Writing Progress: My Dream Research Trip

With Gatekeeper done, I’m looking forward to writing the sequel. But I have a problem! The story continues in two different places. One chases Becca and her friends all over the world and the other follows Abby and Lizzie in Orendria. Both stories are equally important for the final book in the series. So, which one first?

With no clear right or wrong answer I decided to write them both at the same time.

I can hear you now. The chorus of, “What? Are you crazy?! Writing one book is hard enough, but now you’re going to attempt to write two simultaneously?!”

The only good answer I have for you is: Yes. I’m crazy. And I like a good challenge.

And guess what? I have them both plotted already.

Orendria:                                                                                  Gatekeeper 2:

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Don’t try to cheat by enlarging the image to read the notecards!!! I already tried, it won’t work. You’ll just have to wait for the books. 🙂

I’ve cleared the plotting hurdle, but now I have one more. Gatekeeper 2 (for lack of a better name) takes place in four locations throughout the world: the Mayan ruins (country yet to be determined), Scotland, Egypt, and Rome.

I’ve been to Egypt.








I remember the smells of the desert, the grit of sand in my mouth, feel of rough stones beneath my fingers.

I will never forget the faces:

The slums:

The first century monasteries:

The man dragging a cow past my cab, stuck in traffic on a bridge over the Nile, shrill Arabic music blasting from the speakers. (Unfortunately after searching extensively through old pics I can’t find the video, so take a moment, close your eyes, and imagine it happening. Crazy hilarious, right?)

All of it will forever be seared in my mind.

Looking at pictures, I can’t feel humidity, taste honeydew ice cream, smell pungent spice from the open market, or hear the cabs’ incessant beeps. To truly capture a world that springs to life from the page, I need to breathe and touch and experience every bit of a place. Researching pictures on Pinterest, like the ones below, just won’t cut it.

Look at these castles:

Hermitage Castle, Scotland (Lots of pictures. Photographer says, "Despite the ruins, so much of Hermitage remains intact. The sense of history about the place is palpable...

How will I ever choose where Owen’s family lives without being there to feel the spirit of the place?

And what about the Vatican:

Rome, River & Vatican. Rome without the ruin- tips for visiting Rome on a budgetThe Papal Guard, Vatican,Italy777 Photos: Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including ...St. Peter's Square in Vatican State | Amazing Photography Of Cities and Famous Landmarks From Around The World

How will I understand the scope of size, the brilliance of color, the sacredness until I visit?

And the Mayan ruins:

Lamanai Mayan Ruins on the shore of New River in Belize. Gorgeous site, amazing flora and fauna along the river and in the interior.The Palenque Mayan ruins contains some of the finest architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings that the Mayas produced











Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Know as the "White City" is the oldest colonial town in the Yucatan. Join the SOYK project, our secret boards & launch/take your first geocaching challenge. See the boards Somewhere Only You Know & Somewhere Only We KnowTomb Mural -- Circa 500-800 CE -- Excavated at the Mayan Archaeological site of Bonampak -- Chiapas, Mexico

These ancient bricks scattered throughout Mexico and Guatemala and Belize tell a story of their own. But how will I know which site fits perfectly into Becca’s story? How will I discover little know legends that will make details come to life? How will I fully understand the culture unless I breathe the air and touch the stones and hear the sounds of the jungle, of the native tongue, of the spirits whispering beyond the grave?

I need a trip. I long to spend a month in each of these places, take my time, sink my soul deep into the spirit of each place.


One thought on “Writing Progress: My Dream Research Trip

  1. Good questions. I think you’d better start packing your bags- there is a lot to see, and to be inspired by!

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