Long post! Pictures at the end 🙂

Writing update

I’ve written another short story for an anthology, but it’s not due out until Q1 2017. I haven’t even settled on a title yet. It’s about 16k words (a little shorter than The Biting Cold). It’s in the Athanate universe, but it’s set in a fictional island in the West Indies (‘St. Mark’s’ in the Leeward Islands) in about 1800. It’s pre-edit, but hey, there’s only 16k words so it can’t change much. Hahahaha.

I’m working on Bian’s Tale companion series book 1, Saigon: The Reach of Lies. I’d say it’s going well, but I got to a point last time, about 75% through the whole book, and suddenly, it wasn’t going well. I’m going to be cautious this time and say it’s going okay. I’ll start to engage with beta readers sometime this month or next.

I’m also working on the plot of Bite Back 6. It’s time for the Adepts to come to the fore, and many threads need to be woven in. Those of you who’ve read The Biting Cold and Winter’s Kiss (Bite Back: Outsiders companion series) know that there is input from that companion series as well. A couple of chapters early in Bite Back 6 will actually be the next step in the Outsiders series, and I will be telling the same events from the two different points of view.

I have a lot of other projects I would like to start, but they’re all on the back burner.

Road Trip Report

Readers of this blog will know I did a US road trip in the fall. I visited Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. It was too much and not nearly enough. I have been promising to show pictures and report back, but I don’t want to swamp you with 20GBytes of photos and pages of musings. I’ll try it a state at a time and no more than a couple of photos per road. This post is just an overview. Next post will start the actual road trip and cover Wyoming.

Why did I do it?

Planning started back in 2014 when I was sketching out the plot for what became two books – Cool Hand and Angel Stakes. The internet is amazing for writer’s research, but there’s a lot to be said for being at the place that you’re writing about. Talking to people. Seeing with your own eyes. And I’d done a lot of research on Denver in 2011 when I was planning the story that became Sleight of Hand and Hidden Trump. So… I planned to visit New Mexico and Los Angeles in preparation for Cool Hand and Angel Stakes.

But…life happened. I didn’t go. I wrote those books using internet research and some feedback from people in the area.

How many mistakes did that produce?

Not as many as it could have been. On the Cool Hand audio, I had Julia pronounce Ute as ‘oo-teh’ and it should be more like ‘yoot’. In Angel Stakes, I had a desk sergeant at the police station, and apparently LAPD does not use sergeants to man the front desks. This was pointed out to me at great length by a reviewer (who managed to miss some other deliberate fictions, got his own facts wrong and got completely the wrong end of the stick on other non-LA items – LOL).

Still…the Bite Back action will move north in BB7 and I wanted to get a feel for the states involved. I also wanted to see some of the places I’d written about using just the internet and friends, hence the trip to New Mexico.

I could also use the photos for backdrops in book covers.

And I wanted a road trip. For me, there’s nothing like the vanishing point to free the imagination.

The plan…

Came together when the whole family wanted to see my daughter, Jessica, on the set for Iron Fist, filming in New York from summer to late fall. The family would fly out in the last week of August and spend about 2 weeks, and I would go from there when the rest went home. The timing was exactly what I wanted – to be touring after Labor Day, when the prices would drop (hahahaha) and it wouldn’t be too cold in the mountains (hahahahaha).

I couldn’t work LA into the trip. Instead, I concentrated on the Rockies.

The research required me to visit Wyoming and Montana. I wanted to start in Denver, and on a road trip, you should not travel any road twice, so that gave me my first loop:

Wyoming, taking in the areas where the Cheyenne pack run (Medicine Bow National Forest), and including the places where two of the founder packs of the Confederation are based—Wind River and Bighorn.

Montana, taking in Bozeman.

And returning through Idaho, along the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis areas, where the Bozeman pack runs. (I was originally thinking of missing Idaho, but readers told me I had to see places like Stanley and Sun Valley, and it just worked).

Having done that, I needed to come back through Utah to Colorado.

I knew I’d need some time in Denver to write up, and then set off on the second loop.

For the southern section, I wanted to head to Nevada first. There is the potential for a scene in the Humboldt-Toiyabe area, and I also just wanted to drive along the ‘Loneliest Road in America’—Highway 50.

Then down to Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Back to Denver and complete.

