Road Trip 2021: The Long Distance Relationship

We left Trenton, Maine and headed for the Farmington/Chesterville area. We wound up staying at the Skowhegan/Kennebec Valley KOA; it was further away from our destination than I would have liked but it was an amazing campground that we would gladly stay at again. (My review is available here.) Our first stops were near sites we wanted to see, so what drew us to this area? Friendship.

When I was in high school, I had several pen pals – up to 21 at one point. Over time, that number dwindled to just one and we have now been writing for over 40 years. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, my remaining pen pal lives in Maine. There was no way I was going to visit the state and not take advantage of the opportunity to meet. So, we exchanged (more) letters and phone numbers and I kept her apprised of when we would arrive. I have to admit, I was nervous. I’m shy and writing is easier for me than face-to-face interactions, but I shouldn’t have worried. Our meeting was… easy. You would think we had known each other for years, LOL.

Kenn and I spent a day with Ruth and her husband, John. We went out for lunch and then stopped for ice cream. We spent the remainder of our time just sitting around our campsite and talking. Ruth asked one of the campground employees to take our picture.

John, Ruth, Linda and Kenn

One of the souvenirs I collect when we travel is (are?) Christmas ornaments. Somehow, I got home from our trip without an ornament for Maine. I turned to Amazon (of course) in my search for a Maine ornament but wasn’t happy with the selection; many of them were too similar to ornaments that I already have. Then, inspiration struck and I turned to Shutterfly where I had the photo shown above printed on a metal ornament. I think it’s perfect and look forward to it gracing our tree in all the years to come.😊

Here’s hoping that it won’t take us another 40 years to get together again!

Until next time, here’s to friendships and happy trails!

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. (Also called NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short.) This is the month when writers across the globe – including yours truly – commit to writing a 50,000 word “novel” in 30 days. Are we crazy? Probably. Is it fun? Strangely enough, yes. The NaNo community is made up of people who love to write and run the gamut from published authors to those dipping their toe into the writing pool for the first time. Some people write novels, others write scripts or fanfiction; it doesn’t matter so much what is written as long as the 50,000 words are new.

I have a tendency to get into my own head when I’m writing and can spend too much time second guessing myself or going back and revising what I’ve already written. The limited time frame and word count goal force me to push all of that to the side and just write. Most of my novels and short stories (written as Isabella Norse) have been born during NaNoWriMo. I usually write as “rebel” meaning that I’m not starting a brand new novel. (My rebel status is no great surprise to anyone who knows me, LOL.) This year I plan to use the first 12,000 words or so to work on a short story that I’m planning to submit for an anthology and the rest of the words I’ll put toward completing My Fair Vampire, the next entry in my Kudzu Korners sweet paranormal romance series.

Another reason NaNoWriMo works for me is because I’m an extremely competitive person but I’m also a sore loser, LOL. With NaNo, I’m mostly competing against myself. I’ve participated in NaNo every year since 2011. In spite of my competitiveness, I haven’t “won” every year. There are times when I’ve just had to let it go, and that’s okay; there are no NaNo police to come around and rap me on the knuckles with a ruler. The NaNo community is very supportive; we cheer each other on when things are going well and cry on each other’s shoulders when they aren’t. It’s also great because non-writers don’t really understand how characters can take over a story and take it in a completely unexpected direction or how a writer can have a character they hate. (Several years ago Kenn asked my how my story was going and I told him that I hated the heroine’s best friend. He just looked at me and finally said “How can you hate her? You created her.” Yes, I did, but that didn’t keep her from being a complete jerk. Once I got to know her a little better my opinion changed and she got a book of her own, LOL.)

Wish me luck!