“Spring Break” Abroad?: Don’t Get Carried Away

The State Department's "@TravelGov" Twitter feed got into some social media trouble because of a single tweet on Wednesday. After attempts to explain it to several offended, irate tweeters, the department gave up and simply deleted it a couple of hours later. The New York Times caught it before it was removed: Those tweeters, and …

Available From November 29

....on paperback and for Kindle: And available for pre-order now for Kindle at.... ....and at other Amazons worldwide. This "sticky post" will be up until shortly after that 29th. Unless I decide to take it down before, of course. The reason for it is I just wanted to prominently reshare the full cover and the …

When Social Media Turns Ugly

If you are reading this, you may be on social media yourself too - with a blog, a Twitter account, Instagram, etc. Recently, some "guy" I'd never encountered before evidently took umbrage with my voicing my opinion on too many U.S. study abroad students' immature behaviors. Regular visitors here also know I attribute those primarily …

An American Embarrassment Is “Concluded” Too

Please pardon a very serious post, but I wish to address this in one "summation" and be done with it. You may know by now that one Amanda Knox of Seattle, Washington, has had a successful appeal in Italy's highest court. Her murder conviction has been quashed. As no further appeal by the prosecution is …

What “Clean Reader” Really Represents (To Me)

There seems to be an app for everything. But here's one I've missed. Evidently it's causing quite the stir in "authoring circles": In assailing it, author Joanne Harris is quoted in the UK Independent newspaper even invoking so-called ISIS and its wholesale destruction of Sumerian antiquities: "No permission is sought, or granted," Harris wrote. "There …

In So Many Words

Commenting on my "Marathon Man" post in which I'd shared an extended look at the rough draft of a scene, Naseer wrote: Interesting to note how Americans are when they meet each other in foreign climes, be it Paris or Kathmandu (Said with affection) Your writing adds a lot of colour. I get impression colour …

Because We Love Italy

In the first two volumes, I concentrated (unsurprisingly, I suppose) on three countries: the U.S., France, and Britain. However, I also made scattered references to Italy. I included the likes of "James" having an Italian aunt, "Isabelle" having been to a language school in Rome, "Giorgio" debating Italian girls with "Isabelle," English "Natalie's" younger cousin …

I Was Having An Argument….

....with myself. Specifically, yesterday I was working on a scene that sees two characters disagreeing strongly and moving towards an "explosion," while a third witnesses the rising tension. This morning, I thought on yesterday's post. I suppose I could now reply to this question: 6. When did you last talk to yourself? When did you …

It’s A Murder, Not Some “Saga”

Please pardon an extremely serious post. A Twitter reference the other day to a novel entitled Abroad, which I had not heard of until then, caught my eye. It is based on the 2007 murder in Italy of English student, Meredith Kercher. Her murder case is so over-argued on social media, I decided the best …

What Women Like (To Read)

Over Sunday lunch with my parents, as we somehow ended up talking about the often vulgar way sex is portrayed on House of Cards (yes, really; and I have no idea how we got on that topic either), my mother declared nonchalantly: Your father and I aren't embarrassed to see sex on TV. We've had …

Plane Courtesy

Back on Friday, we were on British Airways, which we almost always fly internationally (save for Ryanair). This flight was on a 777; that's what BA uses to Newark (although they are supposed to be using Dreamliners too, I believe). I still don't like that aircraft; but I will admit this one was a better …

Quick Take 8: (Our Leading Lady) “Isabelle”

While the story begins inside of James's mind, without Isabelle there is no novel. On that September Thursday in 1994, she is the first character to speak. She breaks the ice.... __________ Walking into her University of Long Island (ULI) Western Civilization class for the first time, Isabelle scopes out the seating. On one side of …

Quick Take 7: “Maki”

Having already met Russian MBA student Lena, during the first week of classes Isabelle stumbles on another international student.... __________ A Spanish major, and now a senior, Japanese Maki has been at the University of Long Island (ULI) for three years. Hoping to catch the hard to catch chairperson, this first Friday of the semester …

When “I’ll Write Soon” Meant Actually Writing

CNN quoting first lady Michelle Obama in Beijing earlier this week, praising studying abroad as "citizen diplomacy": "I'm here today because I know that our future depends on connections like these among young people like you across the globe," the first lady told an audience composed of Chinese and international students at Peking University. "We …

Language Barriers

On February 24, I noted CNN's report on the tragic death in Rome a couple days earlier of U.S. study abroad student John Durkin. The 21 year old college junior's body was found in a train tunnel. He had been hit and killed by a train. He was last seen alive leaving a bar called …

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