Writing, more success; Photography, more walks; Expat Life, fútbol and weather; Friends and Family

Garden 2I’ve had another successful week at the keyboard. Several thousand words later, both chapters nine and ten are completed for the new Inca Gold Book. I’ve now printed those out and intend to make editing notes on those chapters after I do small outlines for what I want to include in the next five to 10 chapters. Once I finish the edit, I’ll send the file off to my friend Mona for grammar checks. In getting to this point, I’veGarden 3 made several decisions about how the structure of this book will be. For one, I have decided not to keep the murderer or his group a mystery. The thrill of this book will be like its predecessors, how will they get caught.

Every book I’ve written has taken a minimum of a year to write. I’d like to finish this one in less time than that. The key will be to minimize the distractions I allow to crowd into my Garden 4life. One other factor will be to maintain a strict writing schedule, even if the output is minimal at times. I also think that I’m going to have to spend a little less time on social media, in particular, Facebook and Tumblr. A good two and a half hours every morning is wasted on these two sites in particular. They have become my addiction. Unfortunately, both are my main venue for hawking my books and getting feedback on my photography.Garden 5

My photography outings have improved in the last week also. I’ve made a couple of nice walks with either camera or cellphone in hand for the sole purpose of taking photographs and am sharing some of them with you in this post. They are exclusively of flowers. I haven’t had time to go on a wide-ranging walk to find other subjects. That will come, just not this week.

CactusThis past week Peru’s fútbol team proved their skill to South America by making it to the next round of qualifying for playing in the 2018 World Cup. Next month they have to play in a wildcard game against New Zealand, then return to play against them again in South America to gain entryPalm Trees and blue sky to the WC. This past week, their game against Colombia sealed the deal when Peru fought them to a 1 – 1 tie. That game was broadcast on a huge screen in front of a large crowd just a block from my apartment. The enthusiasm of the crowd was boisterous to say the least. Spring in Lima is also settling in. We’ve had more sunny warm days that cloudy Pink and WHite 1chilly ones. I do love spring here with its moderate temperatures and hope we have another mild summer this year. Hot and humid tends to keep me inside too much.

Once again, there’s not much on the friend front. FridayRed Rose night cocktails was cut short due to some type of internet problem between here and North America. My internet and WiFi were working fine as was the two in Illinois. No clue as to why we lost and could not regain our connection. The short time we talked was good though, we managed to catch up on stuff that had happened in the past two weeks. I missed Saturday morning WHite Rose 2Coffee and Chat, I had other commitments in the works. Larry is in the states visiting his sons and their families. He’ll be gone for another week. The other guys are fine and having a good time according to FB. Jamie is back in the US, I think Ada went with him for part of the trip. Bob and Silvia are yellow Flower 1keeping up with social obligations. I did get to meet Kathy for our coffee and chat on Sunday. Great conversation but the venue left a lot to be desired. We met at Don Lalo’s, a place I had not frequented before. The service was terrible and the prices high, we will not be returning.

That’s it for another post. Remember to get up and get out. Move it or lose it. Read a book, take a painting class, work on puzzles – exercise that brain also. Have a great week all, hope to see you back here in seven days.

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Writing, a better week; Photography, walks; Expat Life, apartment or house; Friends and Family

22140693_10208061005642271_559350986_oIt’s been a better week on the writing front. After my last post I was able to write my way into chapter nine where the story has shifted from the murder at an archaeological dig to problems in the major crimes squad. The plot is beginning to take on a more concrete form in my head. For all you out there struggling to write, take heart. Sometimes it’s just a matter of sitting down to the keyboard and pounding out Yellow Rosesome words and sentences that will lead you down the path of your goals. There is a plethora of helpful hints out there to help you get back in the grove if you are running into problems. Everything from taking a walk, moving your work to a coffee shop, adjusting your background noise, and many others that you can use till you find one that works.

Yellow LilyThis is the most unusual one that I have read about, a technique used by author Brian Moreland.

“Before bed, fill up a glass of water. Hold it up and speak anWhite Rose intention into the water. (Example: My intent is to tap into my creative source and write brilliantly tomorrow. I choose to be in the flow of my best writing. I am resolving my story’s issues as I sleep and dream). Drink half the water and then set the half-full glass on your nightstand. Go to sleep. When you wake up the next morning, drink the rest of the water immediately. Then go straight to your computer and write at least an Pink Rosehour without distraction. This may seem a bit out there, but give it a try. It works! Do this technique for three nights straight. It gets me out of my writer’s block every time, often the next morning and definitely within 72 hours.”

If you have a technique that works for you, please share it in the comments.

