Write on! The writing process blog hop

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to be participating in my third blog hop! (The two previous ones were under the tag “Blog Jog Day” but they are essentially the same.) Thanks to A.K. Andrew for inviting me to participate in this highly-focused writing process blog hop that gives you insight into the motivation, drive, and focus involved in doing what we do as writers.


A.K. Andrew was born in England, where she worked as a schoolteacher before becoming a Community Arts photographer and screen-printer in London. In the ensuing twenty years, San Francisco became her home, and in its atmosphere of breaking boundaries and creative expression, A.K. became a painter and ultimately a writer. During a spell of living back in the UK, she completed a Creative Writing Certificate at the University of Sussex, Brighton in 2010. Her current novel, in its final draft stage, is Under The Bed.  Set during the Vietnam era in NYC, two women, a generation apart, each burdened by guilt regarding the death of a sibling, find their own lives in danger, when the older woman’s brush with McCarthyism emerges during their collaboration on her autobiography. A.K.Andrew now lives in Northern California. Connect with her via these sites: WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookPinterest

I’m now to answer these 4 questions to give you insight into my own writing process.:

1) What am I working on?

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

3) Why do I write what I do?

4) How does my writing process work?

1. I’m currently working on two things. I’m marketing volume I of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate while I research volume II. That’s part of the new reality of being a hybrid author– someone who has been previously been traditionally published, but has now ventured into the world of independent publishing (more commonly referred to as self-publishing.)  We must not only write our books, but handle the public relations and marketing components to getting our books into the hands and eyes of readers. Marketing my book takes far more time and energy that I ever dreamed it would. I think we all hope and dream that our books will become an immediate success and that readers will flock to our site to buy our book. The usual case is that it doesn’t happen that way. We’ve got to invite them, encourage them, and enlist the help of everyone we know to help bring new readers to us. The researching and writing is far easier.  I’m currently travelling to as many places as I can in North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, to meet chocolate makers, attend chocolate events, and become immersed in the local chocolate scene as research for the second volume of Chocolatour. Be sure to let me know of a fantastic chocolate event you may be aware of. And stay tuned to https://chocolatour.net for updates on the book and events I will be attending, and to my chocolate travel blog at https://chocolatour.net for a diary of my chocolate travels as they occur.

2. There have been many books written and published about chocolate. How does Chocolatour differ from those? My book focuses on chocolate travel. It is my goal to educate, entertain, and encourage chocolate lovers to plan future travel with chocolate in mind. As most artisanal chocolate is fresh, preservative free, and doesn’t travel well, chocolate lovers must go to it in order to taste the chocolate at its optimum.  I help chocolate lovers find the finest chocolate makers and best chocolate events in locations that they want to visit. I encourage them to visit chocolate destinations they may not otherwise have considered. And for those who can’t travel, I take the reader to cocoa plantations around the world, introduce them to passionate chocolate makers, and share experiences at chocolate events so that they feel they have experienced them firsthand. I also make chocolate recommendations based on some of the fantastic products I have had the privilege of enjoying.
3. Why do I write what I do? In Chocolatour, I have been able to combine my passions for travel, culinary delights (including fine chocolate), and intriguing people.  I began my career as a professional freelance writer in 1993, and have focused on travel writing for the past 15 years. During those years, I’ve always enjoyed writing profiles about the innovative and inspiring people I have met. And about the fascinating places I have been. I am a born storyteller, and love sharing tales about my adventures, whether it’s informally via my blogs or in conversation, or more formally through presentations and in my books.
4. How does my writing process work? I post to my writer’s blog (which is this blog) on the first and third weeks of every month. I post to my travel blog on the second and fourth weeks of every month. For my writer’s blog, I use life’s events and my writing challenges and triumphs to spur me. I like to post about what I am experiencing and feeling. For the travel blog, I use my research trips as the basis for the posts. And then, when I’m writing the book(s), I use the blog posts as the basis for the chapters, and expand, augment, and complete them as necessary. As I like to keep my books as informal as I can, the writing style is similar to the tone I use in blogging and so I am pre-writing the next volume of Chocolatour as I write the blog posts. This process also gives me insight into the topics and posts my readers find most fascinating, and I’m sure to expand and feature those when I’m writing my book(s).
I hope this information has been interesting to you. I’d now like to introduce you to three writers who I know and admire.
I met Judie (Judith) Fein at a Travel Classics conference years ago in upstate New York. Judith Fein is an award-winning travel journalist who has contributed to 105 publications, and the author of LIFE IS A TRIP: The Transformative Magic of Travel and the new book, THE SPOON FROM MINKOWITZ. She is the executive editor of the popular group blog site: www.YourLifeisaTrip.com, and she recently gave a fabulous TEDx talk in Mexico about Deep Travel. Judith is also an expert on Emotional Genealogy. Visit her website or the facebook page for her new book to connect with Judie.
I know Montreal-based poet and author Heather Grace Stewart via my membership in the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). You can read a full bio and find links to her various sites at http://morningrainpublishing.com/project/strangely-incredibly-good/. Heather has written poetry, children’s books, non-fiction titles, a screenplay, and will soon be releasing her first novel. Talk about a multi-faceted creative mind!
Suzanne Boles is a close friend and also a member of  PWAC who lives in London, Ontario. I’ve had the pleasure of travelling with Suzanne for two legs of my ChocolatourSuzanne Boles  has always loved to write. She won an award in high school for her poetry, received her honours English degree then worked at many jobs with writing components as a small part of her work responsibilities. She moved closer to full-time after completing a contract job as assistant editor for a Lifestyle magazine. Prior to that she was editor of a weekly newspaper. She took a leap of faith in 1996 and launched her freelance writing business, Suzanne Boles, Write Connection. Suzanne’s articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Maclean’s, Profit Magazine, Today’s Parent, Western Alumni Magazine and numerous trade magazines. Her client roster includes Western University, The City of London (Ontario Canada), Pillar Non-profit Network, The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and other clients as well as small business owners. Suzanne specializes in writing profiles and case studies. She is currently writing about her personal journey through grief on her blog.
I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting these writers and will check out their sites. Do drop in and see what they’re up to. And please join us back the week of March 31st for our next new post.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

