Inspiration – Manila Bay

In one of my last posts I talked a little bit about inspiration from my home, my previous work travel, and my family. I’d like to say a few words about inspiration from more current travel in this post.

I’ve been to the Philippines three times in as many years recently. I am not an expert…not even close…but I’ve seen islands, waters, cities, and villages that are some of the most culturally interesting places I’ve ever visited. I’ve also met people that bring the term wanderlust to an entirely new level. Filipinos love to travel and explore and think nothing of spending their entire weekend, including hours of rigorous bus travel, getting to and from a remote attraction.

One place that is not so remote, assuming you live in or near Metro Manila, is Manila Bay. There are so many pictures of this body of water at sunset and each one can tell an entire tale of it’s own. The bay is known for it’s beauty, especially at sunset, as well as it’s pollution on the shore, as well as in the water. It attracts local and international shoppers with the MOA (Mall of Asia) where the following shots were taken. It attracts business people from the world over and it attracts the poor who are looking for work, something to recycle or reuse, or a handout. This area is special, in more than one way, to more that one of the characters in my first book, GAME OF WIT AND CHANCE: BEGINNINGS.

Here are a couple of my own pictures of Manila Bay.

Ships on the horizon waiting in Manila Bay
Ships on the horizon waiting in Manila Bay
The buzz of activity on the water front close to sunset
The buzz of activity on the water front close to sunset
Like many mega cities, the water front is not all pristine
Like many mega cities, the water front is not all pristine

See the front page of my website if you’d like to know where to get my books.

Posted in Boats and boating, My original writing, Philippines, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Inspiration – Manila Bay

Find it at Smashwords.com

Use coupon code WH32Q at smashwords.com to get ONE FISH, TWO FISH, BIG FISH, LITTLE FISH, the second book in the SMUGGLERS IN PARADISE series for $0.99 through July 5th.

One Fish, Two Fish, Big Fish, Little Fish
One Fish, Two Fish, Big Fish, Little Fish
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Find it at Smashwords.com

Inspiration for Smugglers in Paradise series

A reader recently asked me what was the inspiration for my SMUGGLERS IN PARADISE series. This might be a good topic to talk about in a couple of blog posts.

I’ll start with book one – GAME OF WIT AND CHANCE: BEGINNINGS. This story is best described as a family saga using passion and tragedy to set the stage for conflict and family turmoil.

My inspiration for this story is complex and comes from multiple directions. Here are just a couple of significant thoughts.

The two primary settings, Portland in the US and Zambales in the Philippines are both beautiful places in their own right and have strong connections to the ocean or the sea. I chose Portland because it reminds me of my home state of Minnesota, but has a International port, which I wanted for this story. I chose the Philippines because I spent a lot of time in various Asian countries when I worked for a multinational company before repotting myself as a writer. I have good friends in the Philippines and think the landscape, seascape, and people are fascinating.

The timeline for the story spans significant parts of two generations of the Ramos family and surrounds the end of World War II. My great uncle Floyd was a prisoner of war for thirty-three months in a Japanese camp on the island of Corregidor in the Philippine Islands. This small island is in Manila Bay and was the last Philippine island to surrender to the Japanese.

Corregidor via outrigger boat.
Corregidor via outrigger boat.
Corregidor memorial.
Corregidor memorial.
Defensive weaponry
Defensive weaponry
Barracks / building remains
Barracks / building remains
The tadpole shape of Corregidor island.
The tadpole shape of Corregidor island.

All pictures that are not owned by me are used with permission.

See the front page of my website if you’d like to know where to get my books.

Posted in My original writing, Philippines, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Inspiration for Smugglers in Paradise series

One Fish, Two Fish, Big Fish, Little Fish – Silver Dawn by R. Scott Tyler

The release day has finally come for the second book in the SMUGGLERS IN PARADISE series, “ONE FISH, TWO FISH, BIG FISH, LITTLE FISH – SILVER DAWN.”

I have a bit of work to do on the paperback version yet, but the Ebook can be found at Amazon.

One Fish, Two Fish, Big Fish, Little Fish - Silver Dawn
One Fish, Two Fish, Big Fish, Little Fish – Silver Dawn

Here’s the book blurb:

Life continues to move on for the Ramos family. Julia’s death scattered some to the sea and broke others. After more than a dozen years most have recovered, at least outwardly.  Now one of her nephews begins a summer vacation on the South East Asian Sea with his dad and an old family friend that thrusts them into Triad danger, reignites old friendships and causes ripples in family relationships across the globe.

Follow the remainder of the Ramos family as they chase whispers, cross paths, sail the seas and learn more about the deadly people and games being played around each of them.

One fish: Steven continues to chase whispers concerning the unresolved death of his youngest sister while she was working as a singer in Shanghai.

Two fish: Katie, Steven’s other sister, takes over as matriarch of the Ramos family with her creative husband, Orlan. She eases her father into retirement, but little eases his soul.

Big fish: Boris has disappeared from the Ramos family. He has been pouring himself into his illegal business ventures and has made additions to his water transportation options.