It was a better week for my photography also. For the moment, it was simply outings Flower shop 2through my local parks to take flower photos and look for other interesting subjects. I need to start work on the set up for doing some studio work. I have purchased the two yards of black velvet I need for the backdrop. Now I need to build a type of open box to hold it where I can place the subject of the photos I want to take. Wish me luck.

Flower Shop 1Part of living as an expat is the decision you need to make on whether to buy or rent. I moved to Peru with the intention of renting and not having the problems you have when you own property. Now, having lived here for over eight years, I have changed that decision and decided to purchase a place to live. This means that I will have to decide between buying an apartment, a house, or buying land and building a house. For the moment, I’m leaning towards the latter. Having a homeWhite flower with rain drops built to my specifications would be nice. Also, for a small increase in price, I can have a big boy house. People who live in Peru will understand that reference. The bad part of my decision, we will have to move out of Lima to be able to find land and labor that will accomplish the goals. The current pick is a planned community on the outskirts of Cieneguilla. It will be a year Spring Bouquetbefore my investment matures and allows me to withdraw the money, so there is plenty of time to think all this through.

Not a lot on the friends front this week. I met up with the Bodega Verde gang this past Friday. Larry, Vincent, Carlo, Mahlon, and I had lively conversations on a lot of topics.Orange Flower Vincent had just finished reading my first book, Sacrifice: The Prince Charming Murders and offered up an excellent review of the book to the group. Vincent is an author in his own right with a book titled, Empires of Gold (available on Amazon), under his belt. It is historical fiction that takes place shortly after the arrival of Lavender flowerthe Spanish. After that, I had a bout with a three-day flu which kept me from meeting up with Kathy this past Sunday. My friends Bob and Sylvia threw an amazing themed (Hippie Party) birthday party for Bob. Unfortunately, I did not attend but it looked like they had a lot of fun from all the photos on Facebook.

I also want to give a shout out to my excellent friend and ex-Purplecoworker, Tim Moloney. He’s a couple of years younger than me but he and a bunch of his CB Radio buddies volunteered to go to Puerto Rico to help set up communications on the island. They left last week on what he called, “one last great adventure.” I know they will be out of communication for most of the time they are there so I’m sending prayers to the Universe for their safe return. Tim is known for his stories of life in the Navy. I can’t imagine the tales he will have to tell on his return from this great adventure.

Well, another post comes to a close. I hope you all enjoyed the read and photos. Now, get up, and get out. Use it or lose it, we only go around once in life; try to enjoy it to the fullest.

Writing, slow going; Photography, a couple of walks; Expat Life, earthquakes and traffic; Friends and Family

FamilyThe past week has been slow going in the writing department. Although I have finished chapter seven and have a start on chapter eight of the Inca Gold book, I feel like I’m losing my writing mojo. I think part of the problem is not having a clear Me and niecestimeline for the story in my head. I’m still struggling with the direction the main story will take and the number of subplots that I want to include. The Major Crimes Squad is going through some major changes and I don’t have a clear idea yet on how I want them Me and the kidsto deal with the problem. Especially in light of my star detective having to leave Lima to work on a case in Machu Picchu and Cusco. Then, there are the villains from the last book that need to be dealt with in one way or another. One has died already and his death affects one of the squad members deeply. I’m sure all this will clear up eventually but in the meantime, I find my frustration building.Rita and I

My photography has done a little better. At least I’ve managed to get out for a walk with either my camera or phone in the Wine Daypast week. I took mostly flower photos along with pictures of me with some of my friends here. The photos in this post are of family and friends both back in the US and here in Peru. Yes, I’m in most of them also, tripods and wait staff also acted to help get them done.20170823_101856

Returning to Peru after being away for over a month brought me back to reality. I was back in my apartment by 1:30 am on 20170823_105220_001Sept. 14th and within an hour was greeted by a 4.9 on the Richter Scale earthquake. It was a nice reminder of the perpetual danger we live in here on the west coast of South America. Quakes are a part of life here. I’ve also noticed and increase in traffic while I was gone. It’s either that of the idyllic country life of Southern Illinois and its lack of heavy traffic spoiled me quickly. Either way, it has 20170826_145357become way more annoying to me than it was before my little trip up north. Add to that, the fact that gas prices have gone up and therefore taxi prices; it will take me a bit to get used to the new reality. One saving grace, the exchange rate is starting to float back to my favor. That helps a little.

