Back from the Jungle

Well, I survived a four-day trip to the jungles of Ecuador.

That sounds a lot more dangerous than it was. We drove about 5 hours east of Quito to a small village called Misahualli, where we boarded a motorized canoe downriver to our lodge set in the jungle. The events included playing with monkeys and a 2-year-old ocelot, seeing a 9-foot python who was removed from the turtle/caiman pen for eating one of the 3 foot caimans, tubing down an Amazonian tributary (too far west for piranhas), seeing the plants natives use to make paralyzing poison for their darts, learning which plants/sap/seeds can cure about anything, and pooping in a hole.

Ok, I didn’t do the last one, because, well, I didn’t need to. But yes, the facilities were that rustic. At least there was a plastic seat on the latrine, something my wife didn’t think made up for it. Nor the bucket of shavings to sprinkle over the deposits.

The boys had a great time seeing monkeys and everything. The two-year-old kept singing “Five little monkeys jumping on the bed…” and I’m sure their stuffed toy is now renamed Franco or Lucas (the two monkeys at the sanctuary). I ate some fantastic tilapia cooked in a banana leaf. My older boy was disappointed the afore mentioned python wasn’t snacking on the little oblivious guinea pig sharing its pen. I pointed out that the bulge in the python’s belly was either the caiman or another guinea pig, so the snake just wasn’t hungry.

The best thing about the trip (aside from playing with the boys)? I didn’t think about writing at all. I took a complete mental break from writing for the first time in years. Not having an incomplete manuscript over my head helped, and I was even able to put aside my floundering Agent Quest.

But today, I’m back in Quito, where I’m working on a new version of my query letter and reading up on 15th century alchemists for my new series.

The challenge of writing this new series is where to start for book one. I want to save things like Atlantis and the Philosopher’s Stone for later books, but I still have a number of historical artifacts, semi-magical codices, and actual political wars/conspiracies/plots to fill 100 books. I just need to find the best combination to kick off this series. Then I’ll start writing.

Comments

Book

Stuart,
It sounds like you're getting a lot of background for your next book what with all of your travels and all. I will continue to pray for you in your search for a publisher. I really do want to see your book in print!!! and I want to be among the first to buy one. I will expect an autograph, however, the next time you visit your folks.
Best wishes and God bless you and your family.
Russ Jones
Columbia, SC


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About the Author

While reading The Fellowship of the Ring at the age of twelve, Stuart A. Etter was told by his teacher that he should be reading shorter books. Undaunted, he finished the trilogy and promptly moved on to other novels ranging from fantasy/sci-fi to historical fiction to horror to thrillers.

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