Little fish: Steven’s son, Konnor, gets his first taste of the sea, and with it, more adventure than any of them bargained for.

Swimming out of the background among all these fish are two others from “Game of Wit and Chance”. Benjiro is back after having made peace with his dysfunctional family, his sexuality and his angst. Captain Cho also returns, albeit both tired and retired, to finally tell his side of Julia’s story.

There’s also a new school of sharks circling.

Posted in China, Cover Art, My original writing, Philippines, Publishing, Shanghai, Travel | Comments Off on One Fish, Two Fish, Big Fish, Little Fish – Silver Dawn by R. Scott Tyler

Moving on – a rainy start to Memorial Day weekend

It’s the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and it’s raining right down.

When I lived in a house that was 117 years old (that was nearly 20 years ago, too) I used to hate the rain because I could hear it running inside the walls and see it when it soaked through the plaster of the ceilings. There was a musty smell that was pervasive when it rained, especially if it got hot right afterwards.

Now that I live in a newer house with a solid roof I love the rain. It gives me the perfect excuse to be physically lazy and immerse myself in my thoughts. So really, it’s the perfect start to this holiday weekend.

As everyone ages, the losses pile up around us. They hurt in different ways and on different levels. Some…grandparents, parents, special uncles and aunts (even if they aren’t related)…leave big holes in our hearts, cause a deep sadness that mellows with age, and can even turn into positive feelings of angels surrounding us with love and protective care.

Others…the ones that pass away around our own age…bring another kind of sadness and can strike fear into our hearts. If that can happen to him/her, can I be next?

Then there are the ones that are younger that us, maybe siblings or, heaven forbid, sons or daughters. Because I haven’t experienced this I can only imagine the deep sadness this must bring.

And since all these feelings, for me, are predicated on relative differences in age, they change as I age.

I’m glad I have this time every year to remember the people that mattered (and continue to matter) that have passed before me. I sit and stare into the green growth and life giving rain and relive the best memories.

The perfect spot to sit and remember.
The perfect spot to sit and remember.
Posted in Aging, Family, Holiday | Comments Off on Moving on – a rainy start to Memorial Day weekend

Friendship and the age of Social Media

I just read a very interesting article called “The Limits of Friendship” from The New Yorker.

Here’s a quote from the article that hit me profoundly: “With social media, we can easily keep up with the lives and interests of far more than a hundred and fifty people. But without investing the face-to-face time, we lack deeper connections to them, and the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones.”

I’ve found this time and again on different media platforms. When I start out on the platform I have maybe a couple hundred “friends”, many of whom I know in real life, as well as in virtual life. I have fun chatting, keeping up with their lives and and respond to each of their posts or tweets in an almost real time basis. As soon as my goal becomes one of numbers…trying to break 1000 friends, 2000, 5000…I lose the ability, and the interest, in keeping up with anyone who hasn’t turned into a truly intimate friend. Now it becomes ‘like for like’, ‘follow for follow’, etc.

My Twitter feed has turned into about 20 people I care about and 2500 people/accounts that are trying to sell me something. Most of that is my own fault because I made a conscious decision to try to significantly grow my contacts to market my own written works (yeah, I know…me trying to sell them something, lol). Now a previously fun platform is simply a place where the accounts I follow throw shit against the wall constantly, hoping some of it will stick and I, basically, don’t do much of anything.

What’s the bottom line for me? Nothing earth shattering. Just added reinforcement that, generally, people / accounts with 500 – 150,000 followers (which includes me in Twitter, anyway) aren’t in it for friendship, they’re in it for networking, sales, recognition, marketing, etc.

 

Posted in Networking | Comments Off on Friendship and the age of Social Media

Hawaii Life

I haven’t been to Hawaii in twenty years and I’ve never been to the big island. It was quite exciting to have a mid-winter vacation / work break in this tropical paradise.

The hotel was next to a golf course and, although I don’t golf, it was a great place to be in the morning to watch the sun rise and walk the beach.

Sunrise view
Sunrise view

There was a beautiful black sand beach that required a significant hike to get to, but was well worth it. The waves were spectacular and I caught some people surfing.

View of the black sand beach from the top of the hill...the point where the hike began.
View of the black sand beach from the top of the hill…the point where the hike began.
Sitting on the beach.
Sitting on the beach.
Watching the waves roll in
Watching the waves roll in

Another highlight was zip lining at Umauma Falls. There are nine zips with the longest being a half mile.

Getting ready to zip
Getting ready to zip
View of one of the longer zips
View of one of the longer zips

I’d go swimming with the dolphins again in a flash with Kona Ocean Adventures

We saw several humpback whales, with bottle nose dolphins accompanying them
We saw several humpback whales, with bottle nose dolphins accompanying them
There must have been a hundred spinners and spotted dolphins
There must have been a hundred spinners and spotted dolphins
Several hours of snorkeling was a great way to spend the morning
Several hours of snorkeling was a great way to spend the morning

One of my personal highlights was visiting this ukulele builder and purchasing a beautiful uke.

