Tag Archives: travel

FREE short story & nonfiction travel contest


Nov. 30 deadline; FREE to enter once you register (for free) on BookRix.com

Cash prizes: $1,000, $500, $300 and Amazon cards; Info & entry HERE:


10 QUESTIONS FOR…Barbara Bonfigli, author of “Cafe Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island”


photo by Ellen Warner

Author interview with Barbara Bonfigliimage-cafe_tempest_softcover

About Barbara:

I was born in California and thriving there until I discovered that my high school gave full college credit for Driver’s Education. I lobbied my parents to switch me to a prep school back East that leaned more toward philosophy, literature, fractions and theater. 

I later studied music in Paris with Nadia Boulanger,  meditation in India with Siddha gurus  and currently practice yoga in New Mexico with Tias Little and the teachers at Yoga Source. 

My early careers in Manhattan included editor, literary agent, lyricist and Wall St. coffee vendor. Working with composer Catherine MacDonald, I  wrote lyrics for several shows on and off Broadway.

While living in London in the 1980s and 90s, I co-founded ShowPeople Ltd, specializing in producing small scale musicals. Both Blues in the Night and Barbara Cook:Wait ‘Til You See Her received Olivier nominations (the UK’s Tony award) for Best Musical.

I hitchhiked to Greece in my first nomadic summer and discovered my native land. I’ve been exploring it ever since — hiking in the Pelion, kayaking in the Dodecanese, sailing the Aegean. I wore out five passports and four continents before settling down on a mythical Greek island to uncork my memories, my imagination and a bottle or two of retsina. The result is my first novel, Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island.  

I now live on a small Greek island and the islands of Manhattan and Santa Fe.  www.barbarabonfigli.com.  


1. Tell us about your latest book.

When Sarah, a thirty-something American writer and theatrical producer, is asked to direct the locals in their summer play, she picks Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  What follows is a hilarious adventure in casting, rehearsing, and consuming. Her neighbors are excited about acting but delirious about eating. Their rehearsals in a deconsecrated church become a feast in four acts.


Armed with a sizzling wit, a dangerously limited Greek vocabulary, and a pitch-perfect ear for drama, Sarah navigates the major egos and minor storms of a cab driver Caliban, a postmaster Prospero, and a host of fishermen dukes and knaves.


When she falls in love, there are even trickier seas to navigate. Her own offstage romance provides an exhilarating, unpredictable counterpoint to Shakespeare’s story of magic, intrigue, and the power of love.


2. How did you get started as a writer? 

Someone gave me a box of crayons when I was two. My eighth grade teacher read my stuff and declared me a writer. I believed her. I’ve been thanking Miss Wilson ever since.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

 I’ve taken a vow of confidentiality about my private life. Questions about writing are welcome.

4. Describe your workspace. 

I have a very large desk, windows, fresh air, lots of light, silence.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers) Early favorites: James Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”; “Eloise” “Pippi Longstocking,” all the Colonel S.P. Meek animal novels. My favorite authors are the Russians Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Nabakov, Shakespeare, Georges Perec, Theodore Zeldin, William Faulkner, Mary Oliver, Marguerite Yourcenar, Jeanette Winterton, Jeanette Walls,  Rumi, Hafiz, Bob Dylan.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

My feet are really fins; they seek water; so I always try to live within sight of a body of water.

No one died regretting that they had loved too much. I’m trying to be sure I love full time despite having an acute aversion to noise, willful ignorance, and food left on the face or in the beard.

While I’m reading the house could burn down around me. While I’m writing I need stillness, inside and out.

7. Favorite quote:

 God dwells within you as you. Swami Muktananda

8. Best and worst part of being a writer.

 best part: it’s pure delight. i love tuning in to my imagination, watching characters and situations unfold on the page. worst part: navigating all the daily invasions.

9. Advice for other writers.

 Everyone says “write what you know.” I say, start there but take chances. Writing is an exploration of the internal unknown, brought to light and carefully expressed.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

  I think that was me writing dispatches from inside the Trojan horse. I have an inexplicable (except for reincarnation) attachment to Greek culture.

Where can people buy your book? 

Find me at http://www.cafetempest.com, lots of reviews, a good synopsis of my novel, and a way to purchase the book online. It won’t be in bookstores for a few more weeks.

Twitter/barbarabonfigli       Facebook barbarabonfigli

To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.

