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Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Report From Jim: Ben & Jerry’s

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Hole in Door

There used to be a deadbolt in that hole.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Wedding: Vermont – A Nice Inn, with Undertones of Stephen King

Day 2 – July 16, 2012

K went to get breakfast and work while I showered. She couldn’t get the door open. The dead bolt knob turned but the bolt would not retract.

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Posted in About a Wedding

A Visit to Mall of America

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So Not a Shopper, But…


…I finally visited Mall of America in Minneapolis Minnesota. It was overwhelming. 4 stories of shops and things to do.

I went into a store that sold only salsa and hot sauces of every different kind. Sampled some, but ended up not buying any, as we were on the road.

Molly has got to shop this place in an upcoming book! It’s huge, and there’s always something going on. We skipped the roller coaster (although our friend Roz assured me it wasn’t quite as awful as a full version adventure park version).

Instead, we went to the Star Trek exhibit. Fun. When are they making the next movie? I’m curious to see where they go from here.

20140609-065427-24867355.jpgBest thing of all? The giant Lego Transformer. Now I know what to get my grandson for the next dozen years. It will take us that long to make something like this.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?

Revisiting the Wedding Roadtrip: Mount Washington

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Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Cog Railroad

Mt. Washington Summit Sign

Day 1 – July 15, 2012

Left about 30 mi utes behind schedule at 8:30 am.  First stop was to top off the gas. I had filled up the day before and logged 15 miles when I got back to the gas station.  Put in an additional 2.4 gallons, too nervous to see if could over fill it more.

Then a car wash for ” the ultimate” , the car is “looking good”. Kelly said that if anyone told her I’d stop and get a wash before hitting the road she would have said they were crazy.

Hit 95 s to Newport then onto rt 2.  Since all either of us had that morning was coffee we were both interested in breakfast: we had no half/ half so I tried whipped cream in the  coffee, very rich and very good.

The fast food in Newport was not enticing so we kept driving.  In the small town of Norridgewok we drove by a busy little place called “What’s for Supper.

I had a good cheese omelet, bacon, held the home fries but could not pass up the toast. And I am glad I didn’t. The toast was great, thick home made wheat.

Kelly wanted a low carb breakfast as well but her eyesight betrayed her, she orderedm” the double” which was French toast, home fries, bacon, sausage and two slices of thick cinnamon bread. Oh and 2 soft boiled eggs. She gave me 1 sausage. [I thought I was ordering the 2 egg, 2 bacon, 2 toast breakfast...I left a *lot* on my plate...but I did sample everything.]

Breakfast was 16 so 20 with tip.

Pleasent drive into the white mountains of nh and the town of Gorham.  We planned a trip to. Mt Washington but how to get there? Drive or cog railroad. I thought the cog would be fun, and easier on the car. But I couldn’t find it! The gps did not have a listing for cog railroad but did find the co way scenic railroad. So a pretty long slog past the auto,road through bustling N Conway. Pull in as talk to a guy helping with parking, conversation reveals this train is not the cog and doesn’t go to the top of mt washington. Just another 35 miles, turns out the cog will cost about 125 for both of us.

Turns out driving would have cost about 33 and taking a van would have cost 60.

About an hour to the top on the cog, pretty cool and we concentrate on scenery.

In the 60s at top. Pretty decent views, some fog. Spent an hour exploring and using the new camera.

Trip down was 35 minutes.  Slight rain below 3000 ft.  As we walked to the car I remarked again on what a great looking car. It was parked next to a very clean nice looking Lexis. I think the Sonata looked better. [Still boggled he washed the car. Already over hearing how good it looks...although it does look good.]

Where to eat, to sleep or drive.  The astute among you will note no mention of lunch, as there was no lunch.

