Geocaching GPS: My First Publication That Isn’t a Scientific Paper

HalliesCacheNaNoSince November 2012, when I wrote the first draft of my novel, Hallie’s Cache, for NaNoWriMo, I’ve been interested in writing about geocaching. My husband, who has over 10,000 geocache finds, is also better at logging his finds on the official site, whereas I, with <10% of his total finds, always seem to have a significant backlog.

I’d like to think that’s because I want to write more about each cache find, as I find it. I want each cache to have a story. But I can’t write a story–good or otherwise–about finding 20 or 30 caches in a single day. I just get overwhelmed. After a day like that, I can’t even remember what I was looking for that morning, let alone last week. So, like a lot of people, sometimes I make a template of 1-2 sentences about my caching goals, or a little summary of where we went and what we did, and then I just copy and paste it into the logs for all the caches I found that day. It makes logging easier.

Easier, yes, but more fun, no.

So, to see what others do, I’ve started reading fiction based on geocaching. It’s still a small genre, small enough that First to Find has not yet been totally overused as a book title. Morgan C. Talbot’s “Caching Out” series is a fun set of cozy mysteries based on geocaching. I read the first volume in the series with my husband in the evenings. I found the descriptions of geocaching to be very accurate. Her caching names are great–just as, if not more, inventive than those belonging to people I’ve met caching.  The characters in this series are also well-drawn and memorable: two women in a not wholly unlikely friendship, different enough from each other to be interesting, not so different that the reader can’t identify with them. And, in the course of the novel, she explains how geocaching works very well, without talking down to or boring more experienced cachers.

We also found another mystery paperback in a geocache recently: To Cache a Predator by Michelle Weidenbenner. I admit that I have not read this one yet, and my husband took it on a plane trip to California, where he’s planning to leave it in another cache after he’s finished reading it. It’s interesting to me, though, that the author wrote this one during 2011’s NaNoWriMo. I’m not the only one who does this when faced with a blank screen to fill with 50,000 words.

The Geocaching Writing Contest from New Frontier Books
The Geocaching Writing Contest from New Frontier Books

It was actually on Morgan C Talbot’s Facebook page–which I liked a couple of years ago–that I found out about the geocaching story contest.  The contest asked for a personal story related to geocaching, about romance, adventure, or connection. It had to be 1000 words or less, and it had to be true.

There were all of 2 days left before the deadline, and I was scheduled to go to a training for teaching OWL the day the stories were due. I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it. But I thought it was worth a try, and I started writing that day, worked on it for a couple hours, thinking of what to write about. It wasn’t that hard to think of an idea. We’d been caching in Hawai’i last summer, and found a diving geocache called “Bob.” I found it with my husband, and we’d been bickering a bit before we found it. But the afternoon had, in fact, had a little something of everything that the editor asked for: romance (two lovers in an exotic locale), connection (husband and wife bickering but reconnecting in the process of finding the cache), and adventure (it’s diving and it’s in Hawai’i).

KarenBob
Standing on the beach, ready to go for Bob.

But I was only about 2/3 done when I went to the training, and I had also arrived there late due to some teenage drama–all resolved, but still. After the evening session of training was over, we trainees went back to our rooms and settled in for the night. I ended up having a surprisingly passionate and somewhat prickly conversation with my assigned roommate, about music. I needed a break and I think she did too. So, I took out my laptop, and between 10:30 pm and midnight, finished the last third of the geocaching story. It seemed to end a bit abruptly, but I also know that I can be wordy at times without meaning to, and that I’m not always the best judge of when to stop writing. Regardless, it was exactly 1,000 words, and only a few minutes before midnight on deadline day.  I hit send and went to sleep.

It was more than another week before I found out that my story had been accepted. During that time I convinced myself that it was okay if it didn’t happen. I would still read the book even if my story wasn’t in it. Maybe there had been too much bickering at the beginning. Maybe it *had* ended too abruptly. Maybe my husband didn’t want to be in the story at all (even if he said he did). Maybe the title was dumb. Maybe she didn’t believe there really was a geocache in Hawai’i named Bob. But then I got the acceptance email. The book looks great! It will be launched at Geowoodstock, on May 23, 2015. I, the slow logger of caches, am now a published author! I can’t wait to read all the other stories too!

Diving for Bob
Diving for Bob
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7 thoughts on “Geocaching GPS: My First Publication That Isn’t a Scientific Paper”

  1. Michelle, thank you for visiting and commenting! The children’s book is a wonderful idea. I look forward to reading it! I could stand to get a little more obsessed with editing, myself. Right now that is why I have not gotten _Hallie’s Cache_ into shape. It needs editing and I haven’t found the motivation to get it to the next level.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi K. L.

    How exciting! Congrats on writing the story (I hope it’s the first of many more) and getting it accepted into the book. (I hope they paid you!) Wow, you wrote that fast! I’m obsessed with editing and re-editing. (I never think my work is good enough. It’s a part of the profession.)

    Thanks for mentioning my book here too. I’ve found that the story has appealed to people who know nothing about geocaching but since reading the book have taken up the sport. I love that!

    I have a children’s chapter book that I hope to publish soon about a little girl who learns what geocaching is. I want to spread awareness for this family sport.

    Thanks again and keep writing! You have a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

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