Writing, research and in the groove; Photography, more flowers; Expat Life, visit back home; Friends and Family

WhiteIt’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I run into times when I just don’t feel like I have anything new to say on this blog, so, I postpone writing it for a week hoping that there’ll be a little more to share with you.

Work on the new book is going at a snail’s pace. I’ve edited the first four chapters several times and have added aWhite Rose 2 thousand words to chapter five. The delays are mostly caused by my inability to set myself down at the keyboard and not get up until I have performed a satisfactory amount of writing. Research is the second largest cause of delays. The archaeological past of Peru is so fascinating that I get pulled into the legends, stories, and myths of its past so deep that I White Floweroccasionally forget why I’m reading the material. That pulls me into areas which have nothing to do with the book I am working on now.

I’m also having a hard time deciding which of the treasures/legends I want to pursue. That prevents me from getting into my groove. One of them will takeTwo colors the detective into another country, Ecuador instead of having the entire story take place in Peru. Obviously, I need to make a decision about this soon. The story has reached the point where they are making the discovery and I will need to structure the murder and following sequences around that. Wish me luck.

My photography has slowed down also. I’ve made it out for a few shots on the park but not much else. I can only blame laziness on this inaction on my part. I try to Pink Rose 2justify it by blaming Lima’s eternal cloud cover (winter months only) and that the light isn’t good, sad, I know. So, I promise you and myself that I will make a stronger effort to get out this week with both my camera and my phone for some new and exciting photos.

The most exciting time for this expat, is the month each year that I return to the USA to visit family and friends. It’s even more exciting for me this year since I was unable to make it home last year. Normally I Orange Rose 2choose October, it is my favorite time of year in Southern Illinois. This year though, Southern Illinois and Carbondale in particular, will experience one of my bucket list goals. There will be a full eclipse of the sun on August 21st and Carbondale is dead center in its path. My friends have glasses already and we plan on having a small gathering of friends to enjoy the sight. I naturally, hope to get some photos of this incredible event. Even more amazing, Carbondale will experience another full eclipse in August 2024. I can’t imagine how rare that must be.

MulticoloredI had cocktails with Mona and Kelly a couple of Fridays ago. Fun times as always. Last weekend they were in Mississippi for a wedding so I’m looking forward to hearing about that this coming Friday. Last Saturday Larry and I met up with our old editor, Ben Jonjak, from living in Peru and a friend of his, Vincent Trufano, for our normal coffee and chat. Dario, Mahlon, and Carlo were missing for various reasons. We talked a lot of politics and writing since all four of us have books out and are presently working on new projects. It was a good time and I think Vincent will be joining us for more while he is in Peru. Ben and family are Gold and burnished brownhere on vacation and will be leaving at the end of August I believe. Kathy, plus Bob and Silvia are in the US for assorted reasons. Jamie and Ada are still pursuing their dreams. Steve has decided to skip a semester at the university. A decision I think he will end up regretting but the reasons are good. Otherwise, all others seem to be having a blast and are living their lives as full as possible.

And that my friends, brings another post to an end. All of you, get up and get out. I will keep hammering this into your psyches. Add some creative endeavors to that, expand the limits of you mind. Have a great week everyone. Acually, more than that, I will be leaving for the US on August 9th and posts to this blog will be intermittent depending on how much I have to share.

Writing, starting again and a new book; Photography, finally a walk; Expat Life, a movie and cable TV; Friends and Family

The neighborhoodAfter reveling in the success for a whole day after getting the Bone Gap book finished and published, I started work on a new one. As I mentioned in my last post, it will be a return to my Peruvian detective, Major Tük´ü Rodriguez who will be called to Cusco and Machu Pichu to solve the murder of a prominent American archaeologist and recover a priceless archaeological find.My pet

I’ve already had to jump into the research aspect of the novel and look into the legend of Atahuapa’s lost god; the stolen artifact will relate to that. A huge quantity of gold, silver and jewels were collected in the northern part of the Yellow Rose Close upempire and meant to ensure his release from the Spanish after his capture. The Incan General Humiñanui, in transit with the treasure, heard of Atahualpa’s murder and decided to hide the enormous fortune. He went on to lose in the battlefield against the Spanish but never revealed the hiding place. Reportedly, the treasure has been found and lost again at least three times and at least ten othersYellow Flower have died looking for it. All this along with the murder should provide some good reading for those interested in this type of novel.

