If I Could Write Anywhere

It’s summer. The kids are busy with their various camps. Folks are coming back with stories from Nationals. We aren’t due for our mini-vacation until the end of August. I’ve taken the summer off from writing to focus on the kids and a few projects around the house. But I’m restless. I want to write. I want to get away and write. So this morning I took a little virtual getaway to research some fun locales and play a game of “If Money Were No Object”. Here’s what I came up with:

Seriously, writing in peace would not be an issue here. Getting up the nerve to get in a tiny boat to row over, might be.

Seriously, writing in peace would not be an issue here. Getting up the nerve to get in a tiny boat to row over, might be.

I could spend all winter testing out the views from each window in this massive cabin.

I could spend all winter testing out the views from each window in this massive cabin.

I love reading books set in Ireland but never felt I could write one, never having been. Dump me off here and I have enough inspiration for a dozen books, at least!

I love reading books set in Ireland but never felt I could write one, never having been. Dump me off here and I have enough inspiration for a dozen books, at least!

And if we're going to exotic locales, Paris is a must for a romance author. Keep the cafe au laits coming, garcon!

And if we’re going to exotic locales, Paris is a must for a romance author. Keep the cafe au laits coming, garcon!

This would be perfect for my fairy series. If I sit quietly, who knows who might show up for a visit?

This would be perfect for my fairy series. If I sit quietly, who knows who might show up for a visit?

I'm not sure if I'd want to travel to this writing spot, or move in permanently. It's just...perfect.

I’m not sure if I’d want to travel to this writing spot, or move in permanently. It’s just…perfect.

Another pricey getaway, but well worth the $$$. Santorini views from a balcony. I'm picturing a tall, dark and tanned hero for the book written from this spot.

Another pricey getaway, but well worth the $$$. Santorini views from a balcony. I’m picturing a tall, dark and tanned hero for the book written from this spot.

And for a more permanent writer's retreat...a cabin for the backyard. I would LOVE going to work each morning!

And for a more permanent writer’s retreat…a cabin for the backyard. I would LOVE going to work each morning!

Write all morning, play all afternoon. Now *that* would be the life. Occupation: beach bum. I like the sound of that.

Write all morning, play all afternoon. Now *that* would be the life. Occupation: beach bum. I like the sound of that.

I don't know about this one. Part of me wants to write, but another part wants to curl up and read the day away. Ahhh...

I don’t know about this one. Part of me wants to write, but another part wants to curl up and read the day away. Ahhh…

What would your favorite writing retreat look like? Describe it in the comments. Or leave a photo. I’d love to see it.

It Must Be Monday – Summer Edition

mustbemonday4:58 AM: Amazon Fresh dropped off a grocery delivery on the front steps. It’s supposed to be “undisturbed”, but try telling that to our overprotective rescue pup. Does she wake the entire household with her barking? Nope, just me. It must be Monday.

“I can’t eat this cereal, it’s Daddy’s.” “I know it’s pink day at camp, but what if no one else is wearing hot pink, like me?” “Stop running around naked and put some clothes on.” “Did you know if you put tape on the dresser it will make it nice and shiny?” (Yep, tape all over the dresser.) It must be Monday.mbm

Two salami sandwiches, one with mayo and one with mustard. Can’t mix them up or no one will eat them. Meant to buy spill-proof water bottles over the weekend. Crap. Filling out camp paperwork at the last minute. It must be Monday.

“I have a tummy ache.” Why? “Because I swallowed the toothpaste.” You know better than to swallow toothpaste. “I know, but it tasted so good!” It must be Monday.mbm2

Why is there a slimy, gelatinous substance on the Lego I just found on my bedroom floor? And why am I touching it? I don’t want to know. Can I rewind the clock and do that last five minutes over differently? It must be Monday.

No clean shorts means creating a pair of cutoffs from a pair of holey jeans. Now youngest wants his shirt to match. Can I just cut the bottom off? No. Just a trim? No. It must be Monday.mbm3

Trying to talk the natural curlyhead into brushing her hair into some semblance of order. “It’s fine.” No, it’s actually kind of scary. “You’re so bossy.” It’s my job. It must be Monday.

“Can you help me put this bandaid on?” Why? You have no cut. “I know. But if I put it on, then if I run into something, it will already be protected.” It must be Monday.mondaycat

I need a laugh folks. Tell me your It Must Be Monday horror stories. Let’s help each other through another Monday.

Unplugging & Reconnecting

WP_20150704_001Our 4th of July routine usually involves staking out a spot on the parade route a day or so early, then lighting off fireworks and sparklers once it gets dark. But this year people started putting their chairs out along the town’s main street on June 26th. Seriously. Am I the only one who finds that obnoxious? It used to be the night before. And then it was the entire day before. But now… Nope. I’ll pass, thanks.

WP_20150704_003This year we decided to do something different. We packed a backpack with water and snacks, headed out the door bright and early and spent the day exploring Mt. Rainier. You guys — THIS is how you spend the 4th. The views are phenomenal. The crowds were minimal (compared to what we would have encountered at the parade). The air was fresh and clean. And the temperature was blessedly cooler than the heat wave we were going through in Seattle.

