Monday, November 22, 2010

Back in Action :)


I returned from my adventures in Europe a couple weeks ago. And I've been spending my time meeting little deadlines all due before our Thanksgiving holidays.  One was doing the final edits on OUTSIDE IN - due today and finished last night :)  Another was writing a travel article for a local magazine called b magazine - it's geared for boomers.  I enjoy writing these articles, plus they allow me to take my travel expenses off my taxes :)

Another deadline is filling out the Art Fact Sheet for my new Healer fantasy.  The only problem, I still don't have a title and I'm only a quarter of the way in.  But the art department likes lots of time to come up with cover I'll be brainstorming the next couple of days.  Either that or procrastinating.

I was also visiting schools last week.  I visited my son's high school's creative writing class (no - he's not taking it :) and talked about writing and publishing.  Here's a group pic:

 I'm in the back row, third from the right :)

I also visited a cyber school through my laptop - that was fun as well as we had an audio connection so I just talked to my computer - something my family says I do frequently anyway - but this time I had 35 people listening and asking questions.  I learned how to use Power Point and made a presentation - go me!  I'm feeling one with technology right now, but I'm sure it will change the next time I try something in Photoshop (grrrr.....).

Speaking of Photoshop - I also took a Photography class since I've been back (and you think I'm just making excuses when I say I've been busy - ha!) and I'm going to take a Photoshop computer class in early December because I'm frustrated with the program because I don't know how to do anything in it besides crop and Auto Smart Fix (grrrr.....).

I do enjoy taking pictures and took over 400 during my European Trip.  I posted a few of the good ones below from Switzerland (I'll post more in another post - consider yourself warned ;)

In Switzerland, we stayed in a small town called Uzwil and the next train stop was Flavil - we went to Flavil to tour a chocolate factory and as we walked about 30 minutes in the freezing cold, we saw many colorful houses - pink, blue, purple, etc...  but this particular house really caught my eye

What I really liked about the buildings in these towns, was the signs that hung from either the corner's of the buildings or just above or near the front doors.  the signs sometimes had the place's name, but many times it just had objects, letting the passerby know what you could find inside.

Here's one for the Hotel Appenzell (another small town):

From the sign, you  can see they offer beds, ice cream, drinks, and food.  Can you guess what this store offered:

Also where we stayed was close to the Alps.  I could see the top of Santis Peak from my hotel window.  On our last day in Switzerland, we drove to the peak and took a tram up to the top.  Santis Peak is 2505 meters high (about 8,209 feet) and all during the cable car ride, I kept thinking of those disaster movies I used to watch with my mom back in the 70s!

Here's a picture of it from the bottom:

And here's a view from the top:

It was cold and windy at the top.  The walkways had icy spots.  We ate lunch in the restaurant in the building on top.  The restaurant had an outdoor eating area - and it was crowded outside (I wasn't out there - too cold for me).  There were these black birds that would just hover over the diners - I'm not joking they hovered in mid-air, coasting on the wind coming up from below.  I took a video, but am not sure I can post it here.... oh yes, I can!  It's at the top!  Woo Hoo, I'm still zoning with the tech!!
I also spent a day in Zurich. It's a beautiful city with a river that empties into Lake Zurich. At the lake, I could see the Alps.

One grand thing about Europe are the churches - they're everywhere.  Each town has at least one.  You can see the two towers of the Grossmunster Church in Zurich on the left.  The church below is the Cathedral in St. Gallens and is a world heritage site.  I had trouble reading the map in St. Gallens.  We visited the town, which is west of Uzwil about 4 train stops the day we arrived, after flying all night.  I can't sleep on a plane, so I stay up and wrote so I was a bit jet lagged.  I'm usually very good with reading maps, but not that day! 
That's enough for now :)  Don't want to bore you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greetings from Belgium!

The reason it's been quiet over here on my blog, I've been in Europe these last 9 days.  My husband has/had business in Switzerland and Belgium and at the last minute...well, not quite that short notice, more like a week...he invited me along.  I'm in Brussels right now and due home this Saturday.  I do love to travel, but I'm missing my kids - they're fun to travel with, but couldn't miss so much school.

It's been an interesting trip - we started in Zurich, Switzerland for a few days, then took a train to Luxembourg for the weekend.  My husband is on a quest to visit as many countries as he can and I'm happy to keep him company :)  A train ride through Europe sounds romantic doesn't it??  I was looking forward to the trip - however the realities of train travel is far from idyllic.  After being delayed 4 hours because of the strikes in France (they'er striking over the increase of their retirement age to 62), we finally get underway.

The scenery is beautiful - the trees are turning color and it's mostly farmland and quaint small towns - however we had a group of French boy scouts (ages 12-16) about 12 of them sit near us. They smelled of wet wool and had been camping out (i.e. they needed showers!) They were mostly well behaved and they kept other people away from the empty seats right next to us. At one point the younger boys made spitting noises until I gave them my best annoyed mother look - it translated rather well and they stopped. But that put the kibosh on my romantic notions!

Belgium this week has been overcast and a bit rainy, but I had a nice trip to Antwerp yesterday to meet up with Richard, the man who translated my Study books into Dutch.  He wanted to be percise with the translation, that he frequently emailed me.  I've no doubt the books have been translated well and I finally have copies!  The only other translator to contact me was my Italian lady.

I'll have to post pictures when I get home, but I haven't been idle over here. I've been writing and I wrote another blog for Black Gate Magazine about POISON STUDY.  It's the second post down.  Here's the link if you'd like to read it: 

And I didn't forget about celebrating POISON STUDY's fifth birthday - I just need a few days at home!