I’ve made it out for a couple of photo walks, flowers mostly, but haven’t really had a chance to play around with any studio work. I saw a challenge on one of my social media sites asking people to expand their photography into the Wrong Filter 3abstract realm. I think I’d like to give that a try, see if I can come up with some new original ideas that haven’t been tried by the other photographers that submitted works to the challenge. I really enjoyed the B&W challenge I recently participated in and may try to expand my work in that area to include more works.

My life here in Peru always presents its challenges. Recently, Steve, Paul, and I went to Wrong filter 1see the new Spiderman movie at one of the local theater chains. Peruvians, as I have mentioned in the past, are relatively short in stature compared to we Gringos. Theater seats are built to accommodate that general height range of 5’4” – 5’11”. I, being 6´4”, have a problem squeezing myself into those. As a result, I prefer to go to the movies in the early afternoon when the theaters are nearly empty so I can spread out a little. This time we went to the “very” late show (it started at 11:30pm) and although getting home from the Orange Rosemovies at 2:30am doesn’t make for a good day, I discovered few people enjoy going to the movies that late. This problem with seats extends into other areas here also, i.e. public transportation. So, tall people of the world, be prepared when you move to or visit another country to cram yourself into small places.

Friday evening cocktails with Mona and KellyHibiscus was so much fun last week that it lasted far longer than normal. It was a good time though, lots of laughs and good conversation. Saturday coffee and chat with Dario, Larry, and Mahlon delved into all sorts of areas. I taught them the concept of the Mind Palace to improve memory. A technique that started with the ancient Greeks. Look it up, it actually works. Sunday morning coffee with Kathy was postponed till Wednesday but we still had a great time. I talked with my sister, Rita, this past week. It was great catching up on all her travels and how the family was doing. I’m so looking forward to getting back to Southern Illinois for a visit.

Fire RoseLastly, I want to ask all who read this to send positive thought into the Universe for my friend Dale. He and his partner were on a cruise in the Mediterranean when he had a heart attack. He’s now in a poorly equipped and staffed hospital in Koto, Montenegro. Although he appears to be recovering, they can’tCacti treat him at the level he needs. I am hoping that he recovers soon to the point where they can return home to finish whatever treatments he needs for a dull recovery.

Need I tell you once again how important it is to stay in shape and to do everything possible to keep body and mind as sharp as possible. Get up, get out – the use it or lose it motto should be something we all adhere to. Love you all and have a great week.

Writing, published and starting on the next one; Photography, back to the flowers; Expat Life; Friends and Family

19821083_1284256871672307_427625062_oA lot has happened on the writing scene for me in the past week. My book, “Bone Gap Road,” has been published and is available on Amazon for the Kindle or Kindle Reader and in print. Simply click on the book title for the link to purchase it in either form. I’m very happy with the final product although much like all novels, I’m sure that not every tiny mistake may have been caught before publishing. I reveled in my accomplishment for a whole day but now it’s time to start a new project.

My next book, tentatively titled “Inca Gold,” will be a return to Park 1my Peruvian detective. It will take place in and around Cusco and Machu Pichu, involve the murder of a prominent archaeologist, and include an archaeological mystery to boot. I have a few chapters written already and am excited to dive back into the research involved in creating this new book.

Reed Boats in HuanchacoI finished off the B&W challenge from my friend and have returned to flower photos once again. My latest small project resulted in me taking photos in a small local flower shop a few blocks from my house. The owners were happy to oblige me for the increased exposure it will provide to the store. Some of those are included in this post as well, with some taken in a park, and a couple more of the B&Ws from last week. I hope you enjoy them.

Life in Lima is nothing if not exciting. We had another strong shake this past week whichPast Prime sent us scrambling to keep the TVs from walking off their tables. Fortunately, it was quick and a single event of 4.7 according to “earthquake track.” Still, regardless of its rating, it was the strongest I’ve felt since being here. But, it’s just one of those things those of us who live in Peru have to deal with. We live atop a very active quake zone.

Flowershop 3This past week I made a trip into Miraflores to purchase a supply of labels. The kind you print addresses on for envelopes. In the past, they had a nice supply there that fit the style I used in the USA. Now, their supply comes from a company called Pegafan and they are manufactured here in Peru. I’ve been unable to custom design a label for the new dimensions on MS Publisher. Looks like I’ll be hand labeling a few this year. Flowershop 2I hope the post office can read my hand writing. It’s the small things that get you sometimes. I’ll be buying a supply of labels in the US this year to bring back with me.

