I have my writing duties, as I’m trying to get the last bit written of a sequel to a book that I’ve already sold.
And I have my marketing duties. My first published fiction, Freya’s Gift, came out in March from Samhain Publishing and my first full-length novel, Dinah of Seneca, an alternate history romance, is coming out May 28 from The Wild Rose Press.
So I looked around my house on Sunday: at the kids, at the cleaning and chores that needed to be done, at the writing that called to me and the emails begging to be answered and said….nah.
Instead, I told the kids were were going for a drive, loaded the entire family into the minivan and told them we were going somewhere new. I had a vague idea of driving until we found a real New England downtown with stores and restaurants and a cool Main Street. I’d heard vaguely that Northhampton, Massachusetts had something like this, so that was roughly where we were going but I was perfectly content to stop somewhere on the way if it looked interesting.
We passed a few tempting spots, including several used bookstores that were being run from what looked like Victorian-era homes. But I really, really wanted that downtown.
And we found it!
Northhampton was better than advertised. There were blocks and blocks of stores, coffeehouses, restaurants, and, well, it just looked really cool too. The kids were excited, even the ten-year-old twins. That may have had something to do with the ice cream store right across from where we parked.
So we got out of the car and walked. Because Northhampton is a town surrounded by no less than five colleges, the stores were unique and eclectic. There were no GAPS or Abercrombie & Fitch or any other brand name. There were all independently owned and operated. Well, one exception. Starbucks. But I doubt there’s anywhere in America where one can escape Starbucks.
We got ice cream first. Because we could. 🙂 then we wandered some of the stores, passing by several jewelry stores with free trade goods, others with toys for younger kids. The real find was a used bookstore where we all got lost in looking around. The kids grabbed a box set of Philip Pullman’s books, a chess instruction book and a kids cookbook. I found a history book called “Conquest,” which is about how societies conquer other societies.
The book was *exactly* what I need for my current work in progress. I’ve got Romans and Vikings in an alternate history North America and I’ve been pondering how to preserve the Native American society in this mix. Obviously, the Europeans wiped them out. I want to write an alternate universe where they survived and thrived without having them wipe out the Europeans.
Peaceful co-existence in other words. I don’t know if that’s possible but exploring how disaster happened should give me some clues.
We ended the day with a restaurant meal of burgers and fries and yet another bookstore.
It was the most fun family day we’ve had in a long time. And when I got home, I was able to sit down and write over 2,000 words on my work in progress.
I think I need to ignore the stuff that needs to be done more often. Though if we get ice cream every time, I suspect I’ll have to add clothes shopping to the trip. 🙂