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Category: Travel Photo Essays

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

Understanding Cemetery Symbols – Interviews, News & Reviews!

Understanding Cemetery Symbols – book release August 19th! After a lifetime of exploring historic graveyards and several years of earnest research, I’m releasing Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards on August 19th, 2017. Hooray! 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: Laura Irrgang a.k.a. the Rhinestone Armadillo Laura Irrgang gave me and my upcoming book a lovely shout out over on her blog, the Rhinestone Armadillo. (I love rhinestones, armadillos, and Laura!) Blog Interview by Julie…

#IWSG I did something scary!

Yikes! I did something recently that’s both exciting and scary! My next book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Exploring Historic Graveyards is now available for preorder on Amazon.  Both the paperback and the ebook are available now at deep discounts! (I made the paperback $10 cheaper, in fact, for early birds! Whee!)   Why is that scary? Because: DEADLINES! I am not a fan of deadlines, but the preorder process forced me to pick a hard and fast one for this book; August 19th! *gulp* So the scary part is that my book is not 100% done. The…

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 upcoming 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!) Also, if you would like a FREE copy of my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, then consider joining my Launch Team. Details are here: Want to Join My Launch Team? Yesterday…

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…

Cemetery Lovers: 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.   Graveyard Fans: 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 Graveyard Journal: A Workbook for Exploring Historic Cemeteries. What the Graveyard Journal is: Graveyard…

Readers: I need your advice, pretty please!

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 title has changed along the way, but it’s now called Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards. I don’t have the exact release date, but barring any unforeseen circumstances it will be released this summer. Wowza! Readers: I need your input! In addition to Understanding Cemetery Symbols, I’m in the process of creating two companion workbooks. One is called Graveyard Journal: A Workbook for Historic Cemeteries, and the other is…

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…

St. Anthony of Egypt – Patron Saint of Gravediggers

St. Anthony’s feast day is January 17 For this week’s cemetery post, I decided to write about Saint Anthony of Egypt. Why? Because not only is his feast day January 17th, but he just so happens to be the patron saint of gravediggers. I figure that also makes him the patron saint of those of us who enjoy exploring historic graveyards! Non-Catholics celebrate feast days, too I’m not Catholic, but plenty of non-Catholics celebrate feast days. Case in point: St. Patrick’s Day. No one bats an eye if you’re a protestant, Jewish, or even an atheist who decides to drink green beer…

Amazing Postage Stamp Mural in Eastland, Texas

  East/west…whatever! The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas, my quirky travel guide to offbeat and overlooked day trips near Dallas and Fort Worth: Despite being named “Eastland” this quirky little town is actually located in west Texas. (Meanwhile, the city of West, Texas is located in the southern portion of our state. Go figure!) Anyway, in the 1920’s Eastland was a lively boomtown thanks to the oil industry. These days, it’s a sleepy little city with a population hovering near 4,000. And unless you’re from this neck of the woods, you’re probably not aware of Eastland’s two most…

Historic Texas Graveyard: Thurber Cemetery 

This week’s feature: Thurber Cemetery The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas, my quirky travel guide to offbeat and overlooked day trips near Dallas and Fort Worth: This week’s featured graveyard is Thurber Cemetery. Part of what makes it such an interesting place to explore is the unique history of the area, so here’s a brief overview:   More than a Smokestack These days, Thurber’s 128-foot brick smokestack is the only thing most people notice as they whiz through this ghost town on their way to Abilene. It’s all that remains of the power plant which, in 1895,…

#IWSG Meeting Donna Latham, Playwright & Kindred Spirit

A pleasant side effect to writing Back in November, the IWSG writing question of the month was “What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?” I didn’t see the question until after I’d written my post, but it really got me thinking… So here’s my answer: *drum roll, please* After much thought, I’d have to say my favorite thing about writing is the wonderful friendships it has brought me – first through Twitter, and later through this blog and the various books I’ve published. While making friends was not my main goal for writing, it has come as a very…

Sculpture of the 1897 UFO Crash in Aurora, Texas

Space alien buried in Aurora, Texas cemetery? Yesterday, I blogged about a very strange incident: the 1897 UFO crash in Aurora, Texas.  According to a newspaper article published by the Dallas News in April of 1897, a cigar-shaped object crashed in a farmer’s field, an alien body was found in the debris, and this little humanoid was buried in the local cemetery. (For a detailed account of this incident, along with a photo of the space alien’s headstone, visit: New Headstone for Aurora, Texas UFO Crash Space Alien Grave.)  New Aurora, Texas UFO Sculpture So today, I want to share…