Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Sunday, November 25, 2012

After Africa . . . what?

Suitcases unpacked, photos downloaded, jet lag nearly overcome. The cold I caught on the airplane still hanging around. Three weeks in Tanzania, Africa, gave me a big break from writing. No netbook; no computer. No notebooks. One travel journal and a camera. Sixteen people, a tour guide, and two drivers. 4:30 am wake-up calls for "game drives" through three of the most beautiful national parks and game preserves in Tanzania.

Game Drive in Serengeti National Park: Wildabeest & Zebra Migration
Altogether, the trip was unforgettable and not just for seeing zebras, lions, jaguars, monkeys, baboons, wildabeest, and giraffes in their natural habitat -- and the beginning of the Great Migration. Yes, that's one of our jeeps in the photo, right in the middle of wildabeests and zebras crossing the road.

Our group (in 10 days) also visited a coffee plantation, a Maasai compound, an elementary school in Keratu, and a Iraqw family (brickmakers). We sang, danced, learned a little Swahili, talked, ate, and took photos. Lots of photos.

The trip changed my perceptions of Africa. I'm trying to assimilate what we experienced in a daily post  of photos, videos and commentary in my travel blog! So head on over if you want to see elephants eat a Baobab tree, or baby lion cubs playing with their mom -- or in coming days, Maasai women dance a welcome dance.

For this trip to Tanzania did give me a wonderful break from writing, but now it's time to get back to work.


  • WRITING: Now that the first draft of Years of Stone is complete, I'm rereading Standing Stones (the first book in this trilogy) with new eyes, section by section, with particular attention to character arcs and tension. Then I'll jump back to Years of Stone, hopefully for final revisions. The deadline for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association's literary contest is February 22, 2013. I would like to be ready!
  • CRAFT/READING: Setting weekly goals seems to help me keep on track with specific action steps. So here, I'm making steady progress in reading writing mags and currently working through Bell's Plot & Structure.  Is anyone else on GoodReads? I'm finding them very useful in identifying good historical fiction and currently am reading T. C. Boyle's San Miguel (literary fiction) and Annelie Wendeberg's The Devil's Grin (popular fiction), a story of a female doctor and Sherlock Holmes, set in Victorian London (sort of my era). 
  • MARKETING: As a somewhat terminally shy person with an outgoing style, I find it difficult to promote my own work. But by keeping this goal of developing a marketing plan and testing it with my collection of short stories (i.e., The Mermaid Quilt), I'm finally finding specific steps to take here too. One example: Brian Johnson's "How to Launch a Book". So that if I do self-publish my historical fiction, at least I'll have more than motivational pats on the back. And three people from the Africa trip expressed interest in my writing! A writer from the Internet Writers Workshop sent a press release to everyone on his e-mail list. I may try this.
  • SOCIAL NETWORKS: When people comment on a blog posting, do you respond right on the blog? In the past, I've tried to reciprocate with comments on the person's blog, but interactivity, that is responding directly to people's posts, is another way to connect with readers. Twitter is starting to feel more comfortable and by gradually "following" other writers, I'm learning how to promote my work without being too obnoxious (I hope!). 
Long story short. Now it's time to hop on Twitter and Facebook and find out what other ROW80 writers are up to. I still feel that participating in ROW80 has been so helpful this last year. May your writing go well.