Paradise Found

My special place

Special place

I miss the forest where I used to live in Georgia. We had a home with trees all around that connected to a large plot owned by a paper company. My dog and I would take long walks in the solitude of giant oaks, dogwoods, redbuds and fields of twenty year old pines. The pines waited patiently to be harvested then to be turned into news print, books and whatever the need of the day. I only thought of them that way when I heard trucks moving in to pillage the forest. I enjoyed their company and silence.

Here in Thailand, even with a small farm, solitude is a commodity in short supply. For a people who cherish being around one another it’s the perfect place. I enjoy it too, but there are many times I want to go about unnoticed. When I step out my door I know someone somewhere is watching to see what I’ll do next, so I look for some small place I can sit and think without eyes watching. I don’t have any bad thoughts about the villagers observing me—after all I’m unique, to them. I enjoy the attention most of the time.

We purchased a small plot that adjoined our land in the back. I didn’t think much of buy a big hole in the ground but my wife said I would like it. At some point in the past the owner had sold the dirt for a pittance leaving a very large hole in the ground, but it helped that family survive.

The hole gathered rain water and had a small pond, so we set about clearing the weeds and unwanted scrub trees

Hidden from view

and what we found was a land of large igneous boulders and petrified wood. Many of the boulders have the trees turned to rock running through them. I was fascinated. There are pieces of this rock-wood strewn about. We’ve planted bananas and improved the pond and it worked out well. The pond attracts dragonflies, frogs, small lizards, birds and we raise fish in the clear water.

What I really found was a place below eye level I can abscond to, leaving only wondering from those that watch. My mind flies free and I think of forest and writing; thoughts of places I’ve been and childhood dreams, but more often than not I set my mind free—not always seeing what’s around me. It’s a place I go when heavily into a manuscript and I need to relax my eyes and allow my muse to sprinkle a bit more magic dust in the new world I’m building.

I always return from my little spot refreshed and think how lucky I am to have a small bit of paradise. I hope you have a place you can go to release worries or just let your mind soar free. I’d love to hear about your secret place.

All photos are untouched and taken by me.

A writer’s Life- The Support

Today I do a guest post at Karen of Different Corners . A writer’s Life– the Support. I’m also Karen’s very first guest blogger and I am very honored!

Please visit and comment on Karen’s great site. I think you’ll enjoy the post! Guest Post

Dannie and Julee

The Dragons of Thailand

Dragon of ThailandDragon of Thailand

                                                                                                    Photos by Dannie

I worry that some of what I write about while living in Thailand will give you pause to visit. I do love it here and my wee tales are taken over seven years of living and many visits before. Keep in mind that I am a Southern country boy and roam the fields and forest. I see things most westerners are smart enough not to look for.

If you come here you will not be disappointed in the beauty, magic, food and people of the Land of Smiles.

I chuckle at the title of this post. I was going to name it, Beast of Thailand, but that brings to mind animals –mammals roaming the land. You will see few wild mammals unless you visit the zoo or natural reserves.

Normal life, living in the country, is made up of birds, ants, lizards, snakes and of course dogs and cats. The variety is endless; not all good but all amazing.

We have a small house in Pathum Thani—a suburb of Bangkok and the area is known to have some large water monitor lizards- the likes you thought only lived on the island of Komodo. The good news is they are very shy. The bad news is they are big and look prehistoric.

I was riding my motorcycle along the canals that border the rice fields near my house and two lizards came out onto the road. Of course I stopped and consider turning around but I had never seen anything so big- in the lizard department. At first I thought they might have been crocs (crocodiles) but from 20 feet away I could see they weren’t. Both were longer than the road was wide—at least 9 feet- and they only gave me a glance.  They simply crossed the road and into another canal. Afterwards, I wished I had brought my camera. At the time I was just relieved they took no real notice of me.

Since that encounter I have seen a number of them, but only in the 5 foot range. All either running away or just not noticing. I have never heard of anyone being hurt by these large beast.

The water monitor has two names is Thai—neither make any sense to me. One is the proper name which in translation means, body of money- body of gold. The other is a very vulgar term but when speaking of the lizards it is okay to say. I won’t tell you what it is—it could get you in real trouble if used at the wrong time.

One other quick story about these lizards. I was walking the dogs through the brush and bushes along a narrow cattle trail. We were going to walk the dikes of a nearby rice patty. The dogs were ranging ahead when I heard them bark and then I heard what sounded like a horse or at least something heavy was running and coming my way, fast. I had only my trusty bamboo walking stick and nowhere to run so I prepared to meet whatever was coming down the narrow path.

