In Country

ViewHorses2015 my traveling was restricted to driving back and forth between Arizona and California. My writing expenses in 2014 put me thousands of dollars in the hole so I started applying for day jobs. Of course the wild horses started hanging out across the street on the rez just to make it harder to leave!

I am now located in Sacramento CA with contracts for a day job and an apartment through June. I get a couple weeks off before then, so I may manage to squeak in a quick trip.

I did make one writing conference in LA – The Great American Pitchfest – but otherwise did little other than submit a few stories to contests. Of course, having pretty much given up on writing taking me anywhere, things are starting to happen. One of my short stories was chosen for Saturday Evening Post’s 2016 anthology. It’s available online at Amazon.

My story is “Maria Angelica’s Baby” – check it out.

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Derry

In 2011 I visited Derry in Northern Ireland. I wasn’t writing this blog yet, but I was keeping notes.

As we approached Derry, our guide gave us historical information about the 1916 Rebellion through the Civil War and into the Troubles that started back up in the 1960’s and continued until the Peace Treaty 1998, during which time it was essentially a war zone. Most of Northern Ireland is 70% Protestant, 25% Catholic, and 5% other religions, but Derry reverses the first two statistics – most people are Catholic. Back then, people had to own property to be eligible to vote. The Protestants controlled the property and businesses, so most Catholics did not have the right to vote. Therefore, while Derry was mostly Catholic, Protestants controlled the government as well as business. So it wasn’t just religious differences but also the subsequent economic and political inequities that led to the Troubles. Our guide in Derry, Ronan McNamara, talks about that at the beginning of this YouTube:.

By the way, when he first got on our bus, Ronan addressed his appearance immediately: his mother is a Chinese Buddhist, his father is Irish. He was brought up in Derry during the Troubles and did his best to stay out of conflict. He now has children and is happy that they do not hear gunfire or bombs. He was also excited that tourists are returning to Northern Ireland and making his work as a guide possible.

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Ronan explained that most people were just trying to live their lives through the Troubles, but the violence was all around them. Historically, Derry was a walled city and despite the Troubles, much of the wall and many of the gates are intact. Now the city is investing in its heritage and its future – this started even before the Peace Treaty of 1998.

In 1992 Catholic and Protestant teens built The Craft Village together, paid by the Inner City Trust:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Peace Bridge opened the year I visited, 2011:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd construction and renovation was going on all over the city:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhenever conflict/war/terrorism is pursued in the name of religion, it is wise to take a closer look at economic and political issues that may be addressed less emotionally and effectively to eliminate the basis for problems.

Wow -17 countries

As poorly as I’ve maintained this blog, people from 17 countries have viewed it.

New Year’s resolution: write more!

Hiking Mt. Baldy & recovering at home

So, I was finally home long enough to take a hike with Arizona Women of Adventure. Let me suggest, if you’ve been tied to a computer for months, a fourteen-mile hike with 2,000 feet of elevation change, starting at over 9,000 feet in the first place… well, it might not be the best idea. My hiking partner has been in training for a double marathon. Two other woman joined us for the middle of the hike, and I was moving faster than they were, but without my partner waiting in the distance at regular intervals, I might have slowed down to a stop.

Here’s the video:

The hiking guide I liked at Wiki was the Springerville Ranger District Trail Guide. I had just enough water, nothing extra should I have had trouble along the way. Don’t do that – they recently found the bones of a hiker who went missing a few years ago. Whatever happened, if he was alive for long, he’d have needed water.

So anyway, I was able to move the next day (yoga helped), but a blister put off wearing shoes for a few days. So I had a little adventure at home watching a robin’s next on the front of my garage. A previous owner put up a bird house, but I’ve never seen a bird use it until this year – kinda.

 

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Hopi

I’d been home less than twenty-four hours before I had to head north for a training gig on the Hopi reservation. I’d never been up there & didn’t have time to do much sight-seeing, but saw enough to know I’d like to go back with more time. Stayed at the Hopi Cultural Center, which was very nice. Taught about thirty miles away. The first day, we had a power outage that lasted about six hours – which meant no dinner because restaurants need power and it was out all over the reservation and beyond. It was really windy. Fortunately, I travel with almonds and will never starve.

Anyway, here’s a video:

 

Manhattan

Manhattan!
I went to Manhattan for Book Expo America. I’d spent a bundle on having my books displayed and airfare, so it was important to keep other costs down. For starters, I flew in the morning the conference began and flew out the evening it ended, so I only needed two nights’ accommodation. While I might have been able to find a couch, I decided it would be better to have those two evenings to have some time to myself after pitching myself all day. The options at first seemed to be hundreds of dollars per night near the Javits Conference Center or having to figure out transportation back and forth from New Jersey. Then I found The Out.

The Out regularly features an artist's work.

webTheOutArt1The Out NYC is on 42nd St, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Their rooms are expensive, but they have some hostel-style rooms that are closer to $150/night. The artwork in the entry and corridor to the rooms left me wondering, but I later learned it was simply the current artist exhibit.

