Planning a road trip I’ll never take…

I realized I do this a lot. Okay, maybe not A LOT a lot, but I’ve written two road trips into two separate series now, which seems like more than a little.

Does that even make sense?

Oh well, moving on.

The Cloaked 2.5 road trip is WAY different than the road trips in RECAST (thank goodness!) but they’re similar in that I’ve researched both, looking at likely pit stops, points of interest, hotels/motels, and interesting/beautiful geography along the way, all so I can describe the scenery, roads, nature, hotels, convenience stores, etc..

So how in the heck do I do that?  Well, I thought I’d share with you because, though I use these tools for planning imaginary road trips, you might like to use them for planning your next REAL road trip!  Or, maybe you’re in the process of writing a book and could use these methods for your own story telling!

 

RoadTrip

Screengrab of the route on Furkot

 

For the Cloaked road trip, Cecily and Scott are driving from New Orleans to Seattle–with the plan of having sex in every state they cross through. (woot!)  I used a site called Furkot to plan the route. I entered in the starting and ending locations, the start and end driving times for each day (Cecily and Scott are young and energetic–they’ll be pulling 12 hour days) and Furkot did the rest, mapping out the route, suggesting accommodations along the way, and even recommending cool things to stop and see. Next, I took that route and used Google Earth/Google Maps to view various locations along it. I made sure to look at each hotel (on Google Maps and on their respective websites) and at random spots to get a sense of the environment and what Cecily and Scott might see while they drive.  Basically, I looked at the world through the internet’s eyes.

Creepy? Nah.

Interestingly enough, Google Earth and Google Maps is how I learned about and “saw” Tubac before ever setting foot there while I was writing the Shift Series.  It’s a writer’s best friend for settings.

What about you?  What tools do you use while planning a road trip? Do you rely on technology, or a more analog solution, like paper maps?  If you’re a writer, what tools do you use to get a feel for the settings in your stories–especially those you can’t visit?

Weddings Everywhere!

My little sister is getting married today!  I’m in a weddingy mood. So, to celebrate the day, here’s a re-post STAND’s Alternate Epilogue (Leah and Drake’s wedding): 

I fidgeted with my earring once more, making sure it was hanging just right—making sure it hadn’t fallen out though there was no reasonable way it could have.

“They’re still there, Lee,” my Dad said.

I looked up and saw him in the mirror, behind me.

He smiled and crossed the room. He looked funny in a suit. “Touching them makes it feel like she’s here though, huh?”

I nodded with a smile. “But I should stop messing with them—lord knows how old they are.”

“Only Cecelia would own a pair of antique sapphire earrings and keep them in a random jewelry box in her room—not somewhere safe.”

It wasn’t worth explaining that she could have kept them on her kitchen counter and they would have been safe, given the middle-of-nowhere location of her house. My house. No, that didn’t feel right. I still hadn’t moved any of her furniture, though technically, I’d owned this place for years now.

Drake and I hadn’t been able to bring ourselves to live here at first. We’d said the reason we hadn’t moved in was because we needed to finish school—and that was true—but, the other reason was because, at first, it had been too hard to be here. It was better now though, the sorrow less acute. Now this house was full of memories, bittersweet and tangy like lime sherbet. But it was also sitting, waiting to be made full of new memories. At first, Samantha and Harris had kept an eye on the house, keeping it dust-free and in good repair. Then, when Harris retired, and they’d decided to move back to California, I’d paid a property management company to look after it while we finished our Bachelor’s degrees. Now, Drake and I were getting ready to move in. After today.

“You’re almost up,” Dad said as he glanced out the window. “Everybody’s seated and Yumi’s about to wet herself she’s so excited—you better get out there before she spins off into the aether and takes all the flower petals with her.”

I laughed and joined him at the window, my dress rustling softly as I went. Sure enough, Ferris and Collin’s daughter was spinning in place, watching her red-orange dress with the teal ribbon flare as she turned. Her black hair showed blue in the bright sunlight. Ferris crouched down in front of her to grab her attention.

Dad let the curtain fall back into place. “See what I mean?”

“We should probably get out there before everybody melts, regardless,” I agreed.

I took his arm though it wasn’t necessary just yet, and together we walked down the short hallway, then across the living room to the front door.

“So,” Dad said as we waited. “After today, Mrs. King, huh?”

I shook my head. “Ms. Brayton-King, Dad. I told you that.”

“That’s right.” He sighed theatrically. “Hyphenating…that’s very modern of you. How does Drake feel about that?”

“He’s fine with it.” Especially when I’d explained to him why I’d wanted to do it: to preserve the Brayton shifter lineage. I was the last Brayton shifter, after all.

“I know,” Dad replied. “I’m just diffusing the situation with humor—it’s a coping mechanism.”

I laughed quietly.

“See, it works every time.”

A knock on the door meant the flower girl was on her way down the aisle, which was my cue.

My eyes found Drake’s the second the door opened. And while I knew there were people sitting in the white chairs on either side of the aisle—Samantha and Harris, Mallory, Terry and Michael, Sol, Poi, Nina, Wyck, Gabriel, even Felix, an empty chair beside him in honor of my aunt—Drake was all I could see.

We couldn’t have known, when we met, all the things that would happen. Just like we couldn’t have known, standing there that day, that it would take five years before we would refer to our house as ours and not Cecelia’s. Or that, in that time, we would have a daughter named Cressida and a son named Joaquin. We had no way of knowing those things as we stood, staring at one another, exchanging the vows we had already been living for years on that sweltering, sunny day under the tree in my aunt’s front yard.

 

What am I working on?

Hello, faithful readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on my various projects, so here it is!

After two straight weeks of chapter-by-chapter posts, Waiting | A Shift Series Novella (aka Shift Series 3.5) now lives on its own set of pages under the DRIFT tab here on the website.  Waiting has a special place in my heart–I hope it earned a special place in yours as well.

My latest novel-length project, Cloaked 2, is complete, and currently being reviewed by my primary beta readers.  (If you think you’re up to the task of Beta Reading a couple of novels for me, I’d welcome the feedback!  Shoot me a message on Twitter or Facebook!)  Now I just need to figure out what I’m actually going to call the thing!

Finally, I recently solidified my book-plans for the remainder of 2017 and 2018:

For the rest of 2017, I will be working on and finishing Cloaked 2.5 and Cloaked 3.  In 2018, I have grand plans for The Mythologicals Saga, including a re-write of Harbinger, and overhaul of Augury. All of that to get the series ready for the release of the third book, Corollary (finally!) in early 2019.  Also in 2018, I’d like to do an editing pass on the Shift Series books and re-release them with new covers.

So that’s the real rundown of what I’ve been up to.  The mid-year plan review was incredibly helpful. I’m feeling motivated and focused, ready to close out the year and keep up the momentum in 2018. The Mythologicals Saga re-work is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, so carving out the time to really do it feels pretty great.

Do any of you like to reflect and re-plan midway through the year?  What are some tools you use to plan your work/projects throughout the year, be they for home, career, hobbies, etc?