Coffee and ChatI’ve been busy catching up with friends since I returned. I enjoyed one “Cocktails on the Patio” with Mona and Kelly by Facetime was not as rewarding as actually being there. Mona makes such great snacks for Isa Kathy Methe occasion. There’s been two Saturday mornings with the Bodega Verde gang. Larry, Dario, Carlo, Mahlon, Bob, Vincent and Scott attended one or the other or both. The conversations at both were spirited and filled with the enjoyment of being in friends’ company. I had Me and BobSunday morning brunch with Kathy and Isabel at Café Di here in La Molina. It had been a considerable amount of time since I had seen either of them so there were lots to20170831_133543 catch up on. I also had a private lunch at Sarcletti’s with Bob to catch up outside the BV group. Steve and Paul both survived my absence. Although I returned home to changes in the apartment, they 20170831_174343were an improvement. Steve and I are seriously looking to buy some land in Cieneguilla next year and build a home with an apartment we can rent. That will be a real 20170901_165336adventure.

I’m including some of the photos from my trip home on this post of family and friends get together. Included are one from the cousins’ reunion, me with my nieces Sarah and Amy, Me with my grand nephews and niece, my 20170903_105326sister and I, Mona and Kelly and I, my old work group, and an assortment of me with friends. I had a wonderful time back home with all of them and am looking forward to my trip back home next October and being able to see even more of them.20170911_144003

Well, that brings to close another post. I hope all of you have been keeping active both mentally and physically. In both cases, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. I’d like to grow into very old age with all my friends and family maintaining a sharp edge. That includes all the readers of this blog whether I know you or not.

Visit Home, a total eclipse of the sun; Writing, the old and the new; Photography

Eclipse 3Well, if I thought I needed to apologize for those times I missed a week, I guess I need to get on my knees for this one. My trip back to the US, the weeks before and a week after were busy ones. Figuring out what I needed to take, what I needed to buy after I got there, and the packing/unpacking putting away before and after seemed to occupy what little free time I had. So, here it is, my first post in probably two months.

The visit home to the US to visit family and friends was a couple of years in the making. BF2Normally I return every October, my favorite month in Southern Illinois. Last year, circumstances in Peru prevented me from making the trip. This year, I returned in August to experience the total eclipse of the sun as well as visiting everyone. My previous home, Carbondale, Illinois, was in the Ababdoned House 2direct path and was going to be THE place to experience it. That had to do with the fact that in seven years, Carbondale will be in the path of another total eclipse, a 500-year event.

The eclipse was amazing, a truly incredible experience and one that I recommend you experience if you get the chance. I sat on the patio with my friends Mona and Kelly at their home throughout the event. When the moon covered the sun,Butterfly 1 everything they tell you about the experience is true. The stars come out, the temperature drops, birds go to roost, and more.

I spent the first and last week of the trip with my sister in Albion, Illinois. The town and countryside where my just published book, Bone Gap Road, takes 20170820VisitingHomeCountryWalkM&K 026place. She lives in the country and I had an amazing time with her driving around to see the sights and enjoy the quiet of country living. We also enjoyed having a cousin’s reunion from my mother’s side of the family. It was a fantastic get together and great catching up with everyone. The middle two weeks I stayed with my friends Mona and Kelly Stevens where “cocktails on the patio” were enjoyed on more than just Friday evenings. During that time, I tried to visit with Sunflower 2as many friends as possible give the short nature of my stay and the vast number of loving friends that I have back in the US. Coffees, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, BBQs, and drinks were involved in all that time. A great deal of hearty hugs and kisses were involved at every meeting.

My writing didn’t suffer entirely during that time. I managed to finish off chapter five of Inca Gold and get a good start on chapter six. AH 2Since returning to Peru, I have finished that chapter and am about ¾ of the way through chapter seven. I’m still battling over the course the book will take and whether I want the murderer to remain a mystery till the end or introduce the villain early on in the book. That’s the fun part of being a writer, getting to make up the story. The sale of Bone Gap Road is going well and during my visit home, there were parts of the days where IHB17 felt I was on a book signing tour. So many of my friends and family had purchased all of my books. It’s not as fun as I had imagined it. I’m laughing here!

I did manage to take a good number of photos while I was home and had the fun of tackling new subject AH 2matter and work more in B&W, including some photos of the total eclipse. Have no fear though, I still took plenty of flower photos. Some of the many I took are on this post. While home I also purchased a Deercouple of yards of black velvet to use as a backdrop in some studio photography I want to try out. I’m hoping to find time for that sometime next week.

To keep this post short, I’ll talk about friends, their doings and life as an expat in my post next week. There’s plenty of stuff happening there too.

I hope you all have stuck to your guns and managed to get up and get out. You know my mantra by now, “Move it of Lose it!” Have a fantastic week all and I hope that you have enjoyed life since my last post as much as I have.

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.