Ask and Ye Shall Receive

In an admirable example of “ask and ye shall receive,” I recently expressed a desire to have my book banned, and a longtime reader complied. She didn’t hesitate in banning my book on her blog.

Thank you, Stephanie. You’re awesome.

And really, she’s more than a blogger: I consider her a friend. How could I not? We’ve been reading one another for years (though until recently, she took an extended hiatus from blogging), and back in 2016, she and her husband met up with me and Tara in Portland while they were vacationing there. It was a fun night that included fried chicken, moody piano music, and (because this was the city that embraces weirdness), creepy undead people in the bathroom. You can read about it here.

I love meeting bloggers IRL. There have been at least a dozen over the years. Maybe someday I’ll even get to meet you.

Even better than Stephanie’s book banning was the inspiration she has given me to move forward with a sequel to No Time for Kings. I’d been toying with the idea for a while and have what I think is a pretty good idea; with her encouragement, I am beginning to feel excited about revisiting characters I’m quite fond of. There was always that thought in the back of my mind that one day I might continue their story, but I wanted to explore other options first. We creative types don’t like to get pigeonholed, and while I have yet to publish Dream Sailors, that itch has been scratched. I think I’m ready to take the plunge now (well, not right this second, but soon). Maybe I’ll do the whole NaNoWriMo thing this year.

By the way, if anybody is interested in being a beta reader for Dream Sailors, let me know. Maybe that’ll be the nudge I need to either go all-in on getting it published, or shelving it instead.

My parents left today after a nine-day visit. I think they were concerned they were overstaying their welcome, because my dad wrote this on our weekly menu planner for today.

Which is funny, but also, a little sad. Are we happy to be able to enjoy our normal routine once again after a week and a half? I’d be lying if I said no. But it’s also sobering to think we probably won’t see them again for at least seven months.

Their trip was booked long ago when we’d planned our family reunion, which would have taken place during this stretch if not for Covid. Everybody else cancelled, but they soldiered on, and it turned out to be a smart decision because they avoided all the off-the-charts unhealthy air quality that resulted from smoke from the PNW wildfires, which has finally dissipated after eight days. Unfortunately, we had some of that smoke out here, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what they had to put up with.

Plus, you know, we enjoy their company.

My favorite day was probably yesterday. We went out to lunch and then visited the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish. Afterward, we stopped at Belle Joli Winery to pick up our fall wine pack, followed by a scenic drive through Vanocker Canyon. The fall colors are popping already—probably because of our early snowfall and cold temps.

And then, when we came home, we lounged on the patio with beer, wine, cider, and bourbon, depending on our personal preference. I grilled Hawaiian chicken and beat my dad at corn hole. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Next weekend, Tara and I are headed to Sioux Falls. We’ve been looking forward to checking out South Dakota’s largest city for some time now, and figured we should take advantage before the cold and snow sets in this winter.

I’m going to leave you with a pun, because I’d really like to go out on a high note.

Q: What do Winnie The Pooh and Alexander The Great have in common?
A: The same middle name.

24 thoughts on “Ask and Ye Shall Receive

  1. Love all the fall pictures.

    I also love having visitors, but our house is so small it’s a relief when they leave. Having my MIL for part of quarantine made me feel so cramped. Like you can’t quite breathe until you’re alone again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fall is popping around here as well and as much as I adore it? Part of me is screaming too soon!
    Love your dad’s note and sense of humor. Guests are wonderful, but no matter which side you’re on, it can be stressful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, I freaking LOVE the creepy undead people in the bathroom. That’s STELLAR!

    And yes, meeting fellow-bloggers is the best! And hopefully one day I will meet you and Tara. I mean, we’ve only been blogging together for like TEN years. One day, I know it. Perhaps we’ll meet in NYC when things get back to semi-normal in that city.

    LOVE your dad’s note he left on your weekly menu planner. LOL! And you’re right, it is sad. But it’s also great to get back to your normal routine. I’m sure you all had such a great time together.

    Your photos are gorgeous. And you know me, I’m so excited for Fall, so it’s great to see the leaves starting to change. It’s actually been very cool here lately, like in the 50’s. And I am loving it!

    “A: The same middle name.”

    HA! That really was funny!

    Have a great week, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were just talking about meeting up with you a few days ago, Ron. I’m sure it will happen, too (eventually)…and most likely in NYC. I’d love to have an insider like you to serve as a tour guide!

      I’m glad you’re enjoying cooler weather and looking forward to more of that here, too—soon!

      Hope you have an excellent week yourself!


  4. So your link leads to a news report of someplace I’ve never heard of. The reason I followed it was I was trying to see if it was the bathroom from the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House. It’s been years since I’ve been in it and my memories are vague, but I seem to recall it was weird and aquatic based. As if you were in a lake, the ceiling was the surface, and someone’s legs protruded through as if they were sitting on a dock and dangling their legs in the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s part of the same bathroom (I believe). The dangling legs are definitely there. Sadly, I didn’t have my own photo so I had to rely in the internet. I hope it didn’t steer me in the wrong direction, because you know it’s normally 100 percent accurate in everything!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m interested that Covid seems to have so little impact on your activities, as here in the UK we are (rightly) heading back to partial lockdown. Happy to ban your book in our house btw – should we burn it as well?


    1. I’m fortunate to live in a place where there isn’t a huge population and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. Even so, our businesses are all mostly open, too—including restaurants and bars. Much of the rest of the U.S. can’t say the same.

      If banning a book boosts sales, burning it might send it to the top of the bestseller charts! Would you like to borrow a match?


  6. I would actually love to beta read your book, but I just can’t commit. Life’s about to get annoyingly busy, which I hate. I’m actually starting to get worried about how I’m going to juggle FT work, PT copyediting, blogging, reading others’ blogs, keep up my house, carving out exercise time, etc. Last spring when I took the prerequisite grammar course I happened to be working from home because of the pandemic (lucky break – excellent timing) and it was grammar – something I know and enjoy. Now I’m working from school and probably will have to keep that up even if the students ever go back to distance learning, and from what I hear, copyediting is something you are very slow at until you get better at it (kinda like running). Thus, I’m going to have to leave the beta reading to some other lucky blog reader. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand completely and appreciate your desire to help! Don’t sweat it. I found a beta reader whom I trust will give me some honest, constructive feedback.

      Good luck with juggling multiple commitments. I don’t envy you one bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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