It was a nice week again for meeting up with my friends. Cocktails on the patio with Mona and Kelly was nice until they were driven inside by a sudden rain shower. It caused a break Flowershop 1in our eclectic conversation but we quickly resumed the fun after they settled in in their dining room. Then on Saturday I met up with some of the guys at Haiti, a restaurant in Miraflores, for our weekly coffee and chat. Mahlon was preparing for his birthday party and Carlo is still in the USA so they were unable to join Dario, Larry, Bob, and myself for the fun. On Sunday, Kathy and I finally got to catch up on all the stuff going on with us. GargoyleWe met at a new place here in La Molina called “Di.” It’s a very nice restaurant ran by the university (USIL) here. It is apparently where students from their culinary school sharpen their skills. The food was excellent and they had “large” cups of coffee. Kathy and Bob will both be returning to the US a week or so before me. Everyone else is fine as far as I know.

Well that brings to a close another of my exciting missives. I hope all of you have been active both mentally and physically. Remember, use it or lose it. Get up, get out, even for the briefest of moments. You won’t regret it. Till next time, have a great week everyone.

Writing, edits finished, book cover, and conversion; Photography, the challenges; Expat Life, celebrating the 4th; Friends and Family

19821083_1284256871672307_427625062_oSurprise, surprise, I’ve actually written up a post and put it on the web page on schedule. It has been a good week since my last post. I’ve finished putting all the edits into the fourth draft and am now in the process of converting the manuscript to fit the requirements for publishing on Kindle and in print for Amazon. With any luck at all, Bone Gap Road, should be available for purchase sometime next week. It is a Sherlockian type murderFisherman's Pier Huanchaco mystery with clues throughout to help the reader figure out who the killer is along with my sheriff. It takes place in the 1890s in Edwards County in Southern Illinois. Writing a fictional novel staying as close to historical fact in the background as possible proved very challenging. I hope I did it justice.

Peeking out the doorWith the help of a friend and my sister, I also have the book cover ready. I’ve posted it in this missive and will appreciate any comments you al might want to leave.

Photography was fun this past week. A good friend Barn and Silochallenged me to post one of my black and white photos for seven days in a row. It was interesting to go back through my archives and find ones that would be suitable for this challenge. I’ve placed those in this post for your viewing pleasure along with a few others I’ve taken in the past week. I enjoy these types of challenges, they encourage creativity and in some case actually get you up off the couch and out in the field with your camera.

20170702_130022The highlight of my life as an expat this past week was the celebration of the July 4th holiday at a fellow expat’s home here in Lima. The couple, Bob and Silvia Lowry, are the most amazing hosts and went to a lot of trouble decorating and staying in theme for the party. They supplied the meat, hamburgers and chorizos, and the guests brought side dishes suitable for the20170702_160748 occasion. The bounty of food left everyone with full stomachs and big smiles as music from the 50s to the 70s filled the air. The only thing missing was the fireworks display associated with the event.

Thanks to the party, I got to visit and chat with a lot of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Ada and Jamie, 20170702_160556are doing great, Jo Self and Carlos attend with their son dressed as Capt. America. Carlos and Marriella came. Günter, Dario, Mahlon, Larry, and Paul were also in attendance as well as Owen, Andrew, Chris and many others. I got to share a lot of hugs and cheek kissesTools which always elevates my endorphins. Missed due to their return to South Africa were Natalie, Azaad, and their daughter Nadia. We are all hoping that they come back for a visit someday. In the meantime, Facebook will have to do.

That’s it for this post, a short one for a change. I hope you have all been getting up and getting out for a little exercise and fresh air. Then, I’m sure you all picked up a good book to expand your mind and delved into a creative effort or two. Keep yourself sharp, if you don’t use it – you will lose it.

Writing, the last edit; Photography, time to get out again; Expat Life in Peru, Winter clouds; Friends and Family

Big BouquetOnce again, I must apologize for another late post. I was all set to write one up last week and something distracted me. As a result, I didn’t realize I had forgotten to write it till my friends reminded me that I hadn’t posted my weekly missive.

I’ve finally recovered fully from the cold and have been White Hibiscusable to get back to work on the book. I finished the third draft edits suggested by my friend and editor, Amanda. I have reprinted it, gone through for another read and one last edit, and am now in the process of making those changes to a fourth and final draft. As of this writing I have inserted the new edits to about 40% of the book. I’m hoping to get it finished and begin the publishing process Two redsby the beginning of next week. If that goes well, the new “Bone Gap Road” book will be available for Kindle and in print on Amazon before I return for a visit to the USA on the 10th of August. I think this is some of my best writing to date and my primary readers have told me it’s a great story. The last thing I need to get done is a great design for the book cover.

