For the love of travel (for work)

One of the perks of my job at the university is the privilege to travel for professional development. During spring break (for the college students and my elementary school children), I attended the 2018 CASE Editors Forum in Seattle, Washington. Not only had I never attended this conference before, but I’d never been to Seattle.

Due to having to fly across two time zones (I live in Arkansas) and the start time of the conference on Wednesday, March 21, I had to travel the day before. It was interesting, to say the least. For the first time ever, I set off the metal detector at the Little Rock Airport. What parts of my body? My ankles and my right back pants pocket. Weird.

After a public frisking and bomb-residue test (firsts for me), I was on my way. It was also my first experience flying Southwest Airlines. It was odd not being assigned a seat but not unpleasant. The airline boards based on a boarding group number assigned at check-in. The earlier one checks in, the better the number. I was at the beginning, so I was able to choose a nice comfortable window seat near the back of the plane. I wasn’t in a hurry on the way over since I had a three-hour layover at Dallas-Love Field.

A delayed first flight cut into my layover time by 30 minutes, but it was no big deal. I had plenty of time to eat lunch and make a huge dent in the book I was reading on my Kindle app, Of Blood and Sorrow, by Christine Rains. A well-written vampire/demon urban fantasy story. By the time I boarded my second flight, which was much longer, I only had a couple of chapters left.

During the from to Dallas to Seattle, I read Broken Tomorrows, by KT Daxon, a book I’d been anticipating for a while. I actually won an autographed copy from the author through a contest on Twitter. I was thrilled to have it but didn’t want to risk losing the novel while traveling, so I bought the Kindle version to read during my trip. I read the entire thing while flying at 36,000 feet. The book was incredible. Check out my review on Goodreads. Luckily, I had brought along another book, The Bookseller, by Cynthia Swanson, which I started during the last leg of my flight and finished while flying home.

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School Shootings

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Last week, on Valentine’s Day, a terrible tragedy happened in Florida. I’m sure it wasn’t the only tragedy to happen that day, but it’s the one that was on my mind the most after I heard the news. Another school shooting, this time leaving 14 students and three teachers dead.

 

I’ve seen sources claim it was the 18th school shooting since January 1, 2018, and other sources claim that the number is exaggerated. My stance on the matter is: Who the hell cares what number on the list this school shooting was? Whether it was the first or the hundredth one, it is still one too many.

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2017 in (book) review

I fell in love with reading when I was a kid. I devoured books from the school library and used all my allowance money each month to purchase the next Baby-Sitters Club book in the series until I had almost the whole collection. Later, as a teen, I discovered the book section at our local Goodwill, a store I still frequent today. Back in the mid-90s, paperbacks there were 50 cents each (now they’re $1). Through my purchases at the Goodwill, I discovered Stephen King and V.C. Andrews novels (the ones she actually wrote before the “trust” pirated and diluted her memory—another story for another day) that I was probably too young to read at the time.

At the beginning of 2017, I set a goal on Goodreads to read 52 books or one per week. I wasn’t sure I would make it, because from 2008 (when my son, Drew, was born) up until the end of 2016, I averaged two to three books per year that didn’t have illustrations or animal characters in them.

Well, I not only met but exceeded my goal. I read 59 books in 2017. Most of them, I enjoyed (three to four stars), and a few changed my life (five stars). I discovered some great indie authors and some traditionally published work that moved me in some way. I’m actually reading another indie author book right now (by someone I used to know) thanks to my Kindle Direct 30-day free trial. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to reveal what book it is, but I’ll think about it.

Top two (out of six) independent authors I read in 2017:

  1. Brad Carl, The Grey Areas Saga: Books 1-4. A set of novellas following the adventure of a mysterious man who moves to a small town and gets enthralled in illegal activity.
  2. Rebecca Yelland, Dancing at Midnight and The Other Side of Midnight. A set of beautiful novels about a woman’s journey learning about the past pain of her mother through a diary she discovers.

Top ten traditionally published work I read in 2017: Continue Reading “2017 in (book) review”