Coming in October from Kimberley Lovato and Reedy Press, this book promises to be very tasty:

When people talk about great food cities, San Francisco rises to the top of the list thanks to its 49-square-miles of mouthwatering ways to whet your appetite. Unique Eats & Eateries of San Francisco invites the city’s nearly 25 million annual visitors—and its food-obsessed residents—to discover the stories and histories that simmer behind some of San Francisco’s iconic dishes, historic restaurants, and artisanal shops.

August 19, 2017
7:00 pmto8:30 pm

I’m thrilled to announce the impending launch of my new collection of travel stories, Your Crocodile has Arrived.

The party will be on Saturday, August 19th, at Book Passage in Corte Madera, and Travel Writers News subscribers are all invited. More info and a link to the invitation are here. We’ll have lots of chocolate (in honor of the story about my chocolate massage), including enough of the world’s best chocolate cake to serve the first twenty people who request it—so arrive early.

The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, and San Francisco’s Bay Area Travel Writers have joined the celebration with a new publication: Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores, and Historic Sites.

The full-color 128-page magazine-style publication covers both world-famous properties like Yosemite, Carmel Mission, and Hearst Castle and lesser-known gems like Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House, Little Petroglyph Canyon, and the Empire Mine.

It’s a terrific publication — with fascinating articles and beautiful photography — that will inspire your travels in California. (I may be biased; I contributed to the content with articles about viewing bald eagles in Klamath and strolling among the many national historic sites along the San Francisco waterfront.)

PrairieDogElaine Miller Bond spent 3 months photographing prairie dogs at Bryce Canyon a few years back, and now she has a new book The Utah Prairie Dog: Life Among the Red Rocks (written by Theodore Manno and photographed by Elaine) to show for it.

Elaine has a lovely message to go along with her book launch announcement: “One thing that impressed me most about working with prairie dogs was their sense of community. They bark at danger to protect one another. They nurse babies from other moms. They kiss. Thank you for being a part of my community. May your own dreams come true this holiday season.”

ShoppingforBuddhasCongratulations to Jeff Greenwald and Travelers’ Tales on the 25th anniversary of the publication of Shopping for Buddhas: An Adventure in Nepal. The anniversary edition of this classic book includes new material.

Jeff Greenwald’s classic travelogue follows his quest for the “perfect” Buddha statue. At turns hilarious and moving, his quest features a cast of amazing characters — from a passionate palmist to a flying lama — who provide unforgettable glimpses into the daily life and culture of the former kingdom (including a wild ride on Kathmandu’s very first escalator). Greenwald doesn’t shy away from

September 3, 2014
6:30 pmto8:30 pm

Michael Shapiro be teaching a three-evening class called A Sense of Place on Wednesdays at Book Passage (September 3, 10, 17) from 6:30 to 8:30. Michael says, “We’ll study the masters—Bryson, Cahill, Morris, Matthiessen, Iyer and Theroux—and discuss their techniques to improve our own writing. And there will be wine!”

Michael knows as much as anyone about creating a sense of place. In fact, he wrote the book on it! A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration. Plus, he’s a fun guy and a generous teacher. This should be an excellent class.

About the book: Great writers inspire readers to head out in search of foreign sunsets, but in this instance, they inspired travel writer Michael Shapiro to head out for the great writers themselves. A Sense of Place is one writer’s journey to visit all the heroes who have motivated him — to pack a pen and toothbrush, to find out where they live, why they chose the place, and how it influences their writing. In each scene, readers, writers, and travelers are given a glimpse of the locale and surroundings of the writer: Simon Winchester’s Massachusetts, Redmond O’Hanlon’s London, Jan Morris’s Wales, or Frances Mayes’s Tuscany. But then it’s left up to the writers themselves to situate the reader and describe their lives, their craft, and their remarkable world, which they do with living room intimacy. The result is engaging, illuminating, and transporting for writers and travelers alike.
September 3, 2014
7:00 pmto8:30 pm
Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!Want to hear your favorite passage from Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive! read aloud to you?  Come join the fun at Books Inc. on Wednesday, September 3, at 7 pm. for the East Bay Launch Party.

