Cover Reveal: *Flesh Fiction* (delicious flash fiction!)


And here it is! The cover reveal for the new project I’m part of, put together by Mara White and Suanne Laqueur, FLESH FICTION.

If you’ve read my stories in books like The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories and Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, then you’re already familiar with the “quickie” format of erotic flash fiction, where the idea is to leave the reader sopping and breathless in a story that is only a few pages long.

This one brings together some of the hottest names in spicy romance, including LaQuette, Satin Russell, JR Gray, Kat Savage, and also a bunch of writers I haven’t had the pleasure to read before… but I will now!

Here’s a teaser sentence from my story, which is entitled “Art in Oils”:

Oil paints are so much better than watercolors for showing a sheen of sweat, for capturing that gravid droplet of arousal fattening at the engorged slit. My own thirsty tongue searches my lip.

FLESH FICTION is available for pre-order now on the following sites. It releases October 5!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F4NNVBF

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1583835283

B & N / Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165008771

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781737264934

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1101969

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58453358-flesh-fiction

Gardners: https://www.gardners.com/Search/KeywordAnonymous/eBook?Keyword=9781737264934

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9781737264934&language=0

Bloggers who are interested in signing up for the blog tour, sign up here: https://forms.gle/mHNT2hsMbdEqyPFD6

And here’s a bigger look at the cover!

You might be wondering why the cover image doesn’t look as “naughty” as the words inside, and there’s an easy answer to that. Amazon suppresses the sales of any book that has a cover image that is too steamy. This comes as news to a lot of folks, for whom Amazon is their number one source for erotica! But it’s true, certain types of images — even ones that don’t show the “naughty bits” — as well as certain words in the description can doom a book from being found. Amazon doesn’t call it censorship or even a “ban,” since technically they still sell the book, but they make it impossible to find unless you know the direct URL to the page.

Sexy excerpt of MIND GAMES on the Nobilis Erotica podcast


If you’d like a sexy listen, a scene from my paranormal erotic thriller, MIND GAMES, was featured in today’s episode of the Nobilis Erotica podcast.

The audiobook of MIND GAMES was just released a couple of weeks ago, exclusively on Scribd, but have a free listen to Nobilis Erotica wherever your favorite place is to catch podcasts (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Deezer, etc) or right here: https://nobilis.libsyn.com/ep-460-an-excerpt-from-mind-games-by-cecilia-tan

Content warning: this book contains situations of sexual jeopardy, stalking, and coercive behavior on the part of the villains. It also contains consensual sexual situations, including public sex and bondage.

New science fiction baseball story!

I have a new short story, free to read online at SABR.org! It’s a piece of near future science fiction told from the point of view of a female baseball pitcher making her debut on the mound at Fenway Park. It’s one of the few times I’ve gotten a chance to mix my baseball writing with my sf/f writing!

You can read the story here: https://sabr.org/journal/article/signs-of-the-times/

I also wrote a detailed breakdown of all the many threads of research, facts, commentary, etc that went into crafting the story in my Patreon, which is free to read here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/54679583

The Patreon essay was prompted by a Twitter thread I did about why I wrote it and The National Pastime, the publication that it’s in:

*Mind Games* audiobook out today on @Scribd ! Sexy paranormal suspense

Mind Games by Cecilia Tan depicted as ebook and paperback

Going live on Scribd today! An audio edition of (as well as ebook of…) my erotic paranormal romance/romantic suspense novel Mind Games. It was the first romance I wrote for Ravenous Romance back in the days of the digital romance gold rush around 2009. I got the rights back a while ago, and put out a self-published edition, but I hadn’t put it into audiobook format. Scribd bought the exclusive audio rights and you can listen to it right now!

If you’re on Scribd, you can access it for free as part of your subscription.

If you’re not on Scribd, they have a 30 day free trial going on right now. Basically it’s a subscription service ($10/month) similar to Kindle Unlimited that not only gives you access to a large library of free books including many from major publishers and bestsellers, they also have audiobooks as part of the deal, as well as major newspapers and magazines. It’s a great alternative to KU if you’re trying to fight the Amazon near-monopoly or boycotting Amazon (like I am).

You can read most of the first chapter on the Scribd page for the book:
https://www.scribd.com/book/515639457/Mind-Games

Description:
When your stalker can enter your dreams, there’s nowhere to hide.

Ever since she foresaw the death of her parents, Wren Delacourt has suppressed her latent psychic abilities. Avoiding strong emotions, Wren leads a placid but lonely life until her quiet is shattered by her sister Abby going missing… and the private investigator searching for her.

Derek Chapman isn’t what Wren expects. He’s young, handsome, and surprisingly sensitive. Wren is attracted to him immediately, but fears that deepening any connection with Derek—emotional, spiritual, or sexual—will open the floodgates locked in her mind.

A mystery man appears in Wrens dreams, dealing pain and pleasure. Is Wren’s subconscious warning her away from Derek, or longing for him? When the search for Abby leads to a secret sex club, it seems fate is pulling Wren into Derek’s arms, whether she is ready or not.

Author & editor Catherine Lundoff of Queen of Swords Press on queer fiction & fantasy #PrideStoryBundle

2021 Pride StoryBundle
To wrap up Pride month and the celebration of the Pride StoryBundle of queer fantasy and science fiction, we have an interview with author and editor Catherine Lundoff. There’s only a week left to grab the Bundle!

Pick up your copy of the Pride StoryBundle through July 1st at https://storybundle.com/pride to read Catherine’s novel about menopausual werewolves, Silver Moon! If you buy the bundle at the $20 level, you get 16 books and you can earmark part of your purchase price for Rainbow Railroad’s life-saving work with LGBTQ refugees. Happy Pride Month!

How do you celebrate Pride? 
Catherine: I’m often at a table selling books at a lot of our regional Prides. If I’m not doing that, I’m hanging out with my friends and talking to the vendors and anyone else who looks interesting. I also like to do author readings, see queer theater and films and engage in whatever interesting cultural and political events are happening. I like celebrating as many aspects of Pride as I can!

We have so many wonderful queer books being published these days, but new queer writers can still face unique challenges. What advice would you offer them? 
Catherine: Don’t give up. Finding and building an audience can be hard and slow but have faith in your work and keep going. Support other LGBTQ+ writers and work with them when you can to make everyone as successful as possible.

Can you tell us about the book you have in this StoryBundle?
Catherine: I have 2 books in this StoryBundle, Silver Moon and Blood Moon. We decided to run both of them because there were several years between the re-release of Silver Moon (Book 1 of my Wolves of Wolf’s Point series) and March of this year, when Blood Moon (Book 2) came out so we wanted people to have the opportunity to read them back-to-back if they wanted to. My Wolves books are about a group of middle-aged women in a fantastical Western town in the U.S. who turn into werewolves as they enter menopause. There’s a mystery, a paranormal romance, a touch of the dark fantastic, lots of queer characters, found family and coming out at midlife. These could be just the books you’re looking for!

What do you find engaging or important about writing LGBTQ+/queer fiction?
Catherine: Well, first and foremost, I think it’s critical to have our stories out there and by that I mean all kinds of stories and queer fiction. I think this is particularly true as big publishers consolidate and opportunities for queer authors broaden in some respects and narrow in others. I think our stories reflect our history and culture as much as our imaginations and often, who we are at this point in time. Our words are part of how we will be remembered, hopefully inspiring new generations of queer people to create their own as well as having a better understanding of what came before them.

What other books or stories do you have out that readers of this StoryBundle might enjoy?
Catherine: I have several collections of short fiction out, of which Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories might be of most interest. And for stories that aren’t yet collected, I should mention that I have a series of f/f 17th century Caribbean pirate and spy stories up at Heather Rose Jones’s Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. I recommend LHMPodcast anyway since it’s full of excellent information about queer women in history as well as fiction.

Aside from your own work, what are some of your favorite queer reads you would recommend to folks?
Catherine: Of the books that I’ve read most recently, River Horse by Melissa Scott is some excellent queer epic fantasy, I’m currently enjoying A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark and I’m almost done with The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite, which is a terrific f/f Regency-flavored romance with charming older heroines.

Author Melissa Scott on the 2021 #PrideStoryBundle of Queer SF/F

2021 Pride StoryBundle

This year’s Pride Story Bundle is out! And it’s available only for the month of June. Put together by Melissa Scott and Catherine Lundoff, the bundle features ebooks of queer sf/f  to celebrate Pride month and the breadth of LGBTQ science fiction and fantasy. My contribution is Spellbinding–the Magic University anthology of short stories, half by me, half by other writers playing in my sandbox.