(The requirement for returning to Denver was simple economics of return flights and car hiring).

That was the plan. It went right and wrong. Tune in to the next post to see how it turned out in Wyoming in detail.

How did it go overall?

It was awesome. As I say, things went wrong,  and I’ll tell all in the next few posts.

The important thing was that the principle reasons for the trip went very well – I finished the draft of Winter’s Kiss, edited and published it while travelling. I talked to dozens of people. I got lots of photos. Loads of ideas. I came back to the UK with my head full of scenes for Bite Back and other books. My imagination went into overdrive.

There are some photos on the Bite Back page, both from New York and from the road trip. Go to (https://www.facebook.com/TheBiteBackSeries/ and scroll down), I won’t repeat them here, but instead, have a look at some tasters of what’s to come.

I needed a car. Plain Toyota Camry – on a couple of occasions, I was sorry I hadn’t got a 4×4, but it did the task. Yes, things went wrong with cars…

the-car

I needed places to stay, hotels, motels and AirBnB. (I didn’t stay here – Jackson, Montana). Yes, things went wrong with hotels…

hotel

I needed a camera. During the trip my Canon G9 died slowly, and there’s a tale to that too. Ended up with the current Canon equivalent, a G7x. High quality, fast lens, reasonable zoom, no filters, no changeable lenses, manual and auto programs, robust, fits in pocket – basic parameters for my kinda road trip.

canon-g7x-mk2

I needed money. Mix of credit and cash. I have to say, I was offended by some of it! Cos I’m speshul.

american-quarter

I sought out views of scenes I’d already written. For instance, here is where Jen and Amber looked down on Denver from Lookout Mountain (at night), after the meeting about the quarter horse race venue in Hidden Trump.

lookout-hidden-trump

And scenes I’m going to write. A chase, a fight. Bite Back 6 or 7. This is part of a disused railway track in north Denver.

disused-railway-track-bite-back-6-7

But mainly I took photos just because the scenery was AWESOME. Every bend in the road seemed to bring something new and incredible.

Trees and mountains and rivers…

 

beauty-aspens-and-rivers

And the drama of Great Dunes and a dark butte under threatening clouds.

beauty-drama-and-dunes

As I said, it was awesome, and I look forward to telling you more about it – the little things and the large.

Would I recommend a road trip in the Rockies? Hell, yeah.

I will continue to update progress on writing as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first book, 'Sleight of Hand' is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Sa0D3n

16 responses to “”

  1. Robert says :

    That’s nice and all, but can I have some more Jen in my books now? =]

    How about a story from Jen’s perspective! Short or otherwise. That would be cool.

    And yes I’m probably going to keep asking for this after every book. Sorry not sorry.

    I just think she’s the most interesting secondary character for some reason. I mean, not to diminish any of your characters but old manipulative vampires and rough-tough alpha wolves and immature magic users coming into their powers surrounded by mysteries and so on are kind of staples of the genre. Obviously there’s good reasons for that, but I’m just fascinated by the idea of this ‘normal’ woman who gets involved in all this, and like, doesn’t change into anything supernatural.

    At the risk of rambling I guess in someways she has the most possibility to be a completely self-directed character– so many other characters (both yours and others) end up with all sorts of (usually) supernatural imperatives driving much of their actions, werewolf instincts and pack bonds and dominance fights and so on or ‘vampire’ imperatives to find blood donors and create bonds because of it and so on and so forth, whereas Jen is just doing whatever she does entirely because she wants to. I just think that’s really interesting.

    Also I may have spent too much time thinking about these books. Sorry.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      I don’t say this very often with regard to my work, but I’d never really thought of it like that. Jen is, of course, influenced by her bonds with Amber and Alex, but she’s a ‘human alpha’ in her own right. Ummm. That will sink into the thought cave and percolate for a while. I like non-standard approaches. Thank you.

      • Robert says :

        I rather like the idea of considering Jen a “human alpha” which made me think: are there vampire ‘alphas’? I’ve read the series a couple of times now and I don’t recall any mention of any kind of supernatural aspect to the vampire hierarchy, so can just any vampire become the head of a house? Do you have to pass some kind of test? What exactly controls when marques develop and change (or get changed)?

