Category Archives: For Fun

Zugspitze

 

 

 

 

 

I will admit that Zugspitze sounds more like something that happens during or after a sneeze, but it’s the name of the tallest peak of the German Alps. Thankfully they had trains and gondolas that would take you up to the top. Some seriously hard core hikers were climbing the thing, and I admired them for their perseverance and insane toughness as I watched from the cable car hauling me and the other lazy tourists upward. The lake you see in the image above is of Lake Eibsee, a glacial lake known for its clear waters. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the water was almost turquoise. So spectacular.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Germany and England and made it back into Boston last night after a 20 hr travel day. I caught a second (probably more like a fourth) wind and was up till 11 last night then woke up at 5 this morning. My body clock is still a bit backwards. I was back in bed at 830 this morning for an hour or so before feeling remotely human again. So I’m hoping I can flip back to my usual wake/sleep cycle now. Fingers crossed.

One of the really nice things about all the work travel and hotel stays is the accumulation of hotel points. I used those points for my hotels in Munich and London, so those stays were free. When I left Garmisch, I went back up to Munich since I was flying out the next morning for Heathrow. I stayed at the Hilton (for free!) that is on site at the airport. I will say that is one of the fanciest hotels I’ve ever been in.

It’s made of a lot of glass. Tons of natural light coming in everywhere. The elevators and elevator shafts are also see through. The rooms (which thankfully aren’t all made of glass) were seriously decked out. The flushing operation thing for the toilet was a built-into-the-wall touch screen that was motion activated. So as you approached said throne, the panel lit up. I was so fascinated by this thing that I, of course, started playing with it. In the process I walked into the shower wall because it was made of glass and I didn’t see it as I shifted to move to the side of the toilet to frig with the touchscreen. I immediately started cracking up after I realized what I had bounced off of in my attempt to play with the toilet. This room also had touch screen lights that I could work the entire room from the bed. Handy. It also had speakers in the ceiling in the bathroom that would sync with your phone when you plugged it in via USB next to the bed. Seriously cool stuff though I didn’t use it. I was already going to bed by the time I figured that one out.

I made the flight to London and got to the hotel just outside of the city on Thursday. I ended up in another fancy hotel complete with a Lamborghini (sadly, not mine) parked out front along with lots of other high end cars. I was not aware that I was staying in another swank Hilton (for free!) until I got there. My room had a freakin chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. I could control the lights with a wide-range dimmer switch that I will admit to playing with turning the lights waaaay down then waaaay up while giggling like a school girl. To say I’m easily amused is an understatement! The bathroom didn’t have touchscreen toilet flushing but it did have an in-wall mounted TV in the bathtub with a waterproof remote and speakers in the ceiling. I opted for a shower that night and managed to not walk into the glass walls that time.

When it came time to switch hotels again and head over to Guildford, England to watch some soccer and hang out with friends and family, I was back into a hotel that was more my level. A Holiday Inn. No Lamborghinis parked outside that baby.

The romp in Europe was a screaming success and loads of fun. I have the final week of my vacation now to goof off some more and take it easy in the States. I’ll head back up to Maine midweek and see what kind of stuff I can get into there for camping. I can promise you my tent is minus a toilet (much less a touchscreen toilet), fancy cars, and chandeliers.

Image above by me, view from Zugspitze. 2018.

Exploring Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t tell you off hand without looking it up what # day of this 17 day trip it is. After being in Dusseldorf, Bochum, Aachen, Hattingen, and Munich, I’m currently in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in a valley of the Alps. Gorgeous is an understatement, even with the rainy/foggy/drizzly mix. It’s a beautiful town, and I’m thrilled to hunker down here for a few days and do a mix of exploring, writing, and being a vegetable.

I have actually managed enough German to ask a question and have someone reply in English: “I’m sorry, I don’t speak German.” To which I replied: “Great. Because I don’t either.” haha

I’ve also managed, twice now, to start off a statement in German and finish up in Spanish then just resort to English (or just pointing and grunting) after butchering my attempt to speak German. Because that multi-language deal in the same sentence doesn’t frig with someone’s head or anything, especially mine.

With the wonky weather yesterday and today, I threw on the rain gear and wandered all over town. I found an Irish pub last night and settled in for a pint of cider. Yeah, I know, I’m in flipping Germany and I’m drinking English cider. I can’t explain it, either. I just don’t like beer. After a pint and a half I meandered (If you’ve seen me after a single pint, you’ll know what exactly is involved with my meandering.) back to the gasthof (guesthouse) where I’m staying. I showed up just in time for my dinner reservation there complete with traditional singing and dancing. I didn’t get any good pictures of this because the dancers were too fast to grab a pic off my phone without it blurring.

The dinner menu was in German, so I was winging it. I recognized fisch (fish) and went with that. Darned if the whole damn trout didn’t come out on the plate, haha. I got tired of picking the bones out of the meat after a while, so I gave up and had the potatoes which were fantastic. After a liter of water with dinner, the cider was finally wearing off, so I bailed for my room.

Today I had the rain gear back on with the intent to grab a tour or two somewhere, wasn’t sure where, just somewhere. I ended up just wandering around town with a self-tour of getting a little lost and finding my way back out again. Good times. I took the REALLY long way around to the booking place to go up Zugspitze, the highest mountain in the German Alps. I’ll go back there tomorrow to do that one when the weather is clearer since I couldn’t book a day in advance. And I found the short way around which was a tunnel I’d walked right past TWICE on my mission to find the booking office. Glad I wasn’t in a hurry. haha

Sunday I’m booked to go see Neuschwanstein castle. I have to book a bus to get to the town then figure out the rest of the getting there part to the actual castle. Turns out you have to book that one two days in advance and pick up your tickets 1.5 hrs before your tour. Guess that’s their way of getting you in town and keeping you around to buy stuff while you wait. I don’t know yet what I’m doing on Monday. There is a fantastic chance I’ll wing it just like the other days.

