Tag Archives: travel

I’m back home

We had a seminar that got us to noon, then we were free to come home. It was cold and rainy when we loaded the car, but the ten inches of predicted snow overnight never happened. We pulled out and one of my compadres asked about lunch. I said, “How about West Yellowstone?”

I wanted to put some miles behind me, and could have happily driven all the way to Boise without stopping except for gas. That isn’t how it works when traveling with a crowd, but West Yellowstone won out. At least I got about 30 miles down.

West Yellowstone is one of my favorite places. If one of my books ever takes off, or we win the lottery, I could happily rent a cabin there for the summer. I’m sure plenty of good stories could be written from there too. I had a buffalo burger, because that’s what one does there. I prefer the buffalo steak, but it was lunchtime.

There was a downside. We were only slightly ahead of the real storm. This was September 15th after we left.

It kind of reminds me of my morel mushroom hunt on June 10th, which looked like this.
A three month summer sounds about right to me but: SPRING AND FALL ARE SUPPOSED TO BOOKEND IT! Not friggin winter.

I want my autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I want my leaves and pumpkin beer. I want my cool nights with the window open. I want all the flies to die lonely cold deaths.

Enough of that. It’s time for some weekend goals.

  • I have to stop looking at The Hat and let it ferment for a while.
  • I want to read at least two books before I start writing again. Might as well start this weekend.
  • Print out two submissions and work up critiques for my group.
  • Work on edits for Yak Guy. This is a long process, but I have all day Monday.
  • Date night, Steelers game, Diamondbacks game, craft beer.
  • Keep cranking on Lisa’s interviews.

I won’t make the list too long, because some of these will take more time than simple blog updates. As far as blogs go, I missed reading some of yours. I drove most of the day and part of the night; that’s my excuse. I’ll surf back through, but some are going to get missed.

I have my next Story Empire post scheduled, and had an idea about a follow up post. The pending one is about starting a story. A fair idea came to me while driving, that starting in media res would be a good follow up. It also occurred to me that I can use Cat Ballou as a reference most folks will understand. Might have to find a more recent movie for younger readers. I’ll do a bit of research and see if I can make a post that includes Hanoi Jane fun somehow. Maybe there’s a YouTube video with Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole.

That’s the update and the plan. I’m home, and it’s time to get started.

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Updating from Big Sky

I’m at the convention for my paycheck job. Lot’s of chatting and politicking going on this week. Enough about work. Tonight includes an event I always skip, and I have an evening to myself.

Big Sky is a ski resort area, and it’s not terribly far from Yellowstone. I intended to grab some pictures for this update, but today was the day a huge thunderstorm decided to strike. This resort has multiple hotels, and the business events are spread all over the place. I got soaked a couple of times walking from venue to venue. A couple of the people I’m with wanted to ride the chair lifts to the top of the mountain, but they got closed due to lightning.

I have some interior shots I can share. My room is really nice, even though it has a Murphy bed. The bed is comfortable, so it’s no big deal really.

Looking the other direction, I even get a mini kitchen. Too bad I don’t have any food to prepare.

No really, it’s too bad I don’t have food. A simple breakfast here is eighteen dollars, and my hamburger lunch came to twenty-five with a drink. It’s pretty typical resort pricing, unfortunately. I get a meal per deum, and it doesn’t even begin to cover the actual cost.
I waited out the worst part of the thunderstorm in the tiny lobby. It looks cool though, and I snapped a shot or two for you.

I really like the carved base of that couch. My iPad Pro would work very well on this antique desk too. I don’t think my rear end would get along with that chair for long though. If this desk were in my room, instead of the lobby, I would try writing at least a micro-fiction piece just for the ambiance.
There is a cowhide on the wall of my room. I know this would look awesome on the new grey flooring we just installed at home. I’m pretty sure Old What’s Her Face would never go for it, but I like it. I’m also sure Otto and Frankie would find it tasty in some way. (Leather = rawhide toy.)


