Literary Cafés

Thanks to a few well-known tipplers (coughHemingwaycough), writers have something of a reputation for indulging. Though that may be more stereotype than reality, over the years certain bars and cafés have become linked with the literary crowd who’ve gone there to eat, drink, socialize, and occasionally write. Inspired by a recent LitHub article featuring 35 Literary Cafés. I thought I’d share a couple of them here, as well as adding some the list missed.

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Café Tortoni, favourite of Jorge Luís Borges and Alfonsina Storni, whose wax figures permanently share a table there.
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Antico Caffé Greco in Rome has served Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley, Hans Christian Andersen, and Nikolai Gogol, among others.
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The Elephant House in Edinburgh makes the somewhat dubious claim of being the place where J.K. Rowling started Harry Potter. Whether true or not, it’s become popular with fans.

Although not as well-known as the others on the list, here are some local-ish spots this Toronto writer thinks are worth a mention:

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The Park Hyatt Roof Lounge (currently closed for renovation) has been frequented by many writers, artists and celebrities over the years, including Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen.
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Sneaky Dee’s is a Toronto institution that has attracted droves of indie types–including writers–over the years. Bryan Lee O’Malley used it as a setting in Scott Pilgrim vs the World.
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Winnie’s Bar (1455 Crescent St, Montreal) was a favourite of Mordecai Richler. They specialize in alcoholic coffee (my kind of place).

Writers unknown, famous, and infamous have always populated cafés and bars all over the world. Comment and tell me which ones you think deserve a mention.

(By the way, time is running out to enter my giveaway–you have only until the end of the of the month to take part for a chance to win a paperback copy of my dark fantasy novel Love Lies Bleeding. Free book? What’s not to like?)

Weird Habits of Writers

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I recently read an article about 11 weird habits that all writers can relate to, and I’ve got to say they weren’t wrong. Dramatically staring into space while thinking about what my characters will do next? Check. Ending up on security watch lists thanks to my online research? Check. Losing track of time, dates, and reality itself thanks to working from home immersed in a fantasy world of my own creation? Check check.

Reading the list got me thinking about my own odd habits, which I’ve decided to share. After all, as the article pointed out, writers spend a lot of time alone–why not take a moment to bond over our mutual strangeness?

My Weird Habits as a Writer:

Seeking Out Mindless Activities so I Can Think: When my hands are busy but my mind is free to wander, that’s when I come up with some of my best ideas, solve problems with my stories, or mentally write entire passages (my phone is handy–and more likely to be nearby than pen and paper–for getting it all down before I inevitably forget). Mindless activities I recommend: weeding the garden, easy crafts, cleaning the house, ironing…

Telling Myself Stories to Help Me Fall Asleep: I’ve had trouble sleeping my entire life–the one thing that’s almost guaranteed to get me to sleep is telling myself a story in bed. It’s been the same story for a while now, with minor variations. Strangely enough this repetitive storytime actually does help with my writing. Every so often I’ll get an idea for a new character, or notice themes I should explore.

Watching (a lot of) TV: Sometimes it’s background noise that works a lot like any other mindless activity (see above). Sometimes it’s inspiring, giving me ideas to consider. Sometimes it’s instructive, helping me with pacing, or seeing aspects to storytelling that do or don’t work. Sometimes it’s just entertaining, which is also important.

I’ll leave it there, although there are more (so many more). What weird habits do you have as a writer (or in general)? Share your weirdness…

Just a reminder: time is running out to enter my giveaway. Want a chance to win a free copy of my dark fantasy novel, Love Lies Bleeding? Take a moment and enter.

Sixteen Butterflies (and a Turtle)

Recently I paid a visit to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory (Ontario, Canada) and I’m so glad I did. Besides being the perfect respite from the freezing weather, it was a magical experience being surrounded by butterflies (many more than 16). I highly recommend it. I thought I’d share a few of the photos I took…

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Basking in the sunshine

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You’d never guess what this butterfly looks like with its wings open….

Continue reading “Sixteen Butterflies (and a Turtle)”

Receive and Give

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Sometimes when you do something for yourself, you can also help someone else (don’t you love it when that happens?) If you’ve ever considered trying out Kindle Unlimited (so many books, all free to read), now is the perfect time. Until the end of February, Amazon is donating $5 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for every eligible person who signs up for a free 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited. Click here to sign up, or to find out more about Amazon’s initiative and what the Susan Komen Foundation does.

By the way, Love Lies Bleeding is one of the many books available free on Kindle Unlimited 🙂 Find it here.

And before you go, have you entered my giveaway yet?

CLOSED Giveaway

LLB Giveaway

February is Women in Horror Month (WiHM), and to celebrate I’ll be giving away a copy of Love Lies Bleeding. 

To enter:

  1. Share this post on social media. Each different place you share gets you one entry.
  2. Comment on this post letting me know where you’ve shared (links appreciated). Please also leave a way for me to get in touch with you should you win.

Simple, right? You have until the end of February, so get sharing! Check the Fine Print (below) for contest rules and regulations. Good luck!

Women in Horror Months is an inclusive event that aims to showcase the underrepresented work of women throughout the horror industry. This is the perfect time to seek out writing, art, and film you may have overlooked in the past. If you’d like to find out more about WiHM, click here.

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The Fine Print:  Continue reading “CLOSED Giveaway”