Alive and well-A Book Announcement

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”-Confucius

(l to r) Nicki, Angela & Sissy

(l to r) Nicki, Angela & Sissy

Hello Facebook family, Tweetmates, friends and relatives!

After 29 hours and 49 minutes coupled with 1,831.8 miles behind me, I have landed somewhere in the Midwest, for the moment.  I want to make a major announcement. No I’m not getting engaged or married but I am releasing my  highly anticipated second book, the first in a new series.

The Fat Girls Club (yes, I went there!) will be released at the start of the New Year. I will offer this project not only as an electronic book but in a printed version! Thanks to the feedback I received from readers, this is why a printed copy will be available.

I’m excited to introduce you to Sissy Bakersfield, Angela Thomas and Nicki Cole, three full-figured friends with weight, love and friendship issues. The characters will take you on a fun and emotional ride as they deal with the conflicts in their personal lives.

“Paris is always a good idea.”-Audrey Hepburn

My second surprise is that I will be jetting off to Paris, France to do research for the next book in the The Fat Girls Club series.  I will be off the writing radar for a few days as I continue to work (yes, work!) to bring forth the next adventure of the girl’s life.

In the coming weeks I will be mailing out book postcard notifications. If you would like to have one sent to you, please send your address to ljohnsontravels12@yahoo.com. (I will not share your information.) Heartfelt thanks to all my readers and those who support me in what I do.

Alive and Well in the Pacific Northwest (3) Finding the Light

“A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef.”-Navjot Singh Sidhu

 

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares Lighthouse

  There is something special about a lighthouse. It holds a sense of history within its brick walls that will never be truly understood. How sad that walls can’t talk. But oh if they could…

     Sometimes there comes a moment when I just have to break away from the norm, to jump in my truck and take to the road. I have this insatiable need to seek and find all that is beautiful, informative and interesting. On this particular day I headed north to Cape Meares.

     Cape Meares lighthouse built in 1889 was commissioned on January 1st, 1890. It stood thirty-eight feet high becoming one of the shortest lighthouses along the Oregon coast. The lens is a first order Fresnel (Fraynel) made in Paris, France and transported around the Cape Horn by ship until it reached the west coast to its new home.

     Over time the five wick oil lamp with a reflector would be replaced by an oil vapor light in 1910. Fast forward to 1934 and through the use of generators that produced an electric current system, the light continued to serve. The automated beacon with the candle power of 57,000, housed in a separate building next to the lighthouse, was decommissioned by USCG on June of this year. The lighthouse keeper home no longer stands.

     Unfortunately not everyone understands or appreciates the importance of the lighthouse seen by the bullet holes that have pierced portions of the Fresnel lens, a lens that is irreplaceable. According to Jane Weighall, shop manager at the lighthouse, in 2010, vandals attacked the lens but since then it has been stabilized for those visiting the tower. This had been the second such destruction.

    The beauty of the surrounding ocean, lush landscape and all its animal life, makes the visit to Cape Meares a wonderful stimulant for all the senses.

Alive and Well in the Pacific Northwest (2) Book Club Fun

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”-C. S. Lewis

     Tacoma and Oregon 031     As any writer knows, it’s not enough to just write a book. You must be willing to market yourself as well as your work. It’s a hard thing to do; putting your baby(book) out their for all sorts of criticism whether it’s good or bad. I took a deep breath and let it out and after I introduced myself, I began each sentence with, Do you read romance novels?

     On July 25th, I had the pleasure of being the guest author at the Ladies in White book club. These are nurses, in varied fields of medicine, that come together once a month to relax and enjoy each others company. They take turns hosting the club in their homes, to eat, drink and share opinions regarding their chosen tomes.

   There is no friend as loyal as a book”-Ernest Hemingway 

     This particular evening turned out to be a lesson of interest for me. To hear the women express their opinion regarding certain chapters, paragraphs or moments in You Need Love Like I Do, the story seemed to come alive. I also learned to work on tempo, description and what does and doesn’t work for a reader. All of these things of course are opinions not to hurt but to help regarding my future books.

     To move forward, you must not be afraid of people’s opinions. These, like everything else in life, if taken for what they are worth, will help the author to become stronger and better at his craft of writing.

     Many thanks to the ladies-Kim Edmunds, Christal Delong, Jennifer Lambert and Jodi Lalla. It was a pleasure!

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must write it.”-Toni Morrison 

Summers End and Roadside Beauty

The sunflower is mine, in a way.”-Vincent van Gogh

 

Flower power

Summer Beauty

   Is it really the end of summer? Just as I was about to count the days left before cold weather would knock on our doors and winter coats would come out of the back of the closet, I find that the season is ending. Already people are mulling through department stores with children in tow, finding last-minute back to school bargains and supplies. 