I’m trying to keep up with all my various social media. I caught Facebook a couple of times, but Twitter is off the radar while I’m here. I just don’t have enough time for all of that. I am a guest at the Storyreading Ape’s site today, and I’ve been trying to keep up with the comments over there. Drop in if you haven’t already and I’ll surf through for a couple more days. Hold down the fort while I’m away.

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Checking in

I'm here at the Best Western in Moscow, Idaho. A rather concrete looking motel, if I do say so. Still, my presentation takes place here tomorrow, so that's handy.

I left at about 5:30 this morning and made good time. The Payette River canyon was pretty lonely, which almost never happens. It was early, and wednesday, so that helps. Saw a coyote and two herds of whitetail deer along my route.

Dinner amounted to a sandwich and a platter of Gorgonzola fries. The fries were wonderful. They also have one of my favorite beers called Irish Death. I managed a couple of those.

Getting here early was kind of a bonus. I downloaded a book of my own choosing, and started reading it. This is a singularly rare event. It's been three years since I chose a book to read.

My reading is usually related to my obligations with the Rave Reviews Book Club, or something one of my friends has going on. I do a lot of advance reading, beta reading, and simply supporting friends. I've read some awesome books this way, but there's just something about choosing a book I want to read.

To give you an example, one of my friends has released three books already this year. I simply can't get to them all and continue writing. I have another friends' book in the queue, and I really am excited about this next one.

My current book is an old one, and it does a few annoying things, but I'm enjoying it. I have to remind myself that it's an older style, and I may even finish it tonight.

Tomorrow, I'll make my presentation at mid-day, then drive home. I don't have to return to the office until Monday, so I might get a chance to start writing my next project.

Tonight, I'm going to leave the television off, and curl back up with Dr. Syn, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

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Fred’s Diary #RRBC

This is another opportunity for me to introduce another Rave Reviews Book Club author and his book. This sounds like an interesting experience, and Fred is here to share it with us.

Background to Fred’s Diary 1981

 

Fred was a nickname that Robert Fear was given while at school. It became his travel name and he is still known as Fred to this day.

 

Fred’s Diary 1981 is the edited version of a handwritten diary that I kept during my travels in Asia between February and July 1981. I had never committed any of my previous travels to paper in the way I did for this long awaited journey into the unknown. The final collection ran to 600 pages of closely written detail.

 

When I landed in Hong Kong in that February I had two small carbon copy books of 100 pages each and started writing everything down about my impressions, the people I met, the things I did and thought, what I ate and what things cost. As my journey developed the diary became almost a mission of its own, especially when the unexpected happened in Thailand.

 

The first two books lasted two months and I then had to buy additional ones along the way, all used with carbon paper. Every few weeks I would send the originals back to my friend Jan, in Frankfurt, Germany. She collected all the pages in an A4 folder and luckily they all made it back safely. I kept all the copies with me as a backup.

 

After returning from my travels, I settled again in Frankfurt and stayed there for five years. On my return to England I took the A4 folder containing the diary with me. It was almost forgotten for many years, only making an appearance when friends asked to see it or to read it.

 

It wasn’t until around 2005 that I decided to start typing up my diary onto the computer. I managed to get the first two months done but then ran out of motivation.

 

A couple of years later there was an article in a PC magazine about Kindle and self-publishing that sparked my interest again.

 

The second part of my diary was released in 2009 and its title, Time in Thailand, probably indicates to you that things didn’t go as planned. £99 to Hong Kong was published in 2011 and covers the first part of my trip where I did some work as an extra for Chinese television.

 

By now the bug had truly bitten and I started planning the release of the whole diary. First though, I had to scan copies of all 600 pages as they were deteriorating and writing was becoming faded in parts. Over the next two years I typed everything up and started editing the diary for publication, all in my spare time.

 

Fred’s Diary 1981 was self-published in December 2013 and was relatively successful with a good number of excellent reviews on Amazon UK and US. It was a long book though. The paperback version ran to 564 pages and contained 165K words.

 

During the first few months of 2015 further editing was undertaken and the second edition, released in October 2015, contained less than 100K words, with around 360 pages. It has also had a professional final edit and a wonderful new cover.

