I have a Publisher! Musing Mediterranean to be Published by E.L. Marker™

Musing Mediterranean to be published by publisher E.L. Marker

I am excited to report that I have signed a publishing contract for my travel memoir, Musing Mediterranean.

It’s funny that I started this blog as a means to promote my book and find a publisher who would help bring my fun, little story to life. Little did I know, the blog would take on a life of its own, but I am so happy that 3 Olives & Twist will have the opportunity serve its original purpose.

E.L. Marker™

I have partnered with E.L. Marker™, an imprint of WiDō Publishing™, a small press out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Soon enough, I will be in the throes of final edits, cover selection and the development of a promotional campaign. I will officially be able to call myself an author. I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, E.L. Marker™ is working on a press release to announce that I will be publishing with them. I look forward to sharing that with you when its available.

The book is targeted for release by fall 2018 – it hardly seems real. After so much time working on this one thing, it will finally be complete.

Thank you for supporting me on this writing journey.  I look forward to keeping you up to date on the final phases of book production and launch.

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A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman-Book Club

A man called Ove and reading glasses

Another great book club meeting, but this time with mixed reviews for our latest read; A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman.

This book came highly recommended, but no members of book club gave it an all-star rating. We all felt similarly that there were aspects of it we didn’t like. In the end, however, we agreed that it was emotionally compelling.  Yes, we all cried. Some of us, a lot.

The Synopsis (available at GoodReads)

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

The Review

I described A Man Called Ove this way – I disliked the beginning, but I liked the book.  All club members agreed that the beginning of the book, about the first six chapters, dwelled too heavily on the main character’s grumpy disposition. By chapter three I wanted to scream, OK I’ve got it, he’s a grouch, move on already.

I also found the premise of the story to be generally off-putting. I won’t give it away, but Ove’s mission throughout the novel was disturbing.

On a positive note, I enjoyed the writing. The way Backman struck so many emotionally chords was well done to say the least.  Personally, I connected with Ove’s struggle to rediscover purpose in his life.  I feel I am in the same boat with regard to my work and future.

I thought certain lines were beautifully written. For example:

“When she giggles she sounded the way Ove imagined champagne bubbles would have sounded if they were capable of laughter.”

“She stood…with his flowers…in that red cardigan of hers, making the rest of the world look as if it were made in grayscale.”

“He was a man of black and white. And she was of color. All the color he had.”

And this one made me laugh:

“The man behind the Plexiglas asks if he can “check out the card.” Ove looks at him as if they just met in a dark alley and he’s asked to “check out” Ove’s private parts.”

I am glad I read A Man Called Ove. I would recommend it with one caveat – it’s not for everyone. While it was clever at times, there were also some very predictable outcomes that I anticipated well before they happened.

So, I’ll say it was not bad, but not great.

Next up in March…

I am actually looking forward to reading a type of book I never have… a celebrity tell-all!

Leah Remini’s – Troublemaker – Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.

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An Excerpt from Musing Mediterranean – A Travel Experience

scaffolding on the Parthenon in Athens Greece - an excerpt from Musing Mediterranean

More from Musing Mediterranean

This week on the blog, I am sharing two excerpts from my book, Musing Mediterranean, which chronicles a 2012 family trip to Greece, Italy and Turkey. On Monday, I shared an excerpt talking about our time in Rome, Italy. Today, I share a moment from Athens, Greece.

My goal in writing this book was to convey a true travel experience from beginning to end. With that, there are good times and, sometimes, not so good.

In this excerpt from Musing Mediterranean, I reveal a moment that fell short of my expectations. Despite some disappointment, I was still glad to have made the journey.

