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A monthly diary of current postings and quick train of thought entries


August 2018

August 18th

Something just lovely happened in 2016.

I broke my ankle.

I’m not going to talk much about it except to say two things…

First… I really broke it. Surgery… two plates… more than a dozen screws… other assorted hardware… broke it.

Second… I broke it roughly one week before the release of Thirty Days in November. I had sketched out 2016 as a very busy year for me. Books… signings… readings… more. I had three manuscripts in some version of production that led me to believe all three could not only be published in 2016, but also have some promotional work done around them with speaking engagements and so on. Instead of the summer though, we arrive in November and…

Something Old, Something New

To this day, the book holds a special place for me… for the interactions with Ellen and Richard to its place on the road back from the broken ankle.

The cover includes a shot of Ellen and Richard in Savannah, Georgia. (That’s the two of them walking toward a fountain in Forsyth Park.) Ellen hated having her picture taken. This remains one of my absolute favorite pictures of them.

The book was designed to be a companion of sorts to the Strange and Unexpected efforts… similar travel diaries with “Best of…” columns… Orlando as a key player, bringing about a return to Florida… with some explorations into new presentations and thoughts. As a result, I have always considered it the fourth book in The Travel Trilogy.

Continuing with the idea of favorites, the essay “A Tale of Two City” is one of my favorite observational travel pieces, and features the city of Savannah from several viewpoints.

Ok, two new essays tomorrow. For today, we end with…

Tessa Thompson is an incredible choice to take on the role of Lady as Disney moves along with its plans to remake Lady and the Tramp.

August 17th

There’s an annual event called National Novel Writing Month. (Usually it gets cut down to NaNoWriMo or NaNo.)

The basic idea is to write a novel in thirty days. And, that’s a simple description, since it honestly doesn’t really cover it. The true goal is producing 50,000-words in a month, which is the approximate length of probably not even 200 pages.

I’ve participated several times over the years, and I am a huge fan. Completed the challenge a few times. Always learned a lot.

One of the things that attracted me to it was the sense of humor and community spirit involved. This isn’t a competition with winners and losers. In many ways it’s group therapy and cheerleading. And in an early-days question area, the definition of accomplishment was left wide open. Basically…

Me: “Am I writing a novel?”

NaNo organizers: “If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.”

Those are my words, but the idea is accurate to what was expressed: “If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.”

In November of 2011, I wasn’t happy with my production of material. I needed to write. Just write. Nothing specific. I decided to stretch the challenge for NaNo. I wasn’t going to produce a work of fiction or anything that even closely resembled what anyone might consider a novel. I was going to run after 50,000-words in a simply way… average more than one new essay per day for the month. I ended up with more than three dozen very rough essays.

In November of 2013, I found myself in a similar position. I placed the same challenge in front of myself… same result… again clearing three dozen efforts.

2015. Mid to late in the year, I felt very unsettled. Things were good. Terry great. We had moved though, and I hadn’t released any published material since 2013. I wanted to get working on something and began kicking around how 2016 might look if I designed some decent release dates.

For the first project destined for 2016 release, I began looking at the essays from the 2011 and 2013 NaNo challenges. That involved seventy-plus essays. I eliminated just under half of them and settled in with the remaining rough drafts. Most of them were heavily edited and rewritten during the early stages. In the end… thirty days in the month of November, which was the month they had been produced… the goal had been an essay a day when I attacked the challenges… I decided to select thirty of them for the book. And from that…

Thirty Days in November

Released in April of 2016, Thirty Days in November was my fifth published book. Came out in both paperback and Kindle editions.

New essay tomorrow!

August 16th

Strange and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road
Volume Three: Las Vegas

When you begin with Las Vegas and add places like Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and Route 66… well… yeah. Good start.

The two trips in this book took place in 2004 and 2008, and featured the gang of four… Bob joined by Terry, Ellen and Richard.

Dirty Card Day… sunset over the Grand Canyon… highs and lows… these were adventures that were great to begin with, and elevated when shared with terrific friends. (Even the bad experiences are hysterically wonderful as stories and memories).

Ellen and Richard joined Bob and Terry in each of the three volumes of Strange and Unexpected. As a result, in the Room for Dessert area of this book, the four relived all the journeys covered in these books with their personal favorites.

August 15th

Today we continue with the Travel Trilogy…

Strange and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road
Volume Two: California

This effort contained two trips that differed in several ways. 2005… with Justin and Jay… Terry and I heading to southern California. 2007… with Ellen, Richard. Mike and Louise… Terry and I were in northern California.

