Travel Thursday: Cooper’s Rock State Park, WV

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West Virginia, USA is one of my favorite states of all time, and I will always consider it home. I lived there for a year and a few days (not even a week), but it made the biggest impact on me. It’s beautiful. Seriously, one of the most beautiful states I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to quite a few. When they say Wild And Wonderful, they mean it!

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If you’ve read my Series, The Weregal Chronicles, then you already know that this series is set in West Virginia. Cooper’s Rock State Park and areas round about it were the basis for me setting the books in this area. After I moved away, I was missing the state and my friends, so there was no other choice but to set the book there. What better place is there for rogue tiger shifters to hide???

 

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This map, taken from the Cooper’s Rock State Forest website, shows exactly where it is. If you see south of Morgantown the city of Fairmont, that’s where I lived. I miss those windy mountain turns and the forests and rock outcroppings beside the road. However, I don’t miss the fact that most West Virginians don’t know how to drive in the snow like I do since I’m from the North.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAA few years ago, I was able to go back to West Virginia on my way to Virginia (yes, they are two separate states), and my best friend, Evie, and I explored Cooper’s Rock and went “Weregal Hunting”. It was awesome! We didn’t find any weregals, but we did find a few areas that they could’ve hidden, and a possible passage to Fairimorr. 😉

 

If you love nature, you don’t want to miss this state forest, especially if you’re passing through. The views are amazing and the rock formations are stunning. You can stare from the top down, which is fun if you aren’t scared of heights as several places don’t have a barrier to keep you from the edge. Staring up at how large those formations are really puts their height into perspective. I can’t wait to go back and visit the area again. If you make it to Cooper’s Rock, keep an eye out for weregals, and let me know if you spot one!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Also, it’s a great place for a picnic, but if you plan to do some hiking, make sure to wear long pants, appropriate foot gear, and watch out for snakes in the warmer months. There are several trails to follow, and you can easily spend a full day adventuring. Oh, and don’t forget your camera!

For more information, check out: https://wvstateparks.com/park/coopers-rock-state-forest/

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Travel Thursday: Hale, Michigan, USA

I’ve been wanting to add more topics to my blog, and this begins one of those topics! I love to travel, but I don’t get to do a lot of it…yet. While thinking about this topic, I realized there’s so many fun and interesting places that I’ve been that most of my readers have either never heard of or haven’t had a chance to go, so this is me traveling again via the internet! There are also so many other places I want to visit, and if you happen to live in the area I discuss, feel free to comment on the posts! I’m excited to do these, and I hope you get a better flavor of what I’m like.

Today’s Journey: Hale, MI

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That little red dot is Hale.

On today’s trip around the world, we’re starting off a little closer to home. My home, to be exact, or rather, the home of my childhood and young adult years. I grew up in a little town in the northeastern lower peninsula named Hale. (For those who may not know, Michigan has two peninsulas, the Lower and Upper.) Both peninsulas are beautiful! What I love most about Hale is that it’s surrounded by forests, lakes, and farms.

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Google maps screenshot of downtown Hale!

Before moving to Madison, WI, I’d lived in a few bigger cities, but nothing prepared me for Madison’s size and living here. It’s honestly a breath of fresh air to go home where life moves a bit slower and you can avoid and weekend traffic by taking the back dirt roads. Seriously, traffic in Michigan moves in two directions on summer and holiday weekends: North on Friday night and South on Sunday. If you want to avoid the rush, go the opposite direction. Once Hale started getting busy, we always took the back roads where we needed to go.

One of my favorite things to do was to walk in my grandpa’s woods. I’d also play with my sisters and cousins in them. We’d get lost, get our feet wet, and give a pint of blood each to Michigan’s state bird: the mosquito. Because of this, I’ve grown to love nature so much. My goal is to eventually own a house out in the middle of the woods. Living in the city is killing me slowly. It’s also why you’ll find that so many of my stories’ settings are rural and in forests. If I could spend my time anywhere, it would be the forest, first and foremost.

