Fallbrook, California

A volunteer named Mary shows off newly installed display cases at the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Museum in Fallbrook, California. The displays are so bright they overwhelmed my camera. Of course, that brightness makes the minerals and their descriptions very easy to see. The museum contains noteworthy displays of San Diego gems and minerals as well as a fine gift shop. More in my book!

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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.


New Post at

New post, simple yet vital for all wandering naturalists:

I had the pleasure today of meeting Jim Boone, a professional ecologist who maintains, the definitive resource to outdoor life around Las Vegas:

Jim was headed off to hike in one direction while I was going the other way. On my hike I was unable to locate a fossil I had previously photographed, but I came across a cottontail rabbit and a Road Runner intent on being secretive. Also, a penstemon with deeply serrated margins, who Boone thinks may be Yellow Pinto Penstemon:

The photo shows a raggedy plant but this is a survivor, as tough as nearly any cactus. It has managed to grow among rock, flowering, setting seed, perhaps enabling future penstemons. A study in persistence and resilience.

The Fossil Ridge area in the Red Rock National Conservation Area is a wonderful location to hike and explore. The area is closed to collecting but there is also a joy in acquiring photographs and experiences, without necessarily dragging something home in the trunk.

On a personal note, because this is a personal site, my nightmares and bad dreams (internal link) are getting worse. Work alone, and life in general, is not providing enough encouragement to warrant seeing the images I am routinely confronted with. I continue seeking solutions but nothing has worked long term. Several questions come up.

Given thirty years of nightmares and even more of paralyzing anxiety, is it mentally healthy to continue on in the same way for another thirty years? At what point does staying with a pointless, chronic condition become self-abuse? When does continuing become mentally disturbed? Is the only reason for staying alive to satisfy a social norm that others have set, most of whom don’t deal with debilitating diseases that last decades? At what point do we say enough? For our own good?

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Another New Post At

My road trip and vacation  continued with a visit to the Rio Tinto:


New Post at

New post at

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A Stock Photography Tour of the Southwestern United States

I’m off to New Mexico and Arizona in the first week of October. I’ll be gone at least seven days, possibly ten, looking at rock shops, places to collect, museums, and natural wonders. Along the way I’ll be taking photographs for my book. What photos are eventually used is up to the publisher but it’s better to take more images rather than fewer. They advise me to take portrait oriented photos as well as those oriented in landscape view.

——————- for stock photography. The publisher told me to gather any photos I may need in a Shutterstock folder which they can review when they design the book. It costs nothing to do this assembling, and the publisher will eventually buy any photos they decide upon. Shutterstock has an immense, amazing library.

Looking up  items as diverse as Arizona’s Mogollon Rim, Utah’s Monument Valley, or New Mexico’s Mount Taylor, brings up serviceable images nearly every time. This assures me that I will have publishable photographs for everything important. If I don’t find an image then I will be sure to photograph that place in person. Using this stock photography site also allows me to see up ahead, to give me a better idea of what to look for when I get into the field.

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Progress Report on My Book

With eleven months to go before my deadline of August 1, 2019, I’ve written approximately 28,000 words. My contract calls for a total of 50,000 to 60,000 words so I feel good about my progress. Ideally, I’d like to submit the work a month before my deadline, so that I do not procrastinate. Or, failing that, I can fill that last month with double checking telephone numbers and addresses, confirming permissions to use photographs and images, and making sure I’ve correctly spelled the names of all contributors. There is a tremendous amount of dreary detail work that accompanies non-fiction.

I’ve often thought that word processing software and the latest in computer gear does not make us any more productive. That’s because we can now endlessly edit. In the era of hand written drafts, manuscripts were so laborious to produce that an author would rewrite three or four times and then send the copy into the editor. Now, we can revise and edit a hundred times if a deadline is far enough away. Do we improve that much, though, with extra editing? And at what point do we say a work is finished?

Here’s a link to the site supporting the book: