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I was a teenage vampire geisha

Okay, so I wasn’t a teenage vampire geisha. I am an adventurer in travel, writing and publishing and I help other writers self-publish their books, too. My indie author journey began in 1994 with a little guide to cycling the French Riviera.

I loved the control of self-publishing, so I just kept doing it. I’ve starting guiding other authors to success by helping them map out their self-publishing adventure, and an adventure it is! New language, culture, customs. I love it, but most authors, having already experienced the thrill of writing an entire book, are just done by then.

The Indie Author Journey with Carla King

The Indie Author Journey is my offering to those of you trying to sort out this new world. I hope you’ll join me. I’ve already written a guidebook: The Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors, and now I’m starting a new series introducing self-publishing concepts at the most basic level get you off to a good start. Thanks for joining me!

00: Map Out Your Self-Publishing Adventure: Intro

01: Map Out Your Self-Publishing Adventure: Ebook Creation Tools on the Desktop


Dual-Sport Adventure Helmet Review: LS2 MX453

Carla King LS2-MX453When my friend Reg Kittrelle asked me if I’d like to try an LS2 MX453 Dual-Sport Adventure Motorcycle Helmet I said, “I’ve never heard of it, but dual-sport adventure? I’m in!” I guess I have been living under a rock because LS2 sponsored 76 riders in the 2013 Dakar rally, including the winner Cyril Despres, and almost 100 riders in the 2014 rally. But the company has operated in stealth mode for quite some time, making helmets for well-known brands (as MHR helmets) before deciding to strike out on their own. They hired a Spanish marketing firm who set to work on design and style, then started selling factory direct to keep prices low. The MX453 Adventure costs only $169.95, undercutting name brands in the dual-sport adventure helmet market by hundreds while vastly surpassing the quality of other helmets in its price range.

The category “dual-sport adventure helmet” is defined by its hybrid components: a dual-sport or motocross style helmet with a large eye port covered by a flip-down shield where you’d normally wear goggles. These helmets also sport a visor to shield your eyes from the sun and an extended chin bar for breathing room and ventilation. All this so you can exercise your right to wrestle your bike through the dirt heading west at sunset. Here’s Reg on YouTube explaining the “adventure helmet” concept.

The target market for this variation on helmets is riders like me with our single-cylinder dual-sport enduros like the KLR 650 and KTM 690, and the big-bore adventure motorcyclists with BMW and KTM Adventures and the skills for off-tarmac fun. I see another great market in riders of the smaller dual-sport bikes who set off across the Sahara all the way to Cape Town, never exceeding 40 mph.

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Annual Nonfiction Writers Conference May 7-9

Come-on travel writers, memoirists, journalist and biographers! Every year Stephanie Chandler holds a nonfiction writers conference and every year it’s great and very fresh with a new mix of presenters. (Last year I was a presenter. You can buy the 2013 conference, still very relevant.) Click here to visit Stephanie Chandler Enterprises LLC and sign up before March 28 for 35% off. There are three levels – live only for $99 and $199 for live access and downloadable recordings. Another $100 gets you transcripts, too. Find out more.

Nonfiction Writers Conference 2014


Author Kimberley Patterson’s Self-Pub Journey

Kimberley Patterson, Author

I invited local author Kimberley Patterson to share her Self-Pub path to our San Diego Self-Publishers Meetup group last week. Kimberley is the author of two Young Adult books: Red Rock is a western, and The Three Month Plan is what you might call genre fiction. She was incredibly generous with information about what worked, and what didn’t. She talks editing, cover design, marketing and publicity, social media, live events, and much more, including how she gets her book Redrock into the hands of every country music star that comes into town.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day to all the women I know and the men who love and support us! I often reflect on what it means to be a woman in this time and this place.

Women & Motorcycling
Traveling outside of western culture I am often welcomed as an “honorary man,” a desexualized status that allows me to float between both men’s and women’s worlds. It’s an ideal situation for an adventure travel writer, and one I would not have hit upon had I not embarked on that first solo journey.

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Choosing a Beginner Bike

Enjoy my free booklet on beginner bikes. Please share with your social networks – I hope to influence beginners to start with smaller bikes so they stay safe while learning skills. I’m working on a version for intermediate level bikes. The Grom will definitely be in it. Other suggestions?

Like this booklet? Make your own in Aerbook using a PDF file or an EPUB! Easy, free, and if you sell, you keep 85%. Click here to check it out.

Aerbook Get Started


Fun New FIM Women in Motorcycling Video

Check this eye-catching smile-inducing video from the FIM Women in Motorcycling team. And I’m even in a crowd shot from the 2012 Women and Motorcycling Conference up in Carson City. See how fun it is. And find out more.


Dual-Sport Adventure Touring Motorcycle Boot Review

After my second dual-sport ride my poor little Tour Master street boots were trashed. My friend’s motocross boots fit okay, but they were too heavy and noisy to walk in. It was clearly time to go shopping. Looking through the crop of serious four-season, full-height, dual-sport adventure-tourbing boots, I decided that boots with the features I was looking for ranged from $350 to $550 in price. After a couple of months grilling the adventure riding community about their choices, I decided on the TCX Infinity GTX (Gortex) adventure touring boots, formerly branded Oxtar. This is a review of the TCX Infinitys and it’s followed by a review of my shopping experience that includes descriptions of competing boots with reasons for eliminating them from my list.

Above is a series of photos of my first try-on of the boots. (Click to enlarge.) They were easy to put on, the buckles are very adjustable, and I like the elastic collar at the top. I also like the understated look of them. I’m wearing my Olympia Moto Sports Mesh Tech jacket and pants. The pants unzip all the way to the hip making it very easy to put on and take off your boots.

The Contenders

  • TCX Infinity GTX Boots $359, X-Desert $399
  • Aerostich Combat Touring Boots $367
  • Gaerne Balance Oiled Boots $395
  • Forma Adventure Boots $299, Boulder $279, Cape Horn $299
  • SIDI Discovery Rain Boots $350, Adventure Rain $400, Adventure Gore-Tex $550
  • Alpinestars Toucan Boots $449
  • Dainese Carroarmato Gore-Tex Boots $369

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“Apparently a successful motorcycle industry ad doesn’t have to be all Miracle Bras and ass cheeks,” says Asphalt and Rubber’s Jensen Beeler, who “has zero interest” in pandering to ‘the girl on a bike’ trope that seems so ever-present in the motorcycle world.” So kudos to Portland, Oregon-based MotoCorsa (and Asphalt and Rubber for their commentary) on the ads for the 2014 Ducati 1199 Superleggera. The title of the original shoot was seDUCATIve. The MotoCorsa shoot titled theirs MANigale. Get the calendar, “13 Months of Stunning Photos!” The 16×16inch calendar features notable Ducati dates and history on each page and costs $16 with free shipping in the US (elsewhere charges apply). I tried the order link but looks like they’re out. Sorry!

MotoCorsa, Portland Oregon Ducati Dealer's seDUCATIve vs MANigale photo shoot

JC Whitney


A limo tour of San Diego’s microbreweries


Is it acceptable to begin a tour of San Diego’s microbreweries with a glass of champagne? Well of course… as long as you’re riding in the back of a black stretch limo. After all, the lights are low, we are elegantly sprawled on the leather couches in the dim light of twinkling LEDs that line the velvety black roof of the car, and the music thumps in time to the streetlights racing by. Clink clink. To new friends and a Tuesday night out on the town.

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