There is a beautiful scenic overlook in Conway that we went to a million years ago when the boys were small. We watched a sunset while eating Subway we bought across the street. Subway was still there so we parked, ran across the road, ordered and went back to eat at a picnic table.  We each got a foot long and switched half. I had roast beef on flat bread and Kelly had turkey and cheese on some good bread.  Diet iced tea for me and water for Kelly.

Used hotel coupon app to find a hotel.  Big problem, the hotel needs the coupon and we have no way to print. The nice checkin lady at Merrill barn let me email her a picture( used iPad to snap a picture of coupon on the screen). 89 bucks , which means 97,  includes a breakfast of carbs, home made muffins, cereal and fruit.  Can I pass the muffins by?  I have been strong, but human this past week.

A big challenge will be exercising and eating low carb.

Car Info: In addition to looking sharp, got an amazing 45.7 indicated, 267 miles traveled; we are only 175 miles from home however.

Nearly 400 miles of range left. And the driving is in the white mountains, amazing.


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Posted in About a Wedding

Vermont Solitude

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Another trip across country begins

I’m on the road again!

baybridgelightsWe’re heading toward grandson territory in California. This time, we decided to go through Canada. Passports in hand, we looked forward to conquering new lands.

20140606-121147-43907269.jpgWe only got as far as Lyndon, Vermont the first day.

We stopped at a B&B, where the proprietor made us feel like slackers — she and her husband retired, then bought and spent three years renovating a beautiful Vermont farmhouse as a B&B.

20140606-121147-43907892.jpgAfter 25 years, she clearly still loves the work, and takes care that her guests will be comfortable in one of the 5 unique bedrooms. Because we were her only guests that night, we picked the canopy bed room. Lovely night’s sleep.

20140606-121148-43908444.jpgThe breakfast was done on an AGA stove (I forgot to snap a picture!) and served in a dining room with an elegantly set table.

The little touches were everywhere. Flowers. Paintings, a huge photobook of the renovation process (they took the place down to the studs in some areas).

If you’re ever in Lyndon, Vermont, I highly recommend the Branch Brook Bed and Breakfast. They’re open year round, and love bicyclers, hikers, snowmobilers, skiers, and anyone with an interesting story to tell. 20140606-121149-43909022.jpg

I hope to be so enthusiastic and connected in my retirement.

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Posted in Travel

Remembering Maya Angelou

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Standing at The Corner of Fate and Coincidence

book coverI just spent the morning gathering together inspirational quotes to Tweet. Started with Gandhi (of course), moved on to Lao Tzu (naturally), then Dickens, then Shakespeare…and then I realized they were all men. So I found Maya Angelou, renowned poet and author, and immersed myself in reading her many pithy sayings.

And then I went onto Twitter, where my dashboard informed me that a trending hashtag was RIP Maya Angelou. I checked to make sure it wasn’t a hoax. It wasn’t.

I’m both sad, and oddly inspired. We all die, and 86 vital years on this earth is not too shabby a legacy for anyone. Her words were so powerful they will live on after her.

For example,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Thank you, Maya, for making me feel the full human scope of passion, loss, and redemption with your writing. I will never forget that.

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Posted in About a Book, Pardon My Gossip

Seeking a True Account of Cinderella

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cinderellabrideEvery tale … should be a Fairy Tale

That’s my new tagline. Do you like it? I do.

I’ve been quiet for a few months, but now I’m bursting with news, on two fronts. One is that Shop and Let Die, the first book in my mystery shopping mom series is in production and will be released June 15th (at last!).

The second is that I’ve taken my cue from some other successful indie authors and begun working on a second series. While that novel won’t be out for a while yet, I have begun working on the tie-in short stories. There will be a thousand of them (yes, 1,000).

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Posted in Fairytales, Mystery Shopping Mom

How To Make A YouTube Video in Under an Hour

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YouTube, the Intimidating Frontier

I have wanted to do a YouTube video for a long time. But I was intimidated by the idea. Would I need to wear makeup? I rarely do makeup. Could I be clever enough? Brief enough? Visual enough?

