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

Map of MI

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.

Hale

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

 

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!