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It’s amazing what you can find down an ancient well or on a bit of mosaic floor.

Sunday I’ll be hurtling over the Atlantic on a return visit to Slovenia with my son in tow. I’ve got more research to do, an article on Slovenian microbreweries to write, and a need to show Julian the Alps he’s named for. The thought of being there again still gives me this nervous, excited flutter in my belly. I was a naif dreamer when I packed a backpack and took off to spend a year…

Events and stuff

I have been walking around with a completely stunned expression on my face for at least two days. The book is real. It’s for sale. My. Book. Is. For. Sale. Well, it’s available for pre-order. I’ve never really understood that word. Is pre-order really a thing? I mean aren’t we all just ordering things for a later delivery? Whether it’s a legit word or not, it’s happening. Who by Water is available on…

Hey, It’s a Book Thing

There’s a cover! (I’m not saying there’s video of me jumping up and down with excitement anywhere, but there could be.) And, there are book launch events scheduled and getting scheduled. If you’d like to know when I’ll be out in the world showing off my new baby like this: You can sign up for the Dead Letter Office Newsletter on the side over there. I promise not to spam the crap…

Twelfth Night, or As I Would Like It

This is an edited repost from my previous blog ars culinaria. It originally appeared in January 2010 but still captures my feelings about Twelfth Night and midwinter. The old winter season of merrymaking kicked off on All Saints’ Day in November and lasted straight through to the largest, most extravagant feasts held on January 6th, Twelfth Night. Industrialization ended the extensive celebration of Yuletide, though Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans tried to stamp it out earlier by…

Harvest Festival

Thanksgiving is in two days as I write this. I’ve ordered the turkey and braved the grocery. I’ll start cooking tomorrow with a batch of my mom’s cornbread – without the sugar – for her Down South dressing from the 1940s edition of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook. I substitute red, orange, and yellow  for the green peppers in the Trinity because in my forties I’ve accepted that I don’t care much for…

On Being a Professional Stress Monkey

My husband and son would be the first to let you know that I am not the placidly calm human I am often mistaken for. I don’t think I have a very good poker face, which makes me think what people take for an even-keeled visage is actually my panic and/or conflict avoidant face of fear. Maybe that’s an accomplishment in itself, being able to come off as together when you are…

Living with Ghosts

I’ve been back in Knoxville over a year. That year mark is usually where I start to feel like I live somewhere, a new space, a new place. The transition here has been different than my last few moves which were all just to new rentals in Nashville. Moving back to Knoxville is as close as I will ever get to moving home again. I grew up in Kingston on Watts Bar…

Myers-Briggs and Me

I’ll confess that most of my knowledge of plotting is from field research, mostly reading and watching mysteries since Nancy Drew. I think I’m better at creating characters. Or characters are better at finding me than story arcs, depending on how, or if, you think the muse works. The jury’s still out for me. I tend to straddle that line between wannabe mystic and skeptical pragmatist in the rest of my life,…

When Something Really Cool Is Still Not Really Real

Last May I started writing a novel. That was a surprise. My dream of being a writer was to be a poet. Then it was to be a fairly obscure blogger with a small but dedicated following. Then it was to be a memoirist. Then this novel slammed into me out of nowhere when I rounded a corner onto a quiet street in Ljubljana, Slovenia. No one really prepared me for being a…