Wanderlusty Wednesday: Home


This week I’m headed to my favorite place on earth: HOME to my parents’ house on the Jersey Shore. I’ll be spending the next four days in the company of my family, eating too much pie and drinking too much wine and playing too many board games and laughing way too hard. We spend Thanksgiving Day with my mom’s side of the family, known as “the big side”. My mom has seven brothers and sisters, which means lots of cousins. We now rent a house to host Thanksgiving in, because people keep procreating and no one’s house is big enough on its own anymore. There will be 55 of us around the table this year, which isn’t even a record–we’ve broken 60 before! (Now do you see why I’m concerned about the cost of my wedding? ‘Cause that’s not even half the family.) And then Friday morning we’ll attempt to work off (some of) our epic meal with our flag football game, played in memory of my cousin Cheryl whom we lost to cancer four years ago.

I write a lot about traveling and how wonderful it is to go places outside your comfort zone, and I mean all of that, really I do. But if I can be cheesy for a moment–there’s really nowhere on earth that’s better than somewhere filled with the people you love. It really is not where you are, but who you’re with that matters.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image of my parents’ front porch, taken by me.

MK’s Book Reviews: Carry On


Confession: I’ve been an obnoxiously slow reader lately. Life has been getting in the way. But last night, I finally finished this book...

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Learning From the Masters: World-Building


Time for another post on how to world build when writing a fantasy novel! (First post available here)

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Don’t Stop Traveling


So I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the horrible but all too common events in Paris on Friday…

As I’ve mentioned before, my boyfriend and I have a trip planned to Paris in a mere three weeks’ time. We’re going because I have vacation days to use up, because he’s been to Paris only once and for only two days, because it’s an easy trip for me as I’ve been there dozens of times, and because Paris in December is simply lovely.

People–mainly parental-type figures in my life (including my mother), but also strangers on the internet–have wanted to know whether or not we’re canceling our trip.

And my response?

Absolutely not.

The word “terrorism” came about because the cowards who commit these awful acts of mass murder do it for that very reason: to make us all afraid. Not going to Paris, not traveling, living in fear? It’s letting them win.

Never mind that from a practical standpoint, I have a far better chance of getting run over by a taxi on my way home today than I do of being a victim of terrorism. If you tried to actively avoid everything that can kill you, you’d never leave your house. (Never mind that there are plenty of things inside your house that can also kill you.) The point is, it does not do to live one’s life in fear.

And especially, especially, do not let fear prevent you from traveling. Travel is good for everyone. It expands your mind, lets you experience new things, lets you understand that people are just people, no matter where you go. Never leaving your comfort zone isn’t just boring, it’s also bad for you, and for society as a whole. Travel is a direct antidote to narrow-minded bigotry, which is something I encounter far, far too often here in the good old US of A (especially in light of current events. I’ve abandoned the comments section on Facebook posts for good now. I just can’t.)

You know the saying, “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”? Don’t spend your life a great ship in a tiny, safe harbor.


Image taken by me October 2012 in Paris, France.

On Audiobooks


Last week I drove solo from Jersey City to Raleigh, North Carolina. I stopped in DC for a few days on my way there, but on the way back I drove straight through, so I decided I’d try out an audiobook for the very first time ever…

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Writing Tip: What Your First Draft Should Look Like


I’m currently in the process of first-drafting a new manuscript, something I haven’t done in over a year. And I’m quickly remembering all the fun that can be had with first drafts–and also, all the challenges

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Friday Things


It’s been a challenging week, to say the least. My new senior kitty is still in the throes of getting used to me, and I am still in the throes of getting used to trying to reason with a creature who doesn’t understand English. “I rescued you!” I exclaim to her. “You’re lucky to have me!” Alas none of my words have the desired effect, which is to get her to stop yowling in the middle of the night and disrupting my sleep. I’m trying some kind of diffuser that releases some kind of calming hormone next; in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions that could help my situation, I’m more than open to hearing them. I’m getting a little desperate.

Here are some great links from the internets that have at least helped distract me:

1. The secret to enjoying a long winter (I so want to go here!)

2. The best friendship movies (I agree with almost all of these)

3. Has anyone heard of this site? Apparently it helps you find your next favorite movie, music, or book based on what you like. Haven’t used it yet (heard it’s a giant timesuck) but thinking about it!

4. This couple renovated a 1950s Airstream and are living out of it for a year. This is so, so cool, but what I love about this story is the honesty of it:

We felt stuck in draining careers that were sucking the life right out of us, and barely allowing us to make ends meet. We decided that we needed to change something. We left on this journey for a very personal and honest reason. We needed to find home and a life that looked the way we wanted it to, instead of a life that saddened us and didn’t look quite as we’d expected.


Reading: Currently at the beginning of this, which is wonderfully weird. Also while driving last week I listened to my first audio book, another Maggie Stiefvater. It was just okay, though I’m not totally sure if it was the story or the brand-new audio book experience (or the slightly annoying voice of one of the readers). I’ll probably try audio books again on my next long drive, but I definitely prefer the written word to the spoken one. My mind wanders too much. More on this later.

Watching: Just finished this series! Cried at the finale. I can’t believe I almost didn’t continue watching it. I’m once again reminded that good storytelling is good storytelling, regardless of medium. Now I’ll have to find something new to entertain me during my hours cooking and laundering and cleaning up after my wailing senior kitty. Suggestions welcome!

Listening to: This band. How they escaped my early college Ataris and Co phase I do not know but I’m glad to be listening to them now.

Have a great weekend! Hope you get more sleep than I surely will…

Image not mine, I found it on this Tumblr; my cat is too busy meowing at me to pose for Tumblr-worthy photos

Learning from the Masters: On World-Building


So I’m attempting to write a fantasy novel for the first time ever. Writing in this genre has its pros and cons.

Pros: I get to make up the entire world I’m writing about!

Cons: I have to make up the entire world I’m writing about…

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Wanderlusty Wednesday: DC

I’m back! I had a lovely week off driving up and down the east coast of the USA. One of my stops: Washington, DC, where, it being my fourth or fifth time there, I did more than the usual  touristy things. I thought I’d share some new things to do in our nation’s capital, particularly appropos today (it’s Veteran’s Day, in case you didn’t know!) Continue reading