LKEA-cover-mediumI’m [Laurie McAndish King, your still-humble editor] thrilled that the first blurbs are coming in for my collection of true travel stories, Lost Kidnapped, Eaten Alive. It’s my first book, and it you’ll all be invited to the launch party. In the meantime, here’s a peek:

“Whether she’s working to help save lemurs in Madagascar or communing with a one-legged toucan in Costa Rica, Laurie McAndish King brings uncommon heart and soul to her travel stories. And she’s always on the lookout for adventure, chasing an eclipse while on the Black Sea or trying to discern whether she’s being kidnapped or rescued in Tunisia. From start to finish, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive is a rollicking ride.”

Books for Writers

December 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment

syntaxIs there a writer on your holiday gift list? If so, check out Poets & Writers‘ list of the ten best books for writers. (“From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.”) I’m happy to report that the Bay Area’s own Constance Hale’s by-now-classic Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose is on the list.

booksPhotograph by Tyler Metcalfe.

Forgo the generic gift card this holiday season and instead wrap up these five new travel-inspiring books, recommended by Don George on National Geographic‘s Beyond the Guidebook.

SavageAntiguaNeed some inspiration? Roz Savage’s new book, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing, is due out on October 15th. Roz holds four world records, including First Woman to Solo Row Three Oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian. She is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2010 and a Yale World Fellow 2012.

Here’s how Roz describes the book: “Based on my Pacific crossing between 2008 and 2010, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing is a story about my quest to raise awareness of environmental issues, as well as a personal search for happiness and meaning.

travelerstales“Travelers’ Tales/Solas House has launched a new e-book program called Gateway. Manuscripts submitted here will be considered for e-book publication and also for release in print. Please submit your book-length non-fiction manuscript after completing the contact information.

August 19, 2013
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

bwtw-vol9San Francisco magazine named Weekday Wanderlust “Best Mental Escape” in their 2013 Best of the Bay issue. This month’s salon, on Monday, August 19th, will celebrate the release of co-founder Lavinia Spalding’s latest book, the Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 9. Published by Travelers’ Tales, this year’s anthology includes essays from thirty intrepid travelers, including the evening’s three wonderful readers: Rachel Levin, Natalie Baszile, and Suzanne Roberts.

As always, the event will be at the Hotel Rex (562 Sutter Street in SF). Cocktails and conversation from 6-7 p.m., readings from 7-8. Giveaways? You betcha.

August 22, 2013
5:00 pmto7:00 pm

vignettesWidely published, award-winning writers and instructors Erin Byrne and Sabrina Crawford will discuss the history and current concept of the literary salon, offer a trip inside the legendary Shakespeare and Company Bookstore and present Vignettes and Postcards, Writings from the Evening Writing workshop at Shakespeare and Company. A lively discussion will spark ideas about how we can bring a bit of la vie littéraire into our own lives.

Thursday, August 22 at 5:30 p.m.
The Depot Bookstore and Cafe
87 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley
(415) 383-2665

overbookedThanks to journalist Suzie Rodriguez for is link to Skift’s interview with Elizabeth Becker, author of Overbooked: the Global Business of Travel and Tourism. Here’s an excerpt:

Skift: Why did you do this book now? What was the kick-in-the-pants to get it started?

Elizabeth Becker: As you know from my bio, I’ve been the foreign correspondent and an editor at National Public Radio, and reported around the world for the Washington Post and the New York Times. I’ve watched the evolution of tourism …
“… That kept happening, where I was reporting on an international economics story and some official in some foreign country would say how this was important for their tourism sector. When I tried to write about this for the Times, they said, “We have a travel section.” That’s when I saw this ghettoization of the tourism industry … no one looked [at] tourism as the industrial giant that it is.”


Bill writes: I plan to publish two new books of my stories this summer. The first one is coming in a few weeks—Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. The second book—Paris When It Sizzles: Tales of Travel, Love, and Folly—will come out later in the summer.

Showdown at Shinagawa tells 15 true tales of my long career working on film shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil. The second book—Paris When It Sizzles: Tales of Travel, Love, and Folly—will come out later in the summer.

