IWSG, Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mysteries, Writing

Life Lately on the Road & Writing Update | IWSG

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It’s a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there’s an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they’re struggling with what to say.

This month’s question is:

Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Check out how people have answered this month’s question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list HERE. I opted out of answering the question, instead sharing an update about what life has been like on the road for us lately.

Photo Credit: Duwan Dunn @ Make Like an Ape Man

Check out the picture above. That’s our teeny-tiny camper surrounded by bison. Crazy, huh? The friends we had been traveling with took it as we were driving through Yellowstone National Park. It perfectly sums up what life has been like lately on the road during the past month – travel, adventure, and lots of fun!

I was trying to remember what we got up to during July but it’s all a bit of a blur. We used to be really good about keeping a log previously on our sailboats and now in our camper, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. We really should get that log going again because the older I get, the more help I need in remembering stuff!

I’ve now had a second cup of coffee. It’s amazing how caffeine helps jog the memory. Okay, so here’s where we’ve been and what we got up to in July:

We spent the first part of the month in Bismarck, North Dakota spending time with my hubby’s family. I spent a good chunk of that time on the couch working on Shooting by the Sea – the fifth book in my Mollie McGhie cozy mystery series. I also worked on release stuff for a multi-author cozy mystery anthology that my short story, Buried by the Beach is part of. And I read some books about Scandinavian-Americans as inspiration for the new cozy mystery series I’m planning which will be set in North Dakota.

It was such a relaxing spot to work. The fact that we had ice cream for dessert every night didn’t hurt either! We don’t have a freezer in our camper so I relished every bowl of salted caramel craze I could get my hands on.

Then we headed to a wonderful campground in Elgin, North Dakota for a few days so that I could finish Shooting by the Sea. There are two things I love about this particular campground – the views of the lake and the electricity. Yes, you heard that right – electricity! We often camp in places without it and have to run the generator when we want to charge things. To be able to have my computer constantly charged, not to mention being able to run the air conditioner, was heavenly.

After sending Shooting by the Sea to the editor it was time to go meet up with our friends from Make Like an Ape Man. They’re former boaters like us and now live full-time in their van. After a night in Buffalo, South Dakota, we hooked up with them in Montana, spent a night at Red Shale (a wonderful free National Forest campground), spent the next night at the Ten Sleep Brewery (you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving when your camper is a few feet away in the parking lot), then headed to Castle Gardens (a free Bureau of Land Management campground) for a night.

While at Castle Gardens, I got back the edits from my editor. Internet was patchy there so I had to download the manuscript by perching my computer on the hood of our vehicle and holding my phone in my hand. Such is the life of a writer on the road.

I finished that first round of edits, sent it back to the editor and then it was off to Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming for three days. Have you been there? If not, you should go. Absolutely gorgeous! I could have stayed there longer, but we had reservations at one of the campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park so off we went.

To be honest, I wondered if Yellowstone would live up to its reputation. Everyone talks about how amazing it is. Guess what? Turns out it is. In fact, it was so amazing that my hubby and I spent two weeks there. But all good thing must come to an end so that new good things can happen. And that new good thing is going to be Glacier National Park in Montana. We’re making our way up there today and tomorrow, so I may be offline for a while. But I will try to respond to comments and visit blogs when I can. I know, I know . . . I’m still behind from last month. {Sigh}

Anyway before I go, I wanted to thank everyone who offered to read and review ARCs (advance reader copies) of the cozy mystery anthology, Mystery Follows Her, and my latest Mollie McGhie book, Shooting by the Sea. It really means a lot to me and it helps immensely with the launches and attracting new readers!

By the way, if you’re interested in either of these books, Mystery Follows Her is promotionally priced at only 99c/99p right now. You can grab a copy at your favorite retailer HERE. Anthologies are a great way to try out new authors. Shooting by the Sea will be released on Friday, August 7th. You can pre-order a copy at your favorite retailer HERE.

What did you get up to in July? Did you read any good books? Get any writing done? Any fun adventures?

15 thoughts on “Life Lately on the Road & Writing Update | IWSG”

  1. Hey Ellen,

    What an adventurous life you lead! I’d love to see Yellowstone one day. Sadly, all my trips were cancelled this year due to Covid, but it’s for the best.

    I’m excited to see a new Mollie mystery is on the horizon. I think I’m almost caught up!


  2. We have a campervan too and had a similar experience with a herd of highland cows. Unfortunately we can’t travel at the moment, but hope to start again soon – virus permitting.


  3. Love hearing about your travels!!
    You’re certainly getting in lots of fun and adventures.
    I’m loving the latest in Mollie’s adventures!! She’s such a great character!


  4. Living on our sailboat in Mexico has been filled with adventure and challenges. We used to maintain a log, when sailing. Those wonderful days of sailing are behind us. I use a camera instead of a log. I have little notebooks to record a thought or two, but the pictures bring back each event is sparkling detail.
    How do you write while living in such a tiny space?


  5. Great pics of Scamper!

    When were traveling in Mexico I did a whole post about things that slow you down in the road. I should do one for Wyoming/Montana now – I think the things that have slowed us down lately have been even odder than the things we encountered south of the border.

    Shooting by the Sea is great, BTW.

    On to Glacier!


  6. Hi, Ellen! I visited Yellowstone for the first time in January, 2020, on a snowmobile tour. Other than the 17 degree temps, it was so fun. We didn’t get to see bison, but we did see bald eagles. Old Faithful was something to behold! No wonder you spent 2 weeks there. And I’ve never been to Glacier but I hear it’s fantastic.


  7. You keep amazing and impressing me. I didn’t think you’d be able to travel and write at the same time. You can and you did. Incredible. I don’t know whether to be envious about it or not, as I know how hard it is to be working while there are so many distractions and (in my experience) more fun things to do. 🙂

    I can’t believe how quick the turnaround of your editor is, and how quickly you applied the edits. Phew! You and JH are so inspirational and creative, cranking those books out. Real writers! 🙂


  8. Ellen, I missed your post last month, so had no idea you were out roaming the world in the camper! I am truly impressed that you are continuing to write while visiting such gorgeous places. I never managed to do that!


  9. What an amazing trip! I so badly want to travel to those places and photograph them. My husband lived in Cody, just outside Yellowstone, so he has zero interest in going there again. I guess it loses its draw when you’ve lived right there and dealt with tourists in your little town.


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