The Critique Chorus

When I was a kid and I had to decide between doing the right thing and something I wanted to do, I would hear my mother’s voice or my priest’s sermons. This didn’t always change my actions but their words did make it clear to me that there would be consequences. Oh boy, would there be consequences. Continue reading “The Critique Chorus”

The Editing Folder of Doom

I love my live and in-person critique group. We are a wonderful mix of specialties so that each of us focuses on one or two things and we all agree or can argue coherently against any suggested changes. There are five of us and once a month we meet to hand out several pages of our story to each member. The result is that we leave with five copies of part of our novel annotated by ourselves and our friends. Continue reading “The Editing Folder of Doom”

Live Critique Group

More than twenty years ago, I first joined RWA-SD as a wanna-be writer of Romance. I was working on my first Regency romance (don’t ask, it sucked) and didn’t know anyone. Roughly 6 months later, I had made friends with 3 other new writers who lived in my area, or close enough and had volunteered to man the sales table of used books. The 3 writers and I started a critique group and may or may not have helped each other. I’ve lost contact with all but one of them and she is doing wonderfully, even if she’s not writing any longer. Continue reading “Live Critique Group”

I See What You’re Saying

Whenever someone says, I see what you’re saying, I look for the speech balloon. Or the puff of vapor shaped like words. It’s funny, but as a writer, it’s exactly what I am trying to achieve.

The person who sees isn’t using their eyes. They are using their mind’s eye. They can visualize what the words on paper mean. It’s a pretty awesome connection to make with someone. And many writers never get the full impact of how they connected with someone. Continue reading “I See What You’re Saying”

What If?

I’m a little woozy after having novel surgery done today. I met with a couple of very sharp, very supportive writers and let them flay The Viscount’s Mouse. The story started out as a tale of a young, plain, disabled woman of little means who takes a job as a governess, only to be sexually harassed by the brother of her employer. He eventually realizes he loves her, but she is fired and goes off to find her really rich and noble relatives. There’s more stuff before the happily ever after. Well, forget that. Continue reading “What If?”

Around the World in 80+ Books, Part 12

I don’t work as a bookkeeper. I admire accountants and other organized people. The only organization I have is Romance Writers of America, ha ha ha. Going down the list of countries I had visited in this trip, and the list of countries of the world, I noticed some huge discrepancies. Did I really miss Albania and Belgium? Sheesh. Well, I am going on with the list of some others at the end of the lists, and then will double and triple check where I still need to go. Let’s get agoing!

221. Montserrat. A romantic island with an actual volcano, and an actual ruined city. Called the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean due to the resemblance to the Irish coast, and the number of Irish inhabitants that settled there, it’s certainly a beautiful and diverse community. So let’s take a walk on the wild side, and read a bi-racial m/m romance that gets hotter than lava. Hot Summer Nights: Montserrat by Remmy Duchene had no reviews as yet, but some of his other titles received 4 plus stars reviews.

222. Nicaragua. Jumping around will continue, but this isn’t too far to go. You will recognize the author, most likely. Salman Rushdie traveled through this country and wrote a look at the culture and society he found there from the lower layers, looking up. A glimpse of the Sandinista years, one reviewer docked a star since the book is no longer relevant to the modern country. I hope that rule isn’t applied to very many novels, it’s a little wacky. The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey.

223. Palestinian Territories. Not to be too prejudiced or anything, but my Why Can’t We All Just Get Along philosophy stumbles a bit in the Middle East. Answering violence with violence is bad. And there’s no right answer. Here’s a look at the Palestinian point of view when the state of Israel popped into existence and some non-Jews had to leave. Wouldn’t you think after centuries of being treated that way, the Chosen People would have taken a higher road? Well, I wasn’t there and I didn’t experience the hatred, so let’s just leave that alone. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa tells the story of a family forced to leave the land they loved and cherished, and the events that befell them in a refugee camp. Originally published with the title Scar of David, this powerful novel will not leave you unchanged.