Pay what you want to get the main bundle of five books (pictured above) including Catherine Lundoff’s Silver Moon, Melissa Scott’s Burning Bright, AJ Fitzwater’s No Man’s Land, Highfell Grimoires by Langley Hyde, and Dropnauts by J. Scott Coatsworth. If you pay at least $15, though, you get 11 more bonus books, including mine. For deets: https://storybundle.com/pride

Today here on the blog, we have a little interview with Melissa Scott about the book Burning Bright, which is included in the bundle!

Can you tell us about the book you have in this StoryBundle?

Pilot and amateur game-creator Quinn Lioe comes to the planet Burning Bright, an independent world built on trade between the human Republic and the alien empire of the Hsaioi-An. It’s also a hub of the Game, and Lioe is delighted when she’s able to cut a deal to run one of her sessions at a high-level house. But she inadvertently gets involved with an ex-Gamer-turned-artist who is himself deeply enmeshed in local and off-world politics, and finds herself trapped in that new and deadly game. Burning Bright is about the intersection of art and politics, and the many prices one can pay for power.

What do you find engaging or important about writing LGBTQ+/queer fiction?

First, of course, there’s the simple pleasure of writing about my own culture, of creating stories about people who are something like me (though, of course, this being fiction, they’re generally bolder and braver and more dangerous than I usually manage to be). One of the nicest things about the way the field has evolved over the years is that I no longer need to say “I’m writing the books that I wanted to read but couldn’t find” — there is so much good queer fiction out there now.

Second, though, and perhaps more importantly, I think that queer culture is itself a unique and valuable world, full of stories that everyone can enjoy. We are shapeshifters, mask-wearers, flaunting and stealthy, quarrelsome and fiercely protective of each other; we find family in the most unlikely places, and the bonds we invent are as strong as any ties of blood. Of course there are stories there.

What other books or stories do you have out that readers of this StoryBundle might enjoy?

If you like Burning Bright, I think you would like Finders, a story of a team of salvage operators — a m/m/f threesome — who get more than they bargained for when they claim a piece of an Ancestral orbital palace. If you’re more of a fantasy reader, you might like Water Horse, just out from Candlemark & Gleam. It’s the story of the queer king of a beleaguered kingdom, trying to twist free of the prophecies that say he will destroy his own kingdom.

Aside from your own work, what are some of your favorite queer reads you would recommend to folks?

Oh, there’s so much! I’d recommend everything in this bundle, for a start, and then, in no particular order, half a dozen faves: Elizabeth Bear, Karen Memory (I’m a sucker for steampunk Westerns); KJ Charles, The Casebook of Simon Feximal and Spectred Isle (I’m also a sucker for Edwardian ghost stories, and these are brilliant updates); Craig Laurence Gidney, A Spectral Hue (another sort of ghost story, deep and evocative); Jo Graham, Stealing Fire (historical fantasy set in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death); Ginn Hale, Wicked Gentlemen (theoretically tamed demons); Jacqueline Koyanagi, Ascension (space opera with an all-too-true take on family). And there’s more out there, particularly from small presses.

BurningBright.jpg

Pandemic Baking: Queen of Hearts Strawberry Rose Frangiapane Tarts

Around Christmas we got friends together for a Zoom cocktail party with a custom cocktail class with Tammy’s Tastings (I highly recommend her mix-at-home online cocktail classes. They are super fun and I’ve learned a ton from taking several over the course of this lockdown, now in our 11th month…)

The group was wondering what to do next, and we decided on a Zoom dinner party where we’d each make different courses and deliver them around, then heat them up and eat them together online.

The theme we chose was Alice in Wonderland, and when I saw after a month of sign-ups that no one had taken dessert, it seemed obvious to me I should grab it and naturally I had to make the Queen of Hearts’ Tarts. I don’t believe Lewis Carroll ever specified what kind of tarts the Knave stole from the Queen, but it’s winter, and I have been craving the ripe red summer fruits and berries. This is why we freeze as many strawberries as we can–for just such an occasion.

Next step, order heart-shaped mini tart pans! This turned out to be more difficult than usual because lots of places that sell them were sold out — not sure if that was because of Valentine’s Day or the pandemic, but I eventually found a place that could ship them to me in time.

