Monday, March 14, 2016

To Plan or Not to Plan by Merrillee Whren

Are you a planner, or do you like to do things at the last minute? Some things have to be planned, but sometimes it's fun to do things on the spur of the moment. We have some trips planned this year to events where you have to make plans ahead of time, but an unexpected invitation to join my brother and his wife in Las Vegas this past week made for some surprises. We decided to drive and arrived in the early afternoon on Tuesday. We checked into the room we had booked at the last minute and were pleasantly surprised to find a big room with a sitting area and a desk.

We met my brother and his wife after her meetings were over, and we snagged some tickets to the West Coast Conference basketball championship game featuring St. Mary's and Gonzaga. Since my brother and I claim Spokane as our hometown, we were cheering for the Zags, and they won.

The first photo is the beginning of the game, and the second photo is the trophy presentation.  

The next afternoon, while my sister-in-law went to her meetings, the two guys and I managed to get tickets to the first round of the PAC-12 basketball tournament where we watched two very lopsided games. We were cheering for the hapless Washington State Cougars, who had only had one conference victory all year. They didn't improve their terrible record and lost to Colorado, whose fans were a bit obnoxious. 
 Here's a photo of the Washington State cheerleaders, the best part of the game.

That evening we ate at a Guy Fieri restaurant not far from our hotel. The menu was quite interesting.

The next day the guys and I planned to get tickets to the second round of the PAC-12 tournament in order to see Arizona play. Since a lot of Arizona fans travel from Tucson to this tournament every year, we had no idea whether we could get tickets. We knew they probably wouldn't be cheap and had to set a limit on how much we would pay. Some scalpers wanted way too much, but we came across a guy who had two tickets near the floor. Since there were three of us, I told the guys to go ahead and go. I would head back to the room and write. On my walk back to the hotel, I got a call from my hubby who said they had scored some fantastic seats, even better than they had expected. I watched the game on my computer back in the hotel room. 

That evening my sister-in-law invited us to attend the dinner and concert that was part of her conference. This was a fantastic surprise because one of my favorite bands from the 1980s, Journey, gave the concert. I recorded a few clips with my phone. The sound isn't great, but maybe you can recognize these songs. 

During our trip, we drove through part of the Joshua Tree forest. I stopped to take some photos. I learned that these yucca plants are only located in the Mojave Desert. I didn't even know we were in the Mojave Desert until I looked up information on the Joshua Tree. We live in the Sonoran Desert that is known for it's saguaro cacti. Here are photos of both.

 A saguaro at sunset
Joshua Tree

So what does my post have to do with writing? My writing process is a journey of discovery. I might know a little big about my characters and a little bit about what will happen, but mostly it is a surprise as I write. 

Do you like surprises, or do you like to know exactly what your plans are? 

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Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of  thirty-five plus years, and has two grown daughters. Her upcoming release, Falling for the Millionaire, will be available around March 22, 2016, at all major book retailers. You can find the pre-order links at her website. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.


  1. I'm not "in" to sports, but what made Guy Fieri's restaurant menu interesting????

  2. Lyn, I wish I had a photographic memory so I could give you the details. I just remember looking at the entrees and thinking that they were very weird. I had a pork sandwich with cheese on it. I took the cheese off and enjoyed the sandwich. He had fries with hot sauce on them. They were actually quite tasty.

    1. I wish I had a photographic memory too! :-) I love his show DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES.

  3. Replies
    1. Donna, it was quite a treat and an unexpected one.

  4. I'm not into sports, either, but I love Journey! :)

  5. I love this place. I had an event here back in May last year and I felt like it was a perfect day for us! The Chicago venues provides you with an event Specialist as part of your package which is extremely helpful. Plus all of us dressed up only added to the entire ambience.