        And if you’re going to start doing all of these other perspectives can we get some kind of explanation as to how Kin actually perceive all this stuff? And is there a precise definition for Kin? Obviously Amber and her house have been playing all sorts of fast and loose with the more traditional vampire definitions but is there an actual supernatural element to it as well and how does that affect the people involved? Can the vampire exert actual control over the kin? What about house members? Doesn’t amber order, uh, pia, to stop talking at some point and the command is basically magically enforced?

        P.S. If Jen is all alpha and a kin and … whatever else is going on with amber’s little trio, does that mean she’d affect real werewolves like an alpha would? I’m imagining a scene where a werewolf runs into her and starts cowering and it’s fairly amusing.

        • Mark Henwick says :

          It’s a complex question – at what point is dominance supernatural?

          Older Athanate develop dominance along with extra powers, it’s not the entire source of their authority on its own. The Athanate Master/Mistress of a House has dominance over the Athanate in the House.

          How does an Athanate become ‘House’? In earlier times, it was pretty brutal. If there was an area not claimed by another House that you thought you could claim and hold, you could go for it. If you thought a claimed territory wasn’t well defended, you could claim whatever part you thought you could hold. However, as time went on, the directive of the Agiagraphos (the most ancient Athanate rules) to not betray the presence of Athanate to humans started to reduce the amount this happened. This was part of the reason that the Assembly was formed in the early 20th Century.

          The Assembly produced a more civilized process of registration. Any Athanate can propose a new House to the Assembly, but since almost all territory on Earth has some claim to it, it’s unlikely to be met with Assembly approval. So the system now is much more along the lines of an existing House proposing a new House – as Skylur did for Amber.
          The administration of this was conducted by the Warders. Following their dissolution and the setting up of a new Assembly at the end of Angel Stakes, the administration will be taken over by the Irish Houses.
          There is no test, but there is a certain amount of Darwinism involved – if you’re not good enough to maintain your House, your House will dissolve.

          Marques develop at different rates for different people and the younger the House is, the more likely their marque will be a combination of all the Athanate in the House. If Diana were to set up a House now, it would be 100% her marque. If Pia were to set up a House, the marque would represent every Athanate that joined.

          Kin (or Carpathian katikia or Theokos’ devotees) are humans bonded to an Athanate or a House. There is a supernatural element to the bond. Kin gain pleasure from the act of providing their Blood and a fulfillment from doing so. A kin that hasn’t been bitten for a long time is an unhappy kin.

          Can Athanate control kin – yes. Compelling humans is a basic Athanate power.

          Is there a supernatural element to the authority of the Master/Mistress of the House over the Athanate members? Yes. A commitment made to the House, in Blood or oath actually becomes hardwired in. Like most of these authority mechanisms, it can be overcome, but it’s hard.

          Jen would have authority over werewolves, but not as a werewolf alpha.

          Very long and complex set of topics 🙂

          • Robert says :

            Well, it’s a long and complex set of books!

            So, aside from any current political considerations/recognition, what causes someone to go from ‘athanate’ to ‘House’? Is it just having another Athanate make some kind of oath to you? Is that specific event something chat actually changes anything or just a minor part of being recognized?

            Presumably when Skylur proposes Bian as a new House she doesn’t have any followers aside from her Kin, right? So is there any difference between Bian when she is ‘made’ a House by Skylur and Amber when she ‘takes over’ Pia and David? Before she’s recognized by Skylur I mean.

            Like, if you have a single Athanate who is deemed to be a House vs an Athanate with followers who isn’t recognized as a House, is there any difference between them, at least in terms of supernatural biology type stuff?

            Would, for example, a powerful and recognized House giving orders to a lowranking/unaffiliated vampire of a different house make any difference? Would the weaker vampire be compelled regardless of official house affiliations? I guess that’s basically what Amber did to Pia, right?

            Also I’m still confused as to what the Kin feel towards their ‘master’ (is there a more politically correct word for that?). Obviously there’s some amount of love and affection and pleasure, but wouldn’t any human being bitten by an athanate feel pleasure from the bite regardless of their previous associations?

            Does making someone kin implant some kind of loyalty or even love to the athanate who did it? Amber kept talking about “losing free will” when she was making Kin in the last couple of books but it was never really explained how that worked. Is it a lack of free will in the specific sense that now Amber has a great deal of specific control over them in terms of giving them orders, or is it some kind of more general thing where they’re subtly compelled to act in the best interests of their master?

