Sunday, July 05, 2015

Home from Van Hook Glade!

We just arrived home from the trip to Van Hook Glade in the North Carolina mountains. The area is extremely beautiful and rugged with a wonderful forest. Even though it rained almost endlessly the whole time we were there, and even though I was in a lot of pain from my hip and foot injury, we managed to have a good time (with the help of pain medicine).

Details later in the week when I can relax and write.

Our campsite soon after we arrived and unpacked at Van Hook Glade.
The view from an overlook near Standing Indian not far from Van Hook.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

America the Beautiful Pass

I haven't owned an America the Beautiful Federal Pass to the National Parks since 2011. But we're going to hit a number of such Parks over the next twelve months, so I'm going to have to buy one. They do pay off if you visit enough of our parks. Some don't charge admission (Great Smoky Mountains, Cumberland Gap), but most of them do. Usually anywhere from $15 to $25 per car.

So, I'll be picking one up.

Two Medicine Lake, where we'll be camped this summer.
(Photo from National Park Service.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Our next camping trip is to Van Hook Glade near Highlands, NC. Highlands is known these days as one of the most exclusive communities in the US. Many rich folk owns homes there, both vacation places and permanent abodes. Poor people are generally not welcome, unless it's as workers in the domestics profession.

However, there is much there to be enjoyed in the National Forests and nearby State parks. The place has, I've heard, the highest concentration of waterfalls in eastern North America. So we're pulling our Casita travel trailer there for four days of camping and waterfall wandering.

(The first two photos are not mine, garnered from public access sites on the Internet.)

This is the campground where we'll be staying.

The last time I was here, you were still allowed to drive behind this waterfall (just off the highway). But I've been told that these days it's blocked off and just foot traffic is allowed.

Salt Gap at the nearby Panthertown Valley.

Meself at Granny Burrell Falls in Panthertown.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


We celebrated my birthday today. It's actually tomorrow, but we got the cake and did the party thing today. The only thing I ever ask for on my birthday is to have a yellow cake with chocolate icing. So Carole gave me that.



My favorite type of birthday cake!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Waterfall Videos

Just some random videos I've shot at various waterfalls.

In Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina.

Camp Creek Falls in a state park in WV named for the creek.

Buckeye Falls, near Old Fort, NC.

On the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. This appears suddenly from a cave, plummets over a cliff, and vanishes into the rocks at the bottom of a sinkhole without so much as a single pool of water to mark its way.

A few minutes after I took this video, I dropped my camera into the creek and it plunged over the waterfall and fell more than 40 feet straight down. I was able to retrieve the camera, and even though it wasn't water resistant, I was able to dry it out and use it for almost two more years.

A 75-foot waterfall, and it's in Florida. The highest in a state not known for having waterfalls.

Crabtree Falls, One of North Carolina's most well-known waterfalls.

Cullasaja Falls, Highlands NC.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Liquid Inspiration

A lot of my writer pals use various stimuli to kick-start (or maintain) the writing process. Some just concentrate and the magic flows easily. But a lot of the writers I have met drink before and during the writing work. Everything from wine to to beer to whiskey. I've tried drinking alcohol to get the engine sparked, but it just has never worked for me.

What I do consume when I working on a story or a novel is coffee. Not tons of it. But I will go through two or three cups of hot coffee when I write in the afternoon to early evening. It keeps me sharp and helps prod my imagination.

I once read a brief biography of a writer who would retreat to his office on a Friday with a percolator and write and consume vast amounts of coffee until emerging a few days later with a completed novel. Forgive me, but I have forgotten the writer. I want to say he was a Frenchman, but the thing that struck me most was holing up in the room with gallons of coffee and not quitting until the book was ready. (I've read that the late George Simenon similarly survived on coffee as he produced each chapter of his novels.)

And don't laugh. Some writers can do things like churn out an entire pulp novel over the course of a weekend. The late Lester Dent was famous for that. He'd begin a book on Friday afternoon and by Monday morning there it would be: a 60,000-word novel of crime or fantasy or cowboys & Indians.

There was another guy I read about: he had to have sex with a woman every day to inspire his muse. His wife got tired of his demands, but not for the book contracts. So she helped him arrange the arrival of one prostitute or another every day to fire his mojo. Again, I'm terrible about recalling the stories but not the subjects, so don't ask me who this cat was.

So, here I sit. My coffee is steaming in its insulated container. The wordprocessor is open and working. And so am I.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Craft

I have not been keeping the blog current. Mainly I have been working on my craft of choice: the creation of fiction. To that end I have been spending a lot of time writing, and reading.

If you choose or happen upon the right creator, you can be inspired to work harder and to try to reach another level. So it has been this week as I rediscovered the work of Fritz Leiber.

So, for a while I will likely not be able to post here regularly. I'll be working hard on at least two novels and crafting two short stories. Until then...

Fritz Leiber, Jr. Author of horror, sword and sorcery, fantasy, science fiction. Creator of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Author of NIGHT'S BLACK AGENTS (which contains "Smoke Ghost", one of the finest ghost stories I have read). Stage actor, Film actor, Anglican lay preacher, and more.