After days spent polishing and worrying over the text for Ghost Towns of the Southwest like a dog with a bone the time has come to say enough, send it to the publisher and move on. I will finish the legends for the maps, send them with photos for illustrations and breathe a sigh of relief.
For this project this is the end of the road, almost. I know in a few months there will be weeks spent with the final edit, captions, and then a run through the galley proofs but for the most part it is over. As always when I get to this point there is excitement and relief.
The challenge with every book I write is to take a common, well worn subject and find a new perspective. With Route 66 Backroads I chose to profile overlooked locations in the hope it would encourage folks to think as explorers.
With Ghost Towns of the Southwest my goal was to break the preconceived impressions of the western frontier and, again, encourage exploration. Yes, Tombstone is featured in my new book but so is Hachita (another place added to my list of potential relocation spots), White Oaks and Chaco Canyon.
In these pages Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday again walk the dusty streets but not of Tombstone, this time they are in Castle Dome City. I also introduce readers to larger than life men such as Jeff Davis Milton.
The next project simmering on the back burner is Backroads of New Mexico. This too is a pet project as for me this is truly the land of enchantment.
In the mean time I have two more weeks of hard push before getting any kind of a break. Arizona Backroads is about to go into a second printing and there will need to be some changes made. I have a great deal of work to do on the early promotion for Route 66 Backroads, a book that has me very excited with the attention it is generating.
I have several meetings looming, each of which requires preparatory work. Then there is the possibility of a trip to Suapi to help rebuild that community.
Most important of all is the milestone that is a quarter century of marriage. Of the lessons learned during that time none are as important as not blaming others for decisions I make and learning to be quick to forgive. I am so grateful for my wife’s patient tutelage.
This valuable lesson has saved my marriage and given me a healthier, more productive way of living. I know of no other way to loose control of life and descend into bitterness with stunning rapidity than to be an unforgiving person incapable of accepting the responsibility that comes from making a decision. Simply put I have little control over the crap that is tossed my direction in this life but have full control over my response.
These photos of Barney were taken a few months ago. They are, however, symbolic and that is why they have been on my desk this past week.
With the completion of this project I feel mud spattered and worn but eager to go again. To that end the plan is to have a new project within a few weeks. Then I can take a breather with a trip to Bisbee, enjoy the company of my dear wife and hit the ground running on my return.

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