Foreign Service, Under Covers

DC-area writers, consider stopping by the American Foreign Service Association for this year's book market featuring a talk on writing and publishing from 25-year veteran literary agent and editor Deborah Grosvenor. Two dozen Foreign Service-affiliated authors will also be there with their latest work. Find out what publishers are looking for when it comes to writing … Continue reading Foreign Service, Under Covers

The Annapolis Bookstore

A short block from Maryland's historic State House, down a white brick street narrow with specialty shops, The Annapolis Bookstore is exactly what a bookstore ought to be: jammed with literature, old and new, on shelves that climb from creaking wood floor to high plaster ceiling. Close with the antiquated must of well-turned pages, yet … Continue reading The Annapolis Bookstore

Swamp Talk

Walden in Africa & Other Diplomatic Readings

Among the 53 titles compiled in this Month's Foreign Service Journal is Dan Whitman's Answer Coming Soon. Whatever else it provides to those who read it, Answer undeniably will provide this: a reflection on the power of books. The power is especially profound for those who spend their lives in places where electricity can be spotty … Continue reading Walden in Africa & Other Diplomatic Readings

The Polyglot Archipelago

Seven islands form the area now called Mumbai (Bombay until 1995). Marathi, Hindi, and English are just a few of the languages spoken there, including Bambaiva, a blend of Gujarati, Konkani, Urdu, Indian English, and more. Its home to 18.5 million, India’s most populous city. Rudyard Kipling, Salman Rushdie, and Fareed Zakaria all were born … Continue reading The Polyglot Archipelago

Angels Walk Here

This blog opened four years ago with the following: I wish more people were reading books. Here's what I'm reading: Heaven Is Coming Home, by David Suarez Gomez. That's all I wrote. And I didn't post again for months. I had a voracious appetite for reading and I was writing books, but they were years from … Continue reading Angels Walk Here

The Paneless Window Washer

The air and leaves outside turn to fall. In the week ahead we'll celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Navrathri, and the official start of Autumn. I'll hold the first book discussion for my debut novel, 18 months old already. My Foreign Service colleagues and I will start the annual ritual of progress into new jobs, new countries, … Continue reading The Paneless Window Washer

Stand Up Comedy

In an effort to prove why writing is easy and speaking is hard, I decided to do live stand-up at the library in Oakton, VA. Drop by to find out why I write instead of preach, and what's behind that title---Two Pumps for the Body Man. Register here.

Diplomatic Casualties

The morning of December 6, 2004, five heavily armed terrorists stormed the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I remember loud pops from the AK-47s and the muffled thud of improvised explosive devices; I remember hours hunkered under a desk and a scramble for protection when the Marine called “Gas!; I remember crouching through our … Continue reading Diplomatic Casualties

Diplomats and Terrorists

Last month American Diplomacy included my review of Ambassador James R.  Bullington's Foreign Service Memoir, The Road Less Traveled. The book recounts a career that began with the U.S. military build-up in Vietnam and took the author to Burma, Chad, Benin, and Burundi, where he served as Ambassador, and Niger, where he served from 2001-2006 as Country Director … Continue reading Diplomats and Terrorists