Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wanderlust, Bookness, IWSG, and an Editing Giveaway

What's on your bucket list?

The last five months have flown by. I had a baby, celebrated half our family birthdays, survived the holidays, had surgery (yuck), took a 2.5 week road trip across the country, and FINALLY got the kids back on a routine that includes school.

Do you know what the best part of all that was? The 8 days spent in the car.

You laugh, but it's true. For 8 days I had no choice but to take it easy and talk with my family. For eight days I couldn't stress about cleaning the house, online obligations, holiday prep, school, or making meals.

Those were 8 days of heaven.

More than that, the views out the window were amazing and constantly changing. They reawakened a desire to get out and see the world, to get out and live. (I'm told this enhances your prowess as a writer anyway, so why not?)

That's about as much "Valentines" as you'll get out of me this month. ;)
One of my bucket list locations is Ireland. Have you ever wanted to see Ireland? Been to Ireland? After my relaxing trip, it was seriously tempting to schedule another getaway. It's not quite a reality with a 4 month old baby and toddler in the house, but one day soon. What could make a trip even better? If it was a WRITING RETREAT!

And guess what?

Ta da!


One of my editor buddies, Bethany Kaczmarek, will be teaching and editing at this July conference. (July 8-15) That would be reason enough for me to go...if I could get away from the babies. It's definitely an experience not to be missed. Registration is open, but will close as soon as the spots are filled. (And what better timing with tax returns coming in the door? I mean, is there a better investment for expanding your craft, AND having an AMAZING adventure?)

On a related note, how about the IWSG question for the month: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

So, so many things, but mostly the ability to go somewhere completely unique without going anywhere. I'm totally an escapist through my reading/writing.

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, 
Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, 
and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Last month, S.A. Larsen shared MARKED BEAUTY along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed was entered to win an AWESOME prize pack.

The game:



1. My nose has been broken twice.
2. I've been to Greece.
3. I've ridden on an elephant.

The lie: #2. 

She has the same problem I do: wanderlust.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Dawn!

And now, because she's epic like that, Bethany kindly offered to give away a small editing package to promote the Ireland tour for one lucky reader. Meet Bethany:

Bethany Kaczmarek is the author of the contemporary romance novel, STRAINS OF SILENCE, as well as a fairy-tale/mythology mashup currently enticing publishers. A professional editor, Bethany is the founder of A Little Red Ink Editing Services, which she and her sister have run for four years. As an editor, she’s worked with best-selling and award-winning authors as well as beginners, and her clients have bestowed this title upon her: "The first chapter wizard." She is one of three ACFW Editor of the Year finalists, and is also Conference Awards Director for Realm Makers, where she reviews many of the best-loved speculative fiction novels each year. 

At heart, Bethany considers herself a sojourner. So far, she’s just explored Earth, but her love for adventure and old stories makes her yearn for a chance to wander in other realms. Which is why she’s stoked about wandering through a faerie forest in Ireland with other imaginative types.

Bethany moved to Wisconsin this summer, and she thought cheese would be the death of her in one of two ways: Either she'd eat it until her dairy allergy killed her, or she'd die from sorrow, watching her family eat all the cheese they wanted. But hope prevailed. She's allergic to the cow PROTEIN--the whey. And guess what everyone eats up there? Cheese CURDS. They are amazing, regular or deep fried, and her cheese-lovery is alive again. She is a happy girl.


Bethany. gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win full first chapter edit, up to 12 double-spaced, industry standard pages. (Open internationally.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? No problem. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, March 6th at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on March 7th, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. I have a significant fear of waxed mustaches. As in, I close my eyes and back away rather than deal with them.
2. I write best when I'm in a room that's between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. I once put my sister's contact in her eye for her--with my spit.

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you met Bethany? What's on your bucket list? If you could go on a tour/retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go?

89 comments:

  1. Well, I'm glad those eight days were good. Getting away from all we have to do is a blessing indeed.
    You should do that trip. I never made it to Ireland during my two stays in England, so it's on my list to hit next time.
    The first one sounds just weird enough to be real. I'll say the second one. Because that is really darn cold.

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  2. I know what you mean about enjoying the forced time to relax instead of the constant drive to be productive. I'd love to go to Ireland to see the beautiful countryside. Good luck taking the trip there and going to the writing conference.