224. Pitcairn. Here we have our pick of scandal from the past, or more recent. In the past, a mutinous crew of oBritish sailors fled to this island with a few native women and men, and settled into the carefree life of staying alive on a tropical island. In recent times, a culture of incest, sex slaves, and lack of status for women blew up and attracted unwanted attention for the islanders. But what about the decedents of Christian Fletcher? There should be hoards of Mel Gibson at his best, look-a-likes running around half naked. And there should be British culture and afternoon teas and so on. Think about what it takes to mutiny against the way of life you freely chose to follow, to possibly doom someone to death through starvation and dehydration in a dinghy, and to then hide from possible repercussions on another island. Serpent in Paradise is a good look at life on Pitcairn from the prospective of an outsider, Dea Birkett. One wonders how much of the way of life she observed that was later revealed in the sexual abuse and rape trials, and why she chose to stay quiet on the facts. But it could be for reasons we’ll never know.

225. Saint Barthelemy. This island was briefly under Swedish rule, and is the only Caribbean island with such a history. Electricity came to the island in the 1960s, and now St. Barts is know for its exclusivity and posh tourism. They have come a long way from slavery. A series of mystery novels centered around Charles Trenet of the Gendarmerie Nationale starts with Murder at St. Barts, by J. R. Ripley. One reviewer says it is more of a parody than a mystery, and the murderer was obvious way too soon. But, hey, it’s St. Barts!

226. St. Helena. Yes, THAT St. Helena. Regency readers and writers immediately know who went there and who died there, and that controversy will always follow infamous figures. There have been back and forth arguments between learned men for a few decades about whether Napoleon Bonapart was poisoned or died of natural causes. Consider that in a time of uncertain medical care and rampant diseases, at the age of 51, without a history of any illnesses or injuries, the deposed emperor surrendered his life over a short time to an ulcer. Possibly he did have stomach cancer, which killed his father, but read for yourself the evidence presented by Ben Wieder in Assassination at St. Helena Revisited.

227.St. Christopher and Nevis. In Romance writer circles, lately, there’s been some conversations about Nora Roberts. There’s no denying the lady has done marvelous things for the genre, and for women in particular. Some of us want to be Nora when we grow up. So I thought it would be cool to showcase her book, The Reef, which takes place on the island of St. Kitts. (When you get to know the islands really well, you can call them by their nicknames) Reviews span all numbers of stars, most interesting are the ones from daughters who remember their moms reading these books. The legacy continues.

228.St. Pierre and Miquelon. It’s pretty obvious that the smaller islands travel in pairs. These two are northwestern Atlantic Ocean islands, not so very tropical or sunny. I could not find one book about the islands, but stumbled on a movie based on a true history of the island. The Widow of St. Pierre is a French film, and tells a story that while wonderful and engaging, has a not so happy ending. And because it’s true, it can’t be rewritten for a few more centuries. Still, the movie looks good and won a few awards, and it’s all French. Just like the islands.

229. St. Vincent and Grenadines. Back in the warm part of the globe, I thought I had made up my mind, but then revisited the choices. Sometimes on Goodreads, a book will be listed, but when you click to read more about it, you get a message that the book could not be found. I could not let go of one title, A Tiny Slice of Caribbean Life: Portrait of a Vincy Woman by I. Rhonda King. A small book with a touch of the old vanity press feel to it, the golden moments between the covers are presented as dialogue between two rural women on the island. You can’t find a better way to get the feel of the place than that.

230. The Most Serene Republic of San Marino. The smallest country, population wise, in the Council of Europe, the longest existing constitution, founded as a monastery, and one of the richest countries, there are no books which take place here! Not. One. No books and the wildlife, no travelogues, not one. Why is that? Is it the lack of an ocean? The low crime rate? The fact most people never heard of it? Well, it’s going on my list of places where I will set a story someday, and in the meantime, read the official web page.

231. Slovenia. Lots of books here, as long as you read Slovenian. Luckily, a nice person (Mae Gerhard) drew pretty pictures so we can at least get an idea. And the book title is in English, so that’s a good sign, right? No reviews to go on, but The Golden Bird by Vladimir Kavčič is a collection of Folktales from Slovenia. I love this stuff, and who knows, it might be a source of inspiration for the next great Romance novel.

