Writing and editing tips and the author’s experiences as a writer.

Books, Writing, History, and Me

In “Books, Writing, History, and Me” I share my thoughts on travel, cooking, van-life, books, the process of writing, the experiences of an indie-publisher, WWII, the Holocaust, and anything else I feel might be of interest to readers of my books. Please send me comments and let me know what you like and what you want to know more about. Everything in this blog reflects my personal ideas and feelings–a memoir of sorts, it is my perspective and any errors or omissions are mine.


Happy New Year!  Have you made a 2021 resolution? Years ago, I swore I would never again waste my resolution on “losing weight.”   Though I usually succeeded with a dozen pounds or more in the short term, by the time January rolled around again, the efforts I had made would be buried under the joys of eating and drinking.  That old “lose weight” goal was both self-perpetuating and boring! I am no slimmer (maybe heavier) these days, but at least I don’t dread the idea of making a New Year resolution. […]

2021-01-04T02:50:31+00:00January 3rd, 2021|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

An Indie-author’s Quest for Book Reviews

As an indie-author/publisher, my work does not stop when a book is released. Unlike 4 years ago when I launched Immigrant Soldier, 2020, with its Covid-19 shut-downs, has made live visits to bookstores, libraries, and book groups impossible.  These days, my publicity efforts must center on social media and gathering book reviews. Getting reviews is (and always has been) an integral part of publicity. However large media outlets and prestigious journals still practice a kind of “book snobbery.” They seldom review books that are independently published. What’s an Indie-author to do? The process of getting reviews is far different than it was only a few years ago. The big journals, most of which now also have an on-line presence, (Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Foreword Reviews and the book sections of major newspapers like The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times) still attract librarians, publishers, bookstore [...]

2020-11-09T02:13:26+00:00November 8th, 2020|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Covid-19 Journals

Recently I spent a few hours looking through my dozens of travel journals. As I flipped through the pages, it occurred to me that now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, would be a good time to keep a diary.  Unlike many who love to write, I’ve never been a consistent journalist.  In fact, the only times I try to keep a daily account of my life is when I’m traveling.  Over the years, I’ve developed a personal style that works for keeping track of all the little frustrations and joys of being on the road. […]

2020-10-26T18:24:27+00:00October 23rd, 2020|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Readers Can Help Get the Word Out

Trying to launch a new book during the Covid-19 Pandemic calls for special tactics.   Normally, I would be setting up in-person author visits at bookstores and giving presentations and talks at libraries and to book groups.  Now, with personal appearances impossible, I’m trying to figure out new, digital ways to let readers know about my upcoming memoir, Wherever the Road Leads. I am in the midst of planning a fun, virtual Webinar-style launch party for the first week of December and I’m turning to you, my friends and readers, to ask a favor. Yes, you can help!   I’ve put together a list of ways you can help get the word out about my new book.  I hope you will find something that fits your time and interests. Just a few minutes on line is all some of these suggestions will take—anything you can do will be appreciated. Of course, if [...]

2020-09-19T19:37:31+00:00September 18th, 2020|0 Comments

A Mother’s Memories of her Son’s Boot Camp Graduation

Some years ago, I took an emeritus class at U.C. Irvine in Travel Writing. There I learned that a travel essay needs to be more than a travelogue.  In order to interest a reader, travel writing should also have attitude. The writer’s voice is essential as it is through their eyes we view the adventure. I thought my blog readers might enjoy seeing some of the essays I wrote for that class.  This one, A Mother’s Memories of her Son’s Boot Camp Graduation, shows that not all travel articles have to take you to foreign places. Though written in 2002, I think it is still relevant for its glimpse of our military and the young men who join. […]

Book Release in the Time of Covid

The summer of 2020 will stand out in history as the summer of Covid-19 – a time to avoid crowds at the beach and the amusement park, a summer when airports are more dangerous than sky-diving, and days of longing to gather with friends and family. The summer solstice has come and gone. But for most of us, at least in the US, July 4th Independence Day marks the beginning of full-on, serious vacation season. 2020 will be the summer of staycations. Those of us who have a pleasant patio, a comfortable lounge chair, and a good book will be the winners during this  stay-at-home summer. […]

A Book Cover for Wherever the Road Leads

Efforts to design the perfect book cover for Wherever the Road Leads have been grueling. So many decisions! So many great ideas! Thank you to my wonderful team of advisors. Recently, I posted blogs about selecting the photos and the pen and ink illustrations for my memoir. The process of choosing from an existing group of possibilities was much easier than creating a book cover. With a good designer there are infinite possibilities and variations. Ideas flow, but in the end I had to make the final choice. […]

Comparable Books for A Travel Memoir

A nonfiction book (including a travel memoir such as Wherever the Road Leads) is first presented to an agent or publisher in the form of a book proposal. One of the most important elements of this proposal is the section of competitive and complementary books. These are often called “Comps.” I looked for narratives that matched my own in some way. I scanned memoir lists for woman authors who wrote of long road trips. These are popular, though most focus on solo travel and personal discovery. I found stories of travel with a man, told from the woman’s perspective, to be a rare commodity. Travel books that talked of the local cuisine were a  easier to find. Illustrated memoirs were also rare. Still, my search turned up many worthwhile books, and I developed a list of comps. […]

2020-03-20T19:19:11+00:00March 20th, 2020|Tags: , , |1 Comment

A Summer of Memoir Reading

Recently, following the writer’s adage to read the genre you write, I set out to read memoirs in search of stories that would inspire my own writing and push me to expand and excel. Some time ago, I fell in love with the memoirs of Isabelle Allende. Starting with Paula, a memoir about her youth and her daughter’s illness and death. I continued with The Sum of Our Days and My Invented Country until I have come to feel that Allende is a friend, a sentiment I'm aware she doesn't share. Getting to know all kinds of people, both famous and not famous, is one of the joys of reading memoirs. Gradually this has become my preferred type of nonfiction. Over the years, I have read all kinds of memoirs —everything from The Color of Water by James McBride to Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl, from The Choice [...]

2020-03-23T09:14:43+00:00February 29th, 2020|5 Comments

Memoir Writing Update: Wherever the Road Leads

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I posted my last blog! How could it have taken so long to write my memoir? Originally, I set a goal for myself to finish within a year. For twelve months, I poured over old letters, studied maps, looked up details of time and place on the Internet and wrote the account one chapter at a time. Assuming I can count a manuscript of over 200  pages to be finished, I achieved my goal. I had written a full account of two years of travel and, though it all interested me, I knew it not ready for publication. I was too close to the story to know where to cut and what to keep. Sending the manuscript to Beta readers who promised to give me their unvarnished opinion was my next step. […]

2020-02-18T20:08:46+00:00February 18th, 2020|5 Comments
Go to Top