Book Passage: Day 1

By: on August 19, 2005 | # | Comments (11)

Lets give a friendly hello to all the new writers coming to Written Road from the Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference. If you want to get straight to submissions guidelines, head on over to the Categories on the right side of the page and click Market Leads. There's also some practical info in the Resources for Writers section.

Let me tell you, it's GREAT to be back at Book Passage. I don't know how many students there are this year, but enough to fill the event room. There seem to be a lot of writers and photographers who've been previously published, too. I was on the panel for how to make the most of the conference, and the students seem both excited to learn, and somewhat intimidated by the star cast of faculty. But hopefully that was dispelled at dinner time when the meal was broken into several tables, each having a faculty member or two.

Thanks to Dave Prine, we've got some great pictures of Tim Cahill and Peter Stark in conversation with Don George from the evening event.

Tim Cahill, as you know, is my favorite and the reason I wanted to be a part of this wonderful travel writing world. His most recent book is, Lost in My Own Backyard, but the trip he begins next week is a walking journey in Ireland.

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Wil Wheaton the Writer

By: on August 7, 2005 | # | Comments (1)

Last night I heard Wil Wheaton give a banquet speech to a roomful of poker enthusiasts at the Las Vegas Club in downtown Vegas. It was the final night in a series of days at The Plaza that seemed a lot like summer camp for a group of players that had found each other, community, and friendship online. They call it B.A.R.G.E. I was on girlfriend duty, but knew just enough people to enjoy it plenty, and Wil's address was the highlight of the series for me.

First, let me give you a quick and unfair sum up of Wil so that the travel writers here can get some back story. You'd probably recognize Wil's name from his acting. He was a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also the main kid in Stand By Me. Others might recognize his name from blogging instead. His blog is incredibly popular and when I started blogging more than three years ago, his was one that I was directed to as an example of a blog. And the last thing that you should know in reference to the rest of my post, is that he's not a professional poker player. Yet. But he's been playing for a few years, and connected to some names in the field. (I first saw him when he was playing in the $25k Five Star Classic at the Bellagio).

OK, so that's most of what I knew about Wil when he got up to give his speech—kinda famous guy gets up to do keynote about poker to a few hundred poker players who, for some, have been playing poker as long as Wil's been an adult.

The first thing Wil did was to tell us that he'd sworn off speeches kinda like this. His disclaimers didn't feel like disclaimers (because believe me, I hate disclaimers and think that they undermine the presenter), but rather, he brought himself to our level. He let us know that he wasn't going to teach us anything about poker, he was going to entertain us. And then he did. Oh boy did he.

Wil related a story of his first time in an illegal poker den. It's called "Lying in Odessa."

First, you know by the premise alone, this story is right up my alley. Given. But what really moved me last night, was how well written it was, and just as importantly, how seamlessly Wil delivered it. I was gripped, the audience was gripped, and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

As a presenter I was impressed by his rhythm. Everything flowed. His timing was impeccable, and trust me, that's hard to do when folks are laughing. Seriously, I run into this at my events. You're trying to tell your story, there are certain pauses that you take for the build up of the story, but then your audience starts cracking up, and you need to work that in to the timing of delivering the rest. Will, mastered this.

Now, lets get back to the writing. It was well written. Build up, delivery. Build up, delivery. And of course the first thing I thought was, what else does Wil write? A n d....does he, or could he, be talked into writing a little bit of travel...

So, this morning I went to And guess what? The very top post was about his writing life. It was about balance. Wil let us into his head for a bit so we could see his temporary struggle with the creative process as it is entwined with his need for personal balance, and then how he got through it.

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Anne Lamott is Blogging

By: on June 15, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Hey all you Anne Lamott fans....she's blogging! She's writing for TPM Cafe: Politics, Ideas, and Lots of Caffeine. So...

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Marybeth Bond and Safety Travel Tips

By: on June 10, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Marybeth Bond will be on the Fox Network News Channel tomorrow, Saturday June 11th between 3:40-3:48pm EST to talk about...

