Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Walking Through a Spa Town

There is no doubt that whatever life we live in the present acquires a mundane quality, regardless of the location. We become accustomed to that which is daily routine. Days drift together into a fuzzy haze, dashing past in a whirl of activity mixed with boredom. We adapt, conform, settle in.

I spend quite a bit of time in a car almost every day. I maneuver amidst the traffic more out of habit than anything else. There is no sense of thrill, no feeling of intrigue. But when living overseas, the thought of being able to get into my car and just go sounds so appealing. On the other hand, as I wait at traffic lights, full of nervous energy, I think of the charm of living somewhere with excellent public transportation, and having a job within easy walking distance.

Through the busyness of the past season, my thoughts have often been pulled back to other eras, other places I have dwelt. Distance tends to diminish the monotony of old, shrouding it in a veil of ethereal mystery. Looking back at pictures, it seems difficult to imagine that any place so beautiful could fade from fantasy to normalcy. Take these shots from our last trip to Czech. I spent an afternoon wandering Frantiskovy Lazne, a small spa town just outside of Cheb where I used to live. I was there to spend time with a former student, and took advantage of the last few minutes of her working day to capture the wonder around me.

The yellow buildings are typical of spa towns. I have heard several reasons for this, but on rainy days like today, I imagine that the golden colored buildings are designed to make visitors feel like it's a sunny day. I can just imagine the well dressed ladies and gentlemen strolling down the colonnade, enjoying the statues as they sip on their potent spring waters.

The water in Frantiskovy Lazne is said to increase fertility, thus the patron is a little statue called Frantisek. It is said that if you touch the golden areas on the little statue you'll conceive. Personally, I was content just to insinuate ;)

Up next, a short study on a single building. I am always so impressed with the effort the architects put into making these buildings so breathtaking. There is art breathing around every corner.

If I wrote a guide book on this gem of a village I would be sure to include a little trip down trails, focusing on details.

I would also encourage visitors to take the time to really look closer at the flowers in bloom.

Sometimes the line between boredom and intrigue is just a matter of where you focus.

As I recall my trips to Frantiskovy Lazne, I am reminded of the truth about this place. There really isn't much of anything to do there. If you can afford to stay in a spa hotel I'm sure you can get a very nice massage, if you are ill, I am sure they have some good treatments, but there isn't much else in the way of entertainment. As lovely as it is too look at, it wouldn't take more than a day to wonder where to go next.

The real truth is in finding the beauty in the everyday moments. It's making up stories about the creepy house that overlooks the daily commute. It's delighting in the stories and lives of the people that come and go in and out of your life every day. It is too easy to give in to stress, or fall into monotony, but there is so much more to life than that. Just some thinks to think as January is about to fade into February...

Monday, January 27, 2014

It Seems Appropriate

There are so many things you read when you start thinking about publishing online. Back when I finished the first draft of my book I was still in Czech and actually had time. I spent hours reading blogs and looking over different sites about self publishing and all the things you have to do to get your name out there.

I started working on some of those things. I opened a twitter account. I linked other writers to my blog, and bookmarked even more so I could stay connected to ideas. I was ready to get out there and make a name for myself so that when it came time to put my work out before the whole wide world I would already have a crowd of interested readers breathing down my neck in their impatience to consume that which I had created.

Becoming a business owner definitely took it's toll on the self promotion web storm. Instead, at the time of actual publication I was so busy with the shop that about all I managed to do was put a couple posts on facebook letting people know, and giving out the free download code.

I have since managed to convince about thirty of my family and friends to download the book, and a few of them even opted to pay for it. Just think about it. The wonder of knowing that people actually bought a book I wrote. Pretty amazingly cool when it all sinks in.

There are still a few tweaks I need to make in the file. Despite the fact that the Christmas rush is over, we have been steadily at work making the store fresh, so I still haven't taken the time get it all downloaded correctly in order to be included in the Smashwords Premium Catalog, and it is yet to be made available on the Apple Bookstore or Amazon, but it will happen...hopefully sooner than later.

Anyone interested in seeing my book live online can check it out at Still awfully cool to see my name in print, even if it is just digital. Here's a look at the magic my husby worked on changing one of my photos into a magical cover.

The Incredible Kiffmeister.

Thought it was about time to share a few photos of our little puppy dog. He's a bit of a mess, incredibly insecure, nervous, and freaked out half of the time, and still far from certain about men in particular, but we're working on him. He has survived toe nail clipping, showers, and a hair cut, and for the first time today he barked in the daylight. He loves to chase his rope in the back yard, and can jump at least three feet in the air despite his diminutive stature. His background is predominantly a mystery, but he is some variety of "terrier." Doesn't get much more vague than that. Basically he's a mixture of adorable, pathetic, and in desperate need of training...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Best Intentions

Ever have he best laid plans, only to have two months past and no posts? Hmmm... I've let it all just go, but that certainly doesn't mean nothing has happened. I've had plenty of post thoughts, and yet nothing to show for it. Probably wan't the best chance to publish my book right before the busiest time of the year for a gift shop owner. Still, I did it. Maybe not the traditional way, but The Darkening Dragons By Sarah Everest is now available online.
In other news, my birthday brought a new member to our family, the fantastic Kiff. A white bundle of nervousness, and energy. He's a two year old, ten pound terrier mix with a tragic mystery background that has left him petrified of men. Today, he suffered e horror of a shower and a shave by yours truly, yet he still turns to me rather than accepting kindness from Marek. Tragic, really, but we are working through it.
We survived a busy Christmas season, which ended with a very quiet Christmas with just the three of us. In all, despite crazy busy work times, we were alone and chill for my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Then we got sick, which meant New Years was exactly the same.
Things have slowed down a bit, but hat means extra behind the scenes work at the store in an attempt to keep things going. Oh the joys of retail.
I realize this is not the most poetic or interesting update, but getting back into it has to start somewhere, and here I am. Hopefully writing will be the trend, rather than silence in the new year. I'm still here, and still have a thing or two to say...