Hiking the Colorado Trail

I have this obsession for hiking the Colorado Trail in one go, all 500 miles of it. But before I can tackle the whole trail, I need a lot more training. I’d also love to find a furry friend to hike it with, but if I do that, I won’t be able to start at the Waterton Canyon trailhead in Denver because dogs are not allowed in the canyon. The Colorado Trail Foundation website lists an alternate route to the beginning of the CT, starting at Indian Creek trailhead east of Sedalia.

Saturday was a beautiful day for hiking. Sunny. Some snow on the ground. Not too cold. I drove to the Indian Creek trailhead to check out this alternate route and decided to hike to the intersection where the Indian Creek Trail #800 intersects with the CT. I was glad to have my traction devices because the trail was icy and in some spots like a bobsled track. Trail #800 took me through a shadowy gulch—crossing Bear Creek twice, along a ridge with beautiful views, and back down to the junction at the CT, arriving at Lenny’s Rest two and half hours later. I snapped some pictures and ate my lunch, thinking about the day when I will be stopping at this bench with my backpack and my furry friend.

I hiked 4.4 miles only to walk a few yards on the CT. But now I know where my journey will begin. I’m calling January 16 the official first training day to prepare for my CT through hike.

Lenny’s Rest on the CT

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Happy New Year

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

My plan was to finish the first draft of Book 3 by the end of 2020, but I didn’t quite make it. This morning I wrote the end of the last chapter, but there are still two or three chapters between that one and Chapter 35 where I left off. Basically, I need to write the grand finale and get the characters to that final chapter, but I’m not sure how. Reading the draft the way it is now might spark some insight, or go hiking for inspiration. Hiking is the best remedy for everything for me. Fresh air, sunshine, and Nature are magic. Cheers.

Merry Christmas and A Peaceful Season

For several weeks now, I told myself I wouldn’t decorate for Christmas. No tree. No lights. I don’t know why. I guess, I just didn’t feel like it.

Then semester break started, and I’ve finally had some time to tidy up around here, having neglected my place because of school and writing. Now with extra time on my hands, I set out to remedy the situation. Books were moved from one shelf to another. Some boxes were emptied, others were filled. Some things went to charity, some in the trash, and some books needed to go into storage. So, while I was at the storage unit, my Christmas tree and the box with decorations stood right by the door. Hmm! Seeing them there, they begged me to take them home. How could I say no? They were easily snatched up and whisked away.
Last night, I listened to Christmas songs while I set up the tree, decorating it with ornaments my parents had sent me over the years. It made me nostalgic and a little sad, but when it was all done and the lights were twinkling brightly, I was glad I had done it.

Some of the decoration is just cute, like the little Elven girl with a present in one hand. So, I drew a picture of her. Wishing you all a Merry One, Everyone.

Hiking Adventure With Bird Encounter

This Sunday morning’s hike took me through meadows and Aspen groves in one of Colorado’s State Parks. At one point, I sat on a bench to eat a snack, and I had just packed away the remaining food, when three Gray Jays dived toward me, reminding me of Hitchcock’s The Birds. At the last minute, they seemed to remember their manners and settled instead on an Aspen tree near the bench, but one of them dive-bombed me three times while I held up my phone to take photos.
Gray Jays are also known as “Camp Robbers” because they miraculously show up wherever there is food to find. Beats me how they knew I was sitting on that bench eating a snack. According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, the Gray Jay is unusually tame and habitually goes into camps to steal food. The book didn’t mention dive-bombing and harassing.
Since my first encounters with Gray Jays years ago, I have always had the impression that they were just extremely friendly birds, but I have never seen them behave as brazenly as they did today. Maybe they thought they could steal some lunch off me. No way, guys.

Finished the NaNoWriMo Challenge

It’s November 30th and the last day of the NaNoWriMo challenge. I can’t believe the month is already over. It was tough on some mornings to write at least 1667 words, but once I got started and with the help of coffee, the words found their way onto the page. I’ve finished with a total of 50585 words, and I’m well into Chapter 17.

Now what?
Now, I challenge myself to finish the first draft by December 31st. Book 1 has 29 chapters and Book 2 has 31. That means if Book 3 will have the same number of chapters, I’m more than halfway through the book as of today. BUT, this is the third book in the trilogy, and many things have been happening in the story that need to be wrapped up. So, it might take a few more words and a couple of more chapters to finish it. We’ll see…

21 Days of NaNoWriMo and a Box full of Books

Twenty-one days into National Novel Writing Month, I have written over 35K words and reached Chapter 13. There are 9 days and 15K words remaining to reach the goal.
I really enjoy the way the novel is going so far. It is very unusual for me that I didn’t plot or plan the novel the way I usually do. Usually, I would plan months in advance every detail for every chapter, outline all of the plot’s twists and turns, write character sketches, etc., but not this time. There just wasn’t enough time to get that done before NaNoWriMo started on November 1st. So now, I’m winging it. What I did know though is how the third book starts and how it must end. In the mean time, I’m discovering the details of the story from here to there as I make it up. It’s fun. I like it. Well, you’ve got to try something different once in a while. There will still be the edits, lots of edits, after the first draft is done.

