Live from the Road

Route 66 Trivia Tuesday Give Away

Live from the Road

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

Route 66 Trivia Tuesday Contest – Be the first to answer the following three questions correctly and win an e-book copy of Live from the Road.  Leave your answer as a comment and the first one with all three correct answers wins!

  1. How long is Route 66 (within 100 miles)?
  2. What year was Route 66 completed?
  3. Who wrote the song, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66?”

Good luck!

The Marathon

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

Disappointed? Yes.

Discouraged? Absolutely.

Ready to quit? Without a doubt.

Is it time to throw in the towel? Not on my life.

The launch of Live from the Road was less than stellar. I have not been “launched” into the stratosphere of phenomenal overnight success. Not even close.

But when I think it’s time to quit, to find a day job that pays, to quit fooling myself about my storytelling ability, I always come back to one thing.

The writing.

So I’ve taken the weekend off, and Tuesday I’ll get back on the old bicycle, train or horse – choose your metaphor – and get busy with my next novel in draft form. Two readers have made their comments, and I will work on it after this holiday weekend. It’s time to write and let the road take Live where it will.  I miss the characters and the storyline of a family attempting to heal the past as oil gushes into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As Caroline, Simon and Jodi find common ground to define their new family, sea turtles are headed for danger in the oil-entrenched waters off Florida’s Panhandle.

Is it time to start refining and fine-tuning this story? Most assuredly.

Because writers must do what writers do best: Tell the story the best story they know how to tell. I can do this!

Writing Seminar

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

I’ve been so busy promoting my new e-book, Live from the Road, I have not had time to bask in the afterglow of my first writing workshop in five years. Here’s what one of the participants had to say:

“I wanted to thank Patricia Zick for hosting an amazing writing seminar titled “From Thoughts to Paper”. The seminar, which lasted 5 hours, flew by and achieved so much. Pat is an accomplished author and held writing seminars when she lived in Florida. Her course’s intent was to reveal the author within all of us. Regardless if it’s a book, article or writing in a journal, her course demonstrated some of the tricks of unleashing our thoughts to paper. The course was at her beautiful home and grounds in Raccoon Township, PA. During the afternoon we separated and wrote where we felt comfortable. For each of us, we were startled when we started writing and the ideas and words just flowed out without hesitation. The four other ladies I shared the afternoon were equally amazing and talented. One woman read her story, and we all agreed it could be published tomorrow. It might even be published on Pat’s blog. Pat is planning another seminar in June. I highly recommend them! Her seminar is best suited between 4-6 people. She feels it is more beneficial and rewarding in small groups.”

Ah, yes, it was a sweet day and very inspiring. I’m happy to be reminded!

Route 66 – Chicago to St. Louis

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

Note: My novel, Live from the Road¸ is available free May 23 and May 24 on amazon.com in both the U.S. and the U.K.

My blog is the nonfiction account of the real trip I took with my daughter, my friend Joy and her daughter in 2007.  I wrote the novel after the road inspired me and caused me to think about what travel really does for the soul.

After a two-yolk breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s,  you’d think the rest of the day might be disappointing. How could we be disappointed with a road lined with fiberglass giants?

When we departed Chicago, we tried to stay as close to the route as possible because Route 66 has much to offer in Illinois. It runs parallel to Highway 55 and many of the directions are just downright confusing. One of my favorites comes from Lonely Planet Road Trip Route 66 guidebook: “Stay on US 53 south to Joliet. Drive south on Clinton St., turn left on Ottawa St., then veer left onto MLK, Jr. Drive; turn right at the T-intersection, left onto Scott St., another left onto Van Buren St., then right onto Chicago St.”

One such bit of directional advice to find the fiberglass palm tree led us down a narrow two-lane with no shoulder, surrounded by corn fields. When we finally made our way back to civilization, we discovered we were sixty miles from the Mother Road. So we missed the palm tree, but we saw other sites that made it all right.

We came into the town of Wilmington, Ill., with much anticipation. We easily spotted the Gemini Giant in the parking lot of the Launching Pad Drive In. Towering over Route 66, this fiberglass astronaut holds a rocket and greets visitors and poses patiently with the tourists.

We moved on to Atlanta, Ill., for some refreshment at a local pub serving homemade pies. We asked the bartender if she saw many Route 66 travelers.

“Are you kidding?” she asked. “At least you can speak English.” We learned Route 66 is famous worldwide.