Barbara Bonfigli’s website – www.cafetempest.com

Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher – http://www.tellmepress.com/pub_ct.php or from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Café-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313

To see the complete tour schedule visit http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/05/cafe-tempest-by-barbara-bonfigli-summer.html

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Cynthia Clampitt, author of “Waltzing Australia”


Author interview with Cynthia ClampittWM-Cvr-front-webClampittphoto

I am a freelance writer, culinary historian, and world traveler. I make my home in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, which keeps me near great theater, restaurants, museums—and O’Hare International Airport. My current life is anchored in the journey recounted in my book, Waltzing Australia, a journey that marked my departure from the corporate world. Since starting life over as a writer, I have written hundreds of articles for magazines and newsletters, including an award-winning food history column, and I’ve written history, geography, and language arts books and ancillaries for every major educational publisher in the U.S., including the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. I’ve also been able to indulge the love of adventure awakened on that trip to Australia and have explored countries on six continents, from Mongolia to Morocco, India to Iceland, Egypt to Ecuador.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

To say that Waltzing Australia is a travel narrative doesn’t really tell the whole story. It is a loving exploration of an astonishing country and a memoir of transformation and adventure. It is about giving up everything to pursue a dream. It is about change and discovery, but more than that, it is about Australia: the history, legends and art, both European and Aboriginal; the beauty and wonder; the challenges; the people; the land. I covered nearly 20,000 miles, from Sydney to Perth, Tasmania to Darwin, tropics to desert, city to wilderness. Reviewers have said that it is as if a friend were taking readers along on the trip. That is my hope: to introduce people to the wonder of Australia—and to reaffirm the idea that, if you pay the price, dreams can come true.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I have always loved writing, and there is a degree to which one might say I have been a writer since childhood. However, loving writing and becoming a professional writer are two different things, and it took a few years for me to awaken to the idea that one could possibly earn a living and do something one loved—it didn’t have to be either/or.

After college, I’d headed for the corporate world. I did very well, but even as I climbed the corporate ladder, there was always a desire for something else, something more creative, something that involved more writing—and not just business or technical writing. I started graduate school part time—English Lit—still holding down my full-time corporate job. I thought that perhaps in academe I’d find others who loved words, books, and ideas. It was at the end of my first year that a professor wrote on one of my papers that my writing was dazzling, but unfortunately, what makes a good writer does not always make a good scholar. Suddenly, everything was clear. I was supposed to be a writer. I began planning my “escape.” I would leave graduate school, but I would also leave the corporate world, and I would write. Clearly, just walking away didn’t make it happen, but it was the start. It took a lot of hard work, and a few lean years, but then I started selling articles. An educational publisher asked me to write the “Australia” section of a geography book. I was getting regular assignments from local papers. I was supporting myself with my writing.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Fortunately, my days have some variety, especially when I’m on the road. But when I’m home, days normally consist of a combination of working, marketing, and research.

When I’m home, I always spend about an hour of “marketing time” on the Internet: updating my blogs, checking in on my several online communities and profiles, adding information about speaking engagements or book signings, updating author listings with new reviews. I always try to spend some time doing research for the “next project,” whether that’s market research or reading up on a topic I want to write about. For at least five hours, I’m writing—or, to be more accurate, doing the necessary combination of research and writing. Sometimes, depending on the project, I work a lot more than five hours, but I try to make it at least five hours every day, even if I don’t have an official assignment (there’s always that next book!). And at least once a week, sometimes more often, I’m involved in some sort of networking function. I belong to three writers groups, two history groups, and three food-related groups, so there is always somewhere to be picking up information, making contacts, learning and connecting.

On the road, the writing doesn’t stop. I always carry a notebook, and I write about everything. Regardless of what I’m seeing, doing, or learning, part of every day still includes writing.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

My desk is set at an angle, so I can look out the window at the trees and sky, even on days when I have too much work to actually get outside and enjoy them. The surface of the desk is covered with the papers and notebooks related to current projects, while the edges of my computer monitor is wreathed with sticky notes reminding of tasks, phone numbers, and the width of photos I’ll be posting to my blog. There are several dictionaries, for words, phrases, fables, and history. (One of my “five rules of nonfiction writing” that I present to writing groups is “Look up everything.” The media, in particular, regularly butchers language, and I warn writers to never use a word they’ve heard on the news or read in the paper until they’ve looked it up, because words get picked up and misused so often. For example, penultimate became popular for a while, used by news anchors to mean something higher than the top, when in fact it means next to last. The meaning of enormity, which refers to something hugely evil, has been all but lost. And nouns are being used as verbs with frightening frequency. So look up everything.)