An Excerpt from Musing Mediterranean – The Parthenon

I suppose the fantasy of Greece that I’d created in my mind would have been hard for any reality to live up to. I’m not saying it wasn’t great, but not quite as life changing as I thought it would be. For me, the pivotal moment in Greece came early in our travels there. The place I most wanted to see was the Parthenon. The image of this massive temple had always been distinctly emblazoned in my brain. The notion of actually seeing it and walking through the sacred grounds of the Acropolis became something of a quest. From the time I was a little girl, my family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, would spend time together flipping through my Yia Yia and Papou’s photo albums. They traveled a lot and while their photos from Spain, Hawaii and many other places were fun to look at, nothing stuck with me more than the photos of their trips to Greece. Something about their proud expressions as they stood together, most often with my grandmother’s sister Stella, left me with a strong desire to go where they’d gone and see what they saw. I always knew that someday I would see the Parthenon myself.

My grandparents’ photos of this prominent example of historical architecture have always remained at the forefront of my memory. The same is true for a particular piece of jewelry that my mother and aunts each wore, and still do to this day. They were gold pendants, probably about two inches in diameter, each featuring a dazzling rendition of the Parthenon. My Yia Yia had gifted one to each of her three daughters-in-law. Each woman, none of whom is Greek, has always worn hers with pride.

Upon arriving in the vicinity of the Acropolis, a hot trek up the hill to see the hallowed grounds and the Parthenon itself was required. This day, more than any other, was super steamy. So much so, you could see the haze in the air. The temperature had to have been in the mid-nineties, if not higher.

I’m strong in many ways, but heat is my kryptonite. I may be the only New Englander whose least favorite season is summer. I just can’t handle the unrelenting sun. While others thrive in the warmth of the summer months, I slowly fade away, trudging through the heat and humidity desperately awaiting the arrival of fall.

With every effort to shake off my funk, I forged ahead. Beautiful Kalamata olive trees grew in groves all around us. Stray dogs slept in any shady area they could find. The ten minute walk seemed much longer in the heat, but we were all thrilled to at last set our eyes on the Parthenon at the top of the hill.

“What the hell?” I scowled as I first laid eyes on the structure. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The entire face of the Parthenon was covered in scaffolding.

I had expected this to be a real “ah ha” moment. Instead, the words I blurted out were, “This is such an eyesore – I am so disappointed.”

Apparently, the Parthenon had been under renovation for eight years. Unfortunately, none of our travel literature had alerted us to this fact. Not that we wouldn’t have come, but at least we could have altered our expectations accordingly.

“I can’t believe this,” I said to everyone in my party. “This is such a letdown!”

“I know,” Karla agreed. “I had no idea it would be like this. What a shame.”

“Would you two relax,” my Dad said dismissively. “It’s fine. You can see through the scaffolding and you know what it looks like anyway.”

Thank You

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Musing Mediterranean, and I welcome your feedback.

Have a great weekend!

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An Excerpt from My Book, Musing Mediterranean

Julia and Ally eating spaghetti in Rome - an excerpt from Musing Mediterranean

Musing Mediterranean

In the past week, I began final edits on my book. I started writing Musing Mediterranean in 2012 following a remarkable family trip to Greece, Italy and Turkey It has now been reviewed, revised (at least six times) and professionally edited. This week I will finalize it before seeking representation by a literary agent or publisher.

I can’t believe I’m finally at a stopping point – it feels good to have seen it through to completion. It’s also scary to now subject my work to critical review. Whatever happens with my book, I did what I set out to do. I wrote something longer and more significant than a magazine article and for that I am proud.

Back in August, I posted about the book calling it My Never Ending Story. It’s a light-hearted read – I like to describe it as Eat, Pray, Love meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding. More than a travel book, it’s a travel experience. In it I discuss food, family and the faraway places we visited. I also talk about the travel anxiety that nearly prevented me from taking the trip in the first place.

This week on the blog, I would like to share two excerpts.  I welcome your feedback and I’d love for you to share this post if you are so inclined.

The featured photo is one of my favorites from our time in Rome.  My girls were so little then. This quintessential Italian meal followed our visit to the Vatican.  It was a holy day, but what I’d learn, well after we returned home, is that nothing is ever too sacred for my husband and brother-in-law to find an excuse to celebrate.

