Happy Thanksgiving! This was me yesterday…
What are you thankful for this holiday? I’m thankful for my awesome son who is so much fun to watch grow up, my friends who boost me up when times are challenging, and readers like you who take the time to leave reviews. I’m especially thankful for my understanding husband who gives me time away to travel for the writer’s life.
And what a past month it’s been in this writer’s life! A month of spontaneous book research trips, writing retreats, book events, and family travel.
But before I share that I am super excited to share that I know have a release date for book 2, Joshua and the Arrow Realm – May 31st, 2016! Plus the illustrator, Al Sirois, is working hard on the map of the Arrow Realm for the book. Here are a few early sketches of characters and places in the world!
So back to this past crazy month that involved mostly me, myself, and I (because we writers never travel alone in our heads!) …
- Cavaliering through 10 states from the MidAtlantic to the North to the South and back
- A trip to a childhood campground home
- A historical boat ride lake tour
- Hiking to the top of a mountain
- Navigating a gorge
- Shivering at the foot of snowy Mount Washington
- Braking for moose
- Strolling the beach in a t-shirt and sandals
- Kayaking a lake
- Writing 10,000 words on a new novel on a cabin retreat
- Driving a U-Haul from North Carolina to Pennsylvania
- Teaching a college workshop
- Attending a school librarian’s conference
- Speaking to a writer’s group
The resurrection of an old manuscript with a story set at a campground prompted me to drop life and head to New Hampshire for book research. The first day was a travel triathlon! Got up on 4 hours of sleep to drive 8 hours through 6 states to then hike a mountain and kayak a lake.
In a blaze of foliage, I stepped back in time to the tiny town of Holderness, where I once lived at a campground my parent owned and operated.
After some sweet talkin’, the new owners let me tour the campground for photos.
I stayed at an adorable cottage on a lake at the White Oak Motel where the water called to me. (see my review here!)
The lakes region of N.H. was just as breathtaking as I remember.
I could have sat on this rock all day. A view to love, so big it brims over inside.
I got on the last historical narrated tour of the season on Lake Squam, where they filmed On Golden Pond.
Here is where Henry Fonda filled up his boat with gas in the movie, and nearly drove the boat through the boat house by accident! They did that scene in one cut. 🙂
Being on Squam Lake brought back vivid memories of the first fish I ever caught with my dad!
I drove the entire majestic White Mountains National Forest highway.
There was snow in them hills and flurrying at the base! I held my breath in awe driving through these massive ancient rocks.
Kept my eyes out for moose!
Hiked the gorge at Franconia Notch.
The snow was flying but made it to Mount Washington!
I stopped in to visit my Uncle Jim in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was the inspiration behind Joshua’s grandfather in Joshua and the Lightning Road.
His kids named him long ago as the Bo Chez for the Big Cheese, and he inspired Joshua’s heroic grandfather in the book. They are both lively, booming characters that crush you with mountainous hugs, live a passionate life seeking transformation, have a full heart they give away – and would do anything to rescue a loved one. He really is the Big Cheese!
My book research fueled on writing at my cabin in the woods on retreat at the Highlights Foundation in Boyd’s Mill, Pennsylvania. The roads here wind their way into my story dreams.
The view from my writing cabin. Early morning writing time.
It was good to travel there with author friend Janice Gable Bashman! Check out her young adult novel, Predator! And great to meet up with writers, Erica and CherylAnn!
I did get to spend time with my hubby, Mike, and do two of our favorite things – hiking and biking!
My 80 year old dad needed help clearing out a storage unit so off to North Carolina I flew to drive a U-Haul home to Pennsylvania! Here I am locked and loaded in my big truck. Off on my long adventure home from NC to PA!
We had time for a mellow day at the beach. 70s and sunny. We chased the rain away. Walked the pier and watched the fisherfolks. No idea what pier rules mean like “running your junk” but makes me laugh!
Then it was time to jump into three book events in a row.
I taught a workshop on Foundations of World Building in Children’s Literature at Rosemont College. We had a lot of fun brainstorming from writing prompts! And I got to share how to get your manuscript past the gatekeeper with the energetic folks at the Brandywine Valley Writer’s Group.
Onward to meeting dozens of wonderful folks at the New Jersey Association of School Librarian’s Conference. I was super excited to book author visits for the new year at several schools! And I also had fun spending the day with author Kerry Gans. Her debut middle grade book just came out, The Witch of Zal. Check out this re-telling of The Wizard of Oz! Great to see writer pals Tara Lazar and Jodi Moore!
I hope you got your turkey on and you have much to be thankful for this year!
And I hope you had a cozy spot to recover after your turkey dinner – like Joshua did here!