Back by popular demand:
I’m baking my grandmother’s brown bread for this celebration, because it was a bit hit at the Marin County Launch party. Of course we’ll also have wine for your enjoyment and refreshment.
Books Inc. Berkeley, 1760 4th Street, Berkeley, CA.

TonyWheelerTony Wheeler, cofounder of Lonely Planet, spoke with Don George on the opening evening of the 23rd annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. Here’s a snippet of Tony explaining how Lonely Planet got its name.


In his latest book, Dark Lands,Dark Lands Wheeler brings his inimitable wit and style to an exploration of some of the world’s most troubled nations, including Colombia, Congo, Haiti, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, and Israel-Palestine.

WildLife14 stories. All original. All award-winning.

I just read—and thoroughly enjoyed—Lisa Alpine’s latest collection of “too-true” travel tales. From two-stepping in New Orleans to learning about war from “an attractive, sexy, twenty-years-younger-than-me pain in the ass” Israeli, to accepting a job as nanny for Keith Richards’ children, Lisa’s globe-trotting adventures are wild and comic.

My favorite is Lisa’s story about sniffing, and then licking, one of Monet’s famous water lily paintings in the MusĂ©e de l’Orangerie in Paris. “Does beauty have a taste? This pageant of floral sirens blooming in the midst of monochromatic winter is intoxicating…. Impulsively, my lips part. My tongue tip snakes toward the water lilies and licks….”  (Do not try this at home.)

August 11, 2014
6:00 pmto7:00 pm

Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!In case you can’t make it to the big launch party at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Aug 9th, I’ll be reading and signing at Book Passage at the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco on Monday, Aug 11, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

TalesToGo4“Summer is here and so is Tales To Go, No. 4 —with four new travel stories to ignite your wanderlust and deliver you from the day-to-day. Journey from Alaska’s frozen North Shore to the steamy jungles of Guatemala, and from a Bible-themed amusement park in Orlando to Bangkok’s infamous red-light district—all for $1.99 when you subscribe. It’s quite a trip!

July 12, 2014
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Sicilian Mafia GuideSpaceholder San Francisco author Carl Russo will read from his new book, The Sicilian Mafia: A True Crime Travel Guide, at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Saturday, July 12, at 7 p.m. Complimentary Sicilian wine will be served during a discussion about the making of this controversial work.

Written for tourists and arm-chair travelers alike, the book is a geographical history of the Cosa Nostra on the Italian island of Sicily, the picturesque birthplace of organized crime.

June 12, 2014
7:00 pmto8:30 pm

WildLifeDancing Words Press is hosting a sneak preview fete for Lisa Alpine’s latest book Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman tonight at The Depot Bookstore in Mill Valley. Please join Lisa for this merry literary event where the champagne will flow and tales will be told.

Thursday June 12
7 pm – 8:30 pm
The Depot Bookstore Cafe
on the Plaza in downtown Mill Valley, California

StopDriftingRoz Savage, world-record-setting Ocean Rower and environmental campaigner, will talk about her adventures rowing solo across the world’s oceans-particularly her bid to become the first woman to row solo 8,000 miles across the Pacific. After a failed attempt in 2007, when her boat capsized 3 times in 24 hours during a storm, she set out again the following year from the Golden Gate Bridge. To a backdrop of photographs, maps and videos, she will tell the story of her epic crossing, and share her insights on happiness, meaning, and the environmental challenges that face our oceans in the 21st century.

June 12, 2014
5:30 pmto7:30 pm

Roz-SavageRoz Savage, world-record-setting ocean rower and environmental campaigner, is back in the Bay Area to promote her new book, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone On the Pacific. The event will be at Pier 39’s Bay Theater on Thursday, June 12. More info here.

Tales-to-Go-1Now live in the iTunes store: Travelers’ Tales’ new digital subscription service!

Tales To Go, a mobile publication for iPhone and iPad, delivers four inspiring, transformative travel stories every month, with no ads, flash, or fluff. The app is a free download and so is the first issue, which features prizewinning stories by Colette O’Connor, Ken Matusow, Lavinia Spalding, and Peter Wortsman. Get the app and sample the first issue, free!

“We’ve long thought there should be a digital collection of travel stories that could fit in your pocket and go anywhere, and would update automatically,” says Larry Habegger, Executive Editor. “When we couldn’t find it, we created it.”

