Clouds Beget Clouds

Today is quite a bit cooler than the past few days have been. It’s cloudy. ANd in looking out my office window, I’m reminded of the clouds in a couple photos I’ve taken over the years. This particular one is from a bridge overlooking White River, just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

I like it for a number of reasons. I like how everything reflects in the water. I like that we were able to stop in the middle of the bridge on a rare afternoon with little traffic. I like that it’s Eureka Springs, somewhere I would really like to be right now.

I am aware it’s a repeat that I’ve used on this blog before. I don’t think I’ve ever said why I like it, though. (Plus, I’m working on edits for RealmWalker: New Beginnings, so I wanted to post but I needed something easy-ish at the moment.)

Photo Break

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is known as Little Switzerland and the Stair-Step Town, among other nicknames. Throughout the historic district, there are small parks and grottos with various flora and natural rock formations. This is just one of many.

Creativity in the Heart of the Ozarks

If home is where the heart is, then mine is split between where I live and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

I first started going to Eureka Springs in 2000, the first time I went to the Ozark Creative Writers’ conference. That was also the first time I ever heard about the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. I got to tour it the next year.

That is when I decided I would go there. I would stay at the Writers’ Colony one way or another. I applied for a paid residency. I didn’t get that, but I did get accepted for a general residency that I would pay for. After finding out how much that would be–and knowing it was affordable–I went.

I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve stayed, but it has been several over the years. It is where I finished Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone. It is where I started writing Kiernan’s Curse and Navajo Rose. I’ve worked on most of my books there. It is definitely a locus of creativity in the heart of the Ozarks.

I wasn’t able to go to Eureka Springs at all last year, not even for the conference. I hope to return this year. The arts, in general, are supported as a whole (it seems) in Eureka Springs. They have a very strong arts community and many artists call the town their home.

I can’t wait to go back!

Happy creating.

Photo of the Day: Back View of the Crescent Hotel

If you’ve read any of this blog, you know I love Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s likely you have also seen some photos I have taken during visits there. Here is one I don’t think I’ve shared here yet.

Back view of the Crescent Hotel from East Mountain Lookout, Eureka Springs, AR

WIP Exerpt

When I’m occupied with thinking about current projects, sometimes it’s hard to come up with a blog post. So today, I’m cheating. Here’s the opening of my NaNo novel. (I’m currently calling it Eureka Steam, but that will likely change.)

—–

Shelly Parks reapplied her maroon lipstick and studied her reflection in the restroom mirror. I should be the one babysitting for Paige and Ricky instead of the other way around, she thought as she pushed the door open. She almost ran into someone before her eyes adjusted to the dim light in the bar.

“Sorry.” She backed up a step and stumbled.

“Careful.” He caught her elbow and held her upright until she felt stable. His deep voice since shivers down her spine.

“Thanks.” She smiled in spite of herself and straightened her hat. Who knew a few gears could be so heavy? “I…I knew I should have stayed home. I’m no good at places like this.”

He laughed and gestured to the rest of the room with his left arm, wrapped in armor. “Who is? But that’s the fun of it.”

“Maybe.”

He let go of her elbow.

You didn’t have to do that.

“How about a dance before they do last call?”

“I…”

“Don’t dance? Me neither.”

“Okay.”

He tipped his hat to her, adjusted his monocle, and offered his unarmored arm.

She accepted and walked with him to the dance floor, hoping her skirts wouldn’t trip her up. One song ended as they got to the edge of the dance floor. After a short pause, another started. “What is this?”

Her companion laughed. “It’s steampunk music.”

“It sounds…weird.”

“Some people think so.”

“How do you dance to it?”

He pointed to a couple nearby, moving with exaggerated stiffness. “Like them.”

She shrugged. “I can do that.”

They danced to that song and the next one before he led her off the dance floor. “I’ve got to go. Early morning tomorrow.” He glanced at a clock above the bar. “Today.” He grimaced.

“Me too.”

“Thanks for making tonight more enjoyable.” He paused.

“Shelly.”

“Shelly,” he repeated and smiled. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“I certainly hope so.”

“Mitch.” He saluted her and left.

The next morning, Shelly poured herself a cup of coffee and wished she hadn’t stayed out quite so late. She took a sip as her phone rang.

“Parks residence.”

“Shelly, you need to come to the store,” her shop manager Meagan said. She sounded frantic. “I’ve already called the police. They’re sending someone over too. Someone broke in overnight.”

“You’re sure?” She put the coffee mug down. The ceramic clunked on the formica.

“Uh-huh.”

Oh, hell! Most of her inventory was in the shop. She had hoped to spend the day in her clay studio, but it didn’t look like that would happen.

“Are you coming?”

“Yeah. Give me about 10 minutes and I’ll be there.”

“OK.”

She hung up, hurried to the bathroom, and looked at her reflection. “Nice wash job, Shel,” she muttered. Maroon lipstick was smeared around her mouth and she had raccoon eyes from the dark eye makeup. She washed her face, put her hair in a ponytail, and dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt.

In front of the shop, she turned her flashers on and put the car in park. The “Shelly’s Shack” sign on the open door framed a hole. She shook her head and walked in.

“There she is,” Meagan said.

“I’m sorry I’m late.”

“It wouldn’t be late if someone hadn’t busted in your door, now would it?” a familiar voice asked.

She felt the same tremors down her spine as she had the night before. Mitch? She rounded the corner.

“Good morning, Ms.—Shelly?” Mitch looked up from his notepad.

Funny. Last night I never noticed he was bald. “That’s me.”

“You two know each other?” Meagan asked.

“We met last night,” Shelly explained. “I’ll tell you later.” She turned her attention to the police officer. “We went to the bank last night at closing, so there wasn’t much cash for anyone to take.”

He nodded. “Whoever it was… Well…. I think it was personal.” He moved away from the display case in front of the cash register. The pottery there had been shattered. “I need you to go over your inventory and see what else was damaged or taken.”

“I will.” Shelly blinked. Who? Why?

“Okay. I just need your contact number and I’ll be done here.”

She gave him her home and cell phone numbers. She watched him write them down and leave.

“Shel?”

“What?”

“You okay?”

No. “Call Paige. I think I need her help.”