Do you like to travel? Do you travel? For business? Pleasure? Both? Because of my writing job and my real-life jobs, I do a fair amount of traveling each year. Okay, I do a lot of traveling each year and it seems to be on the increase. Now, some people don’t like to travel—some avoid it like the proverbial plague. But, not me. I love to travel.
In my real-life job – dental hygienist/dental licensing examiner—I’ve visited New York City (and lots of places in NY state, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and Washington DC. These are usually busy visits, with long days spent at dental and dental hygiene schools, but I do manage to get some sightseeing in during my time there. Especially in NYC – I mean how could I not make sure to visit with my editor(s), agent and see a Broadway show? My favorite so far has to be WICKED! I’m hoping to get to ROCK OF AGES on my next trip there – I tend to go to musicals rather than dramas...(If anyone has any suggestions for shows for me to see, please post a comment!!)
In my writing job (aka romance author LOL!) and because I’m on a Board of Directors, I get to even more places. Last spring I spent a few days in San Diego for a meeting and got the chance to go whale-watching in the Pacific Ocean while there! Actually there was a stray whale in San Diego harbor so I didn’t have to go far to see one....LOL! I spent 10 days in Washington DC during the summer for a conference and enjoyed the incredibly spring-like weather to get outside. And for a recent meeting, I visited Nashville. Although I’m not a big country music fan, I did make sure to get to a Grand Ole Opry show – something always entertaining to attend. I was lucky enough to see headliners Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and Vince Gill, all names I recognized in spite of my lack of following country music. Oh, and impressive (for so many reasons) newcomer Jake Owen.....mmmmmmmm!
BUT, the best traveling of all was the trip I took to do some research for some upcoming books I’m working on – I spent just over three weeks in Scotland. It was my dream trip – I’ve been there three times before, but always in a group tour or on a limited basis, and always dreaming of a trip long enough so that I could just ‘be’ there some days. So, last spring, I tried out Edinburgh on my own for 6 days and loved it. Once I got my writing deadlines scheduled for 2009, I began planning out my trip – staying in five places for 3-4 days each, driving myself (OHMIGOSH!) and getting out to the places I needed to see and hear and feel for my upcoming stories. And every curve of the very-curving roads there brought another extraordinary sight...so much inspiration for me! Not to mention the dozens of castles and museums and islands I visited for researching the history of the area.
Now least you all worry or wonder about my poor hubby, left home alone, while I galavant all around the country and the world....he was in his glory at home with complete dominance over the big-screen TV and the remote control! LOL! Since he does not share my love of history he actually asked me not to take him to Scotland, content to avoid old castles and old museums and one-track roads with driving on the wrong side. So I did as he asked!
BUT – my final trip of the year was with him – a celebration of our 32 years of married life... he may not like visiting historical places (Our only trip together to London was a disaster that nearly ended in bloodshed.....his not mine!) but he loves to CRUISE! So, his consolation prize which I suffered through for his sake (NOT!) was a lovely cruise to the Caribbean. We spent time on beaches that looked like this....and I got to read 3 books in a week. I let him believe the trip was for him, but it was really for me, too!
And now, I’m home for the Holidays....watching the days get shorter and trying to remember where I put the good strings of Christmas lights last year so I wouldn’t have to hunt for them this year.... It’s funny, this is the one time of year that I actually enjoy staying home....baking, cooking, planning holiday time with my family and friends. My son just asked about my traditional Christmas morning breakfast (but this time he’s old enough to bring his girlfriend along – OH MY!); he wanted to make sure it was still happening.
So, how about you? Are you a traveler or a homebody? Any favorite place you’ve visited or would like to visit? Any shows in NYC you can recommend to me for my February trip? I’ll give one person who posts a comment an autographed copy of my Christmas anthology (a new copy of the UK/Australian release) along with a souvenir from one of my trips this year.