LKEA-cover-mediumI’m [Laurie McAndish King, your still-humble editor] thrilled that the first blurbs are coming in for my collection of true travel stories, Lost Kidnapped, Eaten Alive. It’s my first book, and it you’ll all be invited to the launch party. In the meantime, here’s a peek:

“Whether she’s working to help save lemurs in Madagascar or communing with a one-legged toucan in Costa Rica, Laurie McAndish King brings uncommon heart and soul to her travel stories. And she’s always on the lookout for adventure, chasing an eclipse while on the Black Sea or trying to discern whether she’s being kidnapped or rescued in Tunisia. From start to finish, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive is a rollicking ride.”

Books for Writers

December 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment

syntaxIs there a writer on your holiday gift list? If so, check out Poets & Writers‘ list of the ten best books for writers. (“From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.”) I’m happy to report that the Bay Area’s own Constance Hale’s by-now-classic Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose is on the list.

booksPhotograph by Tyler Metcalfe.

Forgo the generic gift card this holiday season and instead wrap up these five new travel-inspiring books, recommended by Don George on National Geographic‘s Beyond the Guidebook.

SavageAntiguaNeed some inspiration? Roz Savage’s new book, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing, is due out on October 15th. Roz holds four world records, including First Woman to Solo Row Three Oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian. She is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2010 and a Yale World Fellow 2012.

Here’s how Roz describes the book: “Based on my Pacific crossing between 2008 and 2010, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing is a story about my quest to raise awareness of environmental issues, as well as a personal search for happiness and meaning.

travelerstales“Travelers’ Tales/Solas House has launched a new e-book program called Gateway. Manuscripts submitted here will be considered for e-book publication and also for release in print. Please submit your book-length non-fiction manuscript after completing the contact information.

August 19, 2013
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

bwtw-vol9San Francisco magazine named Weekday Wanderlust “Best Mental Escape” in their 2013 Best of the Bay issue. This month’s salon, on Monday, August 19th, will celebrate the release of co-founder Lavinia Spalding’s latest book, the Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 9. Published by Travelers’ Tales, this year’s anthology includes essays from thirty intrepid travelers, including the evening’s three wonderful readers: Rachel Levin, Natalie Baszile, and Suzanne Roberts.

As always, the event will be at the Hotel Rex (562 Sutter Street in SF). Cocktails and conversation from 6-7 p.m., readings from 7-8. Giveaways? You betcha.

August 22, 2013
5:00 pmto7:00 pm

vignettesWidely published, award-winning writers and instructors Erin Byrne and Sabrina Crawford will discuss the history and current concept of the literary salon, offer a trip inside the legendary Shakespeare and Company Bookstore and present Vignettes and Postcards, Writings from the Evening Writing workshop at Shakespeare and Company. A lively discussion will spark ideas about how we can bring a bit of la vie littéraire into our own lives.

Thursday, August 22 at 5:30 p.m.
The Depot Bookstore and Cafe
87 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley
(415) 383-2665

overbookedThanks to journalist Suzie Rodriguez for is link to Skift’s interview with Elizabeth Becker, author of Overbooked: the Global Business of Travel and Tourism. Here’s an excerpt:

Skift: Why did you do this book now? What was the kick-in-the-pants to get it started?

Elizabeth Becker: As you know from my bio, I’ve been the foreign correspondent and an editor at National Public Radio, and reported around the world for the Washington Post and the New York Times. I’ve watched the evolution of tourism …
“… That kept happening, where I was reporting on an international economics story and some official in some foreign country would say how this was important for their tourism sector. When I tried to write about this for the Times, they said, “We have a travel section.” That’s when I saw this ghettoization of the tourism industry … no one looked [at] tourism as the industrial giant that it is.”


Bill writes: I plan to publish two new books of my stories this summer. The first one is coming in a few weeks—Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. The second book—Paris When It Sizzles: Tales of Travel, Love, and Folly—will come out later in the summer.

Showdown at Shinagawa tells 15 true tales of my long career working on film shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil. The second book—Paris When It Sizzles: Tales of Travel, Love, and Folly—will come out later in the summer.

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    I'm thrilled that it's getting rave reviews! Order your copy of Your Crocodile has Arrived from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.  
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    Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!Order your copy of Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.
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