Back to New York City

Last time, I shared about my time at RWA and New York City.

Today, I’m here to share a bit about my second jaunt to the Big Apple for a long weekend. Since this trip didn’t involve any work, I was able to relax a lot more. Even though I didn’t speak at RWA, I was slightly intimidated being in the room with so many authors. It’s hard to battle the introvert in me sometimes.

This post, though, is about my fun weekend, so let’s get to it.

First up: the birth place of Theodore Roosevelt. This trip was a last-second decision, so I really had no idea where we were staying until we arrived at the apartment. While doing a search of things to do near me, Teddy’s home popped up. I felt rather foolish since this wasn’t my first time to NYC and I love history, but I didn’t know he was actually born in the city.

Even though it popped up on my map of things to do nearby, it wasn’t all that close to our location. No matter. I still decided to walk there, which was thirty-something blocks. I much prefer walking when exploring to get a true sense of the place.

I didn’t take any photos inside while doing a tour of the house, which was free, but I snapped some of his quotes in the museum portion of the house. (No one was there to witness this, although I do think photos are allowed.)

That night, we took in a Red Sox vs. Yankees game. The Sox got two runs in the first, and the Yanks got a grand slam, which was cool to see live. After that, no one scored. Meaning we didn’t stay for the whole game.

The next day, I took off for another walk to visit Central Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral before having a late breakfast at Mom’s Kitchen & Bar. Then I met up with the better half to catch an afternoon show of Chicago.

Central Park pics:

St. Patrick’s pics:

Mom’s:

Random photos during my wanderings:

That night, I met up with Lori Prince, who has narrated two series for me: The Chosen One and Confessions. For some inexplicable reason, I didn’t get a snap with Lori.

The next day, we had a mellow brunch at an Irish pub while watching a Gaelic Football match on the telly, which I hadn’t seen since living in Ireland. It made me miss Dublin.

Late that afternoon, we were back on the train heading home.

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RWA and New York City

The second writing conference I attended last July was the national meeting of the Romance Writers of America in New York City.

While I’ve been attending local chapter meetings of RWA since moving back to Boston, and I went to the regional conference last April, this was my first time going to the big RWA event of the year. I wasn’t sure what to expect, really.

But the conference was in NYC, which is one of my all-time favorite places in the US. So, I didn’t think twice about going.

I’m so glad I did. I’ve been to many author events over the years, but I have to say this is one of the better conferences I’ve had the pleasure of going to in person.

There were so many panels, and at times, I had a difficult time deciding which ones to go to. Also, I did an author signing and was pleased by how many people asked for a signed copy of A Woman Lost. I should note the books were free and most who asked were book bloggers who, more than likely, will give them away.

Not sure why everything is pink.

 

I ran into some authors from Bold Strokes Books. It was kinda funny, actually. When walking into one seminar with Miranda MacLeod, I was off in my own world, a habit of mine. It wasn’t until Miranda yelled my name that I realized Melissa Brayden was waving hello. I’m a huge fan of Melissa (The Soho Loft series is one of the best in lesfic), and I was slightly embarrassed that I was a space cadet but also tickled pink that Melissa Brayden was waving hello. Melissa was there with Georgia Beers, Ali Vali, Aurora Rey, and Nell Stark.

I was surprised to find so many lesfic authors at an event I’ve always associated with man chests, but it turns out RWA members are increasingly concerned with diversity and representation in the romance genre. It was a big topic of conversation, and I came away feeling like the modern romance author and reader are both interested in embracing the “love is love” mantra and making sure that no matter what you look like or who you love, you can find stories that represent you.

My time in New York wasn’t all about the conference. I took some time to visit a Holocaust exhibit, toured the Tenement Museum twice, visited the 50th Anniversary exhibit of Stonewall, took a dinner cruise on the Hudson, and had a semi-proper tea at Lillie’s Victorian Establishment.

Photos of the tea at Lille’s:

Photos from the dinner cruise:

Random photos:

Oh, I also got a snap of me with my favorite president, Lincoln.

I had so much fun in NYC that when my partner mentioned another trip the following weekend, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. I’ll share more about NYC, part two, next time.

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GCLS and Pittsburgh: Two Firsts for Me

Gosh, I feel like I’ve been on the move since July 1. Over the past five weeks, I’ve attended the Golden Crown Literary Society conference in Pittsburgh, the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City, and then went back to NYC for a long weekend for fun. In between all the travel, I launched A Shot at Love, book 1 in The Village Romance series, and helped Clare Lydon and Harper Bliss launch their books in the same series.