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  3. I get what you're saying about being in the car. It really does force you to let so many other, everyday things go. We can focus on someone/something or we can let our mind wander. As long as we're not the one driving!

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  4. I'm going to go with #2 as the lie. Love Bethany's description of herself as having only explored Earth so far :-)

    That writers retreat sound fabulous. It would be wonderful if it could work out for you to attend.

    Cheers - Ellen

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  5. I have been to Ireland - mind you it was on a girl's weekend to Dublin, which may not be quite what you have in mind. (Being so strait laced and English, we were a bit taken aback by the invitation to an after hours sing along in the pub - I kid you not, so be prepared!)

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  6. I've never been there. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

    Free from all work and home obligations...I could use that.

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  7. I plan to go to Ireland at some point. Our local airport started to fly to Dublin, and then closed down six months later, so I missed that opportunity!

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  8. Ireland is top of my list! My homeland! Okay, not really mine, but my grandmother's. England a close second. But Wisconsin is my native state. Go Packers and cheese curds.
    Lie is #1 I have a significant fear of wax statues, but not wax mustaches :-)

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  9. Ooo, Ireland would be so neat to visit. It looks beautiful--so green--in the pictures I've seen. I wouldn't mind visiting more places if I could get rid or shorten the distance between here and there. Heh.

    I'm guessing #2 is the lie.

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  10. I'd love to visit Ireland. It's such a beautiful country, and the Irish people fought so long and hard for independence. Hopefully someday, there'll be a unified Ireland again, instead of two different countries.

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  11. I've been to Ireland. Spent 10 glorious days there, and I have plans to set a book there, but I don't want to go until I've got the first draft of that book done. But I would love to attend that retreat!

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  12. I adore a good road trip! My family did one a few years back (to Portland and back)--the way out there was fabulous--Badlands, Yellowstone, my family in Idaho... the way home, not so much. My daughter was a brat. (19, but a brat). She just had had enough family by then that she was impossible.

    As for an international writing retreat YES! Maybe a two parter--part Greek island, part castle.

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  13. Ireland is #1 on my bucket list. I may never get to go...because after looking at the registration for the writer's retreat...yup...can't afford that. *sigh*

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  14. I have never been to Ireland or anywhere overseas. The retreat would be a great opportunity for you to take this trip.

    I am going with 2 - that would be too cold for me to write, I would be too focused on trying to stay warm.

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  15. I have been to Ireland. I stayed in a tiny little town in county Kerry with a good friend's family. It was amazing! I just wish I could go to a writing retreat there too. I'm sure it would be inspirational!

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  16. I would love to go on that retreat and take my daughter with me. You're amazing how much you do with your family obligations. I think #2 is the lie. My hands couldn't move on the keyboard at those temps.

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  17. You put into words a concept that was alluding me, "...I'm totally an escapist through my reading/writing." Escape through writing, ain't that fun?

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  18. Eight days in a car would drive me crazy. Heck eight hours would be enough. I get too antsy.

    Ireland sounds great! Actually any part of the British isles would be fantastic. Hope the location inspire you to write.

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  19. My dream is to visit Japan and walk among the old temples.

    Yeah, when I think about taking time off for writing, I always get caught up in all the chores I should be doing. That makes that road trip sound fantastic (except I'm usually the one driving >_<).

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  20. I went to Ireland last August with my cousin. We're of Irish descent and I'd always wanted to go to Ireland, so it was really special to go with family :-) We were there for five days (we were part of a tour group), so we got to travel all across the country and see a lot! I'm dying to go back.

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  21. I'm an escapist, too. Plus adventurer. So I like to include things that frighten me in my books. I can face the fear and deal with them on the screen, even if I'd run and scream in real life :)

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  22. I would so love to go on that retreat!! Ireland is on my list. I don't know what to do! LOL!

    But I'm so glad you had some much needed relaxation time!! You should definitely schedule something as soon as you can. You deserve it and it's important.

    Like Bethany, it's also the milk protein I have a problem with. What are these cheese curds? I'll have to look this up. Um, I'm going with number 1 for the lie. I'm tempting to go with something else, but maybe she does like a cold room.

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  23. That road trip sounds wonderful. I am in awe of you for even managing to get any sleep never mind all the things you do! I would love to go to Ireland, but maybe one day we'll be able to afford it.

