Tuesday, December 25, 2012


 It was difficult to leave Slidell, Louisiana and the serenity and peacefulness of the Elks’ campground. I learned to appreciate the mystical atmosphere of the South at this beautiful place. Check out these pictures - the bayou right in our own back yard.


Sportster lived the dream a cat dreams – stalking in the heavy humidity of the misty jungle.Check out his blog. As we left, I was certain Sportster blinked away a tear as he perched on the dash and watched the scenic beauty pass by as I drove the long drive to the main road.


Vicki and I visited the city of New Orleans. The bus took us to the typical sights, the French Quarter, the cemeteries and showed us the devastation that still existed from Hurricane Katrina. My lasting impression of the Big Easy will not be of the enormous tombs in the cemetery or the narrow Bourbon and Canal Streets, but instead I will remember the transformation in the afternoon. At the beginning of our tour, as our bus maneuvered the tight thoroughfares, we saw few people, perhaps only shop owners arriving to meet the delivery men dropping off the night’s wares.
At four in the afternoon a movie director must have yelled, “Action.” Music gushed from the restaurants and bars, drawing tourists from their hotels as they  crammed the sidewalks. Streets jammed with traffic and noise as Cajuns and Creoles did not hesitate to lean on their horns…car horns. This was New Orleans and Vicki and I were ready to return to our idyllic campground.
But it was the swamp tour of the Honey Islands that made me marvel at the vast differences of mother nature's scenic beauty. Just look at these pictures.
As we left, I was certain Sportster blinked away a tear as he perched on the dash and watched the scenic beauty pass by as I drove the long drive to the main road.

When Sportster and I arrived in in Summerdale Alabama at the Rainbow Plantation Escapee RV Resort I liked it immediately, perhaps due to the invitation to the Christmas party and dinner. I retired Christmas Eve after a pleasant evening with one hundred and fifty friendly folks, good food, a gift exchange and Christmas carols sung by "The Chanilles." 
Although Vicki and I enjoyed the festivities, a weather forecast of severe storms and possible tornadoes hung in the air along with the humidity. The locals laughed and ate and sang, immune to the impending forecasts. I am lucky to be traveling with Vicki who was employed many years on a safety committee when she worked for the university. With her guidance we planned our escape route and packed our emergency bags. We survived that night and although the threat is still blowing in the breeze until eight tonight,  the severity of the storm  will pass to the north of us.
As I write this Mobil, Alabama has been victim of the weather, without power and with damage. I will not sleep as the thunder rolls and the wind gusts, bombarding my roof with acorn pellets from the live oak trees I am parked under.
If we make it through the night we will leave Alabama Thursday morning. Stay tuned.


Monday, December 17, 2012


Texas country. So many images. The common ones, The Missions, the River Walk and The Alamo, in San Antonio, and the Houston Space Center. All were beautiful, historic and inspiring .
San Antonio's River Walk
Inside The Alamo

But some pictures, more than others,  brought out the real Texan culture. These Walmart displays  would never be seen in southern California without animal lovers rising to the rescue of Bambi’s relatives  and friends.
Hunting is a big thing here. Scent lures for deer, feeders and taxidermy take up a lot of retail space next to the guns and the ammo that get the job done.

Lowes prime outside retail space is taken up by rows  rider mowers and  lines of cherry pickers. Big lawns and high pecan trees are the norm.

I have now been to Iraan, Iraan, Texas, that is.
I took this long lonely road from the interstate  just to say I’ve been to Iraan, a small town supported by the oil wells in the area. The smell of propane gas was heavy at times along this route.

I  grabbed the photo op at this scenic spot on the Medina River outside Bandera, Texas in the scenic Texas hill country.
The town’s population like Iraan is less than one thousand. Paris Hilton was filmed working in the jail in Bandera in her movie The Simple Life 2. It is home to two dude ranches and nicknamed itself The  Cowboy Capital.

So many images to ponder. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The Rivers:The Colorado, The Santa Cruz, the San Pedro Rivers of Arizona, and The Mimbres River of New Mexico. the rivers of Texas,The Pecos, The San Antonio , and again the Colorado. 
The history: Tombstone, The Silver Spike for the second transcontinental railroad  in Deming, New Mexico, The Alamo, and the Huston Space Center.
The landscape: The Saguaros, The Chihuahuan Desert, and the Texas Hill country.
When Sportster and I are old - well, older - in our rocking chairs by the fire, we will remember our adventures. The memories will keep us warm long after the fire has gone out but for now it is time to pack it up and head out for Louisiana.  
There is much more to tell. Perhaps Sportster can elaborate. Be sure to check out his blog. You might have trouble recognizing him, he's livin' on Texas time  and blends in with the other Texans .http://judyhowardandsportster.blogspot.com/

Don't forget to buy your gifts  on Amazon and Kindle.



Sunday, December 9, 2012


Some say writers are a solitary bunch. I do sit for hours scratching a paragraph onto paper or delving into the depths of the internet to discover a particular bit of information that will transform the words in my paragraph into a magical illusion or reality so real that they will linger on the lips of my readers and become a household phrase. To achieve this connection, solitude is my tool.

But when the writing is done I have to rally the forces that pound down on the same keyboards – other authors. And one in particular is dear to my heart though I’ve only met him briefly. Like other successful writers, he knows what works, not just between the covers of his books but on the road to sales.

