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Daily Writers’ Fix: Weekly Edition #1

Daily Writers’ Fix is back, and with a new format! We’re sticking to our unique brand of writing prompts, pairing a photo and prompt with one of the five senses, but this time we’re giving a week’s worth of daily writing inspiration all at once–starting today. Check back each Monday for writing prompts to last the work week, with occasional Grab Bag options for weekends (follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS so you never miss a post!). For instructions on how to use Daily Writers’ Fix to the max, click here. And as always, we’d love to read what you come up with–leave a comment and share a snippet!



Some people find objects in the clouds. Your character searches for them in shadows. What does he see here, and why does it frighten him?



What’s cooking in your character’s kitchen right now?



A chill runs up a secondary character’s spine as she sits on the bow of a boat listening to the gentle lapping of waves at dusk. Describe that sound in such a way that your reader will literally feel the same chill.



Tree climbing, fantasy tree houses, enchanted forests–everyone has a tree story. What’s yours? Return to your childhood and describe the feeling of bark on your hands as you climbed a tree. Or make a wildly enchanted forest seem believable by describing the feel of things your readers can relate to such as branches scraping one’s skin, fallen leaves crumbling under one’s feet, or the feeling of the sun shining through a break in the trees.



It’s all about the weather. You hear it from the meteorologist on the TV, make small talk about it, complain when it gets too hot or too cold. Weather can set the tone for your scene, too. But can you write about the weather without actually saying “It’s cold”? For today’s Daily Writers’ Fix, skip forward a few months and imagine breathing in the chilly winter air through your mouth. What does it taste like? Describe it in a paragraph and see if you can use this sense to make your readers feel the chill without actually telling them it’s cold outside.

Grab Bag:

Create a short story or poem using all of the following words. And don’t forget to share what you come up with by leaving us a comment!

Top ten
Vital signs
Too late
Broken mirrors
Smoke and mirrors

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Home Writing Nooks: Starting Afresh

I’m sitting at the desk in the room that is slowly being transformed into my office and writing studio. Until a week ago, boxes and papers were scattered around, looking like a tornado had swept through. But that’s how organization works sometimes, isn’t it? In order to see what you have to organize, you have to unearth the paperwork and items that have been boxed up or put in piles only to be forgotten about.

My husband and I moved into our new house a year ago this month, and things are feeling more and more settled all the time. In a perfect world we would have had everything in order right away, but that was impossible given that I was pregnant and my husband is working and in graduate school.

Two of the biggest house projects that have been looming over the months have been my pantry and office. Both were a disaster for a long time but are finally coming together. I can walk into my pantry now without having to step over boxes filled with unknown items–very important for a home cook and food blogger! I can find what I’m looking for on the pantry shelves with relative ease. And there’s even a spot for a few shelves worth of cookbooks. As for my office, I will soon have a revised filing system in place so that stacks of paper no longer have to accumulate, and the closet–where most things have been stuffed so that my son can safely play on the floor while I write–will soon be free of random boxes and will have a sense of order.

I can’t tell you how good this progress makes me feel. It’s as though I’ve accomplished a major task and am free of a big burden that’s been weighing on me. Once things are settled, I’ll be able to be much more efficient. Time management is difficult when things aren’t set up properly.

In the early days of Nooks & Cranberries, I featured some other writers’ offices as I was in the process of working on my office at my former home. Now I’m starting afresh, and it’s fun to be able to look back at some of my former inspirations as well as to find new ones. I’m looking forward to seeing how it unfolds and to share the results with you soon! And if you have any ideas or tips that have worked for you, leave a comment–I’d love to hear from you!

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Destination Inspiration: Belle Epicurean

Neither one of us work in Downtown Seattle, but if we did, we’d be at Belle Epicurean more days than not. This charming patisserie makes us think about being in Paris, which is fitting since its founder, Carolyn Bianchi Ferguson, studied at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

The checkered floors and marbled tabletops, white bistro tables outside and the delectable pastries are just right for inspiring creativity, and we can imagine ourselves sharing a cup of coffee with Hemingway or Fitzgerald.

Food and drink
Don’t miss the brioche buns, particularly the bun of the month. One memorable monthly special was coconut cream with coconut flakes, nutmeg and rum. The brioche buns have a savory bite but are not salty. Nor are they too sweet. They have good texture: They’re flaky, crispy, dense to the right point, moist, and have just the right amount of fluffiness. They’re a good companion pastry, and we suggest ordering one with coffee and breakfast, or as an afternoon snack with an espresso or cup of tea. Or if you’re looking for something more substantial, take a look at the lunch menu.

Location and atmosphere
The style is French sophisticated, with tiled checkerboard floor, tapestry, and gilded frames. Grab a seat toward the back, near the entrance to the Fairmont, if you’re looking for a peaceful spot that’s tucked away. We prefer the bar tables by the entrance, which offer a window to the outside world.

At 2 pm on a Saturday when we were there, it wasn’t too busy. There were a few people inside who cleared out pretty quickly. We seemed to be the only ones lingering. The music was light, and varied from jazz to smooth rock and oldies. Other ambient noise came from the hum of the refrigerated pastry cases, the chiming bell when people entered, and happy welcoming hellos. Overall, it has just the right amount of bustle for someone looking for some destination inspiration.

With small tables, this is a good place to come solo, as you can’t spread out. Or bring a writing partner and a pad of paper for brainstorming. We can’t imagine spending more than a half an hour to 45 minutes writing here, so we’d recommend leaving the laptop at home and opt for the pad of paper.

Purchased presence
This being a lunch spot as well as patisserie, we’d say let your order dictate how much time you spend. If you’re just coming for a cup of coffee and a pastry, you probably won’t want to spend as much time as if you were ordering lunch. In a nutshell, use your common sense and courtesy.

Price: $$

Street parking and nearby garages. Expect to pay.

Writer’s tip
There are no apparent outlets, so if you bring your laptop, come fully charged. Or just bring a pad of paper.

If we worked downtown, we’d love to take a break and walk a few blocks here in the fresh air, then come here and enter another world for a while.

Find it
Belle Epicurean
1206 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

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Nooks & Cranberries is back!

It’s good to see you! It’s been too long. We’ve missed you over the past year, but the good news is that 2012 is the year of Nooks & Cranberries’ return. After hibernating for a good part of 2011, your foodie writer friends, Sarah and Daytona, are back and hungrier and more inspired than ever.

2011 was the most amazing year for both of us, and since we’ve been absent so long, we feel we owe you an explanation: We both had babies! We’re both enjoying our new roles as mothers, and now that the pregnancy fatigue is behind us and we’re getting the hang of raising children, we’re back to writing. There’s no doubt the writing life will look different for us now that we have kids, but we’re excited for what the future holds and look forward to sharing our experiences and what we learn with you.

What to expect from Nooks & Cranberries in 2012 and beyond:

  • More great Destination Inspiration articles showcasing writing-friendly nooks
  • Quick Tips on craft and the writing life
  • Mouth-watering recipes to fuel your creativity in Writer’s Kitchen
  • Interviews with writers across genres
  • And whatever else suits our fancy… and yours! If you have a question about writing or a topic you’d like to suggest, write to us! We’d love to hear from you. While you’re at it, take a moment to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or RSS so you never miss a post!