 

Hostel means you share the room. The beds are twin-size built-in bunks, each with its own TV, shelf, and reading lamp. They each have a heavy curtain to close for privacy. It turned out that two of my roommates were male, but since none of us spent much time in the room, it wasn’t really awkward. The staff were extremely helpful, giving me the same directions when I’d lose the first note. They didn’t fuss the last day when I stored my luggage and got in and out of it a couple of times before leaving.

webManhattanMenAtWorkIt was a short walk from Javits Conference Center to The Out and a slightly longer walk to Times Square and Central Park. There’s lots of construction going on. Friday night was definitely busier with people heading to shows and/or dinner.

webCitibike In Central Park, the road’s shut off to cars, but there’s a pedestrian lane to keep runners and joggers separate from the bikes that zip along. Classes meet there to exercise, and there are also bikes you can rent. There are horse-drawn carriages nearby. One of the drivers told me he had to take training and get a license, then work for a company that has all the permits necessary. You still hear the city in the park, but it’s nothing compared to walking down the street.

webCentralPark  For short videos:

 Sounds of Fifth Avenue

Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

The Out staff gave me four different places to eat, each of which was fantastic. One was a natural food store/deli on 42nd and 11th where I ate breakfast. The others were Thai, Greek, and Turkish. The last one, their masseur (yeah, The Out is really a nice resort) walked me to the restaurant because he’s Turkish and wanted to be sure I got to the “real” Turkish restaurant. The Thai Restaurant is called Room Service and is on 9th Ave. It was very affordable and the chicken in my curry was tender. The Greek restaurant’s specialty is fish. They’re Kellari Taverna at 19 West 44th St., close to Fifth Avenue. Their specialty is fish and their baklava is amazing, too. At dinner time, they were packed with reservations, but another lady happened to have come solo without one and they gave us hugs and kisses for offering to sit together.
The one thing about dining at the usual dinner hour is that it’s noisy. I thought maybe it was because the Thai place was small and informal, but the Greek restaurant was upscale and conversation across a table required shouting and repetition. If you like a quiet dinner, go early. My last day at Turkish Cuisine on 9th Ave., I was the only one in the place because it was 2 PM. Again, the food was excellent.
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For more about Book Expo America, catch my writing blog at Goodreads. The next post here should be the plane adventure!

 

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Mogollon Rim

I live across the street from the Mogollon Rim in Lakeside, Arizona. The drop is relatively gentle here, but it’s still awesome to look out over miles and miles of pines.

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There’s a short handicap-accessible trail off 260 in Show Low, Arizona that I’ve walked several times.

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My friend, Laurie Dee Acree, writes hiking books and is working on one of the General Crook Trail, which is by the Rim outside of Payson, Arizona. We met at the Mogollon Rim Overlook, about halfway between Payson and Heber-Overgaard on 260.  It’s much steeper!

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We checked out the trailhead there.

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Then we drove across 260 and down to Woods Canyon Lake (www.woodscanyonlake.com) and hiked around the lake, which included hiking past a bald eagle nest they keep fenced off. I’ve kayaked this lake and walked part of the trail before. It’s a really pleasant way to spend a day.

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My first trip to Europe

Flashback:

I always wanted to travel – had Australian pen pals in grade school, met all the exchange students in high school, graduated high school with three years of French and three of Spanish. Continued with Spanish in college and added a year of Italian. I was finally going to go abroad my Junior year in college, but I dropped out and life took detours.

In 2011 my kids were all out of college and my responsibilities dropped to mainly me, so it was time.

Thanks to my old college, I got the student apartment in Bologna, Italy, for a week that summer. I brushed up on my Italian with Rosetta Stone and took off for Europe–and had to change planes in Frankfurt! I managed to pull up “Sprekinzee inglich?” (spelling phonetic) and, fortunately, the official-looking young man replied, “Of course I speak English. I work in the airport.”

Here’s a YouTube I made of Bologna.

Archiginnasio

Archiginnasio

Adventure of a different sort

For those who read the last post, it took about three months, but my son’s back at work! Life is good.

So I missed the India adventure, but I’m revving up for a major life change and, since I’m not sure what shape that will take yet, this is an adventure of a different sort.

I’m finishing my Masters in Administration, emphasis professional writing, in December. I’ve already started my final project – designing and implementing the marketing plan for my new book, Self-Publishing for Schools. As part of that plan, I’ve revamped the formatting on all my novels and revised Running Away in an uncensored version. Both that and SP Schools have LCCN numbers, so they’ll be more marketable to libraries. I’ve begun lining up some major marketing, including Book Expo America, the American Library Association’s Conference in June, and the ALA pre-conference catalog that goes to about 17,000 people. It’s gambling on myself.

All of my books will be at the IBPA booth at Book Expo America (Javits Conference Center, NYC) May 29-31. I’ll be at the IBPA table on Thursday, May 29, from 4-4:30. Hope to see you there!

NYC is so expensive, I’m arriving early Thursday and flying out late Saturday. Javits Conference Center is Midtown Manhattan, and I found a posh resort that has hostel-style shared rooms less than a mile from the conference. That will also be an adventure.

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