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Category: Travel Photo Essays

Travel tips, photos & travelogues from all over the world.

Travel Packing Challenges: Camouflage is illegal? Red clothes provoke attacks?

Round-the-World Cruise Packing Challenges Packing for my upcoming Round-the-World Cruise has brought some unique challenges. Not only will we be visiting hot and cold climates, but there are other considerations. For one thing, trekking through 22 different countries means we will be trekking through 22 different cultures. Offensive clothing varies The challenge is to dress comfortably without offending the locals. Every culture defines “offensive clothing” differently, so I’m doing careful research. In some places, this means that even if it’s 100 degrees out, I’d better make sure my arms, décolletage, and knees are covered – especially before entering places of…

Have you tried Digital Scrapbooking?

A new type of travel journal When I travel, I often pack a glue stick and scissors so I can make a scrapbook journal using maps, tickets, brochures, etc. For my upcoming round-the-world trip, however, I’m trying something new (at least to me!) I’m going to create a digital travel scrapbook!   Best of both worlds? I’m really excited about this! I usually end up with a paper scrapbook, a printed photo book, and a written journal for each trip. A digital scrapbook means I can easily incorporate my photos and travel ephemera directly into my written journal. Easy to share…

Secret Santas for Writers on Twitter!

What is a Secret Santa? Have you ever heard of a Secret Santa gift exchange? For me, it’s a family tradition. Each year after Thanksgiving dinner, my family members write our names on a slip of paper and toss it into a hat. Each of us then takes one slip of paper out of the hat and silently reads the name written there. We then become a Secret Santa for the person whose name we have drawn. You’re not supposed to tell anyone who you are a Secret Santa for until Christmas day. That’s when we have the big reveal! What…

2018: Trick or Treat Reads – Get Your Free Books Here!

Free Books as Halloween Treats Five years ago, my pal and fellow author, Patricia Lynne had a brilliant idea. She calls it Trick-or-Treat reads, and here’s how she describes it: For those of you who don’t know, Trick-or-Treat Reads is a Halloween event where authors put their books for free and readers go trick-or-treating to get the books. BOOKS ARE THE CANDY!     My Halloween Freebie for You: For this year’s Trick-or-Treat Reads, I’m offering a free music album & lyrics book.  Yes, in addition to writing books, I’m also a singer/songwriter who plays several instruments. A couple years…

#IWSG Do You Have a Soft Shell Crab Phase?

I’m baaaaaack! Hey, #IWSG peeps! I didn’t mean to fall off the monthly posting wagon, but… sometimes my life feels like a blender on frappe and I end up going in so many directions that the only way to deal with things is to pull back from everything except for what I absolutely have to do. So that’s what I did! My writing life is good, but… Though hectic, life’s been great for me, writing-wise! In January, I was contacted by a publisher and after a flurry of negotiations, research, and writing, my first book with Reedy Press will be…

Author Interview with David Kravetz (my kindred quirky traveler!) about his brand new book

Author Interview: David Kravetz’s “Unique Town Names”  Today I’m bringing you an interview with first-time author, but longtime writer, photographer and quirky traveler, David Kravetz. Does his name sound familiar? Readers of this blog may recall his wonderful guest post “All About Jackalopes.” [Disclosure: Some of these links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a few pennies at no additional expense to you if you click on them and make a purchase.]   David Kravetz: Kindred Quirky Traveler I met David Kravetz several years ago on Twitter, and I immediately realized he is a kindred spirit. We both love exploring offbeat…

T-Shirt Giveaway: Vote for a Chance to Win Your Favorite Design!

You asked for T-Shirts: Readers of my books, especially those who enjoy Understanding Cemetery Symbols, keep asking me to create T-shirts using photos I take in historic graveyards. And while it’s fun creating mock up designs in Canva.com, it’s intimidating. I’ve had no idea how to actually manufacture the T shirts – until now! [Disclosure: I’m receiving free T-shirts for including a link to CreateAShirt in this post!] Enter CreateAShirt.com The other day I got an email from CreateAShirt.com. They offered to print out some shirts for me in exchange for linking to their site, as I just did in the previous sentence. Pretty…

Guest Post: How Does a Pantser Reach the End? by Patricia Josephine

Check out my friend’s new book: Mistakes of the Past I’m always excited when my friends release books. Case in point: Patricia Josephine. She recently published a YA science fiction romance called Mistakes of the Past. Whoo hoo! Go, Patty!  Who is Patricia Josephine? Like me, Patricia is intrigued by haunted places, UFO sightings, the paranormal, and other eerie fodder. She writes Young Adult stories that often feature paranormal beings struggling with human issues.  We met on Twitter! Patricia and I met through a weekly writing chat on Twitter. The chat is called #StoryDam and if you wonder why I…

Top Tips for Mindful Shopping – Online & Off!

[Disclosure: While the the following blog post is my honest opinion, it also contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. ] Small Business Saturday Today is Small Business Saturday, and that’s great. However, if we really want local businesses to thrive, we need to maintain this shopping attitude all year long! Here are some quick tips for easy ways to support small businesses and use your dollars to make the world a little better – not just during the holiday season, but all year long:…

True Ghost Story: My West Texas Doppelgänger? #evp #paranormal

Not only is the following account a true tale from a recent paranormal investigation, but it is an excerpt from an anthology of true ghost stories called Scared Senseless. I’ve included brief audio files of the EVPs mentioned, so you can hear them for yourself. Enjoy! Top Notch Ghost Hunters When Becky Vickers invited me to investigate the Old Park Hotel (OPH) in September 2017, I leapt at the chance. Not only is Becky friendly and fun, but she is an accomplished ghost hunter with a weekly radio show called “Bridging the Paranormal.” She and her team, BECKS Ghost Hunters,…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols – Interviews, News & Reviews!

