50 States/50 Countries-Big Island Hawaii

PICT1545 (2)The 50th State…the big island of Hawaii…Volcano National Park. You’ve heard about it in the news, the recent eruption of Kilauea, homes destroyed, people evacuated. The destructive power of molten lava. Thought you might enjoy a tour in more peaceful time and learn more about this force of nature.PICT1500There are three main volcanoes on the big island (six all together), Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea, the most active, has a fire pit called Halemaumau. This is where most eruptions occur, but a vent can open up anywhere in this region.PICT1585 (2) You can see the steam, feel the heat, and smell the sulfur…truly Hell on Earth.PICT1577 (2)

Mauna Kea (tallest mountain in the world measured from the ocean floor) is dormant for now and is high enough it gets snow in winter and you can ski on it when it does. Volcano National Park is located near Kilauea.PICT1584 (2)Look close and you can see the Park’s lodge sitting right on the crater’s edge…and yes, they have had to evacuate but the Volcano House has never been destroyed. http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/PICT1578 (2)PICT1574 (2)Walking through the crater…PICT1579 (2)PICT1569 (2)PICT1588 (2)Halemaumau…the fire pit!PICT1587 (2)Lava Flows after it cools….PICT1583 (2)When hot lava hits trees, the wood burns to ash, but the sap in the tree can cool the lava enough to leave strange formations…a forest of “lava” trees…PICT1597 (2)PICT1598 (2)As the lava heads toward the sea the outer portion of  the flow can start to congeal, creating a lava tube.PICT1573 (2)Inside Thurston Lava Tube…PICT1592 (2)Finally when the lava does reach the sea, it cools down to large chunks of volcanic rock which wears down over time from the ocean waves to create Hawaii’s famous black beaches…PICT1590 (2)The big island is still growing and every time there is an eruption, it creates more land. The rich volcanic soil (in due time) is perfect for growing things and plants, trees do come back eventually other than in the crater itself…

Aloha & happy travels!  Rich

 

 

Writing a Novel

quill (2)You have to be crazy to write a novel…and I’ve done it twice, so I should know. So why did I decide to start a new series of mystery books after fifteen frustrating years with the first two — writing, proofing, re-writing, proofing, looking for an agent/publisher, proofing, giving up on finding an agent/publisher, and agonizing over the need for never ending promotion? (Assuming you want somebody to read what you wrote).

The flip answer might be I write because I’m lousy at tap dancing, but the real answer is I like to tell stories.

I’ve been making up scenes and characters for as long as I remember, as well as reading books since I got my first library card at eight years old. I like to make people laugh too, so no matter how serious the story, you will find a lot of humor sprinkled into the action.

Example from Identity Check:  “Okay,” she said, “It’s your turn. Strip for me.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Don’t tell me you’re shy. I could put on some music and whistle loudly.”

“To be fair, I never got to see your act,” he said, throwing the clothes in his arms onto a nearby chair, “just the remnants.”

“All right, I’ll let you look, but only a peek. Normal men have been known to lose their sight at such a vision.”

“Have you been flashing down at the blind school again? That’s just mean-spirited.”

“For that cruel comment, you’ve forfeited your shot at a piece of heaven.”

“Okay, I’m taking off my clothes, but, I don’t want to hear any crude remarks from you.”

“Me? Never. Whoa–somebody let the stallion out of the barn.”

“That’s it. I’m turning off the lights.”

My new fictional YA series features a private investigator, nicknamed “Tracker,” that uses his Native American skills to solve mysteries (aided by his teenage nephew). I’m about 25,000 words into the first book about a murder that happens in Crater Lake National Park…and the suspected killer is Sasquatch!

People ask me, “How do you get your story ideas?” My first novel, “Drafted,” drew heavily on my personal experience of being drafted into the US Army during Vietnam…an adventure filled with terror and humor.

I can’t wait to see how it all gets resolved. I don’t do an outline when I write, although I have a vague idea of the direction the story is headed. My technique is to create characters, put them into a situation, and see how they handle it. I’m also big on action and stingy on description. I hate writers that spend three pages describing the wallpaper (unless it is smeared with blood).

