— Jenny Neill


Justine Ickes, to the best of my knowledge, was the first to approach me about the Writing Process Blog Tour. We met through mutual friend and writing teacher, Amanda Castleman. I had to dodge her in this earlier virtual game of writer tag because paying deadlines took priority to stopping to reflect about my process.

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I left this blog-writing process behind a few months ago knowing that one day I would return to it. For a few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. Do I tell you what’s been happening in my life while I was away? Do I explain the conclusion I’ve reached about myself when trying to answer the “Am I a blogger or am I a writer?” question.

Question Mark

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Noyes. Some rights reserved.

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The ever-hilarious Irene of Left of Plumb nominated me for a Liebster Award. What the heck is it? Great question. Liebster is German for dearest and a five-minute search of the interwebs reveals that this award has been around for some time now. I have not unearthed the origins of this meme and see no harm in playing along. (Though, dear readers, I do have some words of warning about these exercises to share.) Thanks, Irene. I accept.

Liebster Award

This award badge found at Tiny n Fit.

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If my blog were to have a birthday, it would fall in June of 2011. That means I’ve been blogging 18 months and have averaged about three posts per month since I started. But that average doesn’t tell the real story of how I struggled to find a rhythm. Nor does it capture how I’ve experimented in long and short compositions, fiction and non-fiction, or including pictures and video as adjuncts to sharing my words with you.

Flaming Orange Peel

It took several tries for Mike to capture this image of me flaming an orange peel.
If you do decide to try this at home, use a longer match than the one I’m holding!

Photo courtesy of Mike Russell. All rights reserved.

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Doing investigations for House Cocktails is fun and not just because there is drinking involved. Many drink creation stories have the same veracity as fables or parables. Maybe they hint at the truth of where a drink originated but no one can say for sure who thought it up. Even when a particular drink can be attributed to someone, other interesting history about its ingredients or where it was developed can often be found. This week, my search bot got two stories that make mention of some New Orlean classics while tracking “cocktail history.”

Ramos Fizz
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I just finished an article and handed it off to the editor. While I do have a few other pitches out, I await clarification about which idea that publisher wants and by which deadline. This kind of lull usually causes me to go on an inbox tidying frenzy, which I did earlier this week. Thanksgiving is tomorrow and the search bots gots nuthin’ but Black Friday sales promos for me today.

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I can be the queen of procrastination when I have research to do. Thank goodness there are Google Alerts to help me out when I would rather be polishing my silverware by hand with a toothbrush than actually investigating a story idea. Let’s review the array of topics found by an alert I have set up to look for “coffee Portland” once a day.

Free Stamp

Photo courtesy of David Haines. Some rights reserved.

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This is the long-awaited fourth and final installment of my A-to-Z of Travel. Wine, once again, emerges as central to some of my favorite recollections. This trip down memory lane takes us to one of my favorite views from last year’s trip to Hawaii; the reason why I couldn’t get into a bar in Vancouver, BC; and to a beach somewhere in Florida.

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November is upon us, the month of NaNoWriMo and many other writing challenges. I have tried my hand at churning out 50,000 words in one 30-day period a couple of times over the years. And, oh, how spectacularly I failed. One of my characters seemed to have multiple personalities. I could only manage to write another while she was in the most depressing of circumstances. And that plot kept taking more and more complicating twists into a jumbled mess of dead ends.

Beauty of November 2

Photo courtesy of Susy Morris of Chiot’s Run.

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Part 3 in this meme is long overdue. This part of the alphabet took me back to one of my honeymoon destinations, looking under the ocean’s surface at night, and riding the single-rail tram while playing tour guide at home.

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