I haven’t really been out with the camera since my friends returned to the US. That’s another project I willThe star need to get done in the next few days. I would really like to work on another studio project but I need to find some interesting subjects to work with, living or inanimate. Although most of the work I do is in color, I would like to delve into the B&W realm for a bit more than I usually do. I think I personally prefer viewing black Table Bouguetand white photos over color. Don’t get me wrong, I love both but generally speaking in a contest, I will prefer work done in B&W.

One of the many consideration of being an expat is renting or buying your residence. Obviously, this decision shouldn’t be made until you have firmly decided on whether you are going to live in the countrySunshine long term or not. Both choices have pros and cons and after living in Peru for eight years now, I am at a crossroads on this decision. The apartment I am living in now, actually all of them (5), is beautiful and situated perfectly to fit my needs. The problem is, rent is going up here in Lima and I am now Rose and budspaying well over what I had budgeted in my move here. I’ve been lucky with neighbors during this process also. I’ve heard horror stories about all night parties from people living near some of my friends. Then, you never know about the landlord, another area where I’ve been lucky. But I have heard some horror stories from people about getting deposits back.

Sale prices for property here in Lima seem to have stabilized though and even dropped aPink Rose bit. So, we are considering purchasing a small home on which we can add apartments or bedrooms to rent out for extra income on top of the house. Not that we are excluding the purchase of an apartment, we have it in mind to buy a couple Colors 1and rent one for the income as an alternative. We have a year to consider all this and come up with a good plan that will proved income beyond my retirement funds.

I finally made it to a Saturday morning coffee and chat with the guys (Dario, Larry, Mahlon, and Bob). Only Carlo was missing as he is in the USA for a summer teaching job. It was great seeing the guys again and weColor 2 had discussions on wide ranging subjects along with a few good laughs. My friend Kathy has just returned from a short visit to Argentina. She had a great time and posted some excellent photos from her trip to Buenos Aires. Cocktails with Mona and Kelly on Friday evening was fun. They are off to Wisconsin for a golf trip with some of Kelly’s buddies this coming weekend. I’ll be Glorious Pinkattending Bob and Silvia’s annual July 4th party this coming weekend. I’m really looking forward to it as there will be many of my friend in attendance that I haven’t seen in ages. As far as I know, the rest of my family and friends are all doing well.

That brings to a close another of my fabulous entries. LOL I hope all of you are out there, walking, running, biking, swimming, anything to keep the body in shape. Now that I have recovered from the cold, I am back to walking and getting in over six kilometers at least five days of the week. Don’t forget the old brain too, anything you can do to exercise that muscle will help. Get up, get out – make that your motto.

Writing, through sickness and in health; Photography, a tourist; Expat Life; Friends and Family

Color 2Once again, I have failed to complete the third draft of my book, in particular the dialog between the local police officers and the Pinkertons when they show up early to collect the prisoner. Whereas I have considered this a disappointment on my part to knuckle down and get things done, I have a good excuse. My friends returned from Arequipa for another five Vase 1days in which time I occupied myself with entertaining them before they returned to the United States. My friends brought back a little present, each had a cold supplied by passengers on the flight there. They proceeded to share it with me and I am still dealing with the symptoms. For me, it’s hard to be creative through a fog of congestion.

Tres HombresNever fear though, I am nearly at the end of the cold (called El Gripe here in Peru). Another day and I should be fit as a fiddle again. I plan to have that last passage done by the end of this weekend.

My photography is still leaning more towards the Tomb 1tourist type lately due to my vacationing friends. Shots of the historical center of Lima and its beautiful balconies and old colonial buildings were the order of the day. I still managed to get in a good walk with the cell phone and get shots of my favorite subject, the flowers in Lima’s wonderful parks. I’m noticing that the batteries I have for my Canon SX50 HS are not lasting Pidgeon on a statue.as long. I think I’m going to need to search Amazon for some extras and order them on my return to the US in August. I hope I can find some, the last time I looked, the pickings were slim.

Being sick while living in a foreign country has its ups and Balcony 5downs. The ups are; cheap medical care, cheap medicine, and a plethora of home remedies that give one pause. A prime example, my friend Steve insisted that I take his mother’s remedy. Almond milk, a large slice of onion, some garlic, and a pinch of salt all cooked to a boil Lamaand blended into a kind of soup. I had my doubts but it actually tasted like a decent onion soup and it did clear up my head congestion fairly quickly. For me, the only real downside to this is my poor conversational skills in On the throne 2Spanish. Others might worry about the quality of some of the services but over the eight years I have been here, I have no complaints.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to meet any of my friends here in Peru for our coffee and chat sessions since my last entry. Thanks to “El Gripe,” I will not be able to join them On the throne 3again this weekend either. I did get to join Mona and Kelly for cocktails on the patio last Friday. Although, I had tea with lemon and honey; the cold had just set in. Their son Aaron joined us which demonstrated that his recovery from the heart valve replacement surgery is going well. We had a nice time catching up with things going on at both ends.

