How Do You Measure A Year?

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I was just scrolling through the pictures on my phone and found some from our trip to Portland. I had the thought: that was something really awesome we did last year. Except we went in March. As in March 2016. Six months ago.

Moments before this I was reflecting on the fact that next week I would be headed back to Albuquerque for a writing retreat and thinking how it certainly didn’t seem like it had been a year since the last one.

There are 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in every day. The same amount of time, no matter how it’s measured. So how is it that is can feel so different? Has there been so much going on these last six months that it seems like more time must have passed (as in: surely, all that could NOT happened in just six months)? Or is the time since Albuquerque shortened by the fact I’ve kept up with friends online and feel like I just saw them? Perhaps a little of both?

Or maybe none of either.

Maybe tomorrow Portland will seem like yesterday and Albuquerque light years away. Time passes, fast or slow. And maybe it doesn’t matter how close or far away events of the past seem. Yes, it matters that we made those moments and have those memories, but I think maybe what matters more, is moving on to make the next moment. The next connection. The next adventure.

Why I am Not A Travel Writer (Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls)

In my novel HOW TO BE ALIVE, the main character, Jen, is just beginning to pursue her dream of being a travel writer. In the book she travels to Rome and Venice. I picked these places because I had visited them relatively recently and could draw on my experience.

Guess what some of the hardest scenes to write were? You got it– the Rome and Venice ones. Travel writing = not my thing. Continue reading

Bad Dates & The Magic of Community Tables

I’d be hard pressed to find a writer who hasn’t had the experience of someone asking if a character in their book is based on them, or if they really do write the people they know into their books. I can assure you that I’ve never written an actual person I know directly into my books.

Unless you’re sitting across the communal table from me at a coffee shop and happen to be talking about that bad date you had. And I also just happen to be writing a book where the main character is going to go on some terrible dates. That might end up in my book.

Speaking of which, a huge thanks to the ladies across the table at a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon who gave me the amazing material below the other day. Because, truly, sometimes you can’t make this stuff up: Continue reading

Wonder

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This past weekend my husband and I took a little road trip to Washington DC. For several years of my life I lived just a short train ride outside of the city, and for the rest of it I’ve lived within a several hours drive. As a result it’s easy to forget what a destination the nation’s capitol is for so many people

I thought about this a lot as we circled the National Mall twice on our Saturday morning run. Passing the Capital Building, the Washington Monument, many of the Smithsonian museums. Catching glimpses of the White House and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. You know, just out for a little run, past things that some people may only ever see in books. My cousins who live in the city and run on the mall all the time, say it never gets old. They’re always aware of the magnitude of what they see in those few miles.

But is that true for everyone? Or does this sense of gratitude and amazement require some cultivation. Continue reading

I’m Standing On Canal …

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Every time I’m in New York I’m convinced that the reason so many writers gravitate toward the city is for all the people watching. Space is a premium commodity and you find yourself sharing a table at a coffee shop, being seated inches from other diners at a restaurant and standing centimeters from fellow passengers on the subway. You can’t help but hear what that couple on their first date is talking about, or notice what the distinguished older gentleman in reading on the train. It’s character development gold. Which is why my favorite thing to do in the city is just be in the city. Grab coffee and watch people walk by, wander through parks and city streets and just listen.

Here are a few of the things I’ve seen over the last few days (also some things I’ve eaten and people I’ve hung out with): Continue reading

I’ve Got My Bags Packed!

Except, actually I don’t …

I’m headed to New York on Saturday, first for vacation and then for the Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) Conference. So this week is a whirl of travel prep – which for me means lots of laundry and an attempt to tie up some lose ends at both my day job and my writing job.

While I’m busy doing that, I thought I would share a couple of blog posts and interviews I’ve done during the first half of my Neverending Beginnings blog tour this month. You can also check out my itinerary for the rest of the month here. Continue reading

Le Grande Voyage!

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As I mentioned last week, I am in smack-dab in the middle of Mike & Mary Chris’ European adventure this week (okay, I’m actually sort of nearing the end… but middle sounds nicer, yes?) The adventure started when we arrived in Birmingham, England last Friday and got to hang out with our goddaughter (and her amazing parents and super-cool big brother) for a couple of days. Sunday we hopped on the train to Paris and Continue reading

I Guess the Winter Makes You Laugh a Little Slower …

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It’s been a little gloomy here in Richmond, Virginia this winter and I’m not going to lie– I’m tired of it. It has snowed twice in two weeks and it seems like sunny days have been nearly non-existent. Earlier this week, walking home from work I was standing on a pile of dirty snow, waiting to cross a major intersection, staring across the street at more grey piles watching mud streaked cars pass and felt myself sigh. It wasn’t even intentional, more like an automatic response. Continue reading

Will Travel for Beer

left hand My friend Karen writes a regular column called Will Travel for Words. Recently, I was reflecting on trips I have taken (as one does when discussions begin to turn to summer vacation) and realized that if I were to write a travel column it would be titled, Will Travel for Beer.

In case you feel like taking an ale-inspired sojourn this summer, here are some of my favorite destinations: Continue reading

Guinness is Good for You

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I’ve been to the Guinness Brewery in Dublin twice.  I know, right?  So many people have never been, and I’ve been two times.  Crazy.  The picture above is from the first trip (circa 2001).  I was not long out of college and went to visit my friend Karen who was in Scotland for grad school and we took a whirlwind side trip to Dublin. Continue reading