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

The books I always recommend to writers are William Zinsser’s On Writing Well, Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer, and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. These are outstanding guides that have become classics. Strunk and White is a slim volume of the rules that are immutable. Zinsser’s wonderful treatise on what makes great writing is, in itself, great writing, and is a delightful read, as well as invaluable instruction.

Unusual among the three is Brande’s work, which does not tell you how to improve your writing, but rather explains how to live as a writer, including how to make writing an almost Pavlovian response (no more writer’s block) and how to nurture a split personality, so the sensitive creative spirit is never exposed to the harsh reality of rejection slips.

There are other books one might want to have, particular to one’s genre or topics, but these three are valuable to any and all who write.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’ve drunk fermented mare’s milk with Mongolian nomad herders in the Gobi desert.

I’ve gone to cooking school or had cooking lessons in Mexico, Morocco, Thailand, India, Egypt, and Chicago.

I’ve ridden both Bactrian camels and dromedaries.

7. Favorite quote

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Teddy Roosevelt

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best thing about being a writer is writing. I love writing. When I’m working on a writing project that really delights me, I sometimes have to get up from the desk and run around or do a little happy dance, I’m so energized and excited by the act of writing.

The worst thing about being a writer is always having to market yourself. People don’t call and say, “I read your article. Will you come and write something for us?” Granted, if you have an editor or client who likes your work, you may work for them repeatedly. But I’ve never worked for a magazine where the editor stayed for more than two years, and then you have to start all over. And if the new editor has his or her own favorite writers, you may have to find a new market. With books, it’s the same thing. Just having a book out doesn’t get you anything. You have to talk on the radio, do book signings, give presentations—all of which you also have to arrange for yourself. (I actually love talking about my book and about writing, as well as about almost any other topic that interests me, and I love meeting readers, so it’s not the interviews and presentations that are an issue, it’s the having to arrange it all—calling, writing, or e-mailing until you find a book store, radio station, organization, or library that wants to hear your presentations.)  So, unlike getting hired for a job, where you sell yourself once and stay for a while, writing is a constant sales job—you have to sell yourself over and over.

So I love talking and teaching, and I love writing. I’m just frustrated by the amount of time needed for marketing. Fortunately, at least for me, the best part is good enough to make the worst part worth the effort.

9. Advice for other writers

Care deeply about your craft. You won’t always love the topic you’re writing about, but if you care deeply about your craft, you can still always have a great time, because you’re still always improving your skills. Caring about your audience is a good thing, too.

Look everything up. As noted above, you can’t believe how much of what you hear is inaccurate or used incorrectly. For example, almost no one uses disinterested and uninterested correctly anymore. (Disinterested means you don’t have a vested interest in the outcome. Uninterested means you don’t care. An umpire must be disinterested but cannot be uninterested.) And incorrect information may extend to stuff you learned in school. For years, students were taught that people in Columbus’s day thought the earth was flat. They didn’t. They knew it was round, and they knew how far around it was. It was far enough around that, with nowhere to get supplies, a ship couldn’t make it all the way to China. But Columbus had heard stories from Basque fishermen who had seen land while following schools of cod across the North Atlantic. This inclined him to believe the Arab astronomers who said the earth was smaller than it is. He died believing he had reached China.

And don’t plagiarize—copying and pasting is not writing. (I also work as an editor, and trust me, this is a major issue. Turning in someone else’s work as your own is not just a bad idea; it’s illegal.)

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

When I was still pitching the manuscript for Waltzing Australia, I received a phone call from one of the publishers considering the project. The editor who called was effusive in her praise: she loved it, her staff loved it, everyone who read it loved it. My heart was soaring. Then she said “unfortunately…” My heart hesitated. “Unfortunately, we have just published three rather costly books, and we simply don’t have the money for another big book.” My heart sank. The editor then asked, “But we were wondering if we could hold on to the manuscript for a few more weeks, because there are still four people in the office who want to read it.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was my introduction to the reality that just writing a book people love isn’t enough to get it published. But at least they loved it.

Where can people buy your book?

You can get my book on Amazon.com (there’s a direct link from my blog, if you happen to visit my blog first).