We then asked where we might find the Paul Bunyan Giant. We read it resided in Atlanta on the Route.

“You’re kidding again, right?” she asked.

Turns out this giant fiberglass man was less than a block away next to the old building across the street. And sure enough, when we walked down the block we spotted him. It’s kind of hard to miss a giant Paul Bunyan holding a hot dog. His left hand was turned down because he was originally designed to hold an ax – he is Paul Bunyan, after all. But  he was being constructed to tower over a hot dog stand in Cicero, Ill., and the folks commissioning the giant decided at the last minute  he should be holding a hot dog instead of an ax. And so he remains today, even though the hot dog shop closed and the giant was moved to Atlanta, Ill.

There are many historical spots on Route 66 in Illinois as well. Odell is one such place where a Standard Oil filling station from 1932 has been restored and sits right on the Route.

By early evening we were crossing the Mississippi River and headed for a night of fun in St. Louis. Our first day on the road did not disappoint.

Free Book May 23 and May 24

Live from the Road is now published and on May 23 and May 24, the trip is free.

All you have to do is go to my amazon.com page, and click to order the novel for your Kindle, i-pad, i-phone or PC. Get the book now for a great Memorial Day read about how the Mother Road changed the lives of four modern day female Jack Kerouacs. Remember May 23 and May 24 the book is free on amazon. The regular price is $3.95.

Overview:

Meg Newton and Sally Sutton seek a change in the mundane routine of their lives. “Is this all there is?” Sally asks Meg after visiting a dying friend in the hospital. That’s when Meg suggests they take a journey to discover the answer. Joined by their daughters, they set off on a journey of salvation enhanced by the glories of the Mother Road. Along the way, they are joined by a Chicago bluesman, a Pakistani liquor store owner from Illinois, a Marine from Missouri, a gun-toting momma from Oklahoma, and a motel clerk from New Mexico. Meg, mourning for her dead son, learns to share her pain with her daughter CC. When Sally’s husband of almost thirty years leaves a voice mail telling her he’s leaving, both Sally and her daughter Ramona discover some truths about love and independence.

Live from the Road takes the reader on an often humorous, yet harrowing, journey. Death, divorce and deception help to reveal the inner journey taking place under the blazing desert sun as a Route 66 motel owner reads the Bhagavad-Gita and an eagle provides the sign they’ve all been seeking. Enlightenment comes tiptoeing in at dawn in a Tucumcari laundromat, while singing karaoke at a bar in Gallup, New Mexico, and during dinner at the Roadkill Café in Seligman, Arizona. The four women’s lives will never be the same after the road leads them to their hearts – the true destination for these road warriors.

Review:

Live from the Road: An Unforgettable Road Trip

Review by Kathleen Heady

Live from the Road is a road trip across the country on historic Route 66. But it is far more than a travelogue. Live from the Road is the story of two mothers and two daughters who set out on the adventure of a lifetime and learn that even if you are following a highway, life is more than capable of throwing in some unexpected curves.

Along the way, Meg and Sally and their daughters accumulate new-found friends who are ready to drop everything to be part of this great adventure. At the same time, they are leaving behind old fears and hang-ups, and letting go of old relationships. They pack so much life into their road trip, even as they deal with death, illness, and abandonment, and find themselves through their own intuition and love for each other, and the help of a few cowboys and an old woman who seems to appear from nowhere, but at just the right time.

Live from the Road will make you laugh and cry, and wish the journey didn’t have to end. But it does, just like Route 66, in Santa Monica at the Pacific Ocean.

P.C. Zick has written an unforgettable novel that reads like real life. Her writing has the ability to touch the heart as well as entertain.

Available in paperback and ebook

Live from my Computer

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

Yesterday the fog cleared for a few minutes, and I finally understood enough about the new world of publishing an e-book to make a marketing plan for my new novel, Live from the Road.

It’s about time because Live from the Road went LIVE on amazon.com  two days ago. This morning I did four items from my marketing list, but I’m still not sure if I uploaded the right files. I can’t find any explanations about how to upload a MOBI file from my PC so I faked it. Hopefully the $45 I paid to World Literary Café  is not wasted as a result of my ignorance.

I know just enough to be slightly dangerous in this internet game I’m playing. I know I uploaded my cover image for Live from the Road properly.

