Word Count Out of Control!

I’ve reached 64,000 words with many more road trips and subjects to explain before my August deadline. I can easily see the word count going to 80,000. But my contract calls for 50,000 to 60,000. There is no way my publisher can accommodate 80K.

Rather than have my editor slash and burn my copy, I am going back into chapters and doing the cutting myself. I’ve always said that any writer can chop a third of their first draft writing with diligent revising and editing and now I am putting those words into action.

Revising is far more complex than just cutting out words and sentences. Every chapter must retain coherency and not become choppy, the first thing that revising produces. I don’t have to rewrite everything, this task is not as demanding as a first draft, what with its required research and thought, but it is tough work none-the-less. Wish me luck.

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Back from Plymouth, California

I am back from the Mother Lode Country of California. For the next two weeks I will be working hard on my book before I take another collecting road trip. As I left Plymouth I happened upon a mysterious rock outcropping that I am only now researching. My recent post at my rockhounding website starts a discussion on what might be called iron stained scrambled eggs. The post is here:


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The Boundless Enthusiasm of A Western State

Photographed at some museum near Reno, Nevada. The state has always been raw since the Comstock strike and the wild, boomtown days of Tonopah and Goldfield. An acceptance of legal gambling throughout the state, and prostitution, in some counties, Nevada has retained a wild west feeling whenever you get out of its big cities. And you should get out of those cities. Because in rural Nevada, that’s where the true Nevada still lives.

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Is This a British Attitude or Something Else?

I was astounded by this writing from Wallpaper* Magazine (external link).  This review talks about equality at the same time they admire a private club with a “suitably rigorous admittance process.” This sounds like the same upper class that Orwell railed against seventy years ago. Are these fops still with us?

Just when you think London has met its quota of private members’ clubs, along comes another. And yet The Conduit is not like any other. Aside from its location on prime real estate and a suitably rigorous admittance process, the club is worlds apart from the rest. Rooted in a year-round cultural curriculum that focuses on core themes such as climate change, economic opportunity, justice and equality, and art and culture, The Conduit is distinct for its commitment to positive social change; an unusual yet refreshing mission in the realm of Mayfair members’ clubs.

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Headed to Oatman, Arizona

Just a quick note to say I’m making a one day field trip to Oatman, Arizona, Actually, six miles outside of Oatman. I’ll report soon on what I was looking for.

Update! For a feel good story about part of my trip, go to my rockhound website:


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Getting Ready for Quartzsite

Update! I’ve posted some of my Quartzsite experience here. It’s at my book site:


Quartzsite is a small town in the Arizona desert that each year plays host to rock and gem enthusiasts from all over the world. These rockhounds, prospectors, and lapidary people come to meet hundreds of vendors selling everything rock and jewelry related. Others come, too.

In the desert around Quartzite, thousands of temporary winter visitors, called Snowbirds, make themselves a home for a few weeks or months. These are mainly RV folks, often retired, who roam the States seeking warm climates and interesting events. They certainly find both in Quartzsite.

Besides rocks, dozens of venues host flea market goods, with everything from car parts to comic books to antiques. You’ll never know what you’ll find in Quartzsite. In addition to seasonal selling sites, permanent buildings in town include a unique bookstore, a great local history museum, and a bead shop that has a terrific rock and gem museum.

The most prominent rock event each winter is the QIA PowWow:


QIA stands for the Quartzsite Improvement Association, a non-profit that uses proceeds from the event to benefit various concerns around the city. The PowWow runs from Wednesday, January 16th, to Sunday, January, 20th. Free parking and free admission, with a shuttle service to ferry people back and forth from the parking lot.

The local gem club hosts two field trips each day during the PowWow, off to a different collecting sites each time. I won’t be able to participate in any digs due to my recent surgery, but I will be in town Wednesday and Thursday. I’ll take photographs for my book, interview people, and pass out business cards.

Winter weather can be iffy in the desert. Currently, a slight chance of rain is in the forecast. Heavy rain and wind can play havoc with the vendors, most of whom have outside booths. While that weather can happen, Quartzsite usually offers shirt-sleeve weather by noon.

Bring plenty of water if you go walking around the PowWow. Humidity is low in the desert, even in winter, and people dry out. Comfortable shoes! And something to carry all your goods back to your vehicle. For bigger material, like petrified wood stumps, try the Desert Gardens venue. And pick up the free Quartzsite show guides which are placed all over town.

Important point! There are no Big Bank ATMs in town. Bring lots of cash in small bills. Don’t ever make a vendor break a hundred, or even a twenty for a small item. Small bills!

Rock&Gem has an excellent, current introduction to Quartzsite at their site:


I wrote an article two years ago on Quartzsite for Rock&Gem. Unfortunately, the content is behind a paywall. But I’ll be sharing a few photographs and notes when I get on the road this week. I am still tired from my operation but there is little pain from the wound area. Generally. Unable to run for two more weeks, I am listless and impatient to get back to my routine. Quartzsite will be a welcome distraction. Perhaps I will see you there. I’ll be the one with all the bandages on his face. 🙂

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That Was Intense!

“An ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations.” From the movie Repo Man.

This morning I had Mohs surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from underneath my left eye. I have worn eyeglasses and sunglasses all my life but that was obviously not enough to prevent this skin cancer from happening. I ordinarily cover up when I am outdoors but I have not been covering the front of my face with suntan lotion. I will from now on.

The surgery was less painful than most of my involved dental procedures, but still painful and terrifying enough in its own way. I thank everyone at the Las Vegas Skin and Cancer Clinics (external link) for helping me through it. I especially thank Dr. Susun Michaels for her work. (Note the spelling.) She is a fine and caring doctor.

I was told the cancer has been completely removed but I must continue with follow up visits to the clinic to detect and then treat any more of these so called BCCs that might develop. In a lighthearted vein, does this mean I am a cancer survivor?

This is a follow on. Changing my bandage for the first time was shocking. My small cancer spot was no more than a quarter-inch in diameter. But the resulting cut was over an inch, held together by four or five stitches. The doctor’s office said that in closing a small wound the doctor must often work back from a distance. I’m not worried about scarring, I was just surprised at the apparent damage. There’s no pain after two days, only the pain that comes when I have to pull off the old bandages.


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