Then I looked over a lot of different tart recipes. “Tart” seems to mean just about anything that can be called a pie, just smaller. Talking it over with some Pokemon Go playing friends who are into baking, one of them suggested the hip thing because of the Great British Baking show is “bakewells,” a kind of tart that includes a fruit jam and an almond frangiapane. You know how much I love the almond in the king cake, right? This seemed right up my alley.
I thought about trying to develop a bakewell version of my strawberry balsamic vinegar basil pie, but that is really a summer pie and our indoor herb garden doesn’t have that much basil in it right this second (yes, another pandemic project: indoor herb garden — if you think that’s a cliche, wait till you hear all three of us are learning Japanese and Jess taught herself the ukelele).

One of my favorite ways to elevate a recipe, though, is add flowers. Could I make a rose strawberry jam? Turns out that’s such a natural fit there are some great recipes out there for it. I ended up following the one at Completely Delicious fairly closely: “Strawberry and Rose Water Jame with Vanilla Bean” except I doubled the rose water and also put in some dried rose petals from the pink burmese rose buds I have on hand from Aroma Tea Shop. Since I was using frozen strawberries I didn’t have to cut them or crush them because they start to fall apart once they thaw. I also didn’t use bottled lemon juice — I juice a lemon and saved the zest to use in the frangiapane. And I reduced it down for about 45 minutes instead of the 20-30 in the recipe.

For the tart crust, I went with the almond shortcrust in the recipe at The Elegant Econonmist for strawberry rose bakewell tart, but I didn’t use their frangiapane recipe or any other instructions, really.

The frangiapane came from the BBC Good Food website, which has several mini bakewells recipes, but I used one by snugglewuffin, which made just exactly the amount needed to top 16 mini heart-shaped tarts.

I held off decorating them until the next day. I kind of felt like royal icing was gilding the lily, and yet it makes them look quite nice since baked frangiapane looks kind of like the surface of the moon. And it’s traditional. Since the jam didn’t taste that strongly of rose — I might try quadrupling the rose water instead of merely doubling it next time — I thought I could put some rose flavor or scent in here, and so I brewed a rose tea to use instead of water.
As an accompaniment instead of a cocktail, I recommended a strong black tea. The bitter note in the tea cuts the intense sweetness of the tart and vice versa. I went with a high mountain Ceylon I got from Aroma Tea Shop in San Francisco (they mail order). I made a packet of tea leaves for each person.

My blog isn’t loading photos today (???) so I’m embedding instagram posts below.
Quick Reference recipe links:

Pandemic Retail Therapy: Ebay Shopping for my main characters

I have a writer friend who, when she’s learning what it feels like inside the head of her main character, will sometimes go clothes shopping as that character (but not actually buy anything).
I hate shopping malls. I spent too much time in them as a teenager in New Jersey. So when I take my characters shopping, I usually do it either at Good Will or through online retail. Now that the pandemic has kept me out of public contact for the most part, I’ve been sticking to online spaces. By far the most fun place to shop online–especially for character shopping–is eBay, since it’s not just clothes but other things one can look for, as well. Unlike Amazon, eBay has rabbit holes and cul-de-sacs that one can go down, from vintage baseball uniforms to collectible playing cards, from used kitchen equipment to “smart” jewelry.
I sometimes even let my characters shop for me. When I won the RT Award in 2013 for Slow Surrender, I had Ziggy, one of the main characters in Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, pick out my awards ceremony outfit for me. I was utterly dithering about what would be appropriate to wear, and he put together an outfit that absolutely rocked (including boots by Harley Davidson and a double-breasted corset-back tuxedo jacket off eBay that one never would have found in a regular retail site–and which isn’t still available now or I’d link to it).
Right now I’m writing an urban fantasy series where every character has to have a knife. So of course I started researching what knives people might have, both so I can describe them in the text and so I can figure out what style each character would carry.

Spyderco Q: The knife I would never have let the TSA take if I knew they were going for $200 to $350 on eBay now…!
On eBay I discovered that several of the knives I personally own are now collectors items. In fact, I discovered that a knife I’d had since the 1990s–but which I didn’t think was expensive or hard to replace and so I let the TSA in Florida confiscate it–is now going for $200 and up on eBay. I’m talking about the “skeletonized” Spyderco Q. I own several Spyderco that are now rising in price. Apparently, Spyderco used to have all their blades made in Seki, Japan. The company was recently bought and moved all manufacturing to China, and blade connoisseurs are unhappy about this? And so the “classic” Seki Spydercos are going for premium prices now.
My search for a new skeletonized Q, though, eventually led me to GovDeals.com as well. This is a site where government agencies like the TSA (and state universities) sell off their surplus. You can buy pocket knives by the bucketful. I ended up picking up several nice police-issue Spydercos via GovDeals, which really made me wonder how that confiscation went down: was it a dick-sizing competition between the TSA officers and some police officer who thought they could get away with carrying a blade like that on an airplane?
I still haven’t found a Spyderco Q at a price I’m willing to pay. The one I lost had the spider-in-web cutout and serrated blade. I’ve decided which character will be carrying that knife.
I also researched knives so small they can be worn as a charm on a necklace. Spyderco has one called the “bug” (even smaller than their “honeybee” model) which fits the bill. I bought one of them off eBay to check that it would be as sharp and usable as the bigger ones: it is! It even comes with a hole for stringing the chain through. Research!
This eBay rabbit hole eventually led me down to ceramic “fruit knives,” which supposedly can’t be detected by X-ray machines. I picked up a few of them, too, on mega-sale via eBay ($15 for a set of four folding knives), and they are cute! They look like birds/fish, feel basically like plastic, but they are SHARP. I used them all summer to cut peaches to eat. When we are allowed to travel again (someday!) these will probably be my go-to travel knife.
A couple of eBay shopping tips:
SEARCH BAR: If you’re doing the pandemic thing of wanting ideas for home improvement, don’t just type “Home Improvement” into the search bar. You’ll get all items related to the TV show by that name, DVD sets, etc. If you search for “home improvement” and you set the search bar to search within the category of Home and Garden, on the other hand, you’ll find all the smart doorbells, fireplace accoutrements, door hinges, etc etc. Narrow your search if you aren’t finding what you want. On the other hand, sometimes you find some really interesting stuff if you look in unexpected places.
COUPONS AND DEALS: I did not know this until recently, but there are sites that search for online coupons and EBay is one of the sites that quite regularly has coupons. So now I know to check Slickdeals at https://slickdeals.net/coupons/ebay/ before I buy anything. The deals change so you have to go see what’s current on any given date. Right now I see a 15% off anything and a 10% off any new product.
DON’T GET SUCKED INTO AUCTIONS: If you want the best deal, sometimes it’s great when you bid on something with a really low starting bid. But if you get outbid, you really should look at what price you’d pay if you just flat out bought the item from a regular retail site. If you get into a bidding war with someone, the only way to “win” is to pay more money than the other bidder(s). More money does not sound like a bargain, now, does it?
So, I’ve ended up buying a bunch of knives. What about you? What have you found yourself buying during the pandemic?

