How Deep Are Your Reading Roots?

I blame my oldest sister, really. She was studious and serious and had a lot of books. She organized them tidily on bookcases in the basement where they joined books my uncle had left when he joined the Navy and headed for Vietnam. The shelves also had room for an...

35 Ways to be the Worst Traveller in the World

I travel internationally about every 4 months or so. This means I get to watch fellow travelers, many of whom unsuspectingly offer colorful characteristics and situations ripe for my next mystery novel. Yes, I admit it. I travel with a notebook and all too frequently...

Why Writing is Hardly a Solitary Occupation

Alot of famous quotes moan about why writing is such a solitary occupation. About writers bleeding at the typewriter, with only a bottle of gin as company. Thanks to social media, however, this is hardly the picture of the modern writer. Most writers use Twitter,...

The Lovely Glow of Too Many Irons in the Fire

I’ve got too many irons in the fire. I’d like to say that this is a rare event. But juggling multiple projects can be fun, which must be why I tend to overbook my creative energies. Here’s what is going on: Bookstore of the Future project Yesterday I reached out to 55...

5 Excellent Phrases to Sound Busy and Important

Although I’ve been wrapping up the short story collection MADE IN ACAPULCO, transcribing the old letters that will become the memoir GIRL MEETS PARIS, and outlining the next full-length Emilia Cruz novel DIABLO NIGHTS, I took a break to read BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT...

On Learning from Mistakes

I made two mistakes recently. The first was an expensive one. Mistake 1 Flush from my record-breaking (my records, anyway) month in September, spurred by the publication of short story The Beast in the Huffington Post’s Fiction 50 showcase, I went for some...

The Enduring Magic of Book Night

Other families have Game Night or Movie Night. We have Book Night. It started out as a means of self defense. We had two kids under the age of 5. My husband and I both had full time, demanding jobs, and he was pursuing a college degree at night. Reading for Survival I...

A Lesson from The Great Gatsby

I never gave much thought to how families talk. How different conversations might be from house to house until we had this little episode in ours. The argument grew heated. I wanted no part of it. Theories were picked apart. Voices were raised. Sneers were more than...

Why Navigation With a Map Still Matters

Love your GPS? Love how easy it makes getting from Point A to Point B? If you’re like me, your GPS saves travel time, keeps you from getting lost, and provides an Australian or British voice so you can get directions from Ned Kelly or James Bond, depending on your...

The Art of Travel Without a Camera

The art of travel is being able to create memories. But how can we relive the experiences and relationships of an exciting or romantic or never-again adventure? Think outside the camera–the right postcard can be more of a memory-maker than all those digital...

About the time I went to Fiji

Arriving in Fiji alone at 1:00 am after a 12-hour flight was unnerving but that’s the way the flights went so there I was, in the middle of the Pacific, with a heavy suitcase, an even heavier bag of scuba gear, and reservations for a hotel that was 20 miles away. I’d...

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