• Food

    Dreaming of the Buffet, R.I.P.

    Even before the pandemic, buffets were struggling, with tastes leaning towards quality versus quantity. One day, remembering the buffet will be like remembering when you weren’t required to wear seat belts in the car, if you are old enough to remember that. You love buffets. When traveling, you select the hotels that offer free continental breakfasts of usually stale cheese Danishes and bruised fruit settled in metal baskets. The level above continental breakfasts are the buffet breakfasts with hot food like the extraordinarily yellow and chunky scrambled eggs, crispy and almost clear bacon, and cubes of potatoes. On cruise ships, you prefer the extravagant displays of appetizers, salads, and regional…

  • General,  Novel Writing

    My Journals Told Me I Hadn’t Changed in Over Fifteen Years

    And then I quit my job. Does Journaling Mean You’re Crazy? I was surprised when I read an essay by writer Peter Schjeldahl of the New Yorker where he said he didn’t journal because it creeped him out to write to nobody. As a journalist, he had always written to an audience. It never occurred to me that journaling could be comparable to talking to yourself (also known as “crazy”). Like many people, I view journaling as a way to think through difficult situations or put down my emotions on paper without being judged or provided unsolicited advice. As a middle schooler and then teenager my journal entries were often…

  • Novel Writing

    Finished Writing My Book, Sort of, Now What?

    I’ve written at least ten drafts of my first novel. You would think after ten drafts, this last one would be the final one, but it isn’t. I’ve printed it out and put it into a binder for my husband to read. After he reads it and makes comments, which will probably take two weeks because he’s not a fiction reader, I’ll edit it again before giving the manuscript to my beta readers. What I’m relieved about is that I can see the finish line. In the meantime, what am I to do? I thought about outlining this idea for a novel I’ve been ruminating on since October. Or I…

  • Books I've Read,  Novel Writing

    Two Books I Read in January 2020 on the Craft of Writing

    I Read Twelve Books in January Last month, I read and/or listened to twelve books/audiobooks. I have learned I enjoy reading fiction in the physical book format and listening to nonfiction in audiobook format. With the exception of books about the craft of writing, when I read nonfiction, I tend to skim through the book because I don’t need to focus on the language, I can get the general ideas just by skimming (like you are probably just skimming this blog). With books on the craft of writing, I like to highlight good ideas or points to remember. Two Books on the Craft of Writing I read Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s…

  • General,  Novel Writing

    How is 2020 Going So Far?

    What Are Those Goals Anyway? At the end of most years, I get excited about goal setting. Sure, it’s an arbitrary time to set goals, when I could set annual goals on March 19 if I wanted to. But there’s something about the new year that is symbolically helpful in getting me motivated. At the end of 2019, I didn’t have that excitement for goal setting. One would think that after the end of a decade or two, I’d be ready with a whole box load of goals. Instead, I’m keeping to the two I had last year, which is to reduce my weight by eight-10 pounds, a goal I’ve…

  • Novel Writing,  Travel

    Museum of Making Music

    Museum About Music? When I think of museums, I first think of art museums, where I can view paintings and sculptures from great artists like Cezanne and Picasso. Then, if I press my mind, I remember there are museums of natural history and space museums. As a visual person, a reader and writer, I don’t think of museums housing musical instruments and displaying them. Then again, I thought the same thing about the American Writer’s Museum in Chicago, Illinois. After all, aren’t we generally quiet at museums, reading descriptions of the artwork, enjoying the perfect light, being told not to get too close to the artwork by staff standing at…

  • Novel Writing,  Travel

    Tips on preparing for a research trip for your novel

    I just spent five full days and two half days in Hilo, Hawaii, which is located on the Eastern side of the island. Though I would have liked to have stayed through a Sunday so I could have attended a church service (my novel’s setting is in a church in Hilo), I would say the experience provided me with a depth and interest in the island so that I am better able to write about the novel’s setting. Here are a few tips in preparing for a research trip for your novel: Draft a day to day itinerary: I used an excel spreadsheet to break out my days by the…

  • Travel

    Is There Such Thing As ‘No Fear’ Travel?

    Recently, there have been a disturbing number of women, traveling to a foreign country, then murdered. I woke up this morning to the news of a Norway woman and a Denmark woman having been murdered in Morocco, a place I had recently spent some time planning a solo trip for in February. In the planning phases, I researched other female bloggers who had traveled to Morocco, some of whom had horrible experiences of men following them and throwing things at them, others said if one handled the situation properly the mannerisms of the locals are not that disturbing. In the end, I decided not to go, mostly due to the…

  • Novel Writing,  Quote,  Religion

    Finding Christianity

    “He [a Christian] does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.” – C.S. Lewis I’m working on a novel with the protagonist as a female Christian pastor. Reading about Christianity and preaching has been interesting and has helped me with my own struggles with religion. C.S. Lewis was an atheist prior to becoming a Christian and then a prolific writer on ideas involving Christianity, including the Chronicles of Narnia. I’m looking…