My Writing Vacation ~ Outside the Margins with Edmond Manning

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Edmond Manning OTM

As part of my ongoing efforts to shed light on the glamorous life of a working writer, I thought I would share perspective of my most recent “writer vacation.” I found cheap airfare to Ft. Lauderdale for mid-March, which is the perfect time to leave Minnesota’s snow, basking in the unrealistic body expectations of Florida beach people.

Except, I’m not much of a beach person.

Slathered in 100-level spf sunscreen, I last about twenty-two minutes in direct sunlight, and then I turn pink and crispy. (Yes, I know, the spf level of sunscreen doesn’t do much beyond level 45, but when you’re melatonin-starved, you invest in fear-based marketing products. You just do.)

Since quality beach time was not much of an option, I decided to make this a writing vacation. I had written more than 50% of my next release, Come Back to Me, and realized four or five days in the sun (but not really) writing would be perfect for getting me close to finishing the book.

Enjoy the vacation diary of a working writer.


9:30 a.m. – Roll out of bed.

9:35 – Step out onto my private porch and sit at the charming rustic table. Scratch my belly. Admire the gorgeous yard and pool of the AirBnB cottage I rented.

9:40 – Think about what scenes to write.

9:45 – Go back to bed for short snooze.

11:00 – Roll out of bed.

11:01 – Realize the hot dog place where I ate yesterday is now open.

11:02 – Put on pants. Well, shorts. I’m on vacation.

11:03 – Amble down to hot dog place.

11:20 – Consume hot dog.

11:22 – Regret consuming hot dog so quickly

11:23 – Consider second hot dog.

11:30 – Waddle back to my cottage.

11:45 – Sit down to write.

11:48 – Get up to go for a swim. Who can write with all this hot dog churning around?

11:50 – Hop in pool. Cold! Cold! Oh god, so cold! Cold! So fucking, fucking cold!

11:54 – Pool is beautiful. Water temp is perfect. Backyard is magnificent. Miami’s humidity is thick like a steak. But I’d adjust, right? I could live here, at this house. I would have to murder the owners. Note to self:  write a novel where AirBnB guest murders owners to get their property.

12:08 – Must leave pool immediately before the sun notices my milky-white skin and fries me like that scene in Terminator where Sarah Conner is gripping the fence. Ouch.

12:10 – This is the best shower in the world. Rainforest shower head, carved mosaic tile of orange and yellow flower design, plenty of standing room in here for two, three, maybe more. A small crowd. I should host an orgy. What? When have you EVER hosted an orgy? Or attended an orgy? Okay, fine. Bad idea.

12:12 – I should go write.

12:14 – Right after I finish watching this thing on Hulu/Netflix/Amazon.

2:00 – I will now write.

2:05 – Step out onto my private porch and sit at the charming rustic table. Scratch my belly. Admire the gorgeous yard and pool of the AirBnB cottage I rented.

2:07 – Think about what scenes to write.

2:08 – First, I will pop over on Facebook for two or three minutes to see what’s up. Then, get serious about writing.

4:00 – That was a long two minutes. Okay, I admit, my bad for getting swept up in the links and links to links. But is it my fault the internet is so huge? Could anyone alive two hundred years ago believe such a thing possible, this kind of connectivity, this kind of chit-chattery with friends in Germany, Ireland, friendly and loving barbs exchanged with people we may never meet within our own country? Isn’t it lovely? I should write a book about this.

4:03 – I should go for a swim.

4:05 – Hold off on the swim—first, I’ll go for a walk around the neighborhood to check out houses and look for more fallen coconuts. I can’t believe I drank a coconut I found in the street gutter. Mmmmm…Miami street fruit. Note to self:  don’t include “I drank Miami street fruit” on the postcard to mom. But it was so yummy. IMG_4304

4:10 – Wave to homeowner who owns this property, out reading by the pool. Hey buddy! If I were going to kill him—for fiction, of course—how would I do it? Drown him in the hot tub? Would I bury him in the backyard, so private and jungley back here nobody would notice? I dunno, this would be the first place investigators would dig. I should write a book about this. What if he put up a fight? Would I conk him with a shovel? A Miami street fruit? How would Rick Grimes kill? Sheesh, that’s a harsh counterpart to ‘What Would Jesus Do.’

