I'm on vacation with the family in the last fleeting days of summer. We've hit the beach, and I, as usual, forgot my camera as Vyo showed of her mad new Frog swimming skills and my husband buried various children in the sand. At least a couple of them were ours, I'm sure.

Since I am camera-less, I'm storing memories in the extra storage of my brain. It's not foolproof and I'm sure I'll confuse this vacation with the one from two years ago that involved southern California and farm animals but I'm looking at this as a writer's exercise.

What details can I remember and use later - sunsets, bug bites, humidity and Vyolette wrestling a giant inflatable dolphin in the waves - and what will get filtered out or used as fodder for another story or slide into a column somewhere. Will tiny bits of conversation between the girls enter the mix or have I tuned out everything having to do with pop stars' tattoos and hair dye?

What snapshots of your past excursions will you put into your stories? I see that dolphin showing up somewhere...

In other news:
THE GIRLS' GHOST HUNTING GUIDE and THE ZOMBIE TAROT are both with their editors! I'm awaiting their input before the final push at the end of the month to make two shiny new books for next May and June. I'm celebrating writing both books this summer by not drooling onto the keyboard and venturing outside to see that bright thing in the sky.


  1. My recent trip to England has been extraordinarily helpful in my Regency stories. In one scene, I was describing the drive Darcy took through London and I realized only after the fact that I'd done so from memory.

    Of course, he didn't see a glorious sunset flaring behind the London Eye...

  2. My husband and I and sometimes our Little One take the trip to his parents' property on the Potomac. They don't have a house yet, so we use a tent, and before this year when we bought a boat, we had a little Jon Boat we used to get to the sandbar for fishing (my husband's passion).

    I remember specifically one trip we took at night. It was warm but not humid, and as we trolled slowly down the mile-long stretch of channel, I laid back and looked up at the stars. You could see every single one! At least, it appeared that way to a girl who's used to the lights from DC obscuring everything except the very brightest.

    I tried that night to log it all - the sounds of the insects, the brightness of the stars twinkling against the black sky, the light rustle of the leaves in the trees lining the bank. I wanted to remember the peace in my soul, the relaxation of my spirit, the stress of bills and work and daily life but a memory. I think I even dreamed up the words to use for a blog (and later posted them). I even saw two shooting stars that night. It was lovely.

  3. Nancy, are you writing off the trip as research? ;)

    April, that sounds lovely! I have a fascination with dark sky areas, we'll be heading to Great Meadow soon to check it out. :)

  4. My excursions tend to be hikes or climbs, which I incorporate in small ways into the narrative.

    Down the line, I'll incorporate a bit of an excursion into another book, setting up a murder at a residence of a former prime minister...