insert wink) get tired of my dog and cat…and Point Lobos…

I’ll keep you posted on my writing/editing progress, for sure. But, I do have a visit to Gallifrey One Convention in LA at the beginning of next month, so at least one blog will be about my adventures there. For those unfamiliar, I am a Doctor Who fan. It’s a on-going science fiction tv series from the 60s…still going strong. Gallifrey is the Doctor’s home planet, hence the name of the convention event. I stumbled upon it in mid-70s when Tom Baker portrayed the Doctor. I haven’t been to a convention is a zillion years, so this event aught to be interesting…. I’ll probably be one of the oldest attendees (giggle). Like I said…interesting.

Trying to sneak in a book signing whilst I am in LA was on my agenda, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. Perhaps in March—I’ll be back down in Southern California then for a family reunion…I just have to see if I can round up critter sitters for the extended time I’m gone.

So, this has been a mish-mash of thoughts, ideas and an apology. I’ll try to keep my future blogs a wee bit more focused. In the meantime, I hope this next week is filled with amazing discoveries, good books to take you far afield and blessed with friends and family to share your life’s adventures.

 

 

Writing, Memories and More…

I AM UP TO MY EYEBALLS IN EDITING, have a book signing in a week with a list of all the things that need to be done breathing down my neck, today is the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake which devastated Santa Cruz, San Francisco and our own local areas…and I just finished a three-plus mile walk after a three week hiatus. Quite a hodge-podge of things in my life (the story of my life—teehee)–always and forever.

But for now, this is plenty. So much to do. I needed a break.

I needed a break from my editing, from my planning…from the craziness I manage to create, so I decided on a walk. A mini-escape. It’s an excellent way to refresh the mind—clean out the cobwebs, so to speak. If I haven’t mentioned it before, Point Lobos State Park is my favorite place to meander. All those trees—and the lovely coastline. To die for. I may have overdone it slightly, since I am ready for a nap now that it’s done. So much for feeling refreshed. (grin)

I dusted off my good camera and found a few things worthy of capturing. I alternated between the iPhone and my good camera as I walked through the woods.

As I walked, I thought about the earthquake that struck our area twenty-five years ago and wondered when the next one would hit. Not if, but when. The science of predicting earthquakes is pretty lame, so after the earthquake, they announced another would come within the next thirty years. The reporters today are saying that scientists are saying another of similar devastation (6.9 or greater) in the next thirty years. What? Thirty years from now?? I thought we had five more years on the first warning. Can you tell I don’t hold much trust in their predictions. I wondered, while I walked what I’d do if one happened while I was on my walk. I decided I’d deal with it when it happened. No need to worry about it till then, so I turned my attention back to my walk.

The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds, fading in and out, but was never strong. There was a high cloud ‘film’ apparently defusing the brightness. I was looking for rays of light streaming into the forest through the canopy of green to photograph. It did not oblige me. But, the lichen was lovely. Gently waving in the breeze, it was beautiful when the sunlight hit the lacy green sheets of lichen.

Once I get the photos off the cameras, I’ll add them to this post (that’s the plan, anyway…)—when I’m feeling more alert.

Ideas for my book signing at Open Ground Studios (on Saturday, 25th of October) bounced around in my mind as I walked—hope I can remember them later, and my characters sat on my shoulders, whispering in my ears, telling me what they want me to do in book four—I’m excited to see where that book is headed. Then, my ongoing edit tapped me on my shoulder, reminding me that I’ve had enough of a walkabout and it was time to hunker down in front of the computer and get back to business. Such a party crasher. I shrugged off the reminder.

Like I said, I walked a little too far (over three miles) for my first time after three weeks ‘off’, so my edit will have to wait till tomorrow. Tonight, I rest and recover from my wonderful day on the Peninsula. Tomorrow, I’m back to plugging away at the corrections so I can have book three published before the end of the year.

Until next time, folks. Have a blessed week—enjoy the changing weather. Check back later (over the weekend) and I’ll have a few photos of Point Lobos posted in this blog.

 

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.