Live from the Road cover

When I downloaded the book to my Kindle, the cover displays. But alas on the amazon.com page there appears a box with the words “Image not available.” I feel like the kid who missed photo day at school, and the yearbook places a blank hole with the words “Absent” prominently letting his fellow classmates know he’s a real loser. I’ve been in contact with the Amazon folks, who  keep telling me they’re working on it. And in the meantime, they write, “Are you sure you uploaded it properly?” And then for the fifth time in two days they provide the cover dimensions. Yes, I’m pretty sure I followed all the requirements, and so was the message box that told me, “Upload successful” after clicking on “browse.”  And the artist I hired to design the cover is an experienced graphic designer for Kindle books. Also my Kindle seems to be fine with displaying the cover.

This morning I hit 1,000 followers on Twitter, and somehow I was inordinately proud of that achievement. Considering a month ago I only had fifty-nine followers, I guess that is cause for celebration.

I’m all for this revolution for authors, even though at times I’m not sure which page I’ve turned.

Who knows anything about MOBI? And am I the only one in the world who feels as I missed the day the yearbook picture was taken?

Route 66 Begins in Chicago

It all begins in Chicago. . .

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

When I began planning the Route 66 trip, the tour books gave different opinions on what to visit during the 2,200 mile trip from Chicago to L.A. But they all agreed on one thing: Route 66 starts in Chicago.

My three traveling companions and I booked a suite at the Best Western River North on Ohio Street in downtown Chicago. We weren’t far from State Street so we decided to get out and walk until we found a place to eat. The first thing I always notice and appreciate about Chicago is the melding of the architecture  with nature as the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan in the area known as The Loop. As we walked in the heart of this area, we often stopped and gawked and took pictures.

Another thing agreed upon in the book is where to have breakfast before heading west. Lou Mitchell’s sits right at the start of the original route, which began on Jackson Blvd. at Michigan Ave. before the World’s Fair in 1933 displaced it further east toward the entrance to Grant Park. However, Lou Mitchell’s,  a Chicago landmark since 1923, remains true to the spirit of the Mother Road. The diner is known for its hearty breakfasts and the free things they give to patrons. We found this to be true immediately while we waited in line for our table. The hostess gave us all doughnut holes, and once we were seated, the waitress handed us all small boxes of milk duds. We discovered later only women and children received the milk duds.

After we placed our breakfast orders, large, juicy prunes sprinkled with cinnamon were placed in front of us. Now I don’t normally eat prunes, but when I saw one of my companions cut into hers and spied the juicy insides, I couldn’t resist. I’ll never eat a regular prune again after tasting that sweet morsel.

My breakfast came in an 8-inch skillet. I ordered two eggs over easy, but received four yolks as did everyone else at the table. When I asked the waitress, she said all the eggs they served were double-yolked.

I was already sold on the place, but the final act sealed my sticker of approval forever. The waitress brought us all soft-serve ice cream for our breakfast dessert.

What’s not to love about a place that serves prunes and ice cream after an appetizer of milk duds? We were fueled for the adventure that lay before us, which that day included visiting the several fiberglass giants along the route in Illinois. And it all began in Chicago.

I love this writer’s blog. I do believe you need to know the rules, either through instinct or instruction, in order to successfully break all the rules. Freedom is just another word for following your passion down the literary path.

Hazy Shades of Me

I like punctuation…I love words. And, I take great pleasure pushing the limits in the ways that I use them. And although I have an aversion to puzzles, I enjoy writing immensely, undeterred by the fact that puzzling is exactly what I’m doing while assembling sentences.

Now, I’ve heard that to twist the literary rules, you should first be proficient in applying them. While I’m sure there’s truth to that, I bend that rule, because I don’t claim to be, in any way, an authority on the ins and outs of all things scribal. I go by instinct. If I think it sounds engaging, it goes to print, be it technically tight or not. After all, that’s the beauty of a blog, right? I’m in control of my publish button; unauthorized, reckless reading material unleashed…moonstruck, mad as a hatter muddles.

My endeavor begins with throwing the pieces on…

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The Hands of My Mother

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

Note: My mother died in February of 1998. Several months later, I found myself mourning her death more than ever and decided I needed to do something to help me heal. I wrote an essay about the one thing that kept coming back to me while she lay dying. During the countless hours I kept vigil at her bedside, I remained fascinated by her hands and held them often. This piece eventually became my first published column in October 1998 and hooked me forever into this writing business because wherever I went after its publication, people told me how much the piece had helped them heal after the death of a parent. Happy Mother’s Day to all who have nurtured another living thing.