I have discarded ideas for YouTube videos as diverse as book trailers, cooking demos, and writing instruction (exactly how do you break a scene down and see how it works well…or doesn’t?). I have half-written scripts. I even did a video for a Kickstarter of mine. But never a YouTube video.

Until today. In under an hour.

The Video

Yes, Really, Under an Hour

Here’s all you need to do the same:

  1. An idea (mine was to share the “Don’t Text and Drive” promotion that was already ongoing)
  2. Graphics (our infographics, a screenshot from our contest page, easy peasy)
  3. Audio script (better to know what you’re planning to say than to sound hesitant with a live mic)
  4. Special effect audio files (car crash, creative common score)
  5. A program to edit everything into a work of beauty (we have Final Cut, but iMovie is good, too)
  6. A YouTube channel

I suppose I should confess my secret ingredient: my youngest is a videographer and he was home today. But this project truly went from soup to nuts in under an hour.

I can’t wait to decide on my next YouTube project. Hmmmm.

P.S. Please take the poll in the sidebar about whether you’ve ever texted while you drove.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?, My, How This Business Has Changed

Great Ideas Come from the Heart

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Ten authors. Thirty plus audiobooks. One contest.

Ten authors. Thirty plus audiobooks. One week. One contest.

Good Ideas, vs Great Ideas

I often think I have great ideas. Ask anyone who has known me longer than a few hours. They can tell you that I frequently start a sentence with, “I just had a great idea!”

Not that the ideas are always that great, of course. But I do love that burst of excitement that comes with an idea that seems a real winner. Having had a few great ideas that panned out in my life, I can definitely say they are fun…in the same way roller coasters are fun, even when your heart dips into your stomach and you wonder if you’ll survive the trip this time.

Telling a great idea from a good idea isn’t always easy, but the great ones tend to stick with you. If they don’t work at first, they come around and sneak up on you another way, until everything comes together and magic happens.

I can also say that my greatest ideas always come from the heart. Like this newest idea I had to promote audiobooks, which, along with 9 other authors, I’m unveiling today.

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Posted in Crazy or Genius?, My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

An End is Just One Step to a New Beginning

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a picture of a sign that says Welcome The Author's World NINC 2013

What I saw when I got off the plane in Myrtle Beach!

Sometimes It’s a Book That Ends, Sometimes It’s a Conference

The 2013 NINC (Novelists Inc) conference ended October 27th. I left the beach on the 28th. That’s two weeks ago and I’m just now ready to blog about it.

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed

An Audiobook Narrator Talks Accents and Character Voices

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Recently, I had a conversation with the narrator of two Once Upon a Wedding audiobooks (The Impetuous Bride and The Next Best Bride). She’d begun with The Next Best Bride, which has a female British narrator and all British characters. I really liked her narration (as do readers, judging by the brisk sales). However, The Impetuous Bride offered much more of a challenge, because the very British Rosaline Fenster has her romantic adventure along the wagon trail to California accompanied by a runaway slave, an American child, and with a very American male in the person of Rob Lewis.

Arielle did a beautiful job. As I listened, I began to wonder: just how does an audiobook narrator keep all those character voices and accents straight? And then I quickly snapped Arielle up for The Twelfth Night Bride (where Kate, the youngest Fenster sister, follows her wayward husband to Ireland).

Arielle Lipshaw Speaks in Many Voices

You asked how I keep both accents straight during a book like this. The answer is – it’s not easy! This book is definitely the most challenging I’ve done as far as keeping character voices and accents straight. It included narration (my own voice but using a British accent), Ros (female, British), Rob (male, American, western), Gwyneth (child, American), Moses (male, American, southern), Ophelia (female, American, southern) and a bunch more! There were definitely many, many times when I found myself forgetting to switch back into a British accent after reading some of Rob’s dialogue, or started reading one of Ros’s lines as a man rather than a woman.

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Posted in My, How This Business Has Changed
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