Cafe · Coffee · Writing

Cups of Coffee And Brunch

img_1166Once in a while, I like brunch. I do love grits and bacon and eggs and combining two meals into one.  My daughter and I used to do a lot of brunches, especially during her college years for her rare visits home. It would be brunch on Sunday and back to school she would go.  We had done brunch on weekends and holidays throughout her life at various places.

Brunch is a tradition with my family, something that was always done after early morning church. We continue to have frequent brunches with my parents and my brother and his family and various other family members from time to time. As I understand it, my daughter enjoys brunch with friends in New York with some frequency. It must be amazing to have so many places to choose from. Today, I fix my own brunch because there is writing to do and it is a “Do Not Disturb” sort of situation. So I pour coffee in my favorite brunch cup.

UnattendedChildrenMy favorite brunch place is The Flying Biscuit. They have the best grits on the planet, as close to what my grandfather used to make when I was still a wee ankle biter.  Also, I appreciated the humor of this place and its view on children.  Don’t get me wrong. I like children. Just not with my breakfast.  This place moved away during my daughter’s college years to too far away for a quick bite.  So no more espresso and puppies for the children.

BeignetsHowever, my favorite brunch mug came from The Broken Egg. It is a New Orleans style place. It proved a good place near my home to meet for brunch with friends or to take my daughter on weekends when she visited. I still go there. Their grits are good but not perfect. However, they serve beignets – that’s a fried donut covered in powdered sugar. Very good stuff. For our next adult trip, I think I will spirit my daughter out of New York and into New Orleans for the real deal.  It’s been too long since my last visit to that haunted and musical place.

Cafe · Coffee · Writing

Cups Of Coffee & The Broken Road

img_1157My daughter moved to New York about 18 months ago. I miss her awfully. I think of her whenever I drink from this, my favorite coffee mug, a present from her before she graduated from college. She has excellent taste in mugs and candles. Always has.

Her childhood passed us both by like a breezy summer’s day at the beach, a flurry of memory of sun and the tough bits we have let go for the most part. My beautiful child grown and gone. Time never stands still.


img_0448I take another sip. In so many ways, I remain that scared, young single mother on the beach, taking my baby to a place I had been happy in my childhood.

A mistake I thought I had made became a miracle of love and growth. Now she is out there, a woman grown, wings fully formed. God bless that broken road that lead me to a wondrous destination.


Books · Cafe · Literature · Pets · Publishing · Reading · Writing

Week 7 2016 – The Slush Pile Cafe

SlushPileSo I am opening a café. It’s virtual because my funding for it at this time is virtual (non-existent). It is a café for writers at all stages of their career, and those who help us, delight us, improve us all the while tormenting us (beta-readers, editors, agents, cover artists, marketers, publicists, book critics, and fans.).

After a writer completes a book, most of us would like there to be readers. Lots of them.  This involves a great deal of waiting, and usually that waiting is done at the bottom of a slush pile. This idea came to me when reading this post by Janet Reid about an agented author waiting to hear about her second novel placed with that agent. I just want to hear about my first novel,and realized I am way on the bottom of several slush piles. Hence, I give you the Slush Pile Café.

The Slush Pile Café

SlushCafeFloorPlanImagine a 4-story circular building that opens into a lovely outdoor café and garden at its center. Think miniature pentagon. There is free WiFi (naturally), and it is pet friendly. Writers get awfully attached to their animals.

IMG_0299Note: If you have a horse or a dragon, please call ahead. We can only stable so many horses, and we can only provide so many treasure hordes for dragons. And some people become unglued when they see a dragon outside the pages of books.  Most writers are totally fine with them. The café is divided into several distinct areas to accommodate the entire writing process (from start to fans).

The Query Trenches

SlushMenuThis part of the Slush Pile Café is for writer’s who are deep in the Query trenches or trying to finish their book. The Query Trenches is located next to the coffee and bakery station. If you wish, there is an app available inside the trenches that will hit refresh on your email every two seconds and alert you when an agent or editor has made some reply to your query or request. After 90 days, it will send a gentle follow-up to non-responding agents. If the agent is one of those Normans (No Response Means No), it will pipe sappy love songs from the 70’s elevator music into their office.

The Plot Thickens Craft Bar

IMG_0152In the basement of the café is a craft beer and whiskey bar. This is primarily for writer’s with works in progress. This area seeks to satisfy the writer’s needs so they can keep editing and writing. The beer, various bar classics, and generous offering of typical pub fare should keep them calm or at least inspired until they pass out and dream up that next plot twist. *NOTE: Magic mushrooms are available at additional cost.

The Critique Corner

Both the café and the bar cater to this little corner where beta readers and critique groups gather, discuss, and offer feedback to all those works in progress. Agents and editors are welcome here as well.

The Slush Pile Itself

IMG_0160This room is covered with unread pages and manuscripts waiting for review. There are printers and e-readers, and of course, ample numbers of cushy chairs to allow agents and editors to work their way through their individual slush pile. 

A relaxing atmosphere is provided to keep those gatekeepers at peace as they read their way through. For each manuscript reviewed, the café offers one free beverage of the reader’s choice. Each week, The Slush Pile Café will sponsor one agent or editor to answer writer questions for two hours.

This week’s special: Zombie Killer Ale

The Dream Shelf

UnattendedChildrenCurious as to where your book will live on bookstore shelf?  This is the place where anyone can go and do some reading while sipping on Fantasy Mochacinno or Mystery Espresso. There will be displays devoted to writers who have successfully navigated the query trenches and found their way to print. Three times a week, authors will be invited to do book signings and readings of their work. A Slush Pile Café app will be available to mock up a cover for an aspiring author and put it around a standard size debut novel. The author can then put the book where it will one day live on the real world bookshelves just to see what it will look like.

The Board Game Loft

IMG_0452A second bar area will be located upstairs in a two story loft area where writers and readers, agents and editors can unwind with some friendly board game competition. All those hostilities that build up in the glacial process that takes a writer from idea to print, an agent from newly discovered talent to six figure book deal, the editor from the slush pile to the best-seller and movie deal, the reader to the discovery of a new magic in the universe in book form can be distilled in friendly and often humorous competition. Once a year, I will capture (invite) two to three established authors to join us at the Loft for a game of Cards Against Humanity. That will be lots of fun, and we can all learn something from those who have already survived the query trenches and found writer nirvana.


I hope to see lots of you at the Slush Pile Café.