232. South Georgia and Sandwich Islands. Beautiful islands are in high demand by governments of near-by countries. Robert K. Headland worked as an officer in the British Antarctic Survey, when somehow he managed to be stationed on South Georgia. Not exactly a tropical island, as it’s very close to the Antarctic. Used for whaling ships once upon a time, someone noted that “A rotting whale could fill with gas to bursting, ejecting a fetus the size of a motor vehicle with sufficient force to kill a man.” But it’s not all fun and games on South Georgia. And Robert K. Headland shows us that in his beautifully illustrated book, The Island of South Georgia. No word if dead pregnant whales are being considered for use as weapons.

233. Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands. Once called Spittsbergen for the volcano, an early explorer believed he had found the entrance to Hell. Sadly, the islands are much more mundane than that, but still remote and harsh. This was a whaling port in the Arctic, but whales were never left to rot, apparently. NASA has a base there. The capital city is Longyearbyen. Tourists come for the glaciers and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Goodreads had nothing to offer, so I went to the Wiki entry and looked for ISBNs. That brought up Spittsbergen Svalbard: A Complete Guide Around the Arctic Archipelago by Rolf Stange. Mostly photographs, still everything you need to know about the islands.

234. Tokelau. The island name means North Wind in the islanders language. If I hadn’t made that notation on my notes, I would think I finally went around the final bend. I know I read something about the book Where on Earth is Tokelau by Maxwell H. Heller when researching from my place of employment on a break. I know there was information on how and why Mr. Heller went there and what happened. Can I find it from home? Not on Wiki, not on Goodreads, not anywhere. Then I remembered, I was going to the Wiki pages on the country itself, not looking up the book. Whew! There are lots of articles written about the islands, because it’s a shark sanctuary, they adjusted their time zone recently, and they are a sunny, untouched Pacific paradise. That last is up to debate. But yes, the book is listed there with the subtitle, A Doctor’s Experiences in the South Seas. All’s well.

235. Trinidad and Tobago. The true Caribbean, says one tourist web site. Well, yes, there was slavery, and Tobago means tobacco, and the islands are beautiful. Chris Columbus showed up and bam! The natives no longer owned the land. Hostile Takeover engaged. The Book of Trinidad by Gerard Besson (and possibly Bridget Brereton) is a unique record, following the dictate that “We must remember, and we must remember everything.” You’ll find recipes, travelogues, newspaper articles, official records and some historians’ papers. You will know Trinidad and Tobago when you close the book.

236. Turks and Caicos. Paul G. Boultbee has penned a number of books about the beautiful islands of the Caribbean. I have very little to go on, regarding his book, Turks and Caicos Island. It’s a sunny and relatively dry set of islands, popular with pirates and salt collectors. There has been scandal in the government, just like a big country, and an annual concert with big celebrities. They have no post office, and nobody seems to mind. There is a particular breed of dog in the islands, not so much a breed, really, and a mix called the potcake dogs. Wouldn’t it be cool if each celebrity and millionaire tourist who visited the island contributed to the care and health of these special dogs? Oh, the book. Yes. Here’s the link.

236. Vanuatu, Republic of. Formerly called New Hebrides, someone decided they weren’t done with the old Hebrides yet, and changed it to Vanuatu. That means Home Stand in the native language. Survivor was filmed there, both US and Australian. No one wrote a story about that, and I think that’s a shame. The original European government was a combined English-French Condominium. I can’t see these two folks living happily together in one building, let alone an island. And the natives were banned from getting citizenship in either ruling country, which sucked. And is a greater shame than the missing Survivor books. So I’m going with The Birds of Vanuatu by Heinrich L. Bregulla, since he isn’t political.

237. Wallis and Futuna Islands. French ruled islands near New Zealand, Three Kingdoms, and nary a book on any of it. Why not write your own? The Travel Journal of Wallis and Futuna contains information on the islands and lots of blank pages so you can record your thoughts, feelings, and how much you spent.