A large seven foot monitor lizard burst around the corner heading straight at me—woo hoo, says I. Actually those weren’t the exact words that came out of my mouth.

At about ten feet away the lizard saw me and veered off the path—thank goodness. No telling what I would have done to the poor beast if I fell on him in a dead faint. They are quite shy you know.

I will continue my world of Beast of Thailand on another post. Wait until I tell you about the snakes and ants I’ve encountered. I do hope you enjoy these true tales. The life here does give plenty of fodder for writing.

The photos were taken from my upstairs balcony. That monitor lizard was only 4 or five feet long and small of body.

A Writer in Thailand

Why would an American man move to Thailand to write novels? All the beautiful resorts, islands, mountains and most of all the luscious young women gliding along in their colorful sarongs would be a complete distraction to anyone trying to concentrate—on anything.

There is all that and more, but there is also a totally different view once one travels into the interior. Central Thailand- Issan- is a high plateau that is controlled by the two monsoons—wet and dry. The people are mostly farmer and like most of the people of Thailand, always smiling, friendly and yes, the women are beautiful. I live with my wife, Julee, who is Thai, in the central plateau region. We have a small farm where we grow corn, tapioca, and all the tropical and strange fruits and vegetables one would associate with the tropics. It’s a very small farm and that gives me the time I need to write.

I didn’t move to Thailand with the intent of becoming a full time writer but it is just the place I needed to take on the lonely task of writing fiction manuscripts. One can allow the sounds of English to quiet and daydreams will come alive.

I do speak the language but one advantage of being a foreign face in a rural area is I can act as if I don’t understand and I can huddle within my own world until I’m ready to emerge. Thai’s are amazing. They will go about their business without worry but when a foreigner comes out and can speak to them it’s rather like the circus has come to town. I ride my motorcycle out to small villages, see a group of older men and women sitting under a shaded Sala- gazebo like structure, and try to strike up a conversation. Once they realize they can understand some of the words coming out of my mouth I become a sight to explore. Children come out and are allowed to probe and pull and generally enjoy this stranger from the far side of the world. I love it.

Back to point. I wrote before I moved to Thailand but not with any great effort. I had a family to raise and the electronic world of America wouldn’t allow me to escape to a quiet place I needed to be, except on occasions. After the move with my wife to the other side of the world I spent my time learning and refining the language, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds and enjoying the tastes of Thailand. After a year or so I sat down to finish a manuscript I had started years before and the words leaped out. It was all I could do for my fingertips to keep up with the story. I would spend hours every day working on first one, then another, then another until I had written four complete manuscripts in three different genres. I was in love with writing again.

The best part of this is my wife! She allowed me this time and didn’t disturb me because she could see how happy it made me. If not for her support I’m sure I would have failed. We have grown closer.

I now have two published books, a Fantasy coming out later this year and a number of manuscripts to finish and refine. That’s why I am a writer in Thailand. I have had to rejoin the electronic world and return to the States from time to time in order to try and sell my books and myself to the people I truly love—the readers! When I write, readers stay at the front of my brain. I want to give them a quality, well-written, well-edited, interesting novel. I try hard to write books that I like to read. Each time I do sit down to read one of my books I am still amazed that I wrote it. I hope you will give my works a try and let me know what you think!

I hope to start a blog soon and include many of my adventures in Thailand.

I posted this article originally on Lee Libro  beautiful site. Lee Libro is so talented in all she does I am truly honored that I have gotten to know her a little. Her writing voice captured me the very first time I found her. She is one to watch as a rising star in the literary world!

On Twitter you can find me at @DannieC_Hill and I would love to meet you. Both my published book can be found throughout the Internet in paperback and as ebooks and Kindle. I will leave a link to Amazon so, if you like, you can read some reviews from readers like you.

In Search of a Soul, is a Sea Adventure. http://www.amazon.com/Search-Soul-Dannie-C-Hill/dp/0982692420/ (Paperback) http://www.amazon.com/Search-Soul-ebook/dp/B0048ELAJY/ (Kindle)

Tyler Hill’s Decision, A Young Adult Adventure in the Appalachian mountains. http://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Hills-Decision-Dannie-Hill/dp/0982692404/ (paperback) http://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Hills-Decision-ebook/dp/B003UNLJYU/ (Kindle)

Outer World Prairie, A Fantasy adventure coming later this year. For a look at this upcoming book go to my website. http://smallmountainpub.com/comingsoon.htm