I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

I’ve been working on The Visalia Electric Railroad: Stories of the Early Years with Louise Jackson. Books take a ton of work AFTER the writing: a lot of talking, editing, tons of computer time, decisions, decisions, decisions, emails, phone calls, meetings, more editing, proofing, more decisions. And it is all very fun, especially when you get to work with people you love.

One of my tasks as Louise’s book shepherd is to gather photos and make them usable for the book – change all the mysterious computer things, clean up the fuzz and hairy stuff and tears and stains, resize them, and figure out where they belong in the book.

Yep, book shepherd is a real job, and it is what I did for her Trail of Promises book and am doing for The Visalia Electric Railroad. There is another book by another writer coming soon, but I won’t be telling you about that until January or so. 

Time out for a quick commercial: Trail of Promises: Packing the Backbone of the Sierra is available here. Here is the entire cover as it would look if the design guidelines didn’t show, and if you smashed the book flat and open. (This is not recommended behavior.)

But I digress. Have a look at a photo that won’t be in The Visalia Electric Railroad. There will be a similar photo, but this is too precious to not show you.

Hi, Mom!

Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done

That’s a non-Google kind of title, but the real title is boring. “Mineral King Mural #3 is Finished in Three Rivers Museum”.

First, a little context. Here is mural #1 as it appears in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum (Redundant, I know, but I have to say all those words so this post can be found on the World Wide Web.)

Mineral King mural in Three Rivers Museum of Empire Mt. mining area.

Mineral King mural  of Empire Mt. mining area in Three Rivers Museum . No miniature ore buckets hanging from the little cable yet. . . will they get made in time for the January 22 opening party of the room?? As always, more will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

And to our left in the Mineral King Room:

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum

2 more murals in the Mineral King Room of the Three Rivers Museum

The cabinet in front of mural #3 will be sitting lower once it is removed from the dollies. Yes, those rolling platforms are called “dollies” – anyone know why?? The other sort that guys with their names on a patch on their shirts use to push around boxes of things are called “hand trucks”. (One never knows what sort of helpful tidbit one might pick up on this blog.)

And now for a little glimpse into what sort of fiddling and polishing happens at the end of a mural job – here is how the left side looked last week:

Left end of mural #3 before the final details.

Left end of mural #3 before the final details.

Left end of mural #3 after touching up a few details

Left end of mural #3 after touching up a few details

Louise said that the snow patch on the far end looked like white paint. I agreed, and saw that it had the wrong angle on the bottom. Then I added a spot of rocks in the center. She also said that the trees were too sparse, and of course she was right there too. 

These are minor details, but those who know, KNOW. Louise KNOWS. I fully trust her judgement, particularly about Mineral King. She has been a tremendous help to me on every Mineral King mural I have ever painted, and I LOVE working with her on any project. (Remember the book Trail of Promises this year? It came out in July, and is available here and on Amazon.)

No blue tape! Stick a fork in me; I'm done!

No more blue tape. . . Stick a fork in me; I’m done!

Trail of Promises

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Trail of Promises | 7 Comments

Happy Birthday, Carol!

Trail of Promises: Packing the Backbone of the Sierra is finally here! Louise Jackson has been working on this manuscript for several years; she and I have been working on it since last September, and NOW IT IS HERE!

Ahem. Please excuse me for shouting. Lots to be excited about here!

Eventually it will be available through Amazon. Until then, you may order it from me, or of course from Louise Jackson, Monica and Jack McArthur, or Mike McGinnis if you know them.

We’ll start with an Add to Cart Paypal button right here. I’ll put it on my website when I calm down enough to figure out how.

Trail of Promises




The total with tax and shipping is $21.29 per book. If Paypal’s math turns out differently, I will refund you the difference.

Meanwhile, here is what the back cover of the book says:

While many live with intentions to experience adventure, three people–a recreational packer, a wilderness backpacker and a horse masseuse–actually followed through. Their trip along the backbone of California’s Sierra Nevada was guided by commitment to a special cause and promises made to friends, family and themselves.

Too quickly, completion of both the trail and their promises proved elusive. Blocked and broken trails, misdirected advice, injuries and even death became a part of their month-long experience. Only with the help of their faithful mules, families and friends, and with the sustaining wonder of the wilderness surrounding them, could they succeed in accomplishing the goals they had set.

The outcome was not what they expected.

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