La Clusaz, French Alps

If you have seen Instagram, we have been in the Alps since Saturday…

We are about an hour and a half from Geneva Airport:

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The “Magnum Opus”

Last night, post-dinner, unexpectedly we had a book discussion which I share in part here as it essentially went. Oh, and we were also drinking, you understand, too. The Mrs had a glass of lovely French wine, and I was consuming – of course – a brandy.

“Truth in alcohol,” so to speak? πŸ˜‰


“….So you got inspiration on the beach?” she remarked at the table, having seen me frantically typing away earlier. [I had been making notes about some important new subplot ideas.]

“Yes, something made me think….”

Proofing part of "Conventions" on the beach the other day. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Proofing part of “Conventions” on the beach the other day. [Photo by me, 2016.]
“It wasn’t that topless babe jumping into the Bay of Biscay?” she laughed.

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Another Valentine’s Is Here

Good morning! Well, it’s *that* day once more:

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a red rose.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a red rose.

As a man, you suppose you face expectations. What to do? More importantly, what does she expect? Above all, how do you show her how much you care?:

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And Where The Heck Is That Accent From Exactly?

At Swiss border control at Geneva Airport yesterday, I ended up within earshot of a “middle aged” American woman as I heard her explaining herself to the border agent. Apparently he had questioned her as to why she was in Switzerland. She stumbled a bit over words as she replied that she was here for a week’s vacation and lived in London.

Before she even said “London,” I’d had a feeling that was her “home.” For years I’ve heard her “accent” on most Americans long-resident here. The exception seems to be if they hail from the Deep South: that American accent seems to take a little longer to “Anglicize.”

Corner of my UK driving licence. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Corner of my UK driving licence. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Black Friday “Fizzle”

We were visiting relatives in Connecticut for Thanksgiving Day and I drove us back here to Pennsylvania yesterday. It was at my mother’s cousin’s. She and her family were so good – insisting on cooking for us and trying to support my father on the holiday after my mother’s recent death.

While I was out a little while ago, I heard an Associated Press report on the car radio that “Black Friday” has apparently begun “to fizzle out.” Most malls had plenty of parking, and “mob scenes” of past years were non-existent.

Free Stock Photo: A beautiful girl enjoying sales signs.
Free Stock Photo: A beautiful girl enjoying sales signs.

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Unexpected Interruption

We are on a short break in Devon. Problem is the rental house doesn’t have the promised internet.


And getting mobile net on the phone in this rural coastal area is unpredictable at best. I’m sitting outside a shop right now, and just had a pile of emails come thru! I was able to check Twitter as well finally.

You feel so lost without the net nowadays. I’m seeing if anything can be done. If not, well, I’ll get lots of writing done on my down time.

Hopefully, all will be back to normal next weekend. If not before, see you then. πŸ™‚

Off To Amelia

My Dad having now fully recovered from his heart failure back in August, and the implant surgery in December, we felt that after the tough, cold winter he and my Mum had spent in Pennsylvania, that they needed a holiday.

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After A Working Vacation

Noticing Mr. Scott off-duty reading what appears to Captain Kirk to be still more work-related materials, he smilingly confronts the Enterprise’s chief engineer:

Capt. Kirk: Another technical journal, Scotty?
Scott: Aye.
Capt. Kirk: Don’t you ever relax?
Scott: I am relaxing.

How many of us do that? I’m sure I’m not alone. What did I bring along as “light reading” for the beach and poolside while on vacation?:

Florida vacation “light reading.” [Photo by me, 2014.]

Hey, don’t laugh. You have your preferences too. And when she saw what went into the bag as we packed, my wife voiced surprise: “What? No Jefferson biography?”

Err, nope. Not this holiday anyway. Ah, but I knew there is always also what’s on the Kindle! πŸ˜‰

* * *

That said, I did not read or, naturally, write – other than a bit on Twitter and Facebook, a couple of emails and, of course, this blog – too much that wasn’t my manuscript. As a result, I made more manuscript progress than I had expected before we started the long trek down I-95 to the Florida Keys.

Yesterday, I assessed the full manuscript. I have enough of it now that I can pull up the in-progress sequel in .pdf and compare it to the final .pdf of Passports. Its internal format and layout will be the same as Passports. Given the books are a series, I want them to fit nicely side by side.

I even have cover photo ideas – both for front and back. I’m still unhappy with “stock model” photography I’ve seen (apologies to photographers; I do know you have to eat too), so the back cover may – may – include a photo of a “non-identifiable person” that I snapped a long time ago. I’m still wrestling with using it or not: it looks agonizingly good, though – thus my dilemma. (I could still be persuaded on “stock photos” if I saw any I really liked.)

Most importantly, it appears splitting the sequel into halves, as I had been thinking I might, won’t be necessary. I have plowed through so much since mid-June that if I can keep it up I may be able to get the whole “400 page” sequel published in one shot during the late autumn as I had hoped. Almost time again for the proofreaders….

* * *

You do learn lots, storyline, and storytelling-wise, one book to the next: what sorta works v. and what is a home run. I am immensely proud of Passports. But I promised Kam’s sister I would dedicate the second volume to Kam, so I’m determined (obsessed is probably a more accurate description) to make the second volume “better” than the first one.

Overall while the sequel is still far from finished, I’m happy about where I am now compared to where I was at this point in mid-2013 with the Passports manuscript…. long before this blog appeared in the endless internet universe and most of you knew I even existed. And, of course, before I knew most of you existed either! πŸ˜‰

What a world we live in now, isn’t it?

I hope you’re having a good weekend….

“So, what was her name?”

Yesterday, before an iguana decided to make a late afternoon visit to the pool for a quick drink….

Iguana by the pool. Marathon, Florida. [Photo by me, 2014.]
Iguana by the pool. Marathon, Florida. [Photo by me, 2014.]

….I had had the iPad out poolside for several hours. Between dips I’d gotten down to more writing. I’m determined to use my time here productively. As I had told our friends’ 9 year old daughter (who keeps asking me questions; she seems very interested in what I am doing), “When you’re writing, you’re never on a holiday really. Because you never know when something comes to mind. You have to be ready for it.”

Sometime after, the iPad packed away, the two of us reclining in the shade (good grief, the sun here is hot!) on loungers and keeping an eye on the kids splashing around in the pool, my wife asked me, “Did you get a lot done today?”

Lowering a paperback I was reading, I replied, “I did. I woke up this morning thinking, ‘God, how could I have forgotten to include that!?’ I definitely wouldn’t have been happy if I didn’t.”

From behind her sunglasses, deadpan “Englishly” my [English] wife smiled and needled me, “Okay, so, what was her name?” πŸ˜‰

Happy Sunday, wherever you are!