What do all these things have in common? They were all things that I enjoyed when I was in Maine a few weeks back. That and the good company of some dear friends. It was such a relaxing time, even though I spent a great deal of time working. But I was writing, so it doesn’t feel like work. I’d get up every morning around 6:00 and start to write. I usually kept going until about 10:00 a.m. when my friends returned from the gym. After that we would go do “Maine” things, like pick blueberries, or drive the beautiful countryside, or go to Moody’s Diner for the best pie ever. Sometimes we would go to the lobster tanks and buy fresh lobster and take it home and eat it for dinner.
Compare that to the time I spent in NYC. What a different world. It truly is the town that never sleeps. As you can see in the photo on the left, the streets were just as crowded at 11:00 at night as they were midday. We didn’t eat blueberries or lobster, but we did get our fill of knishes and bagels. And it’s true, I didn’t get any writing done there, but I did get a head full of experiences and characters to put in future books.
Another thing that amazed me about NYC was that ninety percent of the cars were yellow. Yeah, yellow cabs. Every single picture I took in the streets of NYC had a yellow background of cabs.
I did get to see a few sights outside of Time Square, like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Ellis Island. And besides all the cool people I met at the conference, I also got to meet a television celebrity, Cheryl Burke, two-time winner of Dancing With the Stars. She was there for a charity event and I had the privilege of signing a copy of “The Advocate’s Betrayal” for her. She was very sweet, and cute as can be. It’s too bad you can’t see her cute freckles on her nose on television because they really do look good on her.
Yes, I’m still in California and advocating across America…California is a big state after all. I have recently had the opportunity to speak to two branches of the CWC, one in Victorville, CA, the High Desert Branch, and the Ridge Writers in Ridgecrest. I have to say I really enjoyed both of these groups. It’s really fun speaking to other writers because they have a sense of where you are and where you’ve been. But these two groups were exceptional. They really made me feel at home and were very supportive. Actually, everyone in the desert has been wonderful (except the wind).
I will continue to speak to groups and sign in southern California until after the release of my second book, THE ADVOCATE’S BETRAYAL. Then I will head east in July to the New England states. I will be in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. If you’re in one of those states and are interested in having a speaker at an event, please let me know.
So, it’s the desert this week, Inland Empire next, and then back to the beach.
I just spent five days in Michigan with my nephew Chet and his family where I received the red carpet treatment and had a pleasant, restful time–a much needed break. After a fabulous weekend in Chicago at Printer’s Row Book Festival, Chet picked me up and drove me to Bay City. Michigan was beautiful, so many shades of green (as opposed to our southern California brown hills) and lots of spring flowers still in bloom. While I was there I researched an area where one of my characters will go in my next novel. It is a sequel to The Advocate. It’s so much easier to write about an area when you’ve actually been there. I was quite surprised how different things were from the aerial maps I saw online. My highlight in Michigan was passing through Paw Paw and seeing where Norm Cowie, author of Fang Face, went to high school (great book, by the way!)
When I started to write this blog I thought about how the “M” states had played an integral part in my life. In addition to Michigan I have a connection to most of the “M” states. Growing up in Minnesota I remember jumping rope to the Mississippi diddy: M-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-hump back, hump back-I. A good part of my family lives in Montana, so many that we chose to have our “Family Onion” there last year. My very dear friends live in Maine and I have the good fortune to visit there quite often (going again the end of next month). We had our last sister trip with all five sisters in Missouri (memories that will forever be dear to me). My publisher, Echelon Press, is located in Maryland. So that only leaves Massachusetts. Although I’ve been there several times, have some nice memories of Boston, but it’s the remaining state to develop a real connection. Any suggestions? Any of you connected to the “M” states?