Monday, May 25, 2015

Twain on Main Festival

The "Twain on Main" festival is one of the highlights each spring in downtown Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain's boyhood hometown. The newest addition on Main Street (just before the lighthouse and the Tom & Huck statue) is the John Michael Originals furniture gallery. I absolutely adore his style. Sadly, the shop was closed yesterday.

The recently renovated building called the "Moses Bates Public House" was named after the founding father of Hannibal. It also has a new restaurant in back with seating available on top. The exposed brick and pipe works in the restaurant showcase the original structure of the building, which started out manufacturing and installing truck beds for Model T Ford delivery trucks. The most recent business was Murphy's Motors, a Dodge dealership. Now the furniture store and unbeatable smoked bbq eatery will keep this place in business for a long time.

Did I mention the red doors, corrugated metal and chalk board walls inside the bathroom? Did I mention I had the privilege of eating there over the weekend with my hubby for our anniversary? Our anniversary is actually today. Maybe I can convince him to go again. Next time, I will be dining in the outdoor area above so I can take pics of the Mississippi River only a few feet away.

During the festival, there were plenty of other food options on the street. I have no clue what a "roller dawg" is, so if you know, please tell me!

What festival wouldn't be complete without a petting zoo and pony rides? My five-year-old experienced her first pony ride. Afterwards, she said, "I'd like to do that again." Oh dear. Is this the start of a little girl's obsession with horses?!

Games with Tom and Becky in Twain's sideyard was a big hit.

Art vendors, the main attraction, lined the streets with everything from homemade soap and linens to clay pottery people, metal works, leather crafts, and jewelry. I discovered a Mark Twain leather bound notebook, my favorite find of the day.

Main Street was divided into thirds: Roughin' It, The Prince and the Pauper, and Tom Sawyer, all areas designed after three of Twain's novels. Although, the only one that was super obvious was the Roughin' It section. The others tended to blend with the mob on Main Street.

Over four blocks of wall to wall people for this year's Twain on Main festival. Until the next festival...or next post...Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Confessions of a Drive-by Photograper

If you want to continue the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge at your own pace, sign up for the Post A-to-Z Road Trip:

"You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, then you find out who they really are." Joss Whedon

I confess I enjoy taking photos while driving. Not to worry, because it's my superpower. As I was doing another drive-by photo shoot, I reminded my eldest son who was in the passenger seat to never text and drive and never under any circumstances should he take photos while driving. Don't judge me.

Welcome to Hannibal where storms brew over the Big River.

(The road ends in the Mississippi River.)
One of my favorite buildings
Sadly, I never featured this neglected building in my AtoZ posts. It's one of those creepy, abandoned places you would find on an episode of Supernatural. I would give ANYTHING to explore this forgotten piece of history. The spire has a metal architectural globe attached, and I imagine that's the exact spot where my MC siphons his powers from storms collecting in the atmosphere. Writing urban fantasy has taken root in my brain.

Marion County Courthouse

I recently spent an entire day (that I will never get back) inside the courthouse. And I wasn't even allowed to have a phone! No pictures. And no, I wasn't wearing an orange jumpsuit, although the chain gang did arrive while the court took a short recess. I was rejected for jury duty, the only time I jumped for joy at receiving a rejection.

How goes your MC's journey? You're not going too easy on him, are you? Are you putting up roadblocks and obstacles, making his journey full of potholes and detours? Throwing a few storms in the mix, forcing him off the road? Giving him jury duty? Now, that's pushing it a little too far.

All photos were taken while driving. No children, animals, or vehicles were harmed in the process. The Twain on Main Festival is this weekend. Tune in Monday for Twain sightings!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MAY #IWSG: Detours

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post the first Wednesday of every month!


If you followed me on the AtoZ blogging challenge this past month, you may remember my obsession with trains. I don't think any of us deep down would admit we like taking detours. If you're like me, I pride myself on getting from point A to point B as fast as I can. Sometimes I can be heard yelling at passing trains (and my kids) to hurry up. Sometimes I can be seen carrying five grocery bags, a gallon of milk, a twelve-pack of diet Coke from my car to my house to avoid making more than one trip.

A few years back, I was traveling on scenic highway 79, about a mile past the Mark Twain Cave, when I came across a train derailment. The accident had happened a few days prior (I later heard about it on the news). The twisted wreck of carnage strewn everywhere will always remind me of my love/hate relationship with trains. Of course, I had to get out of my car to explore the damage. The heaps of sleeping metal giants lay on their sides, toppled over. No other cars or people were present. It was as if I walked on to a movie set while everyone was on break.

My son must have gotten bored and sent me this pic.

The cause of the derailment, flood waters. The Mississippi River runs parallel to highway 79 and a set of train tracks. Some moron drove the train through the flooded tracks that had since receded when I came on the scene. I'm sad to report I have no pics of this disaster.

Sometimes we need a detour or a complete derailment to get our attention. One day last fall, I made a major decision to set aside my mystery series. I thought I'd write contemporary fiction forever. After much research and reading, I started writing my first urban fantasy, which consists of incorporating fantasy elements in an urban setting where magic isn't the norm. I'd never been compelled to write in this genre before. I don't know why, because I love sci-fi, paranormal and fantasy in books, movies, and T.V. series.

The day I decided to take a detour was one of the best days of my life. I've challenged myself to not write the usually tropes: demons, dragons, vampires, werewolves, etc. My goal is to bring something unexpected to the UF market.

Don't be afraid to take risks, take another route, try something new! Were you ever forced to take a detour or have you suffered a complete derailment in your writing? Did you get back on your feet, find your way again? Thankful for the detour? 

May #IWSG: Mayday!

         Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the w...