I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Musing Mediterranean.

After The Vatican – An Excerpt

Most of the grown-ups imbibed in typical fashion – reserving “adult refreshments” for dinners, happy hours, night caps – you get the idea. Bob and Tony, however, never missed a chance to sample a European beer, shot or glass of vino. Lunch, brunch, dinner; it was all great timing for them. They are big guys so they could handle it. I, on the other hand, would never make it out of my cabin if Mimosas or Bloody Marys were on the menu before noon. Courtesy of Bob and Tony alone, we have so many photos of bottles of beer that I was seriously thinking about censoring the family photo album.

In one photo taken in Rome, snapped surreptitiously by Bob, Tony is pictured holding something in a shot glass alongside a waiter by the name of Giorgio. This adorable, Italian young man served us a wonderful meal after our day at the Vatican. It all seemed very wholesome as we enjoyed our outdoor seating: Julia and Ally slurped spaghetti and Paolo and Ivana told us where they were headed after Rome.

Meanwhile, inside, there was an impromptu celebration happening at the bar.

When I first opened the photo link that Bob sent me and saw this picture, I had to stop to think about where we were.

Tony, why is it that no matter where we are or what time of day, you manage to make it a party? I said pointing to his photo with Giorgio.

What do you mean? Oh that, we just wanted to toast Giorgio for his great service.

When did Bob and Tony slip away from our quaint sidewalk table to sneak a shot of some random Italian spirit with the waiter? To think that we had just spent a holy day at the Vatican complete with knees and shoulders covered.

For the record, Tony would not let me post the photo of him and Giorgio!

Thursday’s Post – Another Excerpt from Musing Mediterranean

Thank you – stay tuned for another excerpt from Musing Mediterranean this Thursday featuring The Parthenon.

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Writing a Travel Book: My Never-Ending Story

pictures and pages from Beth's first travel book

So, I’ve written a travel book. Well, some might call it a travel book, a travelogue or a travel memoir, but really what it is, is a travel experience. I like to call it “Eat, Pray, Love” meets “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” I started it in 2012 and here I am in 2016 working on what I hope to be a final revision.

The process of sticking with it has sometimes, most times, been tough. I know some fellow writers who will understand this and I wonder; why do I, why do we put ourselves through the pain?

The book is about my summer 2012 journey to Greece, Italy and Turkey. My parents, sister and her family, and my own family unit traveled together for our first, big family trip. The experience was so hilarious, momentous and memorable that I left the Mediterranean thinking, I could write a book about this. So I did. I call it “Musing Mediterranean.”

When I began MM, I didn’t have my magazine column, “Matters of Life & Beth” nor did this blog exist. My writing style was very different then. Over the years, I have found and come to enjoy the writing voice I use here and in my column.

Now, after going through multiple revisions and having the book professionally edited, I am starting over from chapter one to take what I have and rewrite it using the conversational voice that suits me now and the writer/author I want to be.

There are days when I feel like the edits will never end. There are always changes to be made and after reading and re-reading the story, what feels like a hundred times, I feel like it will never be done.

I have never been so dedicated to a personal passion so much as this. Tony will often say, “I can’t believe you are still working on that.” Honestly, neither can I. I am more of an immediate satisfaction type of person. If don’t see short term gain, then I usually move on to something where I can.

My book is different. I believe in it and I enjoy immersing myself in it even when I dread and severely procrastinate opening the file to get started. It’s a strange contradiction. I sometimes worry that if I dread working on it so much, maybe I shouldn’t be doing it; but I keep going. There are also days when I fear that it is boring or stupid; but I keep going.

If ever I understood a labor of love, I think I can fairly say that this book is mine.

I don’t know what the end game for this book will be, but for now I am going to work through this final, or near final, phase and hopefully soon revel in the glory of completion.

Do you have a labor of love?

To learn more about my travel book “Musing Mediterranean,” visit my website.

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