Candice Gaukel Andrews writes on the Huffington Post, My “work as a nature-travel writer has taken me all over the world: from the sub-Arctic down to the Galapagos at the Equator and Patagonia and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere. I accredit my grown-up “urge for going,” as songwriter-singer Joni Mitchell calls it, to the many travel books I’ve read over the years.

“[Here] you’ll find my 10 choices for the most inspiring travel tomes I’ve ever read. Through the years, they’ve taken me on introspective, imaginative, wild, reflective, and humorous journeys and road trips—while never having to go ‘away on vacation.’”

I met Teresa LeYung Ryan at the Bay Area Travel Writers meeting on Saturday, and had a few minutes to look through her 100-page workbook, Build Your Writers’ Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and media Attention NOW. It looks like a good resource; let me know what you think if you’ve read/used it.

Lost Angel Walkabout

December 7, 2010 | 1 Comment

Linda Ballou’s Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales was just reviewed on Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding by a reader who appreciated Linda’s cultural sensitivity: “Ballou is a very culturally conscious traveler. Her stories bring with them a wealth of information about an area. She seems to travel with a researched understanding of a places history, customs, and ecological situation. Indeed, many chapters are followed with an Eco-Alert, informing readers of issues specific to an area and, sometimes, what they can do to raise awareness or help.”

Booklist gave Li Miao Lovett’s book a starred review, calling it a powerful first novel.

“China is all around us, from the clothes and furniture we buy to the food we eat. Yet much of the culture is still a mystery. In the Lap of the Gods sheds light on modern China through the story of a widower and the baby girl he rescues from the Yangtze.”

Check it out by reading an excerpt from In the Lap of the Gods.

Acclaim for In the Lap of the Gods:

“A moving farewell to the old, more humane way of life.”
~ Maxine Hong Kingston

Thanks to Denise Woleben for this link to a New York Times review of recently released travel books. From staycations to “foodoirs” (foodies’ memoirs), from vampire bats to cherry blossoms, Book Review editor Alida Becker suggests good summer reads (there’s still time) and dispenses such important tidbits as the fact that coconut water has the same electrolyte balance as blood, which is why it’s good for curing hangovers. Who knew?

The Spice Necklace cover imageHere’s a press release from Conran PR that’s an example of inspired marketing: an author and a resort have teamed up to offer a themed “package” experience in the Caribbean. I hope the promotion is a big success:

Create A “Foodoir”  Of Your Own at Cap Maison
“The Spice Necklace Experience” Package

Bestselling author Rita Golden Gelman will launch her newest book, Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World on June 1, 2010. In the book, 41 authors tell their stories of adventuring around the world; more than 30 international recipes are included. You can download a PDF of the first chapter here.

More info here about Rita’s virtual book tour.

Rita is currently spearheading an initiative called Let’s Get Global (a project of U.S. Servas, Inc.), a national movement designed to bring the gap year to the United States.

drew14Also from An Ode to Travel Writing; Dream Whip No. 14 was recommended by a caller: “Bill Brown’s latest ramblings of modern American wanderlust mixes short evocative stories with a romantic, almost eternal longing. Reminiscent of the work of Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, or an episode of ‘This American Life,’ Dream Whip has the amazing ability to mix laugh-out-loud stories with goosebump-inducing spookiness. Here are anecdotes of small towns, landmarks and would-be landmarks, diners with good egg salad, and a cast of unforgettable characters. Bill tells of St. Roch, the patron saint of lost causes, whose church is littered with discarded crutches and prosthetic limbs. He laments, ‘In Austin it was impossible to go on a simple errand without falling in love. Every time I mailed a letter or went to buy a loaf of bread, I’d end up with a broken heart.’ Vividly illustrated in b&w by Brown, whose hand-drawn landscapes are both simple and lonesomely elegant.”

voluntarytravelerThe Voluntary Traveler “is a travel anthology penned by writers from all over the world. Focused on inspiring volunteer vacations and/or encouraging adventure-minded people to see volunteer work as a part of ones longer journey, the book will also include a volunteer guide section, listing charities needing volunteer assistance, plus organizations that coordinate service orientated travel.”

