Exploring the World #MFRWauthor #blog Challenge

MFRW blog challenge badgeThis week’s MFRW Blog Challenge is My Hobbies, which in my case means exploring the world, either through reading or actual travels.

My two consistent lifelong habits are reading and traveling. I’ve been an avid reader since childhood, and reading let me explore the world from my home. I’ve had other hobbies through the years — playing the piano, international folk dancing, needlework — but none that lasted more than a decade or so. I haven’t played the piano or danced in quite a while now, and I had to give up needlework when I hit my forties and my eyes changed. It got too hard to see those little holes in the material.

My father had a bad case of wanderlust, and I seem to have inherited it. He loved road trips and we saw quite a bit of the US when I was a child, from our hometown of Pittsburgh to Miami, Florida, then out of California where we settled for good. My dad’s favorite thing was to visit old Western ghost towns, like Tombstone and Bodie.
ghost town

In my twenties, I made a few trips outside the US. My last year in college I took a student tour of the archeological ruins in Mexico. We went all the way to Tikal in Guatamala. A few years later, I spent three weeks in Australia, including a camping tour of Tasmania, one of the remotest and prettiest places you’ll ever see.

Lily Gambler coverMy husband didn’t like to fly, so we confined most of our travels to the US and Canada. Sometimes travel inspires story ideas, which happened when Bob and I toured California’s Gold Country, and I got the idea for my latest release, Lily and the Gambler.

I used to work in the travel industry, and took several familiarization trips, including the Canadian Rockies and Hawaii.

In 2003, I finally made a trip to England, a tour designed for romance writers to the Regency triangle: London, Bath and Brighton. I’d been dreaming (and reading) about the British Isles for years. In 2015, I took a cruise around the isles and finally got to see a bit of Scotland and Ireland.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace in the early morning

Last year I spent a month touring Europe and I’ve been writing about it in my regular #TuesdayTravels posts. If you’re interested, sign up to follow the blog.


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Best Friends & Relatives #MFRWauthor #blog challenge

MFRW blog challenge badgeThis week’s prompt in the MFRW Author Blog Challenge is Meet My Best Friend.

I had to think about this prompt for a few minutes. Unlike some people, I haven’t had one best friend throughout my life, but rather a succession of close and not-so-close friends. I did have a best friend in elementary school, but then we started moving, eventually from Pittsburgh to California. We moved six times in five years, which made it hard to make and keep friends. During those years, my mom became my best friend. We remained close until her death, and sometimes I still sense her nearby. My mom was such a dog lover, we all were. This adorable Chihuahua pup looks much like our Mitzi did. My mom and that dog were practically inseparable.

white chihuahua puppy

After I married, my husband became my best friend, though I also had lots of good female friends. My critique group has grown so close, we feel more like sisters than friends, interesting since three of us are only children. I have a half-brother who is fourteen years older than I am, so I like to say that my dad had two wives and two only children. He and his wife Renee are also friends, and since Bob’s death, traveling companions.

For someone like me, from a small family, friends are all important, and I’m grateful for every one.


Me with my brother Mac and my sister-in-law Renee at The Venetian in Las Vegas

What about you? Do you have one best friend or a whole bunch?


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