The red light districts of Amsterdam

The Netherlands is where you go when you are finally retired and ready to contemplate fields
of tulips as a routine form of entertainment. It’s also where you go when weed, girls and biking
en mass is what makes sense in life for you, and this may be well before or well into your
retirement plans. The Netherlands is about as big as the state of Maryland (not big) and offers
more excitement than California. Legally, that is. It is one of Europe’s soccer powers and beer
producing giants. In short, it is the closest place to heaven when you cross the Atlantic on your  way to the Old Continent.

Upon arriving in Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands and a stag party hub for decades, you are halfway through important decision-making. First, you can choose to walk along the romantic, yet murky canals cluttered with houseboats or tour the Renaissance art museums. Or you can scratch that and hit the coffee shops, strip clubs, erotic shows and brothels first. Adult nightlife in Amsterdam is concentrated in three easy-to-find red light districts (http://www.redlightdistricts.net). The most heavy traffic runs through De Wallen. Mind you, you don’t have to sneak around looking all shy and wondering where the good stuff is. De Wallen is out there – easy to recognize, widely public and nothing to be ashamed of. As soon as you get out of Central Station, head in the direction of Nieuwenmarkt. The other two areas are also popular but slightly smaller – behind the Rejksmuseum and along Singel. Remain alert for the bright red and purple neon lights that shine from the first couple of stories of regular housing buildings – they signify the windows where you may want to stop and check out the temptations. If orientation is not your forte, you can always take a guided tour specifically designed to walk you through the areas and answer your pressing questions.

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Let’s hike the Grand Canyon by John Wesley Powells

A little over a year ago, Shawn and Marie sent me an email requesting information on hiking to Phantom Ranch from the South Rim and back. This contact was the beginning of a friendship and adventure we will never forget.
Shawn and Marie went on their hike in May of 2009. Soon after their celebration was over, I received another email from them…would I be interested in rafting the Colorado River? Ofcourse! Judi and Marc set about finding the perfect company for bookings. It was sometime in July 2011, that we made our reservations with GRAND CANYON EXPEDITIONS.

By the time the trip would start we would be a party of nine. It seemed to take forever for our eight days and seven nights on the river to become a reality, but all of a sudden, there we were…meeting in Las Vegas and on to Lee’s Ferry for the ride of our lives.

Since the summer of 1988, I’ve logged almost 200 foot miles in Grand Canyon. Most of these miles were on the South Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail going to and from Phantom Ranch. Other trails I have hiked are the Grandview Trail, Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs, part of the Clear Creek Trail and the North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls. A couple of summers ago, we hiked the Uncle Jim Trail on the North Rim. Put on your boots, hat and day pack…turn the page, and I’ll take you with me on these trails.

From the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park you can see the Colorado River and Bright Angel Campground. My destination? Phantom Ranch which is just beyond the campground. Come along with me as I take you down the South Kaibab Trail from boarding the shuttle at Bright Angel Lodge to checking in at the Phantom Ranch canteen.

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Helicopter Tours in the air over Grand Canyon

The new tourist attraction allows all the sights to be seen from above. From the air are fabulous views of the Grand Canyon surroundings. The walk takes about 2 hours and the route can be customized

The flights are 5 Native American helicopter “Enstrom 480 C”, which has two engines of the “Rolls Royce”. Since the new attraction now enjoy the first tourists. Interest in it is great, but the experience is indescribable. The flight is completely safe and does not require specialized training. While it is permissible to even include mobile phone and talk to them, explain American pilots of aircraft. Helicopter rides extremely soft and comfortable. It is designed to eliminate vibration and can land on slopes up to 15 degrees, explain pilots. Those wishing to ride may determine and exactly where to land. The helicopter flew at an altitude of 3900 meters, the maximum speed is 230 km, and the machine can remain airborne targets 4, 5 hours.

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Price varies for each panoramic helicopter tour. “Fortuna Air” is the aviation company of Peter Stupelhead. There she supports facilities and hangars for servicing airplanes and helicopters, ground equipment and specialized vehicles.