Sam Rosen in his shop with the latest new ukulele owner
Sam Rosen in his shop with the latest new ukulele owner

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to see the stars…and the sunset

Sunset at the National Observator on Mauna Loa at 10,000 feet
Sunset at the National Observator on Mauna Loa at 10,000 feet

The stars are a challenge to photograph (without good technical skills), but here is Orion’s Belt.

Orion's Belt
Orion’s Belt

We also had dinner on the mountain while waiting for the sunset with friends.

Dinner with friends on Mauna Loa while waiting for the sun to set
Dinner with friends on Mauna Loa while waiting for the sun to set

The final stop, on the day we were leaving, was at the Hawaii Botanical Gardens in Hilo. It’s very difficult to find, but well worth it.

Fan palm
Fan palm
Ginger
Ginger
One of many orchids
One of many orchids
Orchid
Orchid
Don't know what this was, but the tree was full of these tiny flowers
Don’t know what this was, but the tree was full of these tiny flowers
At the mouth of the stream that flowed from the top of the botanical garden hill to the ocean
At the mouth of the stream that flowed from the top of the botanical garden hill to the ocean

 

Posted in Boats and boating, Holiday, Mother Nature, Photography, Surfing | Comments Off on Hawaii Life

Attention, Reasoning, Cognition and Trust

What’s up with one US citizen telling another US citizen ‘you shouldn’t be here’ or ‘go back to your own country’?

Unless you are a Native American Indian, you are an imigrant to this land. Europeans took the land, and everything in it, from the natives through force. Go back far enough in your lineage and you too, will find that you came here from another land. It might have been an anglosaxon land, who knows, but it’s highly unlikely you’re a ‘American’ native. The way some people rant and rave and bear false witness against their fellow American citizens, maybe their ancestors are the ones that should have been turned away.

Also, if America shut its door against the poor, people who spoke languages other than English, people of different skin color, different eye shape, different religious beliefs, different levels of intelligence or physical ability there would be no America as we know it today.

By the way, for the ranters that call themselves Christians out there, God’s ninth commandment is “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Look it up again, then start thinking about what you will say as justification of your actions to God at the pearly gates.

Oh, think maybe you have a loophole regarding the definition of ‘neighbor’? Check out another passage from that book you like to quote.

God's definition of neighbor
God’s definition of neighbor
Posted in Family, Mother Nature | Comments Off on Attention, Reasoning, Cognition and Trust

We all need more good news

Do you ever get tired of reading bad news? Or even more than tired… anxious, afraid, depressed, disallusioned, angry, and disspirited?

I’ve known for some time that this is the very reason I would rather watch SpongeBob than the evening news…even if I’ve seen the episode ten times already. Escapist, I know, sticking my head in the sand, yes that too, but there are times when I look at what some of my fellow human beings are doing and saying and I can’t even…

For those times, I have begun investigating optional good news sources.  There is a lot of light and love, kindness, cooperation, and goodness in the world. I often want to focus on that part of humanity, rather than on a part that seems, to me, to be pure insanity.

Here are a few sources I’ve found. I would love to hear about more sources from you.

www.goodnewsnetwork.org

www.goodworldnews.org

www.sunnyskyz.com

www.dailygood.org

positivenews.org.uk

Posted in Comedy | Comments Off on We all need more good news

On Journaling, or “My Diary”

The first journal in Mom's collection.
The first journal in Mom’s collection.

When my mom passed in 2014 she left a legacy of acceptance, trust, and love.

She also left twnety seven journals, hand-written on the front and back of every page.

I always knew she journaled. She didn’t keep it a secret and said that when she had sought help for depression there were two active things she came away with that helped tremendously. Walking and journaling. The walking probably extended my dad’s life an additional twnety years because he did it religiously with her…two miles a day. Rain or shine, snow or sleet…it was the postmen and my parents out there.

The journaling probably kept her centered. I’ve tried to mimic her for years and never been able to keep up. I journal, but I’m not a faithful journaler.

At any rate, for the first year and a half after her death I glanced at a few pages of her journals, got overwhelmed, and passed them on to my sister’s to read. Finally a few weeks ago I asked for them back and started to read them, word by word.

I’m not sure what happened to the journals prior to 1999. This is the first one in the twenty seven that I have, but I know she started writing way before then…she probably started between 1969 and 1975. I have an idea those journals must have gone in the trash when my parents moved from Baudette to Forest Lake after they retired. That would coincide with the dates I have.

Her journals are filled with family, life, deaths, births, marriages, accidents, divorces, friends, relatives, travels and thanks. She gave thanks and prayed for healing, mostly for others around her, in almost every entry.

I’m enjoying seeing thorugh my mom’s eyes again. Feeling both thankful for this one final gift she gave herself and us, her children, and emotional for traveling through so much of her life…Dad’s life…and our life again as well.

Posted in Aging, Family | Comments Off on On Journaling, or “My Diary”