 

Her hands lay on the sheets with the tubes in her veins leading into the stand next to her bed. The grayish-blue hands showed that life had already begun to ebb from them. As I picked up the nearly lifeless form and held it in my own rosy hand, I examined the age spots that had always been there as far back as I could remember. The nails remained beautifully polished as if she had done them just before leaving for the hospital. I found out later from my brother that’s exactly what she’d done.

The polish on the nails reflected a softer hue now instead of the fire-engine red of my childhood. I remember my father honking the horn in the driveway while my mother put the finishing touches on her nails. He was always so impatient with her. He couldn’t comprehend the reason she always painted those nails just before we left on any journey. The truth was she didn’t have any other time to care for herself but in those last frenzied moments before departure. And her nail polish made up for her old ill-fitting clothes and worn shoes.

As I sat holding her hand as she drifted in a coma, I imagined my mother, very ill and weak, sitting in her chair the week before she died, polishing her nails while my brother waited impatiently to take her to the doctor to find out why she hadn’t recovered from the flu after a two-week illness.

The nurse startled me back to reality, telling me I would have to remove the nail polish from my mother’s left forefinger because they were having difficulty getting her oxygen count. My brothers all made themselves scarce and left the task to me. I imagined my mother waking from her coma as I removed the polish and scolding me for removing the polish from one nail. I prayed for her to sit up and take me to task.

At times during the last few days of her life, she would raise her hands from the bed and move them together in a certain rhythm, and then she would reach out mid-air and fuss with an imaginary something on the sheets. Finally, one of my brothers recognized the hand movements, and we realized she was crocheting. One of her concerns when she was admitted to the hospital was the blanket she was crocheting for one of her great-grandchildren whose birth was imminent as she lay dying. She’d been unable to finish it despite her furious attempts to finish it even while feeling the effects of the lingering flu. She had crocheted a blanket for all seven of her grandchildren and nine great-children, so even in her weakened state she continued to crochet her final one.

The morning she died, I stood by her bed, holding and squeezing her right hand, hoping for some sign she knew I was standing there. The day before, even with her eyes closed, when she heard me calling her name, she squeezed my hand. This day the squeezing ended, but the hands remained indelibly marked as the hands that raised me.

Her hands were bluer now as most of the blood was going to her heart as it took its final beats. I imagined all the tasks performed by these appendages. How many diapers had they changed while raising five children? During the twenty years of raising her children, she only had a wringer washer and never a dryer to wash all those cloth diapers. Since I was the youngest, I don’t remember the diaper washings, but I do remember the day my mother got her first washer and dryer. She clapped her hands high above her head and never hung another thing out to dry the rest of her life.

How many times had I held my mother’s hands during times of trouble? Her thumb would caress my knuckles as we attempted to comfort one another. I also saw those hands kneading the dough for her famous gooey cinnamon rolls which had been a staple at family breakfasts for as long as I could remember. I remembered the flowers my mother’s hands nourished over the years. Her gardens were a symphony of reds, yellows, pinks, and oranges. When winter came to our Michigan home, the house bloomed with African violets. Her hands nurtured all things they touched.

I remembered it all as I stood by her bed and her breathing became labored. When it was over, I asked the nurse to remove the IV from her hand so I could hold it close to me and take from it some of the strength, dignity, and courage, which my mother kept throughout her life.

While my mother and I didn’t always have a perfect relationship, I know now I can take the good that flowed from her hands and use it to show my own daughter the value of acceptance and comfort in a world where love is what we need the most.

The More I Learn, the Less I Know

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By P.C. Zick@PCZick

I’m in a very high learning curve these days as I prepare to publish my first e-book, Live from the Road.

Every time I read an article, I find one more thing I need to do. Yesterday I probably sifted through a dozen new things to add to my list. I download all the Kindle books I can on the subject, I take Writer’s Digest tutorials daily, and I’m reading other writers’ experiences on their blogs.

I tried to finish my list of things to do before the launch next week and then suddenly came across another gem of an article on ten more things I should be doing. Sigh.

The flip side: I’ve never felt more alive and excited about a project because I have total control over it! My writing isn’t suffering. I feel more creative than ever.

I am grateful to be a writer during this revolutionary time when finally writers who produce the copy are no longer at the bottom of the feeding chain.

How are you feeling about writing and publishing these days?