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 work 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   

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Goodbye to a Friend

A decade ago the wife and I tripped to Phoenix for a 50th wedding anniversary.

The Wife had known the family all her life, but there was no room at the inn. We were told that we were staying at their friend's home- which caused us so much concern that we pulled off the freeway a few miles from their house to have a drink.

My cell phone rang and it was Doug, calling to ask where the hell we were.

"Why are you drinking there when you can drink here?" He asked. We chugged our drinks and left for their place.

Within the hour we met our new brother and sister.

 Doug and Joy became our immediate friends. Doug and I bonded in those first few minutes. I really can't explain it any other way - but to say we became family that day. 

Over the years we were only able to enjoy each others company on a few occasions. Meeting and laughing in Huntington Beach. Riding bikes to Newport- celebrating his lovely daughter Nikki's 21st birthday at the beach...

 But that bond between us was rekindled the minute we grasped hands and hugged.

In my life I have been very lucky to have life- long friends from grammar school, but this friendship was made of special stuff. A real and true blessing.  

Tuesday morning, I started the day with what I call a 'rock and walk.'

 The morning was a typical Indian summer, the sun high in the sky and just the right temp for a good sweat. After cooling down,  I took a bike ride and noticed that the windy conditions were at bay. I returned home and grabbed my kayak as the harbor and ocean were glass-like. And the clouds ... magical! 

Just this last week we informed Doug and Joy that our motor- home journey  included definite plans to visit - so a " be ready, message as this entails serious partying was sent."

His text back was typically simple; " Oh Fuck. "

" No, really," we texted. We are coming this time, as former plans did not turn out.

 His reply again was simple;

 "Oh Fuck. " 

Then, with his uncanny ability to make you feel welcome, he simply stated, 

" We can't wait ". 

Tragically, my friend - my brother - passed on Tuesday as a massive heart attack claimed his soul. 

 I was out on the ocean enjoying an incredible afternoon and sunset.

 I now feel as if he were saying goodbye. He loved the ocean, he loved  sailing and was a truly good friend to those around him... even when not convenient.

 Here is my promise, my brother; I will never experience another spectacular sunset without giving you credit for bringing it my way. 

We will meet again Doug, but not yet.... not yet.  

Friday, September 23, 2016


It has only been 6 months since we moved into the park. What started as innocent hunters and gatherers - we made ourselves comfortable in our immediate surroundings, but it now seems somewhat excessive...

When one of the many plans concerning our vacation from our vacation- i.e. - the 30- day- move out, was to rent another storage unit locally when we already have a storage unit, indicates how much accumulation has occurred. Now, admittedly, the wife and I have made ourselves very comfy here in our space, and the "stuff " never seems too much until you have to move it.

The endgame is one of all the "stuff " going in many different directions. I would have included the local dumpster but the wife is more than reluctant to part with any of these so- called treasures. I want to thank those already willing to park some small belongings and also thank those unaware that "stuff " is coming their way.

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad
-- Aldous Huxley

Saturday, September 17, 2016


The decision has been made; a road trip is eminent. 

The ball is in my court as a month on the road will test one's organizational skills. This length of time on the road presents the usual hurdles involving what to take and what to store.
Where I am a minimalist, the wife is a " maximalist.

Let's  just use shoes as an example. I believe a pair of sandals, one pair of sneaks and one of hiking will suffice. The wife informed me that she would need one tote dedicated to shoes. I innocently asked how many high- heeled shoes she thought would be necessary for what essentially will be a camping, biking and hiking trip.


I think the look I received indicated at least two.

And so the fun starts with a decision on the kayak. Bikes, horseshoes, boccie, Frisbee, and football are all necessary of course. 

The wife is wondering how many football games might break out...