Come Write With Me! in Ireland!

vintage travel poster style image of Skellig Michael with text Come Write In IrelandSo we’re closing on the biggest gift-giving occasion of the year, and you don’t know what to get that writer on your list? What about an investment in their writing career? Nothing says love and encouragement and “I believe in you!” like a contribution to their goals. (And reading their work. But that’s much harder to wrap.)

If you are the writer, feel free to leave this page open on a conspicuous monitor or maybe even send a helpful link. Continue reading

Indispensable Tools for Writers, Trainers, & Small Business

Something different today: a small business post! I run two small businesses, so I’m all about finding useful tools and tricks for keeping my schedule and my sanity. Over the years, I’ve settled on a shortlist of things I’m not going to do without. And because these will probably be useful to other authors, trainers, and whatever, I am going to share them now with you.

Note: all of these are tools I actually use on a daily or weekly basis. A few have affiliate links, but they’re here only because I find real value in them. Your use of these affiliate links is very much appreciated!

MileIQ for small businessMileIQ

I drive to clients’ homes for appointments, or I drive to museums to research a book, or I drive to a conference, or — I drive a lot. And much of that mileage is deductible, but I am frankly bad at remembering to copy down odometer numbers or to calculate driving distance, blah blah blah.

Enter MileIQ, a phone app which not only tracks all my drives for me automatically, but allows me to sort them into personal and business categories in literal seconds. No, seriously, I mean 5 seconds or so. Continue reading

A Chocolate Coffin

That’s a very literal title.

After all, I wouldn’t lie to you.

It’s no secret that I have a thing about the classic Universal monsters and gothic tales. Nor is it a secret that I have a small problem with chocolate. And so I was absolutely delighted to receive this chocolate coffin. (Or casket, really.) Continue reading

Con Recaps! (And some cool news.)

So July was kind of a blur, and the first part of August, but all for very good reasons.

Cong Abbey by night, Celtic crosses and gravesIreland Writer Tours

Long-time blog readers know I blogged about writing in Ireland in 2015, and I went again this year. It’s a great week, full of fabulous touring and inspiration. But I stayed a little longer this year with organizer Fiona Claire to prepare for 2017, when I’ll be co-teaching with the talented Lorie Langdon!

Stay tuned for more information on this, but trust me, it’s going to be amazing. As I said in my newsletterWant to explore a 15th century castle, walk through an impossibly green forest to an ancient waterfall, and climb in the footsteps of both 8th century monks and Luke Skywalker? All while improving your writing craft and exploring your publication options? Continue reading

Ireland Contest Winner!

Well, no one won Ireland, not exactly. But I did have a contest based on my writing-in-Ireland (mis)adventures. Readers were asked to guess how many times I checked that I had my passport after so stupidly forgetting it. (Never let it be said that I present only a finely cultivated picture of my own perfection on social media….)

Guesses were submitted via blog comments and Tumblr. None on Twitter, which surprised me a little.

And the winner, who guessed nearest the accurate number, is….. Continue reading

Dún Aonghasa and Inis Mór

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

Dún Aonghasa is an ancient circle fort built on Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. It was probably a complete enclosure at one point, but the cliffs have eroded and collapsed with part of the fort into the sea.

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa's present structure.

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa’s present structure.

The cliffs are about 280-300 feet high above the sea and look upon the Irish coast on a clear day, which may have contributed to the choice of location. The site was first enclosed with a more primitive stone wall about 1100 BC, and ultimately it had four concentric stone walls of startling engineering, encompassing about 14 acres of protected area. It also featured a cheval de frise between the third and fourth walls, a field of deliberately placed upright stones meant to seriously impede any charge by an enemy force. Continue reading

Nightfall in Ireland

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

Special bonus round: tonight I and a few others went on a local Bat Walk to learn about the local species and conservation. Not only was it fascinating to learn about another continent’s bats, we had some fantastic photo opportunities as we exited through the ruined abbey and churchyard. Continue reading

Writing in Ireland!

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

Guess where I am right now? (Or just look at the post title for an easy cheat.) That’s right, I’m back in Ireland! And there’s a contest in this post!

So let’s start with the embarrassing part. I was supposed to leave on Thursday. I drove a leisurely three hours to pick up my friend Kate (K.T. Ivanrest), drove another two hours to the airport, parked, took a shuttle, walked into the terminal, and immediately remembered that my passport was in my kitchen.

That’s right. It’s not that I only discovered my passport was missing when I was asked for it and couldn’t find it, no, my brain was fully aware that I wasn’t carrying it and just neglected to inform me of this important fact at any time prior to entering the actual terminal. Continue reading

Seems Legit.

There is a phenomenon in which some skeevy lowlife steals a title and often a manuscript from a published book and re-publishes them on Amazon in his own account, trying to fool readers into buying his “edition” of the story and stealing royalties from the author.

Most of the time, though, they do a better job of matching a more plausible cover. Continue reading

Never Peeve a Writer

Seat belt on an airplane, buckled-up

Seat belt on an airplane, buckled-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One Christmas I received a t-shirt which reads, “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.”

It had already been repeatedly announced that our flight was 100% full, every seat sold and occupied, no upgrades, no seat swaps, and no room for everyone’s carry-ons. So there was no excuse for the guy occupying both his seat and my own, one butt cheek planted firmly on each cushion, legs spread to encompass both seats fully. He wasn’t a particularly large individual who needed extra space, and he wasn’t resting there temporarily while tucking a bag beneath the seat; he was settled and just claiming extra territory. Continue reading