Caprock Canyon State Park, Quitaque, Texas

This is our first stop along our journey eventually ending in Northern Minnesota for the summer. We love the hiking here and it’s only a couple hundred miles from my parents home (our home base). So they came along with their travel trailer to do some camping with us before we departed Texas. 

It’s always hard on them (and us) when we first leave knowing we won’t be seeing each other for several months. Over all though, I think we spend more quality time with them since we’ve been fulltiming the last 5 years. 

Our next stop…. somewhere in New Mexico. 

Enjoy the pics from Caprock Canyon.

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A New Travel Adventure

We’ll be hitting the road again 2 weeks from today. It’s not that we don’t move our home fairly often, we just haven’t moved it more than a few hundred miles in a while. 

Heading west out of Texas, we’ll write and photograph our way across New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and up the Oregon coast into Washington. Our last time in Washington was in 2013. From there, we’ll head back east across the top of the country to Nothern Minnesota for the summer. 

Check back here often to follow us along if you’re so interested. 

I know Sharon will have new material along the way. And who knows, just maybe I’ll have my latest novel completed by summer’s end. Maybe. 

Brian

Organized Chaos!

It was an eye opening writing day for me. I’ve been working diligently (we’ll, diligently for me anyway) on my new thriller novel over the last few days. I actually started it a couple years ago, but I’ve had periods of time that I didn’t work on it. I’m calling it Coal Mountain for now. I’m not sure yet whether that will be the final title. It seems sometimes when I complete a writing project, the original name sometimes no longer fits. 

But, that’s how I write and how my mind works. It’s all over the place! When I begin a new story, it starts simply from an image I saw. Maybe I was out for a walk and witnessed an interesting character. I know nothing about the person besides what my eyes tell me. Or, I see an old building that catches my interest. Sometimes it’s a small town I come across in my travels. Sometimes all I need is a random thought to start my imagination. It’s funny how something so simple can turn in a 70 thousand word novel. 

I grab a legal pad and start writing based on an experience. I do not have an outline. I don’t know all the characters yet. Sometimes I don’t know any of the characters at the beginning. I definitely have no idea where the story will go, how it will end, or how to get there. It’s such a slow inefficient process. 

Then, it happens. I’ve got a few characters established. They begin to grow and real personalities emerge. I know what part each will play. I know where to go from this point. And then things start happening pretty quickly for me. It’s almost like the story is telling itself in my mind. It’s almost effortless at times. I simply have to write down what I see playing out in my head. Before I know it, the first draft is complete. 

Then the real work starts. Then I must go back through the whole thing and “fill in the blanks” I left because I was in such a hurry to write before my imagination got too far ahead of my pen. 

Before the point where the story takes on a life of its own, it can be a real struggle for me. That’s my excuse for the periods I go through when production is very slow. I so look forward to getting to the point I reached today. It makes the struggle to get to here worth it. 

It’s amazing the effort some will put into something that they may never get a return from. I think writers, myself included, suffer from functional insanity. Ok, semi-functional.

BK Jones

A New Campsite and A Sample From “Indian Paintbrush”

I’m writing this entry from the truck parked in downtown Cloudcroft, NM. Our new campsite is about 8 miles from town in dispersed camping and we have no phone service there, so no Internet either.

Anyway, without further delay, here is the 1st sample from my first novel Indian Paintbrush.

Andy regained consciousness and was immediately met with a pounding in his head, blurred vision, disorientation and total confusion. He could somewhat see, but couldn’t make out what he was seeing. He thought he recognized where he was, but something just wasn’t right about it. The pain in his head was so intense he could hardly keep his eyes open. He had a sensation of swaying. The effect was nauseating; he closed his eyes tight to settle his stomach. Every beat of his heart sent a wave of nausea and a sharp, near unbearable pain to the top of his head.

               “Don’t quite know what to make of this do ya, bud?” a voice whispered in Andy’s ear. Andy swung around to see who spoke. Something was keeping him from moving freely. He struggled a bit before soon realizing he didn’t have full use of his arms or legs. Squinting through whatever was blurring his vision, he confirmed to himself that he was in his barn behind the house. He was sure of that, despite the darkness. He closed his eyes again, though he had failed to locate the source of the voice that spoke to him.

               “Figure it out yet Bud?” Andy heard the voice again. He turned his head slowly to the side and down where the voice came from. Then, something pressed against his opposite shoulder and pushed. He was swaying back and forth, from front to back again, though he felt he was in a standing position. Still, he could see no one. Forcing himself to keep his eyes open this time, he finally figured out why he could not get a grasp on his position. He looked down and could make out his own feet. His boots had been removed but he still had his socks on. A rope had been tied around both his ankles, holding them together. Beyond his feet, where he expected to see whatever it was he was standing on, he now recognized as the rafters and heavy timbers that made up the barn’s ceiling. There, he saw the other end of the rope that bound his ankles. He recognized the rope as his own. It had been coiled and hanging on a large nail above his work table that sat against the wall. He was hanging upside down in his barn, by his own rope.

