The Husband decided a couple months back that he wanted to go on a real (not to a convention, not to Sherpa me around, not to try and sell books) vacation. I agreed. Fortunately, with the timing, all the stars aligned and this vacation happened right after I signed a three book deal. (Whoo-hoo!) That meant I could actually relax, too.
We went to Sooke, Canada on Vancouver Island and stayed at Points West (who was quite pleased to host “a real author.” It was wonderful. Exactly what we both needed. We slept in. We had two planned events (Afternoon tea at the Empress and a visit to Royal Roads University) for the entire trip. Everything else was spur of the moment.
We spent one day just driving up the west coast of Vancouver Island from Sooke to Port Renfrew. We came across three amazing, amazing places. You see, beyond being B&B country, it is Artisan country and there are roads signs that say “Artisan” and the name of the artist country. We stopped at a bunch but here were the stand outs.
Aivars Logins, Wood Artist – The sign wasn’t much but I like woodcraft. Man, oh man. If I was rich, Aivars would never be out of work. You have got to see his carvings. Small or large, all of it was amazing. Also, he and his wife live in a 14-sided house that looks a little like a gussied up grain silo. He let me look around it because it was so interesting. We bought a burl cedar bowl so I can stick all my random jewelry in my office in one place.
(Burl bowl and steel feather.)
Foggy Mountain Forge – This place. A working forge with the nicest guys ever. Marty made us a steel feather from a thin rod as he was showing us how everything worked. I also picked up a card holder that won’t walk off and Jeff got a ridiculous mace. Marty, it turns out, is also the fire chief in the area while his son, Justin, who specializes in weapons, is also a volunteer firefighter. Marty’s wife is an EMT. It makes sense. They all know how to deal with fire. I had a blast at this local artist. It’s the kind of place you revisit. And I’m sure some version of the Gilbertson family is going to end up in one of my books.
Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery – Mead! And honey! We met Dana in the tasting room and wow, they make excellent honey. No fooling. We came home with several bottles and honey and some honey-logenberry jam. It was so good. Dana is personable and happy to talk about the meadery. Soon, the place is going to host the only honey / beekeeping museum on the island. The adding ego boost was running into a family from Redmond where the wife said, “I’m so excited to meet a real live author!” It was fun and another brush with being an "obscure celebrity."
Now that I’m home, I feel relaxed and able to meet my work schedule for the rest of the year. Which needs about 1000/day/5 days a week for the next 26 weeks. Doable as long as I’m consistent. Every writer needs a real vacation to refresh the creative well. This was the perfect one for me.