Camping for my Birthday

I am a little older than I used to be, and for my brithday, we went camping. Ever been to Ha Ha Tonka?

I took this image from: This site has some of the history of Ha Ha Tonka. Sadly, this manision only survived about 20 years before fire destroyed it. The home originally looked over a side branch of the Lake of the Ozarks. When the Bagnell Dam was built in 1929-31, the lake disappeared, leaving Ha Ha Tonka castle overlooking a spring.

picture from

Still beautiful but not a lake.

If you are looking for a mildly strenuous hike, take the Spring trail up to the castle. They say its 316 stairs one way. I counted 357 on the way down.  Even the dog was exhausted.

Other than hiking Ha Ha Tonka, we enjoyed camping on the lake. We had classic camp food (s’mores, dutch oven cobbler, foil steamed vegetables, grilled meat, bacon), two evenings just staring at the fire and relaxing, card games by lantern light, and just us. It was wonderful. Even the dog enjoyed his time sniffing around.

Hans exploring the camp.
Hans exploring the camp.

Writing and Crafting


I am officially moving on. Tiny’s story has had four revisions, two complete betas, three rounds of chapter by chapter review. If the story isn’t finished by now, it will never be.

I’m working on Nik’s story now. It needs a good name, and I have been trying to figure out how to title it. In my review of books at the library, there seems to be a key word issue.

  • Fantasy stories tend to say things like “magic” or “elven” or “spirits” or “angel.” Nik is an alchemist so I could try and work that in.
  • Action stories tend to have an action or power word in them like “hunt” or “treasure” or “battle” or “revenge” or “exploration.” Nik’s running from assassins. I’m not sure if I’d like to focus on that for the title. Even though it is accurate, it seems like making Nik weak or focusing the title on the assassins instead of the MC.
  • Lots of titles refer to a place. “Space” or “Paris” or “Garden.” Nik’s story does take place in a cool cliff side town called Sealine Shores (of course, I could always change the name of the town; I am the author afterall.) I might be able to use the location to help.

I’m sure there are tons of other comparisons or commonalities I could have drawn, but I was really looking for my next read and not studying titles for how to name a book. I’m tossing out ideas like Cliff side Alchemy. Survival Alchemy. Brewing a Safe Harbor.

baby blanket and booties 2015
baby blanket and booties 2015


My next door neighbor is pregnant. Their baby is due sometime in the next two weeks. Somehow I decided the perfect thing would be miniscule booties and a baby blanket. Now if it only I can get the baby blanket big enough in the next few weeks. It is 36 inches wide, but only 18 inches long so far. I’ll see how much gets done before the baby is born.