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Book Recs & a Honeymoon Story

A Favorite Book - Listening

This is great American literature. Maya Angelou shares the story of her youth, her passions, and the inspiration that made her one of America's most renowned authors. I Know Why the Cages Bird Sings is a memoir about her youth in Stamps, Arkansas, and her time as a young woman in San Francisco. Maya Angelou narrates the audiobook, which includes singing and music as well as her rich voice. The book received the Coretta Scott King Award for Authors.

Writing Journey

I am writing this from the 20Books to 50K conference in Las Vegas, the world's largest gathering of indie publishers (self-published authors). The presentations have been incredibly inspirational, and there is a strong focus on the practicalities of having a writing career. This morning, I listened to a panel of six, all female, high-powered authors discuss their paths to success.

Several had been traditionally published but hadn't ended up with the writing career they wanted and hadn't been able to quit their day jobs. They now work just as hard, but write what they want and on their schedule. They've built fan bases and are in tune with the business side of publishing (or someone in their life is). If you've been keeping tabs on the lawsuits and strikes in publishing, this is a fascinating, and refreshing, look at a part of publishing that is working.

A Travel Story

Spain: A Day in the Life of a Honeymoon

My husband and I did the math recently and realized we'd passed the mark where we'd known each other longer than we hadn't.

In 1995, when Tom and I married, we decided a driving tour of northern Spain was the perfect honeymoon. We flew to Madrid and picked up a two-door Renault Clio, a tiny car for two tall people.

We drove to La Coruna in the far northeast of the country, a long drive on tiny meandering roads. We arrived well after nightfall and found a hotel with a room. A guidebook recommended a seafood restaurant just down the street. I don’t remember if we got the massive seafood platter to celebrate or if seeing it on another table inspired us, but it came on one of those silver trays with several layers. And it was delicious.

The next day, the hotel proprietor woke us from a dead sleep by banging on our door. He told us we needed to leave. We'd far overslept checkout time.

We dragged our backpacks out to the Clio and began a painful drive toward Asturias. Highways didn't exist in this part of Spain yet, and the road we drove went through the center of every town. Less than an hour into our drive, I saw an open bar. Bars in Spain are different than in the U.S. They are a part of the community and open early to serve coffee and orange juice and maybe churros and Spanish tortilla to those in need. We parked in a diagonal spot right in front and trudged in to order two much-needed coffees. We were the only people there besides the gnarled man behind the bar. He made us our coffees and set them in front of us, holding his hand up to keep us from drinking. Then he turned around, grabbed a bottle of whisky, and gave us each a generous pour. Exactly the fortification we needed to carry on.

Cuenca, Spain

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