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Bill Bryson's New Book

By: on June 9, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
It doesn't matter what topic he's writing about, we can't get enough of Bill, can we? According to Ireland Online,...

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Bookmark Now with Kevin Smokler

By: on May 26, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Hey, we're going to be a part of another Virtual Book Tour! Kevin Smokler, creator of the VBTs and who...

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Interview with Michael Shapiro

By: on May 20, 2005 | # | Comments (2)
Michael Shapiro, the author of A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives and Inspiration, was...

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Halliday Hopper Reading

By: on May 14, 2005 | # | Comments (2)
The Job Hopper tour comes to Baltimore tonight! You may recall Jen's post about Ayun's latest book. I'll be...

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Peter Moore Blog

By: on May 4, 2005 | # | Comments (1)
Peter Moore's latest newsletter went out yesterday and in it he announced a revamped website and a new blog, the...

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Blockbuster! A Walk in the Woods

By: on May 1, 2005 | # | Comments (4)
Robert Redford and Paul Newman want to make Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods a movie! The duo haven't...

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The Bad Boys of Travel Writing

By: on April 27, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
I just saw on Vagablogging that Rolf is giving a sneak preview to his May interview with J. Maarten Troost,...

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Chancellor Bill Bryson

By: on April 13, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Travel writing can take one many places... Maybe if you write wonderful things about a particular spot, you could become...

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The New Yorker Travel Issue

By: on April 12, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Kelly just told me that The New Yorker has a travel issue out this month! "THE PARACHUTE ARTIST": Have Tony...

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Spend a Month in Paris with Rolf Potts

By: on April 11, 2005 | # | Comments (2)
No, Rolf is not auctioning himself off like I did. But, you can pony up to get his time, attention,...

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Picture of Friends from the NYT Travel Show

By: on April 7, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Erik Olsen from Gadling on the left, Ayun Halliday in the center, Kelly Amabile and Andrew Tarica above me....

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Sightseeing on NPR

By: on March 30, 2005 | # | Comments (3)
Remember when I was raving about Rattawut Lapcharoensap's Sightseeing? Well he was on NPR today. 'Sightseeing': Beyond the Tourist's Thailand...

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Tony Perrottet in SF This Week

By: on March 28, 2005 | # | Comments (3)
I met Tony at the NY Times Travel Show, and man is he fun. That venue was way too small...

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Bill Bryson: the Cliffs Notes Version

By: on March 9, 2005 | # | Comments (4)
If you've only recently discovered Bill Bryson, The Age just ran a nice overview. Have beard, will travel By Jane...

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Meeting Rick Steves

By: on March 7, 2005 | # | Comments (8)
A few weeks ago I made fun of someone for using a Rick Steves guidebook. Actually, that is putting it...

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Don George's New Book on Travel Writing

By: on March 3, 2005 | # | Comments (1)
That's write. That's right! Either way you look at it, Don George is releasing a brand new book about our...

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Ayun Halliday's Job Hopper

By: on February 23, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
The Amazing Ayun keeps cranking out more books, and I can't wait to add this to my collection. I mean,...

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Around the World in Eight Days

By: on February 21, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Though I would love to read eight days worth of Laura on the job at USA Today, a travel journal...

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Eric Hansen on NPR Weekend Edition

By: on February 6, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer continues to get press. Eric Hansen was featured today on NPR's weekend...

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Michael Shapiro at the LA Times Travel Show

By: on February 3, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
Here is a guest post from Michael Shapiro about his two most recent events: After a 22-event fall tour, I...

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World Hum's Jim Benning, a Gadling Podcast

By: on January 25, 2005 | # | Comments (10)
I was excited to see that my friend Jim is doing something ground breaking with Gadling Podcast: New Features...

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Redmond O'Hanlon on Tour for Trawler

By: on January 18, 2005 | # | Comments (0)
The great Redmond O'Hanlon is on tour for Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic A frenzied depiction of an...