     While there is still time, let’s take a moment out of our busy days and humid nights to enjoy the last bits of summer. Families are cramming in late season camping and vacation trips. Amusement parks will soon close rides and turn off water slides. So get out and enjoy the last fringes of summer.  Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend.

In the Corner of the U.S. ( chpt.1) Apple Fritter Delight

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to food”-W.C. Fields 

Voodoo Donuts-fritter

Voodoo Donuts-fritter

While living in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve developed a love for many things; the coastline, art, lots of trees and apple fritters.

It all started with Voodoo Donuts. Located at 22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR. The business was started by Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon. They are open twenty-four hours a day, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Voodoo Doughnuts is a cash only shop but a ATM is available.

Donuts and fritters

Donuts and fritters

My fritter craving continued as I sought another shop, Legendary Donuts, 2602 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA. Legendary goes beyond the normal with custom creations like donuts made into a large hamburger and fries or doughnut towers. Donuts considered as Legendary are those with fancy toppings and fillings.

After awhile my main hangout became Dockside Donuts, 1112 Puyallup Ave. Tacoma, WA. Kay, the clerk that worked the drive-up window, became my new friend. At least twice a week, I would whip through the drive through, and without asking, she would begin sacking up my favorite surgery delight. Once in a while, she would treat me to a hot, out of the oven apple fritter. Joy, bliss and utter happiness would cover  my fingertips along with the sugar frosting. 

Kay-Dockside Donuts

Kay-Dockside Donuts

Kay is a sweetheart. With a ready smile, she always greets you with a “Good morning” or lovingly scolds you when you have been away too long. There is something special about being a ‘regular customer’ and having someone looking out for you. Giving great customer service is becoming a lost art in America. So when I find it, I try to embrace it by letting those that give it know how much I appreciate it.

Just like my apple fritters, they are both, hard to find.

Did You Say Go West? (6) From the Heart

If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share”-W. Clement Stone

Glass ornaments

Glass ornaments

     The day started in gloom. A blanket of grey, dull, overcast that beckons one to stay in and sleep the day away. I avoided the hand that tried to pull me back into the mood of the morning and chose to meet someone who would brighten even the dullest day.

Bill Evans is the proprietor of a family owned business called the Pacific Northwest Shop.  The red brick building on the corner at 2702 North Proctor, Tacoma, Washington, is charming. The logo on their business card states, “Gifts from our corner of America.” First you must understand, Bill supports local and small businesses from many areas as long as it comes from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Idaho. 

 

Larry Jones

Larry Jones

The unknown foundation of the shop started forty-five years ago, when Bill and Ann lived in Peru.

He saw the work by local  weavers as they  produced beautiful products and then sold them. The money would be used to aid the village to support itself. So in 1978 he established the Pacific Northwest Shop with the understanding that all work sold would come from small cottage industry and tribal groups.

 To give you an idea of how far Bill will go to bring back the best to his shop, we will start in Connell, WA. There you will find a woman who uses the milk from her pasture raised goats to  make soap. In Langley, another woman makes chocolate candles and soap that smell so divine that I had to remember not to eat them. Bill supports local and family owned wineries. One label competed with the California big boys, and now boasts itself as a proud contender.

      Plum Yum, organic in nature, is a fruit spread from Rock Island, WA. You can drive to Walla Walla for the best Bar-B-Que sauce in the state or you can stop by Bill’s store for a bottle. In Kittitas, a soup that was made for Black Angus cow hands, is now available for purchase. Labeled as the county’s “Best Kept Secret,” Tacoma Tacobet Tortilla Soup caused workers to wait in line for a dish of the hearty delight. Coffee, treats and sweets are also available.

     Even the artwork, whether handcrafted, sketched or painted, are part of this project. For example, a handcrafted, thin copper metal design of a salmon, fused between two pieces of glass, is part of a dishware collection by Larry Jones. Ceramics are by artists from Port Townsend and other small communities. Even the common and simple, like greeting cards or books geared towards hiking, cooking, plants, travel and children’s stories are related to the beloved Pacific Northwest.

I delight in Bills easy way as he excuses himself to answer a question or sign for a UPS delivery. “Regulars” that stop by give him hugs and chat briefly before they leave. His easy personality makes this shop one that allows good old fashion browsing.

I wander through the store and find myself instantly attracted to large bowls of medium size, glass globes with marbled designs. Others shaped like tear drops dangle and sparkle in front of the large window, catching slivers of light that dare to enter. Even the beautiful red and clear shaped glass umbrellas offer a unique alternative. These visual delights are produced by a company in Seattle that uses the ash from Mt. St. Helen’s.

 Pacific Northwest Shop is a gem that cannot be passed up. Family owned, professional and warm; it became the sunshine in an otherwise gloomy day. (www.pacificnorthwestshop.com)