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  24. I would love to go to Ireland. The closest I've been is London.

    I'll say #1 is the lie.

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  25. Congratulations to Dawn! I'm guessing #2 but not entering because I don't have a manuscript in action. I've never been to Ireland but it looks gorgeous. Are you going to the retreat, or is that escapist thinking? ;-)

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  26. I have been to Ireland and can only sing praises about how beautiful it is.
    Thanks also for mentioning your editor. I will check out her website.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  27. That would be an amazing writers retreat. I went to Ireland once, and was in heaven the entire time. I've always wanted to go back...maybe this could be my chance. My husband won't mind if I leave him behind, right? :)

    I'm a total escapist with my writing, too.

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  28. Sounds like you have been keeping busy Crystal! Having the chance to just focus on the family for a while is the best - no chores and no daily life pressures. Glad you had fun. I haven't been to Ireland but agree it sounds like a great place to visit.

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  29. I love anything that allows me to escape from reality for a while, whether it's reading, writing or playing games. Sometimes it's just nice to lose yourself in something, and fantasy is often the best place to go.
    I've been to Dublin before, and it was lovely. I'd love to visit the rest of Ireland.

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  30. Thinking about writing a book set in Ireland, as well? I've never been, but I was told it's chilly there, even in August, so keep that in mind. Good luck with everything. You are a very busy lady!

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  31. I'm glad you enjoyed those days in the car. I get car sick, so I generally have no choice but to sleep the entire side. Bright side there: it makes the trip go real fast. XD

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  32. Ireland is my dream vacation too!!! I'm praying that some day I'll get there.

    It sounds like a wonderful trip. I remember playing car games, and talking and laughing when we took rode trips with the 5 kids. Brings back great memories.

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  33. God bless those eight days! I'm glad you were forced to take it easy. It's hard for a mom of young ones to do that because we know there's always something that could be done.

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  34. Getting away from household routines and chores for a couple weeks would definitely be an welcome escape, but I'm not a fan of long road trips. I live in the Atlanta area, where we hold the dubious record for having some of the worst traffic in the world, so I equate being in a car to a horn-honking exercise in anxiety. Can't drive from here to Ireland, so THAT sounds like an awesome getaway. (I hope you can swing it.)

    Gee, I wonder if I could get away with making three comments, and giving a different # as the lie each time... :) No, huh? Okay, I'll go with lucky #3 then.

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  35. Going to Ireland is beyond what I can do, but I'd would like to go to another conference eventually. ;-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  36. OMG all of us bloggers should team together and swarm Ireland in hordes :)

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  37. Ireland will be a great writer retreat location. I have family there, so I've been several times to different parts--all lovely and great for hiking.

    The like this time is #1. For sure.

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  38. Ireland and Scotland are both on my bucket list or at least were my bucket list has changed lately so need to think about those things again.

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  39. THANK YOU, Crystal and S.A. Larsen!! Hooray!!

    And OMG, Ireland! I'm half-Irish, and I soooo want to go!

    Again, thank you! :)

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  40. 8 days in a car. What an opportunity to connect with your family. I would ask deep questions and the kids would respond with really thoughtful answers. Terrific way to understand the kids. Ireland. Wow. I would love to go. What an opportunity.

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  41. Ireland would be a great place for a writer retreat. I've been to Scotland and hope to go back maybe I'll plan a side trip to Ireland as well.

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  42. Yep, I love the escapist element of any story.
    And I love Ireland. It would be awesome to go back one day.

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  43. Whoa! That is an amazing 5 months. I hope little bambino and mamma are both doing great. I get you on the car thing - with all you have going on, I'm sure being sequestered with the ones you love the most in your own little bubble was wonderful.

    Maaan, that writing retreat in Ireland sounds amazing. One of these days...

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  44. I'm like you, I don't mind hanging out with the family in the car. We travel up and down the east coast to visit family and have a blast. We crank up the radio and sing, play games, and talk. It's such a great opportunity to catch up before we try to cram in a vacation. :) Glad you enjoyed your road trip!!

    Have a beachy week!
    Elsie

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  45. Can't the husband watch the kiddos for a few days while you make the retreat? You deserve a little vacation...

    I'm going to guess the lie is #2. Because I've done #3, although for myself...

