Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Story Behind the Book "Champagne Lies"

Synopsis : "Champagne was going to help with their decisions. But it didn't. From San Francisco to Italy, Stacie can't figure out how and why things keep happening. Throw in a few murders, a secret vault, a husband she thought she knew, a mystery woman in Italy ... and it all ends up in an Italian villa. With enough twists and turns to create some confusion, Stacie is positive she is done being surprised. But it is far from the end."

In reality there are two stories that mesh into this book. One incorporates pieces and parts of my own history and story. And, one is simply a story using people, places, and things as I know them.

After a successful career in health care administration I became an internationally published travel writer, accepting assignments in the United States and Italy. I understand that career and know how it works so it was easy to weave that into Champagne Lies. I still travel to Italy and love to write about places people may not have heard about.

My husband is an engineer, so once again I understand some of that world and how his mind works! Since I like to read mysteries, not necessarily ones with lots of blood and guts, this genre is easy for me write. Making my reader wonder what’s coming next, offering some twists and turns, and throwing in a little intrigue is the type of writing I enjoy. Hopefully, my readers will enjoy it as well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6 Questions to Help You Handle Criticism

It’s great advice. Yet if you’ve ever been criticized (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?), you’ll know that being told “not to take it personally” often does little to soften the blow. That’s because criticism hits at the heart of our basic desire to be liked, accepted and admired. Being told we have work to do can feel like punch in the gut.

As much as we might dislike being criticized, learning how to extract any value it holds without curling up in a ball or discounting it outright is a skill worth learning. These six questions will help you do just that.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Order Wendy Vanhatten's Newest Book and Hidden Truths Book 6, "Master of Disguise"!

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend…until stolen ones begin to cause problems for Marta. She finds herself drawn into situations where the magnificent, stolen diamonds are wanted by some ruthless characters who don’t care who gets hurt in the process. Her fiancĂ©, Clark, steps in to help her…until he can’t.

My latest mystery, Master of Disguise, is available for pre-orders on Amazon as a Kindle book. Check it out. It's exciting to see all my hard word make it to this point, and at the same time it's the end to this project. The paperback version will follow shortly.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Power of Creative Constraints - Brandon Rodriguez

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or ... does it? if you're like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why? Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

Lesson by Brandon Rodriguez, animation by CUB Animation.

Monday, June 12, 2017

June Photos to Enjoy

Flowers in Evening Sun
Northern Harrier Hawk In Flight

Mount Shasta Sunset

Rolling Hills

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review Of The Tallman Hotel

We've stayed in many hotels. Some have been redone, some needed to be redone, some were corporate, some were special.

The Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake is definitely special.

First impression is that this will be a relaxing place to stay. Wide verandas, complete with comfy chairs looking over a shaded courtyard, with more comfy chairs, welcomed us as we walked up the stairs. It only got better from there.

Completely restored, its history goes back to the 1870s when it was a stagecoach stop and a trading post. As a part of Lake County history, it was reconstructed in 1896 after a fire, only to close in the 1960s. For 40 years it sat vacant and neglected. When it was purchased in 2003 by Lynne and Bernie Butcher, they decided to bring this California classic back to life.

Did they ever...

During restoration, contractors reused as much of the original materials as possible. In some places, they literally took the hotel apart and put it back together again. Defined by its simple Western vernacular architecture, it's easy to see why the Tallman was added to the California Register of Historical Resources as a point of historical interest.

One more thing...they incorporated a quiet and energy efficient GeoExchange system for heating, air conditioning, and hot water generation. Forty-three 300-foot wells were drilled beneath the property. Water continually circulates through a closed loop system of pipes connecting the wells. Water emerges at a constant temperature of 55 degrees. This means the heat exchangers cool the air in the summer by transferring heat from the air into the circulating water. In winter, the system is reversed. There is also a solar energy system to supplement demand during peak usage times.

All 17 guest rooms have custom-designed furnishings, luxuries, and amenities to please. Some include fully restored period and antique bathroom plumbing fixtures, some have private patios with Japanese Ofuro soaking tubs, and some are spacious suites. We opted for a room with the soaking tub...and we were rejuvenated as we lounged in the tub amid the private garden on our patio. What a way to start or end your day!

Our room had everything we needed...and some things we didn't know we needed. Little touches...from perfect lighting in the bathroom, to enough space to comfortably move around in the bedroom, to a welcoming patio, to fluffy robes when we used the soaking tub, to a quiet, peaceful evening.


When it's time for a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a meal, you can walk a few steps to the Blue Wing Saloon. Be sure to look at the bar. The polished surface was once a century old black walnut tree. Beautiful. This saloon is a recreation of the original saloon on the property. Now they serve casual California fare, craft cocktails, artisan beers, and a variety of wines, including local wineries. The menu changes with the seasons, as the chef makes use of an array of local products.

We were mesmerized by the charm of the Tallman and delighted to find the comforts we would expect in an upscale, big city hotel. All right here in northern California. A perfect place to relax.

In fact, the entire experience at the Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon made us glad we spent a weekend getting to know Lake County.

If you're headed to northern California, this is THE place to stay.

If You Go: The Tallman Hotel is located at 9550 Main Street in Upper Lake, California. Website is

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June Words from Wendy

Summer and travel just seem to go together. Whether it's far or near...traveling is a good way to see new places or to see familiar places in a different light. Memories are just part of traveling.

In my case, I review places for different blogs and publications and I showcase some of those reviews here.

Recently, we spent a weekend in Lake County, California. It's about a two hour drive from San Francisco or from where we live. Parts of the area were ravaged by major wildfires in 2015 and we wondered what we would see.

Some of that destruction is still obvious as shells of cars and partially burned homes remained in a few of the smaller towns. Hillsides with blackened sticks of burned trees, brilliant green grass abundant around them, sat right next to vibrant trees which weren't touched by the flames. Forest fire is an odd creature.

Closer to Clear Lake, green hills, dormant volcanos, and brilliant blue skies were the sites we noticed. It's easy to see why the American Lung Association has proclaimed the air here some of the cleanest in the nation. All we had to do was breathe to figure that out. With all the clear air and not a lot of light pollution, the Taylor Observatory offers some amazing star gazing.

If you've never heard of or spent time at Clear should. With over 100 miles of shoreline, it is the largest natural freshwater lake wholly within California. And...for you fishermen, it's supposedly the land of bass fishing.

Those old volcanos...their soil rich in ash is great for producing impressive Cabernets and Sauvignon Blancs. We tried several...and have to agree.

Check out my review of the Tallman Hotel. If you're planning a trip to the area, I highly recommend the Tallman. I'm ready to go back.

As always...thanks for reading.

Don't can find out more reviews, travel tips, advice, photos, and travel stuff on my blog. Twice a week I offer the latest tips and info as well as reviews of places we've been. It can be found at