Sunday, December 31, 2017

Writing while Broken

It's been four months since I blogged, but I have a great excuse- I fell down.

Backwards. Really far. In Colorado, a week after my last post.

I'll spare you the details except to say my right wrist- my writing hand- broke in 12 pieces. It was quite dramatic.

Anyway, I am still healing, but while I was broken I continued to write- albeit painfully

slower and with only one finger.

A writer writes!

And we continued to travel and we will in 2018. On this last day of 2017- a horrible, very good year- the Los Angeles Times published my essay about living on the road.

Enjoy and happy New Year!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

We don't want to smell like Fish!

Benjamin Franklin famously said that, “Guestslike fish, begin to smell after three days”...or that's what the Internet claims. 

Whoever said it was right—you don't want to overstay your welcome. Which, while on this road-trip, we have tried not to do.

While I have been writing for my client, marketing my book and working on my new book while headed to Colorado and staying in campgrounds in garden spots such as Shelton,WA and Rawlins, WY, we’ve also hit up friends for their driveways and guest bedrooms. 

Sometimes this worked out, others not so much.

In Puyallup, WA, we tried not to overstay our welcome with an old pal and her husband from San Diego, but for some reason they kept asking us to stay longer. Thank God they are good Christians! (Pretty sure that’s why they allowed us to stay so long.) 

In Mad River, CA (formally know as Kuntz,) we stayed in the driveway overlooking  beautiful Ruth Lake and in Salt Lake City we were welcomed by old friends— their three dogs—not so much. (Only anxiety attack of the trip for me.) There were a few others that I will keep to myself, but we still had fun.

We stayed with our son for five days in Canada, but that doesn’t count. He stayed with us for 18 years, so he kind of owes us.

The first of August we rolled into our friend Deb’s place in Loveland, CO. and took over not one, but two bedrooms and so far, she hasn’t sicced the dogs on us.

She also had the cajones to invite us to the beautiful home of a writer friend of hers (and mine on Facebook) in Steamboat Springs and we stayed two nights. (We’ve got this 2-night minimum thing down.)

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At everyone’s home though I was able to write and find fodder for my next book. (All good! Except for Utah.)

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We have three more weeks at Deb’s home in Colorado and hopefully one afternoon we don’t come back from the lake and find our bags packed and sitting on the porch. That has only happened once and it was a joke. I think.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

There’s No Crying in Self-Publishing!

Last month I finally self- published my novel, Vixens 

Not only did I cry, but I cried in the Applebee’s in 

Geeze, what a baby.

But I gotta say, I needed the release. I had been 
creating and writing and editing for 18 months — as 
in 'I could have given birth twice —if I were 20 years 

I used to stick my nose up at self-publishing, and 
then I published with a big-shot publisher and wasn’t 
impressed. Sure, the book earned rave reviews, was 
in TIME Magazine and got me TV appearances 

I sold a ton of books and still made only enough on 
royalties to…eat at Applebee’s!

This time around I decided to make all the decisions -  warts (and typos) are all on me.

But Goddamn, don’t you love the cover?
I love this cover so much I could eat it. 

But back to Ukiah…the Warriors were playing their 
last BBall championship game and it was on all 20 
TV’s and I logged on to Amazon and found that my 
book was LIVE!

I broke down.

“Umm, what’s wrong?” The Husband inquired over 
his beer and Cheeseburger Egg Rolls. “The Warriors 
will win, don’t worry.”

I shot him a look of pure evil, pointed to my phone 
and stomped out, finding a bench to sit and sob out 
my relief and happiness.

This is not really me. 

A few minutes later, I dried my eyes, pulled my 
underwear out of my ass and walked back into the 
restaurant and people cheered. I looked up and 
beamed that I was finally getting the respect I 
deserved as a writer— and quickly realized the 
Warriors had clinched the title. But that was fine, The Husband was waiting, stood up and hugged me tight.

“I am so proud of you,” he whispered into my ear. 
“And I saved you an egg roll.”

I would love to hear your stories about publishing both with a big-shot publisher and self-publishing!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Writing a Novel in an RV is a Novel Idea

Sir Walter Scott crafted “Marmion,” his bestselling epic poem, on horseback,  Gertrude Stein discovered that the driver’s seat of her Model T Ford was a perfect place to write and my personal muse, Agatha Christie created her plots in a large Victorian tub while eating apples.

I  have also written in my car - I find the backseat has more room for my espresso and notebooks, and for years I wrote in the tub. (Pre-computers.) I wrote my first two non-fiction books in an old trailer outside my home in the countryside years ago and I still miss it.

Now, as you might have guessed, I write in my 30-foot, 1984 motor-home which The Husband and I named Walter, not knowing the 'Breaking Bad' reference until our children both informed us. Too late, Walter it is.

