Monthly Archives: June 2012

These Travel Writing Blogs Are Worth Keeping


Cleaning out my blog inbox as I do periodically I keep only the stuff that I’d pass on via Twitter, Facebook, or here at ArchitectureTravelWriter. As many of my readers are travel writers and most of the others simply enjoy travel reading, I thought I’d share some of the good travel writing blogs I’ve found out there on the Interwebs. might help you connect with your next travel magazine editor or book publisher.


Travel Writing 2.0     This is actually a book and blog by Tim Leffel, a veteran travel writer who has dispatched articles from five continents and written multiple books. The blog contains brief and informative posts; crisp, clean, and mature writing; and finally, there aren’t self-serving sales pitches all over the place. Read interviews with many travel writers who are making their travel-to-write dreams work. Find out what travel editors want.

Check out this Q&A with Laurie Gough. She’s published 20 stories in literary travel books before becoming a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail, The Los Angles Times,, and others.


Curl up to your iPad & read Kate Crawford’s “Elephant Driving 101


Best Travel Writing    This blog comes from Travelers’ Tales, a book publisher which hosts the Solas Awards, highly reputable annual contests, and posts from it are of winners and those published by TT. Most writers I know from SheWrites yearn to win a TT contests and be published in one of its books. One of my favorite authors, Faith Adiele, has published there.

Posts are irregular but plentiful and offer a variety of literary voices and types of travel adventures, from the intellectual to the physical. There are stories about how we all end up liking someone despite the fact we know they’re going to rob us, such as Marcia DeSanctis’ “Masha”. There are stories about what it’s life to defy death by mountain biking down the world’s most dangerous road, found in Bolivia. There are stories about wearing hijab in Mumbai, only to be feared as a potential terrorists– no, wait. My piece hasn’t been granted an award… yet.

This is a great book-like blog– sans photos and other distractions– for avid readers and mental travelers. Without requiring or expecting the participation most blogs do, the posts contain story each. That’s long enough for your daily ablutions, though what lingers from them is more desirable.



Writer Abroad is one travel writing blog I’ve read periodically for several months. Penned by American writer Chantal Panozzo, who lives in Switzerland, it does have a lot of salesy speak. Sometimes, though, it’s just a relief to read someone else’s echo of your own writer-living-abroad experiences. For instance, ‘As an American, I feel like a slacker. And I hate this “if I’m not busy then I’m not worthy” thing that still haunts me, even five years after being abroad. So I’m trying to embrace my European status instead. Key word, trying.
‘A European would feel fine about my accomplishments this summer. After all, many small stores and restaurants in Switzerland close completely in July and August. I think as creative people (and especially as Americans), we can learn from this.’

Those of you who can commit to a longer reading experience, check out her recommendations for books about life abroad.

This blog doesn’t always get it right. I took a guest blogger to task earlier this year for seemingly trying to terrify readers about losing or having stuff stolen abroad. But she provides tips for writers who wish to stay in touch with writing communities and to get published in various arenas.


Check out my post on podcasts for writers.

Getting Published Feels like This


I hadn’t thought much that day of the fact that I was getting published. No, really.

It was my first substantial literary essay in a truly literary publication and I’d get to see real-time results, and I’d waited more than three months since it had been accepted, seven  months after starting to write it, nine years since completing grad school, and 38 years for this. So why wasn’t I anxious? Or at least bubbling over with excitement?


One of My Biggest Influences, Truman Capote. I’d like a mic, too, please. Photo from Goodreads, a great readerly site.


I needed to be literarily accepted. I craved the “published” status. I wanted to know that my grad degree was worth it, that my living this turbulent writer’s life, that failing miserably at relationships and jobs and money, that learning to ask for advice and critiques from writers higher up the food chain, and having to work at this job in Piura, Peru, was because my dedication to my writing was worth it.

Yet, there was so sudden awakening this morning, no lack of sleep the night before. (Though I certainly had whilst writing it.) And today my day had carried on as always.


Not the only Sleepless Writer Photo Credit


What I felt when I arrived at Starbucks on my lunch hour still hummed below the level of anticipation about the publication of “Burqa to the Loo”.

I loaded up my computer, pressed on with the nonchalance of anyone going through their daily routine: answering emails from one account, the second, the third, before heading over to my professional Facebook profile. But I didn’t make it to the second profile very quickly because there it was.

I audibly gasped. My hands raised to clasp my chest like an old man having a heart attack.

“Awash in a sea of hijab in Mazagaon, I might as well have worn a bathing suit to church.”

The words sang in my ears. Its professional appearance reminded me of the thousands of pieces I’d read by other published writers and authors. Now it was my turn.

Then it really hit: I did that.