62 Responses

  1. This is wonderful. Passion really keeps a writer going.
    Christopher James recently posted…The Tao of BadassMy Profile

  2. Hi Debra and thanks for the positive comment. I really try hard to maintain a positive attitude. I must admit that I found it difficult during this relentless winter – which doesn’t seem to be over YET.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring OahuMy Profile

  3. Doreen aside from the sheer volume of hard work involved in marketing and writing at the same time, you also have to reflect an upbeat mood. It must be challenging to be consistently sunny, yet you always seem so positive. That’s a tremendous asset, how do you manage it?
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Lean Back, Do The Job You’re Capable of DoingMy Profile

  4. Latrisha says:

    What a neat idea! It’s always great to read about the process of other writers. Wishing you continued success, Doreen!

  5. Hi all! I’ve posted about my writing process over at http://heathergracestewart.com today, featuring Doreen and authors Elisa Lorello, Joe Hesch and Arianna Merritt. Hop on over when you can!

  6. Thanks for this, I love that you write about chocolate and seeing others writing process
    Cacinda Maloney recently posted…Western Destinations: Who Knew It Was Phoenix, AZ?My Profile

  7. Marie Powell says:

    Interesting book and process, Doreen. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you all the best!

  8. Beth Niebuhr says:

    Wow! What a tough life! Traveling to visit the best chocolate can’t be any fun at all!
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…I’m Tech Challenged and Want an Online BusinessMy Profile

    • Is that your tongue I see protruding out of your cheek, Beth? All kidding aside, it is indeed a wonderful life (and niche) I have created for myself. As I said to others, if I have to work for a living (and I do), I’d certainly prefer to do something I love vs sitting at a corporate desk job. Thx for dropping into the blog. Hope to see you again soon.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…tips to improve your blog writing My Profile

  9. Viv says:

    Chocolate!!! Such a yummy subject to research and write about. Nice introduction to fellow writers 🙂
    Viv recently posted…Snowshoeing Blueprint for Beginners in Bend, OregonMy Profile

  10. Thanks again Doreen for asking me to participate in this blog hop. It’s so well organized and helping introduce me to so many new writers. I’ll be featuring you next week, of course, and bestselling Kindle author Elisa Lorello @elisalorello, poet and blogger @JAHesch Joe Hesch and blogger, author and motivator @Arianna_Merritt I can’t wait! Best of luck with the next volume of Chocolatour!

  11. Thanks for sharing, Doreen. It was fun to read about your writing process. Best wishes to you on your two current projects.