238. Albania. The Ottoman Empire wants this country. The country doesn’t agree. The Siege by Ismail Kadare records the facts and the fiction of the event. A stunning novel by a powerful, award-winning writer.

239. Belgium. I’m cheating a bit here, as the book takes place in France and Belgium, but the subject is one of extreme interest to me. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracey Chevalier (wonder if we’re related?) follows the escapades of a deliciously appealing scoundrel, a painter who designs the famous tapestries that now hang in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

240. Cyprus. Could go with Othello, but I think not. Better a tale where going to Cyprus tears your life apart. Sigh. No, maybe a book about finding your past and putting it all together on Cyprus. Okay, I need to wrap this up. So you’re getting both. The People In-between: A Cyprus Odyssey by Gregory S. Lamb and Small Wars by Sadie Jones. Enjoy!

And I’ll see you on Wednesday. Maybe next week we can wrap up the whole world.

I C Summer Blog Tour – “Navigating the Writing Path: From Start to Finish”

My on-line writing buddy, Louise Redmann, thought of me as a participant in this great blog tour from I C Publishing ( Thanks so much, Louise, I had a great time answering the questions and thinking about writing more than usual. Please visit her blog at and soak in the photos of her awesome first-hand research opportunities.

Here are my responses to those questions:

1. Share how you start your writing project(s). For example, where do you find inspiration? Do you outline? Do you jump right into the writing? Do you do all of your research first?
I have a few ideas that came to me from dreams, one or two that evolved while I was reading some book that didn’t go the way I thought it should, or watching a movie with the same situation. I’ll have a conversation in my head out of nowhere, between two people I don’t know. Inspiration finds me, I rarely have to look for it. Sometimes my husband gives me an idea with a pun or silly thing he will say. I jump right in to jotting down the notes about the idea, and over time have filled notebooks and computer files. It’s not likely that I will get all my ideas written out, but I hope to come close. I outline if I have a complex story that I need to keep track of, but I don’t expect to adhere to the outline rigidly. Funny thing about research, I do a lot of it before I write, but I can’t count the number of times I have paused mid-sentence to go look up one detail that I forgot to clarify.

2. How do you continue your writing project? i.e. How do you find motivation to write on the non-creative days? Do you keep to a schedule? How do you find the time to write?
Motivation to write is always an issue that comes up in my Scribophile group. I don’t have much trouble in that direction, but if there seems to be a gap between what I want to write and what’s forming in coherent sentences, I walk away for a while. I read, watch a movie, pull weeds, clean the kitchen, play with the odd parrot or two (I live with way more odd parrots than that) and in general free my brain to work out the problem. I have a schedule that gives me about 20 to 30 minutes in the morning before I go to work, and two evenings when I can squeeze out an hour or so. The weekends are split between what must be done to keep things running, like bird cage cleaning, feeding, watering, people food shopping, events, and so on, and Sunday which is my sacred writing day as much as possible. Now and then, during breaks at work I pull out a pad and pen and start making outlines, notes, even posts for my blogs that I later transcribe. It’s all good.

3. How do you finish your project? i.e. When do you know the project is complete? Do you have a hard time letting go? Do you tend to start a new project before you finish the last one?
I give my project to others to critique and read for me. When they can’t nitpick any farther, then it goes to my live-in editor, who formats, spell-checks, nitpicks a bit further, and then it’s done. I don’t have any trouble letting go because by the time we reach the end of the process, I have read the story a thousand times at least. I do start new projects before I finish one to keep myself from getting bored, and also to keep up with various projects that keep coming along.

4. Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from.
My characters grow in my head, and I learn surprising things about them as time goes by. I found a great way to bring out some of those secrets and peculiarities is to interview the character. It’s fun and it helps so much to give the character free rein over the keyboard. Another great idea is to list five to ten things your character would have in their medicine cabinet, or freezer, or closet. Then put it into a sentence that starts: (Character Name) is the type of person who has (list things) in his/her (pick a location from the three choices above.)