 

I am not sure what inspired me to write the diary way back then but the editing of it in recent years has given me great pleasure and bought back a lot of memories. With the advent of Kindle it has been great to be able to self-publish and share my experiences with so many people.

Review:

5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and detailed
By Rebecca H

February 4, 2016

I really enjoyed this travel diary which Fred kept as he journeyed firstly to Hong Kong then on to Thailand where he regrettably ended up in jail. After being deported he records his time in both India and Nepal. If you are looking for a travel guide this is not the book for you but it does give an insight into the reality of how it was for young western travellers over 30 years ago. Every day Fred would jot down all the details of what he did and saw or even ate. It was so interesting to see how he kept a note of exactly how much he spent on drinks and food etc. I bet it’s a whole lot more expensive now! In Thailand he was charged with possessing grass and thrown into jail. This was a particularly difficult experience but even there drugs helped to while away the tedium and anxious waiting for release. In fact drugs feature prominently throughout. It’s amazing what a young body can withstand! We learn of his exploits in Nepal and in India and of the friendships and camaraderie among fellow travellers. In among the minutiae there are also some beautiful descriptions for example of leaving Kathmandu Overall he had a marvellous and life changing experience which he has written about very honestly.

Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia – getBook.at/FredsDiary1981

The original versions of Parts 1 and 2:

£99 to Hong Kong getBook.at/99toHongKong

Time in Thailand getBook.at/TimeinThailand

Travel Stories and Highlights – getBook.at/TravelStories

Exclusive PedigreegetBook.at/ExclusivePedigree

Author Bio:

Born in Leicester, UK in 1955, Robert’s family moved to Surrey when he was 11. He was educated at Reigate Grammar School. After this he worked at a bank in London for several years before getting the travel bug. Fred, a nickname he got at school, stuck throughout his travels and has remained with him to this day. His travels took him to Ibiza for the summer of 1977, hitch-hiking around Europe in 1978 and the USA and Canada in 1979. During this time he also settled and worked in Germany. Fred’s Diary 1981 was written during the 158 days he spent travelling around Asia.

These days Robert is happily settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex where he lives with his wife and three cats. He works as a software consultant and has been able to combine work with some travel during the past fifteen years, having visited countries as far apart as Australia, Singapore, Ghana and Suriname.

Facebook – @fredsdiary1981

Twitter Handle – @fredsdiary1981

Website – http://www.fd81.net/

 

 

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Why I’m not moving ahead

I read a post by one of my fellow Story Empire authors about things being seasonal, and it certainly reflects my writing career. I do most of my writing in the winter. I try to do book releases in the Fall, particularly if they have a paranormal angle. I’ve also released some in the Spring. Summer is for family things, and now they’re starting to clash.

This year, the seasons got away from me. Part of this has to do with taking on two books at once. I’ll own that. I need to tackle those beta edits and ship everything to my formatter. I just got the cover art for Yak Guy, and need to start working on it too. I’m trying to finish an ARC read for a friend, but there hasn’t been a lot of time. I’m also falling behind on my RRBC reading obligations.

This weekend, Old What’s Her Face and I are taking a mini vacation. This may seem contradictory to my predicament, but we kind of need this. I can do some research while I’m there, even if it’s just people watching. I’ll update you guys from the road if something cool comes along. I do okay with reading on airplanes, so maybe I can finish that book, and even write a review during a layover. (Optimistic, no?) There are some decent novellas and short story collections on RRBC, and two of my Story Empire friends have some I haven’t read yet. It’s kind of a cheat code, but a shorter work might help me meet my reading obligation.

As soon as we return from our mini vacation, my critique group meets. I only have one submission so far, but maybe I can work it up tonight. I can’t print on an airplane, so I hope the others show up soon.

The following weekend, my parents are coming to visit the puppies. Let’s be honest, that’s the real attraction. We always have a good time, and I understand the appeal of little puppies. The chance to get anything else done is almost nonexistent here.

One weekend after that, I learned yesterday, we have a campground reserved in the heart of morel mushroom territory. That weekend may have some hope, because I could do some things after dark. I don’t need wifi to read, or even to edit. Then again, I may go for a drink beside the campfire and just bag it.

Every spare second is pretty hectic right now. There was a line something like this over the weekend: “You watch the puppies, and I’ll go to the mall and get a second suitcase.”

“It’s only a couple of days. Do we really need a second one?”

“Ours will be packed, and we might want to buy something and need room to bring it home.”

Yeah, it seemed like a good way to avoid spending a bunch of cash on trinkets, but I lost that debate. Then there are all the mundane things that we would normally save for the weekend, picking up enough food so kids and dogs can eat while we’re absent, dry cleaning, choir performances by grandchildren, etc. It’s also medical season. I just had one checkup, and tomorrow I have an eye appointment. I’m going to try to cobble some of those “weekend” errands onto my trip to the eye doctor.

Besides all of this going on, there is sleep deprivation. Frankie and Nyx seem to want to sing the song of their people about 11:30 to midnight every night. They want up in the bed with us, but what they need is to go outside and potty. This requires me to pull on shorts and rush them outside before we have a failure on the carpet. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t.

After all these events pass, I hope to be close on The Enhanced League release. Yak Guy will take the next priority. After that, I need to get hopping on a short story for an anthology I was invited to contribute to. Then I need to start thinking about Macabre Macaroni stories for October. They don’t write themselves either, and I enjoy doing them.

So my theory is to do some reading on airplanes, with luck I can get caught up there. When I go camping, I might be able to work on some edits at night. I may have to take some vacation just to work myself out of this hole.

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A real quick update

I'm alive and well and in Kentucky. Yesterday was a travel day, and it was kind of tiring. The sweatshirt that felt so good in Boise was stiflingly hot by the lime we landed in Louisville.

Spotted some beautiful architecture on my cab ride here, but that's about all I'll get to see of it. Every other billboard is about bourbon, those that aren't are about the Kentucky Derby or involve Colonel Sanders.

Sampled a bit of the bourbon last night, and tried chicken and waffles. Enjoyed the bourbon, but don't really see the appeal of chicken and waffles. It was a great piece of chicken. It was a great waffle. Together just didn't make any sense to me.

Here's the view out my hotel window:

Not much to see, really. (Yay, rooftop!) It's a nice day here though. I got to go to Indiana last night. The cops had the street closed to go downtown, so we had to cross the bridge and come back on a different bridge. Technically, add in another state I've never been to – for about 30 seconds.

It's a work trip, so I really never expect to see very much. I'll be in sessions pretty much the entire time I'm here.

While I'm here, I might not be a very good blog friend. I won't have nearly as much time to read blogs. If I missed something important give me a kick in the rump and I'll try to get there.

Doing what I can under the circumstances.

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WanderLynn Group LLC, on Lisa Burton Radio

Welcome to this week's edition of Lisa Burton Radio, the only show where the characters from books get to voice their opinions and concerns. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me today is Cynthia Black. Cynthia is “Girl Friday” for Lynn Sutton at WanderLynn Group LLC. “Welcome to the show, Cynthia. I'm a girl Friday type myself, so I know you have the good kind of information. What is the WanderLynn Group?”

“First of all, I am nobody’s ‘Girl Friday’, okay? I have recently been promoted to VP of Operations for The WanderLynn Group. We are a luxury boutique concierge service that caters to wealthy clients. We provide one of a kind travel experiences around the world. Travel with us and you’ll never travel first class again. You were right about one thing, I do have all of the juicy info because the owner, Lynn Sutton and I are BFFs.”

“Now, Lynn is independently wealthy, but she also has a man in her life and he's even richer. They must get up to all kinds of things internationally.”

“What are you trying to say? My girl Lynn is nobody’s gold digger, if that’s what you’re implying. You should save that for question for Meredith. I bet she put you up to this, huh?”

“Sorry? I don't know who Meredith is.”

“Yeah right. Since you want to play dumb, let me spill this tea. Meredith is Connor’s ex-wife. You know Connor, Lynn’s new man. Anyway, the woman is wretched. She is always messing with my girl, staying in her business and trying to break the happy couple apart. She’s the real gold digger, only marrying Connor for his big bank account. She must be crazy as fine as that man is. Anyway, I know she put you up to this. If not her, then it must be Renea. You know she’s in love with Lynn.