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Grand Canyon National Park best spot for sun eclipse

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the more interesting venues being touted as a view spot for the annular eclipse of the sun May 20.

Ranger-assisted opportunities to view the eclipse will be provided on both rims. On the South Rim, NASA scientists and amateur astronomers will share their telescopes for views of the eclipse and of the night sky afterward. The Park Service says the largest concentration of telescopes will be behind the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the South Rim, but telescopes will also be at Lipan Point, at the benches just west of the Desert View Watchtower and on the deck of the Watchtower itself.

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Meet Wade, he’s a writer

The Lincoln Park Horror

Blurb for “The Lincoln Park Horror. A Richard Dick Mystery.” Untreed Reads Publishing, 2011

Private investigator Richard Dick encounters his most challenging case yet when a prospective client unexpectedly appears in his office. Percival J. Buttersnipe is a multi-millionaire, an incorrigible snob, and thoroughly dead—that’s right, Percy is a ghost!

In this latest, rollicking release in the worldwide bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series, Percy hires Dick to evict a group of cutthroats from his deteriorating mansion in Chicago’s stylish Lincoln Park. An uproarious tale of ghosts and gangsters, Dick unveils previously unknown secrets of life in the afterlife as he encounters ghosts around every corner. Will Dick become a ghost himself when gunfire erupts during a daring daylight bank robbery?

A new, hilarious novelette from the author of Bite This!, Witches Which?, Naughty or Nice?, and Flying Solo.
______________________________________________________________________________
Meet Wade J. McMahan, creator of the bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series

Thanks, Kim, for interviewing me on your blog. I have your list of questions, and…oh wait. First, let me say how important sites like yours are for new as well as established writers. It gives us a chance to pick up a few pointers from our peers—not to say writers will pick up any gold nuggets here today. I suppose the downside is that readers can see how whacked-out writers truly are.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, your list of questions. Allow me to begin.

I didn’t begin writing because I wanted to become an author. Seriously, I didn’t! In fact, I still fumble around, or hang my head and drag my toe through the dust at the very mention of the word. To me it seems, okay I’ll say it, pretentious to refer to myself as an “author.”

Very simply, I’m a writer. I write things—dark things, scary things, funny things, upside down things, right side up things, all manner of things that capture my interest. My writing is not intended to change the world or the lives of my readers. Nor do I aspire to reach lofty heights of literary distinction (as if that was in the cards, eh?). I write purely for entertainment—to entertain myself, and hopefully, my readers.

Why would I do such a silly thing? The primary reason behind why I began writing is simple. I wanted to see if I could. I don’t mean just write, but write to a standard where an established editor would read my work and say, “Holy cow! We have GOT to publish THIS!”

How hard could it be to write a book, right? I embarked on my writing career by spending a year tapping away on my first novel, “The Cave of the Gods.” I wrote, and wrote, and researched, and re-wrote, and edited, and wrenched it and tore it and sweated buckets over it until I finally had my first completed novel shipshape and ready for public viewing. I packaged it neatly, typed up a synopsis, and zinged out query letters to agents and editors across the land. Then I waited for an acceptance from somebody, anybody, and waited, and… Um, don’t go searching for “The Cave of the Gods” at bookstores or online. It resides comfortably on my bookshelf inside a three-ring binder. You guessed it. The book was a total piece of crap.

What did I learn from my first writing experience? I couldn’t write! Honestly! I couldn’t write, and that’s the dog dirt truth of it! I pondered my miserable existence for a while, and finally came to the dazzling realization that I had to get better.

I didn’t want to write another novel only to discover after another year of struggling that I’d created, “Return of Crap.” Therefore, I decided to write short stories and allow them to serve as my training ground. I could whip one out fairly quickly, and get a pretty quick response back from editors. You get it, stimulus-response. It’s kind of like when a doctor taps your knee with a hammer and immediately your foot flies up into the air, stimulus-response.

I stimulated a lot of editors before I received the response I was hoping for. “Vengeance of the Wolves,” a short dark fantasy was accepted for publication by “Crows Nest Magazine.” I think it’s out of business now, but it was an online magazine, one of those digital story mills. In fact, I believe I’ve contributed to killing more than one e-magazine.