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  46. Oh! Lie number 1! And Ireland? One of my best friends is being relocated there for two years with her family. I am jealous. What a fantastic adventure. I would love to see it. I have been to Scotland already and loved it there so much. Friendly, fascinating, I felt like I fit right in. :)

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  47. What an exciting break from the daily routine. I'm so happy for you and hope you get to go to the conference. Take care of yourself too.

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  48. Ah, yes, my wife & I toured Ireland many years ago, in our carefree and child-free days. Magical place. Especially the Guinness :)

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  49. Hey Crystal, that road trip sounded awesome. Ireland? One of the most wonderful countries to visit for its fantastic scenery, history and friendly people. Have visited twice and hope I get back one day.(My father is of Irish ancestry).

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  50. Those 8 days sound wonderful. I've always loved road trips.

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  51. I came back from a vacation last week, but I could do a road trip right about now :)

    Also, just a heads up that the gravatar in your comments on my blog and others' isn't leading back here.

    Damyanti

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  52. You sure have been busy! I would love to visit Ireland sometime. It's absolutely gorgeous there. I've never spent that much time in a car before, but it does sound wonderful to get away for that long.

    I'll guess #3 is the lie. Ew!

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  53. While I don't like traveling I'm glad to hear you had a good time.

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  54. Didn't know you had a baby recently. Congratulations! Very cool. I agree with you about how fiction can transport us away without having to actually go anywhere. It's one of the reasons I love it, too.

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  55. The only option that is believable to me is #3, so I'll be counterintuitive and go with that one as the lie.

    I would love to go to Ireland, but I doubt I would be able to focus on writing. I'd want to be out sightseeing and/or hiking the entire time.

    Being free of cooking, cleaning, and other "home" obligations is awesome, isn't it? I can totally see how being on the road can be a break.

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  56. Hi, Crystal! Great post. The baby's gorgeous. :) I know this cuz I have you on FB. :) Ireland is one place on my bucket list. I'd also love to go to my parents homeland of Hungary. The UK, Scotland, and Australia are also on my list. Hugs, Eva

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  57. Congrats on the baby! (again if I've already said this) And wow. 8 days in the car. Not sure I'd survive, I'm not a fan of car trips. Ireland sounds nice. I can't go, but maybe someday.

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  58. When my American wife and I lived in North Wales, we planned to go across to Ireland as it was just across the sea from our home town. Sadly, it never happened before we moved to the US. However, when I lived in England, I went to Eire a few times taking photographs at equestrian events - wonderful county, great people, and such tasty brews. And I have some Irish friends and chat a bit on FB.

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  59. What a beautiful baby! Many congratulations, my dear. All the best to you and your family. Wouldn't Ireland be nice? Who knows? Maybe someday. Good luck with everything!

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  60. Sounds like a great trip! I hope you get to Ireland. (Do they have cheese there? They must!)

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  61. Crystal, congratulations on having a baby. I hope you are recovering smoothly from your surgery.

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  62. I can definitely see how being on the road for a week could be very relaxing. ^_^ I'm about to do a little bit of traveling myself, and it's stressing me out, but I'll try to look at it differently now. Thanks.

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  63. It would be so amazing to go to something like that!

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  64. I wish, I wish I could go to that retreat, but, kids...and money... Someday....

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  65. My bucket list place is Prague. I'd like to live there for at least a year, and to do so, would probably end up teaching English as a second language.

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  66. Hi Crystal! You have been busy, indeed, wow! I can relate to your 8-days in the car. I have a similar sensation when leaving by plane - the whole day is a "waste", as in nothing that is on my lists can happen, so I might as well do other things, like read people watch and veg. It's like a "free" day! :-)

    Be careful what you wish for when it comes to travel and adventure. It will provide extra material and make the juices flow, but, during those adventures, there is no time for writing and the topics keep piling up, just by the virtue of living through them. :-)

    Many places in the world I'd like to visit. Any list, even a bucket one would be too small.

    Nice to learn a bit more about Bethany! My guess for the lie is #1. I have a significant fear of waxed mustaches. As in, I close my eyes and back away rather than deal with them.