  12. So much enjoyed reading more about you and your writing projects – your boundless energy and passion for what you do are so inspirational! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Donna Janke says:

    You are fortunate you are able to combine your passions in your work, although I know it is still a lot of work. Good luck with the marketing.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Manitoba FoodsMy Profile

  14. Doreen — So you’re back on your whirlwind tour of the world seeking the best chocolates. How I envy you. What a great topic for a travel/chocolate lover. Satisfy your craving for chocolate and travel all in one book.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Coca-Cola Learned to its Delight that Consumers Own its BrandMy Profile

    • Hi Jeannette: I never got off the chocolate trail! I suspect this project will take me at least another 5 years to complete the research and writing of volumes II & III of Chocolatour, and then I plan to combine them all into an updated mega volume! So as I said to Susan in my last comment, I’m in this for the long haul, and oh, what a tasty journey it will be. 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…tips to improve your blog writing My Profile

  15. Susan Cooper says:

    I so love how you’ve found a way to combine your passions into something you enjoy. It gives me hope that I might be able to do the same someday. The fact that I love the end result, your book on Chocolate, makes it even more fun. 🙂 Now, I’m off to check out the other bloggers you’ve tagged. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel: #WineMy Profile

  16. Jeri says:

    Books are produced and promoted in so many ways these days, though it would be nice if marketing didn’t have to take up so much time. Still though, being able to blog your book is such a great boon. Getting started is always the hardest part of the any process for me, and being able to blog material keeps the process in a constant flow since it’s public and can’t be swept under the rug in favor of working on other “stuff.”
    Jeri recently posted…How to Find a #Critique Partner and Set Ground RulesMy Profile

  17. I am a recent purchaser/reader of Doreen’s fist volume of Chocolatour. If you like to travel and have any interest in chocolate (and who doesn’t!), get thee to Amazon and purchase a copy. I also had the chance to meet Doreen (and Suzanne Boles) on their recent trip to Honolulu, Hawaii for a chocolate festival where Doreen was the guest speaker. So, I attended my first chocolate festival. I admit I was a little apprehensive about anyone being able to keep me engaged during an hour long talk about chocolate, but Doreen quickly disabused me of the notion that that wasn’t possible. She literally enthusiastically shares her experiences with chocolate so that you think you can actually taste it. I thought I had eaten my fill of chocolate samples before Doreen’s talk, but right after listening to her, I was so inspired, I made room for another one!
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…What’s Up with Wats in Chiang Mai, Thailand?My Profile

  18. Patti Morrow says:

    I’m on a quest to find the world’s best Margarita, but chocolate would run a close second. 🙂 Fun post! You are one busy woman!
    Patti Morrow recently posted…Bahamian RhapsodyMy Profile

  19. Christine says:

    Hi Doreen, thanks for sharing this, I love reading about other’s writing processes. I found it interesting how you schedule your posts for each blog, it’s made me feel like I should maybe cut back a little with my two blogs, as it can get a little hectic trying to post in both a couple of times a week.
    Also, as always, I’m so envious of your chocolate research, it sounds like such fun, and so interesting!

    • Hi Christine and welcome to the blog. I can’t imagine posting to my blogs any more often than I do. It’s a lot of work! I know that it is said that if you post more often it is better for your SEO and the ranking of your blog, but I’m afraid I am willing to sacrifice that for my sanity. Cheers!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…tips to improve your blog writing My Profile

  20. Wonderful way to make the world so much more intimate. I’m fascinated by your varying interests and how you keep them all categorized yet are able to combine and write specifically (wonderfully) about them all. I guess because I have to walk through a door (it seems like it) to write fiction, that this baffles me. You have earned my admiration…I find your process inspirational!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…St. Patrick’s Day… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Hi Jacquie and thanks so very much for your wonderful comment. I have never tried my hand at fiction and don’t expect I ever will, as it’s not a genre that I read. But I love storytelling, and so I find that blogging is a great way to keep my writing skills sharp in between formal writing projects.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…tips to improve your blog writing My Profile

  21. Christina says:

    Doreen, how fascinating. I attended the Chocolate Festival in Seattle and afterwards joked that I would retire to Costa Rica and grow cocoa trees 🙂


  22. Doreen, You are an inspiration in so many ways. It was you who encouraged me to try blogging, and you’ve supported me every step of the way.
    You’ve introduced me to the joys and benefits of eating really good dark chocolate. I will never go back to eating “candy” again. Dark chocolate is food. Who knew there would be so much to learn about chocolate and so many neat places to learn where it’s made.
    Suzanne Boles has asked me to participate in this ‘blog hop” so my post on this will be up on March 31. I’ve found it a very good exercise and a great way to look at the writing I do, and why I do it.
    Keep up your great work, and as you are always smiling, keep on doing that too!

  23. Arleen says:

    You are fortunate to have met such great writers. I have to say before I came to your blog I had never heard of n Chocolatour. You made it so interesting because you have combined traveling with chocolate. How do you keep your weight in tack? When you love chocolate t would be hard not to keeping eating it.

    • Hi Arleen, and thanks for visiting my blog. I published the first volume of Chocolatour last fall and am currently researching the second volume. It is indeed a tasty project! You can learn more about it on this page: https://chocolatour.net/about.

