Marsha Ward

Historical Novels with Heart & Grit

Tag: travel

A few more trip photos

Although I always resolve to take interesting photos when I travel, I usually end up with boring pics of my hotel rooms, which do have a purpose: I upload them to review sites.

It’s hard to take good photographs while driving. Because I had a tight schedule for covering so many miles on the out-going legs of the trip, I couldn’t stop on the way to get good shots of the spectacular fall foliage. I had a workshop session to get to on Saturday night, and I dared not be late.

I did get up at o-dark-thirty the third day out to have brunch in Weed, California, with a Facebook writer friend and her husband, and another writer in the area whom I had met previously at conventions for members of Western Writers of America. I had a lovely meal at Black Bear Diner with Jae and Roy Hall, and Gail L. Fiorini-Jenner.

Roy, who is, among other things, a farrier, gave me advice on the making of the horseshoe nail ring I mentioned in my novel, The Zion Trail.

The wind was blowing that crisp day, which I felt much more as I approached the Oregon Coast. It was interesting to observe the many moods of the Pacific Ocean during my stay.

Here’s a “selfie” I took from a balcony of the workshop room overlooking the beach:

One evening during the dinner break, I met and had dinner with a teenage friend and her new husband, who had previously booked a stay in Lincoln City, Oregon, my destination, as part of their extended honeymoon. We kept in touch, and were fortunate to be able to connect for a brief meal and conversation. Here we are, holding a few of my books that Leta Paine brought for me to autograph. Hubby Dale Whipple owns a bookstore in Burley, Idaho, and has always been an author booster.

I’m glad to be safe at home once again. Although I regret not being able to snap a photo of the huge Halos sign I saw coming and going, I had a wonderful time on my road trip and at the business workshop.

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10 Fun Facts About Me

Did you know?

  1. I once went on a monkey-watching hike up a river in Venezuela. When I say “up a river,” I mean mostly “in the river.” We never saw any monkeys.
  1. The first piece of writing that I remember completing was a one-page play about the expulsion of the Acadians from Canada. I was in third or fourth grade at the time.
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  1. When I was a teenager, I was in a movie-making club. I did publicity, made two booklets as the programs for two films, and wrote the script of a movie. One of our participants was Steven Spielberg.
  1. I auditioned for and won a spot in Arizona’s All-State Choir when I was a freshman in high school, which was unheard of in that time.
  1. I had an imaginary friend when I was little. He was—you guessed it!—a cowboy.
  1. I was a soloist with the Tempe Symphony Orchestra in a performance of John Rutter’s Requiem. I sang the soprano solo in the 7th Movement: Lux aeterna. Here’s a link to a more recent rendition of the piece.
  1. My first experience of flying was in a small plane. I loved the feeling of freedom. Now I won’t fly because of bad experiences with the TSA.
  1. In college, I majored in vocal performance, a.k.a. opera.
  1. When I was young, I built a fort with sawhorses and burlap bags. Don’t tell my mother, but it had a fireplace, and I actually lit a fire in it one time. It didn’t draw very well.
  1. One summer I drove to Montana by myself. Folks thought I was nuts, but I loved that trip!
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Downtime Decompression

I recently released a novel, Gone for a Soldier, which took me two years to write and publish. Of course I wasn’t writing solidly for two years, but with intensive research and several drafts, not to mention the publishing side of the equation, traveling to conferences and workshops, and life in general, it was a long two years.

Now I’m in a sort of downtime lull before I begin another work of long-form fiction. I need time to decompress from the stress and focus of the completed task before I begin another like process.

I’ve had people ask me what I do between writing novels. The first thing I do is take a couple of weeks to recover. No writing. Plenty of recreational reading. Sleeping in.

But that can’t last forever. When I’m tired of being a lazy lout, what do I do?

I write shorter fiction. Much shorter, like six thousand words or fewer. I have three stories in the works right now.

Or I write poetry. It’s a totally different discipline of writing.

Or I think. I collect my thoughts. I let ideas swirl around in my mind, mulling over grand “what if’s” for a new work.

Or I analyze and plan. What methods of publicity for my works are best? Should I up my quarterly e-newsletter to six times a year? Should I learn more about using Goodreads? Spend less time on Facebook? More?

Since my books typically come out in the last part of calendar years, a new year is right around the bend, so another thing I do is try to figure out my calendar of projects and travel for the following year: How can I juggle writing and production with traveling to events? What conferences will I attend? Should I make a box set of my novels? What awards will I seek? Will I make the deadlines? How can I make my website more useful? What did I leave undone this year that should be put on next year’s list of projects? Do I have enough inventory of books? Too much? Should I consider cutting back on travel and/or memberships in writing associations? What is my most effective time of day to write? Why am I not on Wikipedia?

Whoa! Enough with the questions. They could take over my life. It may be time to start writing a new novel.

What do you do with your downtime?

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