            And how do Kin break up with Athanates? Could one of them just walk away and move to the other side of the country and live their life? Would their addiction to blood giving eventually fade? Who all can exactly be made Kin? Can you make were-thingies Kin even though their blood isn’t sustainable? Is there a difference? Could you make a cow Kin?! Could you make someone Kin against their will?

            As to Marques, if Pia suddenly sets up a House and ends up with a couple of (presumably young) vampires oathed to her, their marques would mix as you said, but would that change over time? Would Pia’s gradually assert itself over all of theirs over time? Would it just stay a fusion?

            Could Diana oath to Pia as a House and what would that do to their marques?

            P.S. Now that Bian may or may not be moving into Arizona, can she have Rita? Please? Also four books of UST between Amber and Bian is three books too many!

          • Mark Henwick says :

            Robert’s further questions…

            “So, aside from any current political considerations/recognition, what causes someone to go from ‘athanate’ to ‘House’? …”

            There’s two elements to this (1) the supernatural structure of a House, which is at least one Master/Mistress + one other Athanate who acknowledges the Master/Mistress + kin (for Panethus), and (2) the political and organisational reality of Athanate society.

            A Blood oath does bind the Athanate together. As with most compulsions and bindings, it is not unbreakable. A ‘House’ must have one other Athanate to recognise them as such.

            So…
            In theory, any Athanate who can get another Athanate to acknowledge them (normally by giving a Blood oath) can claim to have set up a House. However, a House must have a territory. House Altau is a big, powerful House, so Colorado is the territory. If two Athanate come along and claim to be a House based in Colorado Springs, or Grand Junction, Altau has a choice – acknowledge them (which legitimizes the claimed title ‘House’) or eradicate them. That’s been the basis since the writing of the Agiagraphos. Once the Assembly had been set up, custom changed so that the acknowledgment of the Assembly also legitimized the claim to be a House. However that’s an additional step not ‘instead of’.

            A sub-House can share territory with the main House.

            There are exceptions. Diazoun are Houses which live apart from the political structure and make no specific territorial claims, and have no rights under the Agiagraphos. The Warders were also a sort of exception in that they had territories, but those territories were guaranteed by all other Houses in the Assembly – no one was allowed to claim part of their territories. The Warders are gone now.

            “Presumably when Skylur proposes Bian as a new House she doesn’t have any followers aside from her Kin, right? So is there any difference between Bian when she is ‘made’ a House by Skylur and Amber when she ‘takes over’ Pia and David? Before she’s recognized by Skylur I mean.”

            No, when Bian was made House Trang, she had to have a Diakon, and she chose Tom Sherman, from her Altau security team. The other surviving member, Paul, was part of her House in theory, but Skylur needed him elsewhere during Angel Stakes.

            I’m not sure what you mean by difference between Bian and Amber. Bian is obviously *enormously* better equipped to be a House and has long history with Tom and has lots of kin (16!). Amber had to make everything up as she went along! Amber formed a bond with David and Pia, but they weren’t initially House bonds. This does not mean House Farrell is any less a House.

            In supernatural terms, there’s no difference between a House and an Athanate with followers. However, the rest of Athanate society would treat them differently.

            “Would, for example, a powerful and recognized House giving orders to a lowranking/unaffiliated vampire of a different house make any difference? Would the weaker vampire be compelled regardless of official house affiliations? I guess that’s basically what Amber did to Pia, right?”

            I’m not sure I understand. A more powerful Athanate could compel a less powerful one, regardless of their affiliations or associations. However, that is offering offence to the whole associated structure of the compelled Athanate. Compel any Athanate in US & Canada and potentially end up explaining yourself to Skylur. Amber didn’t compel Pia, but in suborning her affiliation, she effectively stole her from Skylur.

            “I’m still confused as to what the Kin feel…”

            As per Alice Emerson in Wild Card:
            “Binding is the dark sister of love and hate, the daughter of need and the mother of spirit. It is anchored in desire and obsession, fascination and passion, but it is none of these. An Athanate may be bound by their head, or their heart, or their soul. Few are bound by all three, and fewer still share bindings three ways.”

            It’s an emotion. For Panethus, it can be love. It can be more like obsession. It can be the deepest friendship. Ideally, it’s a mix.