This has been great fun! I hope more of you will want to jump in and participate in this tour. Here are the two great writers and bloggers who agreed to carry the torch from here:

Kate Whitaker writes for fun and profit from the woods of Pennsylvania. You can most likely find her sitting at her kitchen table yelling at kids and cats as she tries to figure out a new way to kill made up monsters. (I love the chapters she shares on Scribophile, we’re talking serious talent here!)

Ian Faraway is a silly person, and has this to say about himself: I’m not that old but not that young, though I act like my 3 year old niece on a sugar rush at times! I hope this summer I’ll have enough time to write more, and do more in the writing community! Occupation: I’ve been writing since I started writing… all in all, it’s been a very strange day! Interests: Writing, Chess, Games, that thing where you take a pen and write words on paper, learning, joking, exercising. Websites (Ian obviously has some not-so-serious talent)

Please drop by and say hello to these talented folks, and help us spread the tour far and wide! Enjoy your week, and I’ll be back on Sunday.

Crowded Virtual House

At any time, I have multitudes of characters inhabiting my head. I carry story ideas that have been waiting their turn for 25 years or more. All romances, some erotica, some also science fiction, but the majority are Regency.

While I am working on the story, they come closer to the surface. I finished my Regency erotica Book 1, and the characters in Book 2 are clamoring for my attention. But I have a deadline for a story that will be part of an anthology, with a bartender and his boss lady. Also there’s a regular Regency romance with an agent, while the second book in that series has started but is waiting these other priorities.

That second Regency is at an interesting point, and I feel the characters glare at me now and then. I’ve talked about both characters in previous blogs. The main male character is a dandy, whom I interviewed, and the main female character is a Regency nerd, deeply engrossed in Roman antiquities.

I have a SciFi Romance that ground to a halt when critiques on Scibophile had more questions than comments about the planet that I had no answers for. I’m waiting for a chance to do some world building to figure out how the ecological disaster came about. Then I can get the MCs back on track for a happily ever after.

Eventually, thanks to my love of the Master and Commander, Aubrey and Maturin, books by Patrick O’Brien, I will deal with an inspiration involving a captain in the British Navy in 1801. I finally fixed on his name, something gallant but not already in use. Now the FMC needs to be discovered. She is an English woman who has relatives in France, living along the channel, who stayed after a visit to help out her relatives. What will bring them together? What will keep them apart philosophically/ What will each of them have to sacrifice for a HEA?

The best way to keep all those characters separated is through character sheets, especially very detailed ones. But on the fly, I just need a reminder of the basics, eye color, hair color and length, height, build, physical condition, obvious things people notice about the person. I need to find a way on-line to pull up a character card with basics and in-depth details available with one more click. Here’s my favorite character sheet so far:

Lately, I have developed a great collection of models and such on whom I base my characters or who resemble what I had in mind for the character. Pinterest is the best ever in this regard. Not only do I find characters but also houses or towns or whatever! Here’s the captain:

Here’s the hero in the sequel to The Viscount’s Mouse:

And his love interest, my Regency nerd:

I could spend more time looking through Pinterest than writing, so I have to put limits on that activity. And if I haven’t completed my imagining of this character, it could be a choice between one model and another. So here’s your chance to help.

The love interest for the captain is a mid-twenties English woman of French heritage, in 1801. Vote for Link 1:
Link 2:
Link 3:

I’ll shared the winner next Wednesday. And Sunday, we’re back to travel by book!

Around the World in 80+ Books, Part 10

Why is it that after you buy a new car, you find an article telling you the one you should have bought? Or after you gave all your money to that nice man in Nigeria that you discover it may have been a hoax? So here are ten things to be aware of BEFORE visiting Macau, our last stop on the previous ear lobe of our journey: So, on we go.

181. Hong Kong. As a kid, I was blessed with a sister who worked at the local movie theater. On Saturdays, as often as not, I went to work with her, and took a perverse pleasure in sitting in the front row so that the folks who had waited in line could be surprised that anyone else was in the theater. Good times. However, I saw many movie trailers for films I never saw, and one of the more memorable was The World of Suzie Wong. Sadly, I was not old enough to watch the whole movie, and besides my church at the time didn’t much care for it. Now I have discovered a book on which the movie was based! The timeless story, it says, of the love affair between a British artist and a Chinese prostitute. Hmm. If you say so, but timeless isn’t the first word to come to my mind. Book by Richard Mason.

