Vacation plans

photo-3It was really hard for me to go on vacation last week and leave work at home.  Usually, I carry my laptop, so I can blog — like I did at the Death Salon in LA last fall.  Or I bring a book I’m working on to edit, like I did when Mart and I went on retreat to Gilchrist last August.

This time I left the computer at home.  I’m waiting for The Dangerous Type to come back from the editor, so while I have some unfinished books I could be working on, nothing is pressing.  I haven’t wanted to get engrossed in any large writing projects, since I could be pulled away at any moment.  Rather than give up on the idea of work altogether, I made a list of blog posts I could research or write while we were traveling.

Of course, before we left, I scrambled around to write a week’s worth of Tumblr posts and get them all scheduled to go up like clockwork.  I wrote and scheduled the posts that appeared here last week.  I meant to write a Cemetery of the Week entry to go up on 4/9, but I ran out of time before we left.

Once we arrived in DC, I only managed to write and upload one blog post from the hotel room: the Weekly Morbid.  It took forever to find all the links and copy them into WordPress on my iPhone.  The whole process was frustrating and time-consuming and did not encourage me to attempt the much more complicated COTW format.  In fact, by last Wednesday, I was coming down with Mason’s cold and couldn’t even manage my phone well enough to post a place-holding “here’s a reprint” post.

The upside of all of this is that the vacation was much more like a true vacation than I’d planned. I did have some working time in the mornings, while Mason and our daughter Sorrell slept in, but I spent those hours reading books on my kindle app, catching up on Pinterest, twittering, and reading Facebook.  I didn’t bring — or buy — a booklight, so I couldn’t even write in my notebook in the darkened hotel rooms.

In the evenings, while my daughter watched the Disney channel, I read travel magazines and graveyard books, researching markets and new cemetery columns.  To be honest, it was work, but work of the relaxing and entertaining kind.

In the end, I did much less writing that I would have in the old days, when Mason and I traveled with no electronics at all.  Back then, I wrote pages and pages of notes and observations, analyses and histories.  We even hung out in cafes so I could write.

This trip, I was much more content to let the experiences flow over me.  I still researched Rock Creek Cemetery (albeit after we visited). I drafted what I think will be my next Scoutie Girl column about Sorrell’s love of the flight simulator at the National Air and Space Museum. I drafted a long blog post about my writing schedule.

I don’t have much work to show for a 10-day vacation.  To my surprise, I’m okay with that.  Maybe it’s good to ease off now and then.

What do you think?  Do you check your email when you’re on vacation?

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In Praise of Party Girls

AsAbove pc

Click to order from Amazon

Where did the character of Lorelei come from?  She was inspired by a woman I met at university.  Kimmy lived across the hall from me in East Quad.  She was beautiful: large very dark eyes made bigger by mascara, long mahogany hair flipped back from her face just so, heart-shaped face. She wasn’t very tall, but she was seriously stacked. I wasn’t surprised to find she’d done catalog modeling in high school.

Mostly what I remember about her was her presence.  Kimmy was a light.  She had a huge laugh.  Just by arriving, she made everything more fun.  When she came into a room, every head turned toward her, but she wasn’t obnoxious about it.  She didn’t seem to crave attention; she just accepted it as normal.

Kimmy had a way of singling out people and drawing them into her circle.  During my second day in the dorm, she cornered me as I was about to skulk into my room. She and her roommate were going to play quarters with some other people on the hall so we could all get to know each other.  Why didn’t I come?

Which is how I met Mason, who’s been with me pretty much ever since.  Kim drew him in, too.

Kimmy was always ready for anything.  When Playboy came to town, looking to photograph Girls of the Big 10, she considered it. When she met another girl who had been contacted by a Greek millionaire who was looking for pretty girls to come lounge around on his yacht in their bikinis, she considered it.  I think her curiosity about that lifestyle was matched by a small-town naivety that didn’t really guess what that kind of deal would demand in return.  In consequence, I felt protective of Kimmy.  I didn’t want her trusting nature to lead her into a situation she couldn’t charm her way out of.

Lorelei came directly out of that feeling.  I wanted to explore the possibilities laid out in front of Kimmy, but know that Lorelei would survive them.  I wanted to give Kimmy a happy ending and a boyfriend she wanted just as much as he wanted her.  And I wanted to guarantee she’d never lose her fearlessness or sense of fun.

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As Above got its first review!

AsAbove pcThanks to Jeremy Price, my first novel got its first review.  In a word: sizzling.

Here’s the whole thing, fom Up All Night Horror Fiction Review:


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The Weekly Morbid

Blogging from my phone this morning. We’ll see how I do.

Armand Rosamilia was kind enough to feature my novel As Above, So Below on his blog, in connection with Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014:

As Above got its first review — at Up All Night Horror Fiction:

I was invited to guest blog about Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel on the Western Legends blog:

I’ve been exploring Savannah’s lovely Bonaventure Cemetery at and tumblr/blog/morbidloren.

And today I am off on an adventure, as soon as everyone wakes up. I can’t wait to get started!

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Adventures in Cemetery Travel

Loren Rhoads:

The publisher of Wish You Were Here invited me to explain how I found all the cemeteries I visited in the book. Here’s my answer.

Originally posted on Western Legends Publishing:

Click to order!

Click to order!

How did I pick all those cemeteries I visited in Wish You Were Here? That’s a funny story…

I visited the first cemetery by accident. I found a lovely book of cemetery photos — who knew such a thing existed? — in the bookshop at London’s Victoria Station. That was toward the end of our unexpected stay in England, but my husband Mason decided he would rather see beautiful, overgrown Highgate Cemetery than the Tower of London. It was the right choice.

We’d already planned to work Pere Lachaise Cemetery into our trip to Paris, because Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, and so many other famous people were buried there. I’d found a cemetery guidebook (my first!) called Permanent Parisians in the Rand McNally store in San Francisco. That book also led us to the cemeteries of Montparnasse and St. Vincent and the Paris Municipal Ossuary…

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