There Is A Map Out There for Your Story

I’ve always been fascinated by history and wish I could have a time machine transporting me to a different time and place so that I may effectively draft my novels, especially the ones spanning a lifetime. And so my interest in these articles covering a variety of topics perfectly titled Charted.

{photo and article source and inspiration for this blog post}

Recommended Reads If You Are Planning a Vacation Right About Now

I usually pack one paperback novel with me for my trip abroad, which, by the way, always happens every year during the fall season. And while there, I visit an English bookstore and buy 8-10 books to bring back with me to last me the year. And then I do it again.

This fall I am staying put, and doing mostly weekend trips to, somewhere driveable, so that I can take my dog with me, so this list of books to read from Conde Nast Traveler couldn’t come at a better time:


The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Dreamy and strange and darkly funny. Kept me enthralled for hours. —Andrea Whittle

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Honestly, I’m not sure I would have finished it if not for being strapped into a seat for 12 hours. —Alex Postman

Too Fat, Too Loud, Too Slutty by Anne Helen Petersen
It’s the high-brow, feminist alternative to picking up a tabloid for your flight. —Meredith Carey

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The woman can do no wrong in my eyes. —Lale Arikoglu

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
It’s perfect for when your life is paused at 30,000 feet. —Louis Cheslaw

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I know, I’m the last one to read it. —Laura Dannen Redman

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Sunglasses hide the tears. —Caitlin Morton

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
It made me want to go back and re-listen to Darkness on the Edge of Town (plus, it’s the basis for his Broadway debut!?!). —Laura Dannen Redman

Dark Money by Jane Mayer
Sure, it’s a little heavy for sun and waves, but it sucks you right in and boggles your brain. —Betsy Blumenthal

Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan
Super light and silly and exactly what you want on the beach. —Rebecca Misner
I wanted to read it before it hits theaters next year. —Alex Postman

When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins
A hilarious and surprisingly informative memoir by a New Yorker staff writer. —Andrea Whittle

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Not sure if you can class a spy novel about the Vietnam war as a ‘beach read,’ but I can’t stop thinking about it. —Lale Arikoglu

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
I love her writing—this is a follow up to My Name Is Lucy Barton. —Rebecca Misner
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Strout’s portraits of small town America. —Katherine LaGrav

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
All-time favorite. Best read in one sitting. —Andrea Whittle

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
A beautiful story about family and secrets that can shape it, for better and worse. —Alex Postman

LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Justice, atonement, Native American history, grief, love—this book has it all. —Katherine LaGrave

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Better and easier than Netflix. —Caitlin Morton

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
His passing in May was a tragedy; I had to pay a few tribute hours. —Louis Cheslaw

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I don’t even know what book I’m on anymore. Five? Six? —Laura Dannen Redman

Scotland In Relation To A Novel

I picked Scotland for WHAT IF… For more reasons than I want to elaborate here. You just have to wait and see when the novel comes out April 16, 2016

Until then, I came across this interesting article on BBC-Earth and wanted to share it with you, and along with the article, some of the most amazing photography of yet another magical place here on earth.


While We Wait…

While we wait for all of the online stores to update their records to showcase my new book cover and revision, I want to share with you some interesting destinations and eats I’ve included in my book-Nob Hill.

I know how I get when I read a book, wanting to see in person the places mentioned within the pages, especially if the story has a bit of travelling or included a town or city I adore. So with that in mind here is what’s included in Nob Hill-travel destination that is. The rest I will tell you about later:

The Fairmont Hotel – Nob Hill – click on photo
Hotel Brighton in Paris
Of course Piazza Navona where it all started
LaMar Restaurant in San Francisco
Angelina's cafe
Angelina’s Cafe – click on photo

Diana Gabaldon and Outlander Television Series

outlander-key-art-600Since I’ve been doing a lot of research recently about Scotland, past traveling through the country back in March, I couldn’t wait to see the much anticipated television series – Outlander (airing August 9th in the U.S.). The good thing is the first episode is currently available to watch online for free – just click here to be redirected.

I read a few of the books a long time ago, admiring the author Diana Gabaldon for her ability to turn a possible hobby of writing a novel into great story telling. Now, years later, her books are turned into a television series. I sat in front of my computer late Friday night and watched the first episode, very ready to take it all in – and I must say I got hooked, unable to wait for the next episode, so far loving every bit of how they introduced the story to us.

Since I have a movie blog, I also enjoy researching the background details of film making and mini-series and such, so in the case of Outlander. I have several to share. Did you know:

  • Diana Gabaldon, the author is a consultant while filming?
  • Did you know the show has been filming for a year now in Scotland, with 16 episodes nearly completed?
  • Did you know each book can be read independently, but since they have almost all of the same characters, it’s best to start from the beginning?
  • Voiceover on the show was decided to be used to connect with the main character Claire and to also connect with the book.
  • Castle Doune is used for Castle Leach
  • There are no subtitles to Scottish Gaelic – so you are on your own to figure out what they are saying. Not to worry,  it is very easy to follow.

I do recommend the show, a must see, a refreshing escape from the common television shows of late. Also, click here to learn more about the series and the author, just in case you aren’t familiar.  And if you are curious, here is a fun interview with the cast.