The statement scrolled through my brain like a ticker in Times Square: I did that I did that I did that. My heart started pounding like it’d leap out of my chest. I dropped my head into my hands, shut my eyes tight as if to keep the tears from spilling over.


Suddenly breath raced to my lungs which forced my tears out, and they fell and fell and fell for minutes until I had a headache, until I spent two tissues, until anyone looking at me in this very public place with a wall of windows in front of me, baristas who know me by name behind me, and some international business men to my left. Why couldn’t I just have preacted before it was published and saved these people the confusion of watching a woman get published for the first time?


Then I thought of all the hours and weeks and months spent writing since then with nothing new on hand to send to publishers for a repeat performance of this. I’m not the prolific writer I imagine myself to be. The thought released giggles like gas bubbles. They didn’t sound like the woman who was sitting here a moment ago, the woman who wasn’t yet published.


My favorite barista, Fiorella wonders what she served up in that latte that made me start blubbering like a bloody whale


Now they sounded like a woman acknowledging a blessing.

I can’t believe I did it was followed by Of course you could do it, you sap!

I stood up from the stool. Elation washed through me like a bath in Lourdes and I let it sink in. I started crying again, sobbing actually.

Estás bien?” A barista passed by, greeting me as she came in for her daily shift.

Sí, sí!” I said, suddenly having to pull myself together. “Algo muy bueno pasó. Estoy muy bien, muy bien.”

I let the feelings settle, simmer. I considered returning to my routine but my eyes Facebook post again, glimpse “in a sea of hijab…” and I recalled everything that led to that story, those days in Mazagaon, fearing for my life, what led me to India, what took me from India. It dawned on me what all I’ve been through in four years.

Then another crying jag ceased me.

I suppose I should be in my own bedroom when I receive this notice: “Your book is now selling in stores nationwide.”


The good thing is that my slowness has given me time to realize the psychological turmoils of what happens after not just a sweet little, nice little essay like “Burqa” is published but after my book is. As these linked authors indicate, writing is a slow, upward climb. I’ve finally got some rungs beneath me. Let’s hope I can continue advancing, without having an anxiety attack. Though I will accept some tears, especially if it means I’m getting published.

Q&A: Blind Author Belo Cipriani Discusses the Business of Writing


This is the second of a two-part post about Blind author Belo Cipriani, a San Francisco-based memoirist whose first work of fiction comes out later this year. Read the first part here.



You’re coming out with your first book of fiction soon. Any release date yet? Can you give us a hint about the tale? Where should I direct readers to buy it?

My novella, Nightlife, will be published by ASD Publishing in September 2012. It’s a story about a pill that allows people to choose their dreams. The main characters find themselves socializing and getting to know each other in their sleep. Dates, romances, and heart breaks occur while on the pink pill. Readers will be able to purchase Nightlife via my publisher or via major online retailers.

Meanwhile, my publisher is currently translating a few chapter excerpts from Blind into Spanish. They want to test the waters first before translating the entire book.


You do writing residencies annually. Which one is coming up next? How do they work, and what advice would you give other writers interested in going beyond their writing groups?

I will be in residency at Yaddo summer 2012 in New York. During the fall 2012 and spring 2013 I will be Writer in Residency at Holy Names University in Oakland California. Residencies have proven to be extremely valuable for me because they have offered a place and time to write. In many cases, I am in residency with other writers and artists from other disciplines that have positively affected my creativity. There are websites that list residencies, yet I learn about them mostly from my writer friends.


Many of my writers are curious about fellowships, too. What are they and how does one go about getting one?

There are all sorts of fellowships with a wide range of criteria. Some seek out emerging writers while others look for accomplished authors. Some award big bucks and housing, yet those are rare and highly competitive. In 2011, I was a Lambda Literary Fellow and spent a week taking writing workshops with top notch writers and attended publishing panels in Los Angeles. This week long event is one of the best experiences of my writing career.

(ATW note: For more information on finding a place or some cash as a writer visit Erika Dreifus and/or Hope Clark.)


Find out more about Cipriani on his info-packed web site


You have a publicist who gets you bookings on programs such as What kind of efforts has she achieved for you so far? Did you get an agent before or after Blind’s release? What advice would you give other writers on finding a good publicist?

I am represented by a celebrity publicist. I signed an NDA limiting my ability to relinquish her identity to the public. She basically does not want people to find her. Like many successful agents, they do not want to be queried. She actually scouted me at a literary party in Los Angeles.


We all need community. Writers and blind people are two groups who especially discuss this. Do you have any other blind writer friends?

Yes, Susan Krieger has been a major supporter of my writing. I met her at one of her readings at Stanford University and we have stayed in touch ever since. I am a big fan of her work and highly recommend all of her books.


My thanks to Belo Cipriani for granting me some precious time and allowing me to write about his courageous journey.