Writing on Vacation

Hello, hello, hello! It’s lovely to speak with you from beautiful Hilton Head Island, South Carolina!

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I love beaches that save sand dunes for wildlife!

It’s been a lovely trip here. Incidentally, this is the location that inspired the book, “The Water is Wide”.  It’s a little spooky to read the account of Pat’s time teaching the descendants of plantation workers abandoned on the island and growing their own community through the decades here because Pat is from my area. I can far too easily put myself into his shoes in the book. You can read a book blogger’s review here.

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But though it’s a great book, it doesn’t really reflect the area very much anymore. Few people on the island are locals, as Hilton Head has become quite the Summer beach getaway destination filled with more transplants than Southern accents.

I honestly haven’t written a single thing in my manuscript while on vacation. Instead, I wrote like a madwoman on the long drive South, and once I got here I restrained myself to writing only in my personal notebook with bits of poetry and dialogue and other shiny words I like to collect but never publish.

In the end I probably got more work done that way instead of slogging through work when I want to be on the beach or having fun, but I mainly did it that way to just give myself a break. It’s not a bad thing to take time off, and I haven’t really done that since I started working for myself (surprisingly, I’m actually an awful boss to myself) so it was important to me to actually let myself not do anything remotely related to work.

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Aerial Adventure is great fun- and exercise!

I even got a chance to push some of my boundaries and conquer my issue with heights in a treetop obstacle course at the local zipline place. It was much more intense than I’d expected from the advertising, but it was very fun (even despite the sore muscles and bruises!)

treelined road right of ocean view and shore

Thankfully, my retreat here hasn’t led to any direct progress in writing P.S. The Dragon Sleights, but I needed the break to energize and not throw the whole thing out the window after months of working on it.

Now I’m refreshed I’ll be able to get back to work and zip right through it.

I hope you are enjoying your Summer reading and, if you have one, your vacation!

The Literary at Leisure: A Roundup of YA Beach Reads for Older Teens

In honor of Summer FINALLY happening this year, I’m kicking off a new series of YA book roundups: Beach Reads! These books are totally perfect for hanging reading on your sand speckled towel at the shore, of course, but they are also great reads for the flight to your vacation destination. Or the hours long road trip. Or sitting in school or work and wishing you were heading off to some vacation, for that matter.

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A trip around West Europe involves a lot of boy drama and family drama. And you know me, family drama is right up my alley. Like most vacation themed books it’s pretty light hearted but it does delve into some exploration of identity. Plus, being nineteen is an awkward feeling where you don’t quite feel adult or teen, so that’s definitely interesting to connect to.

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Lottie’s Aunt, a famous author, dies, but that’s only the beginning. A series of letters from the grave push her to do new things that will lead her to her tipping point. The book pays homage to books and reading as much as to the mysteries that plague Lottie’s Summer.

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Lara is a girl facing the Summer of Senior Year. Yep, where she is no is all a pretty big deal. But in between fun and trying to moonlight as her parent’s wedding planner, she has to deal with the looming problem of The Future.

A happy ending doesn't mean everything needs to be resolved. In Fangirl, Cath is a loner fan-fic writer who’s dreading the social interactions she's expected to make during her first year of college. With her twin sister pulling away and her father urging her toward independence, she feels lost and clings harder to her favorite characters. But then she meets a boy. And another. And much more importantly, discovers she's a talented writer even when she's not in the world of her favorite author, but one she's created.

Cath is a bit of a mess. Honestly, life is moving too fast for her, and she isn’t quite ready for her first year of college yet. It’s going to happen soon either way though. Join Cath as she digs deeper into reading and fandom to escape the pressures of reality, only to find that maybe everything is going to turn out okay.

What did you think of this week’s #BeachReads? Did you read and enjoy any of these books?

Revising on The Road

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One of the joys of the holidays is to spend time with the people you love. Unfortunately, in my case at least, the people I love live far away from where I live. This weekend’s trip, in particular, involved taking a full day car trip to visit.

Writing on the road can be a little messy, but it can be done. Provided you aren’t the type of person who gets car sick and can’t handle reading or writing on a road trip, of course. Because if you have that problem, your best bet is probably to take your ginger pill and listen to an audio book as you lean your head out the window.

But for me writing on the road is not only something I can do, but something I like to do. It fills hours of monotony quite well, and it’s very satisfying to see how my book builds.

All I do is play music in my earbuds, and type away on a full keyboard laptop, and it works. The trick is just paying attention to what you’re writing.

In other news I enjoyed my weekend stay with family a lot. I got to see my cousins who continue to grow like bean sprouts, and I could spend time with my ailing grandfather, so it was a good experience, if a little sad. Fantasy is a great way to escape from sad situations, but for now I am content with my life and my family and I will continue writing.

The Mecca of Bookish Spaces

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My own shaky photo is not as nice as the official one from their website at the top of the page!

You may notice here a photo of a gorgeous building. This is in fact a building that was engineered in its time to be grander and more “Western” than the original Western European spaces is was meant to outshine- with the addition of copious amounts of the newly invented light bulb.

That’s right. I went to the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress

Obsessive literature nerds, like myself, may know the Library of Congress as being the national library of the United States. Especially if you’ve followed this blog and remember I’ve already posted about their digital offerings inspiring me before. If they were local they might even realize that it’s completely open to the public and hosts public bookish events all the time in an attempt to remedy their reputation as being for researchers only (they totally aren’t) as well as to further their aim of spreading literacy through programs like The Center for The Book and the national library for the blind as well as capturing the American story through recordings of interviews with laborers of every job and veterans and all sorts of people whose stories are rarely heard.

What I like is that it is literally the biggest library in the entire world. They have four giant buildings worth of books, scrolls, films, reels, movies, magazine, folios, photos, music sheets. They cover law and science and that sort of thing but every novel conventionally published in the United States, and occasionally some self published books as well, are kept there. You’ve name it, they’ve got it. They even have a collection of something called fiches, which I have never heard of before.

A Great DC Day Trip

It was a magical place to visit, even if it wasn’t my first time there- but honestly I could go daily to each of the many reading rooms and public rooms and galleries and presentation rooms and I still would not see all there was to see.

What’s your favorite bookish place?