Tag Archives: travel

And She Was – Page turner, thriller – Coming March 2012

9 Feb

I just put down And She Was by Alison Gaylin and it is with pure satisfaction that I do so. This book, from the very first pages, has proven to be an addiction. For days I had been passing by it at work, reading the same first few pages over and over again when I decided to pick it up and read it start to finish. My first idea was to save it for my upcoming travels – some very long flights ahead – but “Oh, only one chapter” turned into “Oh, only the first 100 pages” which then turned into me, in the middle of the night, 3 hours with my eyes glued open and only ten pages to go. I promise you…it was THAT good.

Absolutely captivating. A page-turner.

Normally, my recreational reading revolves around humorous memoirs, chick lit,  and some historical fiction. Mystery-thrillers usually aren’t my go-to because I get so engrossed in the novel that I scare myself silly if I’m reading any time after 7 at night and this book was no exception to that rule. Let’s just say that at 1 am two nights ago I could have sworn someone was breaking in to kidnap someone in my home. No, no, not irrational at all :-O My unwarranted fears only prove that Gaylin is very effective at creating nail-biting, page-turning suspense magic with her words. Take  a peek at her website: http://www.alisongaylin.com. She has penned several other mystery novels that I will need to check out of the library ASAP since I already devoured As She Was and loved it.

Happy Reading!


Pictures to Paper

21 Oct

Sometimes all you need is some visual inspiration…

I just came back from a brief trip to Paris and southern France and the images of these places incite so many romantic, beautiful images in my mind. Stopping to review my pictures (below), I find my imagination wants to gobble up all the visual stimulation and write endlessly. I hope it has the same effect on you.  Here are some shots from my recent trip that I hope you will enjoy!

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Underwater Inspirations

7 Oct

Today’s inspiration: water & the amazing life that lives under the sea.

Found these beautiful pics on the worldwide web…they aren’t mine, just as an FYI.

Das Wort des Tages aka Words of the Day

6 Oct

I’ll be flying off to Germany and France soon and in anticipation of this work-related, though exciting trip, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s post to some words of the day in German & French.

Learning new languages – Italian, in particular – have made me very excitable around dictionaries and writing because there’s always something new to learn when you delve in. Even in the English language, it’s so interesting to learn the story behind why one word is used instead of another in our vernacular, and even more hilarious/scary/exciting are the stories behind various expressions.


Today’s phrases of the day are…


Das Wort des Tages – German Word of the Day (well, phrase, really)

den Kasper machen – To act/play the fool


Mot du Jour – French Word of the Day **my favorite 

quand on parle du loup (on en voit la queue) – Speak of the devil

(Literally translates to: When you talk about the wolf (you see its tail)


What are some of your favorite expressions in English, Slovakian, Greek, whatever! I’d love to hear them…and don’t forget to include the translations! 🙂


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Readings from Around the World

14 Sep

This morning, in my mass of emails, I stumbled upon a link to this great slideshow on Flavorwire called “Essential Reading from the World’s Top Literary Cities“. I’m a lover of reading and especially of writers from around the world (currently I’ve honed in on Caribbean writers) and so this list was right up my alley.

Here is Flavorwire’s List:

  1. Tokyo, Japan
  2. New York City, USA
  3. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  4. Iowa City, USA (??? was not expecting this one!)
  5. Mumbai, India
  6. London, UK
  7. Nairobi, Kenya
  8. Paris, France
  9. San Francisco, USA

Obviously, Flavorwire couldn’t name ALL the cities filled with wonderful, successful authors, but Iowa City? Really? In some of the comments below the slide show several people chimed in to add Dublin, Ireland (very prolific literary voices come from Ireland), but I also thought about the successful writers from Brazil, Chile, Italy…I mean, come on, Umberto Eco, Dante Alighieri, Isabel Allende, Paulo Coelho…there are so many amazing authors from other metropolitan cities that weren’t listed. So, I decided to think about a few other cities I would have added to Flavorwire’s list…

  1. Madrid, Spain
  2. Sao Paolo, Brazil
  3. Florence, Italy
  4. All of the Caribbean (cheating, I know, but they’re all so good!)
  5. Stockholm, Sweden

Tower of Babel in Plaza del Martin in Buenos Aires

If you were to write your own list or just add to Flavorwire’s, which cities would make up your Top 5?

Location, location, location…

1 Sep

Sometimes a story, poem, rant can take shape without a single character in mind and you just start writing about a place or a time that inspires your imagination. Yesterday, in a bit of a lull, I had this sudden urge to write and the only thing that took shape was a setting: Irish hilly countryside. No characters, just a long description filled with my memories and my imagination of what this bit of place looked, felt, sounded, even smelled like.

Using as many of your 5 senses as possible…and the 6th, too,  if you’ve got it handy…try and imagine a single place. No people. Just take in every ounce of information you can from the place you are or that you are imagining. Even if you’re in a crowded subway car or coffee shop, sit still and imagine what it would be like if you were a fly on the wall really taking in every element of the space you inhabit. Let the place be its own character. Give it personality or take it from the elements you observe.

Here are some exercises I think are useful:

1) Dig up an old picture of a place you have been. A scene from the canals in Amsterdam, a lake in rural Minnesota where you & your family used to go, a mountain range, even a shot of your backyard. What are those places like when there is no one around? Does the grass sigh with relief when it finally rains, giving off that earthly smell? Do the empty streets in the summer sizzle under the sun? What animals appear when no people are present and take shape to the landscape?

2) Think of one location in particular and use your five senses to describe it during all four seasons: a view of it in summer, fall, winter and spring. Then, take a look at it during those weeks in the year that cradle two seasons. Are the leaves teetering on the verge of falling, but they wait an extra week to deny winter is really coming? Do the cacti soak up as much water as they can from the last rain of the year, bracing for the 10 months of drought to come?

3) Describe a place that does not exist…to your knowledge. If writing fantasy or sci fi interests you, write about a mythical or made up place. Are there plants? What does it smell like? Do animals inhibit the area? Is the air thick with humidity or thin/non existent because of the atmosphere? Take it to the next level and try not to pull from the places you’ve seen/read about in sci fi or fantasy shows/books. Create your own, unique mythical setting.

Perhaps with the setting in front of you and tackled in depth, this exercise can lead to the development of characters for your novel/short story. Once you have a clear vision of the place they inhabit (permanently or temporarily) in your story, you can build your characters’ personalities, expressions, vernacular, etc.

Here’s one of my own pictures in case you need some inspiration:

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