What a great idea! Join their Facebook page, buy the book, tell your friends.

Jan Morris

September 6, 2009 | 3 Comments

jan_morrisI had the great pleasure of hearing Jan Morris—in conversation with Don George—at Book Passage on August 27th. Morris spoke about her forthcoming book, Contact! (“I’m a great advocate of the exclamation mark,” she asserts) available in the UK in October. Morris is nearly a legend for her ability to write about places; her new book, however, consists of stories about people: a cafe pianist, a cat illustrator, people met on a train or seen out a window.

September 29, 2009
7:00 pm
October 1, 2009
7:00 pm

CamilleCamille Cusumano, author of Tango, an Argentine Love Story (the travel memoir of a woman who loved, lost, got mad—and decided to dance) will be back from Buenos Aires for two weeks by popular demand, appearing at the San Francisco Museum of Performance & Design (September 29) and the Larkspur Library (October 1), as part of the library’s Armchair Travel series.

africa1I met Ethel Davies, a talented writer and photographer, in 2007 when we were both traveling in Tunisia and Libya. Ethel was working on Bradt‘s North Africa: The Roman Coast, which was released this year. In this interview, Ethel talks about her top ten favorite Roman sites in North Africa.

We visited four of those top ten (Leptis Magna, Sabratha, and Cyrene in Lybia; and El Djem in Tunisia) together, and I agree, they’re spectacular.

MyanmarThingsAsian Press has just released To Myanmar With Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur. The second in a new series of books that fall somewhere between the traditional travel guide and the personal anthology, To Myanmar With Love offers an intimate collection of essays, tips, and recommendations from seasoned travelers and people who live and work inside the country.

Combining information with inspiration and practical, insider’s knowledge, the book has been called “a one-of-a-kind guide for the passionate traveler.” Contributions are organized by themes such as “Moveable Feasts,”  “Secret Gardens,” and “Paying it Forward.” To Myanmar With Love is edited by Morgan Edwardson, with photographs by Steve Goodman.

June 28, 2009
8:00 pm

From Litquake:

Lewis Black in conversation with Marc Maron
June 28, 8 p.m.
Herbst Theater, Van Ness @ McAllister
San Francisco

For its biggest fundraiser of the year, Litquake proudly presents comedian, actor, author, and Daily Show contributor Lewis Black, live and uncensored! This will be the curmudgeonly comic’s only Bay Area appearance to promote his bestselling book Me of Little Faith, just released in paperback. In a freewheeling onstage conversation, Black and comedian/radio host Marc Maron will gleefully dissect politics, religion, and other American foolishness.

wai-naniTravel writer Linda Ballou offers beginning travel writers a free e-book called How to Make Travel Writing Work for You. Linda explains, “My report is written to those who are not going to try to make a living at travel writing, but just want to get around to places they couldn’t get to otherwise.”

Get the free report by providing your name and email address at Linda’s website, after which the PDF download will appear. And while you’re there, check out Linda’s book, Wai-nanai, High Chiefess of Hawai’i.

Washington Post review of Rolf Potts’ Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: TARGET AUDIENCE: People who like to look under the hood of a good book. Potts, Internet raconteur and travel-advice sage, is the kind of guy you wish the pubs had more of: well traveled, generous with funny stories, eager to listen to yours. You feel envious that you weren’t with him in Cairo to share the convivial squalor of a backpacker hotel, or at an Indian ashram to study Tantric sex, or even in the Libyan Desert, in the dark, out of water and lost. And he’s able to draw insights from all that without draining the fun out of the conversation — difficult to carry off in a pub or a book. Although Potts’s book combines adventure travel narratives with travel-writer inside baseball, he wisely slips the didactic bits into optional endnotes. It would be a shame to skip them, however, as his explanations for why he did or wrote something often are compelling in themselves. Hey, with luck, we could get drugged and robbed in Istanbul, too. – Jerry V. Haines

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