Corona & Contemplation

I don’t think I’m the only person doing some serious contemplating during this strange time of illness, panic, isolation. Everything appears so uncertain, unknown. And, of course, with so many now stuck quarantining at home–days once jammed-packed now jerked to a halt–there’s a sudden excess of time to think.

I’m not sure about anybody else, but my brain is not always a safe place for me to wander alone.

Yet, I find myself facing a sudden shock of revelation–in this time of upset, I am not as “upset” as I’d expect. Despite everything, I’ve mostly felt at peace. And it’s because of the strangest thing: old heartaches.

To explain: Those who follow my blog will know that I married into the Foreign Service. The lifestyle offered by my husband’s job has afforded us many wonderful adventures–amazing things I never imagined I’d do: Cuddle baby tigers. Climb castles made of ice. Sleep in the heart of the rainforest. I wouldn’t trade it…. I don’t think.

And the uncertainty on that point comes from this: the Foreign Service life has also caused me a lot of pain.

Continue reading “Corona & Contemplation”

Letters & Literature

I felt like a Jane Austen heroine, receiving this eagerly-anticipated (8 page!) hand-written letter containing a friend’s thoughts on my historical novel.

The stationary may have changed a bit since Austen’s time, but I’m guessing the sense of eager excitement’s just the same.

And in this world of handy-dandy, insta-communication, there’s a particular specialness about a letter that someone took the time and effort to physically craft.

Of course, that could just be my romantic, literature-nerd sensibilities talking.

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Writer Care Kit

Living far from friends and family can mean that things get done at odd times. The most recent example? My best friend Amber and I just had our Christmas gift exchange. In February. Two months late.

But the wait proved well-worth it when I stripped off green and red wrapping to find a chic little box whose contents had me laughing aloud.

To kick off your morning, an encouraging coffee cup:

“You got this.”

–Coffee

And to cap off your evening, a reassuring wine glass:

“You gave it your best shot.”

–Wine

While I’m sure writers aren’t the only professionals who experience these twin emotions across their workdays, I can’t help thinking this gift makes a particularly excellent support kit for authors. How many mornings have I woken up energized and motivated, full of confident, creative energy? Today’s the day, I’ll say. Today, I finally figure out how to…

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Wine Tastings & Touring New Towns

My first experience doing a wine tasting was at a dear friend’s bachelorette party, when we did a marathon session at five different vineyards in the Midwest, starting at the early hour of 11 a.m. (Don’t worry. We were safely D.D.ed by our handy-dandy limo driver.)

Needless to say, by the time the tasting portion of the day was starting to wine-d (get it?!) down, I was very ready to stop sipping and get something more than cheese and crackers in my stomach. But I was also pretty sold on this “tasting” thing. It was like a little adventure in a glass–you never knew what flavors awaited you in the next sample.

But I’m not into doing tastings solo, so my opportunities have been pretty few and far between–living overseas for long stretches and often being far from family and friends has that effect. But I’ve rustled up the occasional partner in crime. My bro invited me to join him and his friends at a lovely Texas winery. And on her recent odyssey to visit us in our new homestead in the D.C. area, my sis-in-law Brooke was good enough to accompany me to Great Shoals. (We abandoned the husbands at home. #SorryNotSorry.) Continue reading “Wine Tastings & Touring New Towns”

Publication News!

Already anxious about your Christmas shopping? Wondering what to get the literature nerd in your life? (After all, you can only buy them so many book cover T-shirts from Out of Print. Of course, they also offer sweatshirts, scarves, mugs….)

Well, look no further! Hitting stores in late December, Family, Friends & Foes: Human Dynamics in Hispanic Worlds marks the newest anthology in a series on Hispanic literature that includes other such favorites as:

And may I recommend, in particular, Chapter 4: “ ‘In This Madhouse’: Myth, Message, and Kaleidoscopic Kin in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude“?

It just so happens to share its author in common with this blog. And that makes for notch number 4 in my lit anthology gun belt!

Image result for huzzah meme

FEATURED IMAGES PROPERTY OF SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS (COVER DESIGN PROOF) AND MakeAMeme.org.

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Texas: There’s No Place Like Home

One of the many (many MANY) odd quirks of Foreign Service life is a little something we call “Home Leave.” A congressionally-mandated series of leave days following the end of an overseas posting, Home Leave is designed to help culture-shocked American readjust to life stateside.

Since July saw the official end of our time in Suriname, we’ve been spending our month-long Home Leave traipsing around the country, visiting loved ones and preparing for our move back to ‘Merica, where we’ll be posted to the D.C. area. Our trails took us from D.C. to Michigan to Indiana to Texas, seeing treasured family and friends all along the way. Continue reading “Texas: There’s No Place Like Home”

An Ode….

An ode (that’s technically a limerick) to my husband, in honor of his patient creativity in helping me re-plot my novel this weekend:

There once was a man whose writer wife had

Written a book whose problems drove her mad

She asked him plot questions

Nagged for edits, suggestions

With a sigh, he gave advice ironclad*

Continue reading “An Ode….”