Free!

takingchances-FINAL

Free. We tend to see that word more and more these days in the book world. Self-published authors offer up their books for free in order to capture attention. I subscribe to Book Bub and they send me a daily list of free to low cost books. The books can be from top selling authors to self-published.

How does an author make a living on their books? I don’t think they can anymore with all the choices out there. Maybe the top 1% can, but not the rest of us. But the reason we write is not to make money. The story just has to get out there. The ideas are swirling in our heads. The characters are pounding on the door begging to get out.

Today I have the privilege of releasing a free short story. I love my publisher. She had the confidence in my series to create a cover, format the story and get it out there for free.

I never thought I’d be so excited about giving something away for free. But here is the link for “Taking Chances”, a short story from the Waiting for Dusk series. You didn’t have to  read the series to enjoy the story. The POV is from my male main character, Andrew. The reader will follow his day, the day he met the love of his life, Kate. Enjoy!

Find it here!

Taking Chances

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Time Travel

Time travel…earth-11015_640

In 1895 H.G. Wells wrote of it in The Time Machine and it still piques our interest more than one hundred years later. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a recent addition to the genre and even became a movie.

Waiting for Dusk slowly grew and changed into a time travel novel in my mind. My original idea included a dream world and reality. As I continued on, I thought, “Why not make this real?”

The first thing I discovered was that time travel needs rules. You definitely need them and have to stick by them. There can be amendments and add-ons but the mainframe has to be set in stone–how the character gets there and how they return.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers but since my second book is named, Call of the Canyon, I can tell you that Katie goes back to the Grand Canyon in 1927.

Since Waiting for Dusk is a young adult romance novel, time travel becomes an important part of the story. It’s the only way she can get to see the boy she loves.

In the beginning, she doesn’t know she’s time traveling and it becomes one of the major plot points of the book. Katie slowly begins to realize she’s not dreaming and that this world she visits could be real.

Call of the Canyon continues the story of Katie and Drew.  It explores more in depth the affects of time travel on people’s lives. Their biggest worry is not to change history; just be observers. Somehow that doesn’t quite work out. It’s difficult to go somewhere and not interfere, participate or make suggestions. As soon as that happens, history changes.

Questions also arise about age and returning to the same time period over and over again. Will there be multiples of one person? Do people remember you if they met you before? Do you stay the same age? Since my characters return to only one period in time, these questions needed to be addressed.

With the resurgence of the “Doctor Who” BBC television show, time travel is becoming popular again. In my third and final book of the series, Stealing Time, there’s a shout out to the show. Fans, I hope, will chuckle at the subtle reference.

Many people wish they could travel through time. Some would choose the past and others the distant future. Although we realize this could never happen, we can’t help wonder if there’s a slight possibility. And that’s why we read. To escape. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before. To go back in time. To see the future. To time travel.

 

These Books were Made for Walking

Grand Canyon HikeMy books recently tagged along on a hiking adventure. They were excited to go and leave home the first time without me. It’s all they could talk about for weeks on end.

Actually they didn’t really have to do the walking; they hitchhiked along in my niece’s backpack. She was kind enough to take them when she and her father hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. As a favor to me, she took pictures of them along the trail. I’d love to hike it myself, but I don’t think I’d ever make it back out alive or with two good knees. It’s all uphill, I’m told.

On the trip she’d have to carry a backpack filled with 25 to 35 pounds of supplies which turned out to be more like 50. Two more pounds would be added because of the books, but she took them willingly.

Being a talented, creative girl I had no doubt she had big plans for the books. I decided they would provide entertainment for the travelers since there’d be others in the group. I was sure my niece would use any and all ideas…as long as one of them wasn’t to toss the books into the canyon. It turned out the couple that joined them on the trip were seasoned hikers and mountain bikers. They were very fit and forged ahead without the group at times. I’m sure they did want to throw the books into the canyon after all.

She chose a one-day down and two-day back up package. They camped overnight at the bottom of the canyon and then again halfway up Bright Angel Trail at Indian Gardens. It was a trip of a lifetime and one I’m she she’ll never forget.

I am going to end this post with a summary of her trip in her own words:

Holy crap, y’all. We made it. We freaking made it. This was hands down the hardest thing I have EVER done, ever. I literally sobbed when I got to the top.

If this is something you want to do, go for it- but do not underestimate the canyon or overestimate your ability. 

 

Walking the Grand Canyon

AZ 2012 Grand Canyon (19)

The Grand Canyon plays a large part in my book. It’s used as the backdrop for Katie’s dream world and becomes important in her real life, too. It was on my bucket list and I finally got there about six years ago. We stayed in Grand Canyon Village and were able to explore the canyon rim. Since we were there for only one night, this was the best place to start. One of the first places you come to on the rim walk in the village is Lookout Studio. This stone structure has great views of the canyon from every window plus an outdoor deck.

Its neighbor is Kolb Studio, built by Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. Perched on the canyon’s rim, it looks like it could topple into the canyon but don’t worry, it’s solidly built. This is where my character, Drew, interned during the summer of 1927. In my posted picture you can see how it looked during that time. Notice the word “toll” in front of road on the Angel Bright Trail sign. The park didn’t have rights to that path yet. It led to the bottom of the canyon and was controlled by Ralph Cameron, a powerful U.S. Senator. He charged $1 for its use. The park eventually won control of the trail in 1928. Drew took Katie for a walk on this path and she was surprised they had to pay. She longed to tell him there was no longer a fee and the park had control of this famous trail.

AZ 2012 Grand Canyon (113)

I don’t want to get too educational so I’ll fill you in a little on my second visit to the canyon. This time we stayed longer and I had more time to explore. I was determined to walk down some of Angel Bright but there had been an unusually late snowstorm a few days before we got there and the path was covered in slush and mud, mostly in the shady areas of the trail. We traveled down a small portion and finally gave up. I guess I’ll have to wait until my third trip.

AZ 2012 Grand Canyon (59)

The day was bright and sunny, in the mid-sixties, and we were able to cover a lot of ground. I finally got to visit Yavapai Point and take the bus to other stops throughout the canyon. My favorite was Trailview Overlook where you could look straight down at Angel Bright and see the switchbacks zigzagging down into the canyon.

Wish you could walk this path but don’t think you’ll ever get to Arizona? Or maybe you’re like me; you don’t think your knees would hold up? Well, there is a way you can still go on this hike and never have to leave home.

I bought a box of Nature Valley granola bars awhile back and on the package it said you could walk the canyon by going to their website. I quickly opened the laptop, entered the website and a beautiful picture of the Grand Canyon appeared.(Use the link I provided if you wish.) I clicked on “Explore the Grand Canyon”; then “choose your trail” and viola! I was there. The walk begins at the bottom of the canyon and ascends to the top. If you have the finger stamina and can keep navigating the right way, you’ll make it to the top. I have to admit I never did, but am not giving up. Maybe I didn’t take enough water with me…

Google maps have now added the trail to their website. I tried hiking Angel Bright from various points because you can jump on wherever you wish, but I think I kept going around in circles! Still, it was fun to try.

So whether you get there in person or visit via the websites, I highly recommend a visit to the Grand Canyon.

President Theodore Roosevelt said it best. “Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see.”

National Parks are our country’s treasures and once you see the Grand Canyon, you’ll know why it needs to be preserved and protected. If some senator had his way, there’d be mines in its walls, dams across its waters and homes built on the rim for only a few to enjoy its majestic beauty. Some forward thinking individuals had the common sense to stop that from happening. I, for one, am eternally grateful.