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[3 Oct 2011 | 28 Comments | ]

For however long I am meant to reside here in Budapest, Hungary, a post-Communist city with an incredible history, I feel compelled to explore both its past and present. I’d like to share some of my experiences with you, if you care to follow along. But first, I’ll start with a trip outside the city—my journey to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp near Krakow, Poland:

A few days after my friend Bette arrived from Texas for a three week visit, we boarded a train to Krakow from the Keleti Train Station in Budapest. The station, built in 1881, and considered the most lavish station in Europe at the time, is still beautiful today. How novel, I thought—a slumber party aboard a sleeper train, and we’ll arrive first thing in the morning, fresh … [+]

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[13 Sep 2011 | 35 Comments | ]

I’ve been absent from blogging for awhile, so this is going to be a bit lengthy while I explain my whereabouts this past year. Some of you know why I have been missing in action, and some don’t. For those who are aware, please bear with me, and then we’ll get on with life.

Last summer (2010), I had been living along the beautiful Adriatic Sea and enjoying the heck out of my life. In June, I returned to the U.S. to visit friends and relatives, and to conduct seminars. Topping off my trip was attending the RWA National Conference in Orlando, Florida.

I flew back home via Frankfurt, where my German husband was to meet me, driving up from Croatia. A long trip, but we planned to stay overnight in … [+]

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[4 Jun 2010 | 23 Comments | ]

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Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe. This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook, complete with spelling errors (For you non-southerners, wrench means, rinse)

 

RESIPE FOR WARSHING CLOTHES

Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make 3 piles

1 pile white,

1 pile colored,

1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don’t boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch. 

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed. … [+]

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[20 May 2010 | 6 Comments | ]

Some of you may make a habit of dialoguing with your characters before you begin to write a novel. Others may not have heard of the idea. I have done a form of this for years, but never applied it to characters in my novel until I began reading a few blogs where the actual hero or heroine were interviewed. What I great idea, I thought, so I applied it to two characters I thought I knew from the inside out. Turns out I didn’t know the heroine as well as the hero. After I had a chat with her, I went back and fleshed her out with the ease of writing about someone I had known a lifetime (but then, perhaps she has been a seed inside my soul my entire life, waiting to sprout).

Recently, I had to have a particular medical procedure that made me feel threatened. What … [+]

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[28 Apr 2010 | 12 Comments | ]

When we think of the Roman soldiers, unless we are particularly fond of that period of history, most likely our images and impressions come more from Hollywood than from anywhere else. However, what the film industry does not show is the background of the common Roman soldier. Did you know that the soldiers were stationed far from home to dissuade desertion and that they took their living quarters with them when they traveled? The average warrior was trained for war, but rarely fought. Instead, they were expert in multiple trades and used them to build roads, aqueducts, coliseums, forts, etc. Their tools were as important to them as were their weapons and their precious tools of the trade traveled with them. The average soldier was constantly on the move and was trained to march as quickly as four miles an hour for five hours a day – wearing sandals.

It wasn’t … [+]