I haven’t done a thing with the new website yet. I thought I was done with publicist interviews pre-vacation and would have a decision there, but I have some follow up stuff to do once I’m back in the states. I started off with 8-10 websites or so for publicists. From those, I¬†narrowed things down to four that piqued my interest. Did four calls and narrowed that down to two. I learned that one of the interviews wasn’t with the actual person I’d be working with, so that will be the extra call. I can tell you that of the four initial calls, they were all great. These folks aren’t making this decision easy, that’s for sure!

Image above by me, 2018, Hattingen, Germany. Sorry it’s a little fuzzy. I had to scale it way down for the website off the original camera jpg. Technology. Weeeeee!

Futbol Madness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I’d like to pretend I’m completely buried in writing related things, it just isn’t true. Well, kinda not true. I am in an online class hosted by Shawn Coyne called Level Up Your Craft. And I have been doing a mix of editing on Forgotten Echoes and writing on the sequel of it, yet to be named (Right now I just call it FE II. Not terribly creative, but considering I was calling When Heroes Fall “BM5” until I got a name for it, FE II works).

I have been sniffing around various publishers to see if I really want to go that route for Forgotten Echoes. I submitted it to my top pick last week, so now it’s sitting tight and waiting. I could do multiple submissions, but I have enough going on without having to figure out who I submitted to and when and such.

The Softball CWS wrapped up and two weeks later the FIFA World Cup started. Luv soccer! As I type this, I’m semi-watching-semi-listening to the Australia v France game. It’s good stuff, and there are still many, many more games to watch over the next few weeks. The drawback (or maybe it’s a good thing) is that they’re all during the day, so I can’t watch games during the work week.

In house news, pending no surprises (It’s my house; I always expect surprises), I should sign papers and be rid of it so I can be officially nomadic by the end of this month.¬† So it really comes down to me just taking things one day at a time, sometimes hour by hour. Sometimes I have no idea what plan A will be, but I have an idea for plans B through F. I’ll just figure it out as I go. The camping gear is in the truck, so I can land any where at any time.

Softball Madness

 

 

 

 

 

Yep, it’s that time of year again for me to lose my mind and binge watch softball. Actually it’s been going on now for a couple of weeks with conference tourneys and regional tourneys. I stayed up entirely too late last night watching the super regionals. So, if you don’t follow softball, that means the real addiction starts on Thursday now that the softball College World Series teams have been sorted out based off the super regional winners.

My team, LSU, was sent packing last night, or rather in the insanely wee hours this morning. But there are other SEC teams still in it, and there will be plenty of good ball games to watch. The CWS teams are Oklahoma City bound, and my productivity level is toilet bound! Yay!

In house news, it was under contract, failed the septic inspection, lost the contract, went back on the market and went under a new contract same day, and the new septic system is due to go in this week. Closing is due at some point late June, but I’m not holding my breath. Too many things can go sideways with this crap. It sells when it sells and not a minute before. I will still be glad when those shenanigans wrap up and I am a home owner no more.

Tent life kicks off this coming weekend. Woot! Woot!

In book news, next week I’ll finish up the Forgotten Echoes manuscript tweaks to ready it for going out to publishers. Since I haven’t published via that route before, I don’t have a bleeding clue what I’m doing which means it’s guaranteed to be interesting!

Right Tools for the Right Job

tools

 

 

 

 

 

I just realized it’s been over a month since my last post. Oops. Time, too often, zips right by on me. My weekends for the last few months have been consumed by juggling two big projects: finishing the first draft of the new book and destroying/putting the house back together.

The house project continues on and seems endless. It’s not, but, crap, it sure seems like it. The book has gone well, and I wrapped up the first draft two weeks ago. I’m wicked excited for this new novel and shockingly enough, I’m not dreading the editing part of things. Normally I despise editing, but not this time. I took a couple of weekends away from writing/editing to just be away from the story for a bit and focus on the house. I’d planned to pick up editing after the holidays wrapped up, but I was getting antsy to start. So I worked on painting the living room yesterday and have started the dive into editing today.

Like a house project, things are more easily done with the right tools. It’s been over a year since I took some kind of writing workshop, so I am signed up for an online course that I’ll start in Jan (unless I get antsy for that too and jump in early). The one I took last year with Art Holcomb was a 10 week run that was incredible. I used a lot of techniques from that course to write this newest story. By the time I sat down to start typing the thing out, I had the first draft completed in under 4 months. This is writing only on weekends and not every single weekend due to other life things that sometimes interfere. Oh, and the first draft comes in at 97K words which I never bothered to check until I was done. I’m shocked by both the timeline and word count myself.

Sure, I’ve landed on a system that clearly works for me and works darn well, but I can always learn more, even if it is learning things that don’t work for me. So, I’m excited for the new course because I’m guaranteed to learn something new either way.

Hope everyone has a great winter regardless of what holidays you do or don’t celebrate. We have snow on the ground in Maine, and I’ve gotten to take The Decimator (aka monster snowblower) out for a couple of runs. We’re both quite happy thus far this winter and ready for some good blizzard action.

 

image by sxc.hu