Well, back to the computer…another 75,000 words to go…maybe I’ll write a few pages describing the wallpaper.

50 States/50 Countries – World’s Best Museums

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I love art. We have been fortunate to visit some of the greatest museums in the world…Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Le Louvre, and Musée D’Orsay, Paris, France. The Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece. State Hermitage Museum and Palace, St. Petersburg,  The British Museum, London, England. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.Farmer (2)The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, and The Uffizi Gallery, Italy. The Art Institute of Chicago and many more. Here are but a few of the original masterpieces we have spent hours admiring…

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50 States/50 Countries – Today’s Photo

Sorry, I’ve been away for awhile. My computer crashed and I almost lost all my photos. Fortunately, the geeks at Best Buy were able to download my hard drive and I am back in business.

IMG_4617 (4)The American bison or buffalo is a magnificent creature and I have been fortunate to get close to these animals in the wild (my wife says too close because they can be very dangerous)… and capture some images that to me represent the wild west and the natural beauty of this country.IMG_4942 (3)These photos were shot in both Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.IMG_4601 (3)DSC01759 (2)

 

50 States – 50 Countries – Hawaii

Many folks have been lucky enough to visit our 50th state, but we were even luckier to live there for two years on the island of Oahu. Here are a few favorite shots we took and wanted to share of this island(s) paradise. We have so many great shots, I may do more later. (Featured Image is just outside Lahaina on Maui).hawaii Tahiti (3)Tahitian Dancers in the Polynesian Cultural Center show…

DSC00185 (2)Diamond Head on Oahu…

DSC00210 (3)Iolani Palace on Oahu…

DSC01419 (2)Wild peacock and a banana tree in our backyard, Kailua, HI.

DSC00230 (2)Aloha Tower, Honolulu, HI…

DSC00197 (2)State Capitol Building, Honolulu. DSC01469 (2)Byodo-In Temple, Waimea, Oahu…

DSC01552 (2)King Kamehameha Highway headed toward the North Shore, Oahu…

DSC01524 (2)My daughter at Waimea Falls, Oahu…

DSC00225 (2)Early sailing ship, Oahu…

DSC00203 (2)Large banyan tree behind Iolani Palace, Oahu.

DSC02103 (2)Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku Gardens in Kaneohe, Oahu…

More later…ALOHA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 States – 50 Countries – California (Part 1)

The “Golden State” is big. Not Texas or Alaska big, but it takes up almost half of the “Left Coast.” Home to movie stars, Hollywood, several national parks, a wide variety of climates, a lot of liberal Democrats, Beach Boys, surfing, Spanish Mission, wineries, and a mix of many cultures and races. So many places, animals and people to see, I decided to break this post up into multiple parts.  Enjoy!

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State Capitol Building in Sacremento…

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Governor’s Mansion, Sacremento…

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San Diego…

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Coronado Hotel in San Diego. The site of the movie “Some Like it Hot.”

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Balboa Park in San Diego…

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Bodega Bay, film site for “The Birds.”

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Napa Valley home to many wineries…

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California wildlife…

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Wild Turkeys

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Roosevelt Elk

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Rare white pelicans

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Sea Lions

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Queen Mary, Long Beach

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Great Heron, Long Beach

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Sierra Mountains…

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Capistrano Mission…

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Many Victorian homes and hotels…

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Lava Beds National Monument…

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Hollywood Bowl, site of many famous concerts, including the Beatles in 1964 and 1965.

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Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, site of many Hollywood premieres…

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More of our photographs later!!

Lily on the Road…

17855485_10154481614242361_6459862634199131569_oOn National Pet Day, I thought I’d share a series of photos of Lily exploring her environment both at home and on the road…

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Lily in the Woods…17880148_10154481694252361_548944557105595474_o

Lily at the Stream…17807622_10154481620042361_1348490303979703056_o

Tiger Lily….17880506_10154481684152361_6052995917839939129_o

Lily on the Beach…17880409_10154481678727361_4220166575969186386_o

Lily at the Football Field….

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Lily in the Mountains…

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Lily at the Lake