If you’re ever in the area and feel like stopping by Hale to check it out, here’s a few things to note:

*You’ll need to purchase a Kocher’s doughnut

*Grab an ice cream cone at The Victorian Cafe

*Attempt to run up all the stares at Iargo Springs (not far out of town and totally worth it)

*While you’re at Iargo, check out Lumberman’s monument just up the road

*Buy some bacon from Alward’s Market

*There are about 60 lakes in the vicinity, so take a swim or go kayaking!

*Visit my dad and sister at Bernard Building Center (Bonus points if you let Tasha design your kitchen/bath)

*Finally, check out the small town restaurants. You won’t want to miss them!

http://www.halemi.com/

http://www.haleyes.org

Hale Downtown

 

Who said something about a #BookFair?

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You read that right! I remember book fairs when I was a kid in school. They were one of the most looked forward to days of the year, and now that I’m an adult and don’t have access to a regular book fair, it’s less fun. BUT, I recently found one, and two of my books are enrolled in it! Even better, they’re both on sale for $.99 throughout the book fair. I believe most, if not all of the books are on sale. Also, these are fantasy/paranormal books, which are my favorites. This isn’t a book fair you’ll want to miss. If you love books, this is your stop, and don’t forget to share the news so others can find great books too!

Website: http://celebratewithabook.com/2019/02/10/goddesses-gods-book-fair/

Plus, I don’t know about you, but with winter here in Wisconsin, I’m already tired of the snow and cold. We’re supposed to get another 7-12″ between last night and today. I love winter, and I love snow, but this year I’m sick of both. Oh, and the -55*F wind chill from a few weeks ago. So, if you’re like me and huddling inside out of the cold when you can, you might as well cuddle up with a warm blanket and drink, with a good book. I wish I could do that every day!

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Gargoyle’s Kiss
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B4Q1CHV
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B4Q1CHV

Gargoyle’s Pixie
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MRF8MR3

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MRF8MR3

That time I went back to middle school

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On Tuesday, December 4th, I had the privilege of speaking to the 7th and 8th graders at a Wisconsin middle school about writing, publishing, and other ways they could join in the publishing industry. It was so much fun. The kids were amazing. While I know most likely want nothing to do with writing a book (and some were likely bored), they were so respectful and paid attention to what I had to say. Others are interested in writing and I was glad to be able to give them a little bit of knowledge to help direct them.

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Not only did I talk to them about these three aspects of the author industry, I tried to make as much of it as possible applicable to all of them. First, I presented to 3 classes of 7th graders before having a few hours for a break and then finished the day out with 3 classes of 8th graders. Needless to say that they were glad to have someone in the classroom to listen to who wasn’t a teacher.

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In the afternoon, the 8th graders would all come into the classroom and were like, “We don’t have to write today.” I heard that before every single class. Sorry folks, but you do. 😉  I gave each class a chance to ask whatever questions that they wanted, and whatever time was left, I gave them an assignment (which they handled with grace, of course). They were given three scenarios to write up to practice “Show, Don’t Tell”, and some read their work out loud, and it was really good.

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So, why does this impact me so much? I was their age when I wrote my first book. When I was in 8th grade, we were assigned to write a scary short story (I think it was around Halloween) so I wrote the scariest one I could think of, or most intense. At the time that was difficult for me. However, I loved the story and wanted to build on it, so that short story became the first chapter in my novel. I wish I would’ve known then more about publishing (although at the time publishing a novel wasn’t nearly as easy as it is today with ebooks).

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Back then I knew very little about the craft of writing a good story, but I wrote everyday (by hand) and worked on my craft. Since then, I’ve learned so much more, and I hope that I can inspire others to follow their dream and give them a bit more knowledge than what I had at their age.

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I hope I was able to impact the group, but one thing was certain, they sure reminded me what it was like to be back in school again. It reminded me a lot of the few years I substituted a while back. Good luck to all of you! You’re amazing!