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If you’ve ever taken a trip on a train or ferryboat, you know what I mean. You’re forced off the grid, leaving you 2 choices: read or write. It’s singularly relaxing. This is known as reader (or writer) heaven. From Paris, we took the TGV (tres grande vitesse) train to Aix-en-Provence. 3 zippy hours in a comfy seat with France out the fenetre.

Paris gare de lyon

What did I write on the train?

Sometimes productivity is overrated.

Sometimes productivity is overrated.

And what did I read? An international bestseller called THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND… by Swedish author Katarina Bivald. It will be published in the US in January, and you’re going to love it.

I am on a working vacation. When you’re a writer, it’s not a contradiction in terms, because your job comes with you in your head wherever you go. So if you go someplace awesome, you’re still working. But trust me, it doesn’t suck.

First stop–Paris. I finished FAMILY TREE (coming in 2016) and started research on my next book. Here’s the Jardin de Luxembourg and it doesn’t look much like Paris but when I see beehives, I have to take a photo because, well, beehives.

paris-beehives

I love discovering strange shops that sell things like mushroom hunting knives. Here’s one on Boul’ St. Germain called Le Prince Jardiniere:

paris - le prince jardiniere

My amazing husband Jerry takes the best people-watching shots. Check out this French kid taking a selfie in Place des Vosges, aka the prettiest square in Paris:

paris-place des voges

I mean it. If you can’t go in person, PLEASE get this book. It’s just genius. You can’t see on the web how good it is, with oversized, thick silky paper and images that will haunt you, that you’ll want to visit again and again. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves Paris, whether or not they’ve been lucky enough to go.

“With his incomparable eye, photographer Pete Saloutos captures the City of Light in all its timeless beauty and breathtaking romance. This collection is a true work of art, and a must-have for anyone who has ever dreamed of visiting Paris.”

#1 New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wiggs

Now here’s a pup with good taste in reading.

It’s completely awesome to be named “Royal Lady of Autumn Leaves.” Just ask Pat. Meet her in person at our booksigning at her shop.

Pat Rutledge 2009 Royal Lady for Autumn Leaves
In her role as Royal Lady, Pat, owner of A Book for All Seasons will be traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest, representing Leavenworth at the festivals and parades around the region.

A Book for All Seasons owner Pat Rutledge named Royal Lady of Autumn Leaves for 2009

As the 46th Royal Lady of the Autumn Leaves I want to welcome you to the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth. I know you will be thrilled with the wealth of activities we have in store for you. Whether you are looking for a quiet stroll through downtown, shopping and browsing boutiques or you’re revved for some whitewater rafting, hiking or skiing, there is no end to the possibilities for having a spectacular visit here. Come in the spring when the hillsides and mountains are ablaze with hundreds of thousands of balsam root flowers.

Surely you will want to visit us in the fall, as we host Washington State’s Autumn Leaf Festival in September, followed by three weekends of Oktoberfest.

Winter will dazzle you with our snow frosted mountains and town twinkling with millions of lights, making our Christmas Lightings one of the most magical weekends you will experience.

From shopping, to theater, from wineries to restaurants, from lodging to music, to the great outdoors of climbing, skiing and rafting ‑ Leavenworth offers all these world class experiences wrapped up in our own Bavarian hospitality.

Like Renee Zellweger’s famous line from Jerry McGuire,” You had me at Hello”, we are hoping Leavenworth will have you at Herzlich Wilkomen.

Royal Lady Pat Rutledge

…and not leap to your feet! 

This video was made in the Antwerp , Belgium Central (train) Station. 

It’s out! Just Breathe is out in paperback and I’m so excited. All month long, I’ll be giving away cool stuff to people who comment on this blog–copies of the book of course. And things to pamper yourself with. And books by my friends, and ARCs (advance reading copies) of books I’ve been sent for endorsement. So check in early and often, readers!

Here’s my sophomore attempt at a musical slideshow. The images are from a magical trip we took to the Point Reyes National Seashore for our 25th wedding anniversary. Enjoy!  

Today’s drawing question–Where in the world do you go to just breathe? I’ll pick the winner using http://www.random.org. 

Today’s prize–a copy of Just Breathe and a sweet basket of ginger white tea bath & body products. Perfect for reading in the tub!

Ginger White Tea Bath Set Gift Basket

Sister, niece and I picked the hike labeled “most difficult” in Snow Canyon. No wonder we were the only ones on the trail. Big payoff, though. Check out these shots of us scaling the volcano, looking down into the crater and out across the white rock and red rock canyons.

top o the world

top o' the world

photo by Hall Anderson

photo by Hall Anderson

Now this is what you want every author appearance to be. Avid readers, good-hearted fun, friends old and new. Thanks to Charlotte Glover of First City Library, to Parnassus Books, to Hall Anderson, photographer, and Leila Kheiry, staff writer, of the Ketchikan Daily News. A historic room at the New York Hotel, a walk along Creek Street, and all was golden. Best lagniappe of the trip–the lovely and talented Stef Ann Holm just happened to be there doing research for a book. I’ve known Stef Ann from 1980-something and I just love her and her books. Her new one, All that Matters, will be out any day and I cannot wait!

-(

forbidden by the TSA 😦

Travel tip: Don’t even THINK about bringing an ulu chopper in your carry-on bag. Nor can you have a little snow globe with flecks of gold in it. And anyone who knows me knows I never bring more than one small carry-on bag. I hope the TSA is enjoying my souvenirs. 😦

Things that made it back in my carry-on luggage: a “spawn till you die” t-shirt, a pair of hand-made earrings, several books on Alaskiana and lots of great memories. I wasn’t tempted by the reindeer hotdogs, trust me on this.

We like the sign. The meat...notsomuch.

We like the sign. The meat...notsomuch.

New York Hotel in Ketchikan

New York Hotel in Ketchikan

I don’t care what anyone says, that ultra light 6-lb laptop you bought for travel is gonna end up weighing your luggage down by an extra 20 pounds.  I don’t know why this is, but I found the perfect solution at TigerDirect. I’m in LA for Book Expo America, and I’ve brought along the Asus eeepc. It’s about the size and weight of a paperback book and I’m already swooning. It sells for around $330. Having light luggage again? Priceless.

what’s on my mind right now:

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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