Category Archives: Pictures

I Love my Yard!

I live in one of those neighborhoods where the houses are close together and the yards are small.  I was worried I wouldn’t have room for a garden, but I found a yard that’s on a curve (so the backyard is a bit bigger) with an empty field behind it.  Also, I have a row of stones, boulders really, between my backyard and the adjacent field.  It is cozy and just right for my garden.

Basically, I don’t have too much grass to mow, and I have my own little wooded garden area to play in.

Garden

The vegetable garden is looking a bit scraggy, but I guess that’s what happens when you hang out in your hammock too much. I’m still getting peppers at least.

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Hammock Anyone?

And of course, I get lots of visitors.

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Hawks (Couldn’t get too close)

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Frogs (hiding from the hawks)

Lizard

Lizards (Guarding my door)

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Stowaway in my Coleus (Hiding from the Lizard)

And the best visitors this time of year are the juicy oranges just ready to pick.

Oranges 2018

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Filed under Citrus Trees, Gardening, Pictures

I’m Actually Not A Great Traveler

It seems like this has become more a travel blog than anything.  Just so you all know . . . it isn’t.  I’ve just been on the road a bit more than normal lately.  I’m actually more a homebody than a traveler.  That being said, here’s a couple of pictures from Octoberfest in Newberry, SC.  See, you just need to have beer (or chocolate) to get me there.

Newberry Octoberfest

The celebration took up several blocks of downtown Newberry with plenty of food to choose from, a gaggle of shopping stalls, and two beer gardens.  My favorite part of the visit (besides the beer) was a tour of the Newberry Opara House.

Newberry Courthouse

I was lying on the grass when I took this (Resting, I only had 2 beers at the time)

Newberry was founded by Germans and they built the Opera House in 1881.  It had many purposes since that time, serving as the city center for much of the period.  It is now an Opera House and still has a busy show schedule.  It is cozy — only seats around 400 people.  I’m thinking of going back for a show sometime.

For anyone who remembers this is actually a writing blog, I’ve been pretty busy on the writing front too, and I promise to post an update soon.

 

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Octoberfest in Georgia

Helen

No, this isn’t Disney, it is a little town called Helen.  Helen sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northeastern Georgia.  The town is designed to resemble a Bavarian village, with shops and a beer garden on every corner (Yes, I had a few beers while I was there).

the Chattahoochee River runs through town.  It actually cradles Helen by flowing down one side and up the other. Helen also sits on the edge of the Chattahoochee National forest for all you outdoor fans, with a waterfall hike not too far from town.

Now’s the time to go visit while the town celebrates Octoberfest.  We were there during the week when it wasn’t too rowdy, but I understand the weekends get busy.  This was fine with me because I was looking a few days of mellow in the mountains.  The river ran right behind our hotel with a fire pit and benches.  Here’s a picture from my balcony:

Helen river

It was a nice place to visit, and we’re looking at going back in November when they perform the Lighting of the Village.  Of course, one of my favorite places in town was the Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen.  Imagine rooms full of homemade candy – more chocolate than you can eat in a lifetime (Although, I’d give it a shot).

Helen’s a cool little town, definitely worth a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Love the Mountains!

There are so many interesting places to visit in the Smokey Mountains.  I was just at Sugar Mountain, and now here I go again.  This time we visited Lake Lure for a couple of days to meet up with some friends.  Lake Lure is about two hours west of Charlotte and is named one of the 10 most beautiful man-made lakes in the world by National Geographic (Of course, this was according to the boat tour guide, so it has to be true).

Lake Lure

We stayed at Lake Lure Inn again.  It is a great place.  If you want to know more about it, check out my post here.  This time we decided to do the boat tour of the lake, which was very relaxing and entertaining.  I would love to have a house on the water there, but I’d probably have to sell my kids to afford one (hmmmm, no, I love them, right?).

We also stopped to check out the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.  Wow, if you are into gardening, you have to check this place out.  Words can’t describe the beauty of this flowering monument to . . . see, I can’t come up with the words to describe it.

I guess I’ll have to go with a picture:

Grasshopper

The butterflies were prettier, but this guy just loved that flower.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Pizzas?

I’ve been remiss in sharing pictures from my trip to Europe.  I would like to say that I’ve been busy, or any thousand other excuses, but the truth is I’m not much of a picture person.  My wife takes the pictures (this seems like a simple observation, but let me tell you she takes lots of pictures).

I decided to finally start sorting through them (thank you to whoever invented digital photography).

Definitely, my favorite part of the trip was visiting Rome and eating the food in Italy.  I love Italian food, and a week of eating pasta and pizza was glorious.  As I’ve been sorting through the pictures, I realized that we have lots of beautiful pictures of Rome, Florence, and Venice, but no pictures of all the good food we ate.  We just never thought to take pictures of the food.  Luckily, we have plenty of pictures of Rome.  Here are a few pictures of the Colosseum and Palatine Hill:

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Yay, the Colosseum!

 

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For a Roman history buff like me, this was the best place to visit, and the food was good too.  I guess you’ll have to take my word for that.