WP_20150704_013I was so excited to take pictures and hopefully find a little inspiration for my next series, set in the Pacific Northwest. But the best photo ops happen when you are unprepared, as I discovered when a deer came out to stand in front of our car less than five minutes from the park entrance. It was like she was saying “Welcome to the mountain, DeCuir family. Enjoy your visit.” By the time I was through gawking, hubby had honked his horn to get her to move along and I couldn’t scramble to grab my phone to take a picture fast enough.

WP_20150704_064Oh yeah, did I mention that my phone became a camera only, that day? There was no cell service up there, no wifi to tap into. I thought I’d get the shakes. I was taking some fantastic pictures, but I couldn’t upload them to Facebook. I had no access to my email or texting. I had no choice but to live in the moment. And I’m so glad I did.

We took the easy trails. The kids ran on ahead, searching for cougars and black bears. Hubby used the gnarled walking stick he bought a couple of years ago for hikes that we’d promised we would take but never did. Everyone had a favorite wildflower out of the varieties that grew so prolifically. We realized that we could take the exact same route at different times of the year and have an entirely different experience, depending on the season.

By the time we piled into the car at the end of the day, we were all covered head to toe in dust and dirt. We were exhausted and achy. But we were smiling and talking and, most importantly, happy. I thought the kids would grab their DS games and lose themselves in technology, once we got on the road. But they didn’t even touch them. We talked the whole ride home, about the day we’d had, the things we’d seen, the things we didn’t get to see but would like to go back for, the things we’d like to do over the rest of the summer…

It wasn’t the way we usually spend the 4th of July. It was better. We made memories that I hope the kids will be able to share with their own children some day.

What did you do for the 4th? Are you hardcore traditional, or do you like to mix it up? We need some ideas for next year. ūüėÄ

Blogger’s note: I uploaded a TON of pictures to wordpress. Either half of them came out sideways (and refused to let me turn them) or they were too big to insert in my post. Sigh. Apparently they are just not meant to be shared with the world. lol If you’d like to see more, I’ve added some to a Pinterest folder:¬†https://www.pinterest.com/mzdecuir/research-photos/

Always My Hero – Release Week Fun

Now available on ereaders everywhere!

Now available on ereaders everywhere!

When I announced the cover to Always My Hero, I added a description about the characters. I’ve done excerpts on a couple of other author blogs, and will be sure to promote them as soon as they are up. So today I thought I’d do something different. Here are a few fun facts about Always My Hero, and Scallop Shores in general:

1. ¬†My original idea for the Scallop Shores series involved three books. It wasn’t supposed to be about the town, so much as it was about three best friends. Trapped in Tourist Town was the first. Always My Hero was the second and the third was a half-formed idea that never quite took shape.

2. ¬†To get a better feel for my characters, I posted pictures on a giant whiteboard on my desk. I’m still trying to figure out the name of the actor/model that I chose for Ryan. I’m posting the picture below, and if anyone knows, PLEASE enlighten me! Bree’s character I based on Alexis Bledel, Rory Gilmore if any of you are Gilmore¬†Girls junkies.

Ryan33. ¬†Always My Hero is the first book I’ve ever sold BEFORE I wrote it. It’s also the book that took the shortest amount of time to write. Amazing what a deadline will do for productivity.

4. ¬†Wynter’s Journey is a re-write of the very first book I ever wrote, about ten years ago while we were still living in San Diego and baby #1 was napping. It was never meant to be part of the Scallop Shores series.

5. ¬†Always My Hero was started when I was pregnant with baby #2, but when morning sickness took over, all writing fell by the wayside…for a few years.

6. Next year will mark twenty years since I have lived in Maine. Holy crap! We’re heading back for a wedding this fall and that will be the first time I’ve visited in almost seven years. So all my inspiration for Scallop Shores truly comes from memory. I imagine my hometown has grown considerably and that makes me so sad.

7. ¬†If you’re planning on attending Emerald City Writers Conference this year, I will be donating a “Scallop Shores” themed basket that will have lots of goodies from my trip to Maine. (Sorry, no actual lobster, but maybe a stuffed animal?)

8.  I hate coming up with character names, street names, business names, etc. So if you went to York High School with me, or you are just from York, Maine, see if you recognize any of the names in my books. I never use full names of anyone I actually knew. So thank you to all those who helped me get over that pesky naming hurdle.

9. ¬†I had originally named the series “Lobster Cove”. I LOVED that name. But then my editor discovered a real town in Maine with the same name and it caused inconsistencies with my first book, Drawn to Jonah. Apparently the real Lobster Cove was a lot farther away from New York City and could not be reached in the four hours I said it took by car. Dang. So I held a contest on Facebook and chose a new name. The winner got her name listed in the acknowledgements in Drawn to Jonah. Sigh. I still miss Lobster Cove.

10. ¬†There are several sexy new bachelors introduced in Always My Hero, leaving an opening for more books in this series. If you read the book, I’d love to know who you’d want¬†to see getting the next Scallop Shores book.

So did you learn anything new? Did you have a question about Scallop Shores, or about writing Always My Hero that didn’t get answered? Leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.