      A lot of people ask me how I can keep from getting fat! Yes, I do have to eat chocolate often, but I generally only have a piece or two at a time, and as I am eating pure dark chocolate most of the time, the health benefits outweigh the small amount of fat and sugar it contains. I do take a green coffee bean extract to help improve my body’s ability to digest and process food. I think that helps keep the weight at a manageable level. Cheers!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…Write on! The writing process blog hopMy Profile

  24. I love that you write about chocolate- what better, We were privileged to hear food historian and chef, Maricel Presilla speak on chocolate at a Santa Fe food conference.

    I know Judie Fein as we are both Santa Fe writers. She is amazing. We actually have a post on our blog about her new book, THE SPOON FROM MINKOWITZ. It certainly is a small world!

  25. A.K.Andrew says:

    Thank you so much for participating in this blog hop Doreen! Selfish on my part, because I always love to read about the process of how friends work. It’s really interesting to hear just how much work you have put into your marketing, and everything else that made Chocolatour come to fruition. Everyone assumes the writing will be the hard part. As for the chocolate you introduce people to, it had never occurred to me how poorly handmade chocolate would travel, and that you’d only be able to sample it at the source. You are def. a natural storyteller, so it bodes well for your book being a success. Thanks so much for the post Doreen:-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Blog Hop On the Writing ProcessMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for your comment, A.K., and for inviting me on the blog hop! It’s been a pleasure, and is great to share my own thoughts on the writing process, as well as learn about how my friends write. We all do our work in a rather distinct fashion, and the process is as equally diverse as the end product or work itself.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…Write on! The writing process blog hopMy Profile

  26. Catarina says:

    So nice that AK invited you!! You work with what you love which is something that eludes most people. Chapeau. Good luck with Chocolatetour!! Chocolate travel, seriously Doreen, I could walk on a street and in two minutes find a long list of people who would love to do what you are doing:-)
    Catarina recently posted…How do you respond to risks?My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Catarina! I do indeed love what I do, and am grateful that I am slowly building an audience for my work. I wish that process was quicker and easier (I’m being extremely honest here!) But hopefully, Chocolatour will soon be seen/found by the right person who can help me take it to the next level. Cheers!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…Write on! The writing process blog hopMy Profile

  27. Jackie Smith says:

    I am enjoying getting to know you better via the blogosphere. Wish I’d have been in Honolulu when you were – it would have been fun to meet.
    Jackie Smith recently posted…WAWeekend: ‘Coasting’ in WashingtonMy Profile

  28. PaulGraham says:

    Write On Doreen ! It is fascinating to hear about your writing process. Having multiple areas of interests seems a great way to keep things fresh, which is as important for writing as for chocolate. I am very new to blogging but already find that having several things simmering at the same time is helpful . Thank you for introducing some that you admire and I look forward to more smooth, rich and delicious treats !
    PaulGraham recently posted…Every Picture 16My Profile

  29. Wow – anyone who can write a couple blogs, a couple books and consume chocolate and travel has my undying admiration! Are you coming to any chocolate events in Southwest Florida – maybe Naples? I’d love to meet if you’re in the area (although I’m heading to Bhutan in 2 weeks so don’t come while I’m away!).
    Kay Dougherty recently posted…Two western women, four days, Abu DhabiMy Profile

    • Hi Kay, and thanks for your lovely comment — and invitation! I did do a chocolate trek to FLA a couple years ago and met Norman Love in Fort Myers. You’ll find the post about him on my travel blog at im-in-love-with-norman-love-chocolates/. Pls drop in there and let me know if you agree with my assessment of his chocolates!

      P.S. Have fun in Bhutan!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…tips to improve your blog writing My Profile

  30. Leora says:

    Love reading all the bloggers and writers you have met! A local friend who has written a book wanted to know how to connect with what she called the women’s market. I told her so many talented bloggers are women; she could, for example, look at comments on my blog and follow them back to comment on their blogs.

    I love your enthusiasm for chocolate and writing about chocolate and chocolate travel.
    Leora recently posted…Making Contact: Contact Form Plugins for WordPressMy Profile

  31. Wendy Peck says:

    Doreen — you find the coolest things to move you along in your writing life. I’m just so impressed with your boundless energy to keep the old stuff that has worked for you going, while you explore new places and venues to both improve and promote your work. You are an inspiration.

    You also keep good writing company, a critical key to success that many of us fail to nurture (though it’s probably why I stick close to you 🙂 ). Thanks for sharing the writers with us. Fabulous models for all of us.

  32. judith fein says:

    Doreen, I love to read about you and what you are doing.
    Next week it’s my turn at the blog hop, and thanks for inviting me to hop with you.

  33. Thanks for inviting me to take part in this. I’m looking forward to posting my blog and introducing my bloggers.

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