Took a two-week whirlwind road trip with my wife, seeing Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, a tiny bit of Texas, and a chunk of southern California. The initial excuse was to see the Grand Canyon, which neither of us had seen before, but we also saw a number of other national parks: Crater Lake (we’d been there before, but always love seeing it), Lassen National Park, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Carlsbad Caverns among them. We made a stop in San Diego, staying at a nice resort on Mission Bay called Paradise Point, and then capped off our trip with a day at Disneyland. Highlights also included: stopping in Rachel, Nevada, ten miles from Area 51, after our car was attacked by a swarm of grasshoppers; horseback riding in Red Canyon; watching 400,000 bats make their nightly exit out of a cave one night short of a full moon; and buying our ticket to the UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico from the man who started it: Lt. Walter Haut, the public information officer in the Air Force ordered to release the press release saying the government had, indeed, recovered an alien spacecraft in 1947 (only to have him later ordered to retract it).
Recent good reads: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and Mr. Paradise by Elmore Leonard. Sebold’s was interesting because of the point of view, the fourteen year old main character essentially a ghost who follows what happens to her family and friends after her murder (I’m not giving anything away here, because the murder happens in the opening pages) — which, from a writer’s point of view, is a nifty way of being able to tell a story from an omniscient point of view. Paradise had all the things that make Leonard fun — great dialog, snappy writing, colorful characters — but I don’t think it’s one of his better books. It’s already starting to fade in my mind.
Not much writing done during the trip, but it’s slowly coming back up to speed. Taking a week off next week from the day job to do some marathon writing, which should be interesting. It’s the third draft of a young adult fantasy I’m trying to get right, making it easier to put in some long days (since I know the story), but I’ve never done more than two marathon days in a row before (which I define as writing for at least eight hours a day). See how it goes.