            And no to the second part of that quesion, a human bitten by an Athante feels what the Athanate wants them to feel. Panethus subvert the nerve response of their kin so that those kin feel pleasure. Basilokos marai or toru do not feel love or pleasure, though marai might feel need. (Marai are blood slaves claimed by a Basilikos House, toru are ‘unclaimed’, i.e. all humans.)

            “Does making someone kin implant some kind of loyalty…”

            Yes. Binding is *like* a compulsion to loyalty. That’s why Amber feels concerned about it and worries that it’s taking away the free will. Bound humans are inclined to act in the best interests of the House and Athanate in general. It can be broken. It’s not a straightforward compulsion. It’s not exactly removing their free will, but heavily influencing them.

            Kin can force themselves away, but Athanate society rules mean that their subsequent behavior remains the responsibility of their Athanate. Left alone, they would lose the need to give their blood over time, like a recovering addict. They would lose the feeling that they should act in the best interests of the Athanate. They would also lose the benefits of being bitten – health and long life. Not to mention the pleasure.

            “Who all can exactly be made Kin? Can you make were-thingies Kin even though their blood isn’t sustainable? Is there a difference? Could you make a cow Kin?! Could you make someone Kin against their will?”

            Any human, Were or Adept can be made kin. There are subtle differences in how they feel about it. Alex is kin to Amber.
            Cow? No. Kin are human or derived from human.
            Against their will? That’s not kin, that’s marai.

            Marques over time would remain a fusion for a theoretical House set up by Pia. All Athanate in that House would have that marque, so only adding a new Athanate would change the marque. (‘Adding’ doesn’t necessarily mean adding a member. Marques can change subtly just by biting.)

            Could Diana make an oath to Pia? Theoretically. Diana’s marque is much more under her control than normal Athanate. Diana’s blood could obliterate Pia’s marque. Pia’s blood has nothing new for Diana, but were Diana to come across another Athanate with a marque she’d never encountered before, she could decide to integrate the differences.

            Bian’s coming back to Denver in BB6…

  2. Sarah L says :

    Love hearing about your trip and the inspirations. Also jealous of the camera – I had an early incarnation of that one, G1 or 2 maybe and loved it but my husband decided to move up to a DSLR, which is nice and all but big! Miss my mid range. Your photos are absolutely stunning. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

    Words can’t say how hugely I am enjoying the Outsiders with Amanda. Am more excited than it’s rational to be about a book to see hers and Amber’s story overlapping 😉

    • Mark Henwick says :

      I’m glad Amanda has ‘connected’. It’s difficult pitching her so she’s kick ass in a completely different way from Amber. I have sketched some ideas out about their meeting and I’m looking forward to writing it from both perspectives.

      I have an SLR and a Medium Format, film not digital, souvenirs of my ‘serious’ phase, but I can’t be bothered these days. Something that fits in my pocket and allows me to fiddle with the settings achieves 99% of what I want. I *highly* recommend the G7x and hubs should be reminded that Christmas is coming.

      Getting back to Denver was a great inspiration. LoDo is now built up in such a way it didn’t inspire me, but there’s a new district being developed called River North, which is abbreviated, yes, RiNo, and somehow that got me imagining Amber & Adept things happening. It will be in the next book. (That will be a slight reality shift because Bite Back 6 will take place around the end of 2011, start of 2012 and RiNo has only really got going in the last year or so).

  3. Deborah Jay says :

    What a fabulous trip – so jealous! A few years back we took the Rocky Mountaineer train trip, doing the whole loop from Vancouver to Calgary (with 3 days at the Stampede), then up to Lake Louse, Jasper, and Whistler before ending up back at Vancouver. Awesome! (That’s where I picked up that word, and the pronunciation, ‘ahhhh – sum’).
    At least it’s easier for me to research my settings – Scotland is a tad more accessible 😉 I’m currently running a series of photos and videos on my blog of our West Coast tour last month – looking forward to seeing many more of your pics.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      I had thought about mixing in an Amtrak train trip with all my driving. I really want to sit in the observation lounge and watch the world go by one of these days. And the Canadian Rockies are awesome too.