5:30 – Return from walk. I need to move here. The casual, shabby yards with palm fronds and curled vines like tiny green fists, the shimmering bay, the sheer sunniness of every surface. I love there were no sidewalks where I strolled. You are expected to walk in the street and keep an eye open for traffic. You keep an eye open. Be aware of your surroundings.

5: 35 – I should write. But first, swimming.

5:40 – Hop in pool. Cold! Cold! So fucking, fucking cold! IMG_4293

6:03 – This shower is amazing. You could fit four guys in here for an orgy. Okay, c’mon. The one time you went to a sex party, you kept your damn clothes on. So, what exactly would happen in this shower, Manning? You stay clothed in the shower with three naked guys? Okay, okay. I’m not an orgy guy. I know that. But I’m on vacation. I can dream.

6: 15 – I write.IMG_4330

9: 15 – I wonder if the hot dog place is still open. I’m pretty sure they don’t close until 10:00.

9: 16 – No! No more hot dogs! I’ve got to eat something with less sodium. Something real. No trolling for Miami street fruit. Eat something real.

9:20 – Restaurant hunting down Biscayne Bay Boulevard.

10:30 – I return to the jungle oasis of my temporary home, moonlight gleaming off the crystal blue pool water, their enormous happy dog, Coco, escorting me from the gate right to my front door. I cherish the outline of palms against the few stars visible. Tiny lizards leap away in the shadows, completely invisible but for the stir of a few solitary leaves. I love this vacation. I love my little cottage, nestled in the corner. I really should murder these homeowners.

10:35 – I return to my front porch table, dazzled by the wet heat in the air, delighting there’s a freezing cold pool nearby, which I will visit in just a few moments.

10:36 – I open my laptop. It’s time to write.

10:45 – I wonder who’s on Facebook?

~Edmond Manning

About Edmond Manning

Edmond Manning is the author of King Perry, King Mai, The Butterfly King andFilthy Acquisitions. He spends a great deal of time standing in front of the fridge with the door open, wondering why it’s not stocked with more luncheon meats and cheese.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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15 thoughts on “My Writing Vacation ~ Outside the Margins with Edmond Manning

  1. Well I can totally relate to the SPF 100 issue. I’ve gone to using clear zinc oxide especially on my nose to keep it from looking like a horror movie on it’s one.
    Hope you have a good vacation anyway.

  2. Isn’t airbnb great? We did that for both Glasgow and London and it worked out rather well, I must say.

    I expect to see hot dogs featured in your next story. Jussayin.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your Miami write-cation. 😀

    • I’ve done Airbnb and had it work out really well 90% of the time. I know there are horror stories, but I think it’s fantastic!

  3. LOL, sounds a lot like my average writing day except that it’s not warm here and we don’t have a pool or hot dog place nearby. Oh, that’s right, we also don’t have an orgy sized shower or street fruit. Still, it sounds a lot like my average writing day. Must be Facebook 🙂

    Thank you for the smiles.

  4. Wait. You left off the best part! The part where you were sitting sans pants when the owners came out to hang by the pool…

  5. Do you look enough like either of the owners that you could assume their identity after you kill them? I’ve seen a lot of made for TV movies & that always seems to work. If relatives get suspicious, you just say, “I’m parting my hair on a different side” or “I’ve lost/gained weight since you saw me last.”

    • I would have to look brown and Cuban. That might have been a stretch for me. Next time I use AirBnB, I’ll look for owners I physically resemble a little more, in case I need to murderize them and take their lives. Thanks for the tip!

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