182. French Polynesia. Tahiti figures in many daydreams of excellent vacation destinations. Living there wouldn’t be half bad either. Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite explores the relationship between a mother and daughter. I never had a close relationship with my mother after I turned 18, and I have been forced out of my daughter’s life. So I understand the popularity of this book. The consistently high ratings in the reviews is encouraging.

183. Niue. At this point, I ran out of countries I picked up off of Google Maps. I knew there had to be more. However, some people have an odd idea of “country.” Several uninhabited and uninhabitable islands showed up. Niue, however, is beautiful and the world’s smallest country. I wonder how many Niues could fit in Rhode Island? Well, as such, no books showed up as being set there, and that may be a spark of creativity to someone. But then I found this wonderful article on a native son of the island, a self-taught artist who has delved into the world around him and inside him. Great discovery.

184. American Samoa. I know several folks of Samoan ancestry. My part of California is a pretty popular location for islanders, foremost because so many other islanders are already here, I assume. But I never get over the beauty of island people, their voices, their inner peace in the midst of outer turmoil. What a gift they bring with them and pass on to the children. Why would anyone want to leave Samoa? There was a very popular song in the US after World War I. How you gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paris? In this case, maybe, after they’ve been on Facebook. Pouliuli by Albert Wendt is a tale of an island community facing modernization.

185. Tuvalu. Many books about island countries are memoirs and real stories. Nothing wrong with that, though I try to avoid the overtly religious just because. Where the Hell Is Tuvalu?: How I Became the Lawman of the World’s Fourth Smallest Country by Phillip Ellis is exactly what the title says it is. The reviews are mixed, and well, people don’t much like lawyers, so that has to be figured into this equation. Read it and make up your own mind.

186. Tonga. I love lobster. I don’t love it enough to live without running water and electricity. How would I recharge my phone or my laptop? However, for some folks, it’s a dream come true. A Farm in the South Pacific Sea by Jan Walker explores this running away from civilization from a woman’s point of view. Mixed reviews, but I will put it on my to read list.

187.Fiji. Can you believe it’s taken this long for me to post a romance? Well, this is a Romantic Suspense, I guess, and not the least of books from the author. The Trouble with Paradise by Jill Shalvis starts with a great heroine, someone many of us can identify with. The woman becomes a klutz when in the presence of an attractive person of the male persuasion. Add a murder, a storm, a ship wreck, and leave me alone with the book for the afternoon.

188. New Caledonia. Frankly, I’m not done with old Caledonia. Highland Way says it best. But eventually all travelers need to move on, or they become settlers. Sometimes settlers are abandoned, and we’ll look at that more closely in a few posts. But in French Sand by Catherine Broughton, we hear the term Doctor of Tropical Diseases. Okay, then! Good thing diseases aren’t transmitted through the written word. One review states that the author knows the setting and that aids in bringing this story to life.

189. Solomon Islands. We have another great non-fiction stop on these islands. Solomon Time: Adventures in the South Pacific by Will Randall. Once a school teacher in civilization, Randall is sent to the islands and finds lots of things that amuse him. One reviewer said there were things to smirk at, but no real plot. I don’t think my life has a plot, but I have been entertained by it.

190. Marshall Islands. And yes, more memoirs. No phone, dim lights, no motorcar. But a wonderful beach, lots of warm people, and a global disaster poised to destroy it all. Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island by Peter Rudiak-Gould is a great look at what global warming means to the most affected by it. I firmly believe that what happens to any one person on the planet happens to all of us.

191.Wake Island. A coming of age, important lessons about life book would be great right about now. Fortunately, James B. Kilpatrick wrote A Little Piece of Heaven: Growing up on Wake Island for us. There are no reviews of the book yet on GoodReads, and few details on the book summary, but I would have loved to grow up somewhere close to military left-over installations.