 

 

 

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Filed under History, Pictures, Travel

Back in Weldon

I had a nice visit back in my old haunts.  Haunts seems the right word, because the old plant looks a bit like a ghost town.

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For those who don’t know, I work in the energy sector.  I spent many years working at a power plant in Weldon, NC.  The plant is now shutdown and is currently being taken apart:

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They were just supposed to exterminate the cockroaches!

 

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Finally found a way to get rid of the pigeons!

 

Change is inevitable, but it still feels a bit like my family home is being torn down.

On the bright side, I spent some time at the Riverside Mill hawking my books.

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Book signing are always interesting to me.  It’s interesting to watch the people try their best not to make eye contact.  Actually, I had quite a few people stop and talk to me, but unfortunately it was to direct them to the bathroom.  I did sell a few books, but I think I found my true calling.  My new title is Director of Bathroom Patrons.  Sounds kind of prestigious—right?

If you didn’t get a chance to be directed by me at the Riverside Mill, you can still find my books on Amazon.  (Sorry, I’m not sure where the Amazon bathroom is, but you can maybe try Home & Garden.)

Kingdom of Haven

 

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Filed under Author Appearance, Books, Pictures, Work Life

Get out of my Mind!

I’ve been mulling over ConCarolinas since I got back from Europe.  A year ago, after attending ConCarolinas, I planned to be the one sitting behind the table selling books this year.  Alas, it didn’t happen.

I put in an application a few months back to be a guest (I think it was before I released book 3 of my trilogy).  I’m not established enough to be invited, which didn’t surprise me.  So instead, I asked for a table to sell my books.  The reply was: they only give tables to invited guests.  Seems like a catch-22 to me.  Getting a table at conventions was part of my marketing plan to help get readers.  It seems I have to first have readers in order to get a table.  Which came first — the chicken or the egg.

This seems contrary to what I’ve observed at past conventions.  I’ve seen plenty of beginning authors selling their wares.  I guess it’s a policy shift or something.

So I was a bit depressed as the weekend approached and couldn’t decide if I was going to ConCarolinas or not.  I’ve been several times, and it’s typically the same guests who I’ve met before.  I like to go around and talk to the authors at their tables, but is it worth the 40 bucks?  Especially since I’ve already met most of them before?

I decided to stay home this weekend and hang out with the wife, watch anime, start sorting vacation pictures, and work on my latest draft (beer or book, you decide.)

I haven’t sworn off conventions.  I plan to attend ConGregate July 13th – 15th in High Point, NC.  I am also making plans to attend DragonCon in September.  Oh, and I will be selling books at the Riverside Mill Endless Yardsale in Weldon, NC on June 15th & 16th.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, time to finish adding that extra chapter to my WIP.  Oh, and here are a couple of cool pictures from my recent trip to Prague:

 

 

 

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Filed under Author Appearance, Conventions, Marketing, Pictures

I’m Home!

I just returned home from a series of long trips.  I spent two weeks in Europe (on vacation) and a week in Colorado Springs (business trip).  It seems like I’ve been gone forever (I missed sleeping in my own bed).

I know there are some world travelers out there who love to be on the road, but I’m not one of them.  I’m definitely a homebody, but I did enjoy the vacation.  It was a once in a lifetime type of trip.  Now, it’s time to collect my thoughts, sort through vacation pictures, and get busy.  To whet your appetite, here’s a picture of the Grand Canal in Venice.

Grand Canal

There will be no rest today.  I will be at the Union County Library in Monroe, North Carolina from 2 to 5 pm.  This is part of an Author Meet and Greet for Carolina Authors sponsored by the Union County Writers Club and the Friends of the Union County Library.

Come by and see me.  I’ll tell you all about my trip to Europe, and will have my books available too.

Kingdom of Haven

 

 

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What’s Wrong with Playing Ostrich?

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I’ve been practicing my ostrich impression for the last week or so — burying my head in the sand to avoid writing and other people.  It’s not that I’m unsociable,  it’s more like I needed time to recharge.

I don’t really get extroverts.  Supposedly they feel recharged when interacting with people.  How is that even possible?  Wait a minute!  So that’s where all my energy goes when I’m around other people.  It’s you extroverts that are sucking it all away.  So that means that introverts are actually powering the world of human endeavor.  We go off on our own, recharge our energy, and then run across an extrovert that takes it all away.  Where would the extroverts be without us?  I feel a story coming on.

Anyway, It’s been really nice here in Charlotte for the past week — good weather to recharge.  Also, the kind of weather that gets me thinking about springtime and the garden.

I mowed the lawn for the first time, and put out the citrus trees:

Lime Tree 2018

Went hiking on a greenway and saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after they filled up on pizza:

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And hung out in the yard:

Pear Tree

Marvelling over the daffodils:

Daffodils

And the first stalk of asparagus of the season:

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Wow, I feel refreshed.  Maybe it’s time to peek my head back out of the sand and see what’s been going on.  Anyone want to buy a book?

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Filed under Books, Citrus Trees, Gardening, Lime Trees, musings, Nature, Pictures

Garden In Winter

Winter Garden Crop

The only thing sadder than a garden in winter is no garden at all.

 

 

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