Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Speaking Engagement: Raleigh Home Show

On September 6th and 7th Matt and I will be speaking at the Raleigh Home Show.

We will be speaking about what it is like to live in a tiny house and when we're not speaking we'll be at a table to talk with people and sell my book 120 Ideas for Tiny Living.

Also in attendance will be Teal and Gerry of Wishbone Tiny Homes. They will be bringing their model home on wheels for tours! 

If you're in Raleigh, we'd love to see you.

I am available for speaking engagements and have spoken at a number of events around the country including the 2014 Tiny House Conference and Earth Day Events at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Please contact me to learn more! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Featured in Asheville's Mountain Express

This week's issue of the local alternative newspaper, the Mountain Express, features a cover story on tiny homes in Asheville. Writer Jake Frankel did his homework and talked to everyone in the area who has their hand in this movement. The result is a very well written and researched piece about the viability of tiny homes in the community.
There’s no easy answer, Guyton maintains, saying,“Market-based affordable housing is really a tough nut to crack.”
Brown agrees. “Rent, as we all know, is insane in this town, and so is buying houses,” he says, adding that in the long term, he hopes Wishbone can be part of the solution.
LaVoie, too, believes increased tiny home living could be an important component of a broader answer to the puzzle of how we can improve local quality of life economically, environmentally and culturally. “So it seems like a good idea to get the subject on the table and try to figure out ways we can make it viable within our community,” she says. “Asheville’s really progressive, and if there’s anywhere in the Southeast that would be a good place to start this movement and get them legitimized, this is it.”
I encourage you to pick up your copy on news stands this week or read the entire article online

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Financial Impact of Tiny Homes

Months ago I spoke with a reporter named Nina. Truth be told, I forgot about that conversation until I received an email today. The article she was working on all this time was for Bloomberg.

What I love most about this article is that it focuses on the financial impact of tiny houses and leaves out the sensationalism so common with other outlets.

When Laura LaVoie began writing and blogging about the movement in 2010, “there were only one or two tiny house blogs and now there are hundreds,” she said.
She quit her Atlanta-based job as a recruiter at a staffing company, sold her 2,700 square-foot house and pursued a career as a freelance writer by building a place with her husband in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.
“I felt really trapped,” she said. Moving to a 120 square-foot space enabled them “to live in a different way, take control of our lives.”
The article features a lot of other great voices in the Tiny House community, many of whom I have gotten to know well over the years. Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Featured in Tiny House Magazine

Issue 17 of Tiny House Magazine is now available on virtual news stands. You can download it as a PDF or for the iPad.

This issue features my recap of the first ever Tiny House Conference which was held in Charlotte, NC, in April.

Read the excerpts below:

"When I moved into my own tiny home I had no idea how important community would become to me. Before the tiny house I felt entirely disconnected from my own life. It was spend commuting, sitting at a desk, and watching television at various predetermined points on the clock. The tiny house and the drastic shift in consciousness is what allowed for me to change everything. I began to participate in my own local community in a city that I love. I forged virtual relationships with other tiny house builders, bloggers, and enthusiasts. Slowly, one by one, I would meet them in real life. We formed bonds over shared experiences that can't really be understood by just anyone."

"And suddenly our community was all in one place. We were real people bonding over pizza and beer. We were more than tiny home builders or those weird people who live in shoe boxes. We didn't have to talk about how we built the kitchen cabinets or what it is like to use a composting toilet. That's not to say we didn't, but we weren't on display and it felt good."
Buy the issue to read the entire article!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Drink Craft Beer: A Beginner's Guide is Available on Amazon!

My second book, How to Drink Craft Beer: A Beginner's Guide, is now available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle editions! 

Please enjoy this excerpt:

For anyone who thinks they might enjoy beer culture but can't get past that "Beer" flavor I suggest trying different styles when you’re at bars and restaurants. Start with local beer if you can. When beer is brewed in the place where you are drinking it the flavors and the ingredients are higher quality.

If you don't like the bitter flavor many associate with beer, start with a malty brown or an amber.  If you like light refreshing beer, try a kolsch or a pilsner.

Try draft over bottle any time you can, but if bottle is the only option ask them to put it in a glass.  The physical act of pouring the beer opens up the flavors and aromas and gives you the full experience. It's also interesting to note that many breweries are canning their beer now and this method is great for preserving the flavors.

When you try something new consider the things you like about it and the things you don't. I have a friend who keeps a small notebook in her purse where she can write down every new beer. She includes the name of the beer, the brewery, the style, and anything she wants to remember about it. She also indicates if she liked it or not.

The next time you are out try to articulate the things you like and don’t like to your server. A bartender at a good craft beer bar is usually knowledgeable about the beers they have and are happy to share their expertise.  Tell them what you like and they can help you with a few choices.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What "Mentor" Means to Me

When I first started learning the ropes to become a freelance writer several places suggested finding a mentor. This would be someone who has been where you are and done what you do. They could give you an idea of what happens next, what works, and what doesn't.

It was a brilliant piece of advice and one I took to heart. I forged relationships with several people in this arena. Some were peers, some were professionals, and some were just individuals I admired. It really helped get me started and has kept me on track.

But there was something that no one told me about the "mentor" process. What happens when the tables are turned?

I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't set out to find other writers just starting out. It happened with a simple Facebook message. A friend was looking to get started in freelance writing and asked how I did it. I shared my methods, my ideas, how to write letters, what to send to whom, and anything else that came to mind. 

I am proud of what I have accomplished working for myself so I was happy to share what I knew with someone else. It felt good o share this with someone else.

A few months ago, a client was looking for additional writers. I suggested my friend. She also writes for them now.

So today, delivered to my door, was the most thoughtful and sweetest gesture I could have imagined.

The card reads:

Because you are the reason when people ask what I do for a living I can say, "I'm a writer."

In that moment when I opened the box and read the card I really realized what kind of impact just one person can have. I am so grateful for all the help people gave me when I was getting started and I am grateful again that I can pay it forward just a little bit.

Thank you, Suzannah, for making me remember why I do what I do.

Monday, January 6, 2014

On Fiction...

My primary writing style is non-fiction. At least that is what I get paid to write so I tend to focus on it. However, like many writers, I read a lot and most of that tends to be fiction.

I recently started reading the popular Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Many other readers have compared it to the Hunger Games most likely because of the post-apocalyptic landscape and teenage female lead. These sorts of books are very popular and seem to transcend their young adult category. There are many other similar books on the market. My favorites are actually Rampant and Ascendent by Diana Peterfreund. These buck the system by being a series of only two books and they feature some awesome Unicorns, for which I am a sucker.

As I said, though, I write mostly non-fiction but occasionally I find myself playing around with fiction. Recently I wrote a short story called The Bell Curve. It too takes place in a future where things aren't precisely ideal and there is the spark of a strong, young female lead.

The story wasn't born out of the idea of writing a copy-cat novel. I was just genuinely thinking what a world would look like where only the smartest people were allowed to advance in society. Then I thought about what would happen when average and below-average people were taken out of the equation. What would that do to the "bell curve?" Where would that lead our society?

While reading Divergent I got to wondering about this story a little more. If I were to try my hand at some world building exercises, character profiles, and outlining, could I create a compelling story about Margery and a world where people are only judged based on an ever-shrinking idea of intelligence?

January is a perfect time for new beginnings and to start new projects. I think I will add these exercises to my schedule and see what I can develop.