This month’s WSW highlights the work of:
“My intent is to educate, entertain and inspire writers and anyone interested in creative endeavours.”
Doreen is a busy lady! In addition to managing three of her own blogs, she also writes blog posts for clients, as well as books and non-fiction articles for magazines. Her life and work are examples of turning “passion into profit”. Doreen graciously took the time to answer a few of my questions below:
Q: Why do you write?
A: I write because I love telling stories and sharing information.
I have recently self-published Volume I of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate. This will be a series of three books that takes chocolate-loving readers around the world in search of the best chocolate, chocolate events and attractions, and most innovative chocolatiers and chocolate makers. It took me four years to research and write Volume I, which focuses primarily on Europe and the UK, but also has a chapter on the cocoa-growing regions of Peru, Ecuador, and St. Lucia. I am currently researching Volume II, which will provide profiles on chocolatiers from the Americas and the Caribbean, as well as further insights into various growing regions, and I hope to publish that in late 2015/early 2016. Then, I’ll begin work on Volume III, which will focus on Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. I expect to have that published in 2018. Readers can purchase the book a few ways:
- Directly from me at: http://chocolatour.net
- Via Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0991890108/ref=nosim/worldscheapes-20
- At selected bookstores and chocolate shops
My previous title was Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards, as I have been a lifelong volunteer. You can learn more about that via my website at: http://www.wizardofwords.net/. I have also co-authored two books on Canadian destinations. I’m proud to say that one of them—The Manitoba Book of Everything—is a bestseller.
Q: If you didn’t write, what would you do as a career?
A: If I wasn’t a writer, I’d probably be a travel agent or a tour guide. I absolutely love to travel, so anything that is travel-related has my attention. In fact, I have been able to combine my passions for writing, travel, fine chocolate and fascinating people into Chocolatour. I am now planning chocolate events and tours for chocolate lovers as a result of the knowledge I have gained through my chocolate research. I am leading a group Chocolatour for women to Switzerland March 29-April 8, 2014. Can’t wait!
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada. But I’ve lived in the country for more than 30 years. As much as I love the cultural offerings of a big city, I’ve learned that there is an amazing array of cultural delights right in the Interlake region of Manitoba, where I currently live. So I get the best of both worlds! I live by the lake, but am just minutes from local plays, performances, and fun activities such as the Toastmasters in the Arts club, which I founded last year.
Q: Who is/are your literary role model(s) and why?
A: I confess that I do not read fiction. I really enjoy non-fiction books about travel, and bettering our lives. Some of my favourite authors are Wayne Dyer and Gary Zukav.
Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
A: I begin most every day with answering e-mails, checking the social media sites I gravitate to (mostly Twitter and Facebook), and writing blog posts or responding to comments on my blogs. I have three blog sites that I try and add new content to on a regular basis.
With such an active life, Doreen illustrates the importance of not only making goals, but ensuring that those goals are realistic. She states,”…I know many bloggers who post daily! I know that will never be a schedule that [I] could maintain.” As such, she has developed a blog-posting schedule that fits her own lifestyle:
I post to my writer’s blog at http://doreenpendgracs.com on the second and fourth weeks of the month, and to my travel blog at http://diversionswithdoreen.com on the first and third weeks of the month. And I add updates to the http://chocolatour.net site whenever there are new chocolate events to let my readers know about.
I can’t work on serious writing if I’ve got other distractions to take care of, so I generally attend to household tasks after breakfast, and will probably get into writing new assignments or material by about 11 am and will continue until about 5 pm.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
A: Be true to yourself. I’ve lived my life following my own path, and not trying to be someone or something that others feel I should be. I left the cushiness and security of a government job back in 1993 and went freelance. It was a scary move, as I had been earning great pay and had a job with terrific benefits. But being a free spirit, I felt compelled to go out and do it “my way.” It was the best decision of my life, as for the past 20+ years, I’ve been able to write about things, places, and people that fascinate me, to work with/for whom I choose to, and to establish my own work schedule. The freelance life is fantastic if you have a thick skin and can deal with the marketing and possible rejections you may face.
Thank you Doreen for sharing your passion with us!
Keep up with Doreen at:
Stay tuned for next month’s WSW on Wednesday, January 8, 2014!