Old San Juan

We decided earlier this year that we would take a holiday somewhere we’ve never been: Puerto Rico:

We flew down here from New York on Thursday. A major impetus to doing this were cousins of mine, whose family roots are in Puerto Rico. Years ago they had suggested we give it a visit.

When I wrote her asking for some suggestions a couple of months back, one cousin practically overloaded my Messenger:

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Easter 2017

As you may have seen on my Instagram, on Friday we traveled across the pond to Pennsylvania to see my father for Easter, and to have a holiday here in the U.S.:

He has just been “getting by” without my mother. That is about all. I have noticed this since my mother’s death: he’s not really getting “better.”

Ladies, should your man survive you, don’t imagine that that man who’d been in your life will not miss you terribly after you are gone. Don’t assume he will just pick a new wife off the shelf and go merrily on his way, happily ever after. Don’t think you are “replaceable.”

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Lisbon, Portugal

I should be writing, I know that. I have a novel that is now “overdue.” And I am working on it afternoons in the hotel.

But this is just too much to resist and remain locked away all day. We are here only until Sunday. Thursday and Friday, I was out and about at this “secret” destination – which you knew already if you follow my Instagram. And obviously this post’s title gives it away: Lisbon, Portugal:

I even got in a required selfie:

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Deadline Day

As you can see, today is March 31. As you may also see, Conventions is not out today. However, I knew a few weeks ago that the deadline was going to have to give – by a few days or weeks.

I had set “March 31” as publication day in my head sometime late last summer. If I may offer one piece of writing advice based on my own experience, it is this: you must give yourself a deadline that you take seriously. It focuses you on finishing the work. Without one, I assure you that you will drift – and may never finish your book.

Screen shot of Kindle site.

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Little Big Annoyances

Yesterday, we watched the first two episodes of Big Little Lies starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman:

Screen capture of IMDB home page.

Within moments as the first episode opened, this program felt gratingly familiar. If you are new here, you might have missed where I explained (wow, almost 2 years ago now) how The Affair that was not exactly my favorite program – and why. I got through about 3 or 4 episodes of it before I gave up.

And The Affair has apparently been a success on Showtime in the U.S.

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Rocket Flares In A Pre-Dawn Sky

The clocks moved forward here in Britain last night…

After the “short” night, I’m still awake early. I am usually an early riser – particularly now. My brain seems on “full speed” as I awaken and for some time afterwards.

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Haste Ye Back (To Rothesay)

On Monday, the Mrs. had airline business in Scotland, west of Glasgow. Somehow in all my years here, I’d managed never to have visited Scotland. So I joined her – and grabbed some photos over the three days there:

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Worried Novelist Walks Through Hitchin

Almost there. Actually, “there” is one of my multitude of tiny problems. 130,000 words and at the point where major changes are essentially impossible, I’m fussing now over single words and individual – but not quite exactly what I wished they were – sentences.

It is that maddening creative moment when you the writer are down to the level of anguishing over the likes of “I’ve used ‘there’ too often in those two paragraphs.” Or “Rather than three sentences, perhaps make it one sentence joined together with semi-colons?” Or “That is supposed to be ‘at’ not ‘as’. Spell-check missed it! Ugh!”

As you get “there,” you also need to pause, breathe, take an extra-moment or two, and maybe see some ducks:

Because it is difficult not to think “Eh, there be monsters out there…” I find I am increasingly consumed with worry. As I correct issues of “as” that should be “at,” I confess even to having moments of despair. “All of this effort,” my mind races as I look yet again at the screen, “and what if it stinks? I may have to jump into that water in Hitchin town center. But I suspect it may not be deep enough…”

To be a writer is to be forever in some self-doubt.

The last thing I’ve been doing is daydreaming about conquering the universe…

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From France To England (Again)

Well, that’s all for the latest France visit. I no longer know how many times I’ve been in the country. I’ve lost count.

If you have never been there and ever have a chance for a trip, don’t hesitate. I would suggest, yes, see Paris, but also make sure you get away from there and find a part of the country that is NOT Paris. And, above all, if you are American, don’t worry: trust me: the French do NOT hate Americans!

By coincidence, returning to Geneva airport on Saturday we ended up with the same woman driver who had taken us to the airport last year. And she remembered us. We had a great chat once again over the hour and a half between La Clusaz and the airport.

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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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