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Travel Writers Pull Together for Tsunami Benefit

By: on January 13, 2005 | # | Comments (5)
Here's the kind of cool stuff I miss by not living in New York! Ayun Halliday, author of No Touch...

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Marybeth Bond and Jeff Greenwald on the Tsunami

By: on January 5, 2005 | # | Comments (1)
The Tsunami reports are shaking everyone. But in the Travelers' Tales family, it's been the most difficult for author Marybeth...

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Jennifer Traig's Favorite Women Authors

By: on December 13, 2004 | # | Comments (2)
We are fortunate to be a part of Jenny Traig's virtual book tour for her memoir Devil in the Details:...

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Outside Magazine's Literary All Stars

By: on December 8, 2004 | # | Comments (1)
Is this article a calendar of adventure hunks or another reason to spend next month's rent at a bookstore? Literary...

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Traveling Music

By: on December 4, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
This news item just in... "Radio producer Kathryn Ketman and KUSF, Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Left Coast Writers, and Book...

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Jonathan Raban and Waxwings

By: on December 2, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
The highly acclaimed Jonathan Raban will be at one of my favorite event stops, Third Place Books in Lake Forest...

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An Interview with Nick Earls!

By: on December 1, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
When I was in Australia in 2001, I might've read every Nick Earls book he had out then. If...

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Book TV and Lit Bloggers

By: on December 1, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
I saw this yesterday on Anthem Blog WHAT THE BLOG? A talk show taping for BookTV, hosted by Dennis Loy...

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The Vault: Tim Cahill

By: on November 29, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
What do you call it when you find something online that you haven't seen before? And then what's the word...

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Saturday Small World Book Notes

By: on November 13, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Yesterday I got a $20 Criagslist rideshare from SF to LA from a very cool woman who is doing crazy...

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The Uglier Side of the Travel Writing Game

By: on November 10, 2004 | # | Comments (3)
William Georgiades, I think I love you. And I don't use that word liberally. But, ok, today I am. Maybe...

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A Sense of Place Book Tour Continues in Seattle with Rick Steves! 

By: on November 9, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
This is a guest post by Michael Shapiro. Grey skies and an election hangover didn't dampen the mood at Seattle's...

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How Long Have You Been Writing on the Road?

By: on October 19, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Q & A with travel columnist Dennis McCann from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel This quote about travel writing caught my...

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Rolf Potts: The Man, The Myth, the Hottie

By: on October 15, 2004 | # | Comments (8)
So, here I am cruising around the country doing author events for my latest book. The way these events go,...

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Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

By: on October 13, 2004 | # | Comments (2)
I've got one chapter left in this book and Oh My Gosh. Before you get too excited, it's not out...

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Pete McCarthy Dies at 51

By: on October 13, 2004 | # | Comments (4)
Even if you don't recognize his name, you'll recognize his books. Pete McCarthy was the author of the best...

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Susan Orlean: My Kind of Place

By: on October 10, 2004 | # | Comments (3)
I can't remember where I first read that "The" Susan Orlean had come out with a new collection of her...

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A New Tim Moore Book

By: on August 19, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
The well loved Tim Moore has just launched his fifth book. Travels with My Donkey is newly available in the...

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A New Tim Moore Book

By: on August 19, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
The well loved Tim Moore has just launched his fifth book. Travels with My Donkey is newly available in the...

» Continue reading "A New Tim Moore Book"

A Sense of Place at the Pan Pacific San Francisco

By: on August 13, 2004 | # | Comments (5)
There are few occasions when champagne is not important. If Jan Morris, Tim Cahill, Isabel Allende, and Jeff Greenwald are...

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Tim Cahill in Portland

By: on August 6, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
I've already told you that Tim-the-writer, not Tim-the-Aussie, is coming to San Francisco. But he will also be in Portland...

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Sunday Travel Book Notes

By: on August 1, 2004 | # | Comments (4)
On the shelf: Sense of Place by Michael Shapiro Australia, Great Southern Land: a New History of Australia by Frank...