Understanding Cemetery Symbols – Interviews, News & Reviews! After a lifetime of exploring historic graveyards and several years of earnest research, I released Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards on August 19th, 2017. Hooray! It went to #1 in at least two categories on Amazon straight off the bat! Wheee! Interviews, Reviews & News for Understanding Cemetery Symbols: As interviews happen and reviews roll in for my new book,Understanding Cemetery Symbols , I’ll share them on this page. Here’s what’s happened, so far: Coming soon: Interview with radio host, Jim Harold I don’t know the air-date yet, but I was recently interviewed by Jim…

How to Identify Different US Military Headstones in Historic Cemeteries

Different Types of US Military Headstones Since many of us visit cemeteries over Memorial Day Weekend to honor those who gave their lives serving our country, I’m sharing an excerpt from my book Understanding Cemetery Symbols about how to identify different types of US military headstones. You may also wish to learn: Memorial Day’s Surprising Origins. (Will you be setting your alarm for 3 p.m. on Memorial Day? I will!) Yesterday was overcast, cool and breezy here in north Texas, perfect weather for taking photos in a historic graveyard, so my husband, Larry, and I went over to the beautiful City…

Want to join my Launch Team?

Understanding Cemetery Symbols – book release this summer! After a lifetime of exploring historic graveyards and several years of earnest research, I’m finally releasing my cemetery symbols book. Hooray! The book is called Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards. As you can see from the image below, it has two companion workbooks to go along with it. I don’t have the exact release date, but I’m aiming for mid-August. I am so excited! I could use some help! You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? It’s the same with releasing a book! Despite my…

Ghost Hunters: I need your advice!

Understanding Cemetery Symbols has companion workbooks! After a lifetime of exploring historic graveyards and several years of earnest research, I’m finally releasing my cemetery symbols book this summer. Hooray! As you can see from the image above, in addition to Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards, I’m releasing two different workbooks.   Paranormal Researchers: I need your input! This is where you come in. Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this post what you think about the following plan for Ghost Hunters Journal: A Workbook for Paranormal Investigators. What the Ghosthunters Journal is: Ghost Hunters…

Create Quick & Easy Book Trailers with this Free iPhone App! #Ripl

Afraid to make a book trailer? Does the thought of making a book trailer intimidate you? Well, don’t despair! I recently discovered an iPhone app that lets you create book trailers in a snap. Oddly enough, I have a bout of insomnia to thank for this discovery. A couple nights ago, I couldn’t turn my brain off, so I decided to look through my phone and delete all the apps that I don’t use. Use a free app called Ripl Along the way, I found an app called Ripl. I downloaded it ages ago and promptly forgot all about it. (Do you…

#IWSG How Do You Handle Stress?

An unpleasant surprise… Is anyone else stressed out? I like to think of myself as a mellow person, but lately I’ve been struggling! It’s not just a subjective feeling: Recently at the doctor’s office, my blood pressure was 166/88, which is not my norm! It’s usually on the low side, like 120/60. And, of course, learning that my blood pressure was through the roof only increased my stress… Plus, I was supposed to get lab work done the next day, but I got the flu that night. Then, the day I was well I flew up to spend time with my parents…

Win Tickets to the 2017 Aurora Alien Encounter #Texas #UFO #con

September 16, 2017: Aurora Alien Encounter UFO Conference Did You know a UFO crashed in Aurora, TX in 1897?  The City of Aurora and Vortexas invite you to come and celebrate the 120th anniversary of this bizarre event  on Saturday, September 16, 2017 for the second annual AURORA ALIEN ENCOUNTER! ( PLEASE NOTE: This event was originally scheduled for April 22th, 2017, but the date has been bumped ahead)   What is the Aurora Alien Encounter? This exciting UFO Conference commemorates a strange event which occurred on April 17, 1897 when a UFO crashed in Aurora, a small town north of Fort…

#IWSG How My Travel Book Took Me on an Unexpected Journey!

My travel book is taking me on a journey of its own! I’m so dang excited: Three years ago, nearly to the day, I published my very first book. Unexpected Texas came out on March 2nd, 2014. Up until then, aside from a few small exceptions, I had only had my work published in magazines. So this was a great big step into the unknown! Friendships, opportunities… Long story short: my book hit #1 for Dallas – Fort Worth Travel on Amazon two days after its release and has pretty much camped out on that list ever since. It’s done quite…

#IWSG Bullet Journal – Evernote combo?

Writing research road trip… I’m posting this month’s IWSG post a day early because my hubby and I are taking off on a month-long road trip tomorrow morning! (So, I may be a bit slow to make the IWSG rounds, but I will do my best, bad motel WIFI willing!) As I’ve mentioned here before, Larry’s dad moved in with us last summer. We love having him here, but it all came about rather suddenly. Long story short, he has dementia and could no longer live on his own. So, we’re sending him up to stay with family on Long…

Historic Graveyards: What Does a Cube Symbolize on a Headstone?

Cubes are not merely decorative It’s easy to overlook the meaning behind simple shapes on historic headstones, and even to assume they are merely decorative. Sometimes, of course, that is the case. After all, a cube is not all that complex or particularly exciting to look at. Even so, when featured at a gravesite, there is often a symbolic meaning behind it. I recently came across this particular cube while exploring the historic graveyard up in Aurora, Texas and decided this week’s cemetery symbols post would answer the question, “What does a cube symbolize on a headstone?” What does a…