Last week I went to South Dakota. I had some preconceived notations about what the landscape would look like. Boy was I wrong. Gentle hills leading to jutting mountain tops, pine tree forests known as the Black Hills and moonscapes known as the Badlands. All awesome in the truest sense of the word.
All this was my son’s idea because he works for some of the Native American Tribes that reside there. In his travels back and forth and driving all over the state he wanted to share its beauty with his parents. Well, at first it was supposed to be a bonding trip with his Dad, after all he did take me to Israel and Greece this summer. But after my husband researched the state and how much there was to see he included me on this trip. He always had wanted to see the Badlands. I had never thought much about it. But there was also Mt. Rushmore, which intrigued me.
It all turned out to be much more than I expected. We saw wild buffalo herds, mountain goats, a beautiful waterfall and the town of Deadwood. The wild west at its best. This time of year the weather is spectacular. The skies are not cloudy, like the song, bright blue and clear, mild temperatures perfect for touring. Mt. Rushmore makes you proud of our heritage as a democracy, the Badlands makes you happy that grass and trees cover most of our land. The culture of the Lakota tribe permeates everything and brings with it great beauty in artwork and jewelry. I highly recommend a tip to S. Dakota just one of the great states in this great country.
Totally psyched! This week I found out that When a Stranger Comes… is the Readers’ Favorite 2018 Bronze Medal Winner in the psychological thriller genre. I’ve entered my other books in this contest but didn’t even become a finalist, so this win is most welcome. I’ve put stickers on my covers that proudly announces to the world that this book is worth reading. This book is worth your time. A big thank you to Readers’ Favorite.
I’ve also decided to attend the awards ceremony with the encouragement of the hubs. So November 16-18 will find us in Miami. The event coincides with the Miami Book Fair and Readers’ Favorite has a booth there and will display my book. Wow! There will be photos of me wearing my bronze Olympics’ style medal that I will post on Facebook.
Today is the start of the Silver Dagger Book Tour for When a Stranger Comes…. The kick-off post gives an excerpt of the book. I hope you all follow the tour, which will have posts from me and reviews.
Here is the schedule:
Hurry this giveaway ends Aug. 16. Follow the link:
It’s good to go away and good to come home. My trip with my son, daughter, and granddaughter was informative and fascinating. I have stayed away from traveling to Israel because of the unrest there. But after so many years of unrest, religious pilgrimages that have never stopped, and my own curiosity, I was ready to go. My underlying suppositions were wrong. I felt safe there. It felt familiar, like going to Miami or some other American city. A lot of the American chains were there. Shopping malls, busy outdoor markets, and restaurants. All teeming with humanity. We drove everywhere in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Went to the Western Wall on the Sabbath and I was gobsmacked by the sheer number of people praying. Just another typical Friday night in the Holy land. Jews from all walks of religious intensity. Orthodox, Hasidic wearing the furry hats and long coats, and modern Jews like us. Incredible scene. And in the cities, the call to prayer of the Mosques, women wearing Muslim identifying clothing that is allowed in Israel but banned, for example, in France.
We traveled to Eilat and drove through miles of desert the likes I’ve never seen. Barren bleak country with mountains so tall they seemed surreal. Desolate behemoth mountains in never-ending clusters all the way to the final destination. We swam in the dead sea, the red sea, and the Mediterranean. We liked to say, we swam in the red, the dead, and the Med. And then we crossed into Jordan and went to Petra, a wonder of the world. Visitors are greeted there by Jordanians selling camel rides, donkey rides, artifacts. A bustling place of entrepreneurship feeding on tourism. Just like anywhere else in the world.
We left Israel and flew to Greece where we visited the Acropolis in Athens and then rented a car and drove north to the town of Ioannina, the birthplace of my ancestors. We met friends there and made new friends joining a tour for the day. After Ioannina, we drove to Delphi for some wisdom from the Oracle. Round and around the mountain roads we went with my son becoming and expert driver for this kind of terrain. Dizzying but splendid, nevertheless.
A wonderful trip. A trip to be revered and remembered. And an enormous thank you to my son for making it happen.
I’ve been feeling guilty lately because my life has gotten in the way of my writing. What? I know I love to write but I also love living my life. In fact, my life is the source material so-to-speak for my work as a writer. I told myself to take the summer off and just enjoy, but it gnaws at me they urge to write and the avoidance of writing. The push and pull of it. But there are things that really get in the way. Important things, fun things. First, I spent a week in Ireland. The Galway area then Dublin. The sights were outstanding, magical. A road called the Wild Atlantic Way takes you on adventure of green rolling hills, arid hills, wandering sheep, Celtic ruins, remnants of forgotten monasteries and of course the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. One does in Dublin what all tourists do in Dublin, visit pubs and listen to music. Brings out the best in humanity.
Then a most wondrous thing happened. My grandson was born. A big fella at 8.lbs and 8oz. Of course, I flew out to see him. Held him in my arms and kissed his sweet cheeks. Got to see my beloved granddaughter and my son and his wife as well. Icing on the cake.
Now, I plan to visit Israel with two of my kids and my other granddaughter. Then on to Greece. A major trip for two+ weeks. Lots to take in, lots to wonder at. One of the wonders of the world, in fact. Petra, Jordan is on the itinerary that my son planned.
So writing will have to wait because my fabulous life is giving me experiences I am blessed to have. I am grateful and cherish my life. I know I’m one of the lucky ones and I’m thankful. So I’ll write when I can as I live the best life ever.