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Andrew Dean Nystrom

By: on July 31, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Last night I met Andrew Dean Nystrom for the first time after months of sporadic emails and YM chat sessions....

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M.J. Rose: Q & A With A Novelist On Her Virtual Book Tour

By: on July 26, 2004 | # | Comments (4)
Today we are fortunate to have mystery novelist M.J. Rose visiting us on her Virtual Book Tour. Author of...

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Hello J. Maarten Troost...

By: on June 22, 2004 | # | Comments (1)
The Seattle Post Intelligencer put out a recommended Summer reading list and a few travel lit books were mentioned. "Solar...

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Tim Cahill: Lost in My Own Backyard

By: on June 21, 2004 | # | Comments (4)
Tim's new book, Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk Through Yellowstone National Park, is now available. I haven't read...

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Tim Cahill: Lost in My Own Backyard

By: on June 21, 2004 | # | Comments (4)
Tim's new book, Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk Through Yellowstone National Park, is now available. I haven't read...

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BEA 2004: National Geographic Directions

By: on June 10, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
One of the fun things about being at BEA is to see what's coming out next. The event is all...

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The Curse of the Singles Table: A True Story of 1001 Nights Without Sex

By: on May 28, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Suzanne Schlosberg, a contributor to Sand in My Bra, is going on tour with her new book: THE CURSE of...

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Anthem Book Blog

By: on May 25, 2004 | # | Comments (1)
Booklovers and Publishing geeks will enjoy this blog. Anthem Book Blog:Information, news, and commentary on Independent Bookstores I already feel...

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Peter Greenberg at BN in Boston

By: on April 7, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Hey, do we have anyone in the Boston area? Peter Greenberg is having an author event to discuss and sign...

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Crikey! ATTN: Peter Moore Fans

By: on March 19, 2004 | # | Comments (3)
Peter Moore's next book Crikey!, about his jaunt around Australia, will release this November with Random House Australia. Now what...

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Learn By Example, Steve Hendrix at the Washington Post

By: on March 15, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
I was really impressed with Steve Hendrix's article on Vienna, "Waltz This Way". It was published March 7, in the...

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Happy Birthday Jeff Greenwald!

By: on February 28, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Jeff Greenwald is celebrating his 50th in Israel and blogging about it on Things Asian. Travelers' Tales did a nice...

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Ayun Halliday on

By: on February 27, 2004 | # | Comments (0)
Hey Ayun, thanks for the nice mentions! Go get Ayun's inside scoop to travel writing on If you're in...

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From Writer's Block to Around The Bloc

By: on February 2, 2004 | # | Comments (5)
Stephanie Elizondo Griest has done it. She has believed in herself, traveled, put in the elbow grease at the old...

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Sarah Macdonald

By: on January 28, 2004 | # | Comments (9)
Ok, who has read HOLY COW! An Indian Adventure? The cover of the book says "The International Bestseller" Apparently it...

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Rolf, DATW, and MSN Slate

By: on December 17, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
I love World Hum. While I was in San Diego I met with Jim Benning and we were talking about...

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Motorcycle Misadventures

By: on December 12, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
Carla King is kicking arse on her new blog, Motorcycle Misadventures. The subhead explains it all "A motorcycle travel writer's...

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Tim Cahill: Jen Meets Her Hero at Easy Going

By: on November 5, 2003 | # | Comments (4)
Audrey Berger, the event coordinator at Easy Going, introduced Tim with talk of his life-threatening exploits and death-defying adventures. He...

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Peter Moore

By: on October 26, 2003 | # | Comments (4)
Who is the female equivalent of Peter Moore? Do you know him? I just got his latest newsletter and I'm...

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Rolf is Back!

By: on August 9, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
In case you missed getting your Vagablogging fix, Rolf is back from France and catching us up on his blog....

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Bright Lights, Big City

By: on July 9, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
The Marsh event last night was a good time. A different kind of reading than any I've done before. It...