“Whoo boy! It sounds like we've left love triangle behind and gone straight into quadrilateral.”

“Look, Renea is a really good friend, she can't help her feelings for Lynn. I assure you Lynn and Connor only have eyes for each other. No quadrilateral or triangle involved.”

“Hold that thought, Cynthia. We have a caller today.

“Hello caller, you're on the air with Lisa and Cynthia.”

“Hello, Lisa. This is Meredith Wyatt, and was just listening to the show. Let me say for the record that I don’t even know this individual, so why she has my name in her mouth is beyond me. Yes, I was married to Connor, and yes I married him for his money. Everybody knows that. That’s just how things are done in my world. Who wants to end up with a broken heart? Speaking of which, that husband stealer Lynn Sutton is going to get hers. Nobody takes what’s mine and gets away with it.”

“Hold up Meredith! Lynn did NOT steal your husband. More like you threw him away. And furthermore, they never even got busy until after your divorce!”

“So you say, but I have it on good authority that they were seeing each other when Connor and I were still married. She even had the nerve to come to my home with those rugrats of hers.”

“Now you’ve gone too far! Nobody talks about Lynn’s kids. If I could reach through this phone it would be an episode of Atlanta Housewives in here!”

“Are you threatening me?”

“I don’t use idle threats. I beat chicks like you down!”

“Ladies, ladies, we're just here to talk about Cynthia and her role in WanderLynn Group.”

“Right! That's why the questions were all about Lynn and Connor. Lynn never touched Connor until after he divorced that cow on the other line. They were good friends. In fact my girl was in a seven year drought because she was raising her niece and nephew and didn’t want to bring random men around.

“If you really want to know some dirt, let’s talk about how Meredith insulted my girl at dinner liking her to homeless people or how about when Meredith refused to go to brunch with them, then showed up out of the blue and made a big scene as if they were cheating? And speaking of cheating, why not ask Meredith about the dude she was seeing throughout her entire marriage. What’s his name, Malcolm Forbes right?”

“Wait a minute. Who told you I was seeing Malcolm?”

“Thanks for calling in today <click> Now, Cynthia,… are you talking about the famous football player, Malcolm Forbes?”

“None other. The man was stalking my girl Lynn, trying to get with her. Come to find out, he was seeing Meredith the whole time. I wouldn’t put it past her to talk him into trying to seduce Lynn so she could break Connor and Lynn apart.”

“That seems like a lot of drama. How do you have time to run the company?”

“Trust me, our clients are very well taken care of.”

“With that in mind, I have some vacation time saved up. Do you think you could put together a week somewhere for me? Maybe include some gambling of some kind?”

“I don't know if you can afford us, but we might be able to do something like a cruise. Providing you don't gamble away your return ticket.”

“Oh, honey, it isn't gambling the way I do it. I'll get your contact info off-the-air.

“The sponsor of today's show is The WanderLynn Experience Series, by author L. Loren. I'll post all the details on the website. For Lisa Burton Radio, I'm Lisa Burton, and don't forget to use those sharing buttons. L. Loren and Cynthia will appreciate it, and she'll do the same for you when your character appears here.”

***

The WanderLynn Experience Series

Book 1 – The Layover

Book 2 – Island Adventures

Book 3 – Destination Home

This three part love story with an edge of sexy, focuses on Lynn Sutton and Connor Wyatt. These friends turned lovers embark on a wild, sexy adventure of falling in love.

Outside forces try to tear them apart in more ways than one. Can their fragile love survive the attacks? Will Connor and Lynn's love be enough to get them through the heartache and danger? Will they have the HEA they have been longing for?

Find out in this thrilling 3 book series by author L. Loren.

Purchase Link

L. Loren is a former call center supervisor currently based in Greenville, SC with her loving and supportive husband. Growing up the youngest of seven in a small town in North Carolina, she embraced her love of reading which helped to develop her imagination. Her desire to write lay dormant for years until she found the courage to look within and her passion could no longer be ignored.

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