Family, Real Life, Travel

While I was away

Thank you all for visiting my blog last week while Christa was in charge. I was mostly unavailable because my mother and youngest sister were visiting from Indiana. And now I’m sick, so today I’ll just share with you some photos I took while we showed them some of the glories of living in California. Enjoy.

Our first stop was Monterrey Bay, where we watched the sea lions, gulls, and boats before we ate lunch.

Pride of Madeira at Old Fisherman's Wharf.
Pride of Madeira (echium candicans) at Old Fisherman’s Wharf.
One of the whale watching cruise boats.
One of the whale watching cruise boats.

Next we drove down to Carmel, where I plan to move just as soon as I win the lottery. 🙂 The April sun was warm, the wind chilly, but the sand was light and fine as sugar.

Carmel River State Beach
Carmel River State Beach

We ended our coastal experience at Pacific Grove. The wind was even stronger and colder here, but the view was fabulous. I really need to live by the ocean, people.

Lover's Point
Lover’s Point

Another day we went to Yosemite National Park. My mother had been there before when my father was still alive, but she only vaguely remembered that.

San Joaquin Valley
Starting the drive up. A San Joaquin Valley view, north of my town.
Three ladies about to slide into the valley at Oakhurst!
Three ladies about to slide into the valley below Oakhurst!
Yosemite Valley
The majestic Yosemite Valley

Next we viewed Bridalveil Falls. First from a distance and then up close where the wind blew the falls into their full veilness.

Bridalveil Falls from a distance.
Bridalveil Falls from a distance.
Bridalveil Falls up close.
Try keeping dry when the wind billows the “tulle” as you stand at the bottom.
South Fork Merced River
South Fork Merced River

We ended our visit to Yosemite with a picnic beside this river. It was warm and sunny and perfect. In the same week, I spent time at my two favorite places: the mountains and the ocean. I’m not a hiker, swimmer or surfer, I prefer just to sit quietly and commune with nature. There wasn’t much time to do that on these trips, but maybe someday soon. At least we had homemade chocolate chip cookies—with pecans!

A quick lunch on the way to the airport.
A quick lunch on the way to the airport.

Too soon the visit was over. My mother is 89-years-old and I doubt she’ll make another trip out here, so I’m happy we had this opportunity to take her to some beautiful places. Plus, she loved the cookies. 🙂

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Family, Life, Novel, Real Life, Travel, Writing

An unwelcome delay in the plan

The holidays are over, once again my home contains the usual two human and one feline occupants, and this was supposed to be my first day back to serious work on my next novel. However, there’s a glitch. I’ve pinched the sciatic nerve in my back again, and the pain and discomfort makes it hard to think or to sit for long.

I have a few things in the works for January, but nothing today, so I’ll give you a glimpse of a day trip we took a few days after Christmas. Three adults and three kiddos piled into a van and headed for the coast. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny, warm day with little wind, but, as usual, the water was frigid at the William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach near San Simeon, California.

The water temperature didn’t keep the little ones from playing in the surf, though, and they had an equally good time digging holes in the sand—or making a sand angel. We had to drag their teeth-chattering little bodies to the picnic table with a promise to let them return to the water after they ate and warmed up a bit.

After lunch, we walked on the pier, and I watched the waves. And, of course, I thought about Jalal, Meredith, and Renee in The Brevity of Roses, which only increased my desire to get back to writing. As soon as my back pain eases up, I’ll be back to work.

It made me sad to leave the beach before sunset, but, on the way home, we caught a gorgeous view of the valley looking out toward Morro Bay just as the sun kissed the horizon. It’s a blessing to have these lovely scenes etched in my memory to escape to whenever I want.

(Click photos to view larger.)

Author, Blog Stuff, Family, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Publish, Real Life, Writing

Rewards

Every Wednesday, throughout the school year, I spend an hour hurtling forward encased in a metal and fiberglass box with a flammable fuel powered engine. In other words, I take the freeway across town and back.

I’m rewarded for this two ways. First, I get to spend time with my granddaughter, Emily. And second, I get to see a postcard-perfect view of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Both rewards remind me there’s life outside of writing. It’s not a life I’ve spent much time in during the last three months.

If I’d truly believed the warnings about how much work was ahead of me, I don’t know if I would have embarked on the self-publishing journey, at least not now when my funds are too low to hire out some of the grunt work. But I’m nearly done. When my last proofreader sends me her notes, I’ll make any changes needed. Next I’ll format files for Kindle and Nook, then submit the print version and order a proof copy.

It’s getting very close to the day The Brevity of Roses is available to the public. As you might expect, my emotions are mixed. I doubt I’m prepared for the next stage as much as I think I am. I don’t know if any debut author can be fully prepared. But I know I will be rewarded … in one way or another.

BTW: I sent out the first edition of The Brevity Insider Newsletter today. If you’re on the mailing list, but did not receive it, let me know. If you’d like to be on the mailing list, sign-up here.

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