Nick Russell has now officially become my idol, my mentor, my big gun, my big name, my big stuff. Like a big Santa, and a sprinkle of a few words, Nick has created me into a top ranking author.

Out of all the mystery/thriller authors on Amazon, my ranking climbed to 2200 on the charts while my ranking among all fiction authors is 8900. Nick Russell gave me the boost and my readers will give me the last push to place me in the top 100 Amazon authors. What an honor!

So who is Nick Russell, or St. Nick, as I will address him from now on? He writes The Gypsy Journal, www.gypsyjournalrv.com an RV online newspaper. As a journalist he is top notch, number one in my ranking and with all RV enthusiasts. You can find his newspaper in almost every campground office. Over the years he has  also written many informative books on travel as well. As full time Rvers, he and his wife, Miss Terry, are experts on the lifestyle and can answer any question on subjects from campground, sights to see, great restaurants, and even cooking and looming.

Nick’s books, MEANDERING DOWN THE HIGHWAY, THE FRUGAL RVer, and his new mystery series, BIG LAKE, all are great reads. His BIG LAKE series hit #1 on Amazon’s Kindle sales, so he is an author to be taken seriously.  Find them all at this link http://gypsyjournalrv.com/e-book-store/. If you want to know what life on the road is like, follow Nick’s blog.

There are many other authors who have contributed to my success.

Ron Dingee’s books, MISSIONARY MEMEORIES and NANNA (Or how to eat and elephant) check out his link on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Nanna-How-Eat-Elephant-Dingee/dp/1479118338/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355060532&sr=1-3&keywords=ron+dingee Ron has supported me and with his respect and mentioned me often in his writings.

Denver Howard is another new author to be reckoned with. His book, FROM PECKERWOOD FLAT THEY CAME  has been compared to THE GRAPES OF WRATH. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=from+peckerwood+flat+they+came&sprefix=from+pecker%2Caps%2C480

There are so many more authors who have touched my life on this journey of literature. The inspiration for my third book had been fed by, BEFORE TUESDAY, by Luis Carlos Montalvan,


 and THE ART OF DANCING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein.


 Others include, S. Kay Murphy, THE DOGS WHO SAVED ME and TAINTED LEGACY   are both excellent memoirs.


Libby Grandy is another up and coming author. Her first book, DESERT SOLILOQUY,  can be found on Amazon.

So here’s to you Nick, and all of you who have been my inspiration, support and best of all ,friends to me and Sportster. I wish you all a terrific and prosperous holiday. If I never sell another book you all have made me feel like I rank Number One. Thank you.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Please help push me up to the Best Seller Ranks. Great gifts for Christmas. Get both for under $20.00 in print or on Kindle both for under $10.00.



Thank you from Sportster too.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


About half way to our destination , the Elks Club in Sierra Vista, Arizona, we pulled off next to a gas station. We were both needing to stretch our legs and my friend Vicki's dog ,Tika, needed to answer nature's call. I enjoy traveling with Vicki and Tika because they go for lots of walks. A gravel road led  off into the scenic dessert where the cacti were a magnificent surprise.
We arrived at the Elk Lodge in Sierra Vista. I paid for two nights at $13.00 a night which included electric, water, pool tables and a full bar if one is so inclined.  Vicki had time to make on appointment to have her turn signal fixed.
On Monday we took care of errands and by afternoon squeezed in a visit to Fort Hauchuca. It is an operating Army training base and had a wonderful museum.
This area was Cochise country and the statue in front of the museum depicted the Army's relationship with Geronimo.
It is titled, "The Eyes of The Army."

Today we spend the day in Bisbee, a little town near the border that was born and nurtured by one of the largest copper mines. It is now home to many artists and writers. I can't wait to visit the bookstore.

Monday was a great day because FINALLY  my book, GOING HOME WITH A CAT AND A GHOST became live on Kindle. Check it out in Amazon's lending library for free. And already the sales are pushing me up in the ranks. Help make the book reach #1. Buy it for a Christmas or birthday gift. Buy both books and have a delightful gift for under twenty dollars.

Monday, December 3, 2012


My first day of my cross country trip went smoothly. Sportster used his bathroom immediately as is his habit as soon as we hit the road. The customary winds that ravage through the Banning Pass were lying down and because it was a Saturday, traffic was light. The sights and adventures are why I travel but also driving the open road releases my mind to journey down its own highway. My thoughts become occupied, examining my book’s plot and imagining scenes. By the time I reach my destination for the day I’m eager to put them on paper.

 The morning sped by and soon we were passing the cotton fields in Blythe that painted the landscape like polka dots. We crossed over the Colorado River where locals splashed at its edge, casting fishing lines into its smooth flow while they soaked up the sun’s rays that promised a day in the eighties. I said so long to California and hello to Arizona.

Traveling only two hundred miles a day is going to be nice because by eleven in the morning, after driving four hours, we were boon docked (no electricity, no water, and no nothing) at Dome Rock just outside of Quartzite Arizona. I had my first opportunity to enjoy my new floor plan in my rig.

I had removed a small barrel chair in the living area and converted the passenger seat to a swivel so that it could face the interior of the coach. The change really opened up the space. With a new linoleum floor everything was perfect.

After a bite of lunch, a walk in the desert worked off the stiffness of sitting.

I returned to my home on wheels to get some writing done until the sun went down.