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Is Bill Bryson Having a Mood?

By: on July 4, 2003 | # | Comments (1)
Last month I got to have margaritas with the World Hum men and their special ladies. It was a fine...

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Stephen King On Writing

By: on June 25, 2003 | # | Comments (7)
I finished reading On Writing by Stephen King. I almost read it in one day, but because I loved it...

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How to Get Ideas

By: on May 16, 2003 | # | Comments (1)
Ariel Azarel is a writer with a beautiful blog. It's neat to see what another writer is letting people know...

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A Short History of Nearly Everything

By: on May 8, 2003 | # | Comments (8)
Bill Bryson is on tour this month. I saw him in San Francisco for his In a Sunburned Country tour,...

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Star of the Sea

By: on April 29, 2003 | # | Comments (3)
I was thumbing through the Borders May catalog and was delighted to find a book by Joseph O'Connor. I read...

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Larry Habegger

By: on March 22, 2003 | # | Comments (3)
Yesterday morning I asked Larry if he'd write up a short summary of his evening with Pico Iyer and Don...

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Good Press is Great Press!

By: on March 20, 2003 | # | Comments (1)
How come that as of right now, Thursday night at 10:39pm, none of my friends with blogs have blogged about...

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Anne Lamott in The Writer

By: on March 10, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
She's the coolest, isn't she? I love her style even if I am way behind in keeping up with her...

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Road Writes

By: on March 7, 2003 | # | Comments (2)
Congratulations to WR fan Deborah Garner who got her travel blog published on, the online site for The Boston...

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The Rolf Potts on Tour: Portland

By: on February 2, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
You know how you can tell a lot about a person by who their spouse is? Whether you’re married...

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The Rolf Potts Is On The Road: Seattle

By: on January 31, 2003 | # | Comments (6)
What's that? You haven't heard of Rolf Potts? Well, you will. Believe me, you will. As I'm writing this Rolf...

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Rough News and Doug Lansky

By: on January 16, 2003 | # | Comments (0)
I got my copy of Rough News this week. It was fun for me because it came all the way...

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Pay Off! Congrats Philip!

By: on January 8, 2003 | # | Comments (1)
I woke up this morning to find that Philip Blazdell, a writer that I've been coaching for name building, just...

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Vagablogging Takes 2003 By Storm!

By: on January 3, 2003 | # | Comments (1)
No, I didn't tell you about this blog before OR right as it launched because I wanted to see how...

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Well Traveled: dispatches from the frontlines of travel

By: on November 18, 2002 | # | Comments (1)
Damn, those World Hum guys are good. I don't know how they have the time to find the great scoops...

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Tim Cahill

By: on September 9, 2002 | # | Comments (2)
I recently got in touch with Tim Cahill about reviewing his new book, Hold The Enlightenment: More Travel, Less Bliss....

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Hitchhiking on Yachts with Doug Lansky

By: on August 6, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
It's tough to stay on top of everyone in the travel media...and I've been reminded of that several times this...

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Tim Cahill book alert!

By: on August 2, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
Am I the last Tim Cahill fan to find out that he's got a new book coming out? I just...

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Jeff Greenwald and self publishing

By: on August 2, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
Jeff Greenwald, author of Shopping for Buddhas and The Size of the World, recently self-published his best of collection, Scratching...

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By: on July 18, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
Tuesday night I got a visit from Mike Yessis, co-founder/editor of He and his girlfriend Sarah are currently on...

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By: on July 6, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
How excited was I when I called up the Monks this week to let them know that I wanted to...

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David Sedaris...a laugh every ten words!

By: on May 16, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
Two nights before I left for BEA, I was invited to go see David Sedaris in one of the Cal...

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Meeting Jan Morris a four part series

By: on April 11, 2002 | # | Comments (0)
Part I: Intimidation Part II: Coffee with Travelers' Tales Part III: Lonely Planet Conversations with Don George Part IV:...

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