I'd like to welcome Jim Jackson to my travels today, telling about HIS recent travels. Jim and I share a publisher and have shared our manuscripts for many years, so I'm happy to give him space to tell you what's happening with him. Be sure and check the links at the end of this post! Now, here's Jim:
To promote the April 8th
publication of CABIN FEVER, I signed up for Left Coast Crime (LCC) this year.
Since we are currently without pets and Jan and I have enjoyed train travel, we
decided LCC was a great excuse for a train trip.
If you don’t care about our
itinerary, skip the next two paragraphs.
Briefly, our trip included six
trains; we took sleepers the whole way. The first stage was overnight from
Savannah to Washington, DC, arriving early in the morning. We walked all over the
city and returned to Union Station in time to catch a late afternoon train to
Chicago, which again arrived in the morning. Since we’d rather be outside than
in, even with cool temperatures and a brisk wind, we walked down to Lake
Michigan and back before catching a mid-afternoon train from Chicago through
the Rockies. Two plus days later brought us to Emeryville, CA (outside San
Francisco). We rented a car and drove to Monterey for LCC. After the conference
we took a day afterwards for hiking in Yosemite before returning to Emeryville
to start the second half of our trip.
From Emeryville we took a daylong
train to Los Angeles, stayed overnight in LA and spent the following day walking
around the LA Zoo. That night we boarded our train to New Orleans, which
arrived two nights later. After a whole day enjoying New Orleans, we caught our
last train of the trip the following morning and got off in Birmingham, where
we rented a car and drove home to Savannah.
The total trip lasted fifteen days,
and we thoroughly enjoyed it. One aspect of train trips I appreciate is that
they take me through the back yards of these United States. Some backyards can
be depressing: filled with trash, generations of rusting autos, graffiti-tagged
corrugated fences, backs of derelict buildings. I remember on trips decades ago
seeing vast piles of tires. Those disappeared once we understood their
recycling value; perhaps we’ll find ways to recycle the rest of the junk we
Other aspects of America’s backyard
are awesome (I stole that word back from my grandchildren). Some great
naturalist (i.e. I can’t remember who or the exact quote) said that the only
way to explore a place sufficiently well to know it, is to travel by foot. To
really understand a particular locale, he’s probably correct, but to obtain an
overview, trains are great. You sit higher up than when driving and don’t have
to worry about traffic and such. The plains are vast, the mountains soar, the
valleys burst with flowered fruit trees.
With all those beauties, where did
my heart beat fastest? Watching a mountain creek or river work its way down a
narrow valley. Seeing ducks or swans swimming undisturbed in a remote lake. And
above all, watching a deciduous woods slip past my window bathed in the slanted
daylight of the hours just after dawn or before dusk.
BIO AND LINKS:
JACKSON authors the Seamus McCree mysteries, BAD POLICY (2013) and CABIN FEVER
(April 2014). BAD POLICY won the Evan Marshall Fiction Makeover Contest whose
criteria were the freshness and commerciality of the story and quality of the
writing. Known as James Montgomery Jackson on his tax return and to his mother
whenever she was really mad at him, Jim splits his time between the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan woods and Georgia’s low country. He has also published an
acclaimed book on contract bridge, ONE TRICK AT A TIME: How to start winning at bridge (Master Point Press 2012).