The Best Part of Blogging!

For me, the best thing about writing a blog has been getting to know other authors and bloggers out there in the cyber world. They pick me up when I feel like crap, comment on my often silly blogs and keep me entertained with theirs. And not only that, they let me take time from gazing at my own navel to explore theirs (okay – their virtual and not actual navels).


Cinda Mackinnon, A Place in the World

My first interview was with my neighbor, Cinda MacKinnon. Funny story – we lived next door to each other for many years unaware that we were both working on novels! It is true – writers have a hard time admitting their advocation, especially if they’re writing fiction.

Actual conversation I had at a party:

Wendy: “So you’re a writer?”
Jan: “Well, yes.”
Wendy: “How are sales going?”
Jan: “They’re not.”
Wendy: “I know someone who wrote about cheese. Her sales are through the roof.”
Jan: “Damn, I wish I’d written about cheese.”

Old Town in Bogota Colombia

Cinda spent most of her youth outside of the United States – in Costa Rica, Germany, Panama – to name just a few places. Her debut novel was set in the cloud forests of Colombia and involves adventure, romance, the search for identity, and, a place in the world (which is coincidentally the name of the book – A Place in the World). I learned many things from Cinda about the culture of Colombia, its food, its unique animal kingdom, as well as the ecological, political and cultural challenges central American countries face. I got a chuckle when she told me what appealed to her most about returning stateside: Watching re-runs of I Love Lucy and other popular sitcoms she’d missed! She confessed that she almost became a re-run addict!


I guess this is a picture of the spaceship. Looks like Duke is contemplating a ride.

Next I convinced another expat, Duke Miller, to allow me introduce him to the world following the release of his novel, Living and Dying with Dogs. Of course he hardly needed an introduction to the world.  As an aid worker he’s been around it more than a few times, seen and done things that most of us can only imagine. I loved the story he told about his friend, an amateur spaceship builder and crime fighter in the Mexican town where he lives.


Drawing by his talented daughter Nuala.

Next up to bat was Irish author Colm Herron who’s actually written a number of books, one of which (The Wake or What Jeremiah did Next) is due to be re-released sometime this fall. Besides being charming and hilarious, Colm is also one of the nicest persons I’ve ever met.  He written so many reviews for so many other emerging writers that it’s mind-bloggling. I loved the fact that after a fairly successful career as a young writer, he gave up writing “to live instead.” I think of those wise words often as I blog, tweet and pin the remainder of my life away.


John Thomas Wood, Keeping up Seattle

John Thomas Wood writes both non-fiction and fiction. He’s also an amazingly talented artist. Besides his book on speaking to young girls about sexuality (Be Smart; Be Strong), he’s written Keeping it Up in Seattle in which he explores all forms of sexuality in a very forth right and unflinching manner while telling the story of a single dad dealing with a sixteen year old daughter.

Jennifer Hotes is a mystery, an enigma and the inventor of…


Jennifer Hotes, Four Rubbings

kindness. She told the frightening tale of sensitive little girl’s night spent in a cemetery. Now most of us would want to put that memory far behind but Jennifer used it to tap into the feelings of alienation that teens and pre-teens often feel in her novel Four Rubbings. Bravo Jenn – well done!

Mary Rowan

Mary Rowan, Living the Beach and Playing by Ear


Mary Rowan. Wow, what can I say? How many of us have been bitten by idol worship while at the same time feeling either too fat or too thin or too pimply or too – take your choice – anything not perfect according to Vogue magazine? Countless millions, I’m sure. But this lady had the courage to write about it and how it affected her protagonist’s life in Living the Beach. I’ve been assured this is not her story but she wrote about it so brilliantly that I was surprised it was not a memoir!

Charlie Costello

Charlie Costello, Burma Bikes and Bejing Bikes

Lastly Charlie Costello, world traveler, photographer and organic gardener. I spent the very last day of the last century with Charlie  waiting for the ominous Y2K bug to take down all the computer systems running  the world. We were on the twenty-fifth floor of the Kaiser Building in an office with spectacular views of San Francisco getting a set of programmers guides in the mail to a Danish bank. The bank was threatening to the final million dollar payment to our company unless those guides were delivered by the end of the century so our necks were really, truly on the line. Miracle of miracles, the city th-1did not go dark, life carried on!

Since then I’ve watched Charlie pursue his passions all over the world with good humor and love in his heart.

(If you don’t remember the Y2K bug, in 1999 many people became convinced that when the internal clocks in the large computer systems running the financial institutions would not be able to rollover as they had on previous years and would shut down or worse.  The reasons are, to be honest, beyond me.  And the reasons why we did not have a financial armageddon are also beyond me!)

Anyway, I’m hoping when I return from vacation that I’ll be able to arrange interviews with other authors I’ve met via blogging.  I always learn so much!

11 thoughts on “The Best Part of Blogging!

  1. Hey neighbor – thanks for featuring me with all these writers – I’m honored.
    I Love Lucy was about the only program on growing up in Colombia. Every Friday we gathered around the TV and the funny thing is that we thought it was a Colombia show! (Yo Quiero a Lucy) Imagine my surprise finding it TV in the USA and Lucy and Ricky Ricardo spoke English!

  2. JT – you really do rock! I so enjoy keeping up with your writing escapades and that reference to the Y2K Bug was something else. Wow, some Y2K consultants really made a bundle creating the illusion that the computers would stop working. Thanks for the memory and the friendship and all..

  3. JT – Thanks for the great post, not just because I am part of it but because your world, your writing and so much more has created a web of friendships. The Y2K bug – now I am sure some Y2K “experts” made a lot of money fixing something that really didn’t need fixing but they created the uncertainty that something really might happen and it worked. Thanks again for the continued inspiration as you write, write and write some more.

    1. I was hoping you’d do me the honor of interviewing you. Just got back from England so it could take me awhile to get back in the swing of things! Thanks for always sticking with me! Jan

  4. Jan, sorry I’m just getting to this now. Life has been tumultuous lately, and your post was so lovely to read today. What an honor to be included among these wonderful authors. You are such a kind and generous person, and I know every guest on your blog feels that. I hope your vacation is going terrifically well!! xo

    1. Sorry to hear life has been tumultuous. Hope things calm down for you! London was very different from the last time I was there but mostly in a positive way. Take care, Jan

  5. What a terrific blog post, Jan. I think not only are you incredibly kind-hearted to spread your enthusiasm about writers whose words and images inspire you, but you’ve given many of us the gift of discovering those very same treasures with the links you provided.
    Many thanks and cheers!

  6. What a great blog; thanks for sharing the info on all these authors. I found you through Cinda MacKinnon’s blog; she and I discovered we too were (almost) neighbors, both writers and photographers; both grew up in Latin America, and both wrote books about that world (hers the fictional “A Place in the World” and mine “The Coconut Latitudes” about growing up on an isolated coconut plantation in the Dominican Republic.

    1. Hi Rita! Yes Cinda has told me about your book. Sounds like a great read! Hopefully we can meet at the next author whine and dine! Jan

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