192. Guam. Even though the only two reviews were written by the author and her best friend, I thought Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam’s Collection of Short Stories by Tanya Timangelo would be an excellent introduction to the island. Also I had never heard or seen the term Chamorro before. Plus, the author describes herself as a Goddess in training! Amen, Sister!

193. Palau. Most visitors to Palau spend the time there under the beautiful blue sea. I am sure this has nothing to do with the country’s willingness to accept Guantanamo detainees who could no longer be detained due to lack of evidence. I found only one author associated with the island, and he was Japanese. Atsushi Nakajimi only went to Palau to teach, but had very bad asthma and the climate did not agree with him. He died some time after returning to Japan. He wrote about great classical Chinese folktales, legends and histories, which seems to be a popular genre in Japan. So until someone writes a book set on the island, here’s the Moon Over the Mountains.

194. West Papau, New Guinea. Rosemary I. Patterson sounds like someone I would enjoy knowing. Some of her other books have real sparks of humor in the titles alone, and cover such subjects as access for mobility impaired persons, and love of gambling among senior citizens. I just may come back and look at those another time. Today, we are highlighting The Last Wild Place: An Adventure Novel Set in West Papua by this clever lady. No reviews on GoodReads yet, I hope I will be the first!

195. Andorra. If you are a long time Star Trek fan like me, your first thought is that the citizens of this tiny kingdom in the Pyrenees have blue skin. And odd little antennae. The answer is no, but the place still has great scenery and wonderful history. Also if you have studied history in a broad swath rather that specializing in 18th century Scottish rebels, for example, you know weird little trivia such as the Viking warriors got around Europe and were prized guards in Russian courts. So it’s pretty clear that the interbreeding of Scottish and Norse peoples could produce fierce warriors that did not find what they wanted in the Isles, and wandered to, oh let’s suppose, Andorra and kidnap a luscious wench or two. If You Dare by Kresley Cole is the first in a trilogy about the MacCarrick Brothers, and is one of the few books by the author not involving supernatural characters.

196. Anguilla. We are traveling now on no particular route, zipping from one part of the globe to another. Here we are, back in the Caribbean. There are the flip-flops I lost overboard! So it’s very fitting that the book for this island is about people who can travel through time. Ripple Rider: An Anguillan Adventure in Time by Anne Goldfarb presents an interesting concept of time travel, and she will never know why the use of the term “squiggly lines” can render me nearly hysterical.

197. Cayman Islands. Honestly, could you walk past a book titled Cayman Cowboys? No, neither could I. Eric Douglas writes a series called Mike Scott Adventures, and this is the first one. No reviews yet, interestingly enough. The plot involves kidnapping and diving and a possible romance triangle, were this a romance and not an adventure. Yippee-Ky-Yi-Yay, my dears.

198. Clipperton Island. I have to go here, not to stay, not even to get off the boat. Just to say I saw Clipperton. No book, but there’s a great article that chronicles the brief inhabitation of the island, and the sad history thereof. The Tyrant of Clipperton Island by Marisa Brooks is such an awesome story, I have no idea why there’s no movie about it yet. There’s sex and violence and women triumphing in the end. Anyone have Spielberg’s number?

199. The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea islands. I can’t believe they used kingdom. Anyway, this is a place that doesn’t really exist, kind of like Israel after World War II. This place has a Facebook page, however. This micronation came about when Australia refused to recognize same sex marriages. Australia apparently thinks they are better than Colorado, California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey (REALLY?) and a total of 19 states. Better than Belgium, Norway, South Africa, Sweden (obvious) and France (also obvious), for a total of 17 countries. No book yet, but I would not be too surprised if one is available soon.

200. Gabon. A great place to stop in West Africa. And a great novel about the struggles of old and new traditions, the tragedy of normal life, and the misconceptions of jealous people are to be found in Mema by Daniel M. Mengara. One reviewer had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mengara in person at a lecture, and assures us he is that one thing we all want in an author. Polite.

We’ll make our usual Wednesday detour and then see what else there is to see in the rest of the world. Have a great week, see you on Sunday.