Pandemic Road Tripping

Some family members of mine are currently roadtripping across the USA in an RV. So are a lot of folks, apparently. RV sales are “skyrocketing” and sites like RVShare reported a 1000% increase in business. That’s one-thousand-percent, not a typo.
Taking a cross-continent trip in an RV is a little outside my comfort zone, but there’s little that seems safer during the pandemic than driving somewhere scenic in the sealed box that is my trusty car? After months of going nowhere but on a weekly grocery run, what motivated me to finally go farther afield was a once-every-800-years event, the arrival of comet NEOWISE.
Having identified the state park at Mount Tom in western Massachusetts as the best place to try to view the comet, my family and I checked the weather for the weekend, identified Saturday as the best chance, packed a picnic dinner and snacks, as well as binoculars, bug spray, and camp chairs, and set out in the mid-afternoon. Mt. Tom has a nicely paved road with scenic views of the valley. Picnic areas, the Bray Tower, and scenic overlooks are all open, even though the visitors center is currently closed due to the pandemic.
We tailgated by our parked car until about a half-hour after sunset, and then hiked on foot up to the first overlook (the road is closed to vehicles at 8pm). From there we had a successful comet viewing. About a dozen others were there, and folks were friendly, but wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Around 10pm it started to cloud up, and we headed home.
The experience being quite positive, I started researching other road trips we could take that would allow us to get away from our work-from-home lives for a bit while still staying safe. The outdoors have particularly been deemed safe by medical experts, so an uncrowded beach, a nature trail in a wooded area, these seems like good destinations to plan.
I Googled “scenic drives in New England” and came up with numerous sites (like TripAdvisor, or the new-to-me MyScenicDrives.com) with lists of recommendations.
Next in the planning stage: making sure my car is ready for the drive. This is a crucial one, because with the car mostly sitting unused every since March, it might not seem like it needs maintenance. But actually it probably needs it more than ever. The dealer where I bought my car is kind of far from me, and their website said nothing about what precautions they’re taking during the pandemic. I found another dealer nearby, though, with details of their “contactless dropoff” that could be scheduled online. While looking up what other contactless maintenance might be available, and Google searching for tips about road-tripping during the pandemic, this page on RepairSmith.com seemed more than relevant: “How to Road Trip Safely During the Pandemic.” (RepairSmith basically comes to you and fixes your car where you are, like a house call veterinarian for cars.)
Their tips include the following: “To avoid gas stations, eliminate as many unnecessary stops as possible through pre-planning. Pack your own food and water and fill your tank at your neighborhood gas station. While using gas pumps, wear disposable gloves, and discard them before getting back in your vehicle.”
In addition to wearing my mask, I always bring a pack of disposable gloves and disinfecting wipes with me when I leave the house. Most transmission of the novel coronavirus seems to take place via the air, and being within breathable proximity or downwind of an infected human. This is why it’s crucial to avoid indoor spaces with other people, who can spread the virus before they show any symptoms. So no bars, restaurants, movie theaters, or other indoor destinations for me.
When we trekked to Mount Tom, I also packed our own toilet paper, wipes, extra ziplock bags, etc. so that we could avoid using public rest stops or rest areas. “Back to nature” is the name of the game!
The thing about asymptomatic transmission, though, is that if I’m really going to take a trip that will bring me into contact with other people, which will inevitably happen if I need groceries or assistance of any kind, or if I stay somewhere overnight, is that I should get tested before I go to make sure that *I* am not the one spreading the virus around. This is a point made clearly by the Lonely Planet list of “9 Expert Tips for Road Trip Safety During the Pandemic.” They also point out that it’s important to research where the virus is low and where it’s hyper-epidemic at a given time and recommend using the Johns Hopkins Tracker to see where the hotspots are and avoid them. New England is looking pretty good!
I’ll be getting my test this weekend, and probably hitting the Mohawk Trail toward the end of the month!

Planning that Big Post-Pandemic Trip

I’m not traveling right now, and those of you who know me know that’s just not usual. I typically have a summer filled with conventions and conferences, bookstore appearances, awards ceremonies, and author galas. Instead, the conferences are online, I haven’t had to buy a single stitch of new clothes, and I look longingly at my photos from Italy last February.
They say looking forward to something nice can help a person get through tough times, though, and I know when it’s safe to travel again, there’s going to be a boom in people going places.
When you’re self-employed, you have to figure out when to take a vacation. You work for the hardest boss in the world–yourself–and so you never give yourself a break. But you ought to. I know it’s the pandemic right now and so traveling to faraway places seems like it’s never going to happen again. But it will.
Let’s say I’m going to put away $2,500 for that vacation or convention in August 2021. I picked that as my target because that’s about what it cost me to attend RWA (Romance Writers of America) in San Diego in 2016, and about what I spent on a weeklong trip to Disney.
I’m using the SAVINGS GOAL CALCULATOR at Pigly (a non-profit financial planning site with lots of free calculators!) The calculator lets me set my goal at $2500, and enter my starting amount. I’m starting with fifty bucks in there. My local bank has a savings account with a 2% APY right now and a $10 minimum balance that I can open online without even going to the bank. Nice!
If I plug those numbers in, and say I want to make a weekly contribution for one year…

…it calculates for me how much I need to put away per week: $46.64.

In other words, the money I’m not spending at the local coffee shop, where I would easily spend $11-12 3-4 times a week… I can now put into my travel account. (I know I was spending between $33 and $48 per week in the local coffee shops because I also used Pigly’s BUDGET calculator and CASH FLOW calculator…)
If I really want to get ambitious, I should start planning not just one trip, but a travel budget for the whole year, including several conventions and at least one pleasure trip, and I should look for a savings account–or a CD–that would return a better interest rate. (Pigly has calculators that can take long term planning and other forms of investment into account, too.) But for now I’m just keeping my eye on that one goal, and putting that $47 into the account every week will remind me we’re getting closer, step by small step.
I’m fortunate that being a self-employed writer means my work hasn’t been very negatively impacted by the pandemic. (In fact, my ebook sales are up.) I’ve stayed healthy by staying home. But someday, hopefully in 2021, I’ll be taking that big trip somewhere!
Where are you going to go when it’s safe to travel again?
Somewhere familiar that you missed, or a bucket-list place?