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Phase 2: Itinerary

Since my handful of readers aren’t familiar, here’s some perspective on why we picked a tiny dot on the map as our landing point, vs. Flagstaff or similar.

Aside from lower lodging costs, Williams is actually a cool place, itself:

We knew it was a historic town. We were hoping for mid-century kitsch. Looks like paydirt to me!

If G insists on the Grand Canyon excursion, I might insist on taking the Grand Canyon Railway, on principle. It would be a little pricey, granted. I think it’d be worth it, though.


Remember when I pawned off assigned asked G to build our driving route to the northern part of the state? There’s a reason for it. If anybody could figure out how to bypass the majority of the Phoenix metro area, he could.

Mission accomplished:

Interestingly enough, this begins on the route we used a few weeks ago, through Gila Bend and up north to Buckeye. From there, we’ll hit territory we haven’t covered in decades and several new areas neither of us have seen before. There are a few tiny dots on the map this version doesn’t show – Skull Valley, Yarnell, Peeple’s Valley, Arlington, etc. We’re counting on photo ops in several of those dots.


My novella is done and edited. I’ve had three sets of eyes on it other than my own, and feel reasonably confident typos and so on have been swept away.

Now comes the hard part: writing the damned blurb.

A blurb is the 3-ish paragraphs on the back cover, the ones designed to engage readers. Since this will only be an ebook, it’ll go on Amazon and be incorporated under the description. Blurb-writing is an art form and a pain in the ass.

Writing a blurb has been a particular challenge for this story. It has elements of romance, but no Happily Ever After. There are distinct political undertones, as well as humanitarian ones. The closest genre I can assign is historical fiction. It’s a bittersweet true story, told from the perspective of an adolescent who still carried a degree of innocence. Other than a couple of expletives, it’s G-rated. And condensing that into a 100-word (give or take) blurb is kicking my butt.

It’s also been downright painful having to explain to my friend – whose family story this is – how insular the US is. The majority of us never heard of the outports and wouldn’t know what the term means. We barely – and I do mean barely – know what Newfoundland is, much less where it is. Hoping most people in the US would know a bit about its history is like expecting a mouse to know Tolstoy. US news purveyors tend to ignore the world, other than royal celebrity-itis and whatever chest-thumping accompanies our latest real-life military games.

Writing this was a constant juggling act, too. How much of the area’s political quagmire was needed to give the story¬† context? How much should be left out, because it did nothing to push the narrative forward? While the Resettlement project is Canadian history, nobody in the USA would have a clue. I certainly didn’t, not before I was handed this story to write.

I submitted blurb versions for help on a group designed for that exact purpose – and shook my head as one commenter asked, in all sincerity, why anyone would care if a young widow condemned herself and her children to die.

‘Murica, 21st century. Ugh.

This morning, I got a bit of pivotal advice. Here’s hoping the redirection lets things fall into place. I’ve written hundreds of blurbs for other people. I literally built a tool to help other people write them. But like every other author, when it’s my own story I go straight into drooly-face and “Wut R Werds?” mode.


This week has dragged on for a solid month. I called out sick a couple of days ago. Not sure if it was food poisoning, a bug, or whatever. My stomach was topsy-turvey, my head was pounding, and I was so exhausted I slept from 5pm Tuesday night ’til my alarm went off Wednesday morning – and I was non-functional after the alarm went off. Today’s my Friday, thank goodness. My belly and head settled down. Still bone tired.

Time off sounds like heaven, and retirement can’t come soon enough.

4 thoughts on “Phase 2: Itinerary”

    1. Thank you, Joyce. If everything goes according to plan, my short vacation is just over a month from now. But given how many crises our kids generate, we try to plan well in advance, so if/when they expect us to drop everything on their behalf we can tell them no dice.

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