If there is a moral to all of this, and you’re an aspiring writer, I suppose it’s to just start writing. No excuses, no more hedging, start writing now! Start this instant!

Um, hello? Are you still with me? If you are that aspiring writer I was just talking to, you don’t take direction very well, do you? That’s okay, I’ve never been one to take direction well myself.

If there is one thing every writer needs, it’s pure dumb luck to be at the right place at the right time with the right product. There are thousands of outstanding writers out there constantly snatching and grabbing at publishers. Let me tell you, boy oh boy, did I get dumb and lucky!

I had just completed my first Richard Dick Mystery, “Bite This!,” when I discovered a brand new publisher, Untreed Reads Publishing. I dangled my little tale in front of their editor and he bit! They not only took the bait, they shipped the story worldwide where “Bite This!” rapidly climbed bestsellers lists at e-bookstores around the globe! That little yarn earned 5-star reviews everywhere, and stayed on the overall Top 10 Bestsellers list at OmniLit for months! Later, Untreed Reads published my fantasy spoof, “Flying Solo,” as well as my subsequent Richard Dick Mysteries, “Witches Witch?,” “Naughty or Nice?” and now, “The Lincoln Park Horror.” Be watching for another novelette in the series, “Fanged!” when it arrives on e-bookshelves this fall—I really entertained myself writing this one.

The above works are available at the Untreed Reads Store—click the book cover above, it’ll take you there. Otherwise, go to your usual e-bookseller and download them to your Nook, Kindle or other reading device. If you’re a Sony user, look for my “Richard Dick Mysteries” bundle at the Sony Reader Store—you know how to do it. Don’t have one of those new gizmos? Not a problem, you can download them in standard pdf format directly to your laptop or PC.

I’m currently working on a full-length fantasy novel, tentatively titled, “The King of Stones. An Irish Ballad.” Soon, I will begin sending out a few sample chapters to my new, dedicated group of beta readers who collectively serve as my “Crap-O-Meter.” How will they react to what they read? I don’t know, but I’m edgy; let me tell you, I’m edgy.

Thanks again, Kim, for allowing me to visit with your audience. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Wade’s Bio;

Wade J. McMahan has published five stories with Untreed Reads Publishing. In addition to his bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series, Untreed Reads also released his fantasy spoof, “Flying Solo.” Furthermore, his stories have been published at such places as The Ampersand Review, Crow’s Nest Magazine, the df_Underground, and Pine Tree Mysteries.

More Richard Dick works are already in the pipeline, or under construction. Wade is also currently writing a fantasy novel based upon an ancient Irish legend.

Owner of a forestry consulting firm, Wade and his wife Glenda live in the green rolling hills of Tennessee where they enjoy an active life filled with family, friends, sports, travel and three spoiled dogs.

Track Wade on his website and blog, “The Incorrigible Liar” at Wade McMahan
and you can also find him on Facebook.

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Meet Chris Redding

Meet Chris Redding, the author of Corpse Whisperer, now available on Kindle!

What did I do today? Dragged a kid and two rabbits to a local 4-H fair. Why? Because we are a 4-H family. Son #2 takes care of and shows rabbits. This time our doe (female) got a very good. That is a red ribbon. The buck (male) won Best Senior Buck. That means he was the one on the table that was closest to the breed standard. He would have won Best Reserve in Breed if he hadn’t been moulting. Moulting is when the old fur comes off and new stuff comes in. His new coat is da bomb! And Best Reserve in Breed is given to a rabbit the opposite sex of who won Best in Breed.

But these things have nothing to do with writing. But it does. Sometimes life is more important than writing. Gasp. I know. We write. We submit. We polish. We submit. We promote. Is that all there is to life?

Nope. My kids are still sort of young. They still need me. Maybe not full time, but a lot of the time since it is summer. So for now some of my writing will be put aside. Because there is fun to be had and free ice cream to be had.

So while you are reading this I’m taking a break from the computer. You will all be here when I get back. (I hope!)

So in my stead, I’m leaving you with a question. This is for those of you who have seen Inception. A large portion of my life was spent in Emergency Medical Services. What glaring error is there in Inception that I would pick up?
Thanks for having me.
Chris

Bio for Chris Redding
Chris Redding wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old She belongs to Romance Writers of America and New Jersey Romance Writers. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, a hound dog, a British cat and a black spotted rat. When she isn’t writing she works a part time job at her local hospital.

http://www.chrisreddingauthor.com

http://www.myspace.com/chrisreddingauthor

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The Making of RETURN ENGAGEMENT

The Creation of Return Engagement

The idea for Return Engagement bounced around in my head for a great many years. You see, I always wanted to be a writer. My childhood playmate was my cousin who was a great artist. I envied her ability, but I always thought that if I had my choice I’d rather be a writer. Oh, the thrill of putting words on paper! The joy of creating my own private reality and peopling that world with characters of my own imagination!

But I never did anything about it even though the characters were crystal clear in my mind and the plot was fairly well developed. My husband encouraged me. “Try it,” he urged. “You can do it.” Well, you know how it is when you’re a young mother with children who need to be transported from activity to activity. On top of that I’m a teacher who has to spend time grading papers and planning lessons.

So, what motivated me to bring my dream to life? I have to give credit to my son. He’s my inspiration because he’s the reason I started writing in the first place. He came home one day and dumped a thick manuscript in my lap. “I wrote a book,” he said. “You can read it.”

Words can never express a mother’s astonishment and pride. At that moment, I was slightly in awe of this child that I had raised. “I make up stories in my head to amuse myself,” he told me. “I decided I might as well write them down.”

Wow! I had always done the same thing. I decided on the spot to write a book myself, but when I sat down in front of my computer screen, I didn’t have any idea how to begin. There were so many ways I could start the book! It finally occurred to me that it didn’t matter. If my words didn’t sound right, there was always the delete or backspace keys. From that moment on, I’ve been hooked on writing.

Don’t think that Return Engagement is my first book, though. It isn’t. My first book A New Leaf won the Timeless Love contest sponsored by Oak Tree Press, and they published it. It was a good story, but I wish I had the chance to rewrite it. I could make it so much better today. Why did I wait to write Return Engagement? Too scared. I wanted it to be perfect, and I wasn’t sure I could do it justice. I’d been writing for several years before I attempted it.

Now back to Return Engagement… Creating my characters was no problem at all. I’d thought about them for years. Everyone has his or her own personal hero, and Richard Lovinggood, the hero of Return Engagement, has all the qualities I’ve learned to admire in a hero. What qualities? Let’s see.

First, I want a hero with a little fire to him, a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Second, he has to be loyal and faithful because I’d never be willing to share. Third, I want a man with a little romance in his soul, a guy who isn’t afraid to bring you some flowers for no reason, call you to ask how your day is going, or hold your hand while you walk on the beach. Fourth, and I know this is silly, I really do love a nice pair of shoulders!

And then there was my heroine. I like women who aren’t afraid to follow their dreams no matter where those dreams may take them, and that’s just what my heroine does. She always thought with her head not her heart, but when she meets Mr. Right it’s her heart that engages, not her head.

With my two main characters created, I fleshed out the story, giving family and background for my hero and heroine. And then I had to write the book.

I wish I’d kept the original draft of Return Engagement. It would make you laugh to see how bad it was. I rewrote that book until I could practically quote it in my sleep, but each time I revised it, it was better. After several years of work, I submitted the book to Whiskey Creek Press and held my breath for several months until I heard back from them. I swear it took me ten minutes to get up the nerve to open the email, and then I jumped up and down for ten minutes when they accepted the book. Having this particular dream come true was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be.

Here’s a blurb about Return Engagement.

Blurb:

Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.

Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.

If you’d like to read an excerpt from the book, you can do so at my web site at http://www.elainecantrell.com. The book is available at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=819&zenid=0388abcec27444081ac3750d1c5c3fae
Thanks, Kim, for having me here at Book Madness.

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