• Lady reading

    Book Reviews

    I have been writing book reviews for the Historical Novel Society for almost two years now. While those reviews are published in the Historical Novels Review, I wanted to publish them here as well. Starting next week, Mondays will be a previously-published Book Review from the Historical Novel Society. Why am I doing this? In conversations with friends and family, my book recommendations are often those I’ve read for review. In one instance, my brother-in-law recommended a book that I had already reviewed! He’s the one who is on the cutting edge of tech and news, but this time, tables were turned. But not everyone reads the Historical Novel Review…

  • Writing

    A Eulogy for Carl

    Last week we said goodbye to Carl the cat. I’d like to say that he was a good cat, a good pet, but he wasn’t really. He was his own personality, his own guy, and to say that we were his owners is disingenuous and not true to his character. Crawlspace Kitty Carl came to us in Decatur, Georgia, in 2009, full-grown, but hurt. Andy and I had been away at my father’s funeral. We returned, rolling suitcases across the hardwood floor, stopping when we heard a meowing begin from underneath the house. It wasn’t loud, it wasn’t harsh: it was constant: meow-meow-meow-meow-meow. We looked at each other, and abandoning…

  • Adventure,  Travel

    Cuba: Day 3

    There is so much to do in La Habana. There are old buildings to gawk at, street art to discover, museums-that-are-also-working-pharmacies to wander through. This post is only covering the morning of Day 3 because DUDE. The Colon Cemetery. So much. Ahem. So, the morning of our 3rd day, we took the time-honored traditional tourist excursion: the hop-on, hop-off bus. This red double decker bus makes a loop around some of the farther out sites and then returns back to Central Parque. The one thing I wish we had known ahead of time: The bus follows the same route away from Habana Viejo as it does returning. We would have stayed on top…

  • Adventure,  Travel,  Writing

    Cuba: Day Two

    We woke up in La Habana. It felt surreal, dreamlike; the way Latin American authors write about magical realism, that which is true, but cannot be. Breakfast was Cuban coffee (distilled and black and delicious even to a heavy tea-drinker like me), a bowl of fresh fruit (bananas and papayas and pineapple, and something else I never quite figured out), and eggs with a slice of cheese, a slice of ham and a slice of tomato. We chatted with the other travelers at the table, and Adele, a British lady was nice enough to give me a stash of PG Tips tea bags. I had not brought any with me (I…

  • Adventure,  Travel

    Cuba: Day One

    Oh, Cuba. Even preparing for Cuba, I was at a loss. What to pack? I’d read many personal accounts and had friends who’d been there, but Cuba seemed to change daily. What was one person’s experience, was not at all how another experienced the trip. There were some things I wish I had known beforehand, such as the rapidly changing circumstances. Travel We took the first flight out of Jacksonville, FL to Miami, and then what appeared to be the earliest flight from Miami to Havana. We bought our visas at the gate, amidst a crowd of people from many different countries. Still, this step, which some airlines seemed happy…

  • Adventure,  Travel,  Writing

    Cuba! An Introduction

    I wish I could tell you all about Cuba. But I don’t know enough. I wish I could tell you all about the history of Cuba, but I am unqualified. I wish I could tell you all about Cuba today, but there are too many things I didn’t even see. Cuba seems to change on a daily basis, a world shifting and changing to suit its own needs. I say that only as a tourist. I don’t know what it is like to be Cuban, or to live on an island nation governed by a unique set of principles. There seems to be a purposeful divide between the local daily…

  • Books,  Books Reviews,  Writing

    Best Books of 2016 Compilation

    Maybe 2016 was an all-out Dumpster Fire for you. Maybe it wasn’t. Either way, you probably missed some great books as the months sped by. I have compiled a resource list to help you choose your next book (a best book) before 2017 takes over and you have to keep up with those. I have broken them into some categories to make it easier to peruse. Perhaps you like Award winners. Committees form, discuss, celebrate a winner. Man Booker Award winners are usually great books for me because they are often quirky. However, they do not allow Americans to enter, so if you want an American experience, go instead with…

  • Adventure,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    2016 in review

    I had some big goals for 2016. Most of the goals were reasonable, but still some entirely unreasonable ones snuck in. These were the goals I wasn’t going to hold myself to because I had no control over other people’s actions, but I couldn’t help but keep these outlandish expectations as a yardstick. Maybe I watched too much Parks & Rec because I made a binder for my Writing Year, made quarterly goals, and decorated it with stickers. Some of my goals I now see as unrealistic (like blog 4 times a week. Who has time for that?), and some of them I forgot to write down, because I didn’t…

  • holiday spirits
    Happy Hour,  Writing

    Holiday Spirits 2

    December can feel like the movie Groundhog’s Day at times, donning the same clothes, going to the same parties every year. But you know what can change all of that? Fancy Boozes, that’s what. Here are two more recipes to freshen up your Holiday Spirit. The Oatmeal Cookie Some may know this as a shot, others appreciate the sophisticated shape of the martini glass it is served in. Either way, be careful with the amount of alcohol in this one. They go down fast and easy. 1.5 oz Bailey’s (Irish Cream) 3/4 oz Buttershots 1/4 oz Goldschlager 1/2-1 oz cream cinnamon & sugar Option: rim the glass with a mixture of…

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