      For readers here, Deb’s touring is on different posts on her blog. Here’s one: https://deborahjayauthor.com/2016/10/14/touring-the-west-coast-of-scotland/

      She’s also been a consultant for my writing! As well as being an indie SF&F author, Deb trains competition dressage horses and is a trad pub author on dressage. I needed to make sure my terms were correct when I described Amanda being instructed as a rider in The Biting Cold:

      “If you can’t manage to handle posting, try passage on the diagonal across the arena.”
      We tried. Passage is a high-stepping trot and the rider is supposed to just flow with the horse.
      I could hear her sigh as Clipper and I bounced chirpily past her. I was neither posting nor sitting exactly, more sort of doing my own thing.

      🙂

      • Deborah Jay says :

        Ha ha! I’ve come across many a rider who tries doing their own thing – unfortunately for them, the horse usually does something completely different!
        Mark, you should try the train trip some time – it was so relaxing, just sitting under that glass done and watching the Rockies and the fabulous wildlife go by.
        I was rather bemused by the family that were on the train the first couple of days – father read the paper, mother read a book, and the kids played games on their tablets. I can think of cheaper train trips for that sort of activity.

  4. Big Ben says :

    Just a comment for when you’ve made it big and your books start getting the six and seven figure advances and contracts they deserve ….
    Take a summer road trip (emphasis on summer!) through western Canada up to Alaska. Fly into Vancouver, acquire a very comfortable all-terrain type car or SUV and head north to Prince George. West on Hwy 16 towards the Rain Coast of B.C., north on Hwy 37 up to the AlCan. Through the Yukon and you’re in an American state larger than most countries.
    And you’ll need a lot more than 20gb of camera memory – heck, you’ll use all of that riding through Canada! Someone riding shotgun to take the pics would be a good idea too, because around every bend and over every hill there’s another vista that demands an awed gasp and hastily snapped photo.
    And bear mace if you plan on tromping around the bush much. Seriously, it’s the size of a small fire extinguisher and shoots 30 to 50 feet. Or a typically armed native guide. All part of the fun … honest!
    The Rockies are indeed beautiful, but they barely qualify as tall hills next to what Alaska holds.
    Go far enough north up Hwy 11 (the Dalton Highway) and for several weeks every summer the sun never sets, allowing plenty of time to wear out another camera.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Ben!

      I think I would be a rather ‘uncomfortable’ writer for most trad pub companies, but thank you for the thought.

      I’ve toured the Rockies between Calgary and Jasper, west to the Purcells and the Columbia Valley, and the Okananagan vineyards. It sounds a lot until you look at it on a map of North America. 🙂 Yes, the trip you describe calls to me. I could spend my entire life doing nothing more than exploring and wearing out shoes & cameras.

      You’ve planted a little mind-worm. Maybe in a couple of years time it’ll hatch.

      (I do have an unpublished short story set in Canada on Highway 16… I would put it up on the site, but it’s purpose is to be a taster for a novel and that I haven’t even started.)

  5. xsikal says :

    Sounds like a productive trip!

    We took a quick weekend of our own last month to New Mexico for research (Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Angel Fire). It’s really amazing how useful some local exposure can be for picking up details that help set the scene.

    Wish I could have swung a trip to Rome for “research” for my last book, but that was just wishful thinking. 😀

    • Mark Henwick says :

      I did the ‘Enchanted Circle’ drive from Taos, and saw Angel Fire. I have some amazing photos from Red River that day, and spent some unplanned and moving time at the Veterans Memorial just north of Angel Fire.

      On that drive, I had intended also visiting the DH Lawrence memorial – closed, despite the website saying it was open. Grrr.

      As you say, a visit is extremely useful for writing. However, there is one part of Santa Fe that I prefer the way it is in Cool Hand. 🙂

      I have visited Rome. I let Jessica organize the visit and was so taken by the place that I completely forgot one of my own sites I wanted to visit – the Protestant Cemetery, to see the Angel of Grief. Ah well, next time.

      • xsikal says :

        Rome is gorgeous! I love the fusion of ancient history and modern city. It’s been twenty-some odd years since I was there, but in the early 90s, it was my second favorite city in Europe.

        In the absence of a return trip to Italy for the book in question, I ended up having to rely on a combination of google maps and travel journals (by others, of course). I also cheated by setting the main action for that book in a fictional town off to the east (where Tivoli is in the real world).

        As I’m sure you know, having a real world(-ish) setting definitely has both pros and cons! 🙂

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