A few months ago I heard about a new Amtrak Train program for a select few writers. I believe the idea was to get some writers to travel on the train, create articles or stories while watching the scenery, and to write about their travels, too. I didn’t apply for the program, though I can see how wonderful something like that could be.

I just returned from a 9 1/2 day road trip across the western part of the U.S. to take our daughter to grad school. Some of the scenery along the way was spectacular, but after riding in a car for three full days in one direction and then another three full days back, the scenery becomes numbing. Even some of the scenery on the way out to California was numbing and I found myself composing blog posts in my head to help pass the time. Note: I was the passenger, not the driver. Some of the potential posts were pretty good, but I didn’t write them down. By the time I got home, most of what I’d composed had vanished.

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On the return trip, though, I was actually more productive. It’s amazing how a chance spotting of something interesting can set the imagination into action. I worked (in my head) on some new book ideas and then wrote them down while they were fresh. I’d already begun working on the third book in my Outsiders series, but still needed to work out some details. I now know more about that book. I even played some of the story, almost like a movie, in my head. I can’t wait to write it. I have a better idea for the book title, too–Wintry Tears: An Outsiders Mystery.

I also worked up a great idea for a book in my Project Chameleon series and again I played some of the story, almost like a movie, in my head. I’m actually even more excited about writing that book. I hadn’t even gotten a snippet of an idea for it before this trip. Now I can actually start working on the book. It’s title is The Secret Town: A Project Chameleon Novel. If my daughter reads this post, she will know where I got the idea for the book. That idea started brewing on the way out to California, and picked up steam on the way back.

If you’ve read, or are reading, my Outsiders series, you might want to also read Liars’ Games, the first book in the Project Chameleon series, because Wintry Tears is planned as a cross-over book that will link those two series. It’s a huge challenge for me to write, but it’s something that is very exciting, too.

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