My friends also returned from Arequipa with high praiseBalcony 4 for the beauty of the “White City” and its food. They did a city tour while there and enjoyed sitting in the Plaza de Armas people watching. Their first day back we relaxed and enjoyed chatting about all manner of things. A trip out for lunch and a walk to the markets filled in some of the time Balcony 3also. The next day (Sunday), I took them into the historical center of Lima to see the beautiful balconies, colonial buildings, enjoy lunch and a pisco sour at the Bolivar Hotel, and a shared ham sandwich at Cordano’s Bar (noted for their sandwiches of Jamon del Norte), and purchase some souvenirs for their grand-niece and nephews. The rest of the stay was spent in La Molina except for a trip to a nightclub by Marrell one evening. Sadly, when it came time for them to leave, I realized how much I will missBalcony 6 them again.

So, another post comes to an end. I haven’t been on the exercise train for the last week thanks to the cold but plan to ease back into it as soon as I’m better. I’m hoping that all of you have been vigilant and have gotten up and gotten out for a stroll, a walk, or a run. Remember – use it or lose it. Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Writing, a break for guests; Photos, lots and lots; Expat Life in Peru, Winter is here; Friends and Family

Me on horse 3

I did manage to get through all but one conversation that I need to change in my edits before they arrived from the USA. But, since then I haven’t looked at a single page. The real work will begin after they leave when I have to do another read through and figure out the places I need to add and/or changes to address the issues that need to be resolved throughout the entire book. I will be a busy boy after they leave. In reality, the book I20170526_134048 am working on at any point in time, never really leaves my thoughts. The characters always creep in at the oddest moments.

It’s been an excellent two weeks for photography. Thanks to my friends, I have revisited two of my favorite archaeological sites in and around Lima and seen an incredible Paso Horse show. They even allowed us to take a ride around the arena to top off the event. The two The roadarcheological sites were Pachacamac and Huaca Pucllana. I am amazed at the progress the archeologists have made at these two sites in the eight years that I have lived here.

The life of an expat here in Lima has its many ups and downs, much as life anywhere does. The winter season is setting in and the temps are dropping into the low 60s while the heave mist they call rain here settles in every night leaving a slick layer of water on everything. This wreaks havoc with the traffic, whichSteve on horseback is already beyond terrible. I am grateful that the amount of time I have to spend traveling in a car is minimal. My live-in housekeeper, who I am so grateful for, has had some type of emergency with a legal process concerning property he owns in Piata had had to go home for a week to deal with Pachacamac Main Gatethe issue. It is amazing how quickly you get used to having someone take care of the household chores. Cooking and cleaning will be part of my job for the next week. Oh, woe is me. LOL

I was able to make it to a coffee and chat with theM&D with guide Bodegas Verde crowd before my guests came to town. It was the last meeting that all five of us will be able to make for quite some time. Carlo is off to the USA to teach at summer school, and I am only able to make it every couple of weeks so far. But, we had a great time. Dario has run his first full Marinera 2marathon and completed it under the time he had set for himself. Larry is working on a novel. Mahlon is working on getting a good job teaching. The next day I met up with Kathy for coffee and chat. She is still doing her Tai Chi and taking drawing classes. Friday evening cocktails with Mona and Kelly was fun. Aaron, their son, is doing better. Although he still has bad days. Then this week while my guests are in Arequipa, I Marinera 3met my friend Bob for coffee. We had a great time catching up and it was nice to see that he is recovering nicely from his knee surgery.

Marinera 1My guests, Marrell and Dale, arrived on time last Tuesday. We have spent a great deal of our time together catching up on everything that has gone on in the past eight years. Jaunts out of the house for lunch or dinner as well as a trip to the first-class theater to see “Authur” for Steve’s birthday The palacetook up the majority of the days. The trip to Pachacamac and the Paso Horse show were also a present to Steve for his birthday. M and D will return from Arequipa tomorrow late in the afternoon and will be here until they leave for the US on Tuesday. I plan to take them to Lima’s Historical Center for one of those days. It’s been a couple of fun weeks for me.

Well, that’s it for this post. Update, I have lost the 40 lbs I set out to do. Now it’s all about maintenance. You can do it to, get up and get out. Take a walk, do something creative. A long active life is better than one spent on the couch wishing you were doing something. Have a fun active week everyone.