Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

by Rita Goldner

I’m spending a week camping on the shore of Lake Tahoe, while working on my new book. It’s a wonderful place to nurture a creative spirit, and I have been doing it Lake Tahoefor about 20 years. At first I was landscape painting, with stupendous subject matter all around me. In recent years, I’m writing and illustrating, while my husband Dave is floating around with a kayak or standup paddle board. The camping aspect keeps the trip low-budget, and the absence of phone, TV, and computer gives my muse room to maneuver herself into my brain.

Actually, this get-away is a combination hi-tech/lo-tech week. The lo-tech part is sitting on a camp chair, digging my toes into a sandy beach, and sketching illustrations for my new book in a sketch pad. I feel comfortable roughing out scene compositions and character gestures on paper first. I also use a pencil and paper for a first draft of the story, with a plethora of cross-outs and re-wordings.

Then the high-tech part kicks in when I break out my iPad. I photograph the sketches into my library and transfer them to a layer in my drawing software. I refine them and color them if necessary, and then email them to myself for finishing later at home on my desktop. I type the words into my i-Pad note section, and email it to myself for later incorporation into a text layer in the picture book.  I’m gladly required to make do with an occasional trip to town to send and receive necessary emails in a wi-fi coffee shop.

I’m sitting in a grove of pine trees, by the crystal-clear lake, surrounded by mountains, and wishing the beauty would last, but it doesn’t look promising. They test lake clarity every year by lowering a white plate, called a secchi disk, down into the deep water.  They gauge the transparency by recording the depth at which the plate is no longer visible. During the last 50 years, this depth has decreased about a foot per year. It’s 73 feet now, but the hopeful news is that in recent years the increase in pollution is slowing. The catch-22 about a place this beautiful is that everyone wants to go there. This wouldn’t be a problem if visitors just wanted to hike, paint, swim, and commune with nature. The pollution is caused by adding motorboats, golf courses, gaming casinos, and multi-million dollar mansions along the shore.

However, for now, Mother Nature is jump-starting my creativity. I’m working on the fun, artistic part of my job, like designing my new website and illustrating my new book, Jackson’s History Adventure. It’s a story book, but the reader can color the illustrations themselves.  I’m putting the not-so-fun technology on the back burner, like getting the website “Buy” button and newsletter link to work, and formatting my book for the printer. I needed a separate new website, because this book will be self-published, and my other website is affiliated with my publisher.  

After my rustic week is over, I’ll be back to my big-city agenda of publishing, marketing, researching, and social media. I’m launching a 5 day giveaway of my Kindle book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy, on Amazon from September 7 through 11. Please download it with my compliments and, if you’re so inclined, leave a review.


Rita Goldner is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rita Goldner2Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit To view additional illustrations and other books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook.


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