    I choose this, because I have no idea what a waxed mustache is, and it sounds funny. I totally believe #3 about the contact lenses, and, the fact that the writing retreat happens in Ireland, confirms the perfect writing temperature for Bethany. :-)

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  67. Writer's retreat in Island! That should be so-o-o wonderful.
    I think #1 is a lie. The other 2 sound totally believable.

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  68. Wow, talk about the dream writing retreat! Sounds divine. Glad you had a good trip with your family. Getting a break like that is such a gift. Have a great weekend!

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  69. Crystal, I have NO DOUBT that you'll get to Ireland one day!
    A writing retreat sounds simply divine! I must investigate our local ones...
    Hope you and your family (and the gorgeous baby) are well!

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  70. Sounds like an amazing writing retreat! WOW! I have always wanted to go to Ireland. I still have lots of places left to see. Your car ride sounds magical. I love driving in the car- and getting to travel around the country and see the sights would be fabulous.

    I think the lie is #2.
    ~Jess

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  71. So glad you had a good 8 relaxing days! I would love to go to Ireland! Take care and that writing retreat sounds amazing!

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  72. You've been busy,haha.
    I think thee lie is #2 as well, if only because I would be miserable writing in such temperatures!

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  73. I would so go to Ireland. Wow!! And kudos for the 8 days. You deserved that break. Lol

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  74. 8 days makes you closer for sure. LOL. I like your bucket list. Ireland sounds awesome. :)

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  75. There is something very freeing about being on the road. Everyday responsibilities seem to just float away.

    I have been to Ireland, kissed the Blarney Stone, survived a storm in the Irish Sea and crossed a haunted bridge! And I'd do it all again. I would so love to go on a writing retreat there!

    Now to the lie. I'll say #3!

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  76. I'd love to go on a retreat just about anywhere. How fun!

    One of my students said I had to get Wanderlust the movie to watch. It's sitting at the library waiting for me.

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  77. I don't know how you do it, Crystal, but I'm sure that little Ally and your other children make it all worthwhile. These years will pass so quickly, and you'll wonder how they went by so fast. I would dearly love to go to Ireland. My husband's mother was Irish, and I've longed to see the Giant's Causeway among other things (geologist that I am). That writing trip sounds fabulous. I'd love to see you find a way to get to go. I LOVE road trips ~ although right now we're on a foot and bus trip in Honolulu. I think #2 is the lie. Wishing you a little relaxation!

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  78. Eight days in a car with a baby?! On the one hand, I want to know where you went. On the other, I want to know how you survived!?! WOW! You are amazing.

    And also Ireland = <3. Maybe one day. :)

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  79. Wow. 8 days with your kids in a car? I don't think I would've had such a positive attitude about that. You must be a saint!

    Ireland sounds fun. Hope someday you get to visit that country.

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  80. How wonderful that you considered eight days in the car, heaven. I can see your point though. Good for you.

    I'd love to see Ireland.

    Have a fabulous day and a very Happy Valentine's Day. ♥

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  81. Ireland is also on my bucket list...one day...maybe. Hope you get to go too.

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  82. Yay for Dawn!

    Ireland isn't on my list. When I was a child the IRA had bomb threats all over England. I remember two where we had to evacuate the area. (Hadn't thought of that in years.)

    My husband did a seven day road trip when I graduated from college...it was mostly good. The older I get the more alone time I feel I need.

    Travel does ignite my muse, too. :)

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  83. You're right, those big road trips are a chance to have those chats we don't always have time for. Glad you had fun and found it invigorating!

    I've been to Belfast (Northern Ireland) on two occasions but I'd love to explore the southern part. My grandfather was from Dublin, so I feel a kinship although never having been.

    Hope #3 is the lie!

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  84. I've always wanted to try a writing retreat. Maybe one day.
    I too like to escape into my favorite genre.
    I'd say the lie is #2. That seems really cold to me.

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  85. Your 8 days of heaven in the car is perfectly understandable to me. :) Never been to Ireland. I have zero wanderlust, other than family trips close to home--I know I'm in the minority with that!

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  86. Oh, I'd love to go to Ireland. I'd prefer Scotland, but Ireland is right up there. I hope you can make it.

    Sorry to hear you had to have surgery. Hope everything's okay. Hugs to you.

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  87. I would love to go to Ireland one day! I've been to London, but we didn't had time to schedule in Ireland and Scotland. On my next visit, I'll do that.

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Hit me with your cheese!