Friday, March 15, 2024

My trial run with backpacking equipment

We car-camped in a campground along the Arizona trail by Colossal Cave (but one night I only used my backpacking gear).  Then in the morning I packed it all up and did a fairly rigorous uphill hike in Saguaro National Park.  

Good news:  I can carry the weight good distances (maybe not thru-hiker distances, but that's another story).  I can carry the weight uphill (which I've also been testing by doing things like hiking up and down Camelback twice and then up and down Piestewa without resting much).  The weight (non-ultra-light as it is) doesn't seem to be much of a problem. 

Bad news:  My pad and sleeping bag aren't good enough for the cold that night (there was frost in the morning on many surfaces, even though it was forecast to be in the mid 40s).  Hopefully the bottom of the Grand Canyon will be warmer when I go.  But I'm going to need to invest in better sleep gear.    

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Colossal Cave, near Tucson, Arizona

Me enjoying the Colossal Cave Ladder Tour.  We got to climb around in the cave, sometimes on cool ladders and catwalks and natural cave surfaces, sometimes on the regular route, once in the dark.  We got to touch certain features (carefully, and with gloves on).  So much fun!  

Here I'm playing music on the stalactites with a rubber spatula.

And in this blurry one, you can see a little of the ledges we got to edge around.  :)  Sorry the pictures weren't better.

Some pretty cave formations:

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

My story, "Palatable Potions," is live on Zombies Need Brains

Zombies Need Brains just published my short story, "Palatable Potions," on Patreon.  The story will also appear in an anthology this summer, available for pre-order here: (Look for Zombies Need Brains Presents Year Two)

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Cover Reveal: Samantha Picaro's Recipe for Confidence

 Look at this beautiful cover for Samantha Picaro's latest book, Recipe for Confidence.

To get to know Samantha and her book better, I asked a few questions.  Here are her answers.

Who was your favorite character to write?

My favorite character to write was Lana, Bryn's aunt and owner of the fictional bakery. Lana encourages Bryn to be herself and share her dreams with everyone, especially her parents. Lana has insecurities and has made mistakes but she undeniably loves her niece and Lana doesn't let anyone tell her what to do or how to feel.

Do you yourself bake, like your main character?   If so, what's your favorite thing to bake?

I love to bake, although I admit I like tasting more than baking. I like making Bundt cakes with my mom as well as ricotta cookies.

What do you find most difficult about the writing process?  

The most difficult part of the writing process is adding in new elements of the story (i.e. new character or plot point) as I'm writing the book. Even if it makes the story or characters better, it's still a little frustrating to squeeze it into the plot without making everything unorganized or creating plot holes.

If you'd like to read it, the pre-order price is currently only $1.99 for the e-book!  Click here.