My blog— http://waltzingaustralia.wordpress.com —is designed to support my book, with photos, recipes, and lots of extra information not in the book. So just in case you wanted more details on Captain Cook, cockatoos, or the local flora, you’ll find it on the blog. It’s probably worth it to visit the blog just to see what a crimson rosella looks like. And to get the recipe for Anzac Biscuits (one of the best cookies on the planet).

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Karen Tate, author, radio host, sacred tour organizer


Author interview with KAREN TATEtntn-2tn-1

**Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Karen’s books are a good fit for today. There is good stuff in her Sacred Places of Goddess book about Ireland and Celtic goddesses.

For over two decades, Karen’s work has been fueled by her intense interest and passion for travel, comparative religions, ancient cultures, and Goddess Spirituality and the resurging interest in the rise of the Feminine Consciousness.

An independent scholar, speaker, radio show host, published author, and sacred tour organizer, Karen’s body of work blends her experiences of women-centered multiculturalism evident in archaeology, anthropology and mythology with her unique academic and literary talents and travel experience throughout the world. Her two books, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations and Walking an Ancient Path, Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, were both endorsed by the Joseph Campbell Foundation, while the latter was a finalist in the National Best Books of 2008 Awards in the spirituality category.  Tate’s work has been highlighted in the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times and other major newspapers.  She is interviewed regularly in print, on television and on national public radio and hosts her own radio shows, Voices of the Sacred Feminine and Earth’s Sacred Places.  Her work has segued into writing, producing and consulting on projects which can bring the ideals and awareness of the Sacred Feminine into the mainstream world through television and film.  Author resides in Venice, CA, at the Isis Temple of Thanksgiving, with her husband of 25 years and their two feline daughters, Isis and Xena.

1. Tell us about your latest books.

1)  Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations (CCC Publishing.SFO) was the culmination of my travels to sacred places across five continents. Besides showing the global presence of a feminine face of god across continents and cultures, yesterday up to today,  it dispels misinformation, addresses important ideals related to the rising awareness of the Feminine Consciousness and discusses cultures, species and people who may soon be extinct.

2)  Walking An Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth (O-Books, London) an experiential, spiritual, socio-political look at the benefits of embracing the Feminine Consciousness as one antidote to heal the planet and humanities’ woes, has been named a finalist in the general spirituality category of National Best Books of 2008 Awards.  It tells of personal journeys to sacred places, the politics of spirituality, the importance of ritual, divine inspiration, personal transformation using Goddess archetypes and prophecy.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I began writing travelogues from the sacred sites I’ve visited around the world and having the articles published in magazines.  Time passed, the experiences of these sacred sites grew, and I finally had enough to say for two books.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I research in the morning and usually the creative juices flow at night.  Sometimes I get my best ideas in the middle of the night.  I’ll wake up at 3AM and have to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Lots of different piles of files and lists.  Daily lists, weekly lists, monthly lists and annual TO DO Lists.  Very organized.  Virgos cannot create in chaos.  Pictures of myself and my husband in sacred sites are push-pinned to the bulletin board behind my desk.  And I have positive affirmations of my vision for my work posted there too – like, “Sought After National Lecturer”, “Sought After International Tour Leader”, “Money flows toward me easily and effortlessly.” and finally “Second Edition Best Seller.”

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Mists of Avalon

The Red Tent

The Eight

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1) I’m a Priestess of the Sacred Feminine

2) I’ve traveled across Five Continents chasing down sacred sites

3) I was ordained in an Irish Castle

7. Favorite quote

Uppity Women Will Save the World – Karen Tate

8. Best and worst part of being a writer      

It is very hard to be critical of your own work. It is very hard to know if what we’ve written is good. But, when we get feedback that our work is making a difference in the lives of others, it’s like gas in our tank.

9. Advice for other writers

Be tenacious. Write about what you know and love. Don’t let others discourage you. Expect jealousy and criticism from unsuccessful friends.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I finally learned the power of liberation when my newest book arrived and many copies had blank pages and missing text.  I responded by writing an article called “The Liberation of Surrender.”


Where can people buy your books?

Books are available through on-line book sellers, local bookstores or from my website – www.karentate.com

Finalist in the National Best Books of 2008 Awards

Check Out My Blog, The Latest Buzz at:

http://cccpublishing.com/blog/3 MY you-tube VIDEOs….


Isis Temple of Thanksgiving and

Sekhmet’s Mountain Sanctuary



“Voices of the Sacred Feminine” Radio Program


http://internetvoicesradio.com/Arch-Karen.htm OR



The Isis Ancient Cultures Society (IACS)


My Space…