New Middle Grade Fiction

Appreciated the chance to chime in on Robbie Yates latest release, The Kooky Kids' Club, and honored to have a blurb on the cover. I found the story relatable and empathetic, the story-telling spare and true. In the author's own words: Maxine is smart, quirky, and a bit of a misfit. One day, she receives … Continue reading New Middle Grade Fiction

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Tart on Thanksgiving

That's two Key Lime Pies. A bowl of fresh cranberry sauce. And a big smile just thinking about eating it all. Thanksgiving for decades has been a blend of the traditional and the tropical. From celebrating at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Malawi ('96) to floating in the pool with a turkey on the raft … Continue reading Tart on Thanksgiving

Today’s Coffee…

...mightier than the sword. Terminal 1D Indira Gandhi International Airport ert Dehra Dun in the foothills of the Himalayas. #amwriting #amtraveling #Diwali       ##

Foreign Service Writings

My favorite Foreign Service Journal issue of the year is out! All the recently published books by writers affiliated with America's proud diplomatic corps are listed in one tight package this month. Pick up a few titles and learn about the Foreign Service. Read about how we promote U.S. interests and protect our citizens overseas. … Continue reading Foreign Service Writings

The Lights of Navratri

We brought back a replica of Mysore Palace for our Navratri display. It's no match for the real thing, especially lit up as it is this time of year. But we're glad to have it as a central feature of our celebration. Our display consists of five steps populated by dolls. Some represent the gods … Continue reading The Lights of Navratri

What’s in a Name?

Truckload of 229 boxes arrived today. Some in better shape than others. Pennywise, our organization hired the lowest-bidder for the job: turned out to be 'Quality Services Moving and Storage.' Boy, is that company smart! With a name like that, they're free to provide 'Terrible Quality Services,' 'Low Quality Services,' 'Lackluster Quality Services,' and a … Continue reading What’s in a Name?

Cricket

Travels around India don’t have to include the Taj Mahal, the Gateway of India, or a dip in the Ganges to be special. Our four-day journey to Karnataka state included stops at Chamundi Hills, the ancestral village for which my father-in-law takes his name—Kuppahalli, and half a click from where we stayed, the Mysore Palace. … Continue reading Cricket

Peace Corps, the Musical

Five years ago, I flirted with writing a musical based on ‘the generic Peace Corps experience.’ I tabled the idea quickly. The unique nature of volunteer service set abundant hurdles. Peace Corps Africa and Peace Corps Latin America are different beasts. The organization’s six decades presented another problem. We’d moved from the era of ‘Drop … Continue reading Peace Corps, the Musical

The Elephants’ Thunder

Every night I hear the drums. Out there, on the fairgrounds in the dark, the big drums throb and the high snares crackle. Two weeks from now Ganesh will march the streets, Gunpatti’s thunderous procession to the sea shaking the city’s windows and doors. Hordes will carry idols of the elephant deity in waves across … Continue reading The Elephants’ Thunder

Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

I ask around about haircuts. Authoritative Mumbai sources say: Twinkle for Gents. Five weeks into our stay, haircuts are essential. But am I to test Twinkle for Gents? I take a 2 and 3 across the sides and top. My sons buzz down to 4 and 5. Not haircuts, so much as a few quick strokes … Continue reading Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave