This is a Public Service Announcement

If you get new post notifications and emails from me today, I hereby apologize. I’m migrating my website, and that includes moving and reposting some older blog entries from the previous site. Ignore any notifications about new posts for the next day or so.

I’ll come up with a catchy, obvious post title when I’m back to new blog posts.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled internet, already in progress.

Rise, Ye Mighty Tent!

The mighty Author Tent for Beaver County BookFest arises skyward today on Market Street in downtown Beaver, Pa. The greatest book festival in the state kicks off tomorrow night (Sept. 8) at 7 p.m. with an all-female author panel Q&A discussing all aspects of the writing craft and business. It’s a fundraiser for a local school library, so come on out and enjoy food, beverages (adult and otherwise), and fun while helping a great cause.
Then, Saturday, Sept. 8, the main event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a free admission festival, with food vendors, other book-related retail vendors, and, of course, the more than five dozen authors inside the aforementioned big Author Tent.


My copies of Train of Thought: Travel Essays from a One-Track Mind showed up on my porch yesterday, and as of today it’s also available on Amazon. So now I can breathe easily. Along with copies of my four other books, I’m now officially ready for BookFest!
By Sunday afternoon, I’ll be ready to collapse… much like this tent will do at about the same time. Come see it while it’s still set up!
(top photo, credit Valentine Brkich, )

Real Life Encroaches

I’ve been back from my cross-country bucket-list train trip for about a week now. Hard to tell exactly, though, because my brain hasn’t fully adjusted to having a routine again.
That’s probably because I had to make three long car trips up east of the city this first week back:
  • one to pick up the guinea pigs (and apparently guinea pigs do not appreciate being stuffed into a small plastic box and carted 50 miles in a car while “Weird Al” Yankovic music is blaring over the car speakers);
  • one to join my daughters on a house-hunting spree (which included one house where we were counting the bullet holes in the windows and matching up the trajectories of similar holes found in the dining room wall—just like an episode of CSI, yay!);
  • and one to attend a standing-room-only memorial service for the wife of my first RP pastor.
Talk about a week of ups and downs!

At home I’ve been trying to:
  • catch up on freelance work;
  • sort through 1,500 pictures and 20,000 words of notes from the trip;
  • do laundry (apparently people like to wear clean underwear around here—how rude);
  • go grocery shopping (apparently these same people appreciate eating several times per day—every day);
  • and stare at the waving fields of wheat in our backyard. Well, it’s just uncut grass, because the lawn mower Wayne ordered in early April still needs to be picked up in Calcutta—Ohio, not India (though, judging from how long it’s taking him to go get it, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not in India).

No matter what, though, I’m still organizing those trip notes and am now buckling down to turn all this raw data into Train of Thought this summer. Those of you who backed me on Indiegogo (and thank you for that!) will be glad to know that I’ll be contacting you soon about mailing addresses for hard copies of the book and email addresses for the Kindle editions.
Other than all that … I think I need a nap. One in a real bed that doesn’t convert back into a cute little seat on a train once morning hits. Having said that, I do miss someone else cooking all my meals and sometimes serving them to me in my private little room. Those rare steaks were pretty good! Maybe I’ll grill a few ribeyes this weekend … if I can find the grill amid the wheat fields.

But Wait … There’s More!

Thanks to all of you marvelous backers for a successful, fun Indiegogo campaign for Train of Thought! I couldn’t have done it without you! Well, technically, I could  have, but it would have been a pointless waste of time to write up an entire campaign only to donate a thousand bucks to myself and then watch Indiegogo take a cut. I’ve done stupider things, but not lately.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I was thanking you lovable, wacky knuckleheads…


Thanks to you, now the credit card company will stop throwing panicky fits over that huge charge I made to Amtrak a few weeks ago.

I’ve already made quite a few notes for the book, and I haven’t even left yet. But of course, a strangely introspective trip like this is going to start in my head months ahead of time. That’s the beauty of our overthinking, introvert brains: we never stop asking, “What if?” We are the kings and queens of the Worst-Case Scenario.

The official trip starts in early May, around midnight here in Pittsburgh. Due to my husband’s work schedule at that time, he can’t drive me to the station. So I’ll start off with a cab ride to the train station downtown. And I’m already obsessing over whether the cab will show up on time. (Just ONE time I called a cab in the 1990s and it was late, and I’ll never let myself forget it.)

Once I acclimated to the idea of a cab, though, I realized I might as well start the trip off with an introvert’s worst nightmare: sitting alone late at night in a small vehicle with a stranger who will drop me off in a desolate part of the downtown area. Yay!

And of course it will be smooth sailing from there. Right? Because… what could go wrong?*


*rhetorical question, not meant for actual answers

P.S. If any of your friends (or enemies, I’m not picky) still want to get in on this sweet campaign deal at one of my many backer levels, the campaign will continue to run until the trip. Oh sure, anyone will be able to buy the book after it comes out in September, but only backers will get combo deals on my other books, plus exclusive, hand-wringing updates like this one (including some photos and maybe video!) during the actual trip. (If you didn’t feel special before, I bet you’re preening like crazy now.)

Feel free to share this link with anyone. I’m not proud. Plus, that credit card company is still hassling me about the other half of that large Amtrak transaction…


But Where Do I Put My Passport?

Don’t get over-excited, but I bought a new wallet for the train trip. What’s wrong with my current wallet? Nothing, really. Except this new one not only holds my credit cards, cash, and travel documents, but also will do my laundry and help me memorize the entire New Testament. At least, that’s what I’m guessing based on the little insert that came with it. I’m reproducing the text exactly as it appears—typos, bad punctuation, and odd capitalization included.
I’m not doing this to mock whatever bad Google translation program they probably utilized to go from Chinese to English. I’m merely asking myself this: Does it seem as if they assume English-speaking folks need to have things repeated many times, with slightly different wording, in order to remember them?
I offer you the following, without commentary, if only because some things need no explanation:
  • This High Density linen/cotton blended fabric All-in-One Passport Holder fits your iphone, Holding Passport, Boarding Card, Credit Cards, Tickets.  Coins, Keys, money, other documents, etc.
  • The Passport Wallet is simple, compact, lightweight, zippered and multifunctional. Portable and Compact case, is easily held in Handbag passport holder. men’s and women’s travel gear case. An ideal travel accessory holder, a nice cover for your passport.
  • Best travel documents holder with smooth Closing Zipper, secure wallet that protects your travel accessories. A zip around travel wallet for your convenience.
  • Durable travel wallet with multiple pockets, perfect for all your needed documents.
  • A slim small wallet for holding and making easy to access your documents while traveling. Fits your hand, your bag, and your jacket pocket.
Doesn’t this make you want to go out and buy twelve of these wallets? Or invest in company stock? Or stab someone?