For the last two years we have made our home in the RV, the only home we have presently and we love it. Oh please, don't feel sorry for me because I don't have a normal home- I've had one and I'm over it. Next question?

Anyhoo, love the RV, love the life and our travels inspire me. No offense, but living in a gated community just doesn't get the creative juices going.

Most of the time I write in my boudoir- my little bedroom in the back of the RV...only a step away from the bathroom- which is nice.

I wake up early to write before work- which is writing for other people who pay me - and then again late at night if I haven't had too much Chardonnay- you know how that goes.

I started my newest book- 'Vixens of Vanishing Island,' deep in the forest of Northern California one autumn night. I had a dream- not a very nice dream- of former gal pals and when I woke up, Agatha Christie's bestselling novel, "And Then There Were None,' came to me. I began writing on a notepad, making up characters and wove mean things women have said to me or I have heard them say to other women. Seriously, do some women never stop being mean girls?

I found the name 'vixens,' at Northtown Books in Arcata, CA and wrote up and down the coast of California as well as in a cool campground in San Diego. 

I am also self-publishing this time around; not because agents and publishing houses don't want me (actually I don't know if they  do or don't as I don't care) because my first book was published by the largest publisher in the country and I sold 30K books and hardly made enough to buy a pair of Jimmy Choos. (Just because I live in an RV doesn't mean I don't love the good life.) I also want control over what I write, not hand it over to a bunch of 20-something college grads who think they know what's best for my words.

No thanks.

I just sent my final pages and cover (it was a process- trust me) to Amazon and my novel- based on Agatha's Christie's 'And Then There Were None,' should be for sale in 72 hours.

I'm feeling a little sick and anxious, but unlike my character Cookie Armstrong, I don't take Xanax. I am however, parked in my RV in Napa and the tasting rooms are calling my name.

Check Amazon on Friday, order my book, "Vixens of Vanishing Island," and let me know how you like it. 

Until then...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Writing on the Road

I tried so hard to work/write in Sedona, AZ, but the RV park Internet went down, so I drove to the Starbucks by the Hyatt downtown.

The only Starbucks I think in the world without WiFi.

So I drove to another Starbucks, but a very nice homeless man sat next to me. And he smelled. And then he started playing guitar. Sigh. I left and found the Wifi in the RV park had come back to life.

 I actually have to work on the road to make a living. I write every damn day. I make a good living- contrary to what some people think. How else could we afford gas and booze?

Not on The Husband's social security check, that's for sure!

Earlier this month we stayed in Julian, CA and I wrote articles about tents and food reviews at the Julian Library. The old folks drove me nuts muttering while putting puzzles together and the small children were running amok, but then I found the ' quiet room.' Bliss!

When we stayed at our good friends fancy house in Scottsdale my office was a little fancier and very quiet.

Now I am in a tiny town in Apache Junction, AZ writing about a survivalist and traveling to caves in Kentucky while in the local grocery store.

 The average age here is 75, so not a lot of competition over the tables near the plugs. I did however witness two old dudes almost throw blows over who got to the electric grocery carts, but their caregivers stepped in to stop the fight.

Maybe I should write about that!

Friday, October 21, 2016

RV-ing is not an exact science. 

One checks a website and counts on posted comments and then books a place and time.

 After an enjoyable few days in Julian, Ca., we coasted down the Banner Grade to our next destination on the Colorado River; Walter's Camp.

This is where the bad happens. 

We had been there many years ago staying with friends and enjoyed ourselves as one does at the river with endless cocktails and boating fun. I blame myself for going this time to the river without a boat. 

But what we found at the RV camp ground was nothing like we had remembered. On a rather stagnant inlet... with no river access... without a (real) boat. 

We should have known when no refunds ($40 a night) were mentioned upon checking in. Not to mention the endless 7 miles of washboard road off the highway to get to a concrete slab not even in sight of the inlet- much less the river itself.
So we moved on the next day caring less as to refunds. 

Luckily we know the area well enough to have spent quality time floating in the river at Palo Verde, and then booked a hotel just to get the bad taste of Walter's out. 

The river pictures show us to be not ugly...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

So, we moved back into the motorhome. 

What you say, when did you move out? 

Well, we had a brief five- day dog caretaking job at the brother’s house. Nice- a very welcoming home. But we are now so comfortable in our small space that it was wonderful to take to the road. So to Julian and beyond we travel!

After spending six months at the beach, coming to the local mountains is great. The quiet is deafening. No freeway background noise or  train whistles - so one is alone with his or her thoughts. 

My thoughts are shallow by choice so I drift off to sleep easily. The wife, however, finds the quiet unsettling. Being alone with her thoughts without background noise will take some assimilation.

Beautiful days and enjoyable campfires find us enjoying small hikes, bikes, sunsets, and wine. Great to be traveling again. Catch up with you soon. RTR