Come hear me at Terroir Writing Festival


I’m going to be speaking for the first time ever about how to write travel articles for magazines and newspapers at this year’s Terroir Creative Writing Festival in McMinnville, OR. Registration for the festival is now open.

My talk is called “Will Work For Fun” and takes place in the afternoon from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

I’m going to walk you through the process of turning your travels into ideas worthy of publication in the travel sections of regional and national magazines and papers across the country.

What am I going to be talking about? Well, apart from imparting my ONE TRUE SECRET OF TRAVEL WRITING, my talk will include information that will motivate you and tricks of the trade like:

  • Why to include travel writing into your bag of writerly talents
  • How to find the best and most reader-friendly travel ideas
  • How to turn your idea into a two-word pitch
  • How to find the best market for your work
  • How to write a pitch to an editor
  • How to be the travel writer every editor loves

I only have an hour, so I won’t be able to include some of the nuts-and-bolts issues of travel writing, like tax forms and tracking expenses, but I’ll be at the conference all day and am happy to talk to anyone about any aspect of travel writing.

Some of my talk will be based on the experience I gained as writer of the longtime column Desperately Seeking Salem, which started out as a blog about life in Oregon’s capital and morphed into a travel column on the front page of the Life section of the Statesman-Journal. I’ll also talk about my work with Sunset magazine, AAA’s VIA, Portland Monthly and others.

Bring your questions, your experiences and your implacable Wanderlust!

Hope to see you there! And if you can’t be there and have a specific question I might be able to answer, please write to me in the comments section here.

Mandy Aftel’s Essence & Alchemy — BOOK GIVEAWAY!


Is this just a cheap ploy to make others fall in love with Aftelier Perfume’s Mandy Aftel as I have?

All signs point to yes!

As many of you know, I’ve been working through Mandy Aftels Level I Workbook, a home course in natural perfuming. I’m deep into the section where the student is charged with smelling from her collecting of essential oils and learning how to smell deeply. I’m beginning to think about it as recalibrating my nose.

Did you know that most peoples’ sense of smell gets worse as they age, but a perfumer’s sense of smell actually gets better? Maybe it’s like a crossword puzzle for the nose and the brain.

Anyway, I’m interested in sharing what I’m learning about perfume and scent and giving back, so this month, I’m starting my perfume and travel book giveaway feature of this website by holding a contest for a copy of natural perfumer Mandy Aftel’s classic tome on perfuming, Essence & Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume.

Every obsessive has a book that started it all for them, the gateway drug into a world of exploration. This is the book that opened up the idea for me that I could learn more about scents, sniffing, and perfuming and that I could remake the world of smelling in my own way. Part primer on the how’s and why’s of natural perfuming and part rhapsodic  treatise on the history of scent in society, it has just enough well-chosen anecdotes to feel definitive in the kind of prose that makes real readers swoon. A must read for all sniffaholics and scent hounds.

To participate in this giveaway, leave a comment in the comments section telling me what book opened up your particular obsession. I will choose a winner using a random number generator on Friday, February 21 at 10:00 a.m. PST.