If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Monday, September 15, 2014

"One Word" of Travel Advice

Everyone has advice about travel. Travel light, most people say.  Others advise, Take twice as much money as you need and half the clothes. Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea.”

My advice is, always learn at least one word of the language of the country you are visiting. Being able to say “hello” or “thank you” will make more of a difference than you can imagine. At least, I figure I’ll give the native speakers a laugh. At best, trying to speak the language can build a bridge to unexpected places and perks. I discovered that being able to say “good morning” in Greek paid off for me on my recent cruise.

Our cruise line hired a smaller boat to take a group to several spots on the scenic island of Corfu. Our own S. S. Minnow dropped me, my husband, Bill, and thirty other beach lovers in Kassiopi, a tiny Greek village/postcard come to life. Cafes and shops ringed Kassiopi's harbor, but it was a bit early for a snack and my husband is not a shopper. So we headed toward the first place I go to take the temperature of a new country – the grocery store. Kassiopi’s market offered a welcoming spread of local cheeses, breads, olive oils, and tourist kitsch.

Several fellow travelers shuffled through the shop, replying in English when greeted in Greek by the owners, an older gentleman and a young woman who looked enough like him to be his granddaughter. They made their purchases and left.

I eyed plastic place mats printed with a map of Kassiopi.
The gentleman greeted me. “Kalimera.” Good morning.
A word I knew! I took a deep breath.
Kalimera,” I replied.  He smiled.
I pointed to the map. “Beautiful.”
He nodded. “Beach?”
He must have assumed I was searching the map for a beach.
I remembered the word for yes. “Ne.”

He pointed away from the harbor, up the hill behind the shop. “Pristine beach. No cigarette butts.” I laughed; he definitely knew some very helpful English.

This was unexpected, but highly useful, tourist intel. My husband heard “beach” and perked up.

I thanked my gracious grocer/tour guide with a smile. We purchased some snacks and olive oil and headed in the direction the man had indicated.

Bill and I headed up the hill, which led past a dramatically crumbling fort we hadn’t seen on any of our tour information, then followed a trail further up the hill, past numerous feral cats, backyards strung with laundry drying in the sun, and deep into a sea of olive trees.

Just when I started wondering if the “pristine beach” was this guy’s little joke on tourists, we saw it: Sparkling peacock blue water ringed by a bright white half moon of beach at the end of our trail.

“No cigarette butts,” I breathed.

Do you have any travel advice?


E. B. Davis said...

It looks stunning, Shari. I hope you had a great time. What was the water temperature? What are the waves like in the Mediterranean? Were you there in August? The color of the water is gorgeous! It's nice of you to memorize at least a few phrases of the native language. I so afraid of pronouncing something wrong, I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to speak--one of the reasons I'm not a globetrotter.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

That's a great story.

When recently traveling in Quebec I found the years that French took me in high school (and no, that is not a dyslexic statement) allowed me to say with reasonable adroitness, Je ne parle Francais. Parlez vous Englais? If they say "a little" we choose English because their little is much better than my en peu Francais.

Given my foreign language skills, I can handle all French, German and Spanish countries with similar dexterity.

~ Jim

Shari Randall said...

Elaine, I thought of you! The beaches that we saw in Greece were stunning. Yes, the ocean is really, truly that color. And the water so clear, cool but not frigid, not much wave action. We were there the last week of August - only for one day, alas.
My "one word" philosophy kind of worked in Croatia. We went into a museum and I tried out "hello/hvala" on the ticket seller. I could see he was trying not to laugh at me, but he did wave my husband in for free. Score!

Shari Randall said...

Jim, isn't it surprising that the high school French sticks? I'm hoping to go to Quebec and Montreal one of these days and I'll try my "en peu" French on them. At least you try to speak the language. I'm on the receiving side at work - we have many new immigrants to the US stop in the library and I am very appreciative when we can start out with "hello."

KM Rockwood said...

Shari, that beach looks wonderful! A year ago, we were in Nice, and the water in the Mediterranean was wonderful. The beach, however, was not only steep, it was largish rounded rocks which slipped out from under my feet as I tried to get out. I was just about beginning to decide that it was quite lovely and I wouldn't really mind spending the rest of my life in the water there, as long as people brought me some of that marvelous food, when my daughter & son-in-law got together, one pushing behind & one pulling in front, and got me out.

The Indian Ocean off Zanzibar is the truly breathtaking. A bit rough under foot (those of us who grew up with the American east coast beaches are always surprised that smooth white sand isn't the norm everywhere) but wonderful water. And it's easy enough to wear water shoes.

Wrong time of year to be mentioning beaches--it's chilly today & I am sitting wearing a heavy sweater. Now I want o go look at vacation possibilities!

Kaye George said...

Good strategy and wonderful-looking beach! I also learn some numbers so I can talk about prices. I think Italian numbers are VERY hard and I have to review them a lot.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, what a wonderful experience. Years and years ago on a Holy Land Tour, I was in Greece for two days. Loved it and would like to go back and spend some time there someday.

My daughter and I went to Venice and Florence one year (her retirement gift to me) and several years later to old Madrid. Neither of us spoke Italian or Spanish, but we found it very easy to communicate by sign language if they didn't speak English. Like you, we went into their grocery stores to browse around. Neither of those visits were with tour groups, and we did quite well on our own exploring what interested us.

Warren Bull said...

Phrases are helpful: Where's the bathroom? Thanks and You're welcome come in handy.

Kara Cerise said...

Your trip sounds fantastic, Shari! What an idyllic spot for a picnic. I like your tip about learning at least a few words of the language and going to the supermarket.

My tip is to understand the instructions about how to raise and lower the convertible top on a rental car. My friends and I got caught in a rainstorm on the island of St. Martin and couldn’t raise the top. We and the interior of the jeep got completely soaked. I didn't mind, but the rental company wasn't happy.

Shari Randall said...

KM - Zanzibar! That is on the bucket list. I am not really sure even where it is, but the name is just so romantic.
And I, too, was totally taken aback by the rockiness of the beach. A lot of us ended up crawling out on all fours. And water shoes were a must.

Shari Randall said...

Kaye, you are so right about Italian numbers (I didn't even try Greek numbers). I discovered that Italians start counting on their thumbs for one, so when I held up a pointer finger meaning "one" scoop of gelato, I got two. Actually, in retrospect, not that much of a problem.

Shari Randall said...

Gloria, I would love to see the Holy Land. With all that is happening in the world, I wonder about the safety of those traveling there.
What a wonderful gift! I am sure you made the most of it.

Shari Randall said...

Warren, you are right. "Where's the bathroom" is pretty much number one the list for this traveler.

Shari Randall said...

Kara, oh no! What did the rental care company do?

Kara Cerise said...

Shari, we ended up paying a bit extra although it could have been worse. It was a memorable adventure.

Paula Gail Benson said...

This is great advice, Shari. Thanks for letting us travel with you vicariously.