Almost two years ago, Sara and I decided to go on to a writer’s retreat in a haunted mansion in California. Sounds cool, right? We thought so, too. Then the location shut it down out of fear of being known as a haunted house. We were pretty devastated. We’d already sank quite a bit of money in to the trip. We’d already paid for flights and had decided to extend our vacation with a visit to Napa. I had booked the bed and breakfast in Napa months prior to the mansion forcing the cancellation of the writer’s retreat. Rather than mope about it, I found a hotel in Pacifica, CA, and we decided to have a writer’s retreat for two and call it our honeymoon. (We are getting married this weekend.)
Pacifica was gorgeous. The hotel sits on the edge of the Pacific ocean, surrounded by large hills that I consider to be more like small mountains. Hiking trails lead to the peaks, which look out upon the waves crashing upon rocks that look like something One-Eyed Willie would use as clues for the Goonies. Orca whales patrol in the distance while surfers in full wetsuits ride cold ocean waves in to the beach. It was cool the entire time that we were there, and every morning fog rolled in off the ocean, hovering over the town itself. We were in Pacifica for about three days, and it was fantastic. Writing-wise, I made it about ten thousand words in to the revision of my novella Mama’s Little Boy. We also got to visit the Pacific Coast Fog Fest and relax.
Napa was strange. It was the primary draw of the extended part of the trip, but I think we would both say that we enjoyed the isolation of Pacifica a bit more. Napa looks a lot like Kansas. Sure, the crops are different, and there is the occasional palm tree, but it is an agricultural area, full of farmhouses, barns, and cows. Really nice farmhouses and barns. The cows are probably okay, too. I didn’t get that close to any. The interior of Napa was reminiscent of downtown Lawrence, but with more wine. Overall, I think we were both shocked at how familiar it seemed. I wrote a little bit in Napa, taking care of my Halloween-themed Confabulator Cafe story, as well as some edits for an anthology. It might seem odd to be working on a honeymoon, but we are writers. Stephen King always claimed to work every day other than Christmas and his birthday.
Speaking of publications, October is generally a big deal for me, as various magazines release Halloween-themed issues. This year is no exception, as I have several things scheduled for release.
My short story “Voids,” which was written in a Noir class taught by Benjamin Whitmer, is now available at Saturday Night Reader. You will have to have a subscription to read it. $4.00 will get you a month-long subscription.
“Patchwork,” which originally written as part of a contest at LitReactor, will be appearing in Typhon: A Monster Anthology from Pantheon Magazine.
My poem “Crow, Why Do You Cry?” will be in the next issue of Illumen Magazine from Alban Lake Publishing.
“Blood and Dust” will be in Theater B from A Murder of Storytellers.
Wrapping up the end of the month, my haunted house short story “Party at Pinehurst” will be up at The Confabulator Cafe on October 29th.
It should be a fun month. I will post links to all of the publications as they are released. We had a good trip, drank some good wine, hopefully wrote some good words. Now, it is back to the grind. But first, the wedding.