Terri is celebrating not only the Holidays but also the recent release of her first Kensington Brava release, A STORM OF PASSION. The first in a trilogy, this story is set in medieval Scotland when the Vikings ruled the islands and when magic still glimmered in the Highlands. Visit her website for more info about signings and events, contests and news! www.terribrisbin.com
Day 1 - intro and excerpt:
In the first of a breathtaking trilogy set against the stark beauty of medieval Scotland, one man discovers a surprising past, a remarkable gift--and a terrible destiny. . . . In the opening pages of A STORM OF PASSION, readers will discover Moira’s reasons for hating Connor, the Seer, and understand the vengeance she seeks. . . .
The damp fog crept off the sea, moving onto the land and over the hills of Quinag like tendrils of sticky sea grass. It seemed alive even as it covered the dead of her village. The smoke from fires set by their enemies choked her and burned her eyes as she searched for someone, anyone, still alive in the destruction. Struggling through the hazy gloaming, Moira slipped in the mud and fell once again.
She pushed her hair out of her face and rubbed her eyes. Shoved into a hidey hole by her mother at the first sound of the attack, she’d stayed as long as she could, resisting the urge to fight back, to stand with her father and brothers, to protect her mother and her sister. Now, they lay dead, their life’s blood draining out onto the ground in the center of their village. Unable to help them in life, she knew she must help them find peace now.
It took hours but she worked into the night to find and drag the bodies of her sister and mother nearer to the burned remains of their cottage. She worked on and on, sometimes giving in and crying out her grief, especially when she looked on the battered and bruised face of her sister. Then only her mother was left to bury.
When Moira reached under her mother’s arms to pull her into the hastily-dug grave, her mother’s hand twitched, scaring her and sending Moira scurrying back. Taking a breath, she crept forward and touched her mother’s cheek, hoping against hope and sense that she was still alive.
“Mam?” she whispered. “Mam?”
Moira knew that her mother could never survive the wounds she’d received. Then, a rasping, labored breath, drawn in and sputtered out of her, spewed more blood on the ground. Moira tried to lift her, but the hours of digging had left her with little strength now.
“Get away,” her mother said, choking with each word. “They will return. . . “
Tears flowed down her cheeks as she watched her mother struggle for a breath and lose that battle. She did not ken how long she sat there, holding her mam in her arms, but the growing light of dawn creeping over the mountains to the east told her too long. She would be vulnerable in the light of day, a lone girl amidst so much death with no one to protect her. Gently, she laid her mother down and offered a short prayer for her soul, their souls, and then she ran.
Their enemy did return as her mam had warned and she was able to avoid them only by squeezing under a decaying tree and hiding in the morass of roots and grass at its base. Moira listened to their words and the only bit of it she could hear and understand was that they’d been sent by someone called The Seer. The soldiers spent hours in the ruins of her village and then they left.
With hunger and thirst driving her, she waited for the sounds of their leaving to cease completely before creeping from her hiding spot. Stumbling through the forest, she stopped to drink from a stream and pluck some berries. So confused, so tired and so heartbroken, Moira could not think of where to go or what to do. Looking around, she knew she must find shelter for the sun was sliding down the sky towards the sea.
Gathering what berries she could stuff into the pocket of her skirt, she found the path that led away from the sea and towards the mountains. If she could follow the path through the mountains, she could find the village where her mother’s sister lived. Surely she would take her in.
The final shock met her as the path rose to enter the first mountain pass and she nearly buckled under the pain of it. If she had kept her eyes on the rocky trail, she might have missed it, but it was at that very moment when she looked up.
Her father dangled at the end of a rope, his body twisting in the winds. Moira’s stomach clenched and heaved, forcing her to her knees. His eyes were gone and his body showed signs of torture at the hands of his enemies. She crawled on, not daring to look back.
When she reached a place where she could not see him clearly, she stood and, from someplace within, some strength she knew not of, a burning desire for vengeance rose. Clenching her hands, she offered not only a prayer for the soul of her father, but also one for courage and resolve.
She would find the ones responsible for this and she would make them pay. It might take her years, it might mean more suffering on her part, but she would make someone sorry for the day they chose her family as their target. This man, The Seer, would pay with his life.
Her fingers dug into her palms, mixing her blood with that of her slain mother and sister. Holding her hands up to the sky, she spoke the words of a blood oath to the souls of her family and to any god listening.
“I will not cease until every drop of my enemy’s blood is spilled or until I give my own in the trying. On their blood, I swear this.”