I’m exhausted and realizing I’m not young anymore. I kinda like having a routine and being in bed by 9:30 each night.

Anyhoos, now that life has settled down some, it’s time for me to share about my experiences.

First up: Pittsburgh and GCLS. This was my first time attending a GCLS conference. It was fab to catch up with some authors I’d met previously and to find so many I’d never had the pleasure of meeting in real life. Check out all the authors I tracked down. Scroll over the photos for the names.

It was also my first time in Pittsburgh, and I have to admit I liked the city. It hadn’t been on my radar of places to visit, but I’m glad I did.

Next time, I’ll chat about the RWA conference in New York City.

Now, I need a nap.


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Lesbian road trip to the Cotswolds

Back in March, I traveled to the United Kingdom for the London Book Fair.

But that wasn’t the only purpose for the trip.

For months, Clare Lydon, Harper Bliss, and I had been discussing working on a trilogy together, and we wanted to set our lesfic universe in the Cotswolds.

I’d driven through the area once or twice when I lived in the UK, but I hadn’t really been there to explore. The three of us, along with Harper’s Mrs., decided to meet up in London and then go on a road trip to the Cotswolds. Four lesbians and a van! Truly, does it ever get more lesbian than that?

It was a fantastic weekend. Not only was it fab to spend time with good friends, but the area is just stunning.

Some of the things we stumbled upon made it into my book, A Shot at Love, book one in The Village Romance series.

Like this adorable dog:

This mill:

A river:

And here’s the inspiration for The Golden Fleece, the pub in my novel.

More importantly, our friendship deepened. Here’s the three of us on one of the bridges.

(From left: Harper Bliss, Clare Lydon, and TB Markinson)

Stay tuned for more updates on the series!

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Stepping back in time

After visiting Waldon Pond, I explored some sites near there, including The Old Manse.

This house was erected by Rev. William Emerson in 1770.  William was the grandfather to Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous transcendentalist speaker and writer.  

The Old Manse is a beautiful Georgian clapboard building. Along the border of the field is a stone wall that dates back centuries. 

The North Bridge, which played a role in the American Revolutionary War, can be seen from the upstairs. 

This house became the place for prominent transcendentalists to meet to discuss literary, political, and social revolutions. This included Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott), Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau.

In 1834, Emerson lived in the house, and he drafted his landmark essay “Nature.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, who is one of my favorite American gothic writers, and his wife, Sophia Peabody, rented the Old Manse in 1842. Thoreau (remember the dude from Walden Pond?) planted a vegetable garden for the couple. They lived in the home for three years, and during this time, Hawthorne completed most of the stories in Mosses from an Old Manse. The pair left the home when they could not pay the rent. (Even back then, the writing business was hard.)

In 1966, the home was designated a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Archaeological/Historic Landmark.  

Back of the house:

The boathouse:

Stay tuned for a visit to the North Bridge.

 

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Memories are funny things

When I moved from Colorado to Massachusetts back in 2006, I had good intentions of exploring the area. Then I got a job, settled into my apartment, made friends, and my goal of getting out and about got shoved to the side for life and routine.

Then in 2011, I discovered we were being moved to London. All of a sudden, all of the places I wanted to see became a priority.

One of them was Walden Pond.

Eight years later, now that I’m back in Massachusetts, I’m trying to be better about reconnecting with the US and the places I liked.

Recently, I returned to Waldon Pond. In 2011, we were there on a rainy day. In 2019, it was hot and sunny. It wasn’t until I checked the dates in preparation for this post that I realized I went in the same month (May) both times. I could have sworn the first time occurred in the fall because my memories revolve around being cold and wet. Memories are funny things, and the older I get, the fuzzier everything gets.

Here are some photos from my most recent excursion.

 

Here’s a replica of his home.

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How can something so pretty cause so much misery?

It’s that time of year again when I constantly have to blow my nose and clear my throat. On top of that, I always seem to have a persistent slight headache and sinus pressure. For as long as I can remember, spring hits me hard. I know this. But every spring, I’m always taken aback by how miserable I am.

This is my first spring back in Massachusetts in eight years. I’d forgotten how much more I suffer in the Bay State. My first spring in Boston back in 2007 knocked me on my ass, and I was prescribed three types of allergy meds. The combination only alleviated the symptoms to make spring bearable.

I’m back on the three medicines, and it’s possible there’s some whining involved.

Given my track record with spring, you may think it’s my least favorite season. It’s not. The opposite, actually. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. While I can’t have fresh flowers in my home ever, I absolutely love them.

Here are some photos of spring flowers. They’re so pretty it’s impossible to hate them.

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