Besides working on Book 3, I am taking care of Book 2. I received the whole box filled with Book 2 on Thursday. Those books are contributor copies, copyright application copies, and friends and family copies. I very much enjoy this part, when the book is all done and published, to give several of copies away as gifts. I also brought two copies to the local library that took my first book as well. Hopefully, the readers will like and enjoy this second story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

NaNoWriMo – Day 15 – Halfway there

November 1st started the 2020 National Novel Writing Month. My second novel, Sophie and the Magic Seeds, began with NaNoWriMo and lots of notes and planning before hand. Trying to be quicker about my novel writing, I’ve decided to start Novel 3 this way, hoping I’ll be finishing this last book of the trilogy a bit faster than the first two.
It is now Day 15, and I’ve made it past the halfway mark, totaling 25,624 words. This time, I’m doing something different though, at least different for me: I haven’t planned the whole novel, and I only know how it starts and how it’s going to end. So, everything that happens in between, I’ll find out along the way. This is cool because normally I’m a planner and a control freak. But with precious little time to prepare, I just dived into it. Sink or swim. So far, I’m swimming.

Extra! Extra!

Great news! My second novel “Sophie and the Magic Seeds” is now available for sale in paperback and eBook formats in all major bookstores and online. It is the second book in the trilogy.

Sophie Gardener’s story continues with her troubles at home and out on her adventures on the magical island. Read the first book, “Sophie and the Magic Flower,” too and see how it all started. The eBook version of Book 1 is available for 99c until the end of the year. The paperback copy remains the same price.

Don’t forget to leave a review if you like the stories. Thank you so much.

Book 3 is underway and will wrap up the major magical events but not Sophie’s story. Stay tuned for more updates on that. I have already started planning Book 4, and there will also be a prequel to the series and a Book 5.

What? My last post was in 2018?

It’s good to visit my own webpage once in a while. I did not realize it had been not months but years since my last post. I could say that I was busy with going to college, or that I forgot, or that a virus attacked Earth, or that I lost someone dear to me. Maybe all of these are true but they are still excuses.

Coming out of my dark corner, I’ve got some good news to share though. With some of these sad things around me, I dived into finishing the sequel to my first novel and got it done. Yes, I did! The printer proof is on the way and hopefully, the book goes live soon.

Here is the blurb from the back cover:

Life with Sophie’s foster mother Trudy is going well until Trudy unwittingly sows the three Flora seeds that Sophie brought back from the magical island of Nugateris. The magical seeds grow and turn into baby girls, but two of them perish right away. If she wants to save the third girl, Sophie must return to Nugateris where the fading magic releases the demons that continue to torment the island.
Back in Nugateris, Sophie and a handful of friends are hunted by the demons while trekking north through the forbidding Ante Mountains in harsh winter conditions. They must reach the city of Mountain View and find the girl Bramble, who may hold the answers to the Flora girl’s fate and the fading magic. Will Sophie survive hardships and dangers in the search for Bramble and at the same time keep the Flora girl safe and alive? And what awaits her if she makes it back home?

Well, that’s all the news for now. I’ll be back in a few days—I promise—to let everyone know when the book is live.

Happy Birthday, Leonardo

Several weeks ago I purchased Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci. It’s a thick hardcover, and I promised myself I would read it as soon as I had time to tackle the tome. One thing let to another, and I didn’t touch the book for many weeks, always telling myself I don’t have time for it right now. 

My reason for wanting to read Leonardo’s biography in the first place was the description of him as a curious, intelligent, self-taught, imaginative and creative man we all could learn from, a man who also had his shortcomings and quirks we could relate to. Leonardo loved learning and was a self-taught man. 

I, too, love learning. That’s what’s important to me. Somehow, I feel akin to him, because I feel like a kid when I open a new book, or find an interesting online tutorial, or when I can spend a whole Sunday afternoon drawing and painting in my studio or work on my novel. 

Returning to my story: Today, I decided, is the day to start reading the biography. My curiosity won’t let me rest until I find out more about Leonardo and what he was like, and all the things he did and created.

As I finally open the book and look at the included timeline, I see his date of birth: April 15, 1452. I did not know that. A coincidence? 

So today I celebrate Leonardo’s birthday, his curiosity, inquisitiveness, imagination, creativity and child-like soul.