               Andy felt another push from his back. It was then that he realized his wrists were tied behind his back with something he couldn’t make out, maybe some sort of leather strap.

               “I’m real sorry bout this Andy. It’s just not your day, bud.” The whispering voice said.

               “Who the hell are you?” Andy raised his voice more in anger than fear.

               “That’s really not important now, bud.” the voice answered. “What’s important is that you know that this is the only way. I’ve thought about this for a long time now, and this is just the only way.”

If you like what you’ve read so far, you can get the full novel on Kindle here. I’ll also be posting more sample from Indian Paintbrush in later posts if you’re not sure yet.

Thanks for reading…

Brian

Sooner Rather Than Later…

In light of the terrible experience we’ve had camp hosting this summer, we decided to depart early. The managers here said they understood when I told them we couldn’t take anymore “babysitting” and we parted on good terms last Sunday. I can’t even begin to explain the relief we feel getting free of this last workamping job. I’m sure I couldn’t have lasted till the season’s end. 

The good news, make that great news, is we’ll have the remainder of the season to get some work done on our own respective crafts. We moved from our camp where we were hosts to another area about 1.5 miles up the road to unwind for a few days. We’ll be moving out to dispersed camping here in the Cloudcroft area in a few more days. I can’t wait to get back to work on my novel. Then we’ll be moving on north and into Colorado for the remainder of summer. 

As far as my first novel, it’s been over 2 years since Indian Paintbrush was first published. It’s a very, very slow process but it’s finally getting a bit more attention. Though I’m nowhere near making my living from writing, I can now see the possibility is there. 

I’ll be posting some samples from Indian Paintbrush here on the blog over the next few weeks. Please check it out on our “About Us” page. Click the link there and check out the reviews I’ve gotten so far. It’s only $3.99. Also, take a look at Sharon’s photography. There a link for that too on the “About Us” page. Don’t forget to check back to read samples from my first novel, Indian Paintbrush.

Till next time, Brian.

What is wrong with people?

I’ll try not to go all negative here. I’ll also try not to rant and rave and get up on my soap box. 

I used to like people and I used to like the atmosphere at a campground. Don’t get me wrong. We get some great campers here at the Pines Campground. We’ve met some of the nicest folks. They have been great, conscientious neighbors. We’ve been commended on how we run the camp and how clean everything is. Unfortunately, they’ve been the minority. 

We get a slew of people that can’t or won’t read a sign. If they do read the rules, it’s like they’re are going down the list breaking each one. We do our best to keep it nice and quiet for our campers who come here specifically for the peace and quiet. And I can tell you, it can be a 24 hour a day job sometimes. 

I have been coming to these camps in this area literally my whole life and it was always a rare occasion to see a camp host having to enforce an obvious, common sense rule. It should be as simple as being a good neighbor and not trashing nature. 

I don’t know what is happening to people but so many just do not care about anything but their own selfish agenda. What started out as a way to spend the summer in a place we love and stretch our dollar a bit, has turned into one of the most frustrating, stressful times for me that I can remember.

My plan was to finish my 2nd novel’s first draft here and have it published by the end of the year. But between collecting fees that folks try to avoid paying, making people park in appropriate locations, and telling people that their music shouldn’t be able to be heard by folks in the next county; and let’s not forget the ones who think their children should be able roam and run through everyone else’s camp site all day and all night, we have time for nothing else. 

I always try to keep this blog positive, but my poor wife is sick of listening to me gripe. So, my readers are the lucky ones today. Speaking of my dear spouse, she is such a better person than I could ever be. If it weren’t for her, I’d have hitched up the house and moved out to middle of nowhere by now, leaving this camp high and dry with no host long ago. So, I reluctantly agreed to try and stay to the end of our obligation. 

Even though we are not yet at the point of covering all our living expenses from my writing and her photography, I vow to not take a job that gets in the way of our dreams again. Though these workamp jobs do stretch a dollar, I have to wonder where we’d be with our respective crafts if we hadn’t taken temporary jobs along the way that inevitably delayed what might await us. Did they really stretch a dollar? 

The bottom line is I have stories to tell that many folks will find entertaining. Many of those folks have, and will be willing in the future, to pay a small fee to read these stories. I believed this from the beginning. Sharon has seen and captured many images through her camera lens that no one else would’ve seen or thought to capture the way she has. And, her images are only getting more beautiful and more interesting the longer she pursues them. There are also many people out there that are willing to compensate her to own copies of those images. That has already been proven. 

Don’t waste your time doing things that are only delaying your success.

Brian