The first trip featured one of the most stunning national parks I have ever seen, Joshua Tree. Absolutely brilliant. It also involved Disneyland, which provided several surprises.

The second trip was built around wine country and a visit to Yosemite. Awesome. Just plain awesome.

The bonus section again included many of the people that shared these adventures with us. The main theme for this volume involved the very best of a variety of subjects and locations during lifetimes of travel.

Tomorrow we look at Volume Three of this series.

August 14th

“…given a bit of slack, I’ll wander all over the place when telling a story...”

Strange and Unexpected

The Travel Trilogy

I approached it kicking and screaming and swearing and debating and… suffice to say, there was a lot of talking to myself in the early days. I knew the travel material on the web site had been a lot of fun to work on, and that I wanted to use it for a publishing project. And, as the case always seems to be, the first steps after deciding a project would be fun to approach are often the steps where the headaches begin.

One of the first thoughts—and absolutely the biggest source of problems—was to approach the material chronologically. Put the travels into the order they occurred. This idea floated around in my head for potentially no other reason than it seemed like the way to go.

After deciding to bring together the travel writing into a book release, and then throwing darts at the bulletin board while struggling with actually producing it, I eventually decided to begin assembling the material and see where that led me. Start some proofreading and editing… look for places and ideas where I might want to produce new material… actually begin the process and take the first few steps… and perhaps some things would come together as a result. And that’s exactly when it became a bit clearer.

What I had been doing was quite similar to taking four or five jigsaw puzzles with different themes, dumping the pieces onto the floor, and then attempting to make a single finished result. Nothing truly fits.

When creating files and looking over the actual material on hand, connections began developing. There were two trips to California. Two trips to Las Vegas. Those worked better when combined. Florida involved more than two trips, but the material there wasn’t overwhelming in size. The idea of creating a three-volume set presented in a location-based approach worked. And eventually I set it up for an everything-at-once approach… all three books to be released on the same day, in both paperback and Kindle editions.

The first effort in the Strange and Unexpected efforts…

Strange and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road
Volume One: Florida

To say a lot of ground is covered would be an understatement. Orlando and the Florida Keys are just two of the base camps for our adventures. Stops in places like Fort Lauderdale and Miami are also involved.

Theme parks and airboats, dolphins and alligators, brilliant meals and our version of a Duval Crawl… this book covers all things Florida, in ways north to south, coast to coast.

Well over a dozen family and friends joined in the trips covered. This led to the bonus material in each of the Strange and Unexpected efforts—called Room for Dessert—where I approached some of our partners in adventure and asked more generalized questions and travel thoughts gained from experiences visiting locations literally around the world. In the Florida volume, the results focused on overall travel tips.

August 13th

We’ve covered the books quite a few times here in Backpackville. That said… over the next ten days, as we approach National Buy Bob’s Book Day, we’re going to offer up a bit oif a recap on all ten published works. For more, head to the Writing & Books are of the web site, where you’ll find more information on each title, along with information about Bob, Special Offers, and where you can go to purchase his work.

We begin with the first title released…

Time Just Drifts Away

In many ways, Time Just Drifts Away is a delightful mistake.

A lot of that can be attributed to the learning process involved: first self-published title. As one example of what I mean, Time Just Drifts Away featured two separate release dates. I wasn’t ready to produce an electronic edition right away and sidelined such a project. As a result, The Kindle edition ended up following about two months after the original paperback publication.

The title of the collection comes from a line in the song “Dreams Go By”… a great one from the legendary singer (and storyteller) Harry Chapin.

The delightful mistake part though, for the most part comes from how the collection was assembled and timed…

Promotional materials were produced with a quite serious and well-intended note that I was releasing it to recognize the ninth anniversary of my web site because I had too much material to wait until the tenth anniversary. That was, honestly, true. I did have enough to work with as the ninth anniversary arrived. That said… it has always been closer to the truth to say that the book wasn’t early for the tenth anniversary, but actually late for the fifth.

A pair of traditions (of sort) that began with this release:

*The use of the Gus Logo in some fashion on the cover of books where material that has appeared on the web site is included in the book.

*The odd-year anniversary celebrations, which involved the ninth anniversary for this release and continued on the fourteenth anniversary for Life Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations.

Some of my favorite essays are presented in this collection…

“Making the most of my two minutes”

“A special set of glasses”

An idea that I’ve pointed toward many times, including as a reason for naming the web site, was part of this collection…

“The mom bag”

The Kindle edition of Time Just Drifts Away will be offered FOR FREE during the days around National Buy Bob’s Book Day. The event is August 26th, and the Kindle offer will be available on August 25th, 26th and 27th.

August 12th


Today is a bit of a transition day. Get feet back on the ground, settle in, and prepare for a steady run to National Buy Bob’s Book Day…

So, let’s get to it and set some things up…

Beginning tomorrow, we’re going to look at one of Bob’s books every day. Ten books… ten days… a bit of insight, a bit of linking to this and that, and maybe a few stories and little known facts along the way.

Prepping some new essays for posting, and could have several ready to go this week.

Plus, when we hit August 26th (and the celebrations), there should be a couple of surprises and announcements ready to share. (Still working on that part.)

August 5th

A man in upstate New York was arrested. He had a blood alcohol content that registered as .37… and he was driving… a lawn mower. Just a lesson for you there, drinking or not, if you plan on taking your ride on mower out onto the streets and think you might be all over the road.

In Florida, authorities only “suspect” that a woman was under the influence, but here’s another tip for you: If it just so happens that you want to drive westbound on the eastbound lanes… of a toll road… maybe don’t hit a police car.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard is returning. CBS is developing a new series, intended for its streaming service, and Picard appears to be the central character.

August 2nd

Got a few things to cover…

First up – Local Friends for Local Business

This month, the effort is based on My Hometown.

The idea is essentially for you to think about the places that feel like home to you. It might be where you were born and where you were raised. It might be a place you lived at some point. It might be exactly where you find yourself today. Wherever that place is, there were (and are) treasures around you.

If you thought about a place where you lived during your life, and plans were being made to head there for a few days, answer this question: What fill-in-the-blank is there and only there that I must get to during my visit? (With fill-in-the-blank meaning restaurants, stores, attractions, and on and on.) There is almost definitely food that you can only find there, if nothing else.

During August, consider your hometown. Are there businesses you’ve seen and always wanted to visit, but never have? Are there businesses you really enjoy, but haven’t been to in some time? Have you ever looked around to see if there’s a business offering something you need, but you didn’t even know the business was there?

Think of those amazing community locations and stop in.

Next – ComplemenTerry Designs

We’ve got two events lined up for the 2018 Holiday Tour. Both are two-day events.

One is the weekend of December 1st and 2nd, and we are waiting to finalize a few things before announcing any other details.

The other is being held on November 24th and 25th, and involves a return to a show we’ve been thrilled to appear at previously. We can confirm that ComplemenTerry Designs will be taking part in Christmas & Crafts at Turning Stone Resort Casino for the fifth consecutive year.

And finally – Special Offers

On August 26th, we will be celebrating National Buy Bob’s Book Day. As part of it, we are going to have two promotions taking place around the day involving free Kindle titles.

Check out the details on the Special Offers page, where you can find out how to get the Kindle editions of Time Just Drifts Away and Thirty Days in November.

And that’s it for now. More coming soon.

August 1st

The story has become part of In My Backpack legend…

National Buy Bob’s Book Day!

Time Just Drifts Away was released in the summer of 2012. At the time, I was looking for ways to raise awareness and promote the effort. Media kits… press releases… social media postings… e-mails and phone calls and readings and appearances and travel and…

You get the idea. Anything I could attempt as a way to shine a bit of a spotlight on the book.

Around the same time—but completely separate from the promotional book release work—a set of ideas were swirling around as I watched the internet buzzing with celebrations here and there for national days of this-and-that.

It was National Raspberry Cream Pie Day that finally brought about a collision in my mind and created a bit of a chocolate-in-the-peanut-butter moment…

If avocados can have a day… If scallops can have multiple days… If raspberry cream pie can have a day… Why couldn’t I have a day for his published books?

As the idea took shape, it was—and today still is—offered with good humor and a goofy approach in the hopes of self-promotion.

It has since become an annual tradition. On August 26th each year, the In My Backpack web site and social media pages host the celebrations. And while presented as a way to be a bit silly and slightly to the side of modest in a shameless and yet still fun way, the reality remains… this is serious as well…

It is offered in the hope to bring a bit of attention to Bob, his books, and his work around Backpackville. We hope you’ll look around and think about picking up a copy or two. Plus, we’d be grateful if you meandered over to In My Backpack and spent some time on the site.

As part of the 2018 festivities, there will be special Kindle promotions where two books will be available for free over a limited time. For details, head to the web site and click on the link to Special Offers.

Tell your family! Tell your friends! Visit In My Backpack often! And for the 2018 National Buy Bob’s Book Day, let’s have some fun!

As always, THANK YOU for your consideration, time and support.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail us at Bob@inmybackpack.com