The French Connection

At a recent wedding, I reconnected with some dear college friends. One of them, the illustrious Bartels, has married a French woman, Emilie. After chatting for a while it struck me, I need help translating De Clieu's original letter.


A librarian had kindly scanned De Clieu's original article in 1700s French and sent it to me. I performed a rough Google translate on it so get the basic meaning of De Clieu's words. His letter validated some of the "non-fiction" that has been written about De Clieu, and left much of what is said about De Clieu totally unsubstantiated (for instance, De Clieu makes no mention of pirates).

 I am publishing this letter in the back of Coffee Smuggler for the history buffs in my audience, because it was very hard to come by.

As I chatted with Emilie, it struck me, I need help! Emilie generously agreed to help me with my translation and has delivered on her promise. She researched old French words and produced an excellent translation for Coffee Smuggler. Thanks Emilie for helping bring a forgotten piece of history back to life!

Posted on September 11, 2014 .

Editing Marathon

Today I spent 7 hours working one on one with my extraordinary editor who wishes to remain anonymous. We edited 20 pages of my 8th draft manuscript.  It was intense. I learned a lot and Vince taught diligently.

For the first time I feel proud of my writing. We examined each word or each sentence with a magnifying glass. For the first time, I feel unafraid of criticism. For the first 20 pages at least.

Tomorrow we're going for 5 hours. The coming weeks will be intense as every word of every sentence of every paragraph of every page of every chapter is scrutinized. Each will be either accepted, improved, or destroyed. I owe my editor a great thank you for his service. I feel like Coffee Smuggler is transitioning from adolescence to maturity. Onwards!

Posted on September 6, 2014 .

Blog's Away!

Blogging in Madison

Today I found an hour to sit down in Bradley's coffee shop in Madison Wisconsin to move forward on some important pre-publication item. I listened to a great podcast on the way here called Author Biz that reminded me about the important the importance of establishing a mailing list. So presto, with a delicious decafe espresso in hand I've banged out both a mailchimp email list and a new blog. Correction, this is actually an old blog I started in 2008 but am now returning to, revitalizing and re-purposing. Right now I'm in a tricky balance between pouring energy into final edits of my manuscript, beginning the self-publishing process of cover design, manuscript formatting etc and increasing the marketing efforts that will help Coffee Smuggler see the light of day. It's at once very fun to have all the controls in my hands and scary.


Whenever I spent time away from the manuscript I begin doubting myself. I wonder if anyone will like it. When I dive back into editing and remind myself what I've got, that confidence returns. Part of why I'm writing a blog is to connect with readers for the dialogue, encouragement and feedback that keep me energized to dig deeper into the work that will finish this project. So thank for being there, for your words and for helping me on this journey. See me waving...?

Posted on August 15, 2014 .