Holiday Travel and Writing

Merry Christmas, and glad tidings of whatever seasonal holidays you choose to observe, or celebrate, or ignore!

My favorite concept of giving at this time of year involves an Icelandic tradition:

Now that I've said my bit on that, without having to pronounce it, let's get to the point of this blog ....

Ben is on his Christmas break from school, and together we made a plan to return to our old stomping grounds to visit with friends, and do some skiing. I found what turned out to be a fantastic AirBnB, we've been having a great time this week, visiting the place we used to live, the Adirondacks.

This is the actual view from the kitchen table of our house. If you look closely, you can see glare from the overhead light reflecting on the window. I spent a few delightful days reading and writing here, in Wilmington, enjoying the view of the snowy field in front of me, and Whiteface in the distance (where Ben was skiing).

I've been working on my upcoming fantasy novel, "Oasis", but had a brain-worm bothering me recently, getting in the way of full immersion in the process and product. Something I read or heard or saw got me thinking about a nasty, but real, psychological experiment done at Yale a million years ago; I finally broke down and wrote a short story, taking the experiment around the bend and down the street from the, admittedly twisted, real-life occurrences surrounding the original/actual experiments.

A lovely place to write a nasty story ... literally my heart's fondest desire.

This morning started dark and stormy, but has cleared off a bit. I dropped Ben off at the mountain for a half-day of skiing, while I'm doing a bit of reading, a bit of writing, as well as the cleaning and packing associated with the end of a thoroughly pleasant, if too short, visit to a lovely place.

I'm looking forward to the New Year, and cannot wait to see what's waiting down the road.

12/22/2016, Wilmington, NY


Year's End Update and Future Plans

Since moving to New Hampshire at the end of July, I've been able to spend more time than ever working on my writing ... planning and crafting and writing and editing stories for what I had presumed was a collection of vignettes and shorts and novellas. I had also been working on a high-fantasy novel, Oasis, that I envision as the first installment in a trilogy about murder and intrigue in a magical world powered by blood. In addition to those two, I've also been doing a bit of work with preliminary plans for something partway between a cookbook and an collection of essays on my long term love-affair with food and the kitchen arts.

Imagine my surprise when in a pair of meetings, on both Friday and this morning, of the SmartPig Executive Sub-Committee on Future Planning and Activities, my Minion-in-chief told me that I've really been working on at least eight projects:

  1. A Long Line of Doors - a peek into a number of worlds of characters I enjoy, dealing with the problems that make a story worth telling
  2. Oasis - a story that begins with an infant dropped into a penal colony in the middle of a endless desert as part of the interruption/replacement of a royal family in a kingdom of magic
  3. a collection of short crime fiction
  4. a collection of stories set in a zombocalypse with a disparate array of characters coming together from all corners of the world, each struggling with different aspects of their new and broken world
  5. a novel built around Conan Crow, a detective based in Keene, NH, with whom I've fallen in love
  6. a novel built around Deb Greene, an animal control officer in Chesterfield, NH, who solves crime in the manned of Sherlock Holmes, with the help of a stray named Watson
  7. a cookbook and collection of essays exploring my love of food and kitchen-play
  8. a duo (possibly trio) of Tyler Cunningham novellas: one tying up some things suggested at the end of Thunderstruck, another exploring some Tyler relationship issues I've always wondered about, and the third (if it exists) with Tyler falling into a messy murder in northern Iceland
My wife Gail is hard at work reading her way through a pile of stories, and organizing them into multiple piles after a mix of big picture and small grammar talk about each one ... it's a lovely way to wile away a Sunday morning.

Our new home in Westmoreland, NH, is an inspiring and challenging place to live and write. I love watching morning come through the trees each day, and finding which times are best for writing in each golden spot in the new house is a pleasant way to fill the writing times.

I've enjoyed exploring the roads and paths and woods of our new digs, luxuriating in the differing sounds and scents and feel of this place, as opposed the Adirondacks, my home for the last 20 years.

Miles and Puck love the new house and life we've made in New Hampshire. They get more time with me every day (the above is a picture of them sharing a dog bed in my office in the downstairs of the new house), and are a constant source of love and light and words. They also give me an excuse to get out and walk, exploring the spaces between paved roads and human habitation.

I hope to have something to share with some beta-reading volunteers